Tristar 4 Valve Euphonium Review

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Wrightfamily30's review of Tristar 4 Valve Euphonium

★★★★☆
Tristar 4 Valve Euphonium

“I bought a 4 valve euphonium from Tristar of India in...”

Written on: 05/02/2006 by Wrightfamily30 (4 reviews written)

Good Points
Very cheap compared with everything else.
Looks nice.

Bad Points
Very poor tuning on 4th valve.
Some lack of build quality.

General Comments
I bought a 4 valve euphonium from Tristar of India in the new year of 2006 for just over £100.



The instrument looks nice, being in bright silver plate and nicely proportioned.



I would suggest that its size makes it particularly suitable for children. I'm used to B & H Imperial and Sovereign models, and I found this much smaller and lighter; more like the Salvation Army Bandmaster that I played as a boy. Also, being medium bore (though I'm not sure exactly what the bore is on this instrument), it takes less puff than a Sovereign!



It makes a lovely, fruity sound and I've found it to play in tune throughout the 3 valve register. The 4th valve however, is just about useless. It is sharp, even with its tuning slide fully extended, on bottom G, and it just gets worse as you descend towards pedal C.



There are build quality issues. I removed the 2nd valve slide yesterday to clean and empty it, and I had terrible trouble getting the slide back in because of a slight misalignment of the tubing. Also, one of the stays has come unsoldered.



It came with a rather flimsy 'gig bag', and a basic but serviceable mouthpiece.



Since you can't even get an old B & H Imperial for less than £500; and even Amati and the like are usually well above £300, picking up a serviceable euphonium for about £100 has to be a good thing for a parent wanting an instrument for a child to start on. Should they give up after a few months, there's so much less to lose.



Recommended then, as a student instrument to get started on, but maybe the cheaper 3 valve version makes more sense.

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Pro Trumpet's Response to Wrightfamily30's Review

Written on: 16/10/2006

I'm a professional Trumpet player of 35 years, and I played the Tuba as a child. I'm greatly concerned with these JUNK "Instruments" flooding the web. Not only are kids being short changed on this deal, but it encourages this JUNK to keep being produced. Kids need a well made instrument to learn on, period.
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<br>Do your child a favor and buy a well made brand name instrument, or rent, not some Third World, poorly made Tuba with no resale value. There's a good reason why they are priced so low.
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<br/>A beginner doesn't need an inferior instrument made in sweatshops with no quality control or pride. You are not saving money buying a poorly made instrument. If you don't believe me, do more review searches for Tristar on the web. Instruments made in Pakistan, India and Mainland China are notorious as a "throw away."

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Lumbricus's Response to Wrightfamily30's Review

Written on: 11/06/2008

To quote, 'The 4th valve however, is just about useless. It is sharp, even with its tuning slide fully extended, on bottom G, and it just gets worse as you descend towards pedal C. '<br/> A non-compensating euphonium will always get sharper as you try to descend to the fundamental. This type of euphonium is not designed to be able to do that chromatically. Even the diatonic scale down to the fundamental needs alternative fingerings with a non-compensating euphonium! A low F (treble clef) usually needs to be played 3+4, an E natural 2,3+4, and a D, 1,2,3+4 to get even close. The non-compensating 4 valve euphonium mainly gives you a better D and C sharp, plus a low F.

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Lumbricus's Response to Wrightfamily30's Review

Written on: 09/06/2008

You would expect a non-compensating 4 valve euphonium to get sharper if you play down to the fundamental. It's not really designed to get you there chromatically. You need to apply modified fingerings to get close to the diatonic bottom notes F, E and D (treble clef).

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Pro Trumpet's Response to Wrightfamily30's Review

Written on: 18/10/2006

I understand your thoughts on buying Tristar Instruments. I live here in California, and evidently there are higher quality band instruments available for rent. The problem with many of these cheap Instruments is the valve actions are intolerable.
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<br>If that's all the parents can afford, and if there are no other quality instruments around to rent, I guess it's better than nothing.

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Wrightfamily30's Response to Wrightfamily30's Review

Written on: 17/10/2006

May I respond?
<br/>I'm a euphonium player with 36 years experience of playing that instrument. I wholeheartedly agree that it is important to provide a usable instrument for children to learn on. Ideally, everyone would be handed a B & H Sovereign (or equivalent, high quality, fully compensating instrument) at the outset, but with a new cost of well in excess of £2000 (and second hand values, even for elderly and well worn instruments, rarely dropping below £800 for a Sovereign and £500 for an Imperial) it is extremely unlikely that many LEA's in the UK would be prepared to provide such instruments through their schools music departments, or that many parents would be able (or willing) to lay out such money, when there is always the chance that the association with the instrument may prove to be a short lived affair.
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<br/>As an 11 year old, I myself was handed an old, 3 valve Boosey and Hawkes instrument, with a standard B & H mouthpiece. It had no case so I had to carry it around in a canvas rucksack. Only 5 years down the line did a B & H Imperial with a Denis Wick mouthpiece come my way. I would far rather have started on the Imperial, but we have to be realistic.
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<br/>As I said in my original review, the Tristar euphonium (and trumpet - see other review), while far from perfect, does perform well enough, and I am currently using it at school in two different music ensembles, with perfectly satisfactory results. It is NOT a Sovereign, but it plays well enough, with a fruity tone, and it has suffered no breakages, plate wear, sticky valves or anything else - yet.
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<br/>If it came to the choice between providing a 'junk' instrument such as the Tristar, or denying a child the opportunity to try out an instrument through lack of funds, I know what I (as an enthusiastic champion of brass instruments in particular, and music making in general) would do.
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<br/>I understand that a 'professional' musician, with a far keener ear for exact intonation, a far greater awareness of tonal quality and a much keener eye for perfection in manufacturing might baulk at accepting that other musicians would recommend what they would regard as 'junk', but my role is to get children started in music making, and these instruments are adequate for this task.

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