Couesnon Trumpet

Discussion in 'Vintage Trumpets / Cornets' started by Heavens2kadonka, Oct 2, 2004.

  1. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

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    Okay, had this little puppy for a while now, and I've been sorta looking around to see if anyone would know how to estimate the year of the horn.

    I remembered a few minutes ago that Tom Turner mentioned something about him catergorizing the horns, or knowing someone who did. So I was hoping to get a few answers about this little ditty...

    The only numbering that looks like serial numbers is a "22" under all the engraving on the bell, and "D11" on the 2nd Valve. Any ideas?

    Also, I was wondering: do all Couesnon trumpets in this line (The medal engraving line) have the weird looking tuning slide screw-mechanism (I don't remember seeing it on the others I've seen).

    The horn is in exceptional shape, with the only expenses required being valve springs, ding work, and work done to the water key (A bit loose). I thought it was a good deal (55.00, includes UPS shipping...). Of course, the guys at the Brass Bow regard these horns as absolute dogs......

    Van
     
  2. knf jazz cat

    knf jazz cat New Friend

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    Screw what the Brass Bow guys say!! Kenny Dorham played/endorsed Couesnon trumpets. He sounded great on his horns. As for that screw mechanism on the tuning slide, the Blessing Artist and Super Artist trumpets of back in the day also had that mechanism. It's a handy little device; keeps the tuning slide from getting involuntarily moved.
     
  3. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

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    I wish I knew where I could find a Couesnon instrument database of some sort. Every Couesnon horn I've looked at seems just a little bit different...

    BTW, anyone else seen that Couesnon PICCOLO trumpet on ebay?

    Van
     
  4. tom turner

    tom turner Mezzo Forte User

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    Oct 25, 2003
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    Hi,

    If you have a JPEG of the bell, of the engraving and the number, on a please send it to me and I'll see what I can come up with. If the number was in a little "pineapple" it would indicate the the year of manufacture was 1922.

    Also, if the horn has a stop rod for the tuning slide with an adjustable nut on the end (like today's 3rd valve slide stop rods), it's purpose made sense in the 1920's!

    The tuning slide adjustable stop rod was used in the early part of the twentieth century to CHANGE THE KEY OF THE HORN TO "A."

    Back then some cornet/trumpet parts were written in the "darker" key of A (like "Fantaisie and Variations on Acteon" in the Arban's book)!

    When a part for "A" cornet was encountered a player could quickly kick out his tuning slide in an instant . . . then pull out the 2nd valve slide a very tiny amount . . . the 1st valve slide twice as far . . . and the third valve slide twice as much as the 1st, and INSTANT "A" CORNET/TRUMPET!

    Some vintage horns, such as the Holton Clarke cornet of the "teens" even had lines grooved on the inner slide tubes to let one know how far to pull the valve slides when playing in "A!"

    Many fine cornets and trumpets, from the very early 20th century until the start of WWII, had some sort of way to pull the tuning slide out the correct amount to put the horn into "A" easily.

    Conn seemed to favor the stop rod, as did most makers . . . including Vincent Bach on his Strads.

    A DIFFERENT WAY . . . TO GET AN "A" . . .

    My Boston 3-Stars from the early teens used a really cool, albit more expensive way to kick the cornets into "A" . . . they have TWO tuning slides! Here's how they did it:

    After the leadpipe wraps around and comes back at the player there's a large "tuning slide" that faces back towards the player (like the current Wild Thing short model cornet) . . . but that's NOT where you mainly tune it! No . . . that big one has a threaded ferrule on it that STOPS the tuning slide at the "A" position when it is pulled out. It cannot go further without unscrewing the nut totally.

    The cool thing about this idea is that one can quickly take their right thumb and kick the big slide in or out without stopping!

    No . . . the MAIN tuning slide on a Boston made in the teens is the NEXT one after the big tuning slide. This second one points forward, and looks like an extra "3rd valve slide" pointing forward. This is the one where you tune the horn normally, and only pull out the larger one when making a quick change into "A!"

    Doc Severinsen plays the same version and approximate year Boston 3-Star in his concerts as the two I have. Although the two photos on this link show the left side of the goldplated Boston 3-Star, you can probably see the "double" tuning slide idea:

    http://www.cohenbrothers.org/cohenbrothers/doc_severinsen_horns.htm

    Note: The earlier 3-Stars used an insertable leadpipe and didn't employ the double tuning slide. Like on other 1800's cornets with insertable leadpipes, you either inserted a LONGER leadpipe to go into "A," added a "bit" to the end of your leadpipe, or pulled the single tuning slide!

    WHY INSERTABLE LEADPIPES BEFORE 1910???

    Well . . . concert pitch wasn't standardized yet and mid-to-late 1800s instruments came in many different variations of pitch! Horns came with more than one length of leadpipe. Some had several . . . and this would allow a player with a new horn to be able to play with various ensembles where players might be using instruments pitched differently!

    As a matter of fact, in the Civil War era a brass band usually bought all their instruments from a certain company to insure that they'd all tune to the same pitch! Concert "A" was generally higher than today's A = 440 Hz . . . sometimes almost exactly a half step higher!

    Later in the 1800's probably the most popular pitch for "A" was A = 454 Hz. Today we call vintage brass instruments either "high pitch" (A = 454 Hz) or "low pitch" (today's standard of A = 440 Hz).

    The difference between a Bb and an A trumpet/cornet sound-wise varies about as much as the difference between a D trumpet and an Eb! At the turn of the 20th century players really liked the slightly darker, more noble sound of the A cornet vs. the Bb cornet.

    WHY NO "A" MECHANISM ON MODERN CORNETS AND TRUMPETS???

    Interestingly . . . if one tune's his 1880's "high pitch" cornet correctly down into "A" to get that richer sound . . . the horn is just about where today's modern Bb cornet/trumpet is sounding when in Bb!!!

    Trivia from a bygone age! . . .

    Sincerely,

    Tom Turner
     
  5. MUSICandCHARACTER

    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

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    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    Wow Tom!

    That is quite a bit of trivia. Very informative. I knew bits and parts of it, but you put the whole picture out there.


    Thanks!

    Jim
     
  6. tom turner

    tom turner Mezzo Forte User

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    Yeah Jim,

    Vintage horns are sooo cooool! :D

    Sincerely,

    Tom
     
  7. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

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    Wow, that is really interesting stuff! That means you should really play the other Arban solos with a high pitch trumpet!

    Yeah, the 22 is in the pineapple. Thanks so much for your help, Mr. Turner! I can't wait to get it back in working condition! Come on, refund check.....

    I was meaning to ask, are there a lot of difference in the Couesnon "Medal" horns of that time? I've seen a few without the rods, and one with smaller 1st valve slides...

    Van
     
  8. tom turner

    tom turner Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi,

    Around 1900, at the peak of the brass band craze that swept the Western world, Couesnon was the largest exporter of band instruments in the world.

    They surely made tons and tons of horns in a dizzying array of models and variations. They also were a leading maker of "stencil" horns (instruments to be sold by small, independent retailers with the retailer's "brand" on it).

    Couesnon was also a very early leader in high pitched trumpets (C, D, Eb, F, piccolo trumpets, etc.) within their Monopole flagship line and offered these horns when virtually nobody else did!

    Some Couesnon instruments are very good players . . . some versions, of course, were terrible. Many were in-between. Lots of time too, the workmanship was inconsistent.

    Your 1922 trumpet is from their excellent early period. Let us know how it plays . . . after you get a precision valve alignment on it. You might be really, really pleased!

    Sincerely,

    Tom Turner
     
  9. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

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    I will most definitely keep everyone posted.

    Van
     

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