Bach quality vs. year

Discussion in 'Horns' started by Jeff23, May 22, 2004.

  1. Jeff23

    Jeff23 Pianissimo User

    May 22, 2004
    Brewerton, NY
    Does anyone have any knowledge on which years/serial numbers Bach 180s (37) weren't living up to their potential. Also conversly, which years did they make good horns?

    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    As I understand it, it wasn't any one year per se. Unlike wine which can be different from year to year depending on the quality of the grapes, the Bach brass seemed to have quality issues here and there.

    Some have said they would play 6 different Strads and find one that was good. Well, that may have been a very rare case. I think more were good than not. The standards were set so high before Selmer bought Bach that when a horn or two didn't play up to that high standard, people screamed.

    I also think some stores kept the same demo horns around. You would play them and they hadn't been cleaned, etc. Strads were (and are) very popular, so a lot of playing of them in a store would happen.

    Unlike Conn, which had its Abilene period (which most acknowledge was a huge dip in quality) Bach seemed to have some spotty quality problems. You almost have to play them to know. But I think by and far, most Bach horns were of excellent quality and there were only a few "problems".

    Someone correct me if I am wrong.

  3. Lawler Bb

    Lawler Bb Piano User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Milwaukee, WI
    I agree with M&C on this one. Bach has had their ups and downs, and most agree that they are on an upswing again. The favored Bach horns tend to be below 200,000. Many consider the 200,000 through 400,000 period to be of lesser quality, but I have had good and bad in that range.

    I have a Bach 37 right now that is excellent. I had a Bach 229 that was great too. I also had a Bach 43 that wasn't very good.

    Like most people say, it's probably best to try out as many Bachs as you can. There are great horns to be found in any year from Bach. Plus, with the repair/custom work people around these days you can tweak your Bach into a great horn.
  4. Jeff23

    Jeff23 Pianissimo User

    May 22, 2004
    Brewerton, NY
    Thanks a lot for the helpful advice!
  5. tom turner

    tom turner Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Georgia, USA

    There are NO certain years that are better or worse when one is considering a SPECIFIC instrument.

    There have always been some awesome SPECIMENS within a lineup of 100 consecutive horns during the "bad" years . . . and there also have been other SPECIMENS that were dogs in 100 during the "good" years.

    True, some years yeilded more great ones or more dogs . . . but you cannot ever safely assume that a specific horn will be better simply because of the serial number range.

    Strangely, the absolute worst Bachs I ever played were a pristine, like-new Mt. Vernon 43 with the factory 1st valve trigger . . . and ANY of the early Elkhart Bachs my Army band had to choose from when I was in the service in the early 70's. Those horns sucked sooooo bad (leaky valves, etc.) that I went out and purchased a new, decent trumpet.

    Nothing will ever take the place of actually testing a specific horn.

    Tom Turner

    BTW . . . the worst QC problems that Bach had parallelled the American auto industry's "dark" period in the mid and late 1970's. Bach had a plant mgr. that pushed crap out the door . . . and totally disgruntled and demoralized workers who didn't care either.

    They also weren't the only American instrument manufacturer that made the same poor decisions to see how sorry they could make a horn and still hoodwink the public into buying it. All of 'em are better about attempting to do more things to a higher level of precision today.

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