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Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Liad Bar-EL, Oct 22, 2006.
When did Maynard Ferguson start playing the Holton and what did he play before that?
I don't know the exact answer to your question, but as far as I know he played the Conn 38B Connstellation before the Holton. The changeover occured sometime in the late 1960's or early 1970's; I have a MF CD from 1967 on which he still uses the Connstellation. Of course there may have been something else in between there too, I don't know.
It is my impression that MF's style between the Holton (lightweight) and the Connstellation (heavyweight) is quite different.
Thank you Christine for that bit of information. Could you explain a little bit of the differences in style between MF's use of those horns?
BTW, I lived not far from Elkhart, Indiana which is where Conn was located. I will always feel indebted to Conn for the horn that I have now. A pro player friend of mine was at Conn buying horns for his music store and saw a new Schilke apart on their work bench. He was able to buy it from them with the intension of buying it for me and I bought it from him.
Thank you Elkhart-Conn for such a nice horn!!
Christine, where can one find a Connstellation these days and how much do they cost?
A run of the mill, unrestored Constellation will run you around 500 to 600 dollars U.S. I would highly recommend a Precision Valve Alignment as most Constellations play noticeably better afterwards. I have a Constellation, which I had completely rebuilt---replated; valves replated, hand lapped and precision aligned, and I have $1200 in the horn.
For what it's worth, I also have a Conn 22b which is the same bore size as the Constellation. I prefer the 22b as for me it plays easier and sound better to my ear. The 22b's are quite a bit cheaper, averaging about $300 for one in good shape.
OK, MF's difference in style. This is my (humble) opinion! In the 1970's on the lightweight horn, you hear Maynard doing these big shakes and generally playing all over the place. Not so on the heavyweight Connstellation. No shakes and everything is much more "tidy". I personally prefer the "tidy" (and not because it is a Connstellation), but that is just my personal taste. Also the Connstellation, I feel, because it is a heavy instrument, has much more "core" to it, it is less shrill than the lightweight Holton Firebird (or whatever it was called exactly). That said I love Maynard's 1970's stuff. But I prefer his earlier recordings.
Connstellation vs 22B. I briefly owned a 38B Connstellation (1980 model) and have played the 36B that belongs to a guy I know. The 38B is too big and heavy for me, it takes too much work to get it "moving" (and a lot of air). The 36B is much better in that respect, eventhough the only difference between the two is the bell and the braces (36B has a "lightweight" bell and lighter weight braces; it is still a heavy instrument). I own a 1948 22B New York Symphony and it is the instrument I play from day to day. I love it. I get complimented on my sound regularly, it is a normal weight and isn't heavy to play.
The Connstellations do come up on eBay regularly and go for between $500 and $800 or so. That would be your best bet. Given a choice, the earlier ones are better. Keep in mind that the 1956-1957 models have a different leadpipe. I haven't (yet?) had the opportunity to try one so I can't tell you what the difference is.