F.E. Olds ambassador cornet purchased on ebay

Discussion in 'Horns' started by trumpetnick, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

    Nov 16, 2005
    Vidin, Bulgaria
    I just payed for my first cornet....this may seems odd for a pro but till recently I was always borrowing cornets from band, friends and teachers when I needed them, 'cause I don't play often on cornet. But since I came back to Bulgaria there was no one around to boorow a cornet from. So I bought one from ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=300072300542 It needs a buit of repair, but seems nice to me. On my final recital, one year ago I used an old french cornet (it was marked Lammar on the bell, but I have found no information about) which I borrowed from Murray Greig (Royal Northern College of Music). I liked that much that I asked Murray to sell it to me, but he wouldn't. So I started to look on ebay for a vintage horn on a bargain price...What do you think guys? was it worthed? I will receive the cornet only in 4-5 weeks time, when I will post a short review with my first impressions...Till now I was using Denis Wick 4W cornet mouthpiece...How do you think it will fit playingwise with the Olds Ambassador?
  2. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Looks like a good buy to me. The condition is really not that bad... a few dents in the leadpipe which you might want to get corrected (I can most highly recommend Leigh McKinney at Eclipse ... pm me for my reasoning why). I would expect the same quality in the Ambassador cornets as are found in the trumpets so there should be no worries there.

    As far as mouthpieces; I would think that the Ambassador cornet would be designed more to take the typical "American" cornet piece which, as you probably know, has a "C" cup and a slightly longer shank than that of the Wick variety. I have tried a Bach cornet with both the American and Wick mouthpieces and the main difference seemed to be in the mellowness of sound with the Wick.

    Reckon you'll have to test that out on your own however.
  3. HoboTrumpet

    HoboTrumpet Pianissimo User

    Feb 3, 2006
    New Ulm, MN
    I also just bought an Olds Ambassador cornet –*from 1970 – on eBay. The thing looks like it was never used – perfect lacquer and everything. I was surprised to find one in such good condition. When I started my search for a back-up horn a month or so ago it was the first model I thought of. Maybe it's because I started out on an Ambassador cornet in 5th grade, but I've always had a fondness for these horns. My new one wasn't out of the case five minutes before I had to go on a Arban's Characteristic Study binge! I use a Stork 1.5C with it (looks almost identical to my trumpet 1.5C) so it doesn't exactly sound like a Besson 928 with a Wick 2W, but it will work for my purposes. Enjoy your Ambassador!
  4. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
  5. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

    Nov 16, 2005
    Vidin, Bulgaria
    Right. And I got it for $187 with shipping included which seems to me like a great price

    I am sure that Leigh would do a great job, but it is a bit far from Bulgaria, don't you think, Toot? ROFL

    I hope that too

    It is just this mellow, fluffy sound that I look for when I play the cornet or the flugelhorn. For that reason I have always preferred V to C cups when playing the cornet or the flugel - it makes the sound so much distinctive and different from the trumpet. Why would I play the cornet if my cornet sound is trumpety? Though I am not sure how will this function in a orchestral setting against 2 trumpets...I'll see but hope I won't have to compromise my sound conception for the sake of sound projection and uniformity. It seems that Olds have changed the wider MP reciever just around 1956. With a bit of luck I will get a normal cornet shank to put mt DN MP in. Mixing the american and british cornet conception? An american cornet with a British mouthpiece? Why not? After all, there was many british brass-banders who left UK to go to US as it is the case, I believe, with the father of Phil Smith. I would not mind to play on a Besson, Smith&Watkins or any other top british cornet but for the moment I cannot afford one.

    In a month when I get the horn as I said, I will post my first impressions on it and wether the Denis Wick fits in or not
  6. Brian H. Smout

    Brian H. Smout Piano User


    I have an LA Ambassador with the large shank. I use a Curry 3DC with a special order shank. Nice sound that tends towards the "American" style. A friend of mine borrowed it for our quintet and he plugged in is Schilke 15 with no gap or wobble problems and sounded quite "legit", if you will.

    Best of luck, I love playing mine even though I own "better" cornets. The sound and the blow are wonderful!


  7. Sturmbill

    Sturmbill Pianissimo User

    Feb 11, 2004

    I have just the set-up you are asking about, a Wick 4 on an Olds Ambassador, and yes the Wick will go a long way towards the darker, sweeter cornet sound. You probably _will_ need to get a different receiver on your leadpipe as the standard Wick fits the smaller, later model Olds receiver.

    I went a little farther towards the brass band sound by putting on a Yamaha shepherd's crook bell. It's an easy modification, and with a few other tweaks has made me the horn that I play in two competition-type brass bands. I am able to blend with the Xenos and Bachs in both bands, plus I get the great Olds valves!

    Good luck with your Ambassador!

  8. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

    Nov 16, 2005
    Vidin, Bulgaria
    I just received the horn yesterday and it plays quite beautifully (the sound is a bit trumpety to my taste but the DW4W makes me move quite far towards the british style cornet sound) and in tune. My denis wick mp is fitting well enough (it goes a bit deeper into the taper, but no too much) so I guess that changing the taper won't be necessary. The only bad new about it is that does not have the thingy either on the 1st or 1rd valve slide, but probably it would not be too difficult for any decent repairman to tu put those so I can correct intonation when needed. The slides and the pistons are moving normally, so it is in perfect playing condition...

    I may give it for renovation some day and make of it a real beauty...but I am fine with it for now.

    It is really amazing that one can get such a decent horn for 130 bucks...
  9. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

    Jul 18, 2006
    Casper, WY
    Right Nick. It is amazing.

    I picked up a Getzen 300 student model cornet off ebay a year ago.

    The horn has problems, even then, she plays okay; and for all the Arban's stuff I was working on, worked quite well.

    Congrats on your new "old" horn.

    Happy Day,

    Richard Oliver

    p.s. If you have the desire and capability, record some of the Art of Phrasing solos and post them. It would be a telling fact how good an expensive horn can sound in the hands of a good player.
  10. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I used to own a 1949 Ambassador cornet, and had it customized by having the bell bent into a shepherds crook and the 3rd valve slide reversed to make the finger ring operable. It was an OK cornet, but when I began brass banding I needed something better.


    Last edited: May 18, 2007

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