Instruments from China - a cynical view

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetsplus, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    Interesting read.
    The factory say it makes 1500 trumpets a year, yet I can count at least 150 fully assembled units in the photo. So inventory is high, I think 1000 a month more likely. Also the comment about the horns come unbraded, and you can have whatever you want on the horn???

    My experience is based on living and working full time for 6 years from 2002 to 2008 in a manufacturing environment. I know that there are good manufacturers in China, and there are also poor manufacturers. The difference for me was about $30 to buy a good horn vs crap. I got a couple of duds the first time, but eventually found a good manufacturer in Shanghai. The good units I bought in China are still going well, I told the supplier to only give me his best units, and I would not haggle over the price, but the moment he supplied me crap, I was gone from his store. After that, I got good gear - and did not try to negotiate the rice down - this was unusual at the time.

    I have bought some Berkerly instruments off Ebay, and they are variable - some well worth it, others can go straight to the bin.

    My view is that China will get better and better, and eventually target longevity. Quality thinking does exist in some factories.

    Sadly, things like unbranded instruments, with no serial numbers will always be an issue, but as long as someone is willing to buy them, they will be made in China. I am sorry that Ivan's reputation is soiled by a copy from China.

    I have one of Ivan's horns, and can recommend it - in a definite separate league to the Chinese for quality. That is why you pay more for it, but it is worth it.
  2. Conntribution

    Conntribution Fortissimo User

    Dec 25, 2010
    Lloyd Harbor NY.
    Indeed. A casual acquaintance imports appliances directly from Cathay and wholesales 'em to national retailers. His comments may carry some weight. Although not about instruments, it applies, I think:
    Out of 20,000 room AC units, perhaps 2-500 will prove to be duds. However, for the price he pays per unit. In addition to the profit margin it's meaningless.
  3. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

    Jun 11, 2006
    South Salem, NY
    One time I was at the NAMM show in Anaheim checking out trumpet cases. I saw an inexpensive Chinese trumpet on display so decided to check it out. Remember, this is the prestige showcase for musical instruments in the US.

    The trumpet would not play any second valve notes! I checked it out and saw that there was a hole in one of the second valve knuckles. When I pointed this out to the (US) representative, he was not at all concerned. In fact that same trumpet was still on display the next day.

    My cynicism is that the companies involved think that money is more important than music.

    If you read my blog you will see that I am not against Chinese trumpets. I am against the guys who just see all of this as a way to make some quick money at the expense of the beginning trumpeter.

    I looked very carefully at some Chinese trumpets at the Frankfurt Musik Messe and bought a small quantity of what I considered to be the best offering. It is not possible to carefully check out the playing in the mammoth hall, so I figured it might be money well spent if I could figure out a way of making then really nice. And the representative was all in favor of the concept of changing their instruments to my design. After some half-hearted attempts, I decided to really go for it and managed to get one trumpet responding very well. The bad news is that the company no longer exists; heaven knows where their mandrels and jigs are.

    My wife likes the slogan:
    "Chinese? No! Taiwanese? No! Japanese? No! The Only 'ese in the Jaeger-Diamond is Ease of Playing"ROFLROFLROFLROFLROFL
  4. Conntribution

    Conntribution Fortissimo User

    Dec 25, 2010
    Lloyd Harbor NY.
    Ahh, yes. The elemental brutality of the free-market capitalist system rampant. There will always be ferret-eyed profit mongers eager to foist their defective wares upon the hapless masses.
    Sadly, the enthusiastically eager and impecunious only see bargains while those in a position to know better buy Committees and Jaeger Diamonds!
  5. arlington

    arlington Pianissimo User

    Aug 14, 2012
    Lancaster, OH
    Just finished blowing on the REAL THING. I don't think there's anything left I can say about the integrity of ivan or the beautiful instrument he created. What happened to the fake piece of tin? Did you do the repair?
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2013
  6. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

    Jun 11, 2006
    South Salem, NY
    I did repair it - and had a lot of trouble with the valve casing threads. The player is a High School Junior who chose this as an update from his Getzen (probably 300), go figure. His Dad asked me some direct questions about the current instrument which I answered truthfully....

    One thing which he asked, which I was really impressed by:

    "Have I not provided him with appropriate equipment, meaning is his trumpet inadequate considering he has been playing a long time and is likely to play to some degree in college (dual major or music minor, jazz ensembles)?"

    I had the boy play some music, then we played some duets.
    And they walked out the door with their old instrument - plus a brand new Jaeger-Diamond on 7 day trial.:D
  7. vern

    vern Piano User

    Mar 4, 2008
    Bill Pfund (former ITG president) trumpets are built in China and have a solid reputation. China is thirsty for music and is reputed to have 80 million piano students (Lang Lang). I can only imagine the high and relatively new demand for instruments results in many poor quality ones but suspect that, with time, they will improve.
  8. kcmt01

    kcmt01 Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 25, 2009
    Polson, MT
    I can relate. My computer repair company is PC Rescue, registered in the state of Montana. Unfortunately, some fly-by-night company stole my name and issued crapware over the internet. I get calls from all over the world cursing me and everything I stand for. But I'm just a one-man operation in a small town in a state none of them have ever heard of.
  9. mrsemman

    mrsemman Piano User

    Apr 8, 2010
    The Jin Boa Company is reported to be the largest band instrument factory in China, and like instrument factories around the world, produce a "student" model, "intermediate" and (what they call) "professional model. We have a great tuba player in our community band, who teaches at UMASS Amherst, who plays on a Jin Boa Tuba. I purchased a Jin Boa Bass Trumpet off ebay for $350.00, new! Compared with the $4000.00 range from well known makers. While it does not compare with Bach or Kanstul or any other brand named manufacturers, it still is a decent horn, with great tone.
  10. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    I am not sure comparing the oriental car makers of the 60's is quite the same thing as these cheap inferior instruments coming from abroad. I believe the car issues were really an engineering issue. While I am sure that their are manufacturers who are using first rate materials, I am positive there are plenty of manufacturers using cheaper metels, plastics, and less critical tolerences. I have had two trumpets that were TSO's and not repairable nor worth the time or money to try.

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