Euphonium help please

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Basstiger, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. Basstiger

    Basstiger Member

    Wareham, Dorset
    I’ve just switched from bass trombone to euphonium.
    The band have lent me a Besson International (BE765) 4 valve non compensating euph whose serial number dates it to 1999. It’s a nice light euph, although tending to be sharp higher up the register (just me perhaps?)
    I played bumper euph in a previous band some 15 years ago and had a Sovereign euph then, which as I remembered sounded better than this one does (again, just me perhaps?)
    My point is this......I'm really enjoying the challenge to the point that I may consider buying a better instrument than what the band have, however with the best will in the world I can’t afford a Sov. So with around £1k what can I get? And do I need a compensating system?
    I have looked at a JP 274 mk 2, or a Wessex. I realise these are Chinese copies. And with all things am I better off with a 2nd hand Imperial which I have seen a couple of, which seem to be well thought of?
    Thoughts please
  2. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Sorry to see that you’ve set aside that most perfect of instruments (the Trombone) for something lesser but at times we have to sacrifice much for our bands ...... More seriously, my congratulations on your promotion and for the confidence that your band has put in you, I wish you all success.

    From what I hear and read you can’t really get by, as an adult Euph player, without a fourth valve and compensating system. Yes other things will do a decent enough job and I’m very pro non-Comp three valve instruments, but Euph players have some demanding stuff to play that’s heard by all and therefore need the best of what’s readily available.

    Past conversations with those more informed than me lead me to believe that you’d be best off with an Imperial (if in decent nick and not a ‘Friday’ built instrument) and then a Wessex - I’ve heard some wonderful music made on the old Imperials so can’t think that you need more than that. It was suggested to me that money would be wasted on the other option you mentioned, not all Chinese instruments are equal.

    I hope that the above is a help and prompts better responses.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2018
    Jack E likes this.
  3. fsteers

    fsteers Member

    If I were in the market for a euph these days, there's no way I'd purchase a non-comp: the build quality simply isn't there compared to compensators, the price differential is negligible, and alternate fingerings involving the 4th valve frequently offer better note stability and intonation above the 4th partial concert Bb.

    I'm going to disagree with 2nd Tenor on the Imperial. Don't get me wrong: I loved the Imperial. In fact, I owned an Imperial from 1973-2007, but ended up selling it and buying a Sterling Virtuoso (285mm heavy red brass bell), which has the classic Imperial sound and ergonomics but offers far superior intonation, especially on and above the 6th partials. (And good luck finding spare and repair parts for Imperials these days!)

    I'm not particularly a fan of either the JP 274 or Wessex Dolce, both of which are, IMO, more Yamaha-ish than Besson-ish, both sonically and ergonomically. (And, despite Wessex' claim that the Dolce's intonation is so good it doesn't need a tuning trigger, I haven't found that to be the case. YMMV. ) If I were currently shopping for a semi-pro level compensator, I'd probably go with a JP Sterling 374 (undecided on the tuning trigger). To me, it's the most Besson-ish clone currently on the market.
  4. Basstiger

    Basstiger Member

    Wareham, Dorset
    Thank you for your input folks. I have gone with my gut feeling and bought myself a 1984 Imperial which is in extremely good condition for its age. Just replaced the felts and it’s nigh on perfect for me.
    And 2nd Tenor.......I will be back. There’s no way on earth I’m parting with my bass trombone!
    2nd tenor likes this.
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