I've picked up a mystery Holton

Discussion in 'Horns' started by SpammyJ, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. SpammyJ

    SpammyJ New Friend

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    Sep 3, 2016
    Since I made it through this past semester with both sanity and GPA intact, I decided I'd earned a little something shiny. I found a Holton Revelation on eBay in very good condition, and decided to buy it. However, despite pouring hours of time into researching this thing, I can't seem to find out exactly what model it is! ( I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures, I'll try and snap a few and upload them as soon as I find a spot with good lighting)


    Here's what I know for sure about the horn:
    • It is lacquered (mostly), with nickel trim on the valve casings.
    • On the bell, there is an engraving identifying the horn as a Revelation, then signed by Frank Holton. According to the eBay listing, this was rare, though based on my own research, it's a standard Holton Engraving.
    • The serial number reads 117xxx, dating it to 1935. (Holton Loyalist.com - Serial Numbers)
    • The mouthpiece receiver does not seem to fit the Bach 6C that came in the case. The mouthpiece goes in, and will allow me to play, but there is a wobble and the mouthpiece falls out easily. However, the 6C looks like it may be a very old mouthpiece, and I have not had a chance to test a more modern one.
    • The bracing seems very nonstandard compared to pretty much every other trumpet I've seen. There is no brace in the crook of the main tuning slide, but there is an adjustable slide lock between the tuning slide and the bell.
    • There is also an oddly-shaped brace on the leadpipe. Rather than the standard slanted strut, it looks like ")(".

    Armed with this info, I took to http://www.trumpet-history.com/Holton Models.pdf and checked to see if any of these models matched the characteristics of my horn. Based on the date I found earlier, and the lacquer and engravings, I can make guess that the horn is a "Holton Revelation New Professional Trumpet (Third Generation)". However, the bracing does not match at all, and my horn does NOT have an underslung 3rd valve ring like the professional. Could this have been a Professional that has been modified or custom built? I don't see any obvious solder marks or damage to the lacquer near the braces, so if the horn was modified, it was relacquered afterwards, probably. Anyway, I'll stop rambling and let you guys think it over. After all, mysteries tend to be pretty fun!
     
  2. BrassBandMajor

    BrassBandMajor Fortissimo User

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    Jan 13, 2015
    New Zealand
    Why not post some pictures?
    The member who made trumpet-history is on TM, he should be on this thread quite soon to assist with your mystery horn!
     
  3. SpammyJ

    SpammyJ New Friend

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    Sep 3, 2016
    I will soon, I just need to wait for things to calm down a bit in the house. I'm staying with extended family over the holidays, and things are a tad hectic. I'll borrow the kitchen table when everyone goes to bed, probably.
     
  4. Bflatman

    Bflatman Mezzo Forte User

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    Nov 27, 2008
    Manchester, England
    Hornucopia

    Holton

    Instrument/catalog No 10404

    30 Revelation New Profess 1933

    This has the laquered for the most part and nickel trim on the valves you describe

    It has the strange shape of strut bracing you describe (look at the shadow)

    The date is right

    The only issue is the underslung third slide ring.

    Some players flipped the third slide the other way up if they didnt like the underslung ring and that could happen only when the slide design allowed it (invertable, same lengths same bore on the tubing).

    Doing this would of course invert the spit valve but an enterprising guy could have the ring resoldered on the opposite tube I guess. Could this be an explanation for the ring.
     
  5. SpammyJ

    SpammyJ New Friend

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    Sep 3, 2016
    I also forgot to mention that the 3rd valve slide is definitely not reversed, as it has a slide lock on the bottom that would prevent such a thing.

    However, I checked up a bit more on the Revelation New Professional model, and found this horn for sale at ACB: 1934 Holton Professional Trumpet in raw Brass - Austin Custom Brass Web Store

    It looks a bit like my own horn, if you don't count the finish. The most important detail is in the slide locks, which both match my own exactly. This leads me to believe that maybe the image in the Holton catalogs that we've both looked at is of a horn that had been modified to ADD the underslung key ring, instead of mine being modded to remove it.
     
  6. Bflatman

    Bflatman Mezzo Forte User

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    Sounds like your on the right track, hopefully things may become clearer with further investigation.
     
  7. OldSchoolEuph

    OldSchoolEuph Mezzo Piano User

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    Apr 1, 2011
    Michigan
    Look closely at your third slide - you will see that the throw ring mount is attached in the middle. Loosen the screw, remove the bent ring, invert it and reinstall. Now it will match the picture. They are reversible on this model.

    The horn in the guide has some wear. The tuning slide A/Bb stop rod screw has been replaced with a thumb screw. The third slide stop posts have been knocked off (scars remain). Also, the throw ring is a Chinese replacement bent on angle while an original would have 2 right angle bends.

    The ACB horn was originally silver plated and was buffed to raw brass. If you look really close at the pictures, you can find remnants of the plating in the corners. That is why it is engraved "professional".

    The horn was built for the old Holton taper. It is the same size as modern pieces at the bottom, but widens out faster, so you either need an old Holton Heim, or a careful double layer of electrical tape starting 1/2" up the shank of a modern mouthpiece. (And be careful not to jamb it in)

    The question that remains is which model do you have? Look at the ring where the mouthpiece goes with a magnifier. There should be a number on the underside telling you which model it is (the guide details these)
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
  8. SpammyJ

    SpammyJ New Friend

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    Sep 3, 2016
    I had noticed that the ring mount was adjustable, but I didn't make the connection that it could be moved down below. Nice catch! I also completely missed the fact that there was a number printed on the receiver, so I went back and checked. It was 30, which appears to match the model number listed for the Revelation New Professional in the hornucopia catalog. I think we've arrived at our answer, folks. I'm almost certain at this point that I've identified the horn now. Huge thanks to everyone who lent a hand.

    On a slightly related note, does anybody happen to know if this particular model is as well-regarded as the rest of the Revelation line? I'll probably keep and enjoy the horn regardless, but I'm quite curious about how well the New Professional plays. I've only gotten a chance to play very very briefly on mine due to the general chaos of the holiday season, so I won't get to really really test the horn's limits until sometime next week. The wait is torturing me :bash:
     
  9. OldSchoolEuph

    OldSchoolEuph Mezzo Piano User

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    Michigan
    At one point I had a pair of 1932 model 30s made probably together (8 serials apart) and they did not play at all the same. The bell was noticeably more malleable, perhaps thinner, on one than most others. The depression was not a good time for consistency, so each horn from those days tends to have its own personality - you will have to see if it's a match with yours.

    A little context: Renold Schilke apprenticed at Holton while playing as a feature soloist with the famed Holton Elkhorn Band as a teen. He became involved in crafting horns during a period of great experimentation there in the late 20s, hand building Llewellyn model variants for his trumpet teacher, Edward Llewellyn. Schilke became the primary designer of the Committee model from Martin in the mid 1930s, by which time the horn you have was Holtons flagship. It departed from the Llewellyn and Revelations in general in many ways, and you can see a lot of the DNA of the Llewellyns Schilke played in the Handcraft Committee models pre-WWII. Knowing he was working on that horn for Martin, Holton released the Model 48 and 45 Revelations at the same time. Those horns featured their first multi-inflexion leadpipe and single radius tuning slides - features Schilke was an advocate of, but which tend to require greater skill rom the player. They must have been shocked when the Committee came out and Schilke had played it safe. But, your Model 30 is the horn the Committee was designed, in part looking to its predecessor, to compete with.
     
  10. SpammyJ

    SpammyJ New Friend

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    Sep 3, 2016
    I have definitely noticed that the bell on my particular horn felt extremely light and thin compared to other horns I've handled.
    I definitely can't wait till I can get back to my own home so I can try the horn with my standard mouthpiece and in an environment where I can really cut loose and test every aspect of its personality.

    The fact that this horn was good enough that the Martin Committee needed to be designed to compete with it is somehow reassuring.

    I'm beginning to think that maybe I should just put a bit of tape on the 6C I have handy and hide in a shed or something to see what kind of sounds I can get out of the Holton. It wouldn't be a completely fair test, since in the past I've found that I sound MUCH better on a 3C than a 7C, so a 6C probably won't be too good for me either. Regardless, thanks for the info on my horn's background!
     

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