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Wessex Wyvern review

Postby bbocaner » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:51 am

I wrote a review of my new Wessex Wyvern CC tuba on another forum. Since there isn't a heck of a lot of information about this model online yet, I thought I'd share it here as well.

http://www.dwerden.com/forum/showthread ... ern-review
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Re: Wessex Wyvern review

Postby bort » Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:14 am

Wow... that's a good read! You should copy and paste the text here for posterity, I am certain that people will be interested to read it.

Maybe also post again after a few months to say what you think?
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Re: Wessex Wyvern review

Postby MaryAnn » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:12 pm

I'm really curious what you hear in terms of the difference between gold brass and yellow brass. I remember reading some things Dave Werden said about euphonium bells and preferring the yellow brass over gold, but cannot remember what he said.
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Re: Wessex Wyvern review

Postby bbocaner » Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:27 pm

MaryAnn wrote:I'm really curious what you hear in terms of the difference between gold brass and yellow brass. I remember reading some things Dave Werden said about euphonium bells and preferring the yellow brass over gold, but cannot remember what he said.


It's hard to define and it's more about the way the instrument feels to me than the way it sounds. I think different people experience it different ways.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_know_it_when_I_see_it

:)

However... in general, I find gold brass bells (not necessarily other parts of the instruments) to have a sort of fuzzy feel to them, a lack of clarity and center, especially in delicate articulations, but also detectable in held notes.
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Re: Wessex Wyvern review

Postby bloke » Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:37 pm

my sincere belief:

Instruments of the same model (from $1500 to $15000 and more) vary more from one to the next than any perceivable difference between approx. 90:10 and approx. 80:20 brass.

I'm about as certain as I can be that Richard Woodhams (principal oboe in Philly and teaches at Curtis) used (uses?) a plastic top joint oboe for years, because he grew sick and tired of his instruments changing and cracking.

important: interior dimensions (instruments, mouthpieces)
of less or negligible importance - within reason: (materials)
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Re: Wessex Wyvern review

Postby DCottrell » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:14 am

"important: interior dimensions (instruments, mouthpieces)
of less or negligible importance - within reason: (materials)"

Arthur Benade agrees with you.
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Re: Wessex Wyvern review

Postby bloke » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:41 am

DCottrell wrote:"important: interior dimensions (instruments, mouthpieces)
of less or negligible importance - within reason: (materials)"

Arthur Benade agrees with you.


Now that I have stainless steel mouthpieces -
- close to the same weight/density as brass
- far more scuff-resistant and scratch-resistant than brass
- do ~not~ require a .0004" coating of delicate/expensive/easy-to-scratch silver or gold to prevent oxidation

...and, of course, anything in stainless steel can be made to any interior dimensions a maker chooses (identical-or different-from any given brass-and-plating mouthpiece) - to me, it's an obvious choice.

It seems to me that the only reasons (now) to choose a brass-and-plating mouthpiece are
- specific dimensions not offered in stainless steel (and this goes the other way as well...)
- (most often) lower cost

(...with apologies, but the site owner stated that it's ok to go off on tangents in threads.)
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Re: Wessex Wyvern review

Postby bbocaner » Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:12 pm

bloke wrote:important: interior dimensions (instruments, mouthpieces)
of less or negligible importance - within reason: (materials)


I agree with you that dimensions are *more* important, but not that material is of negligible importance.

I have gone over to Shires and Rath (Edwards works, too, although I haven't been there myself) and tried out the exact same mouthpiece, slide, leadpipe, vale section, and tuning slide with different bells of the exact same gauge and construction but made of different materials and get markedly different results. Granted, maybe not as much out in the hall as what the player feels, but it makes a big difference. And maybe it makes a bigger difference on trombone which is a much different instrument than euphonium or tuba, but the difference is there. Yes, there are variations from bell to bell even of the identical model, but there is a certain feel that gold brass has which is different from the feel of yellow brass or red brass; and it is consistent across heavy bells and light bells and two piece vs one piece and so on.

Vanishing returns, gilding the lily, etc.; but it isn't negligible.
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Re: Wessex Wyvern review

Postby bloke » Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:38 pm

again...

You compared two DIFFERENT instruments made by MEN.
MEN cannot make perfect duplicates of anything... (Hey: Some rockets blow up...Others do not. :| )
You have no real way of knowing whether the differences were the differences in the instruments or the differences in the materials.
Yes. You can guess, and yes, you can believe...and so can I...

OK...Are these coincidences (instruments made differently) or are they due to "sound preferences" ?
- I've never (when there was a choice offered) picked out a silver plated version of an instrument for my own use.
- I've never (when there was a choice offered) picked out a gold brass version of an instrument for my own use.
I do not KNOW that it's because of "gold brass" or "silver plating" not being to my liking, but I STRONGLY suspect that (simply) the INSTRUMENTS offered to me that were lacquered yellow brass were instruments (subtle interior shapes differences) more to my personal liking.

Fiberglass sousaphones have a different after-ring from brass. Fiberglass sousaphones after-ring is reminiscent of the type of sound that you hear AFTER you have yelled into a pipe. Brass sousaphones' after-ring is a result of the uber-pancaked bell flare vibrating...but the sound of either (if close to identical interior shape) WHILE the vibration is being made is just about exactly the same...(at least to me...and maybe fiberglass versions of sousaphones sound "as good" to me, because I hold no personal bias against fiberglass sousaphones...??)

bloke "I'd bet that - during my lifetime...so far - I have assumed MILLIONS of things that were flat-out WRONG." :D
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Re: Wessex Wyvern review

Postby bbocaner » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:13 pm

I didn't just compare different instruments, I compared hundreds of examples and noticed trends that hold true across most if not all samples.
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Re: Wessex Wyvern review

Postby Donn » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:35 pm

bbocaner wrote:Granted, maybe not as much out in the hall as what the player feels


I think if people took this distinction more to heart, there would be less disagreement over the subject.
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Re: Wessex Wyvern review

Postby bloke » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:03 pm

...and you also have no way of knowing (due to the material being different) if the material difference causes other unknown/unobserved (sure: consistent) differences in structure.

This is not science. It's opinion.

My yellow brass tuba doesn't sound as good when I'm sleepy as Eddie Van Halen's guitar sounds on recordings...

Eddie Van Halen's guitar sounds better through your cell phone speaker (and hundreds of other cell phone speakers like yours) than it does through mine.
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Re: Wessex Wyvern review

Postby bbocaner » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:30 pm

bloke wrote:...and you also have no way of knowing (due to the material being different) if the material difference causes other unknown/unobserved (sure: consistent) differences in structure.


OK, sure. Let's suppose that gold brass needs to be annealed for 2 minutes longer at each step in the manufacturing process than yellow does and what I don't like about it is that it's been subject to additional annealing and not that it's made of gold brass. It'd be fun to know that was the case, but what I really care about is that if I order an instrument in yellow brass I know it's going to be more like those other yellow brass instruments I've tried before and less like those other gold brass instruments I've tried before. The gold brass is still the root cause.
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Re: Wessex Wyvern review

Postby Wyvern » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:42 pm

Barry, Was there a quality checking card with your Wyvern tuba? If so, please let me know the batch number and serial number. I will then clarify with factory the metal used for the bell. What I will say is since we have started bell hardening, I detect less difference between gold brass bell and yellow brass bell tubas in their response and feel. The yellow brass now feels more like gold brass 'to me'.
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Re: Wessex Wyvern review

Postby bbocaner » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:20 pm

Wyvern wrote:Barry, Was there a quality checking card with your Wyvern tuba? If so, please let me know the batch number and serial number. I will then clarify with factory the metal used for the bell. What I will say is since we have started bell hardening, I detect less difference between gold brass bell and yellow brass bell tubas in their response and feel. The yellow brass now feels more like gold brass 'to me'.


Thanks. Interesting. I don't remember if there was one or not, if there was one I don't have it anymore now. The serial number stamped on the valve casings is 051615 and it was in the batch that arrived in the US in late May, if that helps.
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