Seems to vary hugely from instrument to instrument, so difficult to say one manufacturer is better or worse overall. That said, have known SOOOO many people have problems with Bessons, especially all the batches of "lottery" instruments.
Hmm when i played cornet, nothing i tried beat my round-stamped sovereign- it was soooo smooth!
As for flugel, i'll have to go with Courtois. Tried the Yamaha and it wasn't my cup of tea but it's finish was very smart indeed. As Naomi said- it's personal preference.
The plating is very poor on my Courtois though. It was very nice clean etc. when it was new but now it's unbelievably worn- down to the brass!!! I might post some pictures because i don't think you would believe how bad it is! The actual instrument is supurb though apart from the finish of the silverplate. It's the nicest flugel i've played. I had a Bach Strad before and that is excellent quality also- the silverplate is perhaps better than the although it does go quite dull. The Courtois silverplate is very nice and bright- if only there were a bit more of it!! :roll: But overall the best instrument is Courtois.
yamaha out of them three for me... im not sure if Courtois even make a sop?? I play a shilke at the moment and it is far easier to play than the yamaha and sounds so much more full and sweet. But thats not an option :lol: