New or Old, which is better?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Trumpet Dreamer, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. Trumpet Dreamer

    Trumpet Dreamer Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2010
    Jazz Town, USA
    Are vintage trumpets more desireable than the current models offered? I believe the folks at Getzen claim their modern horns exceed the quality of the old models...of course, they WANT to sell new horns!
    I own a 1970 Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone (I no longer play it) that has appreciated in value greatly ($$$) over the years, almost like gold.

    I would think that instruments offered today from a well respected manufacturer should be as good (better, actually) as the vintage models.
    The 2 trumpets I own (Getzen / Yamaha) are current production models, both play very, very well, and they are of the highest quality construction.

    Just curious as to what draws individuals to the vintage instruments? Is it price, novelty, they simply play and sound better?
  2. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    I have a King Silver Flair (Post UMI - 1991 model - an intermediate horn) which is heavier than my King 600 (1970's era, but only a student horn) -
    the quality is pretty much the same --- very nice valves, and the sound seems comparable -- the King 600 is lighter, that is all.
    Price - King Silver Flair (bought in 1991 - $850) -- the King 600 (Ebay special - $90)
    I prefer the "feel" of the Silver Flair and it also has 3rd and 1st valve slides that work easily
  3. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    Good question, TD. My take on it is that it's not as easy to get all the variables just right for a great horn as might be thought, like it's just good design, good construction, no big deal..... Reading on the Conn Loyalist suggests pretty strongly that the 38B Constellation, for example, is a magnificent horn during a certain period (most of the years), but later, even Conn couldn't get it right again. Same with some of the other manufacturers .... Like Olds, where certain years are clearly better than others, though the designs were similar.

    Also, I have to wonder if the metals and the way some of these metals are treated, is the same today as vintage years. And the detail of construction, like the Committee being put together, entirely from start to finish, by one master builder. (Then they bring in somebody to spend half a day doing fancy hand engraving.) It seems to me the major manufacturers can't compete with that kind of detail because of cost. I think you have to go to a custom builder today to get the same care in building.

    And yes, cost helps. I'd hate to think how much I'd have to pay today for a new pro horn that sounds as good as my 1924 Martin Handcraft that I got off ebay for $330. And that's the other thing ..... they don't sound the same. The "vintage" sound is a real thing.

  4. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    Another factor in this debate is that of personal preference. In my case, I have a rather large 'accumilation' of vintage trumpets and cornets. In that 'accumilation' I have some favorites, among them, the Conn 2B that I was lucky enough to score about two years ago, that I prefer to just about any of the current production trumpets. My 1928 King Silvertone trumpet is another that greatly impresses me. I could go on about my cornets, but, in this case for the sake of brevity I will just discuss trumpets. I have also owned,( note the past tense ), a couple of late model Elkhart Bach Strads. I kept an early Reynolds Medalist for a back up horn in preference to my Strads. I 'think' that many of the current manufactury from the major plants in the USA are just built to a price level, not to a quality standard. It is a shame, but, woefully true, in my opinion.

  5. Trumpet Dreamer

    Trumpet Dreamer Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2010
    Jazz Town, USA
    I agree. I'm sure my Yamaha 2335 (a very good horn) was built to a price point. However, one of my instructors (lead trumpet, UNT 1 O'Clock) played my 2335 and was able to hit double A's with better slotting than on his model "K" (a highly regarded west coast company), and jokingly asked to borrow my Yamaha. He also commented it played far above what would be considered an "intermediate" horn.

    My Vax Getzen, on the other hand, was probably built with a far higher degree of performance in mind, rather than just cost issues, although almost everything is a compromise of some sort. The MV Getzen, BTW, really sings!

    My brother in law owns a 1956 Connie 38B Trumpet. I hope to get to play it sometime. The opportunity to play something really vintage has never been afforded to me (yet).
  6. A.N.A. Mendez

    A.N.A. Mendez Utimate User

    Oct 25, 2005
    Sunny Ca.
  7. kcmt01

    kcmt01 Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 25, 2009
    Polson, MT
    It depends on the manufacturer. An old Holton is better. Getzen, I'm not sure. They built some good horns and some not so good. Bach, probably old.
  8. ColinWhite

    ColinWhite Pianissimo User

    Oct 16, 2010
    East Lansing, MI
    I don't necessarily look for old trumpets, I like whatever horn is the best I can afford. At this point, that just so happens to be a 1949 Buescher. I tried a relatively new Bach strad when I was looking for a new horn but I liked the Buescher more. And it was significantly cheaper.
  9. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    Some old ones are better than some of the new ones, and some new ones are better than some of the old ones. You have to be picky and try them out to tell which specific ones you think are better. That said, you will generally get a better deal on an older horn, and some of 'em ooze character.
  10. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    I have all old horns except for my 2 Jupiters. Since you mentioned Getzen, I'll comment on them. I've "played" new horns at various music stores and other players horns and none of them are IMO as good as my 900H from the early 70's or me Severinsen Eterna from the mid 60's. The new 900S is just not as good as the old 900 series. As has been said, it depends on when the horns were made. It also depends on what you are looking for. I have a Super Deluxe that slots better in the high register than my 900H but overall is not as good a horn for me. I won't say they don't make them like they used to regarding all of Getzen's lineup, but can say it is true of the 900 series. Old is generally cheaper unless you are looking for a Committee. Thank God, and my dad, I already have one of those.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010

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