Allora

Discussion in 'Horns' started by Tootsall, Feb 25, 2004.

  1. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Well, last night I managed to get my hands on one of these things. A new player showed up in CB with a brand new Allora. What a piece of JUNK! She pulled it out of the case and couldn't blow a note on it. I stuck my mouthpiece on it and tried... it was SOLID! A quick check and sure enough, the valves were all in backwards. They were also dry as a bone!

    I gave 'em a little shot of oil and showed her with the 1st valve how there was a wide spot on the valve guide and a corresponding wide "slot" inside the valve casing (at least the valve pistons are numbered!).

    I put the horn back together... it was STILL stuffed up. Pull the valves again... whereas the valve guides on most horns are at 90 degrees to the axis of the horn, only the 1st and 2nd valves are at 90 degrees on this one. The 3rd valve is about 45 degrees off the axis... AND REVERSED SO THAT THE WIDE SPOT OF THE GUIDE IS 135 DEGREES FROM THE OTHER TWO! Go figure!

    It obviously needs a ton of break-in to make it useable. I didn't have the heart to tell her it's of "questionable quality". I'll let her play along for a few weeks (this is our beginner-intermediate band) and then allow her a chance to play one of the pieces on the Schilke and HOPE that by then she has decided to stay with the band. Got my fingers crossed that she'll start looking for a new bit 'o brass after that.

    She actually can play fairly well: she's been out of it for a while (I'd guess 5 years or so) but has played through school. She just never noticed that it was possible to put it together in reverse. She's got enough range to handle any of the 2nd or 3rd parts I give her and her valving was improving as the evening went along so I want her to stick with it.

    Sigh....friends don't let friends buy Alloras.
     
  2. Ash

    Ash Pianissimo User

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    Jan 18, 2004
    I was under the impression they were made by B&S. Is this untrue?
     
  3. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Sorry, I can't answer that one, Ash. They might be but I saw no markings to indicate one way or the other. I just know that I wasn't terribly impressed by the precision of components; it looked like it was designed to be manufactured as cheaply as possible. Without holding the valves "side by side" I couldn't say for certain but I am under the impression that the reason for the different angles of the valve guides was to permit the use of identical porting for the 1st and 3rd pistons and valve casings (which lowers tooling costs).

    My son had an old, very well used Getzen 300 cornet for his first year; I'd put the two instruments at comparable quality.... and the cornet was probably at least 30 years older.

    The case looked pretty though.
     
  4. W Scott

    W Scott Piano User

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    Dec 8, 2003
    Carson City, NV.
    These horns aren't made by B and S. I don't really know who makes them but you can see them at 'woodwind/brasswind.com'. They sell for about $1,000 dollars and have a number of positive reviews. Tootsall, maybe you can throw your two cents worth in on one of the reviews. Having the third valve turned like it is, I would think that the horn would slot very poorly.

    It's amazing how many poorly manufactured horns there are out right now. Many are flooding in from China and India. It's gotten so bad that the middle school where my community band practices put up a big notice from the company that services the students horns. The notice says that the following horns (long list of names) will not receive servicing as the quality of the horn is so poor that repairs cannot be guaranteed. The company recommended that the students return the horn and consult with their band director or other qualified professionals before attempting to purchase a horn.

    It just goes to show that if the horn is bright and shiny, and has good advertising it will sell even if the horn is really junk! :x

    Bill
     
  5. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    OK, a bit more digging shows some reviews that say that the Allora is made by Voglandische...whatever (the corporate umbrella name for B & S), and that they "think" it might be the original Challenger I.

    Well, this one definitely is lower quality than the Challenger that I held and played on for a bit in band about three weeks ago! I honestly can't see someone paying over $500 for the brass that I was trying to sort out last night. And my first horn was an old Bundy which I'd take any day over the Allora.

    I'm trying to wrack what's left of my brain but I don't recall seeing tuning slide braces neither... in contradiction to the pictures on the WW & BW site. Maybe there is/was a much lower grade model that isn't currently being offered in the US? Or maybe "Allora" (whoever they are) buy different models from different suppliers (Weril springs to mind).

    Guess I'll have to wait for next week and take another look at it. But I DO know that the valve indexing was NOT what I would expect in even a good student quality horn. Stainless or nickel plated valves as well. (not that that's an indication of quality... look at Getzen).
     
  6. bgwbold

    bgwbold New Friend

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    Jan 13, 2004
    As long as the ports line up, I guess it does not really matter where the guide is anchored in the sleeve. I have a custom C that is built like that. (Not an Allora.)
     
  7. MUSICandCHARACTER

    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

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    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    The Alloras are built in Germany at JA Musik GmbH who makes the Challenger Trumpet. That doesn't mean it is a Challenger. But it does come from a good factory. At least WWBW didn't go to a cheap place to have their line made (like Amati).

    My guess is that the horn is unusual, but the quality should be OK. The problem I have is that an Allora costs $995 new [ http://www.wwbw.com/Item/?itemno=17182 ].

    For $1000 you can buy a lot of trumpets that are better known and may play better (I know at least one :wink: ). I would suppose the lower Dollar vs. the Euro doesn't help the price of this horn.

    M&C
     
  8. Andy Cooper

    Andy Cooper New Friend

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    Dec 31, 2003
    Indiana
    I played a Kanstul Meha a few years ago with the same valve guide setup and my favorite Conn Vic has a similar arrangement- you get used to it. Keep in mind that you are playing on a B1 and an 800 with an open mpc. It's been a while but I believe the B1 is rather open blowing. Your student's horn is supposed to be a Bach Strad clone. Compare it to a Strad or Yamaha student horn rather than to your Schilke. Of course that particular horn could still be a dog which would be an issue with the dealer - can't believe they let an instrument out in that condition. Times have changed since I was in the business.
     
  9. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Draggin' this one back to the top. I asked the owner of that Allora where she bought it. COSTCO! Now...correct me if you think I'm wrong, but I'm guessing it is NOT B & S production. More likely BS production.

    I tried it out tonight for a bit. It seemed to play OK for me but choked off pretty quickly up around a G or A at top of staff. I was able to get a messy high C out of it. She has got the valves working OK but seems to need to pour oil on them several times during a rehearsal. The tuning is off (flat on the low notes, sharp on the high ones). I didn't notice it that bad when I tried it with my GR mouthpiece so I'm hoping (for her sake) that it's the mouthpiece backbore.

    Shes a comeback player, Navy reserve, has REALLY nice, solid tone but her range is limited at about a D in the staff at the moment. After she's had a month or so to get her chops back in half decent shape I'll let her try some different m/p that I have kicking around. If anything starts falling off the horn I'll be sure to let y'all know.

    BTW, the repairperson for one of the local music stores is playing french horn in this same band. You should have seen her cringe when she heard the word "Costco"!!
     
  10. MUSICandCHARACTER

    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

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    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    Oh my! The Chinese/India makers will sink to any depth. Allora is a trademark of WWBW. WWBW would not sell a horn at COSTCO! Very likely this was a cheap Chinese/India knock off.

    I really hate to hear stories like this. Too many people buying cheap horns because of the price and the looks. Then they play them and find out they have been taken.

    On my website I put a up a page talking about this situation. It really is too bad that these cheap horns are everywhere --- eBay, Sam's Club, WalMart, CostCo.

    M&C
     

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