Smith Watkins?

Discussion in 'Horns' started by Tootsall, May 9, 2004.

  1. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Now there's something that's not generally known. Apparently Kanstul makes the Smith Watkins line? All of it? or just the trumpets?

    Man, the more you read, the more you find out. Wonder if Yamaha is secretly making Bach!!!!!!
  2. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE

    As much as Kanstul can claim (quite rightly) to be trumpet makers to the stars..Smith-Watkins?? West coast quality disguised as bespoke English craftsmenship?? :D ??

    Actually I remember some sort of connection...I think valve blocks,maybe some stage but I don't know about these days.

    Don't you have better things to do (like playing that Eclipse)?


  3. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Yes, Trev; I could be exercising the MR, but the gig doesn't start until 2 pm (we were sold out last night), so I'm "busy" relaxing, surfing, and cleaning valves! As far as the music goes... if I don't know it by now it's too late to be "cramming"!!

    Actually the show last night went GREAT! Two "standing Os" to which we responded with "Hockey Night in Canada"! (Hey... we might be musicians but hockey is also part of our cultural framework).

    I guess my comment had more to do with the way "custom" horn makers have "optimized" their input costs by purchasing components from manufacturers who specialize in: (bells, valves, plating and finishing). Once these horns hit the marketplace they are invariably advertised as "designed by", or "a creation of", or some such advertising "fluff" when in reality they are not "invented" or "designed" so much as they are "specified, purchased and assembled" by using relatively common components.

    With his uniquely designed tuning system, Leigh has certainly broken new ground.... but even he will admit to buying his valves from elsewhere (and damn fine valves they are too!!) I think that Taylor uses valves from the same company as do many of the smaller, European "boutique" makers. Lawler using Getzen valves (the whole valve block? just the pistons? ahh, some more rocks to turn over!) and of course "la creme de la creme" Monette beginning his company by also using Getzen valves.

    Custom "dedicated" shops spinning (or electroforming) bells for different "labels"; Allied doing plating work for Getzen and ? and whoever else wants a project taken care of.

    Looking at the whole trumpet market I don't suppose there would be a sufficient volume of consumers who could afford the price of a horn that is TOTALLY made by a specific horn maker (OK... Monette does come to mind...maybe their prices ARE justified?). So where DOES the "uniqueness of design" enter the picture? Is it the "magic" of specifying the right blend of components? Is it in the design of bell shape (French Besson)? Material thickness? Brass "blend"? Attention to detail in fit and finish? All of the above? None of the above? Does one simply have to have enough of an ability to spec the "bits and pieces" and then make the "designed by" claims and have the cohones and the ability to market the "product" to become a "custom horn maker"?

    Inquiring minds want to know! :)

    OK, time to go buy Mrs. some Mother's Day flowers. Catch y'all later.
  4. uatrmpt

    uatrmpt Piano User

    Nov 29, 2003
    Actually, Yamaha does make the Bach line of Marching Brass. Go figure.

  5. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE
    It's great when all the work it takes to put a program together gets executed well and everybody enjoys it. Makes the whole effort very satisfying.

    I'm sure there is some 'branding' out there but generally most of the custom makers either add significant value to the package (say Flip Oakes or Smith-Watkins) or have a specific part of the trumpet which they are experts in and choose to add the other components from selected suppliers.

    I know Andy Taylor for instance prides himself on bells and as you say Leigh has his bell tuning system. Either of these guys could probably make their own valves but it is not efficient resource allocation for them to do it (the valves are excellent aren't they?) For the custom maker I don't think it's about cost optimization..they are after something that is the best for their product.

    But you know why I like custom ('boutique') trumpets so much? They are expressions of the makers either embrace that art or reject it. And by buying and using that instrument you endorse their interpretation of 'trumpet'. Every time I reach for my Taylor off the stand I smile. You'll develop the same relationship with the Eclipse. It's why boutique trumpets create such a stir..most people just don't get it, and if you've never attached yourself to one you'll never, ever undertand why people do. That's why God invented Yamaha. (that'll bring 'em out of the woodwork).

    In the great scheme of things a trumpet is such a fantastic instrument to be into. In comparative terms the best in the world is available for reasonable prices..tell string players what you pay and they'll throw up all over you.

    Live dangerously, try something different..but beware you may just like it and people will look at you strangely!! :D

    What a ramble!!



    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    I understand Getzen, Allied, Edwards, and DEG working together. Family or same family origins for all the companies.

    BTW, many, many of the components on a Monette are made by Getzen. I think Monette has a hard time justifying their prices in any shape or form. Not saying they are bad horns, they just cost A LOT!

    Some makers make their own horns from top to bottom. Obviously Kanstul does for their own line. Getzen/Edwards may share some things, but it stays in the family. I am sure UMI/Selmer/Bach under Steinway shares some stuff too, but it is the same company now.

    Some custom makers make their own stuff. Some make some of the parts, and buy the rest. Some have Kanstul or other makers make them to their own specs (ZeuS and Wild Thing, for example).

    So where does the MAGIC come from?
    It is a great question Ed! The magic comes from making, or even assembling a horn that fits a set of specifications that make it unique. Some will feel more comfortable with an Eclipse ... Some a ZeuS. Some will want a WB from Kanstul or a Wild Thing or a Schilke or a Bach or a ....

    I think this makes the trumpet world great. Many players own one more than one horn because, unlike a saxophones or bassoons, the cost is reasonable. We talk more about horns than lots of other wind players. Such a plethora of fine horns. Isn't it amazing the amount of quality horns available? Magic happens when the player finds the right horn for him or her and makes great music.

    Go get those standing O's!

  7. Veldkamp

    Veldkamp Piano User

    Mar 29, 2004
    the Netherlands
    To my knowledge Getzen has Bauerfeind valves. This information was told to me by a custom horn manufacturer who uses them to. So if Monette uses Getzen valves, they are using Bauerfeind valves.

    The manufacturer told me there are 3 valve manufacturers, Kanstul, Bach and Bauerfeind. Bauerfeind is also used by Eclipse, Thein, Schagerl, Hub van Laar to name a few.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but it makes sense to me.
  8. kdawg

    kdawg New Friend

    Nov 19, 2003
    That doesn't seem right. Getzen has been making its own valves ever since it started up. Imagine the scandal in the trumpet world if the best valves in the business weren't made by getzen
  9. eclipse trumpets

    eclipse trumpets Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Getzen make their own valves and supply to several other people too!

    They make fantastic valve sections!! if i was not using my current supplier i would use getzen for sure


  10. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    I've got Getzen valves and I've got Bauerfien valves. They aren't the same!

    If you were to make a list of who makes valves I think you'd come up with Bach, UMI (those two to start using a common valve?), Kanstul, Bauerfien, Getzen, Yamaha, Jupiter, Schilke and "unspeakables" in India and China. Anybody know who makes valves for Leblanc? (I've got a guess but I'll see what someone more knowledgeable might say).

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