Vintaqe Lafayette Trumpets

Discussion in 'Vintage Trumpets / Cornets' started by swthiel, Feb 23, 2004.

  1. swthiel

    swthiel New Friend

    I have a question about vintage "Lafayette" trumpets.

    My first non-rental trumpet was a Lafayette. I recall that the bell said "Lafayette" in script letters and it was "Made in Paris." (Pretty fancy, eh?) It was my dad's trumpet when he was in high school (late 1930's/early 1940's), he had it refurbished and gave it to me when I was in grade school, probably when he realized that I'd probably stick with trumpet and that would be cheaper to refurbish his horn than to rent a horn indefinitely. Later, my parents gave me a Bach, which went with me when I went to college. While I was away at college (late 1970's), my parents sold it in a garage sale since I had my Bach.

    Browsing through ebay, I saw a couple of horns listed as "Lafayette by Couesnon" and am now wondering if these are essentially the same kind of horn I learned on. The engraving on the bell looks familiar, although I don't recall seeing Couesnon on the bell of my old horn. But then again, there's a lot off stuff from the 1970's I don't remember.

    So, my questions are:
    (1) Did anyone other than Couesnon make "Lafayette" trumpets in the 1920's/1930's?
    (2) Any feel for how these horns play?

    Strolling down memory lane,


    PS -- If you bought a "Lafayette" trumpet in a garage sale in Falls Church, VA in the late 1970's, I want to hear from you! Seriously!
  2. bigmack

    bigmack New Friend

    May 19, 2004
    Lafayette by Couesnon

    Hi Steve

    Way back in 1958 I bought a used Lafayette. I was in highschool at the
    time and had about 3 years of playing experience. At that time the horn
    was about one year old and in good condition. It was quite a step up
    from the rental horn that I had been playing.

    This Lafayette had the following unique features:

    A) The main tuning slide incorporated a threaded rod. With the slide
    in the closed position the horn was in B-flat. By extending the slide
    to a preset position and extending the valve slides you could change
    to A.

    B) The third valve slide exited the valve body on the right side not on
    the left as most trumpets do.

    C) The valves were of the "bottom sprung" design. The springs were
    located beneath the valve pistons and rested upon the bottom caps

    I played this horn for about 20 years. The laquer lifted when it was
    about 10 years old & I sent it out to be refinished. The valves began
    to stick due to weak valve springs. I replaced the springs with springs that
    were progressively wound and everything was great.

    It was a small bore instrument, 0.453 I beleive. If you were playing
    lead, you had to work to be heard.

    In 1988 I sold it to a friend whose son was in his second year of band.
    Hope this info will be of some use to you.

    Best regards,

  3. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    Kinda pulling this one out of the graveyard, but...

    Yesterday while going through the instrument room at CU (Yes, I am a nosy, nosy person), I came upon a very, VERY pristine, clear lacquer horn. Other than one dent, one ding, and a place where someone re-soldered the 3rd slide brace, the horn was cosmetically perfect.

    Well, after oiling the valves (The valves are very different, they jump right out after you unthread the top cap), I decided to test it in concert band. It performed admirably, and I would actually put it as better than my Olds Ambassador! It is a Couesnon Lafayette, but thats all I can tell about it, lol. The only markings on the horn are the Lafayette sign on the bell, and the numbered valves. I know that this was the first trumpet ever given to CU, and it was given about ten years ago, from a player who had a bad abnormality in his lips. He babied this horn, which something I REALLY REALLY REALLY like in older horns...

    Just had to say the horn is VERY nice, and I would actually put it playing wise as the best of the vintage student horns (Even above the vaunted Ambassador and Collegiate). It does feel very resistant in the register past high G, and the valve action isnt quite as smooth as I like, but the sound is top-notch, real soft and cuddly, but can bite if pushed.

    I wonder if anyone's ever modified a Lafayette before? I'd have Kanstul reverse the 3rd, install Blackburn 20 pipe, amado on the 3rd, finger rings for the 3rd and 1st. Valve align/cleaning. New scratch silver... :D


Share This Page