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Bach TR300 trumpet improvement


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cornet74
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:29 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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HornnOOb
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess what I'm asking is, why bother -- unless you enjoy working on horns for the sake of working on them. Why not put the effort into a known player?
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TootMyOwnHorn
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess that is what I am really asking. As long as the valves function properly and all the slides work, will changing the bell and tuning slide make it closer to a pro horn? Relieve stress on the braces or maybe remove the tuning slide brace? What is the difference in a pro and student trumpet physically? Can the stainless TR300 valves be replaced with Strad Monel pistons? I have 2 good pro horns, I just wanted to tinker with this and learn the basics of horn building/repair with a cheap trumpet. I have money to "throw away" and was looking for ideas for upgrades and where to buy the parts. All the replies have been great, Thanks.
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Ed Kennedy
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 5:22 pm    Post subject: TR300 Reply with quote

I used to play gigs with a guy who was Ted Waggner's predessesor at Bach. He worked at Mt. Vernon and then later at Elkhart. One of his favorite gigging horns was a Bundy (renamed TR300) with a Bach 43 bell on it. The standard leadpipe is a #6 which he left on that instrument. He never liked the 37 bell but he did have a Strad ML with a #25 bell and and another with a 72*. I'd suggest starting with a different Bach bell and if it is too tight, go to a 25, 25-0, 7, or 43 leadpipe. Also, reassembling the instrument stress-free is a good idea and it will happen as you change out parts if you do it correctly.
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Tpt_Guy
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cornet74 wrote:
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.


I have some Bach literature from the 90s that says that the TR300 has a 7 leadpipe and 7 bell.

I'm not sure if this means anything to you, but if you want these bells on a Strad, they're unavailable unless you get the 197 model or "New York 7" Strad. The #7 leadpipe is a custom option.

So the TR300 is made with some good parts. I think the previous advice on removing tension and deburring the horn is sound, and to do that it would make a significant impact in how the horn plays. I would say do that, then if you feel further change is needed at that point, start swapping parts.

Just my 2 cents.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2015 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tootmy - very interesting experiment. I do some part time teaching at a music conservatory around me - college kids - and I've come across several tr-300 horns now - what a horrid axe! If you could really improve on this horn and make it sound good, I hope you go into detail about what you find out. Will help me with my own knowledge of horns. I've played some amazing $100-$300 horns - in fact I'm comfortable that I could make my living exclusively on my old Getzen Capri I paid less than $300 for on EBAY... and I've played Olds Ambassadors like this too - even old student Holton Collegiates from the 50's - 70's.. So I'm always curious as to what makes a horn play and sound well. I can't ever see myself dropping any big $$ on a standard Bb trumpet - my next high $$ horn purchase will probably be one of the Marcinkiewicz pocket trumpets.. It makes sense to me that making one of these smaller horns is a lot harder to make sound good.. My Manchester pocket is the best pocket I've had so far - even better than the old Benge pocket from the 70's I used to own. Best, Lex
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TootMyOwnHorn
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I bought this horn, the leadpipe was broke off of the trumpet and the mouthpiece stuck in it. I assume someone tore it from the instrument while trying to twist off the mouthpiece.
Soldered everything back together and had local shop remove the MP. Relieved stress on the joints and assembled. This thing sounds Great!!
Very open blow. Nice slotting during slurring exercises and nice full low range. High range around Hi C is harder that my Strad. Maybe because of the open blow, or maybe it has more restriction?
Played and recorded Voisin Study #1, then changed from the Original Bach bell to the Olds Ambassador Fullerton bell. Played and recorded the same piece. Same full lower range and same problem in the upper range, but WOW. Much brighter, clearer sound. This is the better configuration so far. I have a Pilczuck lead pipe to install but need a different tuning slide to get it to fit, but right now I think I like the sound better that my Bach Strad 43 model.
If I could just figure out how to improve the upper range this would be my all around perfect horn. Help!!!
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mcjweller
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I realize this is an old thread but I'm curious if the OP ever did these mods and what the results were?

I have a TR300 which for the moment I'm stuck with. I am rebuilding my chops after a 20+ year vacation, and so I can't just go buy a better horn because my chops aren't sufficient to determine what a good horn is for me in the first place. So the TR300 is what I have for the time being, and as others have pointed out here and on various other places, it has limitations.

I must have been lucky as mine has exceptional valves. It was bought new in 1987, and today after having had the heck played out of it they are still air tight, and well aligned looking with a borescope. But the limitations on it have always been to do with the upper register (even when I was at the top of my game) - it just seemed to get stuffy and required far more effort to sustain the upper register than just about any other horn I compared it against back then. And I would also say another limitation is that intonation on the lower end needs more player-based adjustment than it should.

All this being said, it always had remarkably good, full sound. In my early symphony days I did play on it (I was very young and didn't have $$$ for a pro-horn) and I wanted to crawl under a rock one day when the musical director told the lead trumpet that he wanted him to match my sound. Awkward. But tonal qualities was NOT one of this horns limitations.

A lot of information has been posted about mouthpiece gap, and I discovered that my TR300 has a gap of 0.222 which is MASSIVE and could easily account for much of the stuffiness and slotting challenges. I milled a brass insert (yep...I've got a lathe) that adjusted the gap to 0.062 and it's significantly better. As good as a strad? that would be subjective and I don't have a strad to compare! But, improved upper range, better slotting, less stuffy, and sound has gotten even more full and darker.

The venturi in this is 0.345". I experimented with a ring that gave me a 0.340" venturi and that took away more stuffiness.

For context, I play a Bach 1.25C mouthpiece which has to have an impact on the sound.

I don't know that any amount of modification could ever make this equal to a pro horn like a strad, especially since many pro horns are built for flexibility among a lot of different styles. But on mine I could see myself taking this horn that is basicially worth $0 and putting on a strad 43 bell (it already has a strad 7 leadpipe from the factory as all TR300's did) and this could be a good jazz horn. If I come across a cheap bell that is. I'm not out looking for one.

I do thing it could do with more weight as well, so I'm looking at a Harrelson medium mod kit and the VGR as well to dial in the gap as my chops come back. The VGR I can remove again and transplant onto the next horn.

So...I could throw $600 into this thing and at its core it's still a TR300. weather its worth it or not is only a relevant question if you plan on selling which I probably never will. But if it reduces limitations without adding new variables (as buying another used horn would do) then it will be worth it as an "interim" plan. $0.02

Would love to hear from anyone else that has improved these horns.
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have any info or thoughts on TR300 mods. However, since this came up again...

Just this past week or so I've been play testing about 2-3 dozen brand new Bach TR300's. My overall impression of them is that they are solidly built, but the valves are not fitted and assembled particularly well. Even after careful oiling they are really only decent Often they are loud and clangy, to the point were I think something is loose elsewhere on the horn or that they are missing a felt, but that is not the case. It is just the way they are made.

I can contrast this with the student line Yamahas (AD200II) or Jupiters (don't know the model on these) were the valves fit perfectly and move very smoothly and feel great.

However, among the "shop loaner" instruments there is a particular TR300 that had it's lacquer removed. Aside from looking better than the average used TR300, it plays pretty well and the valves are well broken in and work like butter. Hopefully, that happens with these new ones over time.
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mcjweller
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My TR300 was made in the mid 1980's. I've seen the new ones, they have a different valve block than mine. I had heard (don't know this as fact) that the new ones are made in China also.

Years ago (like in 1988) I knew a guy with a strad. My TR300 has monel pistons and seemed virtually identical to the strad except that it has one-point valve guides where the strad has 2. There seemed to be more "slop" in my valves from a rotational point of view, or in other words looser tolerance on those guides. That can affect port alignment. I modified some guides to tighten this up and they run like butter.

It seems that the TR300's of the 1980s and older (not sure when they started making them) aren't comparable to modern ones. i.e., they're better. But still not without issues.
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iiipopes
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found its sibling, a cornet CR300, for my son years ago at an amazing low price. A checkup at the local tech, and it played like new, with good valves, good tone, and good scale. Before purchasing, I asked him: he wanted the cornet instead of the trumpet, even though, of course, all the parents of his class were renting or purchasing trumpets. The only thing electively I spent $$ on was an extra 1st valve slide with a saddle (the 1st valve slide on the horn as purchased did not have a saddle) so he could have that option when his hands grew large enough to handle it.

Hey, with his permission, I even used the horn at small gigs occasionally to good effect.

I believe, at least for some model years, these are the same horns, using the same tooling, as the Bundy instruments of years past.
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcjweller wrote:
My TR300 was made in the mid 1980's. I've seen the new ones, they have a different valve block than mine. I had heard (don't know this as fact) that the new ones are made in China also.

The new ones are not made in China, they are made in the US. I don’t believe that TR300 production was ever moved out of the states. The TR500 is/was made in China - stay away from those.

I don’t know about the valve blocks. The valves on the older ones seem better fitted, but maybe they’ve just had a few decades to work in.
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mcjweller
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I believe, at least for some model years, these are the same horns, using the same tooling, as the Bundy instruments of years past.


According to the literature that came with it when I bought it, the TR300 is more or less a Bundy 1530 with a tuning slide brace BUT it has monel pistons where the Bundy does not.

It also doesn't give any info about what type of bell or leadpipe the Bundy was given in those days.

Quote:
The new ones are not made in China, they are made in the US. I don’t believe that TR300 production was ever moved out of the states. The TR500 is/was made in China - stay away from those.


As I said I can't verify the truthfulness of what I had heard. But I can say definitively that they no longer use the valve blocks that mine has, by simply looking at them in comparison.

This weekend I deburred the pistons and while I thought they were good to begin with, saying the valve action is now incredible is an understatement. I also stripped all of the failing nitrocellulose lacquer off to bare brass. It plays like an entirely different horn in terms of responsiveness. So, super slick, non-leaking valves, super responsive but still stuffy above the staff.

I haven't got much to lose here but time and small $$$ (compared to buying just about any other decent horn), so I'm now making this a "tune and test" experiment.

I've ordered a strad 180 #7 leadpipe ($100) as well as the matching upper inside tuning slide tube, and will install those when they arrive. My theory is it will darken sound somewhat (which is what I want for this horn) and relieve much of that stuffiness. I'll also be converting the student style 3rd valve slide to a better fixed ring style with properly dimensioned tubing to build it properly and adding a 1st slide ring.

I should add...so much debate about if stripping a horn changes the sound or not. My experience with this is that the sound DID NOT change in any appreciable way. However, response is drastically improved, and my theory to that is that the previous finish had a deadening affect where now the material can "ring" more. But I can't say that the sound is any brighter or darker.

I'll check back when parts arrive, probably 5 weeks from now.
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OldSchoolEuph
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The TR-300 was introduced to replace the last Bundy trumpet, and based in part on the same. The first several years of TR-300s continued the Bundy serial number sequence (I asked Tedd Waggoner why and he indicated that at the time they simply intended to keep student and pro separate, and as the successor, it made sense). The TR-300 was first made in the US, then it very briefly, but in surprising volume, shifted to China, then in 2009 it returned to US production being assembled today at Conn-Selmer Eastlake Ohio (the last King plant). The bells are made at the Bach plant in Elkhart and shipped to Eastlake. As for stripping the finish - these horns all have modern very thin lacquer, so the only impact would be if you over-buff.
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mcjweller
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's great info, thanks!

I can confirm however that my 1987 example was indeed nitrocellulose, not modern lacquer based on its physical properties, but also based on it being specifically indicated on the selling literature It was quite thick. Obviously I have no idea when this changed but from a manufacturing perspective the logical time for changes like this is when being shifted to different manufacturers with different processes.

Don't know if I mentioned it also but mine came with a 37 bell (or maybe I should say a two-piece bell built on a #37 mandrel) and a very stuffy #6 leadpipe.

IMO it would have been an improvement to have modern lacquer, but this one didn't have it.
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OldSchoolEuph
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcjweller wrote:
I can confirm however that my 1987 example was indeed nitrocellulose, not modern lacquer based on its physical properties, but also based on it being specifically indicated on the selling literature It was quite thick. Obviously I have no idea when this changed but from a manufacturing perspective the logical time for changes like this is when being shifted to different manufacturers with different processes.


Very interesting. I have one not much older - still Bundy serial numbered - that is thin modern epoxy. It was bought new late-88 or 89.
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mcjweller
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My serial is 907579

Based on the bundy serial number list

https://www.adams-music.com/instrumenten/serienummer/bundy.asp?lid=1033

Between 1980 and 1983 they were producing 30,000 per year and the listing ends at 1983 with serial 875,000

Based on that my TR300 is very early, perhaps one of the first. I bought it new in 1987...no way to know how long it sat before then...I also don't know when TR300's were first introduced or if the bundy/selmer production remained constant at 30,000/year
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