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The Helicon is back!

Postby Wyvern » Sun Jun 12, 2016 8:45 am

First glimpse of prototype for the new Wessex Tubas Eb Helicon (worn by Jonathan Hodgetts) beside 19th century example (worn by Jim Langley).

I personally find it a lot more comfortable to carry than a sousaphone. Lighter and with lower centre of gravity. Sound is more like tuba and not as woofy as sousaphone.

Expected to be available late 2016 or early 2017.
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Helicon ancient and modern!
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Last edited by Wyvern on Sun Jul 03, 2016 2:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Helicons ancient and modern!

Postby marccromme » Sun Jun 12, 2016 4:38 pm

Great! I always wanted a Eb Helicon too for street music. I am eager to learn more about your prototype. Please feel free to disclose more info when you are ready! MC
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Re: Helicons ancient and modern!

Postby Ace » Sun Jun 12, 2016 5:16 pm

I wonder if there would be a market for the ancient Roman military corni? Would your guys build one, Jonathan? Might be tough finding a sample to take measurements. Bore size? Conical? Cylindrical? Pitch? Bell flare? Mouthpiece configuration? Etc.

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Re: Helicons ancient and modern!

Postby Wyvern » Sun Jun 12, 2016 6:46 pm

Ace wrote:I wonder if there would be a market for the ancient Roman military corni? Would your guys build one, Jonathan? Might be tough finding a sample to take measurements. Bore size? Conical? Cylindrical? Pitch? Bell flare? Mouthpiece configuration? Etc.

-Ace

I know someone who has modern reproduction. Looks good, but not sure how accurate it plays and sounds. That is pitched like modern euphonium. :D
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Re: Helicons ancient and modern!

Postby Three Valves » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:03 am

BBb please. :)
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Re: Helicons ancient and modern!

Postby Wyvern » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:58 am

Three Valves wrote:BBb please. :)

In future plans dependant on how the Eb version is received
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Re: Helicons ancient and modern!

Postby TheGoyWonder » Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:02 pm

Is it mostly parts from the similar sousaphone or a totally new thing?
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Re: Helicons ancient and modern!

Postby Wyvern » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:09 pm

TheGoyWonder wrote:Is it mostly parts from the similar sousaphone or a totally new thing?

It is a helicon reverse engineered from sousaphone, rather than based on vintage helicon
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Re: Helicons ancient and modern!

Postby TheGoyWonder » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:11 pm

Is it about the same size or larger than a compensating Eb?
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Re: Helicons ancient and modern!

Postby Wyvern » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:55 pm

TheGoyWonder wrote:Is it about the same size or larger than a compensating Eb?

Same size bore and 19" bell
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Re: Helicons ancient and modern!

Postby Heliconer » Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:33 pm

My Wallet already hates you. This is too good t be true!
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Re: Helicons ancient and modern!

Postby tofu » Tue Jun 14, 2016 2:04 pm

I think your biggest challenge won't be whether there is a market for new helicons, but shipping them. Both from a damage standpoint, but also at a reasonable cost point to customers. That is going to be one huge and expensive box to ship.

I'm a long time multiple Helicon owner of both BBb & Eb and the only disadvantage of a Helicon is transport to gigs in car/bus and forget about flying!

So perhaps you might want to think about having a detachable bell which would not only help in shipping, but also benefit owners when transporting to gigs?
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Re: Helicons ancient and modern!

Postby Douglas » Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:08 pm

It would be hard to resist if it were in CC.
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The Helicon is back!

Postby Wyvern » Sun Jul 03, 2016 2:02 pm

I have been trying out the new Wessex Eb Helicon on the march and in concert with band this last couple weekend and can say I absolutely love! Why military bands stopped using them, I just do not know? I found it to be the perfect tuba for marching. Weight is about 25% less than sousaphone with lower centre of gravity making it easy to carry, while that weight is directly over spine unlike tuba on strap where I am bracing to stay upright. Therefore my posture was much better and I suffered no back pain. Also I found the music stayed steady and did not jog-around, so I could easier read on the march.

A big surprise to me is the helicon plays much better than sousaphone. The sound is more focused, the notes slot better with improved intonation and fuller low register. I never before realised the adverse effect that double curve of tube and oversize bell had on the playing of sousaphones. As Tom Holtz commented on Facebook, "It's night and day. Truly." I now understand!

I am pleased to hear the Swedish Royal Army Band has started using helicon again. I hope Wessex Tubas can start a helicon revival. The first batch of Eb helicon will be available November and we expect to have a 4 piston valve BBb version following in 2017.

Here are some photos of me playing the Eb helicon with Wessex Military Band.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Works well sitting too - unless you are the euphonium player to my left! :D
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Re: Helicons ancient and modern!

Postby UncleBeer » Sun Jul 03, 2016 9:00 pm

Heliconer wrote:My Wallet already hates you. This is too good t be true!


+1. Excellent choice, Jonathan!
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Re: Helicons ancient and modern!

Postby 58mark » Sun Jul 03, 2016 9:06 pm

tofu wrote:I think your biggest challenge won't be whether there is a market for new helicons, but shipping them. Both from a damage standpoint, but also at a reasonable cost point to customers. That is going to be one huge and expensive box to ship.

I'm a long time multiple Helicon owner of both BBb & Eb and the only disadvantage of a Helicon is transport to gigs in car/bus and forget about flying!

So perhaps you might want to think about having a detachable bell which would not only help in shipping, but also benefit owners when transporting to gigs?



I would think a detachable bell would help both buyer and seller out. I would never consider buying anything you can't put in the trunk (or even the back seat) of most cars

that being said, excellent product announcement Jonathan, thanks for always trying to bring something to the market that there wouldn't necessarily be a HuGE market for, but something that fills a niche
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Re: The Helicon is back!

Postby Three Valves » Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:28 am

The Red Coats are coming!!

Steady...
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Re: The Helicon is back!

Postby opus37 » Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:58 am

I have a couple of Eb helicons. They play very nicely and are better balanced for carrying that a sousaphone. Good choice Johannathan.
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Re: The Helicon is back!

Postby marccromme » Wed Oct 05, 2016 5:32 pm

Hi Jonathan - any updates on specs and development of the Eb helicon ???
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Re: The Helicon is back!

Postby sousaphonehero » Thu Nov 03, 2016 10:47 pm

Bumping this back up, I guess.
What is the status?
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