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Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Sherri, Sep 17, 2010.
Pics should show now...sorry there are a few (I have quite a few more BTW)
Nice horn. Did you say it was for your 11 yr old son?
No, it will not be for our 11yo after all .
Long story short...It has been in its case packed in storage for more than 20 years.......it is my husbands. My husbands Uncle gave the horn to him in the early 70's but my husband ended up only playing it a couple of times .
During our recent move I finally opened it up to see if it would be a good first instrument for our son. Then I began researching it and found TrumpetMasters~~
Now I am not sure what to do with it. I love the look and sound and am undecided about learning to play it.
Right now I am just trying to find out about the wacked out tuning slide...the curve pipe off the leadpipe has been 'turned to the upside of the curve, rather than being kept at the bottom.....not sure why that was done and worry it de-values our horn.
That concerns me...and the sheet music 'holder' attached as well.
I have quite a few more pics if needed :>D.
Thank you for any help on those issues,
The tuning slide has simply been inserted upside-down. As long as the slide hasn't frozen in place over the years, it will just take a few seconds to pull the slide out, reverse it, and push it back in.
If the slide is stuck, take the horn to a music store with a repair tech. Do-it-yourself solutions invite catastrophic failure, and repairing a damaged slide will cost a lot more than freeing a stuck one.
Pull the tuning slide completely out and remove it from the trumpet.
Turn it right side up.
Re-insert the tuning slide in the trumpet.
"Also there is a little brass attachment with a screw that is likely for a student to screw a sheet music holder into it. I would guess that must decrease its value?"
I don't see why the bracket for holding a lyre would decrease the value of a Conn 12B trumpet.
If you look at the photo of a 1955 Conn 12B at the Conn Loyalist Web site, I think that is the bottom of a lyre bracket peeking out from below the 3rd valve slide, indicating that the lyre bracket is original equipment on at least some Conn 12B trumpets...
The Conn Loyalist
I don't see any of the original lacquer missing from around your lyre bracket to indicate that any soldering was done in installing that lyre bracket after the trumpet left the factory,
so I assume that the lyre bracket was installed and then the original lacquer was applied all in the factory.
So it is good that your trumpet has the original factory-installed lyre bracket.
BTW, your serial number 411404 is from the middle of 1952 according to the serial number list at Conn Loyalist at
The Conn Loyalist
Your trumpet is probably worth "only" about $500-$600 in today's depressed economy.
So you have our sympathy
And do not let a student take that vintage instrument to school,
or even play around with it at home.
That would be like letting a 16-year-old new driver use a Rolls Royce as a dune buggy on the beach.
John and Moshe,
Thank you so very much for all of your help!
I will absolutely need to take it in for professional care. I will research this site to be certain I find the right 'care giver'!
I was thinking of selling it....but now I am not so certain. I have never played a horn but have always wanted to. It is so pretty and now that I have learned more about this one I wonder if there is a reason I should not learn on this one??? hmmm...
Thank you again so much, yes I see it is a 1952. I had read it wrong.
And.....wow. *Only* 500.00 or so??? I guess that is not so bad! lol. Gads, if I tell my husband this he will want to sell it!!!!! Got some thinking to do :>D
I barely wanted to touch it for pics after reading a little about it, let alone allowing a kid touch it! haha. I like your analogy Moshe!
Thanks again so much! Oh, also, there is a canvas zipper cover that the case was kept in so the case is still in pretty fair shape for the age I guess...makes it more special. Now to decide if I take the cover to the cleaners or somewhere specific for it??
There are some amazing horn photos on this site!
I know I will be back for more questions!
Three things make your trumpet desirable...
Vintage Conn professional instruments are famous for being extremely well-made.
Instruments with copper bells (Conn called it "Coprion" because Conn used a special process) look extra beautiful and have extra character in their sound.
Your Conn 12B is in very good condition,
and it has the original case which is also in very good condition,
which is more rare than the beat-up ones we often see on eBay.
So it is like finding a classic 1966 Ford Mustang in excellent condition with original paint and low miles on the odometer and it still runs OK, just sitting in someone's garage with nobody noticing it all these years.
Now I really want to keep it! Clean it up...learn it... and show it off...lol. Not to mention making beautiful music............
Almost 3 a.m. I'll never sleep thinking about it...But gonna go try at least...Thank you again! I will be back tomorrow!
Do not do anything to damage the original lacquer!
Experts on TV say that much of the value in antiques is in the "original patina".
Same with vintage instruments.
The original clear lacquer that covers your entire instrument has aged over the last 58 years to have that classic dark amber color that everyone desires.
If that original lacquer were damaged so that the instrument had to be re-lacquered, the copper bell would look bright pink and the instrument would also sound different, which would lessen the value of the instrument dramatically.
See the photos at
To protect the original lacquer,
do not soak in hot water, as that will loosen the lacquer and make the original lacquer come off completely.
Just briefly wash the trumpet in room-temperature water with something mild like dish washing liquid.
Then rinse in cool water.
Let all the parts completely dry before putting it all back together.
Try to avoid getting too much water on the corks that are on the tops of the valve pistons, because soaking them in water will eventually damage them and then you'll have to replace them.
And use a brush on the end of a metal snake to gently clean out the tubing throughout the trumpet.
You can buy one for less than $10.
Some people prefer the kind where the metal snake is covered with a vinyl outer covering so that the metal snake doesn't scratch or gouge the inside of the trumpet's metal tubing.
You will also need a mouthpiece brush for cleaning out the throat and the backbore of your mouthpiece.
It is amazing how much gunk will accumulate in the mouthpiece.
And use a quality valve oil like "Hetmans" or one of the other good brands which typically costs about $8 per small bottle that might last for a couple of years depending on how often you use it.
Consider the synthetic valve oils which last longer than regular valve oil.
A Conn 12B deserves better than cheap bargain-basement valve oil which doesn't lubricate for very long.
You might need to have the corks replaced in the spit valves if air is leaking through them.
Most shops will charge only $10-$20 to do that, and you can choose cork or synthetic material for those spit valves.
If you unscrew the valve casings and lift the valve pistons out you can see if the corks on the tops of the valves need to be replaced or are in good condition.
If the valve pistons are slow to rise even after a good oiling, you might need to have your local music shop replace the springs that go under the valve pistons.
Special replacement springs for vintage Conn instruments are available on the Internet and it is easy to do yourself, but your local music shop could do it cheaply, too.
Just make sure that the new springs are shaped the same as the originals.
Some springs are the same diameter from top to bottom, while other springs are bigger at one end so that the spring collapses into itself in a pyramid fashion when it is compressed.
For lubricating the slides, I use regular Vaseline, but you can also get official slide grease, although some of us think that some brands are too thick and make the slides too hard to move.
Then some people mix a little bit of valve oil into the slide grease to make it a little bit thinner consistency so that the slides move easier.
Insert the mouthpiece into the trumpet firmly but gently.
Do not twist the mouthpiece into the trumpet too tight for 2 reasons...
The mouthpiece might get stuck in the trumpet, then you'll have to go to the music shop to have them pull it for you (Although many shops do it for free and it just takes a minute or two using a special mouthpiece pulling instrument. Trying to remove a stuck mouthpiece yourself could cause terrible and expensive damage to the trumpet, such as twisting the leadpipe, breaking the mouthpiece receiver, breaking one of the brackets).
Screwing the mouthpiece into the trumpet's mouthpiece receiver too tight will eventually enlarge the inside diameter of the trumpet's mouthpiece receiver, which is a bad thing because then mouthpieces won't fit right in it anymore.
I use ordinary toothpaste squirted onto a damp cloth to remove the tarnish from mouthpieces.
I use an old toothbrush with toothpaste on it to scrub in the little nooks and crannies of the mouthpiece.
Use the old-fashioned white type of toothpaste rather than the modern gel type, because the old-fashioned white type has a very gentle grit in it.
With a little bit of elbow grease the toothpaste will gently remove the tarnish from the mouthpiece without damaging the silver plating. (Metal polishes with heavy grit will eventually remove the thin silver plating from your mouthpiec, which is bad.)
Rinse the mouthpiece well after scrubbing with touthpaste.
Mouthpiece will then be beautiful, clean, and even taste minty fresh without having used any poisonous chemicals.
Do not use pliars to try to remove stuck screw-on valve casing caps (they are on the top and bottom of all 3 valve casings, so 3 top caps and 3 bottom caps).
You will damage the caps with pliar marks and squeeze the caps out of round.
(Let your local music shop remoeve anything that is stuck on the trumpet. They will use the right tools in the right way to remove stuck things without damaging them.)
I use Vaseline on a Q-Tip to apply a tiny amount of Vaseline to the threads of the top and bottom valve caps to keep them from becoming stuck. (I apply a tiny amount of Vaseline to the threads on both the male and female parts, in other words, the female threads inside the valve caps and the male threads on the outside of the trumpet's valve casings.)
And screw the valve caps down firmly but not too tight, because over-tightening the valve caps will either get the valve caps stuck or you will permanently strip the threads on the valve caps.
Finally, copper bells have a reputation for being a softer metal than brass bells,
so that copper bells supposedly dent and otherwise damage more easily than brass bells.
So be careful and don't accidentally bump the copper bell against anything,
and don't drop the copper bell onto a table.
Some people might not even use a trumpet stand for a copper-belled trumpet as is often used on regular brass-belled trumpets, because that soft copper bell is supporting the weight of the entire instrument, and bumping against it and causing it to tip over might damage the soft copper bell.
(To use a trumpet stand, the trumpet bell is pointed downward and placed down over the top of the stand, so that the top of the stand is inserted upward into the trumpet's bell.)
But I imagine that there are some players who do use those trumpet stands for copper-belled instruments, so use your own judgement...
Way cool find! Get a teacher and learn to play it!