Kanstul Chicago intonation question

Discussion in 'Horns' started by rwbanks, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. rwbanks

    rwbanks New Friend

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    Apr 10, 2004
    Fort Worth, TX
    I'm a comeback player who's considering purchasing either a Kanstul Chicago 1001 or 1070 soon, and wondered if there any players out there who are familiar with early (Burbank and LA) Benge intonation issues, and could compare the new Kanstuls to the (pre 1980) Benges.

    I currently play a 1974 LA Benge 3x, and really like the horn, but it's in need of restoration and is very sensitive to mouthpiece-receiver-gap changes. (It'll be sent out for restoration once I get a new horn and either kept as a backup horn, or sold so I can pick up a nice cornet or flugelhorn)

    I've pinged Jack Kanstul separately on this question, and thought I'd also ask y'all as well. All of the Benges I've played on for the last 25+ years have been pretty well used examples and probably have made me work harder than their original owners around the flat d" and e". While I can bring the notes into tune on the old horns with some creative bending, or some valve and slide work, I'm curious if the new horns behave differently.

    Thanks in advance,
    Ron Banks
    Fort Worth, TX
     
  2. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

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    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE
    Hi Ron,

    I've got a Kanstul Chicago 1001 which I really enjoy playing. I've never owned any old Benges but have played a few LA ones, but not side by side and not in an ensemble setting (where for me most of the intonation issues on a horn really stand out).

    I must admit I've never had any extreme intonation issues with the Kanstul. Yeh, sure the D needs a bit of work but no more so than any other trumpet, I have no probs with the E at all, I certainly don't need to use alternate fingerings.

    Hope this helps.

    Regards

    Trevor

    Trevor
     
  3. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

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    Nov 27, 2003
    Denver
    I'm not familiar with those particular Kanstuls, but I'm played tons of Bachs, Yamahas, Selmers, Conns, etc. and ALL needed some "adjustment" of the D and E near the top of the staff. I think that's the tuning compromise of choice these days, so that the bottom line E, A and other trouble notes are closer to in tune without adjustment.

    You're right to focus on this issue. For me, my Yamaha Z was particularly flat on the D. That was workable in the staff, but the D above high C was easier for me to tune with open valves than with 1 valve. If you play above high C, test the horn up there, particularly in the D-E area. That'll help you decide whether you can live with its tuning compromise.

    Dave
     
  4. rwbanks

    rwbanks New Friend

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    Apr 10, 2004
    Fort Worth, TX
    Trevor and Dave,

    Thanks for your replies on the intonation issue. I really appreciate the advice, as most of my trumpet experience has been on Benges, and I hadn't really played other horns enough to "feel" the difference on them.

    After talking with Jack Kanstul and reading your replies, I'm really leaning toward the 1001, since I really like the Benge tone quality above the staff, and would like to be able to blend just a bit more easily with non-besson/benge horns (compared to my 3x) when playing section parts. My current horn sounds like a Benge in all registers (not really a bad thing), but it takes some work to make it blend really well with V1's, Generation II's, etc., when needed.

    All in all I'm pretty much looking for a good horn for lab/big band work that doesn't sacrifice flexibility for slotting, but also one that's not so slippery that forcing the slots isn't a continual drain either.

    I've pretty much just been playing natural trumpet in my off-time from valved trumpet, and all of those non-harmonic-series notes in the Bendinelli, Fantini, etc., get you pretty well used to bending notes, so the d"/e" issue on some horns isn't a real problem -- I'd just like to know the general playing qualities of the horn so I'll know what to expect when I receive one on trial.

    I'll probably also try a WB 1600 as well before making a final decision, as I've heard lots of good things on this forum about them.

    Thanks again,

    Ron Banks
    Ft. Worth, TX
     
  5. rwbanks

    rwbanks New Friend

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    Apr 10, 2004
    Fort Worth, TX
    Dave,

    I also wanted to add a thanks for reminding me to check the d'''/e''' on any new horn, since those can actually be a little more interesting to bend into tune since the nodes are closer together up there. I do normally check the upper-range slotting on a horn I'm trying out by doing open diatonic scales between c''' and g''', and then the same with open chromatic scales in the same register (i.e. no valves, 1st valve, 2nd valve, etc.), to see if it slots or bends easier.

    I haven't been checking the octave relationships for intonation (between c'' and c'''), and I should have been doing it all along. Those octave relationships are really going to point out if there is an issue on any horn with end-correction, mouthpiece gap, water key locations, air leaks, etc., as they can contribute to harder/softer and flattened/sharpened slots.

    I used to play on a natural trumpet that had 4" too much end correction taken off by the maker (they doubled the bell correction on the horn). It played in tune in the staff, but would go 1/4 step sharp between f'' and c''' -- ouch.

    Thanks again for the tip on the upper register,

    Ron Banks
    Ft Worth, TX
     
  6. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

    841
    4
    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE
    Hi Ron,

    Glad you got something out of it.

    Dave is exactly correct, of course, intonation is an issue over the whole trumpet...not just the really obvious ones.

    I mainly play in sections with the Kanstul and it fits nicely with the Bach/Yamaha combinations you most often find. It's pretty versatile as well and will cover most bases including big band stuff.

    If my memory serves me (and I may be corrected by the experts) the sound is a little richer than I remember the LA Benges I've played but when you push it it gets that 'edge'...Benge players will know the sound, it's unique.

    Regards

    Trevor

    PS Slotting is fine....it's a light trumpet and consequently doesn't lock in like the Taylor but it's doesn't slip all over the place either.
     
  7. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

    684
    3
    Nov 27, 2003
    Denver
    Yeah, and everyone was lookin' at you thinking, "why can't that dude play in tune up there?".

    Ron, I don't seem to have you in my address book. If you'd like, send me your email address and I'll add you to the DFW Trumpeter email newsletter. Mainly we announce gigs and events. Once per year we have a "Trumpetfest". We had a WB and several other Kanstuls at the last event, along with tons of Stomvi, Bach, V1, Selmer-Paris, etc., etc. We'll have another great selection this November, I hope.

    I'm at [email protected]

    Dave
     
  8. tom turner

    tom turner Mezzo Forte User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Georgia, USA
    Hi Dave,

    The "scale" of the original Benge Bb trumpets did indeed have a D and E above the C in the staff that were a little errrrr . . . flatter than other horns.

    Like most makers, once they get it "right" they don't ever monkey with the design after that . . . and the classic Benge (pre-UMI) trumpets all had the flatter than "normal" D and E from the original Chicagos through the LA Benges.

    Us old diehard Benge players in the 60's and 70's simply accepted the fact that we would have to lip those notes up just a little . . . it was the very small price to pay for getting that marvelous Benge sound! The A above the staff COULD shade a tad sharp too.

    I always regretted selling my '72 3X that I'd bought new (#9727), for it was such a great playing and great sounding horn! I made a lot of money gigging with that horn and it sounded great both on the stage and in the studio!

    I had the chance to purchase another '72 three years ago that was within 150 numbers of my original . . . and in great shape! I drove 340 miles round trip to try it and purchase it.

    Wow . . . it played, sounded and felt IDENTICAL to what I'd remembered in my old one. Alas, the D and the E were STILL flat as expected . . . and I understood suddenly that nostalgia had just collided with reality. I passed on the horn.

    The Kanstul "Chicago" plays, feels and sounds almost exactly like the original Benges before UMI screwed em up! They are accurate in execution all the way to the flat D and E! Blindfolded I don't think even an experienced vintage Benge player would notice much difference at all.

    Evidently the scale on the Benge gives it that unique Benge "sound," and the D and E must have been a very SLIGHT trade-off for this to all happen. It's REALLY not that big of a deal . . . and definately within the range of easy lipping!

    Still, if ya like the Kanstul "Chicago," also try the Kanstul 1503/1504/1600WB trumpets . . . they are great sounding trumpets and have evolved way beyond what the Benge offered in the 50's-70's . . . more even scale, slotting beyond Double C, more uniform blow throughout the registers!

    Zig was in on the development of the Olds Mendez, then learned the Benge way as plant mgr. for Benge in LA. Obviously Zig has continued to learn things, for Kanstul is truly making some of the very best production trumpets around these days.

    Sincerely,

    Tom Turner
     
  9. rwbanks

    rwbanks New Friend

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    Apr 10, 2004
    Fort Worth, TX
    Tom,

    Thanks for contrasting the similarites and differences on the pre/post UMI Benges and the Kanstul Chicagos. The d"/e" do take some concentration/practice to hit in the center (compared to everyone else in the section) each time, and I'll admit it becomes much less of an issue in passages where you can really light the horn up. Plus there is a tactile quality about those old horns that is just about right. The sharp a'' you mentioned is probably why I'm having additional difficulty with the a'''/b-flat''', but no real problems hitting other notes in the c'''-c'''' (high c to double c) range.

    My 1974 LA 3x is starting to slot really hard on the d"/e" (much harder than on other Benges I've played), and I'm begining to think that worn slides may be partly to blame. Again, it's probably time to get my present horn restored.

    I'm trying really hard not to get too caught up in the nostalgia thing either, and I'll definitely at least try the WB1600 to start with before I make a firm decision. I've been pretty good about resisting the Ebay Benge urge lately, as I'd like to get hooked up soon with a horn that I can concentrate more on my playing, instead of spending time worrying about whether the horn needs to be restored.


    Thanks,

    Ron Banks
    FT Worth, TX
     

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