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Bach TR300 trumpet improvement


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TootMyOwnHorn
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:03 am    Post subject: Bach TR300 trumpet improvement Reply with quote

I just bought a used Bach TR300 really cheap on ebay that needs repair. I thought it would be fun to tinker with it. I have read a lot of reviews that these horns are junk. What should I do to make this trumpet a decent player? Maybe a Strad lead pipe or other brand? Replace the bell with maybe an Olds Ambassador? They can be purchased pretty cheap. I also found a place to buy Bach Strad valves. Can they be swapped with TR300? Are the casings close enough to identical? What makes this horn so bad and how do I make it better? A lot of people say it needs improvement with any note above the staff. Will the lead pipe fix that? I have a nice Silver Bach Strad, just wanted to play around in my work shop and maybe come up with a cool "FrankenHorn."
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would suggest trying all of the above, one at a time, and reverting to the original setup after each iteration. (Note: It could very well be that the horn was not well put together, in that case, you will have a quality drift as each "back to square one" re-assembly will be different from the previous.)

As the result of the first iteration, you will find out which of no.1 changes brings the maximum improvement. Keep the optimal no.1 change with the horn. Continue with testing the no.2 change, each time reverting to the original+no.1 change. You will find which of the no.2 changes is the best. Keep the no.1 and no.2 changes and experiment with no.3 change, each time reverting to original+no.1+no.2. Once you find no more improvement, stop. Document all of your work, keep a journal, photos of your work and videos (use a quality sound recording setup!).

By the time you are done, you will likely have all parts of the horn replaced by those from a real Strad, but then again, who knows.

With this algorithm, you are not guaranteed to find the global optimum, but you will have considerably less work to do than by trying every possible arrangement of changes. You will find a local optimum, though, as long your re-assembly does not further damage the horn.

For example, if you had three extra leadpipes, three extra valve blocks and four extra bells, to test every configuration you would have to do (3+1)x(3+1)x(4+1) = 80 complete assemblies which cannot be compared to each other except with previous assembly.

With the method above, you first find the optimal leadpipe (3 assemblies + 3 "back-to-square-one"), then the optimal valve block (3 assemblies + 3 "back-to-square-two"), then the optimal bell (4 assemblies + 4 "back-to-square-three"). Total is 6+6+8=20 tests; at each step you will keep the better setup.
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cornet74
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

etc-etc wrote:
I would suggest trying all of the above, one at a time, and reverting to the original setup after each iteration. (Note: It could very well be that the horn was not well put together, in that case, you will have a quality drift as each "back to square one" re-assembly will be different from the previous.)

As the result of the first iteration, you will find out which of no.1 changes brings the maximum improvement. Keep the optimal no.1 change with the horn. Continue with testing the no.2 change, each time reverting to the original+no.1 change. You will find which of the no.2 changes is the best. Keep the no.1 and no.2 changes and experiment with no.3 change, each time reverting to original+no.1+no.2. Once you find no more improvement, stop. Document all of your work, keep a journal, photos of your work and videos (use a quality sound recording setup!).

By the time you are done, you will likely have all parts of the horn replaced by those from a real Strad, but then again, who knows.

With this algorithm, you are not guaranteed to find the global optimum, but you will have considerably less work to do than by trying every possible arrangement of changes. You will find a local optimum, though, as long your re-assembly does not further damage the horn.

For example, if you had three extra leadpipes, three extra valve blocks and four extra bells, to test every configuration you would have to do (3+1)x(3+1)x(4+1) = 80 complete assemblies which cannot be compared to each other except with previous assembly.

With the method above, you first find the optimal leadpipe (3 assemblies + 3 "back-to-square-one"), then the optimal valve block (3 assemblies + 3 "back-to-square-two"), then the optimal bell (4 assemblies + 4 "back-to-square-three"). Total is 6+6+8=20 tests; at each step you will keep the better setup.


I like this post. Very methodical. Logical. Sound research methods. I can't help, however, a certain "tongue and cheek" to it. There is a lot of redundancy, which of course is important in the scientific method. This post just objectifies what the OP has already stated.

Seems to me that the OO already knows what to do, and as I said above, this post merely quantifies what the OP already knows.

Which leads to wonder the the OP even made the post in the first place.

fWIW: I have a CRT-300. It's not junk. It's just a very well made student copy of a Bach Strad. ML/37 or 43 with what I've read is a tighter 6 lead pipe.

The horn plays very tight--but resistance is essential to a student horn. I have some spare components I could add to this horn. But I ask myself...why? I already have a number of very good cornets and I don't have money to burn.

Now I also have a Mercedes II cornet 60xxx which places it in the early 70s. A lot of people call this horn "junk." And depending on which version of the horn they have they might be right. I've seems examples ranging to models looking like the Crt-300 to those looking like a Strad. And including an Eb trumpet. I'm lucky, mine is as close to a Strad ad any I've seen, but more importantly it played wonderfully.

But there are problems that need to be addressed in terms of some specific repair work and it need a new tuning slide crook. So I'm not guessing here. When I have the time I'll have the basic repair work done and have a new crook made with a specific shape and alloy I think will enhance the playability.

What I'm doing is making some very specific changes to make what is already an excellent horn be restored and perhaps improved from its original condition.

As for the 300. It's a good "vacation" horn if I just want to put it in my suitcase as is (which I've done.). But I have a Jupiter pocket trumpet that takes up less space and plays just a bit lower in quality and I've used that in the same capacity ibid.

So...
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C.E.Divine
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FWIW, TR300s are the best student horns I have played on, but only after I have had to remove the mouthpipe to do dent work under the bell braces. They are built with a lot of tension, and when they are reassembled with no tension in the bell braces, particularly the forward brace, they become a real bargain. They are not completely junk. The lacquer could be more durable, and yes, quality control, but the foundation is there with the stock parts to be a really nice playing horn.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To: cornet74

Thank you!
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mimic
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought a TR300 when I started as a comeback player 25 tears ago. I quickly moved on to "professional" horns. My 2 kids used that 300 for H.S. band and then it set unused for several years. We all thought it played stuffy and pinched off above staff.
A few months ago, just for giggles, I took that detestable 300 to a very good repair tech, invested several hundred dollars in cleaning, deburring, valve alignments, unstressing and bell work. Wow, what a player. Easy upper register, open blow and great Bach sound.
Lesson learned, throw enough money at something and you will get results, though they may vary. I wouldn't hesitate to use that formerly detestable 300 on any gig in a pinch.
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crzytptman
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jack up the valve buttons and drive an Ambassador underneath.
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TootMyOwnHorn
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's ironic, I just bought an Ambassador bell to try out on it. I am also considering a Pilczuck pipe for it.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From mimic's experience it sound possible that just "cleaning, deburring, valve alignments, unstressing and bell work" could make all the difference, assuming you're on par with a good repair tech.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, after reading all of the posts in the various cry/tr-300 horns I'm going to have to do something with mine. I always knew it was a good horn. Just needed some help. First I'll change the plastic valve guides to metal ones; the bell is s pretty good one so I'll leave it; then a new lead pipe would need to be made in the size of a Bach Strad 25, but in copper to darken the sound and I think that would be that. If I could find a Strad 37 bell that would help or a similar size/quality bell. And I'd have all the braces taken of and have new pro ones put on, skipping the main front brace, and if do away sith s lot of the braces in the tuning slide.

But before that project, I am really interested in fixing up the closer to pro Mercedes Ii cornet I have. That horn has tremendous potential as a great long American model cornet. And with very little replacement of parts.

I'll keep you all posted. I'm lucky living in NYC where we have some of the best repairman/designers in the world.
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cornet74
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, after reading all of the posts in the various cry/tr-300 horns I'm going to have to do something with mine. I always knew it was a good horn. Just needed some help. First I'll change the plastic valve guides to metal ones; the bell is s pretty good one so I'll leave it; then a new lead pipe would need to be made in the size of a Bach Strad 25, but in copper to darken the sound and I think that would be that. If I could find a Strad 37 bell that would help or a similar size/quality bell. And I'd have all the braces taken of and have new pro ones put on, skipping the main front brace, and if do away sith s lot of the braces in the tuning slide.

But before that project, I am really interested in fixing up the closer to pro Mercedes Ii cornet I have. That horn has tremendous potential as a great long American model cornet. And with very little replacement of parts.

I'll keep you all posted. I'm lucky living in NYC where we have some of the best repairman/designers in the world.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With every used horn I buy this is what I do.

1/ thorough cleaning, soak in 5% CLR solution, brush out, rinse, repeat until spotless inside.

2/ check valve alignment and correct where necessary, particular attention to up position, all used horns I have seen have some mis alignment.
This alone can make a lot of difference in playability.

If there is still problems then look for solder blobs, alignment of bows and slide legs and stress relief.

Regards, Stuart.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

C.E.Divine wrote:
FWIW, TR300s are the best student horns I have played on, but only after I have had to remove the mouthpipe to do dent work under the bell braces. They are built with a lot of tension, and when they are reassembled with no tension in the bell braces, particularly the forward brace, they become a real bargain. They are not completely junk. The lacquer could be more durable, and yes, quality control, but the foundation is there with the stock parts to be a really nice playing horn.

Interesting. I've played a bunch of TR300's and I would have described most of them as decent and/or serviceable for the most part.
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C.E.Divine
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crazy Finn wrote:
C.E.Divine wrote:
FWIW, TR300s are the best student horns I have played on, but only after I have had to remove the mouthpipe to do dent work under the bell braces. They are built with a lot of tension, and when they are reassembled with no tension in the bell braces, particularly the forward brace, they become a real bargain. They are not completely junk. The lacquer could be more durable, and yes, quality control, but the foundation is there with the stock parts to be a really nice playing horn.

Interesting. I've played a bunch of TR300's and I would have described most of them as decent and/or serviceable for the most part.


I didn't mean to say that I think they are bad straight from the box, although the tone I had certainly implied that. What I really meant was that they respond very well to removing brace tension, and go from being a run-of-the-mill student horn to something that starts to show some real personality, like higher level horns do. I think the only time I have come across one I would actually call bad or "unserviceable" was one that was ready to be put away for good because the valves were so worn.

Or maybe I mistake what you are saying, and you are actually saying is that out of the many you have played, none have been more than average. In which case I simply say one man's trash is another mans treasure.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Bach TR300 trumpet improvement Reply with quote

TootMyOwnHorn wrote:
I have read a lot of reviews that these horns are junk.

My son started out on a TR300. It's easy to play, plays in tune, and is built like a tank. I guess one person's "junk" is another person's treasure. Or maybe we should just stop believing all the reviews we're reading?

Mike
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crazy Finn wrote:
Interesting. I've played a bunch of TR300's and I would have described most of them as decent and/or serviceable for the most part.

C.E.Divine wrote:
Or maybe I mistake what you are saying, and you are actually saying is that out of the many you have played, none have been more than average. In which case I simply say one man's trash is another mans treasure.

I guess? Most of the TR300 are decent horns. They're more than fine for a student horn. Eh, actually, they're good horns. Some have problematic valves and they don't have the response I like (I'd say the same thing about most Strads) but that's a matter of my personal taste. Personally, I'd rather play an older King 600 / Tempos, Holton Collegiate / T602, Olds Ambassador, or any Yamaha student model (assuming the valves actually function well, which one can't assume) than the TR300 - but they're all good horns.

They blow decently (usually), have good intonation, and have good durability. I've got several as school horns in one of my elementary schools and they're some of the better ones I've got in my inventory. If you've got one of the ones with decent valve QC, then you're set. Compared to some of the junk that's made and sometimes bought by districts - it's a gem. I would never describe it as "trash" or "junk."

The Bach TR500? Well, I haven't seen a lot of them, but let's just say I wasn't overly impressed with the build quality.

It's interesting to say that simply lessening the tension in the horn makes it play quite well. I've had some TR300s that have popped braces (kids, you know...) so when you mention that they're sometimes built with a lot of tension, I guess I can see the evidence of that.

Now you made me want to somehow figure out how to "accidently" pop the braces in my school's TR300 and get them reattached without any tension.... Jeez, I can't blow the repair budget on horns that are already functional. Darn.
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cornet74
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crazy Finn wrote:
Crazy Finn wrote:
Interesting. I've played a bunch of TR300's and I would have described most of them as decent and/or serviceable for the most part.

C.E.Divine wrote:
Or maybe I mistake what you are saying, and you are actually saying is that out of the many you have played, none have been more than average. In which case I simply say one man's trash is another mans treasure.

I guess? Most of the TR300 are decent horns. They're more than fine for a student horn. Eh, actually, they're good horns. Some have problematic valves and they don't have the response I like (I'd say the same thing about most Strads) but that's a matter of my personal taste. Personally, I'd rather play an older King 600 / Tempos, Holton Collegiate / T602, Olds Ambassador, or any Yamaha student model (assuming the valves actually function well, which one can't assume) than the TR300 - but they're all good horns.

They blow decently (usually), have good intonation, and have good durability. I've got several as school horns in one of my elementary schools and they're some of the better ones I've got in my inventory. If you've got one of the ones with decent valve QC, then you're set. Compared to some of the junk that's made and sometimes bought by districts - it's a gem. I would never describe it as "trash" or "junk."

The Bach TR500? Well, I haven't seen a lot of them, but let's just say I wasn't overly impressed with the build quality.

It's interesting to say that simply lessening the tension in the horn makes it play quite well. I've had some TR300s that have popped braces (kids, you know...) so when you mention that they're sometimes built with a lot of tension, I guess I can see the evidence of that.

Now you made me want to somehow figure out how to "accidently" pop the braces in my school's TR300 and get them reattached without any tension.... Jeez, I can't blow the repair budget on horns that are already functional. Darn.


This is a GREAT post!! We live in a time where we are so brainwashed by gear. I may have mentioned above that I have a CRT-300 that I got off of eBay for not very much. The horn was in fine shape; and yes, good valves. I was going to sell it. But given that it's really not so easy to find a decent long model cornet these days, I'm going to tinker with it. And it doesn't need much: a larger leadpipe; metal valve guides; new valve stems; strip the lacquer; maybe an improved design tuning slide crook; get rid of the second brace and some of the small braces on the tuning slides. All of that can probably be done for under $1000. And there you have probably as good of a horn as you're going to get. A new Strad long model cornet costs almost $3000. And the new Strads have been so stripped of their former pro features that who knows if you'd ever find a new Strad. That could play as well as an "improved" cornet/trumpet 300.

Again, I am very happy to see this kind of sensible posting here on the TH.

Thank you.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I cleaned a number of horns the other day the crt-300 being one of them. Taking it apart and reassembling it really gave me an appreciation of the build quality of this cornet.

I practiced it a bit last night and it is truly a player and with great valves. Tends to cut off above A. But that's due to the tighter 6 leadpipe. Using a Curry 5 DC, VC and BBC mouthpiece in the mid low register makes this the ideal low key jazz horn.

I'm tempted to leave it as is, but if I were to replace the bell, leadpipe, tuning slide, braces. Remove some strut braces and add metal valve guides and new valve stems and better tops; I might have a wonderful instrument.

Or, I might have an instrument that really doesn't play much better than it does and have spent about $2K for nothing.

Thank you.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly, I don't think a TR 300 is worth putting any upgrade money into. They are great student horns and that's what they are designed and intended for. I bought mine for $84.00 at a pawn shop, used it to learn the basics on and then donated it to the local school district music program.

I have compared the basic tone quality of the TR300 against pro horns and it isn't even a close call. The TR300 sounds ok until play-tested back-to-back with a pro horn.

I would be more likely to put the effort into an Olds Ambassador, which can also be found for a decent price. My understanding is the Ambassadors are cut from the same DNA as all the Olds line up to and including the "Recording" model.
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cornet74
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HornnOOb wrote:
Honestly, I don't think a TR 300 is worth putting any upgrade money into. They are great student horns and that's what they are designed and intended for. I bought mine for $84.00 at a pawn shop, used it to learn the basics on and then donated it to the local school district music program.

I have compared the basic tone quality of the TR300 against pro horns and it isn't even a close call. The TR300 sounds ok until play-tested back-to-back with a pro horn.

I would be more likely to put the effort into an Olds Ambassador, which can also be found for a decent price. My understanding is the Ambassadors are cut from the same DNA as all the Olds line up to and including the "Recording" model.


You're right about the design factor of the Olds. I had one of those and it played very well.

I think you're forgetting that with the type of upgrade I'm discussing, the only thing at play is the valve block (and slides of course.)

If the basic horn played well (in tune, even resistance, decent build quality) as is; and the valves are in good working condition: then it really doesn't matter what horn you do the upgrade I'm speaking of here.

Horn against horn, my Ambassador was a better player than the crt-300. Although it was a bit sharp. But doing the type of conversion I'm speaking of, it would be a crap shoot as too which horn would "convert" better.

Thank you.
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