Courtois or Sovereign Horn?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by HunkySteve, Apr 26, 2003.

  1. HunkySteve

    HunkySteve Member

    My wife currently plays a 10 year old Sovereign Horn that has had a "full and active life" but still plays well. She has the chance to acquire a new Courtois Tenor Horn.

    Does anyone play a Courtois Horn (I play a Courtois Euph so Im not asking about other instruments - Basses are allegedly not so good for example) and should she do it? What are the opinions of those that have one? (Opinion or horn)

  2. euphemism

    euphemism Member

    And a lovely sound she has too

    In my opinion the sovereign of that era is the best sovereign that was ever made...whether it is as good as a cortois I don't know - but it will take some beating 8)

    See you tonite mate
  3. HunkySteve

    HunkySteve Member

    Thank you for your kind remarks, I'll pass them on.

    Tonite indeed. I will be in my Hunkiest Trombone Guise and you will be in your skirt. I shall look forward to it with mounting anticipation! oo-er missus.

    Its a Courtois Trombone I play as well as the Euph, BTW guys (Symphonie 400R w/Hagmann, SP Slide.) and I think Courtois Troms are some of the best - my lad plays the double bell one. Thats cool too. Blows wigs off grannys it does. :shock:

  4. spookybiking

    spookybiking Member


    ive actually spoken to owen farr and david cornelius about them and they say there out of tune with them. There not that great stick to the sovereign they said. new horn coming out next year i think or year after.
  5. Bones

    Bones Member

    And I totally agree with Carl. Kim has a beautiful sound Anyone can put the valves down in the right place, but playing with a sound and an ear for music is a god given talent. Or you do as I did and sell you soul for any musical ability whatsoever.

    The Sovereign horn is an absolute peach. I speak from experience being married to a horn player who swears by her sovereign, which incidentally is 21 years old. and the conductor of my band (Billy Rushworth) who has had his soveriegn horn modified to include a rotary valve, screw off bell and stretched lead pipe.

    Mind you, you can;t argue with market forces and I would be interested if you wanted to sell the Sovereign. Jane's birthday and all that.

    Take care Steve.

    Rich (not so hunky I can tell you)
  6. spookybiking

    spookybiking Member


    on his cd william rustworth it said he plays with a courtois.?
  7. HunkySteve

    HunkySteve Member

    Well, the question will soon be answered. That veryniceman Glyn Williams (Solo Euph Fodens) is sending me a brand spanker SP for Kim to try. If she likes it, she keeps it.

    I'll let you know.

    And Kim says thanks for the nice words, Rich. SHe actually larfed out loud, but thats Kim. SHe thinks she's not very good so its great to pass on other peoples comments.

    Have you noticed Rich, that peoples' sobriquet is usually the last thing they actually are? Me Hunky, you Bones, Fiesta Dash, Lite Beer etc ? :lol: :lol: :lol: :roll:
  8. HunkySteve

    HunkySteve Member

    BTW Rich, I notice you are having a Trombone Garage Sale. "She who must be obeyed" diktat? :shock:

    No dear reader, there is no such thing as a "Trombone garage" O never mind... :wink:

  9. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    im sure there was a sov vs courtois horn thread somewhere else...
    so i wont moan about the courtois much again...
    just that the courtois sounds fine by itself.. except the odd harmonics out of tune with themselves here and there... but in a section the sound dire...!!!!! please do not buy one as it will encourage them to make more...
    prestige horn is in the process of (being thought about) designing... ;) not out for a looooooong while... stick to sovs...
    old ones ie over 12-15 years old are good...
    new-ish ones ie 1-12 years old are not as good...
    but the new ones are pretty decent now that boosey have sold up and they have stopped all this mass-production for lottery grants rubbish :)
  10. HunkySteve

    HunkySteve Member

    There has been no support for the Courtois, so far Aidan. Well, it just arrived and Kim will try it out. It'll have to be "$%^dy good after the amount of damning its had on here wont it!
    I will report back her findings...

    HS 8)
  11. asteria

    asteria Member

    Sov v courtois

    Afraid i have to agree with the majority on this one - stick with the sovereign! I have to admit i haven't tried a courtois but everyone i know who has says they prefer the sovereign - unless your whole horn section plays on courtois you have to work damn hard to get in tune!

    If you do decide to go on the courtois i'd hang on to the sovereign, cos once you get rid of it you won't find another of the old ones!

  12. Bones

    Bones Member

    Yep you are right. I am offloading alot of my gear which is just hanging around. The BAM case is the same as yours. The Bach gig bag is industry standard really. Mouthpieces got too many which I have inherited over the years with different purchases etc. So all are going. Unfortunately my collection of trombone is now dwindling. 2 large bore and 2 small bore. The Euphonium will have to go in a cupboard somewhere, only to be seen at Quintet jobs I think.

    Tell Kim to think long and hard about the Courtois, Sadly they appear to have put a lot of investment in the trombones but most people I know have issues when trying to blend. Harmonics grating and all that. I suppose it's because trombonists should never play out of tune. I of course disprove that theory.....

    See you soon.

  13. HunkySteve

    HunkySteve Member

    Ok Guys - half time review.

    This Courtouis Horn is not bad. Not bad at all. Blows free, ( and after tuning each valve of course) stays largely in tune with itself - more than I can say for the early Courtois Euph I once owned. Easier to blow hard and not go "out of shape" (Im a Euph/Trom player so tend to blow a bit erm harder) Lovely valve action for a branny too. (Every branny Ive got near in the past including sovereign and courtois needed valve "running in" which I spose is right). Top F's are very bright, but you'd expect that. As an aside its a fine balance to get Fs lippable by the less experienced and not destroy all other combinations involving 1st valve.

    However, its not better than Kims well loved/well cared for/10 year old Sov. Also, subjectively, Kims intonation was a bit wilder on the C than the S. Funilly enough, having pointed it out she could pull it back in on both Horns - just that the S was easier to do (she's used to it) and less prevalent to wander than the C. That would be sorted by familiarity with the C instrument in both our opinions.

    Build quality is great, greatly surpassing the ole S, but you'd expect that wouldnt you. Lighter too, which surprised Kim. Also, spit keys on all tuning slides (KIms S has that, but it is a mod on that one)

    All in all, a very competent horn is the C, in our humble opinion. Tone? Kim actually preferred the tone of the C when I blew it, we are both agreed it is mellower and different to the Sov. On the basis that the rest of her section punts Sovs, we wont be taking it to rehearsal - in fairness to those smashing blokes at Fred Rhodes (thanks Glyn). The difference is not huge, but I have to admit the lack of support by some heavyweight dudes in this thread has put me off suggesting we "stick our necks out". Which is a shame really, because nothing will change if we all have the same approach.

    It will go back tomorrow and all bets are off. We both realise this is not an extended test, and neither of us is qualified to offer a professional opinion. But as a pair of wossits wot like banding, we offer these thoughts for your consideration and delectation. My thoughts on C. Trombone (definately) and Euph (possibly) vary from this. We just called this the way we saw it. Hope it was of interest.

    I'll repeat: The horn is very good, just not significantly better than the Sov in our opinion. We used a DW 3, which is what Kim is used to playing off. I just blundered around using whatever hole presented itself (oo-er missus) - so like a 2nd trombone!

    HS :oops:
  14. Completely agree with Aidan on that one.

    I once tried a Courtois horn, and I have to say it was the most appaling thing I've played in my life, and that INCLUDES the Besson international and 700 series!!!

    Im sure the prestige horn was meant to be kept under raps Aidan you dog! ah well out in the open now eh!! as our band play on besson no doubt we'll be gettin them when they're due to be released in 2005......

    Well worth the wait. but if you dont want a besson, I'd opt for the Maestro, but get a gold one, because a legendary horn player (who I will NOT mention) once told me that without a golden instrument, you'll never have a golden tone!!!! lol

    P.S in case I get any comments about that last statement, I do NOT believe this, as I myself (incuding the rest of he band I play for) play on silver instruments!!
  15. HunkySteve

    HunkySteve Member

    Well, things have a habit of changing (thats why I have a look from time to time) no matter how important one thinks one is or how important one thinks one's band is they play for.

    Thats why I like places like this - a real leveller, one might learn something.

    BTW well done to Carlton Frickley - Rich and Carl head pats all round. (and the others too but I dont play with them)

  16. westburykid

    westburykid Member

    Best horn I ever played was an old B&H Sov. Made of proper metal, lovely to play solos on.

    Stuck with a Yamaha now, as one of our other horn players says, "They should stick to Motorbikes." Give the Maestro a miss, they are like "sawn-off saxaphones". Never tried the Courtois, but heard good reviews.
  17. daisygemma

    daisygemma Member

    I was the person who started the last thread on sov v court horns.

    I tried the courtois and was so impressed that I did actually buy it.

    We did various tone tests in band with just me playing, with the rest of the horn section and other sections.

    The tone is beautiful, very mellow. The overall build is great and the only problem I've encountered is with the location of the lyre box!

    I was fed up with waiting for the sov and was scared about what I would actually get when it arrived having heard so many scare stories reagrding laquer and valves.

    I believe that I made the right decision and am happy. I think that you need to go with gut instinct and ignore what others say (to a certain degree)
  18. euphemism

    euphemism Member

    thanks on the congrats - haven't seen your post until now - was a great day.......... :D
  19. I have no idea, Since the age of 9ish I've only had sovereigns! So I can't comment on any others (ok well I won't reccoment my old horn I had as a kid!)
  20. Not quite sure what ur implying here Steve, but rest assured I do not consider myself any more "important" than anyone else because I happen to play for a good band!! Firstly because Im not pathetic, and secondly because I have only ever been registered with two bands, one of which was a local village band back in Wales, so I'm a "veteran" when it comes to lower section banding. I will NEVER forget my roots as a player and am fully aware of amazing talent individually in other lower section bands.

    My point was merely an opinion, and my references to the band I play for were not meant as boasts or anything like that.... I let my playing do the talking, not the seat Im sitting in!

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