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Armstrongs trumpet 1932



 
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Ingemar Bjurel
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Joined: 06 Nov 2006
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden

PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 1:55 pm    Post subject: Armstrongs trumpet 1932 Reply with quote

Does anyone know what trumpet Louis used in the movie "A Rapsody in Black and Blue" from 1932? You can enjoy 10 minutes of this masterwork on www.youtube.com. Just search for "Louis Armstrong".
I have watched it very carefully and noticed that it isn't either his Conn 56B or Selmer he got the same year. It is very like a Martin Troubadour but I'm not sure.
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tyleman
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Location: Portland, Oregon

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:49 am    Post subject: Re: Armstrongs trumpet 1932 Reply with quote

Ingemar Bjurel wrote:
Does anyone know what trumpet Louis used in the movie "A Rhapsody in Black and Blue" from 1932?... It is very like a Martin Troubadour but I'm not sure.


You have a very good eye. I've known this film for years, just always assumed Pops was playing his Conn or Selmer. The dead giveaway is the round pinky ring. After a brief search on the net I found the trumpetgearhead website with the photo of the Troubadour. That is most certainly what it is. I wonder how long he played that horn? There's never been anything written about Louis playing a Martin, as far as I know.

Nice discovery, Ingemar!
_________________
Cornets:
Selmer K-mod; King Master; Indiana; 1913 Buescher Tru-Tone; Blessing Artist.
Trumpets: King Liberty; Martin Troubadour; Martin Dansant; Olds Super; Silvertone (Blessing) Super Artist; Hamilton.
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Ingemar Bjurel
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks tyleman,
I was just going to sell my Martin, but perhaps I shouldn't.
No, I haven't either heard about Louis playing Martin. But you don't know if it only was for this session or he owned the horn and used to play it.
Since I also own Conn 56B (you can see him with a 56B on some pictures from this time and he is supposed to have played Conn between 1928 -1932) and I think this Conn is a much better trumpet I don't know why he had a Martin in this session. Perhaps his horn was for repair and he only borrowed it?. Or my Martin needs a repair?
/Ingemar
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Olds Mendés, 1962
Conn 56B, 1930
Buescher Aristocrat, 1935
Martin troubadour, 1931
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tyleman
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Location: Portland, Oregon

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ingemar Bjurel wrote:
But you don't know if it only was for this session or he owned the horn and used to play it. /Ingemar


I don't know. I'll have to check out some of the photos of him and the band from that time. There's a number of reasons why he might have been using that horn. As you suggested, the Conn was being repaired. Maybe he was trying out the Martin. I think he was, at times, a bit of an equipment geek like many of us. He certainly experimented with mouthpieces.

Your post prompted me to Google that horn, and I just bought one yesterday from a music store in Colorado. Hopefully it will arrive tomorrow, and I'll let you know my feelings about how it plays.

Cheers,
Chris
_________________
Cornets:
Selmer K-mod; King Master; Indiana; 1913 Buescher Tru-Tone; Blessing Artist.
Trumpets: King Liberty; Martin Troubadour; Martin Dansant; Olds Super; Silvertone (Blessing) Super Artist; Hamilton.
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Ingemar Bjurel
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, let me know how that horn is!

I have tryed some and even owned a "Selmer Balanced Model" but I found them too soft and they had no distinct tone. I can't understand why Louis played Selmer most of his carrier, but when he blowed it sounded great. Have you tried any? I find Olds Mendéz and even my old Buescher and conn much stronger and brilliant.
Perhaps he got some extraordinary ones from the Selmer factory?
About the mouthpieces I think I have identified 2 different Buescher mouthpieces. One he used for the Hot Five period and another during the 30 ties and even on one picture from 1942 in Michel Cogswell's book "L.A. The offstage story of Satchmo".

/Ingemar
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bg
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a 1932 selmer "Louis Armstrong Special",as well as a 58B conn.

They are two of the best playing instruments in my collection.

You must remember that a small bore horn can be quite a different
animal than the contemporary, larger instruments. The density of the
tone is different. I have found that once I got used to the feel and
sound of the older horns, I had no problem fitting them in with section
players using more modern equipment, and soloing on these horns
is a pleasure.

I have a post on my website about the older style horns:

http://www.bradgoode.com/2006/08/lost-art-of-trumpet-design.html

I hope that you will enjoy it!

Tonight, I'll be performing Bob Graetinger's "A Trumpet" on the 58B,
which makes it a much easier piece to play .

Brad Goode
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tyleman
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Location: Portland, Oregon

PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently played a 1930s Selmer "Louis Armstrong Special" trumpet, this being the model he used around 1933 after his trip to Europe. Nice horn, with a small bore. Played quite well even though it was in need of a valve job. I've owned and played a number of Paris or Balanced models and really like them, but because I'm really a cornet player I find the forward-oriented valves a bit disconcerting.

I agree with Brad that it takes a bit of getting used to smaller bore horns. I think they also require just the right mouthpiece.

I got the Martin Troubadour today. After spending quite a bit of time cleaning it up (something the store I bought it from really should have done), I got it running quite nicely. It's a bit beat up, but the valves are great and it has surprisingly good compression. I'm blown away by that tiny bell and narrow wrap!

I looked at as many photos of Pops as I could from the 1931-1933 period. The only ones of him with the Martin that I could find were the stills from Rhapsody in B&B. My guess is something happened to his Conn, he then switched to the Martin, and ended up with Selmer after his visit to Europe.

Regarding your question about why he played Selmer, he must have found those horns to be the best for him, and they bent over backwards to have his endorsement.

Cheers,
Chris
_________________
Cornets:
Selmer K-mod; King Master; Indiana; 1913 Buescher Tru-Tone; Blessing Artist.
Trumpets: King Liberty; Martin Troubadour; Martin Dansant; Olds Super; Silvertone (Blessing) Super Artist; Hamilton.
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Ingemar Bjurel
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last summer I tried to get a Selmer "Louis Armstrong Special" on eBay but I did some misstake at bidding (perhaps you were the one who toke it Brad:-) ).
I'm very curious about that model. Did Selmer introduce it 1932 after Armstrong got one during his European tour? Is it the same model as Challenger and "Balanced Model" which was introduced around 1935?
Evidently he kept it for many years cause I have found on internet a copy of a letter Joe Glaser wrote to Selmer 1947 in which he asked for a duplicate of the Louis' Selmer from 1932. He wrote that Armstrong at that time still used his 1932 Selmer.
If you sometime get to know that a "Louis Armstrong Special " is for sale, let me know.
Perhaps the reason why I never really liked the Balanced Model is that there are no 19A bore to find. I have only tryed 24 and 25A and I have seen a lot of these horns on eBay but only 23A. 24A and 25A.
Glad to hear Chris that it has a good compression, mine has not. I'm not sure if it is worth doin' valve jobs to get a more distinct tone out of it. It will cost 600-800 USD.

Nice website Brad!

/Ingemar
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bg
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I worked with Barrett Deems for 10 years. Barrett was the drummer
in Louis' "All Stars". My Selmer was a gift from a fan of Louis', a part time player who used to come hear Barrett play all the time. I've had it for 20 years. It's #4xx. I believe that it is a #20 bore, as it measures at about .454 .

The only markings on leadpipe are" BB, MB,LP" which I think means:
B flat, Medium Bore, Low Pitch. The words: "Louis Armstrong Special"
are engraved in cursive on the side of the bell. This horn is in playing condition, although it has obviously been patched and relaquered at some
point in it's history. It has the lightest bell I've ever seen.

I didn't play it for years, as it felt too small. Lately, it's been seeing a lot
of action.

BG
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tyleman
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Location: Portland, Oregon

PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ingemar Bjurel wrote:
I'm not sure if it is worth doin' valve jobs to get a more distinct tone out of it. It will cost 600-800 USD.


You can get valves replated at Anderson plating in Elkhart for probably around $300 USD. This is their website: http://www.andersonsilverplating.com/index.shtml

I bid on the Armstrong Special on eBay, too. But it went higher than I wanted to pay.

Cheers,
Chris
_________________
Cornets:
Selmer K-mod; King Master; Indiana; 1913 Buescher Tru-Tone; Blessing Artist.
Trumpets: King Liberty; Martin Troubadour; Martin Dansant; Olds Super; Silvertone (Blessing) Super Artist; Hamilton.
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TrentAustin
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bg wrote:
I worked with Barrett Deems for 10 years. Barrett was the drummer
in Louis' "All Stars". My Selmer was a gift from a fan of Louis', a part time player who used to come hear Barrett play all the time. I've had it for 20 years. It's #4xx. I believe that it is a #20 bore, as it measures at about .454 .

The only markings on leadpipe are" BB, MB,LP" which I think means:
B flat, Medium Bore, Low Pitch. The words: "Louis Armstrong Special"
are engraved in cursive on the side of the bell. This horn is in playing condition, although it has obviously been patched and relaquered at some
point in it's history. It has the lightest bell I've ever seen.

I didn't play it for years, as it felt too small. Lately, it's been seeing a lot
of action.

BG


That Selmer could be the greatest vintage horn I've ever played!

I LOVED (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) that horn. wow.
-T
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beaukoo
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2006 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ingemar Bjurel wrote:
I don't know why he had a Martin in this session. Perhaps his horn was for repair and he only borrowed it?. Or my Martin needs a repair?
/Ingemar


From the different models of Martin Troubadours I've collected over the years, the earliest ones I've seen date from around 1931. So, at the time of the movie, they still may have been enough of a novelty that Armstrong got curious to try one out. Could have also been an attempt by Martin for a product endorsement (with a free Troubadour for Armstrong as part of the deal). I also see Troubadours show up later in the 1930s as Indiana Band Instrument company stencils -- complete with the "Indian Head" logo on the bell. Out of my collection, this Troubadour (from 1936) is one of my favorites. It's one of the few horns I've got that has the original lacquer with hardly any dings. http://www.dallasmusic.org/gearhead/MartinTroubadour.html
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