Which is the Besson 981 EEb bass?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by JDH, Aug 22, 2011.


Which do you think is the Besson 981?

Poll closed Aug 29, 2011.
  1. First played

    0 vote(s)
  2. Second played

    5 vote(s)
  3. Don't know?

    1 vote(s)
  1. JDH

    JDH Member

    Last week I had the opportunity to compare my new Wessex Tubas EEb (JBEB-700) to a classic Fletcher style straight leadpipe Besson 981 from the 1980's owned by a bass trombone player friend.

    I impromptu played short study on each and wonder if you can tell the difference in sound? Which do you think is the Besson 981 - the first, or second played?

    Sorry for the vehicle noise outside during part of second - I did not have time to re-record

    Listen here

    Both the owner of the 981 and myself were surprised how similar they played.


  2. QubaMan

    QubaMan New Member

    Which is the Besson 981


    Being a lucky owner of an earlier 981 (the REAL 981 with the straight mouthpiece pipe, not the fakes banded about so much) I think the tonal quality of the 2nd tuba means that it is the 981.
    There that's put my b***s on the line - lmao
  3. Bones

    Bones Member

    the 2nd one was better, but couldnt tell you which one it was
  4. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    Admitting that it is very difficult to differentiate between the two instruments in terms of sound and tonal quality, I wonder how many tuba players would elect to purchase a brand new cheaper model in preference to a used Sovereign in good condition?
  5. JDH

    JDH Member

    The point is an old used Besson 981 like the one tried costs around £3,000 (if you can find one!), while the JBEB-700 is only £1,895 brand new.

    The feel playing was more between a well 'run-in' tuba and new one that still needs to 'bed-in' (the comparison play was its first time out), rather than between different models
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2011
  6. DaveBBb

    DaveBBb Member

    To be honest I can't tell 'em apart -- not thousands of pounds worth of difference any way. How does the British Style Wessex BBb compare in build and sound quality? Bet that's not £5k's worth of difference.
  7. JDH

    JDH Member

    Well the BBb is £1,995 and of similar build quality to the EEb (finish not quite up to the expensive models, but perfectly acceptable for 1/4 price). I hope to have one available to try at the National Brass Band Championships in October. It plays well, but I have not yet had chance to play side-by-side with a Besson to compare sound quality.

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