Posted by Joe S. on April 17, 1999 at 21:33:23:
In Reply to: Euphoniums... decisions, decisions posted by David L. Allen on April 17, 1999 at 16:47:50:
I think the Miraphones, Sterlings, and Bessons are fine, especially when you balance their costs against professional Willsons. (Most folks first choice.) I guess Yamahas are OK , but they have a problem in their construction that is not friendly to middle school use: The precision fit of the valve casings goes all the way to the very top. This means that when kids or daddies start monkeying around with stuck valve caps (the dreaded pliers) and put stress on the casings in the top threaded area, they are likely to screw up the fit of the valve casings to the pistons at the very top. This will cause the pistons to hang (on the slightly damaged area) at the very top of the stroke, and the pistons will not come out of the casing for oiling (or even for repair). On other brands, the top 1/4" of the valve casings on the inside (of where the threads occur on the outside) have an enlarged area, and that top 1/4" does NOT precision-fit the pistons. That means that on NON-Yamahas when kids and daddies screw around with stuck valve caps and jerk at the top of the casings, the valves may very well still work just fine, and possibly little or no repair will be required. Yamaha does not make their valve casing walls thick enough to allow for this "set-off", and it looks to me as though it would be difficult for them to make this change without fairly major retooling on this part of the horn.
Congratulations on the commitment and resources of your parents/students/school.
If they have FINALLY made their #2 slide shorter (has been manufactured too long, in my opinion), the Willson 2104 (NON-compensating) has a gorgeous professional sound, and is priced under all compensating models.