Medium v. Large Bore Euphonium

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by brassfanatic, Oct 3, 2010.

  1. brassfanatic

    brassfanatic Member

    When you jump over from a large bore (i.e. 12 inch bell etc) to a medium bore euphonium (11 inch bell), you can play a lot louder, fairly effortlessly.

    It's as if euph's with a smaller bell take less air, and the sound can be controlled more easily.
    Can we deduce that some of the finest player's from decades ago had it easier since some of the old Imperials and 'New Standards' were more free blowing?

    Opinions/ideas please!
  2. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    It's certainly a question of 'horses for courses'.

    I would think that the med bore might not quite have the big sound and carrying power that some of today's players like. Conversely, the large bore may be too big and 'woofy' for some players.

    I have a medium bore Yamaha euph, which is perfect for orchestral/ensemble playing. I might perhaps struggle if I were using it in a really noisy band, but I have used it on solo euph with GUS and Soham. The medium bore suits me very well as it is a better doubling instrument for trombonists who play euph occasionally.
  3. Super Ph

    Super Ph Member

    "free blowing" is a completely meaningless phrase for describing how an instrument plays. i don't understand why it is so over-used.
  4. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    After spending a short time playing an older 3 valve Besson Baritone, with a surprising amount of playing happening on the middle of the stave all the way downwards, it is like playing a sofa, complete with extra cushions; so I got to know EXACTLY what "free blowing" means! :-(
  5. Aurora771

    Aurora771 Member

    I moved from a medium bore to a large bore euphonium about 4 years ago now, and I was amazed at the improvement. Makes you work for a bigger, more secure euphonium sound. I prefer the large bore.
  6. Super Ph

    Super Ph Member

    i think most band players play too large a bore - it doesn't suit everyone. one clue is if you are playing a large bore cornet but need a shallow mouthpiece to compensate.
  7. cshimmon

    cshimmon Member

    I've been playing an old and battered imperial baritone with a leak on the second valve which massed tuning horrendous. My bandmaster has now given me a virtuosi, which is so free blowing that it is a nightmare. I never knew what that meant until I got this instrument! Air just shots through it in comparison to any thing I've ever played before and it's near impossible to control it for me- and I play bari sax and have happily played bass in the past, so it's not that I can't produce volume of air!
  8. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Ever played a lottery-era bass and tried to go from a low C on open to a C-sharp on 2+4? If so, you'd not be so disparaging of the term. Stuffiness (on fourth valves particularly) is the bane of a bass player's life. Although I will concede that it's not necessarily the inherant back-pressure in the instrument that causes the problem - rather the variations therein when using different valve combinations.

    Back to euph bore diameters - whoever said horses for courses is dead right.

    Stuart Derrick, (who was my conductor at YBS juniors after he stopped playing for the senior band) used to swear by medium bore euphs, because they didn't produce the 'slightly woolly sound' that the large bore ones do.

    That said, he would concede that the depth of sound produced by some players on a wide-bore instrument is often a very desireable thing to have, particularly in the middle and low register. But he simply preferred the extra clarity and definition of the medium-bore.

    If truth be told, he could produce a fantastic sound on anything upwards of a length of garden hose! So I guess it was just personal preference.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2010
  9. Super Ph

    Super Ph Member

    i totally understand that you don't want obvious variations in resistance on different valve combinations.

    however, when you hear an instrument described as "free blowing" you literally can not tell what is meant by that unless you know something about the player saying that. two different players could use the same term to describe two completely opposite instruments.

    i often think this term is used by people who don't quite know what they are talking about and/or fishing for a vague complimentary term to use about the instrument without really saying anything. see also: every instrument review ever posted on 4barsrest.
  10. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Maybe just an unfortunate choice of phrase in the original post? Larger bores produce less resistance affecting colouration (because of the air pressure required). Better slotting and tuning/intonation but harder work for the player to create low dynamics further affecting expression. I might be wrong though ...
  11. personally, I prefer the large bore euph.. I find the sound tends to carry more efficiently in a band.. I also prefer the wonderful depth in the sound a large bore produces.. gotta love it!
  12. Super Ph

    Super Ph Member

    this is another set of classic misunderstandings, confused terms, and half-truths.
  13. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Then you better show me (and others) the light! :rolleyes::tup
  14. simonium

    simonium Member

    In my experience of euphoniums - including Sovereigns - 967,968 and 966, Imperials, Prestiges both UK made and German made, Yamahas, Yorks, Courtois and Meinl instruments, I would say from my own perspective that the smaller bore instruments do have a greater resistance and the notes do "slot" better but - and it's a big but, cannot, as a general rule, handle as much air as a large bore, and the cultivation of a warm sound is more difficult. It is, however much easier to overblow a large bore instrument and produce a nasty edgy sound. My own preference for euphonium sound is that of Morgan Griffiths and as far as I'm aware, he played on a small bore Sovereign 966 for most of his career. I will happily stand corrected if people can confirm or deny this :)
  15. tenortuba

    tenortuba Member

    Don't know if the 966,967, or 968 and prestige are different bore sizes. I think they may just be different bell sizes/shapes.
  16. simonium

    simonium Member

    The 966 is "small" bore as opposed to the 967/8 which as you rightly say are identical apart from bell size and flare. You could also buy a large bore Imperial which were /are very rare. Quite nice though. I still favour the Sovereign immediately after the Globe. Large bore, obviously :)

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