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Picking a Cornet


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dstpt
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got a used Adams CN-1 on a trade a few months ago. It has two triggers, one on the 3rd slide and one to the main tuning slide. The latter has a huge advantage in being able to zero in on the pitch center as a trombone player would. (Trombonists typically do not adjust their pitch with the embouchure but merely by moving the slide slightly. The same is true for all stringed instruments, of course.) Having something like this saves wear and tear on the chops, but there is a learning curve, and naturally, you still have to use your ear. Regardless of the trigger to the tuning slide, the instrument is very much in tune with itself. When would you use it? Lots of places/times. Mute changes is a perfect example. And are we to think that our pitch level remains consistent from, say, the beginning to end of a concert? What if you've had a heavy playing schedule, and you're sitting on a sustained G above the staff and having to diminuendo to pp with the 1st clarinet and your part says "one on a part" and you're that one!? Wouldn't it be nice to use a trigger rather than an alternate fingering that can also affect timbre? We’re okay with moving slides on low C-sharps and Ds; why not a note played Open or 2nd valve? Okay. I digress. Some may rarely need something like that, based on the way they play. Some may find benefit. You could even buy one of these other models and have a trigger added or switched from the 1st slide to the tuning slide. All kinds of options. So that's one thing to consider.

I owned a Bach long bell cornet (no Shepherd's crook) since junior high, but about ten years ago, I filled in on a local brass band concert, and the timbre did not fit. It was too bright and piercing. A former college student of mine attended the concert and said he heard a sound on a lower part that seemed to stick out at points. (I was playing a 3rd Bb cornet part. Ugh. How embarrassing.) The mouthpiece was also an issue. I was using a Bach 1C cornet mpc. If I had used maybe a Curry BBB-style cornet mpc (and still adjusted my blow some), then maybe the blend would have happened. I will say that the Adams, Getzen, and Yamaha models I've played have a darker timbre than some of the other cornets on the market, which means you could get away with using a mpc that is perhaps a little shallower and less v-shaped. This could then increase your endurance without sacrificing sound compatibility within the section. All of that said, if the section is using Bessons, and you can find yourself comfortable playing a Besson, you might let that be part of your endgame. If you see yourself using this horn equally elsewhere, like playing an occasional solo in church or in another civic group, then definitely do not feel limited to getting a Besson. If I was in the market, I would even consider a Warburton. I know that you would probably have to deal with import fees, but the playing samples on his website are definitely enticing (esp. the last one with Jon Kratzer demoing one in a reverberant church. What a great sound!).

http://www.warburton-usa.com/index.php/warburton-cornet
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Louise Finch
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:02 am    Post subject: Re: Picking a Cornet Reply with quote

chi2lon wrote:
Hi Guys,

I'm reasonably new to brass banding (~16 months). My background is tilted much more towards classical trumpet. However, I have really enjoyed playing in the brass band (even contesting hasn't been so bad). I have been borrowing a Sovereign 928GS from my band's set. The serial number puts the production in 1996 which is apparently peak of the lottery years. The one I have been playing isn't a dog, but it is not a great horn. I'm at a point where I'd like to buy my own cornet, and my wife has given me the green light!

I tried a bunch of horns last week (Besson Prestige/Yamaha Neo/Smith-Watkins K2/Eclipse Yellow/Stomvi Titan), and I am going back again in a few weeks to (hopefully) make a decision. I always try to bring an extra set of ears for testing. However, testing horns is very different compared to playing in a section. My biggest concern is spending a small fortune on a horn I personally like only to struggle fitting into a section of mostly Besson. Does anyone have experience with how these horns blend in a section (playing them yourself or with someone who plays them)?

Cheers!


Hi chi2lon

I am a British Brass Bander. Firstly, I agree with what Gordon H says about mouthpiece choice being a factor in whether a player prefers the Yamaha Neo/Xeno or Besson Sovereign/Prestige.

Regarding blending with a section of Sovereigns, I have personal experience of this. I played in my previous brass band for eighteen years. This band had a matched section of Bach 184ML cornets, and I bought my own to match, when I had been playing for around a year. Although I really like my sound on this cornet, and I find it particularly good in concert band settings, when I switched to a new brass band, I found that it did not blend very well in a section of Sovereigns. It is not that its sound is any brighter, more that it is slightly different in character, being a more concentrated sound with more core in comparison to the more diffuse sound quality of the Sovereign. Articulations were also an issue. I feel that the Bach 184ML articulates differently from the Sovereign, maybe owing to its different inherent sound quality Basically in comparison to the Sovereign, I feel that the articulations of my Bach 184ML are more strident, making it sound more trumpet-like than the Sovereign, although no brighter. I have heard that the Bach 184L, especially the model with the gold brass bell, is more brass band cornet-like, but I've never played one.

I soon switched to a Yamaha Xeno, which I find to blend fine with a section of predominantly Besson cornets. Until a new player joined a few weeks back playing a Yamaha Maestro, I was the only one playing a Yamaha cornet.

I'd stay away from the Getzen Capri and Getzen Eterna for the same reasons as the Bach 184ML. I'm not sure how the Getzen 3850 blends.

Considering the choices you list in your OP, the Besson Prestige would blend fine, the Yamaha Neo would blend fine, the Smith-Watkins K2 blends fine (I really like this cornet, and used to own one. If you'd like to know why I now play a Yamaha Xeno, PM and I'll tell you. I had a go one one again recently, and as much as I like my Xeno, the Smith-Watkins K2 has a better sound in my opinion). The Eclipse cornets are highly regarded, but I have no experience of playing one in a British Brass Band, or of the most popular brass band configuration. I haven't played the Stomvi Titan, and have never personally seen a Stomvi Bb cornet in a British Brass band (I've seen a few Stomvi Sops).

Other possible cornets to try in my opinion are:

http://www.rosehillinstruments.co.uk/acatalog/Willson-Celebration-460L--large-bore--460L.html

http://www.rosehillinstruments.co.uk/acatalog/Geneva-Symphony-GSC.html

I'm not recommending this retailer in particular (although they are fine and are the retailer from whom I bought my trumpet), they just happen to be high up on a google search for these cornet models.

I'm suggesting the two models above, because players in my brass band successfully play these in a section of predominantly Besson Sovereigns.

I hope that this will help.

Best wishes

Lou
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Seymor B Fudd
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:59 am    Post subject: Re: Picking a Cornet Reply with quote

chi2lon wrote:
Hi Guys,

I'm reasonably new to brass banding (~16 months). My background is tilted much more towards classical trumpet. However, I have really enjoyed playing in the brass band (even contesting hasn't been so bad). I have been borrowing a Sovereign 928GS from my band's set. The serial number puts the production in 1996 which is apparently peak of the lottery years. The one I have been playing isn't a dog, but it is not a great horn. I'm at a point where I'd like to buy my own cornet, and my wife has given me the green light!

I tried a bunch of horns last week (Besson Prestige/Yamaha Neo/Smith-Watkins K2/Eclipse Yellow/Stomvi Titan), and I am going back again in a few weeks to (hopefully) make a decision. I always try to bring an extra set of ears for testing. However, testing horns is very different compared to playing in a section. My biggest concern is spending a small fortune on a horn I personally like only to struggle fitting into a section of mostly Besson. Does anyone have experience with how these horns blend in a section (playing them yourself or with someone who plays them)?

Cheers!



Why not try a Getzen 3850 (Custom)?? Nice horn, nice sound, nicely built plus fantastic valves. I bought mine a bit used but in mint condition.
Guy next to me in my brass band has a Sovereign and it doesn´t match the sound quality of my Getzen (playing in a small room versus playing in a hall - sort of). Long time ago we all played on Bessons, Imperials and it was a big step up when the Getzen cornets were introduced - Eternas to begin with. The Eterna is somewhat brighter, a bit more easy to play, but the 3850 has a very nice "core" and to my ears does a wonderful job in the brass band settings - particularly if provided with some Wick variant of mouthpiece (I prefer the Ultra). I honestly do not think you would wreck the cornet section!
Also the attitude/way you play the cornet has a great bearing on the sound - difficult to explain but has something to do with the"dolce"/singing concept. Imagine the "Cornet Carillion"!
In my view
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Andy Del
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is an alternative to the conundrum of finding a cornet which blends with a bunch of Bessons... (but do not read on if you are a sensitive brass band type! )

Don't.

Yes, get something which plays well with a good sound, is reasonably in tune, and allows one to articulate cleanly. So anything which works!

Then take it to your band and start the conversion process. Sound better, clearer, richer, more in tune... You've already hinted politely that the band supplied instrument (a Besson) is not very good. So have a stab at getting rid of the junk and making a better ensemble.

[soapbox]

At the risk of sounding anti Sovereign/Besson/B&H, I am. Having heard so many recordings of bands with 'matched' instruments, it stands out like the proverbial that the sound is not matched, not a relaxed singing tone, but so often forced. These world class bands, especially in the upper parts sound edgy, strained and quite unpleasant. And then there's the (lack of) intonation.

Why? I believe it is this false idea of matched instruments, bragging rights to a 'set' and a corresponding lack of musicianship.

The very best BBB I have played in was located in Vancouver, and featured CC tubas, euphoniums, large bore orchestral trombones, a rotary valve flugel, a mix of cornets and trumpets, and a soprano on a Schilke E3L. To top it off, the horn parts were all played on french horns.

The conductor asked for blending and got it: because we wanted to. It was a cosmipolitan bunch from the UK, Australia, Switzerland, Canada and a few yanks. About half a dozen were music majors and quite a few local pros. The concerts which were recorded revealed an ensemble which had a huge depth of sound, could be warm rich and homogenous, yet also had bite and colour...

I've played in some very good bands, and some very special concerts and performances (one from 1985 is STILL talked about in our neck of the woods!) but one of the reasons I do not bother to play in a brass band on a regular basis is this false attempt at homogeneity. It is simply drivel. The human voice doesn't operate like this at all, and so musical instrument should not as well. Trying to do this kills something in the basic sound of the horn. (This also applies to trumpet makers who try to to similar odd things to tone quality)

Listen to choirs and great singers. They can be mellow, rich, dark, and then ring out and also take your head off. Strings are the same. At the same dynamic they need to be all sorts of things, warm and lush or edgy and incisive or washy and vague. Why not brass? Why be limited to one narrow palette of sound?

[\soapbox]

Just saying - get the cornet you love playing. And convert those can be. If nothing else, you'll enjoy your personal practice!

cheers

Andy
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Rapier232
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry Andy, if it had French horns, it wasn’t a BBB. It was just a band.
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TKSop
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rapier232 wrote:
Sorry Andy, if it had French horns, it wasn’t a BBB. It was just a band.


Yea my thoughts exactly...

Calling that BBB is like calling a wind band a symphony orchestra - it's not that there's anything wrong with such a group, but it's misleading to call it something it's not.
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Seymor B Fudd
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TKSop wrote:
Rapier232 wrote:
Sorry Andy, if it had French horns, it wasn’t a BBB. It was just a band.


Yea my thoughts exactly...

Calling that BBB is like calling a wind band a symphony orchestra - it's not that there's anything wrong with such a group, but it's misleading to call it something it's not.



And my thoughts, not disrespecting anyone is that Andy´s post is a lovely defence of brass music at its best. I agree, 100%, with his notion that top level brassband cornets sections tend to sound " edgy, strained and quite unpleasant". The aforementioned cornets plus far too big Wick mouthpieces are the main villains.
However I also agree that French horns have no place in an ortodox brass band. Sure.
But the development towards "heavier" trombones, euphoniums, basses, everyone using gigantic Wick mouthpieces must be balanced by cornet sections, back and front rows, with cornets with bigger inherent sound quality than these Bessons.
So the wonderful singing dolce quality has a chance to get heard.
After soon 60 years I still love the mighty vibrant sound of a brass band.
I recall one moment some 45 years ago when I happened to look at the bass trombone guy, playing a trombone with a handle, looking at me while playing a very very big deep resonant note concluding some melody, while I at the other end, nailed an B on my soprano. Talking of sound spectrums..... By the way I played on an Getzen Eterna Eb cornet.....
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Dale Proctor
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking of French horns in a brass band, in the early years of our brass band, we had French horns instead of alto (tenor) horns. No one in the area owned an alto horn, so we initially recruited top-notch French horn players. After a few years, we decided to enter the NABBA championships and were permitted to do so with the French horns, in the Open Class. One of the pieces we performed was Stephen Bulla's Images for Brass. Mr. Bulla was in the audience and afterward he remarked that it was very well played and that after hearing it, he preferred the sound of the French horns over how it was actually scored. Interesting stuff, and we scored well and won 1st place in that class.
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SirBuzzALot
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy Del wrote:

At the risk of sounding anti Sovereign/Besson/B&H, I am. Having heard so many recordings of bands with 'matched' instruments, it stands out like the proverbial that the sound is not matched, not a relaxed singing tone, but so often forced. These world class bands, especially in the upper parts sound edgy, strained and quite unpleasant. And then there's the (lack of) intonation.

Why? I believe it is this false idea of matched instruments, bragging rights to a 'set' and a corresponding lack of musicianship.

Seymor B Fudd wrote:

I agree, 100%, with his notion that top level brassband cornets sections tend to sound " edgy, strained and quite unpleasant". The aforementioned cornets plus far too big Wick mouthpieces are the main villains.


Clearly niether of you have heard a world class band live such as Eikanger-Bjørsvik or Cory band otherwise you wouldn't write such utter drivel. Theres nothing edgy, strained or unpleasent with the way their cornet sections sound, in fact its quite the opposite.
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TKSop
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SirBuzzALot wrote:

Clearly niether of you have heard a world class band live such as Eikanger-Bjørsvik or Cory band otherwise you wouldn't write such utter drivel. Theres nothing edgy, strained or unpleasent with the way their cornet sections sound, in fact its quite the opposite.


Heck, you don't even have to go quite that high up the ladder...

I've had the good fortune to play (dep) for several excellent bands that you'll have heard of, but aren't quite at the very top of the very top (bands such as Flowers, GUS and several others)... and you certainly wouldn't call their cornet sections "edgy", "strained" or "unpleasant".
I would say the same for every championship section band I've played and depped for (and most in 1st too).

I wonder sometimes whether there's something different in British BBB culture (or atleast European, these days) that can only be learned through immersion?
This is specialised/niche playing, it has specialised requirements and "different" tonal requirements that often seem to be misrepresented on these boards (even by some who seem to have enough familiarity to talk to lingo, as it were).
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Andy Del
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a reason I don't hear 'top' brass bands recently. And maybe a reason we should consider Steven Bulla's comments on preferring a french horn sound.

One person's opinion is another person's drivel and that is rightly so. But I have yet to hear both the reasoning and result supporting this notion we have to have matched instruments / mouthpieces / mutes, etc to blend well. Professionals do not match their equipment this way and blend just fine. For example, have a squizz at the BPO recent performance of the Bach B minor mass. 3 small trumpets, all very different instruments, making the most glorious sound together, matching perfectly. (one hasn't even had the wrapping taken off!) Even their day to day horns, mouthpieces and mutes are a mixture of different brands. Not an issue there. They play what lets them make the sound they want.

Given the extra skills it would need to make such a blend on a possibly ill-suited instrument and setup, how can amateur players be expected to do the same with a good, relaxed, singing sound?

When thought of in this context, the drivel is coming from those who insist on matching gear!

just my $0.02

cheers

Andy
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trumpet56
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Picking a Cornet Reply with quote

chi2lon wrote:
Hi Guys,

I'm reasonably new to brass banding (~16 months). My background is tilted much more towards classical trumpet. However, I have really enjoyed playing in the brass band (even contesting hasn't been so bad). I have been borrowing a Sovereign 928GS from my band's set. The serial number puts the production in 1996 which is apparently peak of the lottery years. The one I have been playing isn't a dog, but it is not a great horn. I'm at a point where I'd like to buy my own cornet, and my wife has given me the green light!

I tried a bunch of horns last week (Besson Prestige/Yamaha Neo/Smith-Watkins K2/Eclipse Yellow/Stomvi Titan), and I am going back again in a few weeks to (hopefully) make a decision. I always try to bring an extra set of ears for testing. However, testing horns is very different compared to playing in a section. My biggest concern is spending a small fortune on a horn I personally like only to struggle fitting into a section of mostly Besson. Does anyone have experience with how these horns blend in a section (playing them yourself or with someone who plays them)?

Cheers!


Having the same back round as yourself, my experience playing in a brass band is not so much the gear but the the way the band plays on the lower side of the pitch, so blending was not an option. Instead I was put in the 'Suicide Chair' (Soprano).
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Rapier232
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will agree with you Andy about having to have matched instruments, but the reason most top bands do is sponsorship. The likes of Cory, the number 1 brass band in the world officially, and Black Dyke play a particular brand for that reason. Most lower section bands provide the instruments too, but have to buy theirs. They tend to buy the ‘trusted’ makes, that have been around for a long time, like Besson Sovereigns, and before that Besson Imperials.

I help out a local brass band now and then. The Principal plays a Courtois, the bumper up plays a Prestige. When I guest I use a Smith-Watkins and a shallow mouthpiece, similar to my trumpet. I am often told, by the Principal, that I am sharp. When the tuner comes out, I am spot on. It’s just I’m brighter than her sound. I could use a different mouthpiece, to blend with her, but as I’m doing them a favour I don’t.
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Andy Del
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks mate - ask am NEVER in a section of matched instruments, it is logical to me. Sunday afternoon was A Bach 37, Stomvi Titan Bb and my Thein C on second. Blended just fine, even if the lead player couldn't articulate for nuts.

cheers

Andy
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Seymor B Fudd
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SirBuzzALot wrote:
Andy Del wrote:

At the risk of sounding anti Sovereign/Besson/B&H, I am. Having heard so many recordings of bands with 'matched' instruments, it stands out like the proverbial that the sound is not matched, not a relaxed singing tone, but so often forced. These world class bands, especially in the upper parts sound edgy, strained and quite unpleasant. And then there's the (lack of) intonation.

Why? I believe it is this false idea of matched instruments, bragging rights to a 'set' and a corresponding lack of musicianship.

Seymor B Fudd wrote:

I agree, 100%, with his notion that top level brassband cornets sections tend to sound " edgy, strained and quite unpleasant". The aforementioned cornets plus far too big Wick mouthpieces are the main villains.


Clearly niether of you have heard a world class band live such as Eikanger-Bjørsvik or Cory band otherwise you wouldn't write such utter drivel. Theres nothing edgy, strained or unpleasent with the way their cornet sections sound, in fact its quite the opposite.



In fact I have. First time was in the late 70 ties visiting Wales ending up in the midst of the Cory-band rehearsing. Fantastic doesn´t suffice to describe . I was particularly impressed with the soprano guy, myself also in that "suicidal" position. When I commended him he shrugged and told me he could only practice 3 hours a day - how so? - I work 3 shifts...
Some years ago the Cory band gave a concert in my home town and my band and another brass band (=massed band) served as "pre band". Of course I do admire these phenomenal bands - our own band is a minuscule fraction of the Cory band - on a good day.
I´ll have to re-phrase myself, even apologize for expressing myself too sweepingly so "not unpleasant or strained" but sometimes a bit edgy.
Or - it might be that the "heavy" end (basses, euphoniums, barytones, trombones etc) has become so compact, so rich, so voluminous that the cornet section in comparison sounds a bit edgy in forte passages?
Comparing the state of the art of brass bands of today and those from the sixities and earlier I find a notable difference in sound. The trombones, to take one example were tiny compared to the heavy bones of today. The cornet sound was brighter, as was the entire sound profile. To my ears that is. This being the reason for me advocating somewhat "heavier" cornets to "match" the heavy end of today. A better balance.
Then of course, as always, playing cornet calls for a certain attitude - not implying the Cory cornets did not have that - on the contrary such dolce singing in more quiet passages (as was the sublime sound of the solo euphonium, not to mention the solo trombone player). We amateurs always run the risk of forgetting that - sounding trumpety instead....... And with the deep Wicks unpleasant and strained....
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King Super 20 Symphony DB (1970)
Selmer Eb/D trumpet (1973)/Stork VMS6


Last edited by Seymor B Fudd on Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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Seymor B Fudd
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh dear - did I kill the thread? Didnt´mean to.
Anyway - to the OP: buy whatever horn you really like. Personally I would go for a "heavier" cornet, as the Getzen 3850. The way you play it should have a significant impact on the blending. In my experience.
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VetPsychWars
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, I wish I had a Buescher 265 to send over there for you to guys to pass around.....

Tom
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TKSop
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VetPsychWars wrote:
Ah, I wish I had a Buescher 265 to send over there for you to guys to pass around.....

Tom


I'm sure it'd be fascinating... But I wouldn't take it into the band room unless it fit what I needed from it.
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Seymor B Fudd
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VetPsychWars wrote:
Ah, I wish I had a Buescher 265 to send over there for you to guys to pass around.....

Tom


If I ever showed up with a "long cornet" like that .....they wouldn´t treat me well. In fact I once did, my Getzen 300 series and was I frowned upon? Yes.
Although I really went about it with great care and cornetty attitude. Still too bright. And not "stylish"
_________________
Cornets:
Getzen Custom Series Denis Wick Ultra 7C
Getzen 300 series
Yamaha YCRD2330II
Getzen Eterna Eb /M V 1 1/2 C
Trumpets:
Bach 1B Commercial ML Stork SM VM6
King Super 20 Symphony DB (1970)
Selmer Eb/D trumpet (1973)/Stork VMS6
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VetPsychWars
Heavyweight Member


Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 7011
Location: Greenfield WI

PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seymor B Fudd wrote:
VetPsychWars wrote:
Ah, I wish I had a Buescher 265 to send over there for you to guys to pass around.....

Tom


If I ever showed up with a "long cornet" like that .....they wouldn´t treat me well. In fact I once did, my Getzen 300 series and was I frowned upon? Yes.
Although I really went about it with great care and cornetty attitude. Still too bright. And not "stylish"


Well, I could send a Buescher 400, that’s a proper short cornet.

Tom
_________________
Buescher Lightweight 400
Other Buescher horns 1939--1955
GR65M, GR65 Cor #1
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