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F.E. Olds Flugabone and Bach-off C trumpet

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Joined: 30 Sep 2007
Posts: 77
Location: San Bernardino County, CA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 9:48 pm    Post subject: F.E. Olds Flugabone and Bach-off C trumpet Reply with quote

So I got an Olds flugabone. I love how it's wrapped. Great valve action. I got a 12C and a 6 1/2 AL bone mouthpieces. The higher tones are easier on the 12C (as would be expected), but the tone throughout sounds cleaner and richer on the 6 1/2 AL. I'm sticking with the 6.5. The size isn't that much different between the mouthpieces (analogous to differences between trumpet mouthpieces). I don't know what year it was produced. I got it off eBay from a bone player who said he was thinning out his herd. Nobody bid on it but me, so I got a relatively good deal. The valves, though quick, are noisy. Not as noticeable when playing slowly (which is where I am now).

At this point--and I trust that will change over time--playing feels like hyperventilating! I feel numb and dizzy after playing a little. I'm sure some of that is old age. But it's fun and it's actually helping me with my breathing on trumpet--making it feel easier.

I was torn between getting a brand new Chinese bass trumpet or an old but American-made flugabone. Flugabone won out. But I'll always wonder (just a little) whether a bass trumpet would have been easier to play just because it's a trumpet. I find that highly unlikely. But I also wonder whether a new Jinbao would have been better than an old Olds. I'd like to find out when it was made. I couldn't find anything out online.


Speaking of American versus Chinese, I had a Kanstul C trumpet I bought while deployed in Iraq in 2003. I had it maybe 3 years(?) and sold it. Just never felt quite right. Now I have a Bach-off C trumpet I've had since October of 2020 that I'm still trying to adjust to. Compared to a Bb, does a C trumpet feel stuffy or is that just needing to get adjusted to it? I have come to realize that intonation is...unexpected...compared to a Bb. I suppose it's also an adjustment thing that will come with time and practice. It really seems to be a different instrument, not just a trumpet that's 2 semitones higher. At least I have to think of it that way to make the adjustment understandable.
-Giardinelli GTR 812 Masters Series Bb
-Unbranded facsimile of Bach LT190S Bb
-Bach-off (Bach knock-off) "LT197GS-96
Bach Stradivarius" C
-Condor flugelhorn
-F.E. Olds & Son Bb flugabone
-F.E. Olds & Son Bb cornet
-Akai EWI 5000
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david johnson
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Joined: 09 Jul 2002
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Location: arkansas/missouri

PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The C does not feel stuffy to me. It often feels more clear-toned than some Bbs. As far as getting used to one, I sometimes play on the Bb and then repeat it on the C. For many years I played only C and it didn't hurt a thing - as far as I can tell LOL
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Joined: 15 Apr 2020
Posts: 67

PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

C's shouldnt feel super stuffy but mine feel "different" from Bbs in a way thats hard to describe. I also started with a Chinese Bach copy (Wieman?) but I outgrew it fairly quickly. Your long adjustment may not be your fault but the horn fighting back.

I had a variety of C trumpets, all on the cheaper side through college and it led to a good deal of frustration. When I finally got a Xeno C my life was 1000 times easier and happier with my C playing. I really think for C trumpet its best to just bite the bullet and get the nicest horn you can as it pays dividends in the long run.
Bach 37
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James Becker
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Joined: 02 Sep 2005
Posts: 2805
Location: Littleton, MA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 5:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is the brand name of your “Bach off”? There are many look alikes flooding the market, so your description is vague.

When dealing with genuine Bach C trumpets there are predictable pitch problems associated with the bells. Generally speaking the 239 with the 25A mouthpipe has very good pitch and a darker tone than the more popular 229 bell. Various mouthpipes have been used in combination with the 229 to target the more common pitch problems. For those seeking a more familiar feel to Bb I suggest either 25S or 25R pipes. Both are full length Bb tapers and will have better pitch.

In addition, there’s a consensus among professionals that using a mouthpiece with a larger throat and backbore improves pitch and playability on C trumpet. I’ve experienced this myself, using a stock 1 1/2C on Bb trumpet and the same but with #24 throat and #24 backbore on C. It made a huge difference for me.

In addition to these recommendations, I’ve built my reputation for working out problematic C trumpets though our blueprinting service.

James Becker
Brass Repair Specialist Since 1977
Osmun Music Inc.
77 Powdermill Road Rt.62
Acton, MA 01720

Our workshop is as close as your nearest UPS store https://www.ups.com/dropoff?loc=en_US
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Veteran Member

Joined: 20 Aug 2020
Posts: 159

PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Olds marching trombones are very nice playing horns. There were also versions (same specs/layout) built by/for Blessing, Bach Mercedes and Besson (USA). The clones may have been built by Blessing according to my recollection (feel free to correct). I’ve owned examples of each and they all play equally well. Blessing also produced a superb marching baritone (US-made, not the current version).

The King flugabone is a different horn and is stuffy relative to the Olds and clones. There is also a Kanstul marching trombone similar to the King, but that has a reputation for being difficult to hold (front-heavy).
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Richard III
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Joined: 22 May 2007
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Location: Anacortes, WA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding the flugabone, mouthpiece choice depends on usage. The 12C is the choice when playing the trombone style role in a small jazz band. The 6 1/2AL is the choice when playing a baritone part in everything else.

My marching Blessing baritone came with both. I bought it because it was a steal compared to a flugabone. It is a blast to play and certain fills the bill when small group jazz is the goal. It should be noted that my primary instrument these days is euphonium, the haven for aging trumpet players.

If jazz is on the horizon, you can make a plunger style mute by cutting a pet toy ball in half and attaching a drawer pull. Much cheaper than the commercially produced mutes and you can get the balls to match your bell size.

1935 Conn 64I Baritone
King 1130 Flugabone
King 2280 Euphonium
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Funny. For me, the trumpet is the haven (of sorts) for the aging euphoniumist. The Blessing marching baritone was my last crack at euphonium-like instruments, but it was too loud and too front heavy muted. Oh well. I donated it to the local high school. Rumor from (soon to be defunct) Tubenet was that the US made Blessing marching baritone had German or Swiss (possibly Willson) made valve sets for what that’s worth. In any event, they work well. Willson made horns for DEG and Getzen from what I remember.
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Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 1295
Location: Virginia USA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very curious as to whether your flugabone would play better than my Mac Brass bass trumpet. I need to explore this whole marching trombone area. The bass trumpet plays well in the upper range, but it is a bit dodgy in the lower range.
Bb: Schilke X3L AS SP, Yamaha YTR-6335S
C: Kanstul 1510-2
Picc: Kanstul 920
Bb Bugle: Kanstul
Bb Pocket: Manchester Brass
Flugel: Taylor Standard
Natural Tr: Custom Haas replica by Nikolai Mänttäri Morales
Baroque Tr: Altenburg
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Heavyweight Member

Joined: 14 Jun 2007
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In that vein, I have the olds Marching Trombone, a Reynolds valve bone, an Olds baritone Horn and a chinese knock-off bass trumpet. In theory very similar, but in practice each is its own animal.
The baritone is just a good baritone (with a third valve trigger) that I've used for everything from concert bands to symphony orchestras. Not quite as capable of playing LOUD as some euphoniums (Euphonia) but it has a good sound and plays well. 6 1/2 AL for that one.The bass trumpet is noticeably stuffier, but has a decent sound, and it's shiny. I got it for one gig, and it's been in the case since then. Marc. Steinmeyer.
The Marching Trombone blends better with trombone sections and plays very nicely. It has a larger bore than the valve bone and a less stuffy feel, but it's great with combos. I've also used it for filling in with my big band when a tenor sax player was late or missing. Marc. Mic Gillette.
The valve bone is ... a valve bone. It feels like one, it sounds like one, and there are places it works very well, and other places where it's not optimal. But I got it from Bob Brookmeyer, and I'll never sell it. Marc. Loper.
BKA! Mic Gillette was my model, mentor and friend.
Marcinkiewicz Rembrandt 4X trumpet, Custom Marcinkiewicz mpc.
Marcinkiewicz Rembrandt flugel, Benge 8Z cornet, King 2B, Bach 36, Benge 190, Getzen 3062... many more. All Marcinkiewicz mouthpieces.
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