Buescher Cornet Questions

Discussion in 'Vintage Trumpets / Cornets' started by PJN, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. PJN

    PJN New Friend

    Dec 14, 2003
    Hey there,

    Two days ago I bought a cornet for $35.00. This beauty sounds nothing like the cornet I had in middle school! I have the fever! I would like to find out more about this horn. Maybe someone here can be of help?

    I paid $35.00 for this horn, took it to a jam session, used a wine
    cork to repair a missing spit valve, and ..... fell in love with the sound
    of this horn!

    It has engraving on the bell that says, The Buescher, Elkhardt IND. The
    serial # is 18132, There is a small shield(?) engraved above
    the serial # that looks like it says Union Label, with some engraving inside
    the shield.

    On the tuning slide, big crook ( there appear to be two ways to tune the
    horn, another small slide on the third valve end which is part of the main
    tuning slide) anyway the big crook has the letters LP and on the other end
    of the crook the very small numbers 132. The horn needs a spit valve, and a
    spit valve replaced, (cork anyway) has had more than it's share of dings,
    and has one wear hole that has been patched. The horn came with a Frank
    Holton 70 MP, which is a narrow V cup with a very comfy rim, and sounds
    great. I am guessing the horn may be as old as 1915. This is my first horn
    other than my trumpet, and I feel fortunate to have found it! Would love any
    help or info you may have available.

    Thank you

    Patrick Nearing
  2. W Scott

    W Scott Piano User

    Dec 8, 2003
    Carson City, NV.
    Congrats! You're finding out how much fun it can be to play some of these grand old horns. The 'LP' stands for low pitch, which means that the horn can play in either Bb or A. I always get mixed up as to which pitch is 'low'--I think it's Bb, but if you have a horn to compare it too you can find out really quick.

    I'm curious as to if the horn is really heavy and/or clunky feeling. A pawn shop near me has a Buescher True Tone cornet made for the military bands in WW2. It's very heavy, clunky feeling and I think it's real hard to blow. The horn scared me off of bidding on a couple of old Bueschers. Then, I heard that the military horns were made to different specs and were supposed to be heavier. What is your horn like?

    Anyway, it sounds like you have a fine horn and a really good candidate for a trip to England to Leighs shop for a stunning restoration! :D
  3. PJN

    PJN New Friend

    Dec 14, 2003

    Thanks for the info. I received a reply from a fellow named Nick DeCarlis. He told me this horn was probably made around 1913. He also confirms that this is a Low Pitch horn with Bb/A set-up, thus explaining the slide configuration! Apparently Buescher made good horns, but not many of them are "collectibles". So the good news is, I can fix the horn so it works, instead of having the responsibility of preserving a rare collectible.

    He also told me I did well for $35.00, and I should enjoy the horn. I had an estimate done for dents and solder work, and my friend the brass tech said I should definitely have a chem-clean. All in all, this will bring the cost of the horn up to about $175-$200 when all is said and done. she said the valves were in remarkably good shape, needed to be regulated, and maybe replated down the line. Not bad for a horn that is 91 years old!!

    This horn is not heavy or clunky, though it does seem short! My eyes are very close to my fingers when I play! But no, I really like the way it feels in my hands, and the sound is real purty. It does seem a bit stuffy, but it is much different instrument than my trumpet, and does need some work. We shall see....

    Have fun!

    Patrick Nearing
  4. vernhettes dan

    vernhettes dan New Friend

    Oct 18, 2006

    Hello Dear Cornet Friend,
    I am searching for that type of old Buescher. It was played by Buddy Petit in the 20s. Could you at least take a good picture of your cornet and send it to me by email under jpeg? I could illustrate my portrait of Buddy Petit.
    Merci mille fois,
    dan, in paris, francehttp://www.TrumpetMaster.com/vb/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif

    BADBOY-DON Piano User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Gig Harbor Wa.
    Definately go for a chem clean, and a tune up with new water valve springs..corks..pads..etc.
    Depending on where you live.....check with local artists were they have their instruments "tweaked?"
    check this out if you live in the NW. www.oberloh.com

    I think he had one of these old horns in his amazing gallery section.
  6. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    Just a little info concerning low pitch. Low pitch is not "A", but refers to the modern frequency A=440. This excerpt form The Cornet Compendium by Richard Schwartz (a VERY interesing read, BTW) explains it:

    "There was a lack of a standardized frequency for tuning in the nineteenth century and three basic pitch levels existed at which to tune brass instruments: (Scott 1988, 21-25)
    1. Diapason Normal, A=435
    2. American Standard Pitch, A=440
    3. High Pitch, A=452.5, otherwise known as Old Philharmonic Pitch. This pitch level was actually used in England until 1929.
    This "high pitch" level could even be as high as A=462.5 (Lewis 1991, 17-23). Such "high pitch" instruments are more properly referred to as "military band, high pitch" instruments (Scott 1988, 22).
    Apparently an "International Standard" was already known by 1899 (C. G. Conn n.d., 10). A citing for its exact frequency rate, however, was not found by the author of this document.
    In the late nineteenth century, pitch varied greatly even within various localities. Some models of cornets were even built to "low pitch," "high pitch," and "International Standard." Conn built such instruments in the late nineteenth century. Performers would often bring more than one cornet to a job to see which one played best in tune. The American Federation of Musicians attempted to standardize A=440 in 1917, but it was not universally accepted until after 1920. Sometimes A=440 was often termed "low pitch" because so many other instruments were constructed even higher. A convention of the time was to stamp "L P" on leadpipes to indicate that the instrument was a "low pitch" (A=440) cornet."

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