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I was given a trumpet - advice/input appreciated


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Brasslizard
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Location: South Dakota

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:13 am    Post subject: I was given a trumpet - advice/input appreciated Reply with quote

When I mentioned to a friend that I was thinking of buying a cheap plastic trumpet to play around with, she said she had a spare horn that someone gave her, and she'd be happy to give it to me. She knows I like vintage instruments with character.

I picked up the trumpet the other day. If I'm right on reading the serial number, it's a 1952 Conn. It looks like the bell is rose-brass. It has an amazing tone and is very playable. It has a matching mute that needs a little new cork.

That's the good part. The lacquer is in pretty bad shape. At least one slide is stuck. I haven't even tried to clean it, because I'm going to take it to be thoroughly cleaned on Friday, and to have the stuck slide fixed. I am planning on giving this trumpet to my youngest teenager, who is on a quest to learn as many instruments as possible and recently expressed a desire to learn trumpet.

So I will post a couple of pictures. Is this something I should consider having stripped and re-lacquered? Or should I clean it up, keep it waxed/polished, and enjoy it for the lovely character? I have an old Jupiter tuba that I am not planning to re-lacquer, as that would cost more than that horn is worth. I know nothing about what is or isn't valuable in trumpets. But the Elkhart Conn horns have a certain - something - about them.

Well, once I figure out how to use a picture hosting site. The free ones are now more complicated than they used to be.[/img]
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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conn has always made good horns. To find out more about it you can go to the Conn Loyalist website.

Lacquers used in 1952 often can be removed pretty easily. Sometimes just very hot water will do it. If not, there are lots of stripper products at the hardware store.
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zaferis
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not an expert on this particular instrument but I would say, after you get it cleaned and slides unstuck, I'd leave it as is. Having it refinnished lacquer or silver will most likely change the way it plays. Additionally, I would worry about keeping it polished or shiney - an every now and then will be fine.
Then, I'd be more likely to keep this horn away from the school environs until the student has progressed to a very mature point, and can appreciate the beauty of the old nugett. Certainly not one that I'd give to a beginner - let them learn how to care for a trumpet with a new-ish beginner horn.
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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good advice from Z.

South Dakota and 1952 both resonate with me. I was born in Huron and started cornet lessons in 1952. Thirteen teachers later I’m still trying to “get good,” as Jack Sheldon used to say.
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Brasslizard
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I appreciate the advice. I've been simply appreciating the beauty of my other vintage horns, even the ugly patchy lacquer on the tuba. Gives it character.

I don't think the kid will be taking this to school. Maybe to church to play with the pastor in our brass band. Kid already plays oboe, percussion, guitar, ukulele, started on trombone in a beginning jazz band (pawn shop special!). Elder teen doesn't get to take the fancy bass bone to school except for jazz band. He wanted to play it in pep band... nononono.

The pastor is the one who gave me the trumpet. She said she already has a couple, and this was given to her. I need to find out who gave her this one; I'd imagine there are some wonderful South Dakota stories to go along with it. The matching rose brass mute is gorgeous... two mouthpieces, a Vincent Bach 7C and a smaller one that I think just has a 2 or a 12 on it. That one looks like it came with the trumpet.
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Brasslizard's flock of horns includes but is not limited to:
1952 Conn Trumpet
Elkhart Conn 62H Bass Trombone
Olds Ambassador trombone
Jupiter JCP-384 BBb tuba
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In your position, I'd focus on making the horn play as well as you can within a reasonable budget. Cleaning, slides, piston felts, spit valve corks,... Only if your son (or yourself) take to playing it regularly would I consider doing much with the cosmetics.
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jondrowjf@gmail.com
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:32 pm    Post subject: Giving your trumpet a bath Reply with quote

I have given many trumpets/cornets hot baths to remove the lacquer or the spots. Depending on the lacquer or spots more than two baths. Use a silicon cloth to coat the instrument. Works very well for me, but I don't have acidic hands.

The cornets/trumpets have a light honey colored look.
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plp
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It will either be a 12-B or a 14-B, both are decent horns, with the 14-B being a student horn, but still quite good.

Look on the leadpipe near where the mouthpiece inserts, for a model number.

The coprion 12-B's were basically a 22-B with a copper bell, very much a pro level trumpet, and one of the most 'in tune with itself' instruments ever made. There is no 1st slide adjustment, as the player (remember, we are talking pro quality so is expected the player knows how to lip up or down) can bend the tone in tune even on the fly.

The 3rd slide does have an adjustable loop, to compensate for low D and C#, however I have found even those can be bent with the lip to bring in tune. It is just a lot easier with the throw.

The 14B Director, while a student horn for the day, is still an exceptionally good horn. The only compromise is heavier bracing and a more resistant leadpipe, as the goal was to make it durable and easier to find pitch center.
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Brasslizard
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will look on the leadpipe when I pick it back up tomorrow. I took it to the 'local' repair shop (about 80 miles from my house) to have them do a deep clean and pull the stuck slide. Yesterday I got the call that they decided not to do anything to it because it would cost more than the trumpet was worth. This was the first time I didn't talk to the repairman myself when dropping off a horn, so I'm thinking they weren't told that all I wanted was a cleaning and freely moving tuning slides. I think they were going to quote me dent pulling and new lacquer. So I will see if the tech will actually talk to me tomorrow. I am sure there's an issue with oxidation, and it's definitely not in perfect condition. But it still has good compression in the valves and a gorgeous tone, so I am not ready to give up on it.

I think my next step is to buy a smaller snake (My snake is tuba sized, and I don't know what my son did with my trombone snake), a can of WD40, and see if I can let some lube penetrate the slide. Then I'll do a careful but thorough white vinegar bath, soap bath, and lube it back up. The same shop declined to do a deep clean of my vintage tuba because they didn't want to take it apart and didn't have a bath large enough to clean it.

Heck, while I'm at it, I'll clean all the horns. I think one of my trombones is getting pretty nasty as the teenager who plays it hasn't cleaned it a while.
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Brasslizard's flock of horns includes but is not limited to:
1952 Conn Trumpet
Elkhart Conn 62H Bass Trombone
Olds Ambassador trombone
Jupiter JCP-384 BBb tuba
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Brasslizard
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here’s a Pinterest link to a picture of the trumpet. [/img][url]
https://pin.it/hzqfrjfzduwvao[/url]

Or not. Ever since my old photo hosting sites folded or started asking for money, I suck at posting pictures.

Wait, I think I have it - on Instagram.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Brhwl0DlajX/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet[]
[] [/img][url][/url][/code][url][/url]
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Brasslizard's flock of horns includes but is not limited to:
1952 Conn Trumpet
Elkhart Conn 62H Bass Trombone
Olds Ambassador trombone
Jupiter JCP-384 BBb tuba


Last edited by Brasslizard on Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:15 am; edited 2 times in total
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Robert P
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first time I met Doc Severinsen was on the set of the Tonight Show - this was after his Getzen era - I was surprised to see the condition of the old Strad he was playing. My recollection is that much of the plating was worn away and it had dings, scratches, splotchy solders. It wasn't obvious on TV because of the bright lights and the plating around the bell which is what you would most prominently notice on-air was fairly intact. Here was my biggest trumpet hero, one of the greatest players who's ever picked up the instrument who could be playing any horn he wanted and he was playing this rough-looking horn on the most high-profile gig on the planet.
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Brasslizard
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I am jealous. I never got to seem him play in person. I used to watch the Tonight Show just to hear the band. Some of those old late night shows had the best bands. I joined a jazz band in high school just to get to go to jazz festivals to hear some of the greats - and I did it just in time for our band to be blackballed from the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, the entire reason I learned to play the bass trombone.
My tuba is no visual masterpiece; she's called Old Ugly for a reason. But she's got a good enough sound for me. My mouthpiece is worth more than the horn itself in that instance.
My bass trombone is an Elkhart Conn as well, but about a decade newer than the trumpet. It's more tempermental than the generic King I played in high school.

Anyone have any ideas about how I repair the cork on the mute? There was a fine layer of cork on it when I first opened the case, but it fell off, and I only have pieces of cork. I would hate to hurt it when I repair it. I could also put some felt on it instead, but I'm thinking cork would hold it in the bell more securely.
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Brasslizard's flock of horns includes but is not limited to:
1952 Conn Trumpet
Elkhart Conn 62H Bass Trombone
Olds Ambassador trombone
Jupiter JCP-384 BBb tuba
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Dale Proctor
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the bell is copper, It's a 12B. If not, it's a 22B. Both are very good trumpets, professional-grade when they were produced. The 12B is a very desirable instrument. As for the mute cork, any decent instrument tech can replace it pretty easily.
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Brasslizard
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is a copper bell, and mute. I will see if the repair tech will talk to me tomorrow when I pick up the trumpet up.

It’s very hit or miss with them. I’ve had fantastic service and work done, and work that I couldn’t even tell that anything was done, all by the same guy. Well, the woodwind specialist did an outstanding job pinning my oboe after my daughter dropped it, without giving a song and dance about how it was only a student model. It was my mother’s, my oldest sister played it, I still play it, and my daughter plays it. I wasn’t sure they could fix it; double cracks on the upper barrel are usually a death knell.

Next question is about the case. I was planning on wiping it down, steaming it a bit, hosing it down with Febreeze, and letting it dry thoroughly. It smells strongly of decades in a basement. Do I buy a new case for transport of the trumpet and save the original case for show? The keys are missing, the clasps are stiff and need to be pried open, although it’s possible a little TLC would fix that. I know the clasps on my 60 year old oboe case are unreliable. (I broke one 30+ years ago on the school bus)

I sent my twin brother a picture of the trumpet. He’s now trying to convince my dad to hunt down our old cornet. It was old when we started band.
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Brasslizard's flock of horns includes but is not limited to:
1952 Conn Trumpet
Elkhart Conn 62H Bass Trombone
Olds Ambassador trombone
Jupiter JCP-384 BBb tuba
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LittleRusty
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, WD40 is not a penetrating oil. Find yourself some good penetrating oil to try.

Second, there are many threads on here about replacing the cork on a Harmon mute. Some people use Funky Foam bought at a hobby store.

The built in search on this site is horrible. Use google or bing and add site:trumpetherald.com to limit the search to this site and you should be able to find the threads.
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Brasslizard
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That all sounds like great advice. Thank you.
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Brasslizard's flock of horns includes but is not limited to:
1952 Conn Trumpet
Elkhart Conn 62H Bass Trombone
Olds Ambassador trombone
Jupiter JCP-384 BBb tuba
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LittleRusty
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The threads on stuck slides list penetrating oils that techs use. One I think has blaster in its name.
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Robert P
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LittleRusty wrote:
The threads on stuck slides list penetrating oils that techs use. One I think has blaster in its name.

PB Blaster. Though I don't have personal experience with it Kano Kroil is supposed to be even better.

With PB Blaster use it in a well-ventilated area and hold your breath. Very noxious stuff but it works.
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Dale Proctor
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kroil is the best, but is hard to find locally. PB Blaster is next best, in my opinion. As for the case smell, Febreeze is good, and a time in some sunlight also helps. After that, put a bunch of dryer sheets in it and leave it closed for a few days/weeks.
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Brasslizard
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2018 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is a 12B. I was able to talk the repair shop into the cleaning and pulling two stuck tuning slides. The 2nd valve slide is still stuck, but he stayed in the budget I gave him. He didn’t re-cork the mute, but that’s ok for now. I have plenty of craft foam.
Turns out he hadn’t really looked at the trumpet and was worried I was one of those parents expecting my beginning band student to play uncle Jimmy’s rusty old clunker. He gets a lot of parents bringing in cheap junk expecting him to turn it into a Strad for $50. I didn’t have to twist his arm too hard to convince him that a couple hundred was a good investment.
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Brasslizard's flock of horns includes but is not limited to:
1952 Conn Trumpet
Elkhart Conn 62H Bass Trombone
Olds Ambassador trombone
Jupiter JCP-384 BBb tuba
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