Can anybody tell me anything about this Besson 981-2 Eb? Bookmark and Share

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Can anybody tell me anything about this Besson 981-2 Eb?

Postby Water Music » Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:03 pm

Such as, does anybody have any experience with these horns, are they a good investment, or not really worth it? I might be interested in this horn if I hear good things about it.

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Postby Neptune » Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:17 pm

They are very good tubas with spot on intonation, great projection and a lovely mellow sound. A 981 is suitable for anything from quintet to full symphony orchestra. They are a real one for all tuba. I used one for everything for 14 years.

Many will say they are stuffy in the low register with the compensating system, but you just need to learn how to blow them down there - they have to be pushed a bit more.
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Postby tubaman90 » Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:42 pm

im using one temporarily for a brass band until they get me one, and its awesome. I think if you were to buy one go with the Pat Sheridan Model. its wrapped a bit better
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Postby charlieJ » Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:41 pm

They are wonderful tubas, a jack of all trades and master of all...Slap a Mike Finn 2 on the 981 and it will do almost anything. I've played all the past and current Eb tubas out there, and a good 981 will hold its own with any of them. Some folks don't care for the 3 + 1 valve setup, but I really like it - its a personal choice. Really a great horn.
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Postby iiipopes » Thu Sep 28, 2006 11:59 pm

Yes, an all-around, not just a brass band, standard from day 1. I wish more were used in USA concert bands for the octave or higher tuba parts to get better blend with the euphs & trombones. Now, if I only had the money for the one (if it's still there) for its 3-valve predecessor at Wichita to match my BBb....
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Postby NickJones » Fri Sep 29, 2006 2:39 am

It's a brilliant instrument , I bought a 981 which had belonged to a yorkshire based championship section band , I stupidly sold it three years ago as I was doing more work on Bb, still at the moment I play a 982 built with a lower mouthpipe ( like the 981)requested from Besson in 2000 and it's a monster to play ,good in quintet , solo , band work ( even the mighty bierkellerbrass group www.bierkellerbrass.co.uk ).
if you can hold of a 981 made in the 1980's keep hold of it , it's a great investment.
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Postby Neptune » Fri Sep 29, 2006 2:57 am

NickJones wrote:if you can hold of a 981 made in the 1980's keep hold of it , it's a great investment.

Yes, I have played newer band owned 981 with the higher swan neck leadpipe and although good, they are not a patch on my 1988 John Fletcher style 981.

Image

I love my rotary valve tubas, but would never part with my 981 - as well as brass band playing, it is the instrument I take along if I don't know what is to be played, as it can be used for anything.
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Postby finnbogi » Fri Sep 29, 2006 6:35 am

Neptune wrote:They are very good tubas with spot on intonation, great projection and a lovely mellow sound. A 981 is suitable for anything from quintet to full symphony orchestra. They are a real one for all tuba.

What he said.
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Postby ken k » Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:12 pm

I will add to the sentiments that I love my Boosey & Hawkes Imperial, which originally was like the Besson 982 with the smaller leadpipe. I have since put a 981 leadpipe on it and I love the horn. It has been my only tuba for the last 20 years. I play mostly brass quintet stuff, a small "Pops" Orchestra, and some band work. I wouldn't mind having a bigger horn for band work, but usually there is another tuba with me and the horn blends nicely. I also have started playing in a British-style brass band and the horn obviously is right at home there.

They do tend to play on the low side. Many people get the back branches shortened a few inches. But the horn is very in tune with itself, with very few "funky" notes. I do not miss the need to pull tuning slides to get notes in tune.

It is the perfect quintet horn in my opinion.

The 982 has a smaller leadpipe and so the choice of mouthieces is limited. It also has a tighter feel to it and has the carriage rings on it.

The 983 is nice too but it is a smaller horn.

I have used a number of mouthpieces on it and am presently using a Sidey SSH Helleberg. Other moutpieces I have used with success on it are the Wick 2L, the R&S Heavyweight Helleberg (I forget which one). I have gradually been going larger. I started out years ago on a Wick 4, which cut like a scalpel. The clarity was amazing, but the low register suffered. I then moved to a Wick 2. When I got the larger lead pipe on it I used a 2L, (which I had been using for other tubas and sousaphones) and used that for many years. I tried the R&S heavy weight for awhile and it really opened up the sound and the low regeister since it is a bit larger than the 2 but it also covered over the artix a bit more than I wanted, so that is why I went with the lighter Sidey SSH. I have been using it about 6 months and so far I like it. The artix are a bit more clearer but yet the low register still flows easily. From what I understand the Wick 3/3L was designed for this horn and is the standard mouthpece in England. I do ot now for sure since mine came with a 2 and a 4 (I bought it used).

sorry for the long winded response

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Last edited by ken k on Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Neptune » Sat Sep 30, 2006 5:55 pm

ken k wrote:The 982 has a smaller leadpipe and so the choice of mouthieces is limited.

Actually, all the 982 I have come across take the standard mouthpiece, like the 981. If it takes one of the smaller bore mouthpieces, it will be a pre-Sovereign instrument.
ken k wrote:From what I understand the Wick 3/3L was designed for this horn and is the standard mouthpece in England.

I don't know if it was designed for them, but these are very popular mouthpieces for the Besson Eb, although that may be because they were supplied with them. The similar size 24AW is also used a lot in England for both brass band and orchestral playing.
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Postby ken k » Sat Sep 30, 2006 6:01 pm

Neptune wrote:
ken k wrote:The 982 has a smaller leadpipe and so the choice of mouthieces is limited.

Actually, all the 982 I have come across take the standard mouthpiece, like the 981. If it takes one of the smaller bore mouthpieces, it will be a pre-Sovereign instrument.


I stand corrected then. When did they make the switch to the larger receiver? Mine is a Bossey & Hawkes not a Besson and I think it dates from the 70's, not sure. I bought it used in 1985.

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Last edited by ken k on Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby ken k » Sat Sep 30, 2006 6:01 pm

Neptune wrote:
ken k wrote:The 982 has a smaller leadpipe and so the choice of mouthieces is limited.

Actually, all the 982 I have come across take the standard mouthpiece, like the 981. If it takes one of the smaller bore mouthpieces, it will be a pre-Sovereign instrument.


I stand corrected then. When did they make the switch to the larger receiver? Mine is a Bossey & Hawkes not a Besson and I think it dates from the 70's, not sure. I bought it used in 1985.

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