Besson Enharmonic Euphonium


Just purchased (and awaiting delivery of) a Besson 4 valve Enharmonic Euphonium. These have no compensating system, but two sets of slides, front & back, like the full double French Horn. They even made B & E flat basses with this system but the obvious weight problems saw their demise.

Can't wait !


A brief explanation.

On a 3 valve enharmonic (for example) the mouthpipe leads into the 3rd.valve. If the 3rd. valve is not used, the windway leads through into the 1st. & 2nd. valves in the normal way, and back through the 3rd. to the bell.

If the 3rd. is operated, the windway is lead through the 1st. & 2nd. valves by a different route. including a tuning slide, and in also going through different passages in the 1st. & 2nd. valves, will be directed through seperate longer loops of tubing (if the 1st. 2nd. are operated with the 3rd.).

The idea was that it is superior to the compensating system in that the windway is not required to pass through each valve more than once. Air is redirected back through on compensating loops. The obvious weight problems when you get to tubas in this range must have been enormous.

In 1913 this model retailed at £18 18 s.(old shillings).


It arrived yesterday and I was able to have a very gentle blow on it without too much discomfort.

It sounds great and is in good condition with only the creases in the bell to have work done on.

The usual slides that are on the front of the compensating euphs are now on the back. The longer extended ones that are brought in by using the 3rd. valve, are on the front, all have decent length tuning slides.

The 3rd. valve slide on the back loops through the 4th. valve when not in use, very clever.

The extra weight is noticeable when you first lift the instrument, but it's balanced qiute well considering.


There would be a wealth of false fingering available i persume?
Also you could put it into different keys- in the same way as holding your 4th valve in on a normal euph allows you to play french horn parts

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