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Baritone horn, British style: quality manufacturers


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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 1:03 am    Post subject: Baritone horn, British style: quality manufacturers Reply with quote

Yes, I know this is a trumpet forum but I thought I’d ask anyway For various reasons I have become interested in British style baritone horns (those with the piston valves in Bb, not the round Austro-German variants with the rotaries).

Probably because the market is quite specific I have only found two sources that seem to make higher quality instruments, Yamaha and Besson.

There is a bunch of cheaper instruments like Wessex, John Packer, Arnold’s & Sons, Roy Benson, some house brands all of which are probably Chinese instruments. I do shy away from those because my experience with Chinese instruments has been quite mixed both in terms of build quality and playability and I’d rather invest in a quality horn.

Is there anyone else besides Yamaha and Besson that makes good quality horns that will last a while? Happy to take suggestions for used instruments as well.
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hibidogrulez
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Adams website lists Jupiter and Conn as a potential brand as well. Can't tell you much about them I'm afraid. Are you primarily interested in a Baritone horn or will a Euphonium do as well?
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. I forgot about Jupiter and Conn. They seem to address the student market, which would be fine.

Not terribly interested in euphoniums, I don’t like their sound too much. Not enough clarity for me, too much of a diffuse or muffled sound. It’s similar to flugelhorn - I like it for effects and a few tunes here and there but not generally. Clearly the euphonium market would be much bigger, though.
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Shawnino
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed market is limited. I think you and H have covered it.

Agreed the Chinese stuff is an issue, I had terrible customer service on a poor horn from Wessex. (Although I'm told if you go to a showroom and can pick a horn out, you might stand a chance.)

Agreed the euph market offers more choice. Have you tried a really tight, bright one (11" bell or smaller if possible, yellow brass...)? If yes, and that doesn't suit you, the good news is that Yamaha and Besson baritones are really good. I have not played Jupiter or Conn.
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Dennis78
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Being a baritone player myself go with the Besson! And yes you want a compensating model. I have some experience with some of the Chinese models. Most are ok. A few are pretty decent. But for the price of those that are pretty decent, Besson isn’t that far off.
Euphonium just is not the same as baritone

At least your question was about brass. Someone here start a thread about a woodwind
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All right, looks like I did a decent market research Will see what happens on the money side in the near future and will post the outcome. Will also follow up on the suggestion of a really bright euphonium, but like to think going baritone is the way. Thanks everyone.
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Richard III
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bente Illevold plays an Eastman baritone. Now, I know she can play anything she wants. Her euphonium is now a Shires. Her baritone is listed as a student model. Below is a video of her playing the Eastman. Note the issue with, I think it is, the high A tuning. Anyway, just something to think about.


Link

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Shawnino
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are Eastman and Shires the same company? Does either have any other brands?
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, Eastman is quite popular over here, I think there is a German connection somehow. I just have no idea how they compare - I DO know how my playing compares to her playing

Once we (yep, looking for two instruments) have sorted out the funding, we’ll probably take a trip to Thomann, FMB, and a few other places to check horns out. I think FMB does carry Eastman as well, so good suggestion.

Also, I think we would look for compensated instruments, as was suggested above. No need to complicate things with an instrument that is meant to last.
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arthurtwoshedsjackson
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Read the Wessex BR140 (3 valve compensating) reviews on David Werden’s euphonium forum. I’m looking at this horn myself. They also sell a 4 valve compensating baritone, but the 4th valve on a British baritone seems superfluous to me. To each their own...

I’m very happy with my Wessex rotary cornet and just ordered a second one in silver plate. The horn plays really well and is much better in quality compared to other Jin Bao horns I’ve bought (Selman alto trombone; Mack tuba) 6+ years ago. Wessex also uses DHL, which is easy to set up for signature release (contactless delivery). Great buying experience overall.
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, saw that one. Still, I am somewhat hesitant because of other reports on Wessex I have seen. Given the fact that I am in Germany it would probably be easier to ask Thomann to send me a truckload of their baritones which look awfully similar to the Wessex ones.

FMB does carry Wessex as well, so there IS a chance to playtest them as well.

Great to see all the responses, really appreciate the input.
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found another one: https://www.willson.ch/en/instrument/willsax

Looks an awful lot like a different shape of a small euphonium, just look at the large bell.
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shawnino wrote:
Are Eastman and Shires the same company? Does either have any other brands?

Well.....

Eastman is a Chinese instrument company that makes instruments in .... well, China.

Shires is a smaller boutique brass maker in Massachusetts. They were well known for their trombones, leadpipes and such, but have expanded into trumpets, and now Euphs.

Eastman bought Shires in 2014, but Shires makes Shires instruments in Massachusetts, although I think the Q series might involve just assembly. Other than the Q-series, I believe all Shires instruments are produced in-house.

So, I guess they are technically the same company, but I wouldn't say an Eastman = Shires.
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arthurtwoshedsjackson
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quite a few Thomann brass look identical to their Wessex (and other) counterparts. I don’t know how quality control between vendors compares. The Thomann horns are generally less expensive.

Sterling may have also produced baritones, but their web site is under renovation so I’m not sure about production now. They also collaborate with Packer.

That Willson has a large bore and doesn’t qualify as a baritone in the British brass band sense.

David Werden’s forum is a great resource for all things euphonium and baritone. He often contributes to discussions and certainly knows his stuff.
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, basically the OP is looking for a British Bb Baritone (or "Tenor Horn" in some circles, though not all).

I thought Willson might have one, but it looks like they are all euphs.

I can't think of many other actual makers (as opposed to places like Wessex, Packer, that are stenciled instruments made in China). So...

- Besson
- Yamaha
- Jupiter

I know Kanstul used to make a Eb Horn/Peck Horn/Alto Horn because I played it once at MMEA. Not sure if they made a Bb one.

It looks like Courtois has a Bb "Saxhorn" that's piston valve and looks like one. I don't see one in the B&S branded lineup. Not sure...

https://www.a-courtois.com/en/instruments/saxhorns/
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arthurtwoshedsjackson
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crazy Finn wrote:
So, basically the OP is looking for a British Bb Baritone (or "Tenor Horn" in some circles, though not all).

It looks like Courtois has a Bb "Saxhorn" that's piston valve and looks like one. I don't see one in the B&S branded lineup. Not sure...

https://www.a-courtois.com/en/instruments/saxhorns/


Both largish bore like the Willson. Look like nice horns though.

Does the OP plan to play in a brass band? That would determine suitability of the horns mentioned thus far. If so, the list above seems to cover what’s available.
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Gabrieli
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Until a few years ago Courtois made all top quality brass band instruments including the baritone. The parent company, which also owns Besson and B & S decided however that brass band instruments should be the domain of Besson alone. Courtois still make "Bass Saxhorns" which are so similar to euphoniums that I doubt one can hear the difference.

Brassnose if you are looking second hand try looking on marktplaats.nl

Brass bands are quite big in the Netherlands and you will find baritones there.
Here is a Courtois baritone - 3 valve compensated
https://www.marktplaats.nl/a/muziek-en-instrumenten/blaasinstrumenten-overige/m1635677054-bariton-hoorn.html?previousPage=lr
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2020 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great info, all. No, I don’t play in a brass band, none to find around where I live. The „brass bands“ we have here are the brass choirs (called trombone choirs) run by a lot of churches.

The funny thing is, 80% of the members play trumpet and there is a tremendous lack of low brass in quite some of them. I like the bass trumpet and it fits nicely with the tenor voice but it does get front heavy in a two hour outdoors gig, mainly because mine is the four valve variety. Plus I don’t really need the fourth valve.

As euphonium type instruments are not in the same sound pattern and, as I said above, I like a clearer sound much better, the baritone seems like an obvious choice. I am not totally excited about the Bavarian style round horns, either.

So really it comes down to a baritone or a bass trumpet which is lighter and only has three valves. I do have however have enough leads for bass trumpet, so I am all set there.
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arthurtwoshedsjackson
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2020 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That all makes sense. Good luck with your search and let us know what horn you decide upon. You’ve re-inspired my hunt for a baritone. Thanks! (I think). That Yamaha 831 sure looks nice...
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rcox6918
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2020 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm no Chinoise fan but I must say Roy Benson horns are above a notch compared to their Jinbao cousins. I have owned their flugelhorn for many years and it's had a good share of play including a production of Sondheim's Assassins. Only heard compliments and not to mention that I played the horn with the supplied mouthpiece! It was a great fit for me. Sadly, can't say about their baritones but I thought I'd give you my two cents as a Roy Benson user.

However, on the topic of your baritone search, I'd always point you towards Yamaha. Their build quality is trustworthy and very very reliable horns, even their beginner line horns. So, a secondhand Yamaha would do you good.
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