Help with the baritone horn

ffc.space

New Member
Hi all:

My name is Fernando and I live in Spain, so forgive my level of English.

I am a trombonist and sometimes for the needs of my band I must play the euphonium. A back problem has arisen and I lift my euphonium very badly (weighs 9.5 pounds). That's why they advised me to buy a TIGER plastic euphonium (I don't like this possibility) or play a baritone horn that is lighter.

The problem is that in Spain usually the bands are mixed (wood and brass) there are not many metal bands, and those that exist, have a very different concept to the British. In Spain these bands focus on the repertoire of religious music for parades, they do not play other types of music and only cornets, trumpets, trombones, french horns, euphoniums and tubas are used, but for example the horns are not used altos, tenors and baritones.

As baritone horns are not used in Spain, they do not sell them in stores and that is why I have never seen one, nor do I know how much it weighs.

Another problem is that to buy one and have it sent to Spain, I only find a few international stores that offer shipping service, guarantee and possibility of return.

Therefore I would need help. On the one hand I would need you to tell me how much a baritone horn weighs (I look for one of 3 valves and without compensating it to be as light as possible).

From the stores that send me to Spain without costs and with guarantee I have found the following models (I warn that I am not looking for a professional instrument):

- Thomann 603.
- Coppergate Intermediate Baritone horn
- Conn BH-650
- Roy Benson BH-301
- Weesex BR-140 (this being compensated maybe weighs more)

I appreciate your comments and advice on this world of baritone hornsHelp with the baritone horn

Thank you
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
I have not seen any of the Baritones that you listed being used in Brass Bands and my suspicion is that most if not all of them are second rate Chinese made copies of British instruments. The Wessex will almost certainly be the best of that bunch and their instruments do do an acceptable job for many players.

The weight difference between three valve compensated and non compensated instruments is small and likely to be insignificant. Whilst I’m positive about the merits of uncompensated instruments the more serious players use compensated instruments - there are threads comparing the two types here on tmp.

Jack E is a Baritone player and if you send him a private message then he might weight his Baritone for you. If I remember correctly he now plays a John Packer brand instrument (which I think is Chineses made) and is very pleased with it, but he wouldn’t claim to be an expert player. Be aware that JP sell instruments at several price levels.

As a general comment sometimes cheap instruments don’t play well and don’t last very long before breaking.
 
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I would always recommend a Besson Baritone as spare parts are readily available on the internet whereas other makers spares can be challenging to find.
A good 3 valve Baritone should be around 60% of the weight of a 4 valve euphonium, but the sound is thinner and a lot less powerful especially in the lowest register. Great fun in the high register.
 

David Evans

Active Member
My Baritone weighs 2.5Kg, my Euph weighs 4.3Kg. A Euph sits on your lap and your back will bend and twist when putting it on the floor. A Baritone is held against your chest and does not need a lot of effort to manoeuvre as it can be laid across the knees quite happily. Uncompensated instruments are usually poor quality student instruments and as 2T says, hardly save any weight. Baritones need de-watering regularly , even upside down and you can always tell a Baritone player by the wet patch over the left thigh. Euphs save it all up for the most exposed solo bit and then every valve combination will suddenly sound submarine. The sound is not as powerful as a Euph although different mouthpieces will alter the tone enormously. As the legendary Dave Taylor has mentioned in times past, the Bari Top A is always an adventure in tuning, rather like a top G on a Euph and the mythical 5th position in a proper instrument.

I would suggest you look at the Wessex who are based in Andover UK, ship internationally and Jonathan Hodges, the owner is very helpful. The instruments play well and blow easily, they come with a reasonable mouthpiece and the cases are lightweight yet secure.
It may even be worth a day trip to the UK
Have fun
 

Jack E

Well-Known Member
The weight difference between three valve compensated and non compensated instruments is small and likely to be insignificant.
Good evening, Fernando. As 2nd Tenor said, I play a John Packer Model JP.173, 3 valve, uncompensated baritone horn, which weighs 2.345 kg. I think what makes a much bigger difference in the weight between different models is not whether they are compensated or uncompensated, but the size of the bell; even a small increase in the diameter of the bell will add a lot of weight. To give you an idea:
JP.173 uncompensated baritone ---- bell diameter 203.2mm
JP.273 compensated baritone ------- bell diameter 241.3mm
JP.074 uncompensated euphonium - bell diameter 279.4mm
JP.274 4-valve euphonium ----------- bell diameter 304.8mm

Whilst I’m positive about the merits of uncompensated instruments the more serious players use compensated instruments - there are threads comparing the two types here on The Mouthpiece.
As has been pointed out elsewhere on this forum, there are two notes which will always sound sharp on an uncompensated baritone or euphonium. I have, though, experimented with dropping my lower jaw when playing, and keeping my tongue flat on the bottom of my mouth - making the mouth cavity much bigger - a technique I learnt when playing blues harmonica. By doing this, it's possible to flatten a note quite considerably if you need to. It is harder to correct a sharp note like this, rather than have it in tune to start with on a compensated instrument, but you can make quite an improvement if you work on it.

If I remember correctly Jack E now plays a John Packer brand instrument (which I think is Chinese made) and is very pleased with it, but he wouldn’t claim to be an expert player. Be aware that JP sell instruments at several price levels.
2nd Tenor is right; my baritone is made in China - but what makes a VERY BIG difference is that John Packer is in charge of quality control. The JP.173 is nowhere near the quality and accuracy of a Yamaha or Besson - but it is VERY much better than most Chinese-made brass instruments. I recently had the use of a Rosetti tenor horn (also made in China), and it was far less well made than my Packer baritone. The fit of parts like the tuning slides, and the screw caps on the valve blocks, were nothing like as accurately made and fitted as they are on my Packer.

Uncompensated instruments are usually poor quality student instruments . . .
Generally, David - but not always. From experience, I'd say that the Packer range is a great deal better than most Chinese-made instruments - and it's worth pointing out that the Wessex models that you recommend so highly are also made in China! But, again, what makes the difference is that Jonathan Hodges (like John Packer) maintains strict quality control standards.

Baritones need de-watering regularly , even upside down and you can always tell a Baritone player by the wet patch over the left thigh.
I'm not sure where you're coming from on this, David - ALL brass instruments need the water draining from them, even during each piece unless it's very short; that's why that ALL have water keys fitted to them. I've never had to turn mine upside down to clear it - nor have I ever seen anyone having to turn any other instrument upside down to clear the water from it. Nor do I have a wet patch on my thigh; all it takes is to swing the bottom of the instrument slightly to one side, open each key in turn, hold all three valves down and blow gently.

Euphs save it all up for the most exposed solo bit and then every valve combination will suddenly sound submarine.
Any sensible euph player who has a solo coming up will make a point of clearing the water just before the solo - and if, they don't, the euph won't sound like a submarine, it will sound like a .22 pistol being fired! I doubt many euph players could get away with that very often without the conductor having a sharp word with them.

The sound is not as powerful as a Euph although different mouthpieces will alter the tone enormously.
Again, I must disagree. The sound of a baritone is significantly different to that of a euph, as the baritone is much less conical in shape (as illustrated by the bell sizes I quoted above, and bearing in mind that the bore of a euph starts opening up well before it reaches the bell). The result is that the baritone has not got the richess of sound that you get with a euph, but it can certainly punch through and make itself heard when the music calls for it, in a way that is much harder to achieve with a euph - which is, of course, why brass bands have both euphs and baritones; different sounds for different jobs.

As for the mouthpieces, though I know perfectly well that I'm no expert on the subject, my limited experience inclines me to thinking that mouthpieces do not make a huge difference to the overall sound - though a change in size probably does make it easier when playing at the upper or lower extremes of an instrument's range. What I have noticed is that the mouthpiece needs to be an appropriate size to act as a bridge between my mouth and the instrument - and I've found what works best for me is a Wick 6BS on my baritone, and a Besson 7 on my Bach student trombone.

Hope this helps, Fernando - but if you have any more questions, please do ask; there are a lot of knowledgeable and helpful people on here who will be happy to help.

Con los mejores deseos,
Jack
 

Jack E

Well-Known Member
@ffc.space
I just had another thought, which might make it easier on your back - using a support strap like this one from Neotech:
Many of these straps are meant for tubas, which have metal rings fitted to them to connect a harness, but baritones don't normally have those rings. The advantage of the Neotech is that the support strap ends fit round the instrument itself, as shown in this picture:

1569633563713.png


Jack
 

David Evans

Active Member
Oh dear Jack, why don't you view the original question posed by Fernando, look at the other replies and then conclude that your reply to me was completely inappropriate, especially given that Fernando asked for advice and is a non-native English speaker.
This will also save me the mind-numbing task of replying to you which many would consider as an exercise in futility and one that you probably would not like.
Kindest regards
David
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
My Baritone weighs 2.5Kg, my Euph weighs 4.3Kg. A Euph sits on your lap and your back will bend and twist when putting it on the floor. A Baritone is held against your chest and does not need a lot of effort to manoeuvre as it can be laid across the knees quite happily. Uncompensated instruments are usually poor quality student instruments and as 2T says, hardly save any weight. Baritones need de-watering regularly , even upside down and you can always tell a Baritone player by the wet patch over the left thigh. Euphs save it all up for the most exposed solo bit and then every valve combination will suddenly sound submarine. The sound is not as powerful as a Euph although different mouthpieces will alter the tone enormously. As the legendary Dave Taylor has mentioned in times past, the Bari Top A is always an adventure in tuning, rather like a top G on a Euph and the mythical 5th position in a proper instrument.

I would suggest you look at the Wessex who are based in Andover UK, ship internationally and Jonathan Hodges, the owner is very helpful. The instruments play well and blow easily, they come with a reasonable mouthpiece and the cases are lightweight yet secure.
It may even be worth a day trip to the UK
Have fun
I think that my humour gene must be activated because, the way I read the post, many of the comments were ‘tounge in cheek’. I’ve played small and large bore Trombones, the smaller ones (Baritone bore size?) seemed to need more frequent draining than the bigger bore ones (Euphonium size) . Perhaps we get more condensation forming in the smaller bore (the relative heat transfer is better and that would help) and a smaller bore pipe holds less condensation than a bigger bore. Perhaps some people just slobber more ... my water key seems to fill up quick. Whatever, the topic provides amusement but in the bigger picture of things it's of little importance.

Come to think of it the world is full of unnecessary strife and life is too short for bickering. As a general comment - not directed at anyone in particular - a bit of laughter here and there and accommodating conflicting views would see everyone happier.
 
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