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Opinions on buying a custom horn online


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khedger
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brassnose wrote:
Thanks everyone. Yeah, I think it is a little scary, putting that much money down w/o knowing if the horn is going to work for me.

@khedger: As far as going through a dealer - not sure what that would do for a custom horn that would need to be discussed with the manufacturer anyway. It could help with customs and the like, though.

Let’s see what other opinions come in.


Well I know that Trent for example, works closely with Adams and has assisted with the design of several of their horns. I'm pretty sure he could do a reasonable job of making recommendations for them to produce a horn to your specs. I think somebody like Josh Landress could probably help too. Maybe I'm misunderstanding what it is that you're trying to accomplish here. Are you looking for someone to help you get a horn built and advise as to how to get the characteristics you want; or do you have a complete design on paper that you just want somebody to produce for you?

Keith
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, looks like my question is quite confusing to some. I’ll try to reword: I’m looking for opinions on buying a horn sight unseen from a manufacturer that has a unique concept that I find cool. Unfortunately the manufacturer is far away and I can’t just go visit him. The horn is supposed to replace my old Bach, should it reach a state that is beyond economically feasible repair.

I KNOW I am surrounded by great horn builders and that it is much easier to buy a standard horn. It is just that I (1) find the Puje concept intriguing and (2) find it nice to support a small builder following his own approach.

So what I would do is tell the builder what I play now, what I am looking for, and check out if this can be done. The risk I would be taking is that I am misunderstood (which seems to happen here at the moment) and/or that I would get a horn that does not suit me and I could not get the money back.

Hence the question: have you ever called a builder, told him what you wanted and just had a horn built w/o the chance to test it?
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ Trent: I know Martin Böhmes horns, visited his shop just before the first lockdown. Those are great trumpets, I even had the chance to test the prototype of the horn that was to become the Clarus model later on. That one was my favorite.

In general I perceived the Böhme horns as some sort of super-Bachs. Great valves, good sound, and intonation. Very dense sound, quite similar to my Bach and even his lighter horns felt heavy-ish.

Martin B. would be one of the candidates for a standard Bb replacement if I decide to skip the Puje idea but I still like the other Martins (Schmidt) horns a little better; lighter, a little more responsive.
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HaveTrumpetWillTravel
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you look on Peters's facebook page, it looks like he does sell them as low as $1500-$1600. With shipping and import it would be more, but honestly, that's not a lot on price, and I bet you could resell for a modest discount in Europe. A Puje's a lot different than a 20,000 Monette or 7,000 Harrelson. Losing a third of 20,000 would hurt a lot more than a third of $1600, and either way you'd get to play it for a while first.

There seems to be a markup on US gear abroad, so the resale may not be as bad as everyone is saying. To me it also sounds honestly like your Bach could be rehabbed if you need a legit horn around.

This is an interesting discussion. I liked the distinction above between horns sold by "boutique" makers and then the more custom instruments where the player is choosing from many different configurations. I suppose buying a used Bach would require less commitment for me than buying something with a really unique leadpipe/bell combo.

Happy hunting! The fine citizens of TH are also willing to accompany you on an instrument safari.
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Halflip
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brassnose wrote:
. . . I’m looking for opinions on buying a horn sight unseen from a manufacturer that has a unique concept that I find cool. Unfortunately the manufacturer is far away and I can’t just go visit him. The horn is supposed to replace my old Bach, should it reach a state that is beyond economically feasible repair.


Here is my opinion: If you order a novelty horn with a quirky wrap sight unseen (ear unheard?) with the expectation that it will successfully replace your trusty Bach, then you are indulging in a 'roll of the dice' of epic proportions.

If you are rich, then buy the Puje because it is "cool" knowing that you can afford to buy another conventional pro horn to replace your Bach should the Puje not work in that capacity.

If you are not so rich, then buy a conventional pro horn that will serve as well as or better than your Bach for the kind of playing that you do. If you are in love with "whole horn tuning", then take your new horn to a competent tech and ask them to install a trigger to adjust the main tuning slide at will while you play (although you clearly dislike the 'tuning slide trigger' idea since you have turned a blind eye to it so far).

Even if others respond that ordering a custom horn without play-testing it worked out for them, that doesn't mean that ordering a Puje sight unseen has better odds of working out for you. You should be asking for the opinion of other Puje owners who bought their horns sight unseen. (Like me . . . )
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delano
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Years ago I had the opportunity to play two Pujes of a collector here in Holland. Though I am a cornet lover for their diversity and shapes, soundswise I prefer the trumpet.
And I don't think that the Pujes are in any way suitable for commercial or big band playing. It's some time ago but for me they were more horns in the direction of cornets (and then I even don't mean long cornets) or flügels. Some kind of corpets or flumpets.
They are no way allround.
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Dayton
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At risk of great oversimplification, having a custom horn built without trying their models/options it is like buying a shirt online from a reputable manufacturer you are unfamiliar with. You can contact the manufacturer and explain your preferences, and they can try to explain their design, but you won't know if the shirt is a perfect fit until you try it on. If it isn't, how comfortable are you with a fit that isn't exactly right?

Whether it is a Puje or any other custom horn from an established, reputable maker, you will almost certainly get a well-made horn. And the time you spend thinking about and then explaining your wants/needs, and the time they spend explaining the options and variables to you can increase the likelihood of a good fit. But it is far riskier than going to a store or visiting a builder where you can try before you buy.

Good luck!
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Andy Cooper
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 7:00 am    Post subject: Re: Opinions on buying a custom horn online Reply with quote

Brassnose wrote:
So, I may „need“ a new piston horn and wondered if anyone has ever bought/ordered a custom horn from some builder far away from home w/o actually play testing it beforehand.

Background: I essentially use my Bach Bb for commercial stuff and big band. I had it redone a few years ago but now it looks like the valves are getting worn and make funny noises. On top of that, the new leadpipe has developed serious red rot in spite of me keeping the horn clean and dry.

1. Yes. And the results were very good - after many months of repeated shipping back and forth .
2. Would I do it again - no. Now custom modifications of an existing trumpet - that's another story. Yes - I would do that.. Different leadpipes, tuning slides (nickel, silver, bronze - lots of options. Screw bell conversion - different bell flare options, materials, weights ...

You say the valves make funny noises? If they do not leak then you are probably looking at replacing valve guides and up and down stroke washers. No big deal - a professional valve alignment would solve that. Worse case - you might need the valves replated and fit.

Red rot in the leadpipe. This is where customization would be an option. You could get several leadpipes to try before installing. A solid silver or nickel silver leapipe would take care of your red rot problem - forever. You could also try tuning slides of different materials and shapes.

Quote:

For the time being the Bach is fine and will hold up for quite a while but there may be a point when it may not be economical anymore to do further repairs.


In the USA , Bach 180's with standard features are selling for $3400 and up. Even with a valve re-plating and custom leadpipe replacement , custom tuning slide you would still be in good financial condition compared to a custom horn- or even a new Bach. (Shipping tuning slides and leadpipes back and forth is a lot cheaper than shipping a horn.)

My suggestion - try customization of your existing Bach first. The experience will better prepare you for ordering a custom made trumpet in the future.
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lively discussion, nice. Yeah, the rational way would be to just have the Bach repaired (once again …) or to buy a (used) pro horn. Now, the interesting nugget I saw mentioned a couple times in the last posts is that a Puje will likely not do well in a commercial situation. This has come up several times now, hence: is anyone using a Puje for regular commercial settings like soul/pop/rock or big band? And what is the experience of those people who do that?

I also agree that the prices for a Puje are very reasonable if you compare them to prices for luxury horns such as Harrelson or Monette. If I had that kind of money (no, I am not rich, but I have a steady job, which is worth a lot these days!) I would probably look at AR Resonance.
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ Andy Cooper: yes, tuning is one option. Martin Böhme has already been mentioned and I have once played one of his Bach 37 conversions with a new leadpipe. Played much nicer than any stock 37 I have played before.
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Manuel de los Campos
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brassnose wrote:
Now, the interesting nugget I saw mentioned a couple times in the last posts is that a Puje will likely not do well in a commercial situation. This has come up several times now, hence: is anyone using a Puje for regular commercial settings like soul/pop/rock or big band? And what is the experience of those people who do that?


Hello mr. Brassnose, samehow I get the impression that you really want to have a Puje.
Well, you get my blessings; I tried one and I really liked it so just buy one!

About the Puje in a commercial situation, in the 50's there where trumpet players that did lead on a Martin Committee, go figure!

But allways keep in mind what the great Bobby Shew use to say: "It's not very smart to hammer a nail into wood with a screwdriver"
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Manuel, well, there is a lot of horns I want to have I really like the Puje concept but as I said earlier I am not a soloist in the proper sense (and never will be). On top of that I really don’t like having stuff I don’t use. So, yes, while I am really intrigued by the Puje, if I get the feeling it won’t fit my needs there is of course no point in getting one.

I also started thinking about a proper tuning of the existing Bach, as suggested by a few contributors here. Sort of exploiting the fact that the leadpipe will need to be replaced at some point anyway.

It’s an interesting and helpful discussion here and nothing will happen before 2022 anyway, so I’ll have time to think.
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raynjtrumpet
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2021 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did order a new custom Bb trumpet this year, from Thane Trumpets (Logan Thane Brown). But mine is not very "custom," other than having my initials etched on it, silver plate (rather than Logan's more usual raw brass), gold trim on the valve caps and third valve slide stop screw, and a unique set of gemstone finger buttons. Other than those, I selected options from a menu - e g., a "72-style" 5-inch bell in gold brass, and I went for his Performance model, which uses nickel/bronze valves and casings from Meinlschmidt. I do know from discussions with Logan that he would have been happy to customize any number of things for me, e. g., using a reverse lead pipe instead of his standard model, or MAW valves, or standard water keys rather than Amado, but I ultimately decided that, since I was buying the horn without the chance to play it, I would go with standard options. I know Logan is a fine player, and after exchange of several e-mails about what I wanted in sound and playability, I trusted that his design would be to my liking.

I decided to go with Thane after watching a couple of videos from Trent Austin and others, and seeing a number of enthusiastic comments from his clients online. I am a retiree, and making a comeback after a three-year layoff. My 40-year old Bach 72 Vidabona still plays fairly nicely, but is in need of some valve maintenance, and shows signs of some redrot in the leadpipe, so I was looking around at alternatives to giving that up while it was worked on. I was interested in a number of pro horns from the usual suspects, but because of the pandemic, it was hard to find the instruments I wanted to try in person. And I liked the idea of supporting a small custom shop in its early years (my horn, which arrived in August, is only s/n 51).

I have really loved this horn and don't regret going this way at all. I do still wonder about things like whether I would have preferred MAW valves or a reverse pipe, but life it short. The valves are wonderful, the horn is beautiful, and it plays great.

So maybe I was lucky, but I tend to think that this process is not so terribly risky, if you do your research on the builder and communicate enough with them to become comfortable that they understand what you want.

If you're curious about my horn, I have a few photos on my Flick site (https://www.flickr.com/photos/rritchie/), and on my IG (@frhdsnapz).

Ray
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wiemelen
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2021 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are several European builders mentioned already.
I would like to add Hub van Laar and Eclipse to that (list of options keeps growing ).
Both are great custom builders and will have a pretty good idea which horn would suit you best by just talking to you for about 10 minutes.
Personally I'm very curious about the Eclipse Celeste (ssst don't tell my wife )
One can choose bell material, bell size and your leadpipe.
There is even a version with an interchangeable leadpipe system.
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austincustombrass
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2021 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should also mention I own a Puje V4 and love it. Brent makes great horns, is easy to work with, and the pricing super fair. I wouldn't hesitate to order one. There's just so many great quality makers out there right now!

Best,
T
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2021 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@raynjtrumpet: I like the term „not very custom“. If it’s just a matter of picking a model that some builder tells me would work for me that’s fine, too. I really only used the term custom to distinguish the horn from a stock horn from a large manufacturer where you cannot change or adjust things (yes, I know that Bach has the Build-a-Bach option, too).

@Trent A: I know, you have a video up on YouTube. Nice horn and one of the things that got me interested in the Puje in the first place.

I am not the one who typically decides quickly, so I’ll push all your comments around in my head for awhile …
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McH
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2021 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a Bobby DeNicola Puje but have been interested in buying one of Brent Peters versions for some time.
Admittedly, they are not at all unreasonably priced but the killer for me is the increasingly expensive shipping costs, on top of which our greedy government charges VAT and import duty not only on the cost of the horn but on the shipping costs as well which can easily add around a third to the cost -- so much for free trade!
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Rod Haney
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wiemelen wrote:
There are several European builders mentioned already.
I would like to add Hub van Laar and Eclipse to that (list of options keeps growing ).
Both are great custom builders and will have a pretty good idea which horn would suit you best by just talking to you for about 10 minutes.
Personally I'm very curious about the Eclipse Celeste (ssst don't tell my wife )
One can choose bell material, bell size and your leadpipe.
There is even a version with an interchangeable leadpipe system.


I very much recommend the changeable leadpipe. You can change both feel and sound (more slight change). with it. I have a reverse pipe and it can feel like many different horns with a .460 bore. The LYL bell for commercial. I have one with a solid silver bell - rimless that will bring down a wall ( highly recommended for lead with a middle pipe. Leigh is a great builder and a great guy.
Rod
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2021 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, Ray, I just saw that you are in Freehold NJ, so did you go up to Woodbridge to check out horns at Dillons before you bought the Thane? I lived in Philly for a few years, went up to NYC quite often to see friends and didn’t even know about Dillons - dang early internet times …
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raynjtrumpet
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brassnose wrote:
Hey, Ray, I just saw that you are in Freehold NJ, so did you go up to Woodbridge to check out horns at Dillons before you bought the Thane? I lived in Philly for a few years, went up to NYC quite often to see friends and didn’t even know about Dillons - dang early internet times …


Unfortunately, last spring Dillon's stock was quite low, and they didn't have the particular horns that I wanted to try. Plus, as with many of the businesses in the area at that time, they were basically only open by appointment, so that was a disincentive. I did check their website frequently and had my name on a list to be notified when some of my horns of interest came back into stock, but that didn't happen until after I decided to go the custom build route. Not sorry, though.
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