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Besson 968S Euphonium played by Norlan Bewley

Besson 968S Euphonium Review

Besson 968S Euphonium

"For many years I played a Yamaha 321 euphonium. It has a focus of tone and clarity with even intonation that I have always liked. I found the Besson 968 to have many of the qualities I liked in the Yamaha 321 with several advantages of its own. I prefer the 11 inch bell, which helps keep the tone focused and clear while still having a big, full sound. The larger bells get too woofy for me. It is a very responsive and flexible instrument that feels lighter to me than a Wilson or Yamaha, both to play and hold. I find the projection on the 968 to be quite excellent as well. Compensating euphoniums are notorious for Eb, E, and F above the staff being quite sharp, with A above that being rather flat. I find these notes fairly easy to correct for on my Besson without having the main tuning slide trigger mechanism. The compensating system is wonderful for the low range, allowing excellent pitch and a fully chromatic scale with only four valves. Besson has long been the standard in euphoniums and I see why. The Besson 968S is a very beautiful euphonium to play in every musical situation."

This instrument review was with a Monette BT 2L mouthpiece.

What is a compensating euphonium?

A compensating euphonium is a British design that “compensates” for the increasingly sharp pitch encountered in the low register. There is a second set of tubing for each valve that opens only when the fourth valve is engaged. This extra tubing corrects the pitch when playing low, without altering the tuning of the mid and upper registers. This allows the use of the mid-range fingerings (plus the fourth valve) to play low notes. On non-compensating instruments, low notes with the fourth valve are usually fingered one half step lower to compensate for the sharper pitch from low Eb down. This leaves low B without a fingering. With the compensating system, there is a fingering for low B, so you get a fully chromatic low range with only four valves. Non-compensating instruments, especially tubas, often add a fifth valve to correct this tuning problem.

bass clef Music Education Resources for Trombone, Tuba and Euphonium

BE968 Sovereign Euphonium

Instrument specifications
Bore: Bb
Bore: .59" (15mm)
Bell diameter: 11.1/4" (284mm) upright
Weight: 4.2kg (9lb 15oz)
Valves: 4 bottom sprung stainless steel
2nd valve finger ring
Compensating system
Water keys: 3 (including 3rd valve slide)
Patented spring damper set
Nickel-silver tuning slides
"Floating" leadpipe
Nylon Delrin valve guides
Classic bell size
Finishes: lacquer or bright silverplate
Supplied outfit, in case with Alliance mouthpiece in leather case and accessories

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