Soprano Cornet Purchase Advice

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by bonodog, May 31, 2007.

  1. bonodog

    bonodog New Member


    Our band has recently obtained some grant money with a view to purchasing replacement instruments. A Soprano cornet is on the list. I know this has been discussed in past years but I was hoping to use the knowledge of the board to create a short shortlist to try side by side.
    We are looking for a professional grade instrument giving excellent value for money. Excellent intonation/tuning is a must. (I know the player plays the major part but you know what I mean.) It must be relatively easily obtainable to try in the UK. (Sorry trumpetmike - for ruling out the Blackburn!)

    My own list currently stands at the Schilke, Courtois 107 and Yamaha Xeno. I would welcome any comments and comparisons, good or bad, about the virtues of these instruments and, if suggesting any others, their merits or otherwise. If suggesting others please let me know where they may be easily/conveniently obtained in the UK. We are based in East Kent. (Closer to the Belgium border than the M25!)

    Thanks in advance.

  2. markyboy

    markyboy Member

    Hi . I know this sort of thing has been covered many times on this forum under the likes of ' Which Sop ? ' etc but if you have a budget of £2000 , there is only one contender really and that would be the Shilke with a Berrilium Bell , ( In my honest opinion )

    There are other decent options on offer, but the amount of top players using Shilkes over the last 20 odd years or so speaks for its self .

    It will also hold its value well when you want to replace it in a few years .

    Must be nice to have money burning a hole in your pocket mate !

    Cheers Mark
  3. sop 1

    sop 1 Member

    schilke all the way,no question!!!
  4. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    If your budget can stand it, it's worth pricing up a Schilke "lightweight" bell (sometimes inaccurately referred to as "Beryllium") but in gold plate. With the current USD/Sterling exchange rate you'd get a very good deal, and gold plate offers a few advantages over the standard silver, being more hard-wearing (unexpected, I know, given that gold is generally thought of as a 'soft' metal, however, it is less prone than silver to erosion from the natural acids occuring in the player's sweat), and also giving the instrument a slightly less "laser-beam" bright quality of sound.

    Having said all that, I have no idea how you'd be able to try out a gold-plate version ...
  5. Crazysop

    Crazysop Member

    i'd go for the shilke personally, although if i had the option I wouldnt mind trying out the xeno
  6. andylockett86

    andylockett86 Member

    hiiii ive got to say i was told the three market leaders were schilke, courtois and sterling (possibly smith watkins). i tried the schilke first off - and yes a fantastic instrument. also tried the courtois and sterling. have to say the courtois for me was very very very nearly as good. just the odd note mid register that the fine tuning isnt as good as the schilke, but the courtois is a quality instrument. i personally found the courtois better than the schilke for top c's and a's (top g being a tad thin on the courtois) - i spoke to Alan Wycherly and Glyn Williams about the schilke, courtois, sterling and xeno and glyn let me try the instruments out. I think the major difference is the size and weight of the schilke and courtois. the courtois is extremely compact - i found a little more room to hold the schilke than courtois. also the 107 is heavier than the schilke. Alan swears by his courtois when i spoke to him, so i thought if it was good enough for him its much more than good enough for me. remember the schilke doesnt come with a case either. ideally you could do with your soprano player trying them all?? i personally didn't like the sterling at all - but then again thats just mee!! hope some of this helps!!
  7. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    I have a new courtois. and love it.
    its made a huge difference to my sound, and is so easy to blow.
  8. sooooper sop

    sooooper sop Member

    I was a diehard schilke player for over 20 years, completely wearing out 3 instruments during this time. When my last old girl's valve casings gave up the ghost I tried a Xeno, and bought it on the spot!
    The intonation and build quality are second to none, but you do need a solid technique.
  9. bonodog

    bonodog New Member

    Thanks for the comments so far. The reviews on 4barsrest appear to show the Xeno, Courtois and Schilke about the same level. Has anyone tried these sisde by side? Is the Schilke worth £800/£900 more than the others? Value for money is the key.

    Thanks so far.

    Last edited: Jun 2, 2007
  10. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  11. Griffin

    Griffin Active Member

    its all personal preference really
    i know someone who cant stand the shilke with the beryllium bell cos they could only last about 20 mins without getting knackard
    he swears by a curtois
    ive played both and much prefer the Yamaha
  12. andylockett86

    andylockett86 Member

    ive blown the schilke and courtois side by side and noo........gotta say i dont think there should be the price difference there is. the courtois i find just has very minor tuning issues esp. on middle a's - but bein slighlty sharp on a low 'a' i dont think is worth £900 more
  13. knorbury

    knorbury New Member

    I played a Courtois 107 for around 4 years and agree it's equal to the Schilke. If anything I'd say it has a slightly fuller sound. I tried 3 different Schilke's (some with the Beryllium bell and some without) alongside the Courtois sop - they all blew differently. Incidentally, if you do pay a little extra for a Beryllium bell Schilke, make sure you get one - a lot of bands don't know the difference. The Beryllium model has a 'B' stamped on the collar where the bell meets the valve casing - only small and easy to miss. The Courtois didn't suffer from the sloppy valves that I'd put up with for too long on the Schilke I previously played, though that could have probably been fixed with some new springs.
    Regarding tuning, I think both the Courtios and the Schilke have similar characteristics - top line F is sharp, bottom F is flat etc. All players of these instruments learn to live with the problems and work around them - I wouldn't choose one over the other for tuning. Yammies seem less prone to tuning problems - I played one some years ago, however, at that time at least, those instruments were not so good at cutting through the rest of the band as the Schilke or Courtois. For build quality, I can only comment from what I saw - the Courtios I have is a solid and well constructed instrument. Try and get some sops on loan and compare.
  14. Griffin

    Griffin Active Member

    anyone play the yamaha xeno sop?
    i wanna know if it compares to the Shilke ...
  15. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    I bought a Courtois when they first came out after speaking to Alan Wycherly. Yes, there are minor tuning issues, but Alan explained to me that these can be adjusted using the 1st & 3rd valve triggers. Tuning and intonation will be different from player to player, and in different octaves, so the fixed length of valve slides is a comprimise. The triggers are in place for fine tuning.
  16. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    Of the models you mention, I would go for the Xeno. I have never been a fan of the Schilke soprano, but there are a huge number of players who use them - it is a matter of personal choice. I have tried the Courtois and I wasn't as impressed with that one, but again, it is a personal thing.

    For me, the Schilke is a little brighter than the Yamaha. Both offer excellent intonation (if anything, I preferred the Xeno), it was just the tone colour that made the big difference.

    That said, iif I was playing soprano on a regular basis I would go for the Blackburn - they are simply the finest Eb cornets I have ever played. To say that they make life easy is an understatement - the intonation is impeccable, the tone is to die for and it almost plays itself.
  17. gavinlindsay

    gavinlindsay New Member

    I used Schilkes for years and found that each instrument had it's own intonation problems but one that often gets overlooked is the Getzen. Build quality and intonation are excellent but it isn't quite as free blowing as the Schilke.
  18. wlk2

    wlk2 New Member

    i chose the xeno over the schilke,coutois and smith watkins. it was easier to blow(less restrictive) tuning issues were better.and it's bigger and easier to hold if u got man's hands! even frank renton agreed it sounded better than the schilke i had the last time he conducted us.
  19. billy_p

    billy_p Member

    I'd take the Schilke any day of the week. Did have a go on a courtois for a month or so before buying the Schilke and the build wasn't as good. Felt a bit thin for sound compared (although it was easier up top) and the valve tops and covers were cheaply made (although i don't know if they have improved this since. After buying the Schilke i had a go of a kanstul and that was also worth a whirl, only had a tootle so can't really say much more on it, felt nice up and down the register though. It's a very personal choice though i think so best advice is to have a go of as many as poss for as long as they will let you!
  20. bonodog

    bonodog New Member

    Thanks everyone.

    We now have 4 Sops to play side by side. Two Schilkes (both bells), the Courtois and the Xeno. Unfortunately I wasn't at band last night so I don't know how our sop player got on. I had a quick blow on the two Schilkes and the Courtois. Whilst you can't dispute the Schilkes are top notch I was taken with the Courtois personally. I haven't played the Xeno yet.

    Just a quick advert and thanks to Richard Fox at Rosehill

    and Steve Herbert at John Packers

    for supplying the said instruments and the exceptional service that they both provide.