Is a 60's King Cleveland Superior OK for a comeback geezer?

Discussion in 'Vintage Trumpets / Cornets' started by oldcomebackgeezer, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. oldcomebackgeezer

    oldcomebackgeezer New Friend

    Sep 6, 2004
    Madison KS
    Hi everyone - New to the group, and a 68 year old comeback player that had not played for 35 + years until last year. I was a music major my first year of college, but finally realized that I wasn't going to be good enough to make a career playing. Played recreationally for some years after moving on into Electronic Engineering, and had owned an Olds Recording that was so much better and easier to play than the copper bell Conn student horn I had used up to leaving college. Wish I had it or one like it now, but being retired and trying to survive on Social Security, I'm afraid that is out of my reach.

    I have been playing on a borrowed Conn 80A Cornet, that is only one year younger than I am, (read "Older than Dirt") but recently was able to pick up a King Cleveland Superior trumpet, s/n dates it somewhere in the 60's, in pretty decent condition. The valves have good compression, and after correcting a bad valve misalignment due to worn felts, it seems to blow fairly freely.

    Now to my quandry. Everywhere I look, I see posts saying that Olds Ambassadors and also Reynolds Trumpets are very close to the quality and free blowing that my Recording had. In fact, just today I bid on a decent looking Reynolds Medalist on Ebay that was going pretty cheap, but even though I was "sniping" got "outsniped" and lost the bidding. It went for $50, which is $25 less than I have invested in the King, so I felt that if I liked the Reynolds better, I could sell the King and at least break even. Here is what the Reynolds looked like.

    Does anyone have any experience playing the King Cleveland Superior and also Olds Ambassadors, Reynolds Medalists so as to be able to compare? I'm afraid that, because of the "ravages of age", not to mention the long period of not playing, that I will never be able to return to my original level of playing. Also, I am missing one front tooth, lower jaw, just off of center, and am wondering how much this is affecting my embrochure. I just purchased a Arban's Method book, and am going to try to practice at least an hour a day. I played this summer in the Iola KS City Band (oldest city band in KS) and am playing this winter in the Iola Symphony. (Ironically, since the Iola City Band pays it's members a small amount for playing, my dream of being a "Professional Paid Musician" has finally come about, even though I'm playing worse now than I did in high school.) :lol:

    I apologize for being so long winded, but I have one more question for the group. The King came with a King 7K mouthpiece, don't know what that corresponds to in a Bach. It is pretty badly pitted, so I've been using a 10C Bach that was floating around with the borrowed cornet. (Yes, it's a trumpet MP, not a cornet shank) I have on the way from an Ebay auction a new Benge 7C. Should get it later this week. I am having a little trouble getting a consistent good tone, partly due to insufficient practice, I'm sure, and perhaps due to the missing tooth? Some days it sounds pretty good, other days it doesn't. Also, having problems with the upper register, again probably will improve with more practice, but wonder if it would be worthwhile to try a shallower cup MP?

    Any and all suggestions on the above will be very much appreciated. I am so happy that I am playing again, and don't know why I was so stupid to have stayed away so long. :?


    Les Elliott
  2. W Scott

    W Scott Piano User

    Dec 8, 2003
    Carson City, NV.
    Well Les, as far as horns go most of the Kings I've played have been solid horns. I've played the Tempos' (602, 603's and 604's) and one old King that was a Symphony 20? (if I remember right). All of the King cornets had a good, solid and pretty Cornet sound. The valves are o.k., not the fastest or smoothest. The only gripe I have is that all of them seem to have a rough break around 'G' above the staff where they suddenly open up and brighten up. The break is very noticeable in both sound and feel which I find annoying but they are good horns to get back into the game on.

    I'd say practice, practice, practice is going to do more for you than a different horn will. Good luck and enjoy playing again! I'm a comebacker as well and know where you are coming from....

  3. Gilligan

    Gilligan Pianissimo User

    Aug 3, 2004
    Colorado Springs, USA
    I have been playing a bunch of Reynolds for a while now and have found them to be far better than I ever hoped.

    The King Superior was created about the time FA Reynolds was working as King's VP of production I believe so he probably was closely involved with the creation of your King Superior cornet. He left White Instrument Manufacturing (ie King) in 1936 to start his own company. In 1947 he sold his company to his son Roth. Retired and then became head of production at Olds a year or so later. There are a couple good example of his horns on eBay right now. Do a search for Reynolds in Musical Instruments. They go for vertually nothing and are great players.

    The Roth Cornet is like a light weight improvement on his design for the Superior.

    The Hi-Fi Cornetl was a light weight improvement of his design for the King Master.

    Both are nice instruments. The Roth has a .457" bore while the Hi-Fi has a .460" bore

    Ebay has several Emperor trumpets listed these are a step up from the Medallist. The Roth is a step above the Emporer. The Roth appears to be very similiar to the later LA Olds Ambassador.

    My Emperor has a .457" bore. My Roth Trumpet ios a .455" bore

    If you need any Reynolds parts I have several junkers that I found beyond repair. Send me an email through this site and let me know what you might need.

    I hope this helps


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