Trumpet Discussion Discuss Horn buying suggestions in the General forums; This is in response to the recent post 'new horn, used horn what do I buy'?
Most of us comebackers ...
Horn buying suggestions
This is in response to the recent post 'new horn, used horn what do I buy'?
Most of us comebackers are in our thirties or older, married with kids. A lot of us would love to have a $2000 dollar horn---but we'd wind up divorced and the kids would leave in disgust as well. As my almost sixteen y/o daughter said--'Dad, I can buy a car for that!'. So, what do you do? Well, here's four suggestions:
Good used horns---
E-bay is a good place to pick up a good quality used horn. You do want to watch who you are doing business with though. Look for a seller with a track record, and a rating of at least 98%. If they don't have these qualifications, stay away from them!
Especially stay away from the crooks listing brand new 'Zeus G' horns for a starting bid of $1.00. The listing is by someone with no track record, who registered somewhere you've never heard of before (Andorra, Great Britain?) and they want you to contact them before bidding. Don't do it! They are east European hackers who steal E-Bay identities and try to take over computers. But, if you're careful to buy from reputable sellers, you shouldn't have a problem. I've bought and sold on e-bay for years (sold two trumpets this month) and I've never had a problem.
You can get some real bargains on e-bay. I just saw a Conn 80A, silver plated with gold plated accents--no dings or dents, great shape, sold for $25.00! That being said, it can be frustrating chasing horns on ebay. Lots of bidders wait until the last minute to bid and you find the horn you wanted snatched away at the last minute. So, that leads to the second option:
There are several shops around that will restore a horn for you. Borodi music in Ohio is about the least expensive---unless the horn has some serious damage, a restoration will cost about $400. The online address is:
There are lots of restorable horns on e-bay for under $200--sometimes waaaay under. Look for old Conn 22b, 6b, 10b, 12b, 40b, 60b, 38b. King Liberty, Getsen 700's, Olds, Benges, Selmers, King Silvertones-the old ones, Holtons (just make sure it's in Bb!)---to name a few of the great old horns.
Which leads to a third option:
Alaska Pro Horn---
Malcolm Ray is the man behind this business. He finds the great old horns of the past, restores them and then sells them on e-bay. Look on e-bay for trumpet listings with 'ALASKA' in caps at the end. Go to the listing and click on 'sellers other items' to see all of the horns Malcolm has listed. He has been selling horns on ebay for years and is a heck of a nice guy to do business with. I've got a Conn 38b coming from his Alaska shop and it will be just like it was when it was first shipped from the factory. The cost? Right at $700 with shipping and insurance. Malcolm has two shops, one in Alaska and the other is at Borodi music. Malcolm will sometimes do a layaway deal with the horns that are coming from Alaska. Check out what he has as his restorations are truly works of art. Right now he has some Olds Supers with the nickel silver tone rings. He also just bought a couple of Olds Supers with brass! tone rings---they have to be restored but I've never heard of a Super with a brass tone ring.
I can't remember the name of the guy behind this business, but he has been selling horns online for years. The web address is:
He finds all sorts of great, used horns to sell. Trumpets, cornets, vintage horns, horns in different keys---you name it and he probably has one. He does layaway deals as well on many of his horns.
So, there are some sources that I've checked out. For my two cents worth, why not buy a horn in like new condition for a whole lot less than the new horns of today? A lot of these old restored horns were the $2,000 dollar horns of their day and they are fine playing instruments.
Gabriel is NOT a woodwind player!
Bill....great suggestions. Ebay CAN BE a good place to buy "for cheap", but you have to know what to watch for. I recommend that the novice get the link for the auction and ask within one of these forums whether it looks "up and up" or not. There have been some really great scams running lately involving Taylor, Monette, Zeus (to name a few off the top of my head).
Buying used and restoring can be a good idea as well...but only if you either KNOW or have refund possibility on what you buy ("like new" can turn out to be completely shot with tired valves, red rot, badly fatigued tubing....ask Leigh McKinney what it costs to rebuild something that the "unhappy new owner" wasn't planning on spending!)
Alaska Pro..I'm going to ask a general question in the Wild West forum (this isn't the right place). Intriguing but let's hear some "personal experience" on that one.
While I'm mentioning it, I've heard that somebody has received an offer from "First Class Brass" to do a total overhaul of an "oldie but goodie" for somewhere around $300. Of course shipping costs two ways across the ocean could factor into this. You want to take a look at several of the folks who do overhauls...lots of testimonials in the various trumpet sites about who does what, how, and what they charge and WHAT THEIR TURNAROUND TIME IS!
HornTrader (Steve Dillard).....seems to be a broker. I don't think he actually owns all of the horns he advertises, although I have seen him buy some from Ebay. You can expect to have to pay a bit of a premium for his "services" in getting a seller and a buyer "together". At least a known trumpet player will have "passed his chops" over whatever he's selling.
Once again, however...remember that we're talking mostly about folks who have either a) never before been in the market to buy, or b) have been OUT of the market so long (their parents probably bought their first horn) that they need to educate themselves before getting hauled into the "rental vortex".
Mezzo Forte User
The guys at Dillons are worth a try for their used horns as well.
Absolutely right, Trevor. I completely forgot about the retailers who specialize in "used" horns (kind of dumb considering that's how I moved up from my old Bundy).
Dillons, Horntrader, Brass Bow, Springfield Music, Tulsa Band, (and I'm sure folks can fill in about twenty more places who carry good, used horns).
One thing I've always been curious about, however. These "retailers" who sell used or traded instruments...their asking prices seem kind of high to me; as an example, a "commoner garden" Strad in silver seems to generally list around $1,000 to $1,100 but I seldom see them go for more than about $800 on Ebay. Is it just the "risk factor" entering the equation? or can the resellers be "negotiated" with?
Mezzo Forte User
I suspect the main reason is that most of these horns are on commission (some may be trade-ins). Generally, the charge is 15-20% which makes an $800 Stard a $1000 Strad. The trade off is of course if the company is reputable they'll have checked the trumpet out first for rot,valve probs etc and maybe even given it a clean. They won't of course be able to tell you how it plays!!
try woodwind and brasswind
1946 Martin Committee, Bach 5V
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