Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

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Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by sirisobhakya » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:39 pm

As an (unofficial and occasional) instructor of my former school band, and since the band has no active euphonium staff, I now have to help look after euphonium students as well. I also like to play instruments other than trombone sometimes, so it is not that I don't want to do it. I am familiar with the fingering and sometimes also play marching baritone.

But the things that bug me with euphonium are:
1. I still cannot find a comfortable way to hold it. With marching baritone there is no problem, even though it is quite heavy and bulky I can find a comfortable and "centered (on my mouth)" grip with relative ease, maybe because the horn position is quite similar to that of trombone. But euphonium in my hand is at such an awkward angle, and the pressure on the mouthpiece is not quite centered. Even 3-valved horn is uncomfortable, not to mention 3+1.

2. With any mouthpiece, it seems that I cannot get it to "sing". I have tried Douglas Yeo (my main mouthpiece but I am fully aware that it is not for euphonium at all), Bach 3G, Yamaha 51B, Yamaha 48, Yamaha 42, etc. but they all sound forced and dull. Maybe I am used to the air and blow of bass trombone; maybe I tongue too hard; maybe it is due to the horn (all horns we have are at <80% state); maybe I don't really know what a range of good euphonium sound is (I watched euphonium solo on YouTube from time to time); or maybe other reasons.

3. The tuning slide is on the player side, and more often than not the grease stain my shirt, which is a big problem because I normally go to the band after work, still in my white shirt. I have seen euphonists playing with rag on their lap, but the purpose seems to be dealing with water leaking from valve rather than the grease.

My question: how did you overcome these problems, how well did you do that, and how long did it take?

(I would like to ask these on euphonium forum as well, but as far as I have seen there is no specific "teaching/learning" section on both tubenet and dwerden. I think it is great to have this kind of section here.)
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by BGuttman » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:54 pm

Lot of really good questonis.

1. I hold my Euph cradled in teh left arm (and the left index finger is available for the 4th valve if necessary). The right hand works the valves. My euph fits nicely with teh bow on my leg, but not everybody fits this way. Some use the Stewart Stand. Some rest the bow on the chair.

2. I play a large bore Euph and it really "sings" with a Warbrton 3B/3B. It's around a Schilke 59 size. Some prefer to use a smaller mouthpiece like a Wick 6AL (too small for me). But you can make anything work. I knew of a guy who was a superb Euph player who used a 12C on a Yamaha 321S. I can't believe all his teachers didn't change this.

3. I get the "greasies" too. I would suggest tying a cloth to the upper bow and hanging it over the entire back of the Euph. That will take care of the grease. Remember to put the same side to the Euph each time.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by sirisobhakya » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:26 pm

Thank you Bruce. I just realize I hold the horn at the valve branch when I wear a long sleeve shirt by instinct to avoid staining the sleeve with valve slides. Not comfortable at all. Maybe I have to wrap a rag around the entire instrument... How do people deal with it in bow-and-tie concert?

Come to think of it, only euphonium (and maybe some tubas) has a problem of grease on a shirt. Trombone has all the tuning slide in the back or at most just near the shoulder but does not touch, trumpet's slides get nowhere near a shirt in normal circumstances, (french) horn has tuning slide in the back also but it is not near a shirt in normal circumstances also.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by ghmerrill » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:43 pm

Up to this point I've been a tuba/euph player -- really playing trombone for only about the last 2-3 years. I had some trouble of the sort you mention in moving from the conical bore instruments to the (cylindrical) trombone. You're just encountering it in the opposite direction. So, ...

1. A LOT (most?) of euphonium players use some sort of pad, pillow, or other item across their laps to rest the horn on. You just have to figure out what works best for you. Think of it: it IS a little tuba, and it's not all that light (a compensating one, anyway). I use a 1/4" plywood board with a non-stick surface on it (closed cell foam) that I made.

2. It's not a trombone. It's not a bass trombone. You're using mouthpieces that are WAY too big. Most good amateur and pro players use a mouthpiece in the 4/5/6 range of the Wick euph or trombone mouthpieces. Yes, it will seem small to you. I use a bigger one because I often play the horn mostly as a tenor tuba. But for playing it as a euph, I use a Wick 5AL. A Doug Yeo mouthpiece on it is hideously outrageous. So is a Schilke 60, or a 59, or ... You get the idea. It's NOT just a tightly wrapped bass trombone. When it does sing (in its high register), it won't sing like a trombone. It has a very different voice. And keep in mind that many (especially amateur) euphonium players live happily without ever playing below the staff. My range, with my DE mouthpiece, is fully into tuba range in the entire octave below the staff, and I've used the horn to play the Tuba 1 part in Tuba Christmas. But you won't see a lot of people doing that, and my DE piece is almost universally regarded as "too big". On the other hand, my upper range is just sort of adequate for a real euph player (who will at times live in the trumpet range).

3. Don't know what your grease problem is. Don't have it. Haven't seen it. I DO use a "valve gutter" (that I made out of PVC, though you can buy commercial versions) to avoid drip from the bottom valve caps.

Also, you should have noticed that there is a lot of back pressure with the euph that just isn't there with the trombone. This will take a lot of getting used to, and adjusting to, in order to get the tone quality you want and should have. It's a very different sound. It won't (and shouldn't) sound like a trombone. I had a similar problem switching to trombone.

Edit (afterthought): If you use too large a mouthpiece, the euph will likely not play in tune with itself or will play uniformly. When I first started with euph I figured I'd use a Schilke 60. But I have NEVER got a euphonium to play in tune with a Schilke 60. It's just too deep. So whatever you use, check your tuning and intonation (and don't forget to tune each valve circut -- checking both with and without the 4th valve). Compromises will need to be made. You don't have that big hand slide to make corrections with. And you can't try to use one of the valve slides as a dynamic tuning slide (as tuba players often do). The tubing orientation on the standard (right-pointing) euphs doesn't permit it. So you're stuck with what valved instrument players know as the "valve swindle", and the compromises that need to be made and corrected as best they can. If you find you're having constant problems of playing flat, or your intonation isn't right, try a different (maybe smaller) mouthpiece. I can pop the 5AL in and pretty much everything is in tune on my Mack Brass horn. With the DE, middle and low register is in tune, but I have to work to not play flat in the upper register if I haven't been playing the horn for a while.
Last edited by ghmerrill on Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by sirisobhakya » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:29 pm

Thank you Gary. About the mouthpiece, I also tried using 48 or even 42 (on a Yamaha 321S). Maybe it is mainly due to the sound concept in my head after all.

Do you really have no grease problem? Maybe different wrap? All euphoniums my band has have the main tuning slide on the player side, exactly at belly height. Can it be that I hold the horn too close to my body? Or do I have too big a belly? (Good motivation for diet...)

I also do noticed the intonation is much more quirky than on trombone, and, yes, without the big tuning slide in my hand, it is quite frustrating.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by harrisonreed » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:08 am

The euph requires a different cup and especially backbore. You're still talking about trombone mouthpieces. Get a Steve Mead mouthpiece, or a doug elliott setup. Is your euph a large taper or a European taper reciever? Doug has options for both of these types.

Also, they make euphs with the valves on the front, like a tuba. It's much better and more comfortable.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by BrassedOn » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:16 am

For the grease, you can see in this article the Grenadier Guards euph cover on the lower half of the horn to protect the horn from buttons and player from lube. Velcro on back would help access tuning slide and spit keys. I used something like this for years. Homemade. Also wipe excess lube from exposed slide tubes. Drips and such are de rigeur. If I solo, I wear a black dress shirt
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/0 ... nt-played/

I agree on euph specific mouthpiece. Yamaha 48 good starter but smallish for adults. Shilke 51d was okay for me ended up with Wick Stephen Mead SM5. Full time euphers go deeper but this was fine on my Hirsbrunner Miraphone and Besson. On Yamaha 321 I would go one size smaller. I have a Wick 6B that works okay an smaller bore. But I’d try the SM version.

When playing, on the top action valve horn, bottom bow left side tucks into the left belly, and angles out 20 30 or 40degrees and tilts forward. Yes we do feel strain on left arm and right thumb. Front action may be more flat against the body. Cradled with left hand. You might try standing and playing to see if youncan find a comfortable hold. When sitting I always used a pillow out of a rolled up black t shirt. You and your students gotta be comfortable.

Werden’s site does address this kind of stuff. Try General Music. performance and Practice. Tips. Dave will answer almost any post. He may have a vid on this stuff.

Chisham.com Tubenet seems tuba dominant but certainly euph stuff is addressed too. They get more detailed and technical. Great place to ask about repairs and mouthpieces. Like trombone chat, makers regularly on the site.

Euph won’t take that bass trombone air. But bass trombone air volume does help my euph and tenor playing. Still open relaxed throat but more warm slow air. Maybe Try dropping the jaw a bit like “Huh”.start with long tones and intervals in the midrange and expand from there. I played a lot of long tones! Of course a lot of listening. Personally I like a Stephen Mead and Childs brothers David Childs UK.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by Burgerbob » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:40 am

Euphonium works just fine with a larger mouthpiece (I use a Schilke 53/59, basically a 53 rim with 59 cup and backbore), but it does require you to play it a bit differently. I'd say the most popular size for euph players is the deep 5 range (Schilke 51D), deep 4 range (Wick 4AL) or deep 3 range (Wick 3AL, SM3).

Typically a bit slower air through all ranges, and very relaxed.

Finding a good hand/body position is important for sure. The fact of the matter is that the compensating euph is not a very ergonomic instrument in any case, and some sacrifices have to be made.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by ghmerrill » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:56 am

harrisonreed wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:08 am
The euph requires a different cup and especially backbore. You're still talking about trombone mouthpieces. Get a Steve Mead mouthpiece, or a doug elliott setup.
This isn't entirely accurate. A large number of euph players use "trombone mouthpieces" of various kinds -- and very successfully. The Wick 5AL is one of the most popular euph mouthpieces around, and 4ALs (and other variants in both the 4 and 5 size) are frequently used. I don't care for the Mead mouthpieces. Not sure why, but I just don't like how they work for me. I'm pretty sure that Dave Werden uses primarily a 5AL.
Also, they make euphs with the valves on the front, like a tuba. It's much better and more comfortable.
True, but the only compensating euph I know that's available with front-action valves is the new Wessex Festivo. However, I find the 3+1 horns much easier to play (since it eliminates having to deal with using the little finger on the 4th valve -- and the weird ligament-associated issues you encounter with that).

But really, if you want euph info from people who play them (from students and amateurs through well-known professionals), you're on the wrong forum here. Dave's forum is where you want to be. And don't be afraid to ask questions. It's one of the most civilized and helpful forums around.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by ghmerrill » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:04 am

sirisobhakya wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:29 pm
Maybe it is mainly due to the sound concept in my head after all.
Yes, absolutely a significant issue.
Do you really have no grease problem? Maybe different wrap? All euphoniums my band has have the main tuning slide on the player side, exactly at belly height. Can it be that I hold the horn too close to my body? Or do I have too big a belly? (Good motivation for diet...)
I don't have the problem. My horn (Mack Brass) is a clone of the Yamaha 642 -- so quite standard. And although I have a big enough belly, I don't hold the horn tightly up against me. Otherwise, I don't know. Maybe a general posture issue (from playing trombone too long for you guys? :? ).
I also do noticed the intonation is much more quirky than on trombone, and, yes, without the big tuning slide in my hand, it is quite frustrating.
One thing I really like about the trombone is that you CAN play it in tune -- and without all sorts embouchure corrections. Of course, some euphs (not very many models) have a main tuning slide trigger to adjust intonation. But most people find this bothersome, and on most quality euphs, unnecessary and not all that helpful.
Gary Merrill
Wessex EEb Bass tuba
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Amati Oval Euph
1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba
Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by ghmerrill » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:06 am

Burgerbob wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:40 am
The fact of the matter is that the compensating euph is not a very ergonomic instrument in any case, and some sacrifices have to be made.
Though much more ergonomic than the double-valve bass trombone! :lol: :lol:
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Amati Oval Euph
1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba
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1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by timothy42b » Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:34 am

One more thing to think about with the tone quality.

With the trombone, you can leave your head in one position and move the horn to get the right angle to your chops to let the tone sing, for whatever range you're in.

You can't do that very well with the euphonium. The horn stays still, and you adjust by moving your head.

I really wish I'd known that when I was playing euph in a community band, it might have removed some of the mystery.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by ghmerrill » Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:55 am

Definitely true -- at least when you're sitting. So even when you're standing you don't want to develop a habit of moving the horn around because you won't be trying to do that when you're sitting. At least I think this is true for most players.

But the difference in timbre is what got to me and took the most work to adjust to. If you're used to playing a conical bore instrument and then shift to trombone, the whole sound and response is very different. I knew it was going to be (since I'd played bass trombone a bit 20 years earlier), but I wasn't really prepared for the degree of difference. It took a long time for me to get the right trombone sound instead of what was basically a crappy euphonium sound out of the trombone.
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1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by imsevimse » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:17 am

I have two euphoniums. One Besson 3-valve 700-series with large shank and one Boosey & Hawkes 4-valve compensating with European shank.

Mouthpiece?
Mouthpieces are Hammond 12XL Euphonium mouthpieces on both. I have one large shank and one small shank that I use with some wrapped newspaper to make fit the European shank receiver. That mouthpiece never leaves the horn.

How to hold?
I use a folded towel in my lap to support and balance the horn. I try to hold the horn away from the body in an angle that the hand is not twisted.

Grease?
It can be a problem but I'm not pushing the horn flat to my body. I only have contact on the left side. That angle also makes the right hand position more comfortable. The right side of the horn is pointing slightly forward and in the direction of the conductor. As a bonus it is less contact with the greasy tuning slide. I also think of how I fold the towel.

How long did it take to overcome the issues?
I used a Besson 5 mouthpiece for the Besson Euphonium since the mid 90'ies and the original Boosey & Hawkes European shank mouthpiece since I bought that horn on ebay 2014. I got the news from trombone forum that a Hammond 12XL euphonium mouthpiece exists. A good fit since I use 12M and 12MXL on my tenors. So it took about 25 years to find a very good mouthpiece for my Euphoniums. The towel had to be there early to bring the Euphonium up to the playing position because I have always rest the horn in my lap. Greese has been a problem. Accidents do happen.
The biggest problem is intonation. On Euphonium you have to bend notes in tune. As a tromboneplayer you are used to do it with the slide. The bending can mess with the trombone emboushure. I think to find the best length of all the tuningslides have also been a challenge.

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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by ghmerrill » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:43 am

imsevimse wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:17 am
The biggest problem is intonation. On Euphonium you have to bend notes in tune. As a tromboneplayer you are used to do it with the slide. The bending can mess with the trombone emboushure. I think to find the best length of all the tuningslides have also been a challenge.
The degree of bending required depends on the model/brand of the instrument, and even on the particular instrument, and also possibly the mouthpiece. In general, I've found the embouchure I use on the bass trombone to be quite different from what I use on the euph. And with the trombone you can "color" the sound a lot more than on the euph.

Finding the "best length" for the various tuning slides always involves a compromise -- and is influenced by how you play and which possible compromises are preferable to you. Tuba/euph players are so accustomed to this that they typically don't think about it explicitly. That, at least, is similar to dealing with a double-valve (especially indy) bass trombone -- except you can't "adjust" with the hand slide.

However, as I've pointed out in other contexts, if you sit in a low brass section in a community band and observe the euph players, the vast majority of them NEVER tune their valve circuits and typically have them pushed in all the way. And so an average community band eupher may be out of tune on a variety of pitches (and can't correct this with a hand slide :shock: ) This is, unfortunately, also true for tuba players. It seems as though a lot of people who learned these instruments in middle school and high school never took lessons from a low brass player who taught them how to actually make use of all those tubes and slides. It just never occurs to them to tune valves and valve combinations. :roll:

To a significant degree, a valved instrument is "digital" (discrete settings for pitches), while a trombone is analog (continuous array of pitches). I'll never be as good a trombonist as I am (or have been) a tuba player, but I really do love the trombone. It's at once simpler and more versatile (though it won't give you the basso "surround sound" that a tuba will).
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by Kbiggs » Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:18 pm

Yes, use an appropriate sized mouthpiece. Good suggestions above. Grime gutters, as mentioned above, can help with stuff that drips from the valves.

For holding the instrument, and avoiding slide grease on your shirt, I suggest looking at an ergobrass device: https://www.ergobrass.com/euphonium/
This holds the weight of the horn at the proper height. All you have to do is hold it at the proper angle for you and your chops. Yes, it’s expensive. But can you put a price on proper ergonomics, and doing something reasonable that will help your chops? (FWIW, I used one for several years on my bass trombone when I was having tendonitis and frozen shoulder problems.)

Pillows, foam, and wood blocks work, too, but they can be awkward, and you have to cut them and hold them just right for them to work as you want them to. Also, your chair height can change the how high or low you need to hold the horn. If you chair is too tall or too short for your body, the blocks and pillows might not work well.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by ghmerrill » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:12 pm

Kbiggs wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:18 pm
Also, your chair height can change the how high or low you need to hold the horn. If you chair is too tall or too short for your body, the blocks and pillows might not work well.
Several years ago I started taking a nylon-covered hard foam boat cushion (Walmart) to EVERY rehearsal and performance. For me, it's not so much about the cushioning effect (which is also good), but this is about 2" thick and not very compressible. So its role is basically to make my chair seat 2" taller -- which I need because of my height and the fact that most folding/office/etc. chairs are just too short for me to be comfortable in them.

When I play tuba I use a "sit-on tuba support stand" that I made out of plywood, some 1 1/2" PVC pipe (for the adjustable horn support), and 2" of the closed cell foam. I don't like having to lug this stuff around, but I just put all my "support equipment" (including mutes, stand light, cushion, music in binder, etc.) in a big rectangular "World Tour" percussion equipment bag, and it's not too bad. With tuba and euph, it's VERY important to have the lead pipe at a level where you're not having to bend down to the mouthpiece or stretch up to it.
Gary Merrill
Wessex EEb Bass tuba
Mack Brass Compensating Euph
Amati Oval Euph
1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba
Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by robcat2075 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:57 pm

imsevimse wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:17 am

The biggest problem is intonation...


In my senior year of college, we got a new band director and in his first week he managed to run off all the Euphonium players. To fill the gap i got switched to Euphonium.

Although no one had been complaining about my trombone intonation, my euphonium intonation eventually became the object of a full-tilt, for-the-whole-band, screaming tantrum by this band director. :shuffle:

When I play trombone to some accompaniment it seems almost instinctive to adjust my slide if I don't hit a note on target but i never got that going for lipping a note up or down on a valve instrument.

There is something about the sound that does not hit me in the same way. To this day, if I pick up a valve instrument and tootle around on it, it all sounds fine to me... until i listen to a playback.

Many years later I've taken up the cello and I'm able to hear and correct my pitch errors live pretty fast. Something about the sound makes it obvious, but not so much a euphonium or tuba. :idk:
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by Doug Elliott » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:26 pm

Everybody has an opinion .... about what's best in euphonium mouthpieces.
They're all right, and they're all wrong. It depends on who's playing it. Small mouthpieces like a Yamaha 48 can work well for some people, and very large bass trombone size mouthpieces can work well for some people.

Of the mouthpieces mentioned in the original post, I would think the 3G would be closest to a good choice for somebody who normally plays bass trombone on a Yeo. If you have access to a Wick 4AL, 3AL, or 2NAL, try them.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by davebb » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:40 pm

sirisobhakya wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:39 pm
2. With any mouthpiece, it seems that I cannot get it to "sing". ..
...I watched euphonium solo on YouTube from time to time
If you're playing on a small shank euphonium (there is mention below of a YEP-321), don't expect too much in terms of a singing sound like you hear on youtube. I expect most of the virtuosos on youtube will be playing instruments which take a large shank mouthpiece.

The 321 can make a great sound with the right player, but it is different to a large shank instrument. A trombone analogy would be a 0.525 bore vs a 0.547 bore.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by davebb » Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:03 pm

Also, regarding mouthpieces, something with a larger throat will probably open up the sound a bit. I normally play large bore trombone on a 3G. I tried the Wick SM4 (Steven Mead) on a yamaha YEP-201 and it seemed to work well, wtith the rim being comfortable. Also tried it on my King 3B+ (0.525) bore but was hard work in the high range and made the sound a bit dull, which I put down to the very large throat.

Here's a table I put together of small shank mouthpieces in the 4 to 5 range as part of my search for a mouthpiece for the 3B+
mouthpiece.JPG
mouthpiece.JPG (33.07 KiB) Viewed 1158 times
As an aside, where I live is a mouthpiece desert and none of these were available to test, except the SM4 so I ordered a Bach 4 , based on wanting a rim size similar to the SM4 but a smaller throat. The 4 arrived yesterday but I've only had 5 minutes to test it. Very pleased so far, and surprised that I can pop out low notes easier than on the large bore, which presents another potential issue with the large bore setup.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by ghmerrill » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:54 am

That's a pretty good list. Just as an eyeball/ballpark possibly not very useful comment, I'd say that my impression (over several years of being involved with Dave Werden's forum) is that the most popular ones among these are (1) 51D (mostly for students and real amateurs, though more advanced players do use it as well; there are often threads about "moving up" from it); (2) The Wick 4 and 5 sizes, but usually the 5AL or 4AL trombone mouthpieces; and (3) the SM mouthpieces (which have their own significant "following").

If I were to pick one just to start out on and experiment with for a while, it might be the Faxx 51D. I know from experience that this is way too small for me, but as a starter for someone it would be a good move, and it's hard to beat the Faxx price/performance/quality ratio.

The Wick mouthpiece chart is actually something of a wealth of information in itself in terms of comparative sizing and features: https://www.deniswick.com/wp-content/up ... -Chart.pdf.
Gary Merrill
Wessex EEb Bass tuba
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by CalgaryTbone » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:33 am

The original poster mentioned that he's using a Yamaha 321, which takes a small shank mouthpiece. That cuts into what's available for the horn.

A Wick 4AY (made for that instrument) might work for you. Bach makes small shank versions of the 5G, and maybe the 4G as well. Schilke makes some small shank versions of their symphony and bass trombone models. Lastly, Doug Elliott makes lots of options that would work well, with the added benefit that he could guide you through the process of choosing the right mouthpiece parts for you based on what you play on bass trombone now, and what you're looking for from the euphonium sound-wise. Good luck!

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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by Schlitz » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:28 am

If the horn in question is a Y321, depending on the condition, I’d go for a large leadpipe swap. This will give the player better options for mouthpieces. Particularly a used selection. This is all on the player and what’s best for them.

One of my euphonium teachers used a Bach 1G on his Hirsbrunner. I’m pretty sure he went to school with Bruce too.

Get a real haircut.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by ghmerrill » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:36 pm

Faxx has a 6.5Al, and Blessing has a bunch of small shank pieces (7C, 51D, 6.5Al, 11C).

Would you need to change out the entire lead pipe? I'd think that just a receiver swap would work okay.
Gary Merrill
Wessex EEb Bass tuba
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Amati Oval Euph
1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba
Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by BGuttman » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:40 pm

We tried a Warbrton 3B cup on a 6ST (small shank) backbore on a 321S. Too big for that player, but an option for somebody like me.

Schlitz, I didn't go to school with any Euph players of consequence.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by JohnL » Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:28 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:40 pm
Schlitz, I didn't go to school with any Euph players of consequence.
There are always consequences to knowing euphonium players.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by Radar » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:05 pm

I played a wick 4AY on a Yamaha 321 and it worked well for me, but I did go to a larger Mouthpiece eventually which required me to replace the receiver with a Medium / Euro receiver. I didn't have to replace the lead pipe just the receiver. The 321 bore size is not that much smaller than most pro models out there, the big difference is the receiver, and the lack of the compensating tubing. Mouthpiece selection is really very individual decision and I've known advanced players with great sound who play on a wide variety of MP sizes. It's really a matter of finding what works for you and your horn.
98th Division Army Reserve Band Retired:
Yamaha 612 Bass, Conn 88H Tenor, Yamaha YEP-321 (modified with a Euro/Med receiver), and Miraphone 186 CC Tuba.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by CalgaryTbone » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:59 pm

Switching out the leadpipe on a 321 to another Yamaha pipe that takes a large shank is a great option - I did that when I owned a 321. It is also a lot more expensive that buying a mouthpiece that works well for the player on the stock horn, especially while he is just getting into euphonium. Switching the pipe, or getting another instrument strikes me as being a step to consider once that horn isn't able to keep up with the demands of the player.

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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by MoominDave » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:16 am

Doug Elliott wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:26 pm
Everybody has an opinion .... about what's best in euphonium mouthpieces.
They're all right, and they're all wrong. It depends on who's playing it. Small mouthpieces like a Yamaha 48 can work well for some people, and very large bass trombone size mouthpieces can work well for some people.

Of the mouthpieces mentioned in the original post, I would think the 3G would be closest to a good choice for somebody who normally plays bass trombone on a Yeo. If you have access to a Wick 4AL, 3AL, or 2NAL, try them.
Succinctly put, by an expert mouthpiece diagnostician. Which means it needs repeating so that it isn't lost in a flood of other posts.

Euph player in British brass bands since childhood here as well as mainly a bass trombonist these last two decades. Wick 3AL works well for me in euph - enough width to fit my face in, not so much that stamina or high register become difficult; enough depth and throat to make a round sound, not so much that it doesn't project or becomes unfocussed. I played an SM3 for a number of years and enjoyed it, but ultimately felt that my projection suffered. The 4AL/3AL Wick area is an extremely popular one among good euph players here. 2(N)AL has its adherents too, though mostly among older players. 5AL I don't tend to see nearly as much.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by sirisobhakya » Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:24 am

Thank you everyone for the great advices! Update today: I adjusted the holding position and used my left arm to cradle the horn instead of using my left hand to grab the valve branch. The result was quite dramatic, and I can now find a good mouthpiece placement on my lips.

About the mouthpiece/sound, I adjusted my air and embouchure a bit, and the sound became more open and less forced. It still varied from note to note, though. Today I used a plastic demonstrator mouthpiece (around 48 in size, seems to be more to the cone-shaped side, but rather shallow) instead of the usual 3G because of technical reasons.

About the horn(s), right now the band has 2 YEP-321S and a Besson (or Boosey & Hawkes... can’t remember) 3-valves large-shank for the students, and I have to be able to switch back and forth depending on which student comes (if there are 3 coming I would switch back to my bass trombone and teach them together with trombone students). I still have no plan to buy my own Euphonium in the near future. I do have plan to buy either Wessex Kaiserbariton or bass trumpet, but that is not for instructing purpose though.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by ghmerrill » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:32 pm

sirisobhakya wrote:
Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:24 am
Thank you everyone for the great advices! Update today: I adjusted the holding position and used my left arm to cradle the horn instead of using my left hand to grab the valve branch.
So your next step is to work up to a classic 3+1 compensating Eb tuba. :lol: :lol:

When I got my Wessex 981 clone I couldn't believe that people could hold those things -- and that surely the design and angle of the leadpipe was a fundamental design or manufacturing mistake. That really took me a while to overcome (and eventually involved making a stand for it).
Gary Merrill
Wessex EEb Bass tuba
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Amati Oval Euph
1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba
Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by harrisonreed » Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:53 pm

Regarding intonation on the euph -- I thought most good models came with a pitch finder on the main tuning slide? If not, you can have a pitch finder (ie, a lever that pushes the main slide in and out) added to many models of euphoniums.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by ghmerrill » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:34 pm

The main slide triggers are at this point kind of "old school" and relatively few models have them any longer -- though you can have them added by the manufacturer (or someone else) at additional cost. In general, intonation of these horns nowadays doesn't require the trigger and most people don't want to fool with them (they're a pain to maintain and keep in adjustment, and they add weight). In the case of pitch problems it is often possible to solve them with alternate fingerings, and Dave Werden has a little booklet available for precisely that purpose. Some models do have a main slide trigger, and some people like them. But now that seems to be pretty much in the minority.

I did have a main slide trigger on my first tuba (Yamaha 321S) many years ago -- added by the original owner, and it was quite helpful. But that's a non-compensating horn. I wouldn't think of adding one to my Mack Brass euph.

There are several discussions of the pluses and minuses of the trigger on Werden's forum, for those interested in the details.
Gary Merrill
Wessex EEb Bass tuba
Mack Brass Compensating Euph
Amati Oval Euph
1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba
Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by JasonDonnelly » Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:30 pm

ghmerrill wrote:
Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:34 pm
The main slide triggers are at this point kind of "old school" and relatively few models have them any longer -- though you can have them added by the manufacturer (or someone else) at additional cost. In general, intonation of these horns nowadays doesn't require the trigger and most people don't want to fool with them (they're a pain to maintain and keep in adjustment, and they add weight). In the case of pitch problems it is often possible to solve them with alternate fingerings, and Dave Werden has a little booklet available for precisely that purpose. Some models do have a main slide trigger, and some people like them. But now that seems to be pretty much in the minority.
Almost all professional models of euphonium these days are sold with the trigger - or with the option of adding one. Besson, Sterling, Yamaha, Miraphone, Adams, and Willson all have triggers on their top horns, either standard or an extra option.

PLENTY of people, myself included absolutely do want to fool with triggers - they prevent my tone from suffering via lipping down notes or using alternate fingerings. 1 + 4 might make your high Eb (Eb4) in tune, but at what cost? The sound isn't nearly as rich. You wouldn't play that note on trombone with your F valve down, would you?

I have yet to ever play a euphonium that naturally plays in tune throughout all registers. It just doesn't exist. This means that we have to remedy this somehow. The trigger, unlike lipping notes or alternate fingerings, does not change the core tone and is easy to use. Yes, it makes the horn a little heavier, but it's a small price to pay for rock-solid intonation. Also, the maintenance, at least on the good triggers (Besson has a particularly great one), is equivalent to the maintenance on any other valve slide, just with a lighter grease (I use Ultra-Pure Light on mine).

This all being said, of course, unless you plan on having an extensive solo career or playing in a military band, a Yamaha 321 is more than enough.
University of Miami (Frost School of Music) - BM Euphonium Performance 21'

Besson Prestige 2052 - Alliance DC2
Bach 50B3 - Denis Wick 00AL
Olds Custom P-16 - Yamaha 48
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by ghmerrill » Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:25 pm

Opinions clearly differ -- as with virtually all equipment. :)

http://www.dwerden.com/forum/showthread ... 57Jp6ZKiUk

And several other threads on that site.
Gary Merrill
Wessex EEb Bass tuba
Mack Brass Compensating Euph
Amati Oval Euph
1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba
Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by Kbiggs » Sun Sep 16, 2018 4:45 pm

I have occasionally doubled on euphonium, always with borrowed instruments. As a trombonist, I prefer a euphonium with a main tuning slide trigger. Yes, I can lip some notes in tune, but it doesn’t “feel” right, and the notes don’t ring true compared to notes on a trombone. I suppose if I had a euphonium and practiced the notes that tend to be out of tune I could get them to sound almost as good as a dedicated euphoniumist. But if I were to buy a euphonium, I would budget the extra money for a tuning slide trigger.
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Re: Euphonium Doubler - How, how long and how well do you adapt?

Post by Mikebmiller » Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:45 pm

I have a really nice Willson 2704 that I got about 20 years ago. Unfortunately, I never get to play it in my community band as we always seem to have a shortage of trombones and a gross over supply of euphonium players - like 3-5 in a 50 piece band. I am the best euph player in the band, but I never get to prove it. I have always used a Schilke 58 mp and it sounds great.

In many concert band tunes, especially the British stuff, the euph part is far and away more interesting to play than the trombone part. You actually get some nice melodic lines and solos, while the bones are back there playing footballs and background chords.
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