Buying a couple of new baritones. . Help!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by ploughboy, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    Hey Folks,

    We're in the market for two new Baritones, they are to played in a band surrounded by Sovereign Horns and Euphs.

    Local shop advice has been to go for the Besson Sovereign 3 valve model.

    Our budget isn't going to stretch to Prestige models.

    Anyone know what the Virtuosi-Classic-VB-531UKSG-4 Valve is like? or the Yamaha? 3 or 4 valves . . .

    Any thoughts Baritone players of the World . . . . Cheers.
  2. bariwizard

    bariwizard Member

    Would the budget stretch to decent 2nd-hand sovs ?
  3. trombone-john

    trombone-john Member

    A friend of mine has a 4 valve sov that's like new. Want me to get a price for it Garry?
  4. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Three-valves are generally better-received than four-valves, Gary, though I have it on good authority that it's not really to do with the valve combination - rather more that four-valve baritones are generally a wider bore than three-valves, so they tend to sound woolier and less crisp.

    There are issues with the valve combination though. A three valve baritone is fully compensated on 1+3, (assuming it has the tubing from the first to the third valve, which most do) so the low D and C sharp are fine as regards tuning. Four valve baritones aren't. Their system works like a bass, so the notes are only compensated when the fourth valve is in use.

    And even then, the players I've spoken to say they experience more tuning issues on the 4 than the 3. It seems to me that a three-valve baritone sits nicely with the horns and leaves the euphs to sit with the basses - whereas a four valve is an unhappy half-measure that doesn't do either particularly well and introduces a lot of new tuning vagueries for very little gain.

    I mean, how many times do baritones actually need a low F natural? Stick with 3s. Our lass has a 2nd hand 3 valve sov and swears it's the best baritone she's ever played.
  5. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    Thank you Andi, some good advice there. What about the concept of having a 3V on 1st Bari, and a 4V on 2nd where it's a little lower in register etc . . . .

    It's worth an ask JB, if you would be so kind and PM me a price. . .

    Bariwizard, sent you a PM as I don't want to shout about our exact financial situation in public!

    Thanks Guys
  6. catto09

    catto09 Member

    What have you guys got just now for Bari's?
  7. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    You're likely to be best with a pair of the same, whichever way you go. The 4v is likely to sound warmer in the low register because of the wider bore - but the compensation system has the same effect on the pitch of both instruments, so as regards the ability to actually reach low notes, it'll only make a small difference. It might serve to cut down the 'bark' one tends to get with low bari notes at high dynamics though.

    My only concern about mixing and matching is that with a 3 and a 4 next to each other, the sound might not blend so well. Plus when combined with two euphs means you'd have three different sets of tuning vagueries on one section! But then you'd have the same thing if a player turned up with their own instrument so it's swings and roundabouts really.
  8. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    so we're saying no one has improved the wheel here, that 3V is still the better bet. I'm sure my ladies won't take offence if I describe them as good 3rd section players, both capable of playing 1st baritone. Just to give you an idea of what we are taking about.

    Spoken to First Brass this afternoon they are sending us a 3V Virtuosi to try, which is very good of them. .
  9. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    15 - 20 year old sov's. bought in the lottery rush in the 80's I believe. They've just worn out. . .
  10. catto09

    catto09 Member

    I'm going to be honest. I don't rate Virtuosi instruments. They're good for what they are - but they're simply a cheap alternative to the market-leaders. Think-ASDA, smart-price
  11. catto09

    catto09 Member

    The majority of Lottery Grant instruments were poorly made, i.e. they were shoved together as quickly as possible and if a part didn't fit, they were told to make it fit. a considerable few did come out as good instruments, so if they've been good instruments and survived until now - why not just get them re-conditioned?

    McQueens do a fantastic service which is second to none in terms of customer service and attention to detail!
  12. Despot

    Despot Member

    We've done this with a few instruments, and it's worked out well! And cheaper....
  13. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Yeah that's about the shape of it IMHO. Plus a 4v will cost more than a 3 as well.

    Although big props go to....
    ...for very possibly the best suggestion so far. If you've got a couple of Sovs, that have survived 20-odd years, then it's pretty likely that with a decent overhaul you could end up with better instruments than you could buy second hand and save a few quid into the bargain.

    There's a certain Mr Wedgewood, not far from either of our localities, whom I'm sure you've crossed batons with in the past. He also does a bang-up repair job.
  14. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    ^ What he said!
    My (band) Sov is about 20 years old now and starting to fall apart at the seams, but I'm in no hurry to change it. If I did have the money to spend, then based on current choices I would either tart up the existing one or replace it with another 3 valve Sov - either older (pre-lottery) if I could find a decent one, or brand new.
  15. huggie

    huggie Member

    I'll second that, he recently did me a 30 year old sovereign horn that was battered, it now looks like brand new. Absolutely stunning job!
  16. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    Yep we know Owen well, has kept several of our instruments going in the last couple of years. I think these need more than a little help tho!
  17. Baritonedeaf

    Baritonedeaf Member

    3 Valve Besson Sovereigns are lovely. Mine is a delight - barks in all registers.
  18. Owen

    Owen Member

    I have a sovereign that I bought about six years ago and which plays really well. The aforementioned Dr W did some work on the valves for me a few years back which made substantial improvements to the playing. I have not really played any of the other models and makes available, so can't comment too much on that, but I can confirm that everything Andi Cook has said is true!
  19. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member


    Cheers owen. Always good to know I was passing on accurate info!!
  20. barkingbari1

    barkingbari1 New Member

    I agree - 3 valve bari's all the way!

    If you're thinking of selling on either of your baritones once you've upgraded could you possibly let me know a price - may well be interested :)


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