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Holton Student Trumpet Review



 
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Tom LeCompte
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Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 3224
Location: Geneva, Switzerland

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a little unusual, because most of the reviews seem to be of pro level horns. My real horn (Elkhart Bach Strad 37, circa 1979) is in the shop for a replate and will be gone for several weeks, so I rented a Holton T602P to keep playing until it comes back. Since long-term tests of student horns are rare, I thought I'd share my observations.

Some background on me - I'm 39 years old, and played in grade school, high school, and some college. In grad school (not in music), I played weddings and receptions - a couple hundred jobs over a couple of years. Real work has since intruded, and now my jobbing is limited to the occassional subbing.

Onto the horn:

General observations: this horn is heavy - and my Bach is certainly no lightweight! The brass seems very yellow to me; whether this is a lower copper content than what I am used to, whether it's something in the lacquer, or just that I am used to redder horns, I couldn't say. Overall, the instrument seems solidly built.

Valves and slides: The person who rented this before me apparently felt valve oil was some rare and exotic substance that was too precious to actually use on a horn. After a week or so of working the valves, they are fine, but not quite as good as the Bach's. Still, fast and quiet. Compression is good.

1st and 3rd valve slides are smooth. The main tuning slide is a little stiff, but not unusual. It seems to be a lack of parallelism between the main body and the tuning slides.

Sound: Tone is good. Oddly, it's a little brighter than the Strad. I would have imagined that Holton wouldn't go with a brighter bell, and I would have thought the lacquer would have darkened it a little. While brighter, the sound is a little thinner, particularly in the high register. It doesn't "sparkle" quite like a lightweight horn (say a Schilke) does up top.

Intonation and slotting: using standard fingerings, intonation is decent. Using alternate fingerings, heaven help you. The note could land pretty much anywhere. Particularly bad is the 4th line D played 1st and 3rd. It never seems to lock in, and has an airy, buzzy sound to it. I suspect the water key is in a badspot in the horn for that note. Overall, the slotting is somewhat weaker than the Bach's, and I've discovered I've become a little lazy and have grown to count on the Bach to carry more of the load than I should..

My pedal tones are pretty decent, but I can't even hit one on this horn, much less play one musically. The horn fills with air, but no sound.

Feel: Not bad. There's a little more resistance than the Bach in general. Upper register shows notably more resistance than the Bach.

Overall: Not a bad little horn. It's not a horn I'd like to take on a gig, but I could certainly make it work. Would I recommend it to a student? Sure - although I would probably want to try other horns first.
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plp
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Joined: 11 Feb 2003
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Location: South Alabama

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the review. I haven't had the guts to ask if any of the better players have tested the 602's as it is definately a student line. I have picked up 3 of them for resale to beginners, and have found them tighter than I like, on par with the Ambassadors. They are a very sturdy trumpet, and the finish wears better than the Jupiters, which seems to be the new beginner band trumpet of choice in my neck of the woods. While my new student line recommendations have always been Yamaha, due to their consistency and quality control, for resale I tend to lean towards the Holtons.
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Pork chops
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Joined: 17 Feb 2004
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Comparing any student line horn to a Bach Strad or any Schilke
seems a little sensless . LIke comparing oranges to apples.
I've had many years experience with student model trumpets.
As a teacher , many of my students have played the Holton T602Not only is a VERY DURABLE student trumpet, BUT it is also a very good value.
AND it plays remarkably well, I have never had a student with a Holton that had any problems
with the valves. I don't find it to be a heavy horn at all. And the Tone , of course depend s
on the player(student). I've never had a student (or Parent) complain about the lacquer.
Now, would I Play one on my steady gig instead of my Bach LT 43 or my Yamaha 6310Z,
no, of course not . But for a STUDENT model trumpet I don't think you will find a better
horn. Student horns are designed to take a LOT of punishment(and believe me they do)
I find the intonation on the 602 to be excellent FOR A STUDENT LINE HORN.
AND what was all of this about alternate fingerings? WHO CARES!
I guess what I'm trying to say here is that
IT IS A STUDENT HORN AND IT DOES EXACTLY WHAT IT WAS DESIGNED TO DO.
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Tom LeCompte
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Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 3224
Location: Geneva, Switzerland

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PLP, glad to be of help. I figured that it was sufficiently unusual for someone who can tell a good horn from a bad to spend weeks with a student horn that maybe my observations would be useful to someone. One other observation I forgot to mention - this horn is about a mile sharp. I'm playing farther out than I ever did before. I'm wondering if this is intentional, so that new players who are starting out playing flat don't "run out of tuning slide" trying to get in tune.

It's funny you mentioned Yamaha - I was 99% sure that's what they would have rented me. But this is what they had.

It's not a bad little horn. I expected a near nightmare, but its entirely possible to play music (as opposed to notes) on this instrument, and do it well. Yes, I'm counting down the days until I get my Bach back, but this is not a bad trumpet at all.


PS Pork Chops, I was taught alternate fingerings when I was taught standard fingerings. So I would think it *is* relevant for a student horn.
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mheffernen5
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Joined: 22 Mar 2004
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Location: Iowa (2nd largest city of IA is CR)

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is not possible to compare a Holton T602 to a Bach Strad! I play one and I would rather compare it to a Bach TR300. It isn't the greatest beginner horn out there. King or Bach are much better. I've also heard Getzen and Bundy are supposed to be good too.
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Tom LeCompte
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Joined: 29 Mar 2004
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Location: Geneva, Switzerland

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why can't you compare a T602 to a Bach Strad? Unquestionably, the Bach is a better horn, and serves an entirely different market, but that certainly doesn't keep one from comparing the two horns. For example, the Holton has a brighter sound than the Bach. That's not a "better" or "worse" thing, it's simply different. Furthermore, is it not useful to know how much the two horns different?

Finally, it seems that my review doesn't serve your needs. Fine, I can accept that. What would you like me to add to make it one that does serve your needs? I'm willing to work with you here.
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Pork chops
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Joined: 17 Feb 2004
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tom,

First of all , let me apologize if my post seemed a little harsh, I certainly
didn't intend it to be.
I guess there were just a couple of points , that you made that I just did not
understand. As far as the comparison is concerned it just seemed to me
that comparing the two instrumentsis like comparing a Lexus with a Volkswagon.
They are both cars , and they both have 4 wheels, and they both will get you
where you want to go. But obviously the the Lex is a much more expensive automobile.
I must say though, that I do not understand your comment about PEDAL TONES.
Pedals are not notes that are on the horn, they are notes that you make artifically,
(see Claude Gordon's Systematic Approach ). After reading your post, I picked up one
of my student's Holton T602 and played pedals on it , down to pedal C,just as I do
on my Bach and Yamaha. Also I think a lot of what you said in your "review"
is subjective, that is to say, it depends on the player.
I think it is important to remember that is manufactured to be a STUDENT horn,
for one example, a lot of the difference is in the manufacturing of the Bell,
the Holton 602 has a Two-Piece Bell(plazma welded) and the Bach has a ONE
PIECE HAND HAMMERED BELL. This makes a huge difference! The one piece
hand hammered bell is much more costly to manufacture , the two piece
plazma welded bell could not be expected to produce the same quality of tone .
All in all I think that there are many fine student model trumpets ou there,Bach
TR200-300, Yamaha 23xx series, King 606, Jupiter, and others . Blessing , and so on.
I have had students that have played all of the above mentioned brands,and they all
played like STUDENT HORNS.
Once again,let offer a sincere apology if I seemed rude or critical, as that was not my intention.
I love trumpets and being a trumpet player and I LOVE MUSIC, and we all share
a love of the trumpet , so yes sir you have a right to compre the two horns if you
wish,Maybe I just don't get it.

Along a related line, I was speaking with Sal Cordello recently and he told me that
Vincent Bach used to play HOLTON trumpets and cornets before he started
manufacturing his own instruments, in fact they have a picture of Vincent Bach
playing a Holton trumpet,AND a lot of people might not know this but the
original Bachs were assembled at the Holton factory.

No, I don't work for Holton or have any other agenda concerning this, I
just think that the T602 is a good STUNDENT MODEL TRUMPET.
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Pork chops
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Joined: 17 Feb 2004
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tom,

After reading more , I realized that you are new to TH, so I say
to you WELCOME, and I hope you enjoy the wealth of information
and discussion you will find here on TH. There is truly a lot giong on on this site !
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Tom LeCompte
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Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 3224
Location: Geneva, Switzerland

PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pork Chops,

I'd be the first to admit that a Bach 180S-37 and Holton T602P are horns of vastly different quality that serve vastly different needs. I'm well aware that the Holton in question is a student horn. After all, I was the one who wrote "student" in the subject line. <g>

I still maintain that there may be some value in my observations - as subjective as they may be. Usually, when picking out student horns to recommend them how long do people play them? Minutes? Hours? Surely not weeks. You made the car analogy - it's the difference between a test drive and renting a car for a couple weeks.

I'm a little puzzled with regard to the pedal tones as well. What can I tell you - I can play pedals today on my flugel. I could play them on my Bach before it left for work. But I can't seem to play them on this horn. This may not make any sense, but it is what is happening.

You said one thing which really intrigued me. Two piece bell? I thought all student horns had them, but I have been looking for the seam, and I can't seem to find it. If it's a two piecer, it's very well constructed indeed.

Cheers,

Tom
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Tom K.
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Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 476

PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I played on a 602 for a while. I found it to be an excellent horn, very free blowing, open, and goo intonation, and fine smooth fast quiet valves. It was one of the older ones with a medallion in the tuning slide brace. But all in all an excellent hoen. It did not have the intonation problems you speak of either. Of course if you are renting one it is likely beat up and really filthy inside. These things could change the intonation.
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Tom LeCompte
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Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 3224
Location: Geneva, Switzerland

PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tom, this one is fairly new. It's quite clean.

I'm begining to wonder if maybe the alternate fingering intonation problems can be traced down to the 3rd valve water key. When I get home from work, I'm going to take a look at the cork and see if there's any wackiness there. After all, the B scale on this horn is fine, and that's usually pretty trecherous. So why should the alternates be so bad?
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trumpetmike
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a quickie on the one-piece v. two-piece bell.

When the Besson Prestige cornet was being designed they made identical shaped bells using both methods and did blind testing on them. The two-piece bell won hands down. Ever single player preferred the feel and sound of it. The instruments that you can buy are all two-piece bells.

I know this has no relevance to the original post (which I found very interesting), I just thought I would add in a bit of research data, that surprised me when I found out about it.
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