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Horns Discuss Bach 180S37 -- a review in the Equipment forums; I’ve been reviewing a lot of new horns lately from builders like Conn, Yamaha, Stomvi and Kanstul. Many of these ...
  1. #1
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    Bach 180S37 -- a review

    I’ve been reviewing a lot of new horns lately from builders like Conn, Yamaha, Stomvi and Kanstul. Many of these horns seem to be derivative of the Bach, in fact I’ve reviewed a couple that were hard to distinguish from a Bach visually from a distance of just a few feet. Imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery. For better or worse, Bach Bb and C trumpets have become the de facto standard for orchestral and wind ensemble trumpet tone in the USA and those horns are the benchmark by which most competing trumpets are measured.

    I’ve played many Bachs through the years, but I’ve never owned one and it’d been a least three years since I had one in my hands for more than a few seconds. If I’m going to keep reviewing horns I figured that I owed my readers an update of my personal Bach-knowledge. So, I called my good buddy Roger Holmes at Brook Mays’ LBJ store in Dallas, Texas to arrange a short loan. Roger quickly filled the need by loaning me a new Bach 37, serial number 584693 in silver plate, pick randomly out of the store room.

    The fit and finish is very good with good valve action, even silver plating and smooth action on all slides. The horn is feels medium in weight and the bracing is relatively stiff, with two vertical braces on the main slide branch and large flanges on the braces between the leadpipe and bell. This brace pattern is copied on many other horns, down to the exact shape and size of the flanges.

    The valves have fast action and don’t seem to require any special oil in order to work well. Some horns have tighter valves that will tend to be slow unless you clean them scrupulously and use ultra-light synthetic oils. I personally prefer valves in the later category, but I think that Bach has made a good choice for a horn that will likely be the first “pro” trumpet of millions of high school trumpeters. The Bach’s valves are a little on the “clanky”, noisy side, but they work with a sticking valve seeming unlikely.

    The stock single case is excellent with nice materials, light weight, good weather and shock protection with useable storage compartments within the case. My own horn came with a European BAM brand case that actually has superior materials, but any advantage there is offset by the Bach case’s superior storage.

    I’ve examined and played a lot of boutique, custom horns, like Blackburn, Lawler, Wild Thing, V-Raptor (these last two are serious horns despite their names) and almost-custom horns like Schilke and Selmer Paris. If you rank the boutique and custom horns at a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale, then the fit and finish of the Bach is about a 7. This is comparable to the overall quality of the Stomvi, Kanstul and Yamaha horns that I’ve reviewed in the last few months give or take a point.

    Of course, playing is how you really test a trumpet. For this medium-large, .459” bore horn I used my Bach 3C and a GR66LX mouthpieces for most of the testing. There was a medium-large Stomvi USA on hand for direct comparison and, of course, my own Selmer Paris Concept TT was used, but it’s not directly comparable because it’s large bore.

    First, let me say that this Bach was NOT “STUFFY”. It was easy to make it resonate and its “slotting” was solid and secure without being unduly “stiff.” Using my GR66MS I easily played up to G over high-C with a nice tone with good “sizzle”. (Some day I’ll write a little treatise explaining all these quoted words, but for now the quotes will mean that I know what I’m saying and I hope you do. Some of you will, since these are much used trumpet lingo, but I’ve found them problematic in reading the reviews of others). Going back to the 3C and the 66LX I noted a “focused”, full tone that seemed to “project” well.

    The intonation compromises were typical of what I’ve come to expect of most pro trumpets. That means far from perfect, but close enough that they can be easily adjusted. Basically it’s, kick out a slide here, lip up a note there, and use an alternate fingering elsewhere and everything is wonderful. I’ve found that the so called “super-horns” have the same compromises, but they differ only in degree. There were no intonation issues that made certain notes hard to play. I’ve played horns that got really hard above high-C because the intonation was so far off. Once again, I’d rank the intonation at a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. I’d also rank the Stomvi at a 7 and my Selmer Paris at a 9, just for comparison’s sake. I once owned an old Keefer cornet from about 1914 that had a wonderful tone, beautiful engravings and an intonation rating of 4!!

    Let’s get back to that “focused” tone. The Bach 37 has a really rich palette of overtones with lots of midrange emphasis and very little emphasis in the upper partials. This is the key to the “Bach sound” in my humble opinion. The Bach’s tone is NOT a “dark” tone. I keep finding people wanting to darken their tone with things like copper bells and toilet-bowl sized mouthpieces. This is a matter of personal taste, but I think that a trumpet should sound a lot like this Bach. There’s a new phalanx of super heavy horns out there that rob the horn of its bell-like “ring”. I prefer the Bach’s tone signature.

    The opposite of “focused” in my lexicon is “broad”. Horns with larger bells tend to have a broader, more diffuse tone. I don’t consider one bad and one good, they’re just different points on a scale. If 1 were the most “focused” horn possible and 10 were the “broadest” possible, then this Bach is around a 6. My personal horn is a 7 or 8, but if I played more orchestral stuff, I’d move closer on the focus scale to this horn.

    This is a very good horn. It is a good, safe recommendation for almost all players. There are Asian horns that are almost as good for several hundred dollars less and there are several competing horns within a couple of hundred dollars in cost, plus or minus. Also, you can buy a better constructed horn, more resonant horn for a couple of hundred dollars more and you can spend twice as much and not get much more. Given all those options, it’s going to be hard for a player to go too far wrong with a Bach. It’s easy to conceive of a young person buying one of these in high school and using it for decades in a successful pro trumpeting career, or just pulling it out for community band and playing in church. Either way, it’s a great option.

    Dave
    Schilke '60 B1
    Selmer Paris -- '57 #20 K-Modified/
    '03 Concept TT w/ GR66.8B2.8
    '94 Lawler TL cornet w/ Sparx 2B
    Conn Vintage One flugel - GR66FD
    www.pitpops.com www.ucm-inc.com
    Rocky Mountain Trumpet Fest

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    Thank You

    Dave,
    I want to thank you for taking the time to review and publish this. I find this review clear and tremendously valuable. I read alot of different posts.

    I wish everyone would be as clear as to what it is they are measuring, expecting, looking for and comparing to.

    New or comeback players like myself are able to learn the language as well as the Horn from a clear review like this. I appreciate your writing to the lowest comon denominator.
    -dH

  3. #3
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    Thank you dH. I find myself in a position to review a lot of horns lately, so I thought I'd try to make the fun of as much practical use as possible. I'm glad it's helping some.

    Dave
    Schilke '60 B1
    Selmer Paris -- '57 #20 K-Modified/
    '03 Concept TT w/ GR66.8B2.8
    '94 Lawler TL cornet w/ Sparx 2B
    Conn Vintage One flugel - GR66FD
    www.pitpops.com www.ucm-inc.com
    Rocky Mountain Trumpet Fest

  4. #4
    Forte User musicalmason's Avatar
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    wow, that is great, would you mind if I referred people to this thread when they ask about my bach? because you pretty much just articulated everything that I normally try to say but cant seem to get out. great work.
    Bach strad 180s ML 37 melk 525, mk sterling semi round slide
    Curry 60m
    blessing anniversary flugel curry 3fl
    www.AlsMusicShopNY.com
    Al's Music Shop
    Specializing in unique and hard to find instruments.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/TrumpetsForSale/

  5. #5
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    Musicalmason, yes, that would be wonderful. The more the merrier.

    Maybe I should "no", I don't mind.

    Dave
    Schilke '60 B1
    Selmer Paris -- '57 #20 K-Modified/
    '03 Concept TT w/ GR66.8B2.8
    '94 Lawler TL cornet w/ Sparx 2B
    Conn Vintage One flugel - GR66FD
    www.pitpops.com www.ucm-inc.com
    Rocky Mountain Trumpet Fest

  6. #6
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    Nice review

    I own 2 Bach 43's and a Kanstul 610.

    The Kanstul 610 is of course a student horn and I happy with the tone it has.

    What horn in the Kanstul line comes closest to a Bach 37?Might like to try one of them because I can get Kanstul horns at a deep discount.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    I think the zkt1502 might be the closest to the Bach 37.

  7. #7
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    I haven't done an A/B comparison of the various Kanstuls, so I can't really answer this question.

    Dave
    Schilke '60 B1
    Selmer Paris -- '57 #20 K-Modified/
    '03 Concept TT w/ GR66.8B2.8
    '94 Lawler TL cornet w/ Sparx 2B
    Conn Vintage One flugel - GR66FD
    www.pitpops.com www.ucm-inc.com
    Rocky Mountain Trumpet Fest

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by camel lips
    Nice review

    I own 2 Bach 43's and a Kanstul 610.

    The Kanstul 610 is of course a student horn and I happy with the tone it has.

    What horn in the Kanstul line comes closest to a Bach 37?Might like to try one of them because I can get Kanstul horns at a deep discount.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    I think the zkt1502 might be the closest to the Bach 37.

    ????????Kanstul..... deep discount.....?????? and you are asking this in the Bach forum???? bzzzzzzzztttt - 1502 - is NOT the right answer.

    try this post in the Kanstul forum ;)

  9. #9
    Mezzo Forte User tom turner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by camel lips
    Nice review

    I own 2 Bach 43's and a Kanstul 610.

    The Kanstul 610 is of course a student horn and I happy with the tone it has.

    What horn in the Kanstul line comes closest to a Bach 37?Might like to try one of them because I can get Kanstul horns at a deep discount.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    I think the zkt1502 might be the closest to the Bach 37.

    Here are the Kanstul versions of the Bach line-up:

    Bach 37 (with standard 25 leadpipe) = Kanstul ZKT 1500B

    Bach 72 (with standard 25-0 leadpipe) = Kanstul ZKT 1503

    Bach 72 (with 43 leadpipe) = Kanstul ZKT 1504

    The ZKT1600 (Bergeron model) also has the 72-type bell and a special leadpipe Wayne preferred.

    Other Kanstul Signature Series Bb trumpet models are not Bach copies.

    Hope this helps!

    Tom Turner

  10. #10
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    CL -- messin ' with you

    The closest -to the 37- Kanstul would be the ZKT 1500B

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