restoring an ambassador

Discussion in 'Vintage Trumpets / Cornets' started by trumpetgirl612, May 30, 2005.

  1. trumpetgirl612

    trumpetgirl612 Pianissimo User

    Mar 30, 2005
    practice room 5
    i have a mid 1960's ambassador trumpet which was not well taken care of it what should have been its glory days

    now, i see what may be evidence of red rot on places like the lead pipe, and possibly other majot parts of the horn

    can i get the horn replated/resotred? or do i have to let it go?
    it would KILL be to let this horn go
    it was truly my first love....
  2. nieuwguyski

    nieuwguyski Forte User

    Aug 9, 2004
    Santa Cruz County, CA
    Have a reputable repair tech look at your Ambassador. What you think is red rot may just be surface corrosion.
  3. mike ansberry

    mike ansberry Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Clarksville, Tennessee, U
    How bad is the red rot? Is the pipe leaking? Put your finger over one end and seal it. Then blow into it and see if it leaks. You can do the same for the other parts. If it isn't leaking, clean it out thoroughly. I don't know about a chemical bath for that horn. It might make the rotted spots start leaking.

    Hey, Robert! Is there a product out there that will stop red rot?
  4. trumpetgirl612

    trumpetgirl612 Pianissimo User

    Mar 30, 2005
    practice room 5
    no, no leaks
    hopefully it IS just surface corrosion
    i will have to take it to a horn guy
    ::crosses fingers::
  5. Sturmbill

    Sturmbill Pianissimo User

    Feb 11, 2004

    If the pipe is gone just replace it. Look on eBay for frisco1227 or centex-brass. Both carry a lot of vintage Olds parts and are good guys to deal with.

  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I'm a bit spoiled in that a guy I gig with almost weekly is a talented brass repair tech. If I ever have any kind of problem, I just let Craig take it with him after the gig and he brings it back in tip top shape.

    I second everyone that says to have a brass repair tech look at it. They are going to know within seconds what needs to be done to make that horn "right".

    Good luck!
  7. Robert Rowe

    Robert Rowe Mezzo Piano User

    Dec 24, 2004
    For Mike Ansberry (& other interested parties) --

    Sorry for not responding sooner ... I've taken a bit of a break from the everyday thing -- went to a different level of consciousness ....

    Here's "the skinny" on the dreaded Red Rot --

    Red Rot (otherwise known technically as Dezincification) is
    defined as: "An electrochemical breakdown of the zinc in brass,
    leaving copper behind."

    Resulting from many causes (not going into them here & now), Red Rot, once begun, is difficult to stop, though chromic acids have shown to be effective in slowing the process.

    In my experience, it seems to be impossible to stop Red Rot. Some of the brass-repair trade techs have experimented with various chemical cleaners and "dips", but it is not apparent that anything will arrest the problem. I have begun to experiment , myself, with an amazingly simple "household" product, in conjunction with a "2nd step" material (to neutralize the 1st). I won't comment yet and identify what it is, for fear someone "out there" (on this Forum) will try it on their own horn, with disastrous consequences. I'm not stupid ... I don't want a bunch of "whiners" ready to lynch me, because their horns have holes that aren't supposed to be there. I do these "experiments" in a controlled manner, on used parts, not horns. The biggest problem I forsee, is the long-term effect and results. Red Rot takes years to develop, and any "cure" may take years to manifest, likewise.

    Reminds me of what we (repair techs and music-store operators) sometimes learn "The Hard Way" ... (this is a true story) :

    Some years ago, we surmised that spraying generous and copious amounts of "Lysol"-brand disinfectant spray would eliminate the musty odor inside most cases that were stored for a long time. Maybe O.K. for brass instruments; not so for some woodwinds. Today, many clarinets are made of a phenol-based (plastic) proprietary material, called "Res-0-Lite", which is used on many student-grade instruments, in lieu of the much more expensive Ebony and Grenadilla wood. After some time in the case with the aforementioned "Lysol" spray, much to their sheer horror, the owners discovered the clarinets had literally "melted" and "shrunk" ! Bear this in mind, lest you have anything in the case with your brass or silver horn ... (think "valve buttons", mutes, "Delrin"-rimmed mouthpieces, Getzen 3rd-valve slide stops, etc.). Better yet -- "Fuggeddaboutit"!! (Brooklynese) .

    Later, Dudes ....
    Robert Rowe
  8. Robert Rowe

    Robert Rowe Mezzo Piano User

    Dec 24, 2004
    Hi, Emily --

    I didn't mean to ignore the post question you presented.

    "Bop" on over to Dillon's with your Ambassador. Ask to speak with Fred Harvey (the repair tech).

    I know how it is ... I still have my first Trumpet, an Ambassador ... and I shall always keep it. My moron nephew, whom I loaned it to in hopes it would inspire him to find something interesting, aside from video games, was about to make it into a lamp, for an Industrial Arts project. I nearly performed a "procedure" on his private-parts, after which he would be singing like Michael Bolton ... ( hmmm ).

    Bye, for now!
  9. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    There are quite a few folks who feel that an Ambassador that has been hooked up with a Bach (not sure which model) leadpipe can be a horn equivalent to the best "pro" models out there. Perhaps someone can chime in with the pipe model (I think this is one of the things that AlaskaProHorns was doing to the Ambassadors that they were recycling).

    If nobody can advise, I can send you contact info for a fellow who has done this.
  10. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Someone once put up pics of a totally tricked out Ambassador. It had been overhauled in what I believe was a brushed lacquer finish, with a Pilczuk leadpipe. I'll bet that baby just zinged!

    Ahhh, I found it is:

    Owned by TM member Pangea

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