Colored Horns Again

Discussion in 'Horns' started by Rick Chartrand, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. Rick Chartrand

    Rick Chartrand Piano User

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    Nov 22, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Hi Toots

    I asked this question to Manny and got a rhetorical smart alec answer. His answer was something like 'they dont have more colored horns for the same reason they dont have more prostitutes at classical concerts. Am I missing something? Or is this Mannys thin attempt at humor? Heres the question I asked and maybe you can give me a straight answer LOL, not one that has nothing to do with my question.

    Hi Manny

    I was wondering about something. So many Jazz and Classical 'Purist' Horns llike Monette, Eclipse etc are usually done in gold or raw brass. I had the GREAT fortune of seeing Miles Davis back on Valentines Day back in 1990 before he died in 1991, which is why I started playing. His sound, emotional content etc was UNREAL. What I also LOVE is that Miles had his Martin Committees Laquered in Various Colors, mostly RED, BLACK and GREEN. Martin (as do a lot of student trumpet makers) make a RED Laquered Miled Davis Tribute horn, one of which I am very happy to own Very Happy Heres the question...I know that a lot of the exotic horn makers, specially the $10,000 Monettes say that laquer ruins the sound of these horns, but why is it then that we dont see more Pro horns in the $2000 range that have more colors? I know that the student horns that are EVERYWHERE on Ebay that sell for $100 to $200 have every color of the rainbow, but why not the $1000 to $2000 range? I love playing my Red Horn specially when I busk on the streets cause it is a real eye catcher and red is a great color that makes everyone feel nice Very Happy Thoughts?

    Rick AKA Trumpet Man
     
  2. Anonymous

    Anonymous Forte User

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    Oct 21, 2003
    Hey Rick,

    Are you trying to be a smart alec yourself? Were you expecting some earth shattering answer from Manny about colored trumpets? First you post about playing on the street and then you ask the Principal Trumpet of the Minnesota Orchestra about colored trumpets. Do you think he has a bunch of experience with clolored trumpets or playing on the street?

    I thought Manny's response to you was very funny.

     
  3. Rick Chartrand

    Rick Chartrand Piano User

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    Nov 22, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Hey mmccourt

    No I'm not trying to be a smart alec myself. Just trying to ask a question and get a response from a cool site that I enjoy. I guess when you put it that way that being a principle trumpet for the Minesota Orchestra doesnt have much experience with colored horns or busking that makes sence to me and isnt something I thought of, so he put a humor twist on it. Sorry Manny. I'd really like this one answered if possible.

    Rick AKA Trumpet Man

     
  4. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Rick, so far as I know, the colored horns all began with Miles Davis and his Martin Committees. Nobody really picked up on "wild and different" colors for lacquer until some of the "low-ball" imports arrived on the scene...usually branded to one store or retail chain or another. I recall that LA Sax was the first outfit in "modern times" that I ever saw selling colored horns and even they began with pimped out saxophones. More recently we've seen container loads of cheap Indian and Chinese horns flogged on Ebay in pretty colors.... but they won't play worth a damn regardless WHAT color or finish they have.

    If you check out the website for Eclipse trumpets (http://www.eclipsetrumpets.com) you'll find a page where Leigh describes his impressions of the effect of various finishes...lacquer being one. I don't think there is any reason for colored lacquer to have any more or less effect on the sound or response than "standard" lacquer (provided the coating thickness is the same).

    I suggest (entirely without scientific evidence) that colored horns appealed (mostly) to kids.... if you can't sell them quality, then sell them junk that is made to appeal to their eye (rather than their ears!)

    That is NOT to say, however, that all colored horns are junk! Good heavens, I'd have Andy Taylor down on my neck in a moment if I said such a thing! (Taylor trumpets... check 'em out too). And as for some really custom lacquer and plating jobs, you should see some of the special work that Leigh McKinney has done.

    Obviously the makers of pro horns (anything over $200) feel that there isn't enough demand for their product in rainbow colors. The Martin Committee is supposed to have some rather unique playing characteristics which limit it's potential sales regardless of what color it is. It works for you... great. (Horrible image comes to mind.... the entire brass section of the CPO with horns in all different colors..... gads, it would clash with the decor!)

    As far as your concerns with respect to Manny's response... I tend to agree with him. That wasn't the forum within which to ask that particular question. That's why we have a "Horns" forum and why we also have a "Instrument repair/restoration" forum. Asking a guy who plays what must be considered the Rolls Royce of trumpets why "pimped out Chevy Vegas" aren't more popular is stretching it a bit far! (although that might be insulting Chev Vegas). ;-)
     
  5. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

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    You've also got to look at what is demanded from many who play pro-level horns. There is no real demand for multi-colored horn sections in an orchestra, nor are there many college programs that would look kindly on a student bringing a neon green trumpet to a formal concert. Now, I could easily see why you would like a different colored horn to use when busking, since that would be part of the attraction.

    Why the hell don't they have polka dot lacquer!?!?

    Van
     
  6. MUSICandCHARACTER

    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

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    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    Martin still makes the Committee in colors. LA Horns used to import horns from Weril in Brazil and finish them in different colors. Actually, there were pretty solid horns. They make great SKA horns or for something wild in a rock band, etc.

    Same is true about the Committees. Giardenelli's student line comes in colors (I think they are made by Amati). It would appeal maybe to a marching band.

    I occasionally refinish a horn myself. I have white and black lacquer and I sometimes do a "Tuxedo" trumpet. Never to a nice horn, just to the student line horns and usually to have something fun for marching.

    Here is a trombone I did for a member of the Michigan State marching band.

    [​IMG]

    Yes, they are fun. Yes there are some decent horns in colors. But the market is not there for top line horns to come in colors. Pretty simply, there is no demand.

    Now LA Sax makes some great saxophones (listening LP?) in wild animal strips and unique colors. They are top line instruments! But there is a market for that in the saxophone world.

    Check it out here

    Jim
     
  7. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Forte User

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    When I was last in the Eclipse factory I saw the most gorgeous instrument in lacquered blue. Played like a dream (of course - it was an Eclipse!!) and looked incredible. When I asked whether it was heading to a jazzer or a student I got the response that it was heading to a principal trumpet of a professional symphony orchestra!

    Maybe someone doesn't think they "look stupid" - just different.
    Some players don't care for the look of raw brass, some think that gold plate is too flashy - personally I won't be going for electric blue, but that doesn't mean that nobody should. Each to their own.
     
  8. Veldkamp

    Veldkamp Piano User

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    Mar 29, 2004
    the Netherlands
    I thought Wallace Rooney plays/played a blue/yellow lacquered Martin Committee. But he is a big fan of Miles so you could expect that.
     
  9. Anonymous

    Anonymous Forte User

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    Oct 21, 2003
    Ok.. Let me clear this up. If Leigh is going to do something custom with the kind of work he can do than that is fine. The guy is an artist when it comes to that stuff. Off the shelf colored trumpets.. I'm not buyin it!

     
  10. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

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    ....Or what about candy cane lacquer. Mwahhaha! :bleah:

    Actually, that (for some reason) reminds of a music video where I saw trombone player's doing back flips. The song was something about "You're all washed up, would you please shut up..."

    Jeez, that sounds so black and white sounding. There are more places for music than orchestra! I've seen a professional brass quintet perform Elvis's "Only the Lonely," where the 2nd time through the piece, the 2nd trumpet stands up, and starts singing in the most hackish, lounge-style I'd ever heard :lol: . I've watched a string ensemble perform Purple Haze , and btw, it RULED (They all wore tie die bandannas with their formalwear)! I've played in a brass quintet where the French Horn player breaks out a pennywhistle. I don't see why colored horns couldn't have been used at any of these performances.

    Yes, most colored horns are toys/marketing tools. However, I know that I personally would be most pissed if I had a horn customed made in a certain color, at a considerable cost, and I caught someone referring to colored horns as "a way to distract from the actual sound." I don't think you would have ever told Miles that!

    My take, of course.

    Van
     

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