Re: double bell euphonium

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Posted by Chuck on December 29, 1998 at 13:42:02:

In Reply to: double bell euphonium posted by Paul on December 28, 1998 at 22:16:59:

It depends--what's your interest in them? They're great for collecting and as novelty items, but if you're looking at one as a serioius performance instrument, you'll probably be better off spending your hard-earned bucks on a more modern horn.

Most DB euphs were built as additions to a single-bell model; that is, the extra (transfer) valve and small bell were added to a basic single-bell "chassis". So a 4-valve DB is basically a 3-valve single with a transfer valve and small bell added.

I'd say that the small bell has the timbre of a fluegel horn; you can get some interesting echo effects switching between the two bells.

Unfortunately, intonation problems tend to be endemic with these things and it requires some skill to keep the small bell in tune with the large one throughout its range.

And yet Simone Mantia (he of the Sousa Band) played a 5-valve Conn DB euph for most of his career. You can see him holding one in the back row in most of the Sousa band group photos.

One last consideration is that a lot of the older instruments were based on either an A=435 (low pitch) or A=452 (high pitch) tuning, so you may have problems getting one to play at A=442 without modification.

FWIW, I own both a 5-valve Conn and a 4-valve Holton.

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