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Just played a Wessex

Postby paulver » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:49 pm

Just had the opportunity to play a Wessex...... not sure what model it was, but I got to play it.

Now..... I'm a staunch traditionalist when it comes to certain things in life. Having taught instrumental music for more years than I care to remember, a long time ago I had come to the realization that there are certain countries that make certain instruments that are acceptable for learning purposes, needed for serious playing purposes, and outrageously good for outrageously serious playing purposes. When I was in music school, Yamaha was churning out clarinets that were unknowingly, built a half an inch too short, and could not possibly, in any way shape or form, be played in tune with an American band!!!! Lord knows what happened in the Japanese bands!! We were taught to avoid companies like this..... like the plague!!

That being said, I have my old 1970s era Miraphone 186 that I love!! I also have several other instruments that I've acquired over the years that are made in different countries that are very nice, quality instruments.

For instance, I have a 1970s, six foot Yamaha original C3 Grand Piano that has an absolutely great sound in each of the ranges, perfect action for me, and it's in terrific condition. Yes..... the same Japanese company that made the short clarinets!! And, incidentally, it's from the same era!!!! It's a conservatory grand, built for the stage. I paid $4900 for it when it was 9 years old in the early 1980s, and it's been recently valued in the $40,000-$50,000 range. (I still have trouble believing that last part!) It still has all of the original strings!! I have an extremely nice wooden Buffet clarinet from the 1960s. Additionally, I have some "junker" instruments that I use to mess around with. So.....you get the idea.... I'm pretty discriminating regarding musical instruments.

When it came to China....... I always cringed when some kid or their parent came through my band room door with an instrument made in that country. There was nothing to use in the way of parts to even begin to try and repair them, and they always felt like the valves were scraping against the casings. Couple that with the actual crappy sound of the thing, and it made for a very frustrating experience for both the student and teacher.

Fast forward to last evening.......... Somebody handed me a Wessex to play, and I was totally shocked at the sound I got, the ease of the response..... virtually no resistance, the feel and touch of the valves, and the ease of controlling the tone when playing rather loudly. It was the extreme opposite of what I'd expected, and I'm still amazed at the fact that I actually like it!!!!!

I have no idea as to how it was built, how well it was built, durability, or what it was made of...... except it was silver in color. I know nothing about this instrument other than it played incredibly well, had a great sound.... and I liked it!!

Boy..... have times changed!
Last edited by paulver on Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Just played a Wessex

Postby groth » Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:02 am

And the new Chinese stuff is now 2-3 times as expensive which you would expect with such better quality than before.
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Re: Just played a Wessex

Postby Wyvern » Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:46 am

The world moves on. When people say to me that Wessex can’t be good because they are made in China, I reply - your iPhone is made in China - one of the best and most desirable consumer products.

There is nothing to stop high quality brass instruments being made in China if produced under supervision of qualified people with proper controls on quality. Wessex is working towards manufacturing the best brass instruments in the world, but still at reasonable prices. I will not rest until that is consistently achieved!
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Re: Just played a Wessex

Postby LibraryMark » Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:50 am

If they could only provide a showroom here in the states...
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Re: Just played a Wessex

Postby Wyvern » Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:29 am

LibraryMark wrote:If they could only provide a showroom here in the states...

The new showroom near Chicago will be ready to visit by the end March. Email SteveM@Wessex-Tubas.com or phone 616-843-6888 to arrange
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Re: Just played a Wessex

Postby korreyfrichtl » Sat Mar 16, 2019 3:40 pm

I play the Wessex F "Berg". It's great! Better response through the horn than the Alex and Rudy F's I've played through college. Very good instruments at crazy good prices. I've been very impressed, especially with the exponential improvements they keep making. Also my buddy's Chicago-York is a real big boy horn. I love it!
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Re: Just played a Wessex

Postby groth » Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:55 pm

https://youtu.be/1ztcn3A75Rw Will comment and say this is one of the best sounding F tubas I've heard.
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Re: Just played a Wessex

Postby bazzelsup » Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:16 pm

Love my Wessex. I think the sound compares well to much more expenssive horns. I hope it holds up over the long term.
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Re: Just played a Wessex

Postby Wyvern » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:47 am

bazzelsup wrote:Love my Wessex. I think the sound compares well to much more expenssive horns. I hope it holds up over the long term.

Pleased you are enjoying the tuba! I think the fact that Wessex are now being played by some of the top tuba players in the world professionally (picture below of Mike Roylance of Boston Symphony with Wessex TB693 Prokofiev in Carnegy Hall) shows that they play and sound just as good as the most expensive brands - and we are working to make even better.

For holding up over time. I always explain they are made from exactly the same materials in the same way as established brands - so there is no reason why Wessex should not still be around and in use just as long. I would like to think Wessex tubas will still be played in 100 years when I am long gone and 6 foot under :roll:
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Re: Just played a Wessex

Postby Oldschooltuba » Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:05 am

Our grandson is the top senior tuba at Texas all state. He plays my Wessex Wyvern. What a great sound he gets from the instrument. With that horn (and a big dose of talent and hard work) he has a full ride set of scholarships to the music school at the University of North Texas. Congrats to Ryan and Wessex .
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