courtois chambord 2 V,s yamaha maiesto

Discussion in ' User Reviews' started by simon, Aug 22, 2003.


courtois chambord 2 V,s yamaha maiesto

  1. courtois

  2. maiesto

  3. sovereign

  1. simon

    simon New Member

    Does ne1 have any ideas which cornet is better :? . ive tryed both and i cant make up my mind!!! i have a soverneign now. shall i keep it????
    any ideals will do!!!!!! plz
  2. Kernewek Den

    Kernewek Den Member

    I've heard you play all of them and to be honest it doesn't matter which one you play you still have the best cornet tone of any player down this end of the country!!

    You must choose which ever one you're most comfortable with - however it may be worth reading the thread ' gold v silver'.

    I'll have your old one when you've finished with it - as long as you remove the wrong notes first!!

    Cheers mate.
  3. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    totaly agree with that one, see if you can borrow both for a bit and see how you get on.
    must add that i have my own meastro, and love her to bits
  4. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    I voted Maestro... Heard a lot of good things about it and know several people in uni and various bands who've got one...
    Soverigns: heard some stuff about; some people think the International is better!

    I have the International myself, but got it cos it was selling cheap at the time ;-)

    But yes, go with what you feel happy for and gives you the best tone, has the right feel etc etc etc...

  5. Ray Woods

    Ray Woods Member

    My opportunity to compare Sov against Meastro

    I play on a 928 large bore sov at the moment (and have done for the last umteen years). I love the instrument and even spent £100 recently having in refurbished like new. I have grown up with it.

    However I also have access to a Yamaha Meastro that was recently returned to the band by our outgoing Principle Cornet. I shall borrow it (I am the bands instrument secretary) and make the comparison myself.

    I'll try to record the same thing on both instruments and provide you with some WAV files to listen to (I have a home recording system).

    Watch out for my next report.
  6. Anonymous

    Anonymous Member

    Cornet Spotting - Sov vs Yamaha Meastro

    Well I haven't got around to creating WAV files yet, but I do have the 2 instruments sitting in front of me:
    1. 928 Large Bore Sovereign, one of the first made, at least 15 years old. Note that the modern 928 may vary from any description I give here.
    2. A Yamaha Meastro YCR6335HS

    Although very similar instruments here are a list of the technical differences I can see

    First though the similarities:
    Both have sprung loaded first and third slide triggers and 2 water keys (main and third slide). Main tube run orientation is similar with main tuning slide at the back.

    a) 1st valve slide on Sov is perpendicular with the trigger assembly mounted on the left side in line with the valve casing, such that the movement of the trigger is restricted when the trigger touches the front side of the valve casing (there is a rubber stopper on the trigger - but mine has fallen off!). Due to where it is, as your left hand hold the cornet, the trigger sits in the bend of yout thumb, below the pad. The Soveriegn Trigger spring is strong, making if difficult to accidently operate the trigger.

    The Yamaha 1st slide is mounted at an angle with the trigger assembly mounted on the right of the slide. The trigger itself is on the right and clears the 1st valve case when operated. The thumb of the left hand has the pad of the thumb sitting on the trigger. The trigger spring is lighter than the Sov, so could be accidently operated. Another feature of the Yamaha 1st valve trigger is that is looks adjustable (although I am not sure of what benefit this is). The trigger rod is joined to the main trigger by a threaded section, which looks like it has some play in it. The only thing now restricting movement of the 1st trigger is where you place the thumb of your right hand when you are playing. Personally my thumb sits between the 1st and 2nd valve casings, and this effectively restricts the 1st valve trigger to the same extent as the Sov.

    b) The Sov has only one support connecting the main wind pipe to the top of the 2nd valve casing. The Yamaha has two: one on Valve 1 and one on Valve 3. Now because I am a player who puts the thumb of my right hand between the casing of Valve 1 and 2, I find the Yamaha support and welded edges dig into my thumb. On the Sov there are no welds or rough edges at the top of Valve 1 and my thumb can sit comfortably. And as above, where I end up putting my thumb on the Yamaha restricts the movement of that trigger. But who uses 1st valve trigger in any case?

    c) The Sov Lyre assemble is on the front of the main wind pipe, mounted on the inside, but with a long screw protruding forward. If you hold the Sov in your left hand as normal, you can easily access the long screw to insert your Lyre. However the Yamaha one is a bit more fiddley. The Box section is mounted in the same place as the Sov, but the screw is much shorter and mounted on the inside, facing left (not foward like the Sov). So if you hold the Yamaha in your left hand, you have to work you right hand around the front to access the screw. Not impossible, just a little more fiddley.

    d) The Sov valve assembly has the spring mounted on the outside of the upper part of the internal workings, whereas the Yamaha assembly looks a lot tidier with the spring mounted inside. However the Sov looks to have one technical innovation in the the spring pushes down onto a plastic ring that looks like it forms a seal around the top edge of the precision fit part of the valve structure. In effect the plastic ring not only prevents any debris from the top part of the valve from falling into the precision area, but acts as an air seal at the top as well. There is no plastic ring on the Yamaha, so debris from the top part of the valve could work into the precision area, and there is no air seal at the top.

    I also recall having a problem with a sticky valve on my Sov at a concert some years ago. Not having time to clean the valve properly, I simply overstretched part of the spring in its position to give it more purchase and this sorted my short term problem. THIS IS NOT RECOMMEDED as a deformed Sov spring may scrape and make a noise inside the valve case if it is not properly aligned. This would not have been possible on the Yamaha.

    e) The Sov has top valve felts mounted hidden under the Valve buttons, whereas the Yamaha has the felts mounted inside the top of the valve case crew tops. This gives the Sov a cleaner silver look without felts on show like on the Yamaha. It is up to you what looks prettier.

    f) The 3rd Valve trigger of the Sov is more curvatious and compactly designed than the longer Yamaha trigger. Also the powerfull springs on the Sov always allow the 3rd Slide to return home when released. However the weaker Yamaha Spring prevents the slide returning if you release the trigger after releasing the 3rd Valve i.e. the compressed air inside the slide prevents the slide returning. It could be that my Sov is more leaky than the Yamaha (it has had about 13 years more wear). The Yamaha also uses small screws with big pertruding heads on all the trigger assemblies, whereas the Sov uses headless hidden screws (like you get on glasses, but bigger) and flush rivits (however my small hidden screws have rusted over the years - I would not like to remove one!).

    g) The Silver plating on the Sov looks a deeper silver, more like that you would expect on an antique coffee jug, whereas the Yamaha silver has a yellowy look about it. Now due to the age of my Sov, it has had a tendancy to Tarnish to black where my hands have been, but my recent refurbish, including a polish, has removed most of this. The Yamaha just looks a yellowy silver (some might use the word cheap looking).


    I am using a Bach 7E mouthpiece (small and shallow).

    There is not much difference between the playing quality of the 2 instruments. So any differences I mention below are very slight. But there are differences:

    i) RESPONSIVENESS - by this I mean the time taken from striking a note with your tongue to the note appearing out of the other end. The Yamaha appears to have the edge here. It is slightly easier to start a note e.g. middle C, on the Yamaha than on my old Sov.

    ii) TONE - The Sov has a slightly richer tone that the Yamaha. The Yamaha is brighter and ever so ever so slightly heading for a more trumpety sound.
    - PLAYING QUIETLY - I can play more quieltly on the Sov. I think the responsiveness of the Yamaha makes it want to burst into life even when you are trying to play quietly. Also the brighter tone cuts through.
    - PLAYING LOUDLY - I can play much more loudly and in tune on the Sov - in fact I struggle to blow the Sov to the point where it goes out of tune. However the Yamaha can play loud, but if you overblow it, it goes sharp. I know my Sov is a Large Bore, but I am not sure what the Yamaha is (it has MLH stamped on the valves inside).

    iii) FEEL IN THE HAND - When playing normally, both instruments feel alike (see comments on 1st trigger assembly etc above), however in playing right hand only (which is often done if you have a quick mute to do, or page turn) the Yamaha 1st trigger arrangements and wind pipe support get in the way - it is very easy to accidently operate the 1st trigger when holding the Yamaha right handed. No problem on the Sov though, the thumb easily pokes through the gap to support the instrument.

    iv) OVERALL - I would stick to my trusty Sov - I think the tone is richer and more like what a cornet should sound like. The Yamaha is not a bad instrument though, and may be more suitable for a player who likes a brighter sound and an easier blow.

    I'll put my anorac away now.
  7. Ray Woods

    Ray Woods Member

    Cornet Spotter - Sov vs Meastro

    That was me above i.e. the Guest??
  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous Member


    thanx 4 your time. good work. ive gone for the meastro.
  9. alks

    alks Member

    Extra Info

    Having read the above review, i thought i would point out a few things. I have played a Maestro now for two years while the principle plays a 928 Sov.
    The Maestro is more free blowing than a Sov and has a better sound in the middle to low register, however the Maestro is more difficult to play higher and Top A's are far more difficult to play and get in tune. You really need to be in form to get the best out of this instrument. I recently borrowed the Sov and found Top A's considerably easier to play - with the Maestro you need to be far more careful you don't split the A. However with practice the instrument is a good un-although i'd rather play a solo with lots of top A's in with a Sov-just in case!!!!.

    Using the Maestro forces you to concentrate more in the higher register -which should help in the long run. I think i would take the sov - if i were given lots of Solos -however there are more instruments ive yet to try.

    To be honest i think the Maestro makes the perfect back row cornet because it is so easy to play up to top G.

    I recently have played as high as Super G on my Maestro so the High notes are all possible- Its just the Top A's that hasa very fine line when you play it-if you see what i mean?.
  10. dah1dj

    dah1dj New Member

    I recently purchased a new Courtois Chambord off the internet for a pretty good price. I have been on a 928 for 3 years and could not blow it in tune, even after an expensive port alignment. As they say, must have got a"bad one". Of course being from Canada, we don't have the opportunity to try a dozen or two before buying. Our Besson dealers are few and far between and the ones here have very little stock. Yamaha seems to be the most prevalent brand at the moment. Most of the cornet players in our professional brass band, Hannaford Street Silver, play (sponsored by) Yamahas.
    So far the Courtois is playing in tune and looks to be of a better build quality. Ted Sparks, of Sparx mouthpiece fame, is an instrument repairman by trade. He recommended the Courtois to me 3 years ago but I bought the Soverign instead because it was $400 less. (about 180 quid)
    Sorry, no Sterling key on keyboard.
  11. Kerwintootle

    Kerwintootle Member

    I voted for the Courtois.

    I won the Chambord Courtois in Norway in 1996 and I am still playing it. It is a lovely instrument. The instrument resonates wonderfully in all registers. It is also a great soloists instrument.
  12. iggmeister

    iggmeister Member

    I tried a Courtois once and wasn't impressed at all. Very heavy and hard work for little reward.

    I play on a maestro but I would say that the best cornet I played on was an old sovereign, (made about 1985).

    In my experience, sovereigns are very hit and miss, with there being more miss than hit. However, a good sovereign is brilliant so long as you can find one. I tried out about 5 sovereigns before I bought the one that is my own!

    Maestros seem to be more consistent and virtually all that I have had a go on were okay.

    Dont know much about the prestige but it looks like a gimmick to me. Lots of money for something which you would become reliant upon i.e. the trigger. However, I haven't played one so I am speaking merely from first impressions.

  13. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    Re: Cornet Spotting - Sov vs Yamaha Meastro

    I personally prefer my cornets to be the audible bridge between trumpets and flugels. While Yamahas do make nice general purpose instruments, there's little doubt that the Sovereign has the darker qualities I seek from a pure cornet.

    The only time I've heard a courtois knowingly, the vibrato was too rich for me to make a valid opinion. Were I lucky enough to find a courtois with the right price and condition, I would definately give it a fair chance. I've heard too many good stories about them.
  14. Kerwintootle

    Kerwintootle Member

    Just picked up my new Courtois Bb cornet.

  15. Nothing beats a Besson Sovereign Tuba
  16. Phil Green

    Phil Green Supporting Member

    Off topic I know but -

    What other Tuba's have you actually played?
  17. Flugelmahorn

    Flugelmahorn Member

    Only just seen this so sorry for a delayed posting.....

    I bought a Courtois Chambord II in 1999 and I love it to bits. Definitely the best cornet I've played (IMHO) and much better than our band sovereigns (to my chops anyway). It plays even better now I'm in regular practice! (funny that......... :D )
  18. Can't believe people don't include the old sovereigns (Boosey and Hawkes not Besson) in this poll...They are heaps heaps better than most Besson Sovs..More robust...Great tone...The valves (the ones on mine at least) are very durable and smooth...Does anyone else agree on this or is it just me?
  19. WhatSharp?

    WhatSharp? Active Member

    Agree, I'm currently using "Old Bob" my old B&H Sovereign Sop (the one with the tuning slide on the bell pipe) whilst my Schilke is in for repair and despite the instrument not having been used for nearly a year and a half, little dab of oil and valves are terrific, far better then the 926 I used to have. It blows ok and is nice and easy in the upper range but the tone is pants and tuning it is a nightmare, bit like using a garden spade to do brain surgery.

    On the Courtois side, I played a Courtois (or however you spell it) Bb recenlty at a Quartet contest. It's pretty robust but being a large bore you really have to take care in the upper register. The valves were nice (the ones in this partiular one had heavy springs in it). For Bb's I tend to prefer the Sovereigns, a tad more refined. Would love to try a Courtois Sop, I've heard good things about them, however since I'm happy with the Schilke at the mo theres no need to change.
  20. Was more referring to the old sov Bb cornet as opposed to the sop (sorry bout confusion)..still noone ever talks bout the old sovereign cornets..has anyone really sat down and gone throught the strengths of old vs new...?

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