when to replace lead pipe on Bach Strad and what lead pipe do I have?

Discussion in 'Horns' started by jdltrumpet, Dec 16, 2016.

  1. jdltrumpet

    jdltrumpet Pianissimo User

    Nov 24, 2016
    I have a 1970-71 Bach Strad ML43*. There is no stamp on the lead pipe indicating what it currently has. I cleaned the pipe out and can see some pitting along the lower stretch of it. How critical is it to replace when there is pitting? How can I determine what lead pipe it currently has and what should I replace it with?
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  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I had a ML/37 Strad that had all kinds of stuff going on in the leadpipe, but I did some of my best playing of my life on that trumpet. Unless it rots through and creates a hole, my thought is that if the trumpet plays well, why mess with it.

    On the other hand, if you feel you must put a new leadpipe on it, my first thought would be to put a Blackburn #19 on it - that seems to be the Blackburn leadpipe that goes onto most Bach Strads, but the Najoom leadpipe is supposed to be good, as are the leadpipes made by Charlie Melk that are sold by M&K Drawing and Bending.
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I have a philosophy for life in general and that includes the trumpet. I don't change anything unless I can identify something wrong with what I have. I really do believe that instrumentshange with age based on how they were played and that players change based on their habits with specific instruments.

    If I use my Bach CL 229H as an example: I picked it out in the mid 70s at Giardinellis when they were still in NY city. It screamed buy me in spite of 10 or so other C trumpets of "equal" quality. I listened. It was my staple instrument for many things.

    1997 I bought a Monette Ajna 2 Bb to augment the colors that I could make available to those that book me. This horn set a new standard for me in tone, intonation and resonance and I wondered if I was getting everything out of my C trumpet too. I bought a matching Monette C trumpet mouthpiece and got some of the goodness of the Ajna, but there were intonation issues that I used alternate fingerings for and that took its toll on resonance and tone.

    This went through my head for another 10 years. I studied other horns, took notes on the differences played just about everything that I could get my hands on and quantified the difference. I had friends that got their C trumpets pimped by various artisans here and never once heard an improvement. Then I played several Bach C trumpets modified by a Swiss artisan - Spada. He took the Bach instruments apart and remanufactured them, with a tuning bell and different bracing. He solved the intonation issues and got a much more even tone than with the stock horns. The problem for me was that he sacrificed control and tone density to get what he got.

    Fast forward to 2012. I talked to my artisan about what I had learned and asked him if he would be willing to do some paid R&D with me. He said that If I brought some time with me, yes as he had other customers that were important to his business. My specific goals were to fix the intonation, increase the resonance, keep better control when playing loudly (the Bach C trumpets can "splat" easily when pushed hard). I did not want to lose any of the characteristic Bach sound and core. We made the tuning bell but developed a way to keep the braces. We changed the bracing on the leadpipe, we replaced the H leadpipe with a cut down standard Bach 7 Bb leadpipe. We also did a lot of other seemingly microscopic things. The result: a Bach C trumpet, in tune, resonant like a Monette, with all of the core that makes the Bach so glorious.

    In essence, I do not like any Bach trumpets with 3rd party leadpipes. The sacrifices are far greater than the more even blow and intonation. If your leadpipe is not leaky, just start taking notes. If your Bach is your reference, then you have something to measure everything else that you can get your hands on. Do not let first impressions sway you. We live with our choices and develop relationships. Think about what you have. Think very seriously. If you ever are near Frankfurt, Germany, feel free to contact me. I think that I have some compelling arguments and can demonstrate them.

    Many times, those selling leadpipes have a possibility for you to clip or tape it on the current one and move the tuning slide to try. We can learn alot this way if we get to keep the slide for a couple of weeks.
  4. jdltrumpet

    jdltrumpet Pianissimo User

    Nov 24, 2016
    Now there's an idea. clipping or taping before dismantelling, that would be a great test of difference. I was just wondering if I needed to be concerned about the paying quality with a pitted lead pipe. My suspicion is that my playing ability prevents me from even noticing the difference between a new pipe and my pitted one. I'm still not sure what pipe is the like in kind replacement for my horn since the lead pipe doesn't have a model number stamped on it. Would it be a 43 from the factory to have matched the ML and 43* bell?
  5. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    I agree with both Patrick and Rowuk, pitting is not a problem until you have a leak. Don't worry about it.

    Most of my used horns have pitting to some degree, mostly down one side where the horn is placed back in the case.

    I don't eat when I play, and I drink water, no soft drinks - soda pops etc. It seems reasonable to swab the leadpipe if you don't want to have it get worse, but unless it is a relatively new horn, then why bother. Your horn has lasted almost 45+ years and still going. There are other more important things to worry about - if it breaks fix it, and maintain what you have -

    Keep it clean, use good oral hygiene, and enjoy playing it.
  6. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    My primary trumpet for 40 years is a 1974 Bach 43*. For me, I wouldn't change a thing on it.

    Great philosophy, whether we're talking about leadpipes, valve alignments, blueprinting, mouthpiece safaris, or whatever.

    Like the Mouthpiece Express PipeBuddie.


  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Please do not forget that we are creatures of habit. We need weeks to really notice issues. If I was in the US, I would be sure that my tech was a trumpet player and had a reputation for having ears.

  8. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    I wouldn't do anything to it. I have seen and played horns with pitting. They sounded and played fine. Until it becomes a hole (if that EVER happens), I'd leave it alone.

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