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DARK, DARK, DARK horn


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PakWaan
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:04 pm    Post subject: DARK, DARK, DARK horn Reply with quote

I picked up a horn this week that is so dark that ..... I apologize, but I must quote Tom "VetPsychWars", our resident Buescher expert - ... it is "so dark it sucks the light out of the room." Yes, I'm talking about a 1950's Buescher Aristocrat 205/207 model.

A couple weeks ago I was talking about how well my new Charlie Melk-ified Buescher 400 plays, and Tom suggested that if I wanted a really dark horn, I should try a Buescher 205. He then pointed me towards an eBay auction for a 207, which is basically the same horn but with some nickel trim.

The 205 and 207 versions of the Aristocrat were pro level horns in the 50's, before the Aristocrat name was used for a student level horn after 1963 after Selmer bought the company (Tom, please feel free to correct my history as necessary). This thing was only $199. It's got a few dings in it, and the lacquer is probably 80%. It won't win a beauty contest. The nickel valves, however, are lightning fast.

But the tone - well, let me just say that this thing is darker than my Taylor, darker than my Recording, darker than any of my 3 Committees. I mean, it's MIDNIGHT, NO MOON DARK. It doesn't have the Committee vibe going on - and I like my 400 better, although it's not as dark - but if sweet and DARK is what you are looking for, look no further.

I still don't know how to tell these pro Aristocrats from the Selmer version in an eBay listing, perhaps Tom can shed some light since he found this one for me. It has "207" engraved near the bottom of the 2nd valve on the same side as the serial number - but that area never seems to be visible on auction photos.

I haven't spent enough time with it yet - but I'll be doing that this week for sure! By the way, did I mention how dark this horn is?
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trumpethead
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lucky you for such a great find and that you love the sound.

For ME, I've never really understood why players want such a dark sound in a trumpet - I own a Flugelhorn for that job.

It's easy to darken the sound of a bright/er trumpet but nigh impossible to brighten a dark horn, without some drastic change in mouthpiece choice etc..

But having said that..., you can never have too many trumpets!
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PakWaan - how's the intonation?
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cyber_shake
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cool to hear about your new dark axe ... i love dark, in certain settings. i like to close my eyes and listen to the horn sing. it can take you to a different place where you'll hear different sounds than you are use to coming from a trumpet. i find different emotions can be reflected in the sound ... especially with jazz and ballads. i really look forward to hearing your comments after spending more time with this horn. enjoy and listen!
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cyber_shake
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

for those wanting to experience the beauty of dark ... check this out in the next 8 days: http://cgi.ebay.com/1951-Buescher-Aristocrat-207-super-tight-valves-/260819902597?pt=Brass_Instruments&hash=item3cba13e085#ht_500wt_1203
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laurent
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi!

I love dark sounding horns, but as you describe the sound of this trumpet it seems to be SO dark that I'm not sure I can really imagine how it sounds...
More or less like a flumpet?

Very interested to read your comments!

Cheers!
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PZ
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice message, PakWaan!
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VetPsychWars
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What he and I mean by dark is "lack of brilliance"... but make no mistake, it definitely sounds like a trumpet. Think "all core and no zing", which isn't strictly true, either. It'll zing some when you light it up.

As for when the switch? Sometime after the Selmer acquisition, the Aristocrat went from a small, tight bell to a larger bell and the horn sounds more like a Bach than anything else. That doesn't necessarily mean that the Bach-sounding Aristocrats are bad, mind you, they're just different.

I'm not completely convinced yet but I think the change happened about when the new logo appeared, what I'm calling the "two-oval logo". This seems to have occurred about serial number 400,000.

I have an Aristocrat with a serial number about 383xxx with the small bell and the name "Buescher Aristocrat" engraved down the side of the bell. This horn has the small, tight bell and plays like the older Aristocrats. That bell is actually tighter than the 205/207.

I have another Aristocrat with a serial number about 426xxx that has a large Bach-like bell and has the two-oval logo on top of the bell. It plays ok, nothing special, though there's one oddity; to play it in tune the slide has to be out an inch or so. Charlie Melk told me that they were built sharp. For what reason, I can't guess. There's a picture of Chet Baker with one of these later Aristocrats online and his slide is out far too.

Both of these models have the casings flared at the bottom and the valve caps thread into the casing, not onto the casing. Sometime later, the horn was again changed so that the bottom caps thread onto the casing and I believe at this point the horn is just a rebadged import Bach or Bundy.

I really don't consider the 60s Aristocrats as student horns, per se. It's clear by looking at the 1966 catalog and price list that the Aristocrat cost less than the 400, but it sure didn't by much. The language in the catalog was directed at the band director, but what company wasn't trying to sell as many horns to schools as they could?

I haven't had a chance to check the 383xxx Aristocrat yet but the 426xxx Aristocrat is definitely a step bore, increasing in diameter through the tuning slide, if that makes any difference to you.

Someone else asked about intonation.. as with most Bueschers of this era, intonation is excellent. There are no first slide hooks because you don't need them. They're quite easy, relatively speaking, to push around. I like it because the horn plays where I want it to, not where it forces me to. (Remember I learned to play on a Buescher 400 and I don't really play anything else). You can lip the low D in so easily that I don't bother using slide. The C# is a mile off, so I use slide for that, but you can almost lip it in. Almost.

There were a couple other oddball models but you don't see them all that often. You occasionally see the heavy, ornate 400s, and sometimes you see 60s Aristocrats. The others are a lot less common.

Tom
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veery715
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not having them pleasure yet of playing a Buescher trumpet, I can only guess that this is what I am experiencing with my '47 Olds Special. Dark beyoind expectations.
And I mean beyoind!

Need to get myself to a trumpet hang.
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Last edited by veery715 on Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:07 am; edited 1 time in total
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laurent
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VetPsychWars wrote:
What he and I mean by dark is "lack of brilliance"... but make no mistake, it definitely sounds like a trumpet. Think "all core and no zing", which isn't strictly true, either. It'll zing some when you light it up.

Sounds pretty similar to my Stomvi Forte, although instead of "dark, dark, dark", I prefer to describe its sound as "sweet and warm" with almost no "zing".

But I don't know, maybe there's some noticeable differences as well!
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VetPsychWars
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's the problem with trying to describe the indescribable. The language quickly fails.

But apparently I made a good recommendation, since he's happy.

Tom
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PakWaan
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Sweet and warm with lots of core" works fine as well, but when I played it the first phrase that came to mind was "dark" - deep, with lots of layers, like the sound Chris Botti gets when playing a slow ballad.

Whatever word you choose, I really like it. Intonation is great, just like on my 400. These horns are real sleepers - I've seen tons of them on eBay over the years and never gave them a second glance. These usually sell for between $200-375, so on top of sounding great, they are a real bargain.
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PakWaan
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

veery715 wrote:
I can only guess that this is what I am experiencing with my '47 Olds Special. Dark beyond expectations.


I've got a '53 Special, which is one of my favorite horns - dark and warm with my Curry 3TC deep cup - but this is even darker, if you can believe it.
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Wondra
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VetPsychWars wrote:

But apparently I made a good recommendation, since he's happy.
Tom


I'm happy too! Here are a few photos of my 1940 205 (recommended by Tom):




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ConnArtist
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So Wondra's horn appears NOT to have the flared casings with caps that thread internally to casing, as was mentioned above.

I'm confused... how might one identify a 205 merely labeled as a Beuscher or Aristocrat in the ebeigh? I've been interested in getting my hands on once ever since a certain expert recommended I give it a try
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billybobb
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:20 am    Post subject: Re: DARK, DARK, DARK horn Reply with quote

PakWaan wrote:


I still don't know how to tell these pro Aristocrats from the Selmer version in an eBay listing, perhaps Tom can shed some light since he found this one for me. It has "207" engraved near the bottom of the 2nd valve on the same side as the serial number - but that area never seems to be visible on auction photos.




Asking for the serial number should do the trick seems to me.
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VetPsychWars
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ConnArtist wrote:
So Wondra's horn appears NOT to have the flared casings with caps that thread internally to casing, as was mentioned above.

I'm confused... how might one identify a 205 merely labeled as a Beuscher or Aristocrat in the ebeigh? I've been interested in getting my hands on once ever since a certain expert recommended I give it a try


A model 205 will always be identified that way. I haven't yet seen one without that funky engraving, either. The 207 will play similarly, but I think it might be a smaller bore than the 205. I'd have to compare my 205 with my niece's 207 to know for sure. I know the outside diameter of the slide tubes of my Lightweight 400 (model 217) are the same as her 207... but the tubing on her horn is thicker, making it a smaller bore!

The 205 is older than the other Aristocrats I mentioned with the flared casings. On the Aristocrat (205, 207) and Lightweight 400 (228, 223, or 217), the caps, top and bottom, thread onto the casings.

By the way, someone listed on eBay a prewar 400 that looks about 1937 or 1938 from the pictures, and it was lacquered with gold lacquer, as were many of those horns.

Tom
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VetPsychWars
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This horn is also one that would suck the light out of the room. It's a T120, although not marked at all. I have this same model and it's pretty neat. Note the engraving on the side of the bell, that's how you identify it.

It has about the same resistance as my red 205, which is a little too much for me. I seem to have fallen under the spell of the Lightweight 400. Plays like my friend Eric's Olds Super. Zing!

I need to reacquaint myself with my grandfather's 400, though. Don't want to lose that connection.

Tom
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laurent
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Tom!

VetPsychWars wrote:
This horn is also one that would suck the light out of the room. It's a T120, although not marked at all. I have this same model and it's pretty neat. Note the engraving on the side of the bell, that's how you identify it.

It has about the same resistance as my red 205, which is a little too much for me. I seem to have fallen under the spell of the Lightweight 400. Plays like my friend Eric's Olds Super. Zing!


Thanks for this post that answers a question I already didn't have asked (LOL!): last week for about USD 120 I've bought in eBay the sister of this trumpet - exactly same look and only 6 numbers older! -, and I was wondering if it was a 205, 207,...
So I'm very happy to learn that it's a T120!

I have to say that I'm very happy with this trumpet: VERY responsive, fun and easy to play, with a very dark and vibrant sound that may turn somewhat bright in upper register!

The only (slight! ) issue I have is that the valves are correct, but not as good as on my other horns: I washed them, but sounds like I still have to find the right oil. Or maybe I would have to change the spings in order to obtain a perfect valve action, I don't know...

Do you know if such springs are easy to find?
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VetPsychWars
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No more difficult than any other spring, they're of a standard size.

Tom
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