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Trumpet Discussion Discuss What goes into a new horn buying decision? in the General forums; After looking at that title a couple of times, I've decided that maybe what is being asked is not 'Why ...
  1. #11
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    After looking at that title a couple of times, I've decided that maybe what is being asked is not 'Why would you buy a new horn'----instead the question is 'what factors do you use to decide on a particular new horn'.

    Well, since I have a new (to me, anyway) horn on the way, I'll share how I made the decision.

    First, the horn I'm playing (a Conn Director cornet) is wore out. The valves leak, I can blow the tuning slide out if I'm not careful and slotting is just gone. Sometimes I hit notes I can't even identify!

    So, buy another cornet or a trumpet? Since I like playing in community bands which pretty much demands a trumpet, I decided to go with a trumpet. Later this year, I'll send the cornet in to be restored and then I'll have two instruments.

    Budget is the next thing. I really couldn't spend over $1,000--and the cheaper the better AS LONG AS the horn is a pro quality horn. The budget drives what you are looking for. For a thousand dollars, I'm probably looking more for something used or restored. Jack Kanstul has some pretty good looking horns for under a thousand, but in general I'm probably going to have to buy used.

    What type of playing do I do? Mostly community band and church solos. I need a good, all around trumpet that will project really well when I get on it. (My band plays either outdoors or in a theater with a lot of heavy drapes). I need a horn that I can lay back on and play sweet, but when I get on it the horn can peel paint off the walls. I've also noticed that for me, for some reason, horns with bigger bells seem to play better. I also don't like the thumb saddles all that well---I really like the triggers better. The range of the horn was another factor. In the band, the director likes to pick numbers that have a lot of high notes. We have a concert this week and at least two pieces end on a triple C! It's not unusual to be double tonguing high G's and B's---so the horn has to have the ability to play high.

    Design---that was a big issue. So many horns today are just copies (or slightly improved versions) of another horn. I wanted something that was designed to push the envelope---either by design, bore size, bell, ergonomics (such as the Olds Recording or the Selmer Balanced).

    What horns have I played in the past and liked? Calicchios', Kings, quite a few Conns, Bessons., Bachs, Taylors---pretty much the gamut of what is usually found here in the U.S. What I liked was an easy blowing horn with a big bell, unique design, good all around sound and projection.

    So, I started looking and found a competely restored Conn Constellation (38b) and put it on layway. The Constellation has a big bell, small bore and can go above the staff easily. The design is quite radical---there's never been another horn quite like it. The bell is huge, and it has a trigger instead of a saddle, which is what I was looking for. Most players comments that I've seen say that this is a horn that plays nice if you lay back on it, or it can peel the paint off the walls---after all, Maynard played one of these for a while. The price was just under $700, so the budget goal was met.

    So, although there were other possibilites such as the Selmers and the Olds Supers and Recordings----I finally threw the dice and went with the Constellation.

    I'll let you know if I'm happy with the decision in about a week when the horn finally gets here! :wink:

    Bill
    Gabriel is NOT a woodwind player!

  2. #12
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    After looking at that title a couple of times, I've decided that maybe what is being asked is not 'Why would you buy a new horn'----instead the question is 'what factors do you use to decide on a particular new horn'.

    You certainly did things in a systematic manner ... with good criteria. But even with your criteria, the fact that "Maynard played one for awhile" came into the thought process.

    I guess we are artists -- and different ones at that. Can you blame us for having high emotion about buying a horn? I love the idea of a new horn -- I hope you enjoy yours (I know you will).

    M&C
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  3. #13
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    The reason that Maynard came into the picture was not because of WHO he is but HOW he plays.

    I have owned a 'peashooter' trumpet before with the typical small bore and tight crooks. I hated the thing because I often play using a lot of air. I constantly had to watch out not to use too much air or the horn would build up so much backpressure that it would almost shut down.

    The Constellation has a very small bore, and I didn't want to have a repeat of the problem with the peashooter. So, I was looking at old ads of various pros who had played the Constellation. When I discovered that Maynard had played one for a while that told me something. Two things I know for sure about Maynard----he plays high, and he plays using HUGE amounts of air. So, the horn should be able to take all of the air I can pour too it, and that's important to know when you are considering a horn you've never played before.

    Thanks for the encouraging words, M&C. It will be interesting to see how the horn actually matches up to my objectives and perceptions. :)
    Gabriel is NOT a woodwind player!

  4. #14
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    The reason that Maynard came into the picture was not because of WHO he is but HOW he plays.

    I have owned a 'peashooter' trumpet before with the typical small bore and tight crooks. I hated the thing because I often play using a lot of air. I constantly had to watch out not to use too much air or the horn would build up so much backpressure that it would almost shut down.

    The Constellation has a very small bore, and I didn't want to have a repeat of the problem with the peashooter. So, I was looking at old ads of various pros who had played the Constellation. When I discovered that Maynard had played one for a while that told me something. Two things I know for sure about Maynard----he plays high, and he plays using HUGE amounts of air. So, the horn should be able to take all of the air I can pour too it, and that's important to know when you are considering a horn you've never played before.

    Thanks for the encouraging words, M&C. It will be interesting to see how the horn actually matches up to my objectives and perceptions. :)
    Gabriel is NOT a woodwind player!

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by W Scott
    .........................................The range of the horn was another factor. In the band, the director likes to pick numbers that have a lot of high notes. We have a concert this week and at least two pieces end on a triple C! It's not unusual to be double tonguing high G's and B's---so the horn has to have the ability to play high
    ................................................Bi ll
    I HAVE NEVER SEEN ONE PIECE THAT ENDED ON A TRIPLE C! what the heck band are you playing in?

  6. #16
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    Well, Uncle Al, it's a community band in Carson City Nevada. The song that ends on a high C is 'The Ultimate Patriotic Sing-Along', arranged by Jerry Brubaker.

    Other pieces with sections above the staff would include 'New York 1927' by Warren Barker. Also 'High Flight'----I don't have the piece with me so I can't name the arrangement.

    Yeah, I was a bit surprised not so much by the high notes as by how many pieces have really tough syncopation and multiple rythm changes.
    'Happy Birthday Around the World' as arranged and adapted by Ralph Ford is one example. Have you ever tried to play 'Happy Birthday' Calypso style? Bright Waltz? with Fire? African Groove? DixieLand jazz? This piece has variations of Happy Birthday with all of these styles in one piece of music!

    For a real challenge, have your band try 'New York 1927' by Warren Barker. Very fast ragtime alternating with a bluesy/swing section then back to a really fast cuttime with several key changes along the way.

    What can I say? Our director is a sadist!

    Bill
    Gabriel is NOT a woodwind player!

  7. #17
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    Will ... "high C"? or "triple high C" as you said in the earlier post? I think it's the "triple" that Uncle Albert is wondering about.

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    Hey Ed,
    It's a triple 'C', the one above the staff. On 'Happy Birthday', just six measures in, the firsts are on a triple C, the seconds are on a G or A, the thirds are playing 'E'. So, it's not unusual to encounter high notes.

    Another piece that ends on a triple C is an arrangement of 'America'--it's an adaptation of America the Beautiful, but I don't remember who the arranger is. I remember playing this piece with the community band back in Ohio. "Fanfare for the Common Man' is a piece that is very high and is heard at every Olympiad held, and I've played that with a community band. In 'Fanfare' every trumpet is playing notes above the staff at some point.

    Ed, doesn't your community band play pieces similar to this? Since starting down the comeback trail, I've only played with two bands. The first band I played with used music that was often even more challenging than my current band. If any of you are in Ohio and have the chance to hear any of the bands from Spring Valley Academy---go hear them! They are absolutely top notch and the director was the director for my first community band. I guess that's why I'm surprised that Uncle Al is shocked to find pieces ending and using such high notes. I've never played in bands that didn't play some really hard pieces..............


    Bill
    Gabriel is NOT a woodwind player!

  9. #19
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    Will, yes our CB plays a lot of concert band music much like that. (right now we're struggling like stink to learn "Divertimento for Band" by Hearshen... the 2nds end up at high C.... but oh lordy... the rhythm! It's ugly to say the least). But we call the C above the staff just plain ol' "High C" (and if yer talking "concert" then it's "only" Bb). I'd be calling "Triple C" the one that's a full two octaves above that... up in Maynard Ferguson and nose-bleed territory. I think that's what was causing the confusion for Uncle Albert.

  10. #20
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    Yeah, the terminology can cause confusion. Technically, (I think) the 'C' above the staff should be a triple 'c'---it's the third 'C' accessible to a horn. I've always heard that third 'C' called 'High C'. I guess in some areas of the world they have a different terminology?!

    Yikes, two full octaves (sixteen notes) above that? My brain and sinuses ache to think about that! No, I haven't seen band music up there. I thought our trumpet section was doing pretty good to have four out of seven of us able to play up to a 'high C'......maybe that isn't so extraordinary after all.

    Bill
    Gabriel is NOT a woodwind player!

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