Jens Trumpet Rant (copy of)

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Tootsall, Dec 28, 2004.

  1. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    OK guys... I've seen Jens post this following in two other trumpet forums that I frequent. So I figured... why not ask him for permission to copy it in here? Well, Mr. Lindemann just gave said permission with the comment that "discussion is always good". So........ here goes nuttin'!


    Time for another one of my rants...I must be jet-lagged...again. Today, I would like to take on the 'Goliath' of classical sound...Bach trumpets! For many years, it has been considered an arrival point for young players when you buy your first Bach are now a professional!

    My Middle School teacher had one and I still remember seeing it every day at the front of the band room on it's tall Holton stand. He would play cool excerpts from Jay Chattaway wind ensemble charts...we all wanted to be just like him. The very first trumpet I bought was a Czech made horn called a Musica (if anyone knows any specs about these horns, please do NOT write was a terrible instrument although I didn't know it at the time). I was 12 years old and I bought that horn because it had a cool thumb ring on the first valve slide just like my band teacher's Bach. My rented school horn didn't have that ring so this one must have been better.

    Finally, I bought a Silver plated 37 standard Bach when I was 14. Why did I buy that horn? Because that's what the local pros played! I had that trumpet for one year before I switched to the new pro-line Yamaha that had just come out with gold-like lacquer because I thought it looked better. Serial number 001010...I thought that was cool too...I used it as a P.I.N. on bank cards all through college...what a trumpet geek.

    All through high school, I was one of the only ones playing a Yamaha. I played that horn because it was different...I wanted to be different. The more people said I should play a Bach because that's what the pros played, the less I wanted to play a Bach. It became a badge of honor to be different. Instead of trying to be different, I should have been practising more...E major wouldn't be as difficult today.

    When I left my hometown and ventured out into the world of university abroad, summer music schools and international competitions, I discovered that there were Bachs everywhere...a veritable Bach invasion around the world. Let's face it, local classical players are influenced by and large by local symphony players who measure themselves by other symphony players up the proverbial orchestra ladder until you hit the 'Big Five'. Ominous sounding term like the are just supposed to know who they are without needing to talk about it and when you learn those five cities, you have moved up a notch in trumpet cool. Anyone who says they were not influenced in some way by the trumpeters in those orchestras and their equipment specs is lying. It's like learning the Periodic have to know it even if you never use it.

    Now the fun part, the mythic Bach sound. Yup, I heard it and felt it when I was 14. When did you experience it? That magical tone streaming from my bell had me destined for an orchestra if only I could play in E major. The last time I checked, it was "Phil Smith sounds great" not "Phil-Smith-sounds-great-playing-a-229H-with-slightly-shortened-first-valve-slide" I'm just guessing here folks, but I bet Phil Smith would sound great on my aforementioned Musica...even if he didn't like playing it very much. I would also venture a guess that Phil Smith sounds pretty good because he might have his fundamentals figured out.

    My suggestion here is that it is up to the next generation to decide what trumpets should be played as 'standards'. An instrument should not be purchased based on the 'compromise' notes that you 'just-get-used-to' by lipping slightly. Some of you will understand that statement immediately, others will figure it out after going through their Periodic Tables. We are now in a new millenium and there are new standards that need to be considered. Instrument design has improved radically and there are people out there who have made a science out of studying subtle nuances that will improve the overall resonance of a horn. Not snake charming quick fixes but people with long term staying power. You have to find out who these people is part of your trumpet curriculum and it should not be a surprise when you discover that it is an extremely short list.

    Don't be afraid to break the mold...great playing and individual musicality is what is ultimately rewarded in our industry and a shift in the status quo is a natural part of any cycle. Don't believe me? Look at the history of democracy itself. Something about the sun never setting on a certain empire...

    Jens Lindemann


    I figured this post was probably more pertinent in this forum than in the Horns forum since I get the impression that it is not necessarily about one particular make so much as it is about that very thing we chew over so frequently.... playin' em just because so-and-so plays em.

    Whatcha think?

    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana

    Short indeed!

    Anyone thinks that the Bach Strad days are over, think again. Dealers HATE to sell those horns, and every kid wants one. The prices are pushed down so much because it is a "standard".


    Dealer hate to sell 180-37s because the make between $50 and $75 usually. Not worth the effort of stocking a $1500 horn -- especially when the dealer knows a better horn can be purchased with that kid of money. Break the mold, be different, find your sound. Buy a quality horn and practice and play. Lots and lots of top shelf horns out there.

    Good "rant" Ed ... I :wub: it.

  3. W Scott

    W Scott Piano User

    Dec 8, 2003
    Carson City, NV.
    I'm another one of those guys that refused to play a Bach. They didn't sound good and I didn't think they played well. Some thirty years after forming this opinion in high school, I tried a brand new Bach 37. It felt like a toy, played like a King student horn and I sure couldn't see any reason to pay $1500 for one of them.

    Nope, found my horn in that big Constellation. :D
  4. AndrewWK

    AndrewWK Pianissimo User

    Sep 9, 2004

    Now wait just a minuete. Granted that todays bachs are not of a high standard not all bachs are bad. How about those 50's-60's Mt. Vernon trumpets. I heard thoses are some of the best.

    I play Xeno8335gs. :dontknow:
  5. W Scott

    W Scott Piano User

    Dec 8, 2003
    Carson City, NV.
    I don't know about the old Bachs. I'd love to try one sometime, but if they are the same size as the current ones I'd probably pass. After getting used to the Constellation, picking up a Strad feels like picking up a toy---very small and light!
  6. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    First of all, please note that the message is not mine... it was originally written by Jens Lindemann only a week or so ago and he gave me permission to copy it to this website. :-) That said.........

    I think that the problem with "BACH" is this thing called "brand association". Take a look at Olds... they are made by a company that bought THE NAME. How about Conn? King?.... same thing. The NAME is purchased, not necessarily the factory, the tools, the workers, the molds and dies, the craftsmanship. Now consider Bach... Selmer got their nose into the business and changed it. Read the history of Bach from their own website.... they have changed the very design of the instrument over the years as well as where it is made, and by whom. Now UMI (aka Steinway) has the wheel of the ship. What horns are still made by the original owners (or descendants thereof), with the same factories, the same tooling, the same workers? Aside from the obvious (the hand-made, "one-at-a-time" horns), there is Kanstul, Schilke, Getzen. There has been an enormous shake up in the European industry since the reunification of Germany. (Most of the old makers were located in East Germany... including some of the "brands" picked up by Voglandishe...something-or-other... B & S). I suppose you could "maybe" toss Yamaha into the heap as well although they have used ultra high tech and quality inspection to the maximum extent possible.

    Even "Boosey & Hawkes" (aka "The Music Group" after some financial mismanagement messed them up) fell prey to distorting the original quality instrument (French Besson... which everyone else is really pseudo-copying) with mass production and "go where the labor is cheapest, regardless whether it knows how to make an instrument or not". Sure, Jupiter is now making a better instrument than they were... but it is still made where it is because of low cost labor. I recently read a report (wish I could find the reference again) by a British music dealer who toured the Jupiter factory... WHICH WAS LOCATED IN JINBAO, CHINA!.... same place as the Wally Mart/Sams Club horns come from!!!!! Seems that labor in China is even cheaper than in Taiwan.... duhh.

    If you have read this far... good...'cause I'm not done. Jens may be talking about the problem above but I get more of the sense that he is really talking about customers buying a horn simply "because of it's name" or "because of who else plays it". He is talking about telling someone that they need to "buy this brand or that brand". Look, every horn that is produced (again with the possible exception of Yamaha) has variables in the way it is put together. In engineering we call the phenomenon "Tolerance buildup". (A thousandth here, two thou over there, a touch less in that spot eventually becomes "A non-identical product"). When you design aircraft engines you have to consider that tolerance stackup when you set the dimensions for individual parts. Couple that manufacturing variability with "cost effective" quality control and "voila!", you aren't producing identical instruments any longer. No longer can you say that "Any Bach is far better than any Conn so that's what everyone should play". Therefore you should no longer be dictating what brand instrument a player purchases.

    Further, if sound quality of an instrument varies according to something as "relatively insignificant" as the coating of the finish (lacquer vs plating", then it stand to reason that those thousandths of tolerance difference are going to also affect the sound quality to a greater or lesser degree. Therefore you should also not be saying that "all Bachs have that Bach sound and therefore we should all be playing them" (or any other brand for that matter).

    No longer should we be obsessed with "what mouthpiece does Maynard use... I gotta get me one"... or "how many thou. should I bore this piece out so that it is the same as Jens'"... or... or.

    What to do then? Simple.... GET YER BUTT (and your chops) OUT TO THE STORES AND TRY EVERYTHING YOU CAN AND BUY WHAT TURNS YOUR OWN CRANK!!! Then go home and practice what's left of your butt off. :bash:

    Tra la la la.... :lol: Happy New Year, everyone! Be Happy, be Healthy, be Safe, and remember those whose need is greater than your own. :grouphug:
  7. JackD

    JackD Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 30, 2003
    Manchester / London
    While I think it's stupid to buy an instrument simply because "Phil Smith uses one" / "they look cool" / "everyone else has one", I think it's equally silly to write off a respected brand of trumpet just in order to be different.

    I use a Bach, and I chose it over a Xeno, a V1, etc etc. Not because I was told to, but because I preferred it! :-P

    There's nothing wrong with the quality of my strad. When it starts to limit me, I'll let you know, but I'm fairly sure that day isn't coming any time soon ;-)
  8. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Jack... and that is the point exactly... get what YOU want and like, not what someone "tells" you to buy! Glad you found a horn that works for you. (Maybe it would be best if they "outlawed" putting the brand name on the horn?) .... naaaa... just a wild thought.
  9. pwillini

    pwillini Pianissimo User

    Mar 4, 2004
    Kalamazoo, MI
    For almost 30 years now, I've played a Bach 37 exclusively. In the last 18 months I've wanted to change my sound, not be like everyone else, so I started the mouthpiece safari. That helped a little but didn't make the sound that much more distinctive, so I went big horn hunting. :D

    I've since done almost a 180 and now play Alex's Zeus Olympus with the copper bell and leadpipe. That is the sound I've been looking for for the work I do now, mainly small churches with intimate sanctuaries that hold maybe 600 people.

    But my Bach is still in the stable. I know there are certain songs I play the the Zeus just won't hang with so the Bach is there when I need it. I also know there are songs the Bach can't hang with and I have a Blessing that is on stage with me too.

    The key is determine what sound you want and, as noted in earlier posts, get out and try everything you can get your hands on. When you find the right one, it will have fallen into your hands, probably without you even noticing it. That's what happened with my Olympus!
  10. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    Steinway and UMI are not related. UMI is the former holding company for Bach, Conn, King, etc., but those "assets" were sold to Steinway. The division of Steinway that builds and markets wind instruments is "Conn-Selmer."


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