Horror Story - a look inside a Bach Strad

Discussion in 'Horns' started by RichN, Dec 4, 2004.

  1. RichN

    RichN Pianissimo User

    Sep 25, 2004
    UK (Mids)
    I've recently bought a Bach Strad, 180ML-37. It's serial number 547xxx, and it plays well; maybe not the best Strad out there but certainly no grunter. I've been curious for a while about what it is that makes some good and some bad, so I decided to have a look inside it.

    I took it to work on Friday and used one of our fibrescopes to have a really good look, up the lead pipe, into the slides, into the tuning slide, into the valve cluster etc.

    What I found wasn't pretty, in fact it was surprisingly shoddy. I wouldn't have got away with that kind of workmanship in the first few weeks of my apprenticeship, let alone whilst being paid to do it as a proper job!...
    > Big solder over-runs in the joints, particularly in the tuning slide
    > A big burr on the inside of the spit valve hole
    > Joints that don't line up properly
    > Steps in the tubes at the joints
    > Surface cracks on the inside of tubes on the bends
    > Valves that don't line up with the tubes properly

    Makes me wonder what a trumpet that plays badly looks like on the inside....

  2. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    Apr 30, 2004
    or how much better one can play with good workmanship....
  3. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Makes Selmer happy that all their customers don't have access to fiber-optic borescopes!

    Big burr where the water key is drilled through.... now where have I heard that story before? :D

    Blobs of solder inside the tubing.... same question.

    A void where one of the ferrules for the slide is soldered into the valve casing... NOT removed by the boring/lapping of the cylinder.... ????

    Yep... mass-production craftsmanship at it's finest......

    But what can you expect when you only pay $1,400 + for some bent brass tubing? (Love to compare your experience with that of someone with a student level Yamaha or one of the original Olds horns.... )
  4. W Scott

    W Scott Piano User

    Dec 8, 2003
    Carson City, NV.
    I'm not surprised. I just tried a Bach 37 last week and I wouldn't have paid the asking price for it. Yes, it didn't play bad and the intonation seemed to be o.k., but it wasn't the kind of horn you go 'wow--I like it!'. I darn sure wouldn't trade my Connie for one of 'em!
  5. pwillini

    pwillini Pianissimo User

    Mar 4, 2004
    Kalamazoo, MI
    I think this is why trumpeters who want a pure sound, with little resistance, slotting that's right on and the craftsmanship that the price demands are looking to guys like Flip Oakes, Roy Lawler and Leigh McKinney for their horns. I have a 1976 Strad, perfect slotting, great intonation, seldom needs valve oil. My brother-in-laws 2001 horn has corrosion problems already on the monel valves!

    If you wantg a great horn, Strads are not it these days. Pay a little more, get one of these guys horns and you'll be much happier!
  6. AndrewWK

    AndrewWK Pianissimo User

    Sep 9, 2004
    You should do that to other trumpets like Xeno's, Conn Ones, and customs like Laywers. Then compare the sounds the trumpets produce. I would be very interested into seeing how that goes.
  7. fatpauly

    fatpauly Pianissimo User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Ellicott City, Maryland
    Hey! I think you have just discovered the secret to the Bach sound!

    - Paul Artola
    Ellicott City, Maryland
  8. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    Apr 30, 2004
    hmm, this all sounds like a good research paper... The Bach sound! We have found it! lol.
  9. RichN

    RichN Pianissimo User

    Sep 25, 2004
    UK (Mids)
    Would be interesting to do it to other trumpets, but everyone I know plays on Bach Strads! Just need to con people into lending me very expensive trumpets for a few weeks...

  10. Adrian_H

    Adrian_H Pianissimo User

    Dec 4, 2004
    Manchester, UK

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