Why are Baroque style Trumpets so expensive and are they really worth it?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by coolerdave, Jun 10, 2014.

  1. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    I saw a clip of Kathryn Aducci playing a baroque trumpet and wondered how much those "things" cost. I did a little google searching OMG ... 2k+ ??? no valves .. some holes.. no real braces . It's not like the formula for resonance and tube length is a top secret thing. I get that they aren't mass produced and the market is quite a bit less but $3,000 for brass tubing with some holes in it?
    Are they that good?
  2. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    Shooting in a breeze here but I think it is a craftsmanship issue, I would suspect that they are made individually and you would be paying for 20 years of apprenticeship rather than the item itself. An artist friend of mine always answers the question "How long did it take you to paint that" with the phrase "35 years"
  3. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    Actually, Cornyandy is partially right. You pay for the workmanship and the experience one needs. And, of course, Baroque style trumpets are not "just tubing". In fact, a Baroque trumpet that is just brass tubing and nothing else will be very boring to play and will be horribly out of tune.
    The secret lies in subtle changes of diameter at the correct places. And that is why almost all original Baroque trumpets have lots of dings. Most of these were not caused by accidental damage - they were DELIBERATE.

    The German National Museum in Nuremberg once had a case in point. They had a wonderfully preserved, finely playable sterling silver Baroque trumpet in their depot that they lent out to a few of the greats like Friedemann Immer. The hooter had a few dings, but no one cared. It just played wonderfully.

    Then, the conservator for old brass instruments retired, and a new guy was not to be found. Temporarily, the conservator for old woodwinds took over. And instead of just leaving everything in statu quo until a new specialist could be found, he undertook a great restoration project. Amongst other instruments, that one Baroque trumpets had all the dings taken out and a few bits of solder in the tubing removed...

    From that day onward, the hooter played like a garden hose with a cold in the nose.

    Proof that all the dings and bits had been put on deliberately... and modern replicas have the same dings, dents and wallops. You have to know about them exactly, And that is where the price comes in.

    It's similar in rotaries. Bb rotaries can have an additional C hole (you might call it a second waterkey near to where the tuning slide is nearest the bell flare. If you open up that hole while playing, risky bits like top C will be much safer to play - but only if the hole is at exactly the right place. If it's one micrometer from the "sweet spot", it won't help you - it will even make playing more risky.
    Sidekick and coolerdave like this.
  4. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    Thanks so much ... I had no idea
  5. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    Not only it is craftmanship but anything hand made one at a time must be expensive, the market does not exist for large quantities to be made using production methods. For years I had a small manufacturing shop and an acutely aware of the problems.

    The fixed charges are always there, rent, electricity, wages etc. these have to be met and a proportion must be charged to each job and hopefully a little profit, the major cost is labour.

    A case in point, for years I made an electronic unit to detect slip on long conveyor belts, when I got an order for 100 units the total time for manufacture and testing was 300 hours, representing 3 hours per unit. When my customer's market dried up and only replacement units were required we had to ask for batchs of 10 units as less was uneconomical to build, 10 units would take 60 hours, an average of 6 hours each. I never did a costing on a single unit.

    The front panel had 12 holes, 10 round of 4 different sizes and 2 rectangular, this required 4 punch and 2 die set changes as well as 12 stop resets to a master plate, 100 panels total 4 hours, 2.4 min each, 10 panels total 3 hours, 18 min each.

    I own a plastic injection die, it has only been used twice in 50 years, the moulding company will only set a machine and run for for a minimum of 4 hours total, the last run made 2000 units, it took 10 years to sell them all.

    I hope this gives a little understanding of manufacture.

    Regards, Stuart.
  6. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    I hear you Stewart .. I was running numbers in my head ... thinking okay how difficult could to run some brass through mandrels and solder this together for a craftsman .. then the polishing.. enscribing and lacquering. I figured most of the work could be finished in a day and maybe a second day for ??? If a craftsman made 80k base pay and then add 30% for medical etc... I figured close to $400 a day in labor .. double that for materials and then 20% mark up... put it at around a $1,000 ... I did not have a clue about the tuning and intentional dings. I could see how that could be real time consuming. My other thought is why hadn't anyone mass produced what appeared to be a simple instrument. Someone let me try what appeared to be a chromed one .. and it played very much as Barliman stated. I am simply blown away how beautiful they sound in the hands of an artist.
  7. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    Side note. Kathryn Adduci is currently on vacation "down under". I sent her a note asking to give me a heads up if she has any performances lined up. I told her I think some of my trumpet playing friends might be interested in catching a performance.
  8. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Jumping on your coattails for a second. I own a machine designed to create an edge to landscape beds. It costs <$2500! That's all it does well. They make attachments now because guys asked for some versatility. But all it does well is put a perfect natural edge in the ground. A replacement bit is @ $300! It's steerable for doing tree rings and other designs. I have to charge a set price per foot to make it profitable. Some customer's get a little out of sorts when they see the machine and me edging a foot every few seconds until they see all the dirt and grass that needs to be cleaned up.
  9. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    It's like the old joke about the technician who took 5 minutes to fix a huge machine with a simple adjustment. He charged $1000 for the job. The owner questioned why he charged so much when all he did was turn one screw a bit. The technician answered that he only charged $5 for turning the screw...the other $995 was for knowing which screw to turn.
  10. charles1963

    charles1963 New Friend

    May 15, 2009
    I do wonder why there aren't any Chinese "Baroque style trumpets" made.

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