First impressions of my new Kanstul 1525 Flügelhorn

Discussion in 'Horns' started by bandman, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. bandman

    bandman Forte User

    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    I finally got my Kanstul 1525 today. It has been a long time since I ordered it, and I did ask for a couple of changes so it probably took longer than normal. I chose to have it silver-plated, which is kind of a Louisiana thing. The weather and humidity down here causes you to be a little bit tougher on a horns finish than in other parts of the country. Basically put, sweat is not good for a horn, and even if you wipe it down after you play, in this part of the country you are going to eat through your horn. I also chose to have standard water keys placed on this horn. I have had problems in the past with Amado water keys and chose that the standard water key is less likely to leak. You might disagree, but that was my choice and I’m the one that has to live with the horn. With those non-standard features pointed-out, I’ll give you my first impressions of the instrument.

    I chose to order the instrument through a local music store that was not a Kanstul dealer prior to my choosing a Kanstul Instrument. They contacted Kanstul and took care of necessary business on their part, and have now become a Kanstul Dealer! They unpacked the box, but chose to leave the final unpacking of the horn to me.

    When I took the horn out of the box I spent about the first 15-minutes inspecting every part of the horn. The exterior solder joints are all very neat. I’m impressed with the quality in which the horn is braced, but I wonder if the size of the braces might dampen the overall vibrations? This especially concerned me with the brace on the third valve that supports the third slide trigger.

    The feel of the horn in your hands is fantastic! It is very solid, and the heavy bell, and the two braces make the horn just a little bit “bell heavy†as compared to the Bach I was playing up until a week ago.

    The finish on the horn was a bit “fuzzy†until we realized that the silver was not wiped well coming out of the factory. The bow at the bottom of the first and third valve slides were very dull, and at first we were concerned about the finish on the silver-plate. I think we have come to the realization that it was not wiped as well as we would have expected with a horn of this high-end quality. Of course, if that is all we have to complain about then we are doing very well. In addition to the dullness, we did find two microscopic imperfections (about the size of a pin head) near the bell. Nothing any normal person would find, but no one ever said I was normal.

    Then came the real test – time to blow a little. I’m a crawler – start slow and work up. I was amazed at how responsive the Kanstul is in all registers. I was even more amazed at how well in tune I could play it right from start.

    From the first note (open G), I play long tones in what I thought was going to be an attempt to find the center of pitch on the horn. I play about three notes, stop and look at my friend who is a fabulous musician – he says, “wow, it’s dark – and that’s what you wanted!†I start playing interval exercises and can say that this horn slots like wow!!! The ease of finding the center of pitch is like no other horn I have ever played. Every note is easy, and clear as can be! It doesn’t matter how the intervals are articulated, the notes seem to find the center of pitch almost by themselves.

    Then to give the valves a workout. There is no need to break in these valves! They are smooth, fast and noise free. Without a doubt the best valves on any horn I have ever played.

    I was very impressed with the accuracy and efficiency of the ZKF1525. I have owned 2 Yamahas (a 731 and a 631 both with silver finishes), a Callet in lacquer, and a Bach in silver. Of those four horns I liked the Bach best, but I think I owned the best Bach Flügelhorn ever made (I played several others that were terrible). As of this early conclusion I would say that the Kanstul is by far the best Flügelhorn I’ve ever owned. I will say that I have played a few other Kanstuls prior to this one. I like this one as much as any, and I don’t find that the silver finish changes the characteristic dark sound for which the 1525's are known. I would love the opportunity to play it along side a handful of lacquer finished horns behind a curtain and allow my musician friends to see if they can identify which horn is which?

    Overall, my first impression is that I made a great choice of Flügelhorns. I know there are many great horns on the market today, but I can say that I am very happy with my choice of a Kanstul. Someday I hope to sit with a fellow musician who owns a Calicchio Copper (the horn that doesn't exist) and an Eclipse flügelhorn with a copper bell (a dream horn for me). Until that happens I’ll just admit that I’m in love!
  2. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Yep, Kanstul have a great product. They have suffered a bit in the past due to their reluctance to get involved in the "end marketing" and their preference to go through someone (anyone) else to handle that part of it. They do seem to be seeing some success in recent months however and I wish them the absolute best of luck. Some pretty high-end "brands" come out of Anaheim and its time they became more properly recognized for their instruments.

    Enjoy that there flugelthingy for a looong, looong time, Bandman.

    Remember, if the women don't find ya handsome, at least let them find ya handy. We're all in this together.

    (with apologies to Red Green).

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