Beautiful BrassSince their invention and evolution many, many decades ago, in a century before the industrial revolution, Brass Bands were synonymous with British culture. By 1860 there were over 750 brass bands in England alone! That's a lot of musicians and a lot of beers drunk by the Tuba section!! Since those early times, instrument manufacture has developed and improved decade upon decade. One of the finest, Boosey & Hawkes is no more, yet others have flourished and been the mainstay of performance quality from County Contests and Shows, Cheltenham, and to the Royal Albert Hall. Developed with the heritage and tonal virtuosity expected of the traditional, professional Brass Band sound, Montreux is taking the world by storm. With the developing and conscientious instrumentalist in mind, who is looking for excellent value for money, Montreux is a force to be reckoned with. Let us compare the experience of brass instrument manufacture by Yamaha, with the new, exciting 'kid on the block'!
FinishSilver is a classic. It's bright, pristine, striking and shines bright like a diamond! More practically, it fits flawlessly into the Silver Band and Brass Band scene and is good for hiding any dents and solder based repairs. Gold (okay lacquer,) is the choice of many brass musicians. This is because lacquer hides scratches and greasy hand prints far better than silver plate. Also, it's usually cheaper. Both the Yamaha and Montreux range offer a high quality Silver finish to their instruments. The Montreux have been inspired by the pro-Boosey instruments of the 80's & 90's, allowing the brilliant Silver finish to enhance and improve the natural tone and resonances usually only found on high-end instruments costing multiple thousands of pounds. However, if the benefits and look of a lacquered finish has caught your eye, you'll need to steer over to Yamaha, as Montreux are only available in Silver.
SoundWhen it comes to the sound, Yamaha vs Montreux could be a comparison in the realms of Orchestra vs Brass Band. Yamaha Brass is known for its characteristic bright, piercing sound, yet they do offer slight variations with options of brass and the lacquer finish. Although, credit where credit is due, with the right player you can get almost any tone out of it: On the flip side are the mellow and exquisite tones and projection of the Montreux range. Think Black Dyke Mills, Cory, Grimethorpe, Jim Shepherd, the Childs brothers, etc. for an easy blowing instrument and a pleasure to listen to! If Wind Bands or Brass Bands are your 'Cup of (Yorkshire!) Tea', then Montreux is the one for you. We recently launched the Montreux brand at both the UK Brass Band finals, at Cheltenham and the RAH, and placed them next to Besson Sovereigns and Yamaha Neo's, with the instruction to all to simply play them. Result; we are now awaiting new stock of the Montreux range because we sold out! I say no more.
This is where the difference between Montreux and Yamaha is most pronounced. There is a pretty sizeable price difference between the two. Mainly that Montreux is far cheaper. For example:
Yamaha YCR4330GSII Bb Cornet in Silver - £785.00
Yamaha YCR8335S02 Neo Bb Cornet in Silver - £2,499.00
Montreux Concert Series ECR01 Bb Cornet - £499.00
If you look at the Montreux Cornet, you will see all of the design features of the highest quality models on the market, including 1st & 3rd Valve tuning triggers as opposed to ring-slides. And what can you say about the Montreux Euphonium? Fully compensating 4-Valve pro model, which is more than £4k less than the Yamaha!! Un-Ber-Leivable!**Prices as of July 2019**
"The Winner, in the Blue Corner is..."
Without a doubt, both Montreux and Yamaha offer truly high quality instruments. If you are playing Orchestral or Jazz, or want a lacquer-finish instrument, or you want a high-quality Trumpet or Trombone, then it's Yamaha for you. That is, until Montreux release their Trombones & Trumpets!!
Yamaha aspire to create a brighter, orchestral sound while Montreux create a warm, traditional brass band sound. These deliberate stylistic differences make it difficult to compare the two. It all comes down to personal preference.
To make things even more difficult, Yamaha seem to make one of every type of instrument you can think of, while Montreux have focused in on a select few, professional-standard key instruments. You can't compare what doesn't exist.
All in all, if you want a Trumpet, Trombone or Flugel Horn, you need a Yamaha, (for now), but if you want something to give you a tonal, mellow, sweet sound, you need to look to Montreux.