When you restore an old horn, what should you have done?

Discussion in 'Vintage Trumpets / Cornets' started by Annie, Jun 8, 2005.

  1. Annie

    Annie Piano User

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    Nov 13, 2003
    I have an old Holton from 1949, and I wanted to restore it so it'd be an awesome jazz horn. What should I get done to it?
     
  2. Annie

    Annie Piano User

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    Nov 13, 2003
    No ideas at all?
     
  3. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Annie,

    Sure, you could get it restored, but I don't think it would turn out to be an 'awesome jazz horn' without some considerable modifications. Then the question is why start with a Holton?

    Greg
     
  4. Annie

    Annie Piano User

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    Nov 13, 2003
    It's an old one, for starters, and a pretty dang good horn. It was a pro horn when it was first made, and it has a good dark sound. My previous instructor played it, and had mentioned that restored it would make a good jazz horn, especially because the metals in it are heavier. It is a good horn, it's just old and needs to be restored.
     
  5. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    Rochester, MN
    Annie,

    I'm not trying to be difficult, its just that in the last few years I've come to see that terms 'pro horn', 'student horn', 'jazz horn', 'legit horn', 'heavy horn', 'light horn'..... really don't mean much. What's important is how a horn plays, not if it fits someone's idea of a 'X' horn.

    If you like the horn then that's great for you.

    Greg
     
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Annie, for a basic restoration, here is the short list of what I would have done to it:

    Chemically cleaned, inside and out
    All dents removed
    valves and casings lapped and replated if needed
    valve alignment
    external finish restored (it would probably be easier to have it plated if it isn't already)
    new springs, valve guides and felts as needed

    Probably the best thing would be if this trumpet was completely disassembled down to the valve block by someone that really knows what they are doing, and then carefully and painstakingly cleaned up, fitted, and reassembled. There are two problems with this idea - 1.) I wouldn't trust that sort of work to just anyone so you need to find someone that you trust knows what they are doing, and 2.) this level of detail is going to add some expense to the project - this isn't a show stopper, but it is something that should be factored in. It is going to depend on your budget, and how far you are willing to go to come out of the deal with an instrument that plays up to your investment.

    Good luck - let us know what you end up doing with it.
     
  7. Robert Rowe

    Robert Rowe Mezzo Piano User

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    Dec 24, 2004
    Hi, Annie --

    Your intention is noble, but, unless this horn has sentimental value, the cost of restoration would probably be prohibitive ... (think about possible disposition in the future, and recovering your costs).

    A certified tech (such as a NAPBIRT tech), could put the horn in fine "play" condition for a modest cost. Later, if you would still be enamored of the instrument, you could consider the "restoration" project aspect.

    Regards,
    Robert Rowe
     
  8. Annie

    Annie Piano User

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    Nov 13, 2003
    Thanks for all the helpful comments!

    And, the horn is definately playable - it's my marching horn. I just want to make the valves cleaner, and basically get a decent overhaul - somewhere around the ballpark of what trickg mentioned. With a little work, it would definately be a *NICE* horn. At the moment, it's just an ok horn.
     

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