Obsession with old horns, help!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by jefan, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. jefan

    jefan New Friend

    Oct 9, 2008
    I just recently bought a used Kanstul 1525 that had beautiful engraving on the bell, except upon closer inspection the muse had an extremely ugly face, looked like a witch. She must have cast her spell because now I have become obsessed with that mellow sound from flugelhorns and cornets. Since I can't buy new cornets, and there are not that many flugels that I want besides what I found in my 1525 and since most new horns lack the engraving. I have been buying used ones, over the past week, I have bought 4 cornets a 1956 Buescher 400 cornet ($182), approxi 1967 King Silver Sonic ($225), 1968 Conn connquest cornet ($45), 1957 Holton Tri metal collegiate ($225). I am watching an 49 martin committee, a Conn 1958 18a coprian bell cornet and a 52 Olds special cornet. I could also use suggestions for a mouthpieces. I'm using a kanstul monette clone b6 on my trumpet and a Kanstul Harrelson 7c and Benge 5 Harrelson on my flugelhorn.

    I have just received the King Silver Sonic it plays okay but is in terrible cosmetic shape. When I opened the case it had an odious rancid valve oil smell that filled the room. I immediately took it apart and put it into a tub of warm water with fragrant soap. It needs pads and corks, but otherwise plays and sounds alright. With these my first ebay purchases other than my flugelhorn, I'm expecting for the cheap prices I paid, I will get what I paid for. So I was wondering if someone would steer me in the direction of how to strip off the old lacquer and if needed who to send it to for complete restoration, if my experimenting finds my totally out of my league. Or maybe I have found a new hobby.

    As I said in other posts, there is very little in Salt Lake City Utah as far as trumpets and cornets go. Tons of guitar and piano and even violin making schools, but no brass. Since I'm obsessed with buying, if I can become obsessed with restoring, everything will work out. Otherwise, it will become an extremely expensive hobby. I'd appreciate any suggestions.
  2. screamingmorris

    screamingmorris Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 4, 2007
    Something you might consider:

    I have just one instrument, an old cornet of a large bore size that I can no longer play easily because of my health.
    I have been looking for one good vintage instrument of smaller bore, either trumpet or cornet, to replace it.

    Because I am retired / disabled on a small monthly check, I can only afford to buy one instrument.
    I was interested in at least 2 of the instruments you recently bought, either would have been perfect as my one instrument, but you out-bid me on both so I didn't get one.

    So I am still getting by on my one cornet that has the wrong bore size for my health.

    Like you, other posters here in Trumpet Master and in Trumpet Herald are also accumulating large collections of vintage instruments, and in doing so you are out-bidding people like me who are just trying to get *one* nice instrument.
    Some of the collectors here never even play all of their instruments, they just leave them stored in their cases, whereas if I owned one of those instruments I would actually *play* it every day.

    So, to all of you people in Trumpet Herald and Trumpet Master who are spending a lot of money to accumulate large collections of vintage instruments that you don't even play,
    how about laying off for a while so that little guys like myself can have a chance to get just one nice instrument?

    - Morris
  3. screamingmorris

    screamingmorris Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 4, 2007
    "Floyd, which of your vintage instruments is your favorite?"

    "Gosh, that would be hard to say, because I'm not even sure what I have in my collection now.
    But I could probably narrow it down to my favorite 6 or 7.
    Of the 3 Connstellations in my closet, I think I prefer the 1957 one.
    And of my 4 Committees I have in storage, I really like the 1948 one.
    I have several Ambassadors and Collegiates but I'm not sure exactly how many because I haven't actually opened the cases in at least 5 years.
    But I remember the bidding on one of the Ambassadors was pretty tense, because there was a High School kid who wanted it for playing in band, but I was lucky enough to out-bid him by $1 so that I was able to bring that little baby home and put it in my storage closet."

    "Floyd, how about selling me one of those Ambassadors?
    I could really use it in our community band."

    "No way.
    My vintage horn collection is like the old Roach Motel commercials: Vintage horns check into my house but they never check out.
    By the way, for the 137th time, here is a photo of my 4 Committees lying side-by-side.
    When I include what I spent on valve re-buildings and valve alignments and various tweakings on them, I have $10,000 invested in just that one photo.
    Of course, I also have over $1,000 invested in the several Collegiates I own, because I just can't pass up having another cheap Collegiate in my collection."

    "You're lucky, Floyd.
    I desperately need a trumpet for community band, but I can only afford to spend $100 because I had to have the alternator replaced in my car last week."


    I'm not referring to any one collector here, because that describes many, many, many collectors who post in Trumpet Herald and in Trumpet Master.
    There are many little guys like myself who are struggling to get one nice instrument, while the collectors are flaunting their latest additions.
    You collectors out-bid us little guys so that your collections get bigger and bigger every week, while us little guys are still trying to bag one nice instrument on a very limited budget.
    You collectors spend more on just one valve re-building than we little guys can afford to spend on our entire one-instrument purchase.

    End of flame.
    Exit, stage left...

    - Morris
  4. godchaser

    godchaser Banned

    Jun 17, 2007

    "..who to send it to for complete restoration.." -jefan



    Sure sorry to hear of your plight there, Morris. Possibly TM can begin a practice of buying, refurbishing, and selling these classics to deserving Players, with a good pace of payment in mind. I'd be willing to donate some ear-marked dues to the effort. As i'm sure you would as well, and many more.


    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008
  5. A.N.A. Mendez

    A.N.A. Mendez Utimate User

    Oct 25, 2005
    Sunny Ca.
    Morris, give me your wish list, I'll send you something...
  6. Bill McCloskey

    Bill McCloskey Piano User

    Apr 22, 2007
    What is your budget Morris?

    I've bought some very nice conn 80a's for $100 on Ebay. Very nice horns. I just sold a nice one for $200 refurbished by Josh Landress.
  7. jefan

    jefan New Friend

    Oct 9, 2008
    Dear Morris,
    I'm truly sorry about the situation you find yourself in. I too only had one horn about a month ago. However, I'm not sure what it is I can do to remedy your problem and what it is that upsets you. If it is about collecting instruments, well I'm sorry you feel that way. I'm sure there are many others, that have found pleasure in collecting things.

    If it is that I out bid you, I am truly sorry. I didn't mean too cause you personal harm. You are lucky you didn't get the King Silversonic, it requires work that you would have had to pay for. As for the other instruments. One of them was not from ebay, it was from trumpet master and it was for sale quite a while before it was offered to me and I purchased it. The $50.00 cornet, I think I was the only bidder and I'm sure if that was your budget, your current horn is probably better than that one. This $50.00 horn is for my daughter to take back and forth to school and practices. As for the Buescher if you were the person I was bidding against me, rest assured if it is in decent shape. It will be my main cornet, but I'm sure there are a lot of similar horns that come up in that price range. I have seen a lot sold for $200.00 and that was what I bid and I won it for $182.00. If I could find 4 in a one weeks time, I'm sure more will come up shortly. The Flugelhorn, I bought it at the buy it now price and it was over $2000.00. I'm trying to get a decent price, but I'm not trying to rip off the seller. In most of my life's dealings I have tried to live a life without doing harm to others. I'm sorry that I have hurt you.

    I had actually bid on the Josh Landress refurbished horn, but I was outbid by $2.50. I truly am sorry that I offended you. Believe me, I am not trying to take horns out of other peoples mouths. I wish you well in your journey.
    Schwab likes this.
  8. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    If you have plenty of money to spend, buying cool fixer-uppers and having them restored is fun, as long as you find a good brass tech. That said, you're much better off if you can find an all-original horn like you want in decent shape, even if you have to pay a lot more for it. I've found a few that were really nice with great valves, original lacquer, and very few dents. Not saying that old ones can't be rebuilt and play great, but sometimes you'll end up spending more than they're worth to get them up to par.

    Speaking of playing great, that's the other point. Old, funky, wierd horns look cool and make great conversation pieces, but if they're not good players, you'll tire of them pretty fast. It's no fun to take your newly rebuilt beauty to a rehearsal and decide that you have better horns that you'd rather be playing. You owe it to your playing mates to play the best horn you can field. I try out the occasional new find in a rehearsal or two, but if it doesn't perform well, I don't bring it back and will generally sell it.
  9. A.N.A. Mendez

    A.N.A. Mendez Utimate User

    Oct 25, 2005
    Sunny Ca.
    You know, when I first got into this madness I wanted to restore every vintage horn I got, now I relish the odd 1930 something with the patina lacquer that has come to me from some closet in a house somewhere where it lived since its previous owner put it there and then lost track, interest , or maybe even life itself. Now , a nephew, aunt, son or other relative or friend has sold it and I hold it and wonder how many new years eves it was played at? How many dances in the old days, how many times was it party to nerves for this or that show? I love the history, most of the smells (!) and the feel of these pieces of American history. :-)
  10. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    You'll really like that Buescher cornet. Morris, those come up pretty often, and just about any Buescher cornet with a serial number below 400,000 is going to play wonderfully, including the Elkharts (which use a different serial number range). If you don't mind trumpets instead, there's an older small-bore Buescher at Dillon's that would work wonderfully for you.


Share This Page