New Besson?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Cornet Nev., Feb 2, 2008.

  1. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    As My treat to myself, just after Christmas I bought a new Besson Sovereign cornet. As most will know they are now being built by the French company Buffet/ Courtois and are supposed to be the bees knees.
    However I am now finding problems with its tuning since the start of the new years rehearsals, It may sound OK to me on its own, but when played with others, some notes are quite definitely out, either higher or lower depending on which note and the valves used. Has any one else recently bought a new Besson and suffering the same problems? Or is it me and perhaps choice of mouthpiece or other issues.
  2. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    First, they are DISTRIBUTED by Buffet/Cramton. They are not made by them. They are made in Germany by JA Musik (same company that makes B&S, VMI, and Hans-Hoyer and many other fine instruments).

    Now it should be a great instrument. I have had several B&S cornets sold from my store. Generally, with a new instrument it takes some work. For example, on your old instrument you may be used to lipping up or down notes and do it out of habit. The slides may need to be pushed/pulled to match you.

    But you hit on the biggest one -- the mouthpiece. You made need to go on a mini mouthpiece safari. I am a bone player (I know, the dreaded bone players) -- I bought after many years, well, bought is not the right term, I made several trades with a couple of pro players, etc. to get a very expensive German style trombone.

    I used to play in lots of small groups and do chamber like work (until I got lung disease -- and no I NEVER smoked). When I first got it I was RADICALLY disappointed. I actually played better on my old bone. But after trying a few mouthpieces I came across one that made the bone play just as I imagined. It was a LOUD stainless steel mouthpiece.

    The mouthpiece -- and me adjusting to the new bone made it work. Suddenly, the sound I was waiting for happened.

    My suggestions are two: First, give it some time for YOU to adjust a bit, and Second: if you wanted to try a different mouthpiece, now would be a good time.

    You have a very high quality cornet. It will just take some tweaking.

    Dr. Jim
  3. craigyboy1

    craigyboy1 Member

    If the instrument has tuning issues, take it back to the dealer and ask for a replacement.

    A new cornet will take a little "blowing in" to get the very best out of it. Usually the sound will change colour very slightly and the instrument will blow more freely.
    However tuning issues are not going to get better.

    I wouldn't consider changing my mouthpiece to get an instrument in tune. I'd buy the instrument to suit me, not change my setup to suit the instrument.

    Bees Knees instruments.............I've been trying to find a replacement for my Maestro for about 2 years now and haven't found anything significantly better to justify the outlay. I asked to try a New Prestige recently and was told not to bother as there were about 5 customers instruments in the shop waiting to be sent back.
  4. flugel_fancy

    flugel_fancy Member

    I have had my prestige for 3 years now and although it's nice to look at I would not recomend that another player buy one.

    I struggled with tuning for months until I had adjusted to the instrument and also found it such a pain to tune the instrument itself, as playing with more than one band at the time, I spent more time twidling with it than playing it! And I find the valve movement isn't as good as it could be and is quite sluggish even with regular cleaning. I recently compared it with another players Getzen (not sure of model but was very, very old!) and I would have gone for the Getzen if asked to choose.

    Oh, and I treat is as if it were made of fine china and it actually came apart before christmas and had to have it repaired!

    So I'm thinking my next cornet might not be a Besson :redface:
  5. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    Thanks for the input so far, I thought at first like you Jim, i just needed to get used and so on, but it isn't a small matter, after some experimenting this afternoon I am getting very suspicious that the second valve tube may be a tad too long. However I am hoping to get over to another player tomorrow who has a lot more experience, so I will take the new one, plus my old £400 Bach and see what a decent session can come up with.
    Craigyboy, The prestige is surely from the same stable, so if there are that many dissatisfied customers, it looks like there may be a general issue with them.
    Any one else any comments please, the more input I get the better I may get to the bottom of this problem.
  6. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    That would be one of the older Prestiges, from before Buffet Crampon purchased the company and made some serious changes in how the instruments were made/distributed.
    Having been to the old Besson assembly plant (before Buffet Crampon) I would have agreed that the instruments were terrible. They all came with a signed thing from Roger Webster which had me rolling with laughter - they were frequently terrible instruments.

    In contrast, I have recently been cornet shopping with one of my students and she chose a new Prestige and I would have agreed - it is beautifully put together, sounds STUNNING (as good, if not better than the older ones) and the valves are some of the smoothest I have ever felt (beating Getzen by a long mile and giving the Eclipse Bauerfiend valves some very stiff competition).

    If I was cornet shopping at the moment I would be testing the Prestige against the Eclipse - which is an amazing cornet (but pricey).
  7. andyh

    andyh Supporting Member

    :clap: So true. I have an Eclipse on loan at the moment, and when I fiirst played it I had some issues below E on the stave where I thought it was stuffy. After a while though, it freed itself up quite considerably so I can only assume it was a combinatiion of a new instrument and me being new to that instrument.

    The Eclipse cornets, especially the red-brass bell versions are quite simply superb, both in tone, and in ease of slotting. I've had Prestige and Smith-Watkins in the past and while there is no gain-saying the quality of these instruments, the Eclipse has them beat for me.

  8. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Renold Schilke would not agree with you. His whole premise when dealing with the relationship between individual players and instruments was that the physiology of the player(ie. the physical shape of the oral/nasal/sinal cavities etc.) in relation to the internal profile of the instrument would always determine whether or not the instrument was "in tune" and that the mouthpiece, as the 'interface' between the player and the instrument, was the critical factor in determining intonation. He would often argue that intonation issues on a particular player/instrument combination could be resolved by a change of mouthpiece. Whilst he was primarily concerned with trumpets, I would not be inclined to believe that his theories could not be equally applied to cornets.
  9. wilky

    wilky Member


    are you sure its not the other instruments that are out of tune against yours if you thought the instument was ok before playing with other cornets. it is hard to get different makes of instrument in tune with each other especially on certain notes and thats why most top bands all tend to play on the same make of instruments.
  10. craigyboy1

    craigyboy1 Member

    Renold Who :)

    I've had quite a few cornets on approval over the past 2 years all of which I tried in the shop using my mouthpiece before taking them home.
    If they had tuning problems in the shop then they stayed in the shop and I took a more tuneful model of the same instrument.
    I can't think of any sane reason why I would try an instrument find it out of tune but think hey I'll buy it anyway and try some different mouthpieces. The same thing goes for valve operation and finish etc etc. Its a lot of money to spend so get one that is right.

    Sounds like a great policy for dealing with customer complaints though..."Mr Schilke my instrument has tuning problems" " Oh not it hasn't its actually your oral cavities and mouthpiece that are the problem, the instrument is perfect.

    Only kidding GJG. No offence intended
  11. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    The problem there, is that it was the only one they had in at the time. I also just didn't give it a thought about trying it against another of a different make, nor even against say a tuner or better a keyboard, I just assumed it would be OK in that direction, for in general it does have a good sound. It should for that price, but I have tried it against my own Yamaha PSR170. The second valve seems to be flat. All notes, from the low B, F sharp, middle B, and D sharp. are all very low, I have to "lip up" a tremendous amount to bring them in tune. First and third seem to be reasonably OK though.
  12. craigyboy1

    craigyboy1 Member

    Don't worry mate. Just because you forgot to check it out when you bought it doesn't mean you are stuck with it.
    Speak to the dealer where you bought the cornet and I'm sure you will receive helpful service/aftersales. The dealers I know wouldn't hesitate for a second to sort this out.

    It should be replaced or repaired at the very least.
  13. andyh

    andyh Supporting Member

    Reading through your posts I've realised you may have the same problem I had with the pre-Buffet Prestige. I sent it back, because neither myself nor our principal could blow it in tune below G on the stave. It was very flat, all slides in. Above that it was OK. We tried it with 4B, 3 and McCann mouthpieces, using a tuner "blind", with someone else holding it so we couldn't unconsciously lip up. Nothing worked so I sent it back. Fortunately my dealer was John Packer and they were very good about it, and agreed there was something not right. So I agree with the other poster - talk to your dealer about returning it.

  14. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    Well I am glad to say this issue has been sorted out. It would now appear that there are several factors involved and all of them down to me, not the instrument. It is indeed perfectly in tune both with itself and actually shows to be in tune using a top quality tuning meter, (mine is a cheap and not very sensitive thing) It is also in tune with other good quality instruments.
    Here as both a warning and advice is what I discovered.
    First, the range being made under the Besson name are all now large bore, to get the best out of it requires a different technique, and in my case a larger cup mouthpiece.
    Next, when checking tuning of a note, start the note, lip it up a bit then down a bit to discover your personal centring of that note, then check the tuning when you are happy you have it centre, believe me that does help.
    The above helped me realise it was myself out of tune and not the instrument. My previous Bach is in fact quite a small bore instrument and being so used to that I was possibly not using the right techniques.
    All of the above, is down to the help and wise words of players with a lot more experience, and I wish to give them thanks for that.

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