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Besson Eb Tuba query

Postby PaulT » Fri May 10, 2019 4:44 am

Hi everyone,

I have come across a "Besson" Eb Tuba recently and if possible I would like some help in identifying when it was made a which particular model it is.

It has a serial number of 136297, is a 3+1 piston-valve arrangement, and is allegedly a compensating tuba.

It has tubing which runs between the 3rd and 4th valve, but this is routed around the 3 top valves (both in front of and behind).

Can anyone help with IDing this tuba?

What would be a reasonable price to offer for such an instrument? The guy who has it is looking for about $1400 but he has wriggle room I think.

Many thanks for any replies
Kind regards,
Paul
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Re: Besson Eb Tuba query

Postby olaness1 » Fri May 10, 2019 8:30 am

Look here:
https://www.horn-u-copia.net/serial/Bessonlist.html
and here: https://horniman.ac.uk/media/_file/band ... ts_web.pdf for dating. If I read these right, it's from 1948 or 49. Which could make it either a Besson New Standard or Boosey and Hawkes Imperial. Many people get the two brands in this period confused (I've seen instruments advertised on here as 'Besson Imperial' - that didn't exist), but with good reason, as Imperial and New Standard instruments were virtually identical. One identifying feature would be the 'crenellated' valve tops and 'castle' finger buttons (you'll understand when you see them) which would indicate New standard, lack of those would be Imperial (barring looking at the logo, of course).

A few issues beyond the obvious (wear & tear, valve leaks) to look out for on these: some of them were made slightly flat (by accident, presumably??) and were cut, usually the bottom of the bow at the back you hold on to. Some took to this nicely, some went badly out of tune. In this period there may also have been 'high pitch' instruments made, that would need the main tuning slide made longer. This will be obvious to the eye, as this would have required it to be made bent some way or other to make it fit. Note: the earlier of these conversions were made too long, and would need cutting.

In end effect, if buying untested it's a bit of a gamble, if testing, make sure to bring a tuner!

And $1400 is a steal if this is a goodun! But obviously pictures would make it easier to identify for certain, as Besson/B&H made non-compensating ones at the same time.

Ola
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Re: Besson Eb Tuba query

Postby hup_d_dup » Fri May 10, 2019 5:22 pm

PaulT wrote: a 3+1 piston-valve arrangement, and is allegedly a compensating tuba.


Pull one of the first three valves. If it has 10 ports (counting in and out separately), it is a compensating instrument.

Once you are familiar with the layout of a compensating horn you can recognize it at a glance.

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Re: Besson Eb Tuba query

Postby hup_d_dup » Fri May 10, 2019 5:26 pm

PaulT wrote: a 3+1 piston-valve arrangement, and is allegedly a compensating tuba.


Pull the first valve. If it has 5 channels (10 ports) it is a compensating horn.

Once you are familiar with the layout of a compensating horn you can recognize it at a glance.

Hup

(I don't know why the first post didn't appear until I wrote the second post . . . just assume it's from the Dept. of Redundancy Dept.)

Last edited by hup_d_dup on Sat May 11, 2019 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Besson Eb Tuba query

Postby bloke » Fri May 10, 2019 7:27 pm

My Besson Eb compensates me c. $125/wk... :tuba:
...might not sound like much, but its only about 50 minutes. :oops:

If your #1, #2, and #3 casings have something sort-of like this on their obverse sides, it's going to be "compensating".

...and yeah: the extra-long pistons with extra holes.

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Re: Besson Eb Tuba query

Postby PaulT » Sat May 11, 2019 6:55 am

olaness1 wrote:Look here:
https://www.horn-u-copia.net/serial/Bessonlist.html" target="_blank
and here: https://horniman.ac.uk/media/_file/band ... ts_web.pdf" target="_blank for dating. If I read these right, it's from 1948 or 49. Which could make it either a Besson New Standard or Boosey and Hawkes Imperial. Many people get the two brands in this period confused (I've seen instruments advertised on here as 'Besson Imperial' - that didn't exist), but with good reason, as Imperial and New Standard instruments were virtually identical. One identifying feature would be the 'crenellated' valve tops and 'castle' finger buttons (you'll understand when you see them) which would indicate New standard, lack of those would be Imperial (barring looking at the logo, of course).

A few issues beyond the obvious (wear & tear, valve leaks) to look out for on these: some of them were made slightly flat (by accident, presumably??) and were cut, usually the bottom of the bow at the back you hold on to. Some took to this nicely, some went badly out of tune. In this period there may also have been 'high pitch' instruments made, that would need the main tuning slide made longer. This will be obvious to the eye, as this would have required it to be made bent some way or other to make it fit. Note: the earlier of these conversions were made too long, and would need cutting.

In end effect, if buying untested it's a bit of a gamble, if testing, make sure to bring a tuner!

And $1400 is a steal if this is a goodun! But obviously pictures would make it easier to identify for certain, as Besson/B&H made non-compensating ones at the same time.

Ola



Many thanks for your information. I am going to post a couple of pictures of the Tuba as soon as I can change the file type.
Paul
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Re: Besson Eb Tuba query

Postby PaulT » Sat May 11, 2019 7:02 am

$_59-1.jpeg
$_59-2.jpeg


here are both sides of the tuba. Very dirty I know, and with a few dings but otherwise ok.
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Re: Besson Eb Tuba query

Postby olaness1 » Sat May 11, 2019 4:29 pm

Ah now that is no Imperial! Older than that, I'm afraid. Is it a Boosey & Co (before the joined forces with Hawkes & Son)? If so: look at serial numbers here http://homepages.ed.ac.uk/am/bsnboosey.html the number given dates it to 1929.

It certainly is compensating, that is obvious from the pictures. It was also high pitch and has been converted to standard pitch at some point - double braced and awkward length of main tuning slide tells you that.

Boosey & Co instruments of this vintage often had some pretty engraving, with model number etc on the bell, but on the side that is not shown on the picture, directly above the receiver. My guess is that it's a 'Class A', but I'm far from sure. If it is, and it's in good condition, then it should be a nice instrument, but $1400 is decidedly steep. I'd try and get him down into three figures.
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Re: Besson Eb Tuba query

Postby humBell » Mon May 13, 2019 5:46 am

My limited experience, the compensating loop doubling as a handle while playing has usually been an old Besson. That experience will increase when i finally get aound to opening a box i got last week, so i might be changing my opinion shortly?
Thanks for playing!
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Re: Besson Eb Tuba query

Postby PaulT » Fri May 17, 2019 10:19 am

Thank you everyone for your interest and help/opinions.

I decided to not go forward with anything, but to continue looking for something that is interesting, not too old (50ish years maximum :-) ) and that would not need too much work doing to it.

Kind regards
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