U.S. Bandmaster?

Discussion in 'Vintage Trumpets / Cornets' started by Pingui, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. Pingui

    Pingui New Friend

    Sep 11, 2010
    New here. Did a search but didn't find, so hoping someone can shed some light. I have a U.S. Bandmaster horn with a serial number 6xxx, and it says "made in Italy" on the same valve area where I found the serial. Behind the name u.s. Bandmaster there's a sort of map of the USA
    Can anyone tell me about it? Thanks in advance!!
  2. MFfan

    MFfan Fortissimo User

    Sep 13, 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    There is info on Horn-u-copia that US Bandmaster was a model sold by Sears Roebuck, seen in their 1937 catalog. There seems to be several makers , including Conn and imports, that used the Bandmaster name at one time or another.
  3. Pingui

    Pingui New Friend

    Sep 11, 2010
    Thank you very much, Dave - I'll check out the site. My dad, who passed away a few years ago, used to play clarinet and sax, and rarely a trumpet -- I saw this one at a garage sale and picked it up partly because it reminded me of him, and the case looked like around that vintage (late 30s, early 40s) to me ;-)

    I have a friend who plays a little bit now, and I'd like to give it to him but wanted to find out more about it first, so thanks for your help.

  4. Pingui

    Pingui New Friend

    Sep 11, 2010
    Just wanted to note - I saw a cornet on eBay just now listed as "U.S. Bandmaster" and the engraving in the image looked similar to what is on mine, but it has more words (a model name I think). The pages of the Sears catalog 1937 say "bandmaster" but not "u.s. bandmaster" so I think it must be different.
  5. MFfan

    MFfan Fortissimo User

    Sep 13, 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    You are probably right. Several retailers apparently used the name Bandmaster or US Bandmaster for student instruments back then. It is likely a "stencil", made to contract for a US retailer, dealer or importer, as was common for many years. The HUC info was the only sketchy material I could find. I have seen the ebay one, which is apparently a German made one, which adds to the mystery. It is possible for whoever contracted for these instruments could have done so, but who knows.
    I looks like one of those many "stencil" mystery horns that will be hard to solve. That Ebay one looks to be a nice one, but not worth $299 to start.
  6. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    I have one of those 1937 Sears horns, a Supertone Bandmaster trumpet. It's possible that it was made by the Elkhart Band Instrumnet Company, and it is marked Elkhart Ind.

    It isn't the best-playing horn I've ever used.

  7. Antonio

    Antonio New Friend

    Jul 30, 2017
    United States of America
    Do serial number really mean anything? Cause I have a vintage trumpet that reads Bandmaster made in the USA Serial #1741 and haven't found anybody who can help me. They keep saying that there serial # don't go back that far. What I read up so far is that the lower the serial number the older it is
  8. LittleMuddy

    LittleMuddy New Friend

    Aug 2, 2017
    Greetings- I don't know how to post a thread - so my apologies.

    I have a 1911 King Improved Perfecto serial #13754 medium bore. I am looking for someone that might want to add to their collection.
  9. J. Jericho

    J. Jericho Fortissimo User

    Mar 16, 2011
    Vulgano Brother likes this.
  10. Bflatman

    Bflatman Forte User

    Nov 27, 2008
    Manchester, England
    Hi Antonio,

    Serial numbers dont mean much and are only significant in the manufacturers instruments who made the instrument carrying it.

    If I started to make trumpets I would start with serial number 1 and just add numbers each time I make a new instrument. But what do I do If I start making trombones in a couple of years, do I start with 1 again on the trombones or use just one serial number sequence for all instruments. And what happens if I am taken over by Bach or Mangleberry (made up name) who already use a different serial number range. Do I use the Bach or Mangleberry number range as I am part of another manufacturer now. These difficulties have led to strange serial number sequences with some manufacturers.

    Serial number lists exist for many manufacturers but not all, and serial number lists exist for different instruments within many manufacturers records. In some cases due to incomplete information, different lists exist and they conflict and have different serial number ranges covering the same years.

    Sometimes all we can do is get as much information as possible and then take a best guess as to the year of manufacture. Often there is no information at all.

    Where the manufacturer is well known like Conn or Bach or Schilke you have a fighting chance to come up with a serial number list and then a year of manufacture, but when it is a stencil made by a well known company but engraved with an unknown name, its a tough ask. If you know the manufacturer of the stencil then the serial number might be traceable in the manufacturers listings but there are no guarantees with a stencil.

    In the case of Bandmaster, these appear to be a stencil name used by a single retailer as a model name and sourced from any of a dozen manufacturers globally. I think it unlikely that we can deduce who made it and when it was made. It may be possible to deduce the manufacturer from small details such as braces valves water keys and other details of design.

    Selmer UK also sourced stencils globally, they sourced their stencils from several manufacturers around Europe and the UK, and the name on the stencil is meaningless as it was chosen by Selmer and had nothing to do with the original manufacturer.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
    True Tone likes this.

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