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Horns Discuss Convert Bb Trumpet to C in the Equipment forums; Since I am a comeback player, I am not quite ready to plunk down well over a grand for a ...
  1. #1
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    Convert Bb Trumpet to C

    Since I am a comeback player, I am not quite ready to plunk down well over a grand for a C trumpet but I would like to experience playing one and it seems like a good choice for playing in church since I can use the hymnal without transposing. I found an old thread in this forum where a number of people had indicated that they had a conversion done by Mark Kuklok but I cannot find any information about him on the internet. Does anyone know how to contact him or another shop that can do this conversion? The comments made it sound like an Olds Ambassador converted to C is a better player than many purpose-built C pro trumpets. Does anyone have other insights into this?
    Come-Back Kid
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  2. #2
    Mezzo Forte User Darthsunshine's Avatar
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    Re: Convert Bb Trumpet to C

    Unless you have some experience or aptitude for doing a conversion, you might want to consider other options. I've had good experiences with Quality-Brass. They have some affordable horns listed that could get you started. If you find you like a cheap C, you can save up for a pro C: http://www.quality-brass.com/webstor...Trumpet_1.html
    No affiliation, just a satisfied customer
    Glen

    1953 Mt. Vernon Strad 37 Cornet
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  3. #3
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    Re: Convert Bb Trumpet to C

    Thanks for the tips. I went to the quality-brass website and looked at the C trumpets they have listed, which cover a wide range. It looks like they have some entry-level models for people like me. There were two of particular interest. One is an Olds Ambassador converted to C which is the unit I initially described. But the other one is a Berkelely C/Bb with two slides and it is in brand new condition for $250. I have seen these advertised on ebay and had done a search on them. The reviews were all over the place from "great playing horn, super value" to "It's just an ISO". Neither of these was reviewed on the Quality-Brass site so I don't know if they are discriminating at all or if they sell whatever comes into their hands. Do you know if they will offer an opinion if I were to call them?

    Thanks again.
    Come-Back Kid
    - - - - - - - - -
    Selmer Invicta London ('56)
    Olds Recording ('58, '59, '60)
    Olds Super ('51, '63, '66, '67, '68, '69)
    Olds Standard ('46)
    Olds SuperStar ('71, '72)
    Olds Studio ('55, '59, '70)
    Olds Special ('51, '56, '58, '60, '62,'68,'73)
    Olds Ambassador (a few: '49-'79)
    Olds Flugelhorn ('70)
    (+Eastman, Besson 609 , Conn Director, King Cleveland, Holton Collegiate, Blessing Accord,
    Conn Severinsen, York, Yamaha, Getzen, Amati, Revelle, Bundy, Alcazar)

  4. #4
    Moderator Utimate User Vulgano Brother's Avatar
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    Re: Convert Bb Trumpet to C

    I took a look at the site--for $50 more than the Olds you can pick up a Getzen Capri C, which does everything a C is supposed to. (I'd stay away from anything "like new" that only costs $250.)
    "A tool good enough to be so used and not too good"
    C.S. Lewis That Hideous Strength

  5. #5
    Mezzo Forte User Darthsunshine's Avatar
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    Re: Convert Bb Trumpet to C

    Quote Originally Posted by Vulgano Brother View Post
    I took a look at the site--for $50 more than the Olds you can pick up a Getzen Capri C, which does everything a C is supposed to. (I'd stay away from anything "like new" that only costs $250.)
    I agree with VB. While I feel Fred (Quality-Brass) does a good job, even he cannot turn a trumpet shaped object into a real player. A Getzen will be a good player with excellent and long lasting valves. And yes, you can e-mail or call Fred and he will answer questions and take additional photos as to whatever you are interested in. Ask about slides and valves, and maybe get a photo of the valves. You can always try ebay too, but you won't get the same level of interaction. If you do a search for "C trumpet" a lot of stuff will come up, including a few Getzens (I went and looked today). Good luck!
    Glen

    1953 Mt. Vernon Strad 37 Cornet
    1966 Burbank Benge Eb/D
    1975 LA Benge 3x+
    1976 Strad 37*
    1978 LA Benge C
    1980 LA Benge 3x

  6. #6
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    Re: Convert Bb Trumpet to C

    I've recently got myself a Yamaha 4435 (no, not 4335) C/Bb trumpet and it plays very well indeed. It comes with a complete set of alternate slides 1st, 2nd, 3rd and main tuning for C or Bb so it plays well in tune according to my tuner. I wouldn't pretend to being qualified to comment on things like 'tonal core' or 'sizzle' but I find it plays very easily if rather bright. I've read that these are now made in China, but mine is stamped 'Made in Japan' and had to be specially ordered from the factory. Such is trumpet availability here in Australia. The USA is a big place so you might be able to find a used one.
    There's a review on Brassreview.com

  7. #7
    Fortissimo User gzent's Avatar
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    Re: Convert Bb Trumpet to C

    CB Kid:

    It was probably my post that mentioned the converted Olds C trumpet.
    And yes, it played very well, especially after I put a Pilczuk leadpipe on it.

    I built another one last year based on a Yamaha and it played very well too.
    I've tried Getzen Eterna C trumpets and preferred my converted horns.

    If you are interested I can build one for you based on either for not a lot of money.

    Greg
    Stop acting like someone shot your dog.

  8. #8
    Mezzo Piano User Brass crusader's Avatar
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    Re: Convert Bb Trumpet to C

    A C trumpet is a totally seperate beast from a Bb, and as such, requires much more attention in the building process. The simple act of cutting a Bb to make it so sharp that it plays in C does not take into consideration the intonation and other factors of a C trumpet. You are best off purchasing a C trumpet that was designed to play in C. Otherwise, you will simply have a hard time playing a horn that's finnicky to begin with, even in the best ones. I'd reccomend that you look for a used C on a place like ebay, Yamaha built the 741 series C in the '80's, it's a good C for church and occasional use.

    Good Luck!
    OAS AAS LLS
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  9. #9
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    Re: Convert Bb Trumpet to C

    Because I do a good bit of solo and ensemble playing in churches where the accepted way of playing is by being accompanied by a piano or organ, I play a Bb trumpet or cornet by choice, transposing to C,( concert pitch ), even in my daily practice sessions I do this. I don't currently own a C trumpet and can't bring myself to have any desire for one. I have done a small bit of symphonic concert work on one of my Bb instruments while in section with C trumpets. The only comment I have heard from section members or conductors have been that my tone is not 'quite' as bright as the C instruments. This is readily corrected by a mouthpiece change. Some posters of this and previous threads on this subject infer that transposition is an unwanted hindrance and chore. I don't undersatand this. It is simple in the extreme. Up one note from the written and drop 2 flats or add 2 sharps.


    Save your money and don't destroy a perfectly good trumpet in an effort to avoid the mental gymnastics involved in such a simple transposition.


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  10. #10
    Fortissimo User gzent's Avatar
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    Re: Convert Bb Trumpet to C

    You're right, transposition is not hard.

    However, in my church choir probably half of the time there is no trumpet part provided
    when I accompany.

    Since I am pretty good at improvizing I simply make up a part, and that's a lot easier
    when I am looking at the music in the same key I am playing, so I use my C trumpet.
    Not to mention, its no fun to improv in the resultant "not trumpet friendly" keys of A, B, E, F#.

    Fortunately for me I have a new Harrelson Bravura C trumpet that was specifically designed to sound more mellow than a typical Bb or C and not overpower a choir.

    Trumpet building is applied physics. If you understand the physics then you can build a C trumpet. The source of the materials, whether brand new valve block, leadpipe, slides and bell or reusing / modifying an existing is not as important as knowing the process of creating a trumpet that plays well and in pitch.

    Don't be fooled into thinking that a "factory" C trumpet plays better than a converted horn just because it came from a factory. Based on all the alternate fingerings I have heard people employ to get their "factory" C trumpets to play on pitch it seems all sorts of C trumpets from factories don't play worth a hoot.

    I never needed alternate fingerings for the C trumpets I built, nor for my new Bravura, FWIW.

    Greg
    Stop acting like someone shot your dog.

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