Forza Trumpets

Discussion in 'Horns' started by gzent, Oct 23, 2005.

  1. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Dear TrumpetMaster members:

    I have been asked why I have 'Forza' in my avatar and thought I'd share my Forza story here.

    First off, I think its fair to say there are quite a few members on this site that are as obsessed with trumpets as I am, so I'm sure you'll relate to my story. About four years ago, at age 38, I started playing the trumpet seriously again after dabbling on and off for 15 years. I quickly discovered a wealth of information on the internet related to trumpets. It was like being born again, so to speak!

    I became active in trumpet forums and starting searching out all kinds of information on
    the plethora of trumpet brands and designs available. When I began to hear people talk
    about Monette, Taylor, Wild Thing, etc. I began to wonder what it was about these horns
    that made them so much better than the 74 Benge 3X I had played since 77.

    In a short time I let go of any brand loyalties I had and really took an interest in what
    different players around me played and what people in forums had to say about different horns.
    Soon, I began to 'lust' after many of the wonderful horns that people were describing.

    That lust led me to the Zeus brand of trumpets. I was thrilled when I bought a new Zeus
    trumpet for $975 in November of 2002. It played so much better, as an all around horn, than
    the previous Benge's I owned. That horn served me well until June 24, 2005, the day I
    took delivery of the first Forza prototype.

    A couple years ago a good friend of mine, W, showed up at a rehearsal with a blue trumpet.
    "Hmmm....that's interesting", I thought to myself. So, I asked him what the deal was
    and he said it was an Olds Ambassador from the 50's that had been restored. He bought it
    cheap and ended up liking it so much he used it for all of his playing. Being this guy
    is a highly respected pro player and friend of mine, I didn't question his decision.

    Then at a New Year's gig in Jan. '05 another friend, R, tells me how much he enjoys his Olds
    C trumpet. "Olds C trumpet? What?". So he explains how he and several other players,
    including W, bought Olds Amabassadors and had them converted to C trumpets and how they
    preferred them to the Bach C trumpets or whatever else they tried.

    Now I was interested. I had a F. Besson C trumpet that played OK, but nothing like my Zeus Bb.
    Also, I had no pressing need for a C trumpet. Something made me want to see for myself, so
    I asked W to try his Olds C trumpet.

    Wow! The horn played like a dream compared to any other C's I tried. It played nice and open
    and much more in tune. Within the week I bought a 55 Olds Ambassador on Ebay and made arrangements
    to have it converted to a C trumpet.

    When the conversion was completed in March '05 I was very pleased with the results. I had
    less than $700 in the Olds C and it played great. Everyone who tried it was impressed.

    Then, the wheels started turning. Maybe I didn't need to lust after a Wild Thing, or Eclipse,
    or whatever. Maybe I could actually afford to have a custom horn built to my specs if I started
    with a 50's Olds Ambassador. So, I bought another one and started on a journey.

    I started to make note of trumpets that had a reputation for being free blowing, Benge, Schilke,
    WT, Eclipse and so on. These all had a lot less bracing or were lighter than my Olds or my Zeus. They also didn't have the squared off tuning slide like a Bach, Zeus, or Olds. Also, the designers of these
    horns put a lot of time into getting the leadpipe right.

    More research and exploring mental concepts of the sound I wanted led me to Rich Ita's wonderful Pilczuk
    leadpipe's. I selected a rose brass leadpipe he makes for Olds trumpets from a group of 5 choices
    he let me try out. This alone made a huge difference in the Ambassador's character.

    I made some crude sketches of curved tuning slides and picked some bracing locations and went to work with my builder. He disassembled the Olds and rebuilt it with the new leadpipe, tuning slide and braces.

    When I played it I new we had a winner - a rich sound in the staff with the ability to soar up high,
    nice fast and light valves with a great feel, oustanding intonation from the leadpipe, low resistance and
    fast attack as well. The pieces all came together.

    I had obtained all I wanted in a custom horn for well under $1000. Everyone that has played my
    horn has had nothing but good to say about it. Which leads to....

    Is there enough interest to actually market these horns I call Forza?

    They are not new, of course, and are not shiny and perfect. But they do play well, very well.
    Recently my friend W, who has an impressive upper range, lit into my horn on a gig and
    played with a power, clarity and ease which I've never witnessed before - it was awesome.
    (He's now considering similar mod's to his Olds).

    Ask yourself if you would pay $750 for a 'born again' trumpet that just might play better
    than a new $1600 factory horn. For $750 I can buy all the parts it takes, pay my builder and
    pay myself a little for the disassembly and finishing work.

    Please, I respect the opinions of this forum, give me an idea if this crazy idea could sell.


    Greg Zent.

    PS - Here is a web page I made to advertise these horns:

    Here are some advertising pictures I took of one of my prototypes:
  2. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    I found myself just never using the rings on my previous horn. I changed my oral cavity to make the small adjustments in pitch to be on center with this horn.

    Of course, these are custom horns so any rings can be attached wherever the customer wants them - nothing is set in stone, its just a prototype that worked well for me.


  3. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    Greg, there's a "market" for just about anything. The question is "How many people can the market support?

    Your builder will love you for the horns you bring him, but I doubt that there'll be enough market to take you beyond the "hobby level" of trumpet rehab and sales.

    I applaud you curiousity and resourcefulness and would encourage you to pursue this, so long as your not dependant upon it for income. I think the income to you will be pretty low, at least initially.

    The payoff may come from the experience. If you find that you enjoy it, then you'll enjoy meeting a lot of trumpeters and perhaps get involved with some "industry" people. Ultimately you may find a that this niche has some deep viens or you may find a new angle.

    Good luck,

  4. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN

    Thanks for the input.

    Others -

    Don't hesitate to chime in, no matter your view I'd like to hear what people think about my idea.


  5. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004

    Rethink the rings or hooks...

    Having the rings lets people play in the center of the pitch without having to do any intra-oral manipulations. They'll play in the center and let your horns ring instead of deaden when they play.

    I'd find it hard to play without a way to manipulate the slides. Just a thought.

    Whatever you go with, good luck!

  6. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN

    Point taken.

  7. wrbandel

    wrbandel Pianissimo User

    Mar 9, 2005
    Rochester, MN

    Good looking webpage.

    And you know how I feel about the horn. OUTSTANDING!
    Just be careful, at our next rehearsal, that horn might just find its way into my case.

  8. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
  9. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    I definitely agree that Olds had HORRIBLE leadpipes. I think they soldered the recievers too hot, and this causes the pipe to slowly bend over time.

    My Ambassador's pipe bends slightly, and theres a small crack on the leadpipe near the tune slide. Also, the tuning slide is almost completely scrap. Lacquer is about 35%, and the valves need some work.....

    STILL, in many ways, it plays superior to my 94 Strad that I love so dearly. Its shocking, how this little $30.00$ p.o.s. that I bought from a ma and pa shop plays better than this $2000.00 ditty.

    Definitely something I may consider doing in the future, modifying my Olds.

  10. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    "Horrible" might be overstatement, don't you think? I mean, we are talking about 40-50 year old horns that have spent most of their lives in students hands.

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