Euphonium bore and bell sizes

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by cshimmon, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. cshimmon

    cshimmon Member

    Evening all.

    I'm currently playing on a 1981 Sovereign, obviously it's as solid an instrument as you could ever wish to find, but it needs a little work and I'm looking to replace it with something a little lighter as I have some disabilities. However, not being an expert by any stretch of the mark, I'm managing to get myself confused with bore sizes and bell sizes. Can anyone give me any advice in language I can understand? Lol
  2. hobgoblin

    hobgoblin Member

    I would think from what you have said (without being specific about your disability) the baritone would be a better choice than the Euph?
  3. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    It's not clear whether you mean that you want the whole thing to be physically lighter to hold or whether you want it to take less air to blow?
  4. cshimmon

    cshimmon Member

    Well it's nice to see that the offensive reply has already been removed. What an idiot, I know who you are as I got an instant email containing your reply!!!

    Anyway, hobgoblin, thanks for your reply. Unfortunately my disability involves nerve damage to my left arm and I have limited grip and strength meaning euphonium is literally the only instrument I can now play.
  5. hobgoblin

    hobgoblin Member

    Baritone is probably better for your disability and indeed disabled people in general -lighter, and no 4th valve to worry about.
  6. simonium

    simonium Member

    Certainly. Generally the Besson which have followed yours named 967 are the closest in terms of bell size. All modern euphoniums have what is technically a large bore (0.580"-0.590"). There are some notably oversized euphoniums but nobody buys them - Courtois being the obvious example. In short, if a euph has a 12" bell, it is a similar bore size to your instrument. Avoid 968 - large bore but an 11" bell. Also the rare 966 was medium bore and 11" bell. Avoid York because they're appallingly put together although the 3067 and 4052 are similar bore size. Besson Prestige 2052 is the same bore size, but 2051 is large bore with the smaller bell.

    Regarding weight, almost any standard large bore euphonium; with the exception of the Sterling extra heavy bell and Besson Prestige models, will be lighter than the hooter you're currently playing.

    It's been 3 years since I sold brass for a living but even then the phrase "emperor's new clothing" was applicable to euphonium design. Personally I wouldn't waste money on a new one unless you're in the position to be able to try multiple examples of a model you like - there is still too much disparity between them.

    The last new euph I had was e German Besson Prestige - it went back three times under warranty in the course of a year. I might consider a Yamaha Neo - brilliant to play but wouldn't bother with anything else, although I admit the Sterling seems to have the done the best " round stamp" impersonation.

    If I was in the market for a euphonium, these would be my criteria;

    1) Post round badge Besson, either 966 or 967 (the ones immediately after the "Globe" with Besson stamped in the bell - same build but nylon valve guilds etc).
    2) Round stamp Besson - but would have to be a good one as many I have played have been poor but when you play a good one...good grief!
    3) Pre 1974 Imperial.
    4) Used German Besson Prestige.

    I hope this helps - I will also put up a photo of the Globe euphonium I'm currently playing - made in 1974 for Lyndon Baglin and is the first one, replete with gold plating and hand-engraved bell. It's too nice....
  7. cshimmon

    cshimmon Member

    Hobgoblin I'm afraid bout as I physically can't hold it up, I can rest a Euph on my knee and rest my arm on it and have sufficient strength to press the valve, even when my arm is good, attempting to grip a baritone of trombone leaves me in agony within a few minutes.
  8. bumper-euph

    bumper-euph Member

    Try using an Ergo-bone system......a stainless steel plate is attached to the main tubing by the 4th valve and a rod system then takes all the weight of the Instrument................just google ergo-bone. must be worth a look, I have used one for years. Good luck.
  9. cshimmon

    cshimmon Member

    Thanks simonium that is a really detailed reply. Basically I'm not looking at top of the range, more intermediate or high level student instrument, as my funds won't stretch far and I'm only a 'for fun' player. I've seen some with bell sizes 11" and some 12", and bore sizes from .580 to .611 and I don't understand what difference that will actually make to me.
  10. hobgoblin

    hobgoblin Member

    You could use a cushion on your lap to rest the baritone on so you don't have to get it up to your mouth with your arms. Are your arms both the same length?
  11. cshimmon

    cshimmon Member

    Thanks bumper-euph I actually looked at those in the past and spoke to the company and the opinion was that I'd still have to grip too much to hold the instrument in place, as it's more the grip that's an issue rather than the amount of weight within the grip, even holding a few sheets of paper is quickly painful, whilst I can rest a Euph on my knee as I'm short enough and just use my forearm to hold it in place without any grip.
  12. cshimmon

    cshimmon Member

    Hobgoblin, I tried all sorts of solutions to hold up a baritone and just couldn't make any work-related I appreciate that you're trying to help though.
  13. tallyman

    tallyman Member

    I once saw someone playing the guitar with a plektrum selotaped to their stump.
  14. cshimmon

    cshimmon Member

    Lol! Effectively, for the purpose of grip, my arm might as well be a stump, but I can move my fingers so as long as my fourth valve is light and doesn't require much pressure, I can use it. I can also alternate which finger I press it with.
  15. Pauli Walnuts

    Pauli Walnuts Moderator Staff Member

    As this is clearly a serious post, please remain sensitive in any responses.
  16. tallyman

    tallyman Member

    How very dare you!! Sensitivity is my middle name.
  17. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    Centre of Gravity

    As a trumpet/cornet player, I take the weight with my left hand, and support at the centre of gravity, so there's no need to grip the valve casing.
    Cornets/trumpets are usually designed so that with the mouthpiece in, the c.of.g is very close to the vertical axis of the third valve piston - if you suspend the instrument by its third valve cap it hangs horizontally.
    I use a 'vulcan' left hand grip (two fingers above the third valve slide, two below) so the weight of the instrument is taken by the ring finger and the rest of my hand can be very relaxed.

    I know your issue is with euph/bari rather than cornet, but I thought you might be able to apply the same principle. If you can identify where the c.of.g of your instrument is, you'd be able to support it there without needing to grip - so there'd be no need for undue tension in your hand. Sorry if you've been through this process already - just thought it might be helpful...
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2015
  18. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    Would bore size matter to your particular situation? As I understand it, the bore size is the internal diameter of the tubing measured at the second valve slide port. The difference between bores is usually several hundreths of an inch (or even only a few thousandths) so, unlikely to affect the weight that is causing you trouble
  19. pbirch

    pbirch Active Member

    one of the interesting aspects of this site is that folks will discuss health and disability issues here, I wonder if you have discussed your problem with a health professional such as a physiotherapist or occupational therapist, who might be able to come up with workable solutions.
  20. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    I've seen euphonium players use carrying straps similar to bass straps on long marching jobs. Would one of these be any use in taking the weight around the shoulders so that the arm/hand is used just for steadying and doesn't need a grip? I'm only guessing, obviously, not being able to visualise the exact situation ...