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Olds Special flugelhorn mouthpiece



 
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nieuwguyski
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2022 8:02 pm    Post subject: Olds Special flugelhorn mouthpiece Reply with quote

I have a late-'50s brass-belled Olds Special flugelhorn. It was the original L-12 (the L-series Olds horns were all Special models) and it has the period-appropriate Special engraving.

(By the time the flugelhorn appeared in Olds trumpet/cornet catalogs in 1966 it had the Rey-O-Loy bell and had lost the bell engraving identifying it as a Special, though it was still the L-12.)

The thing is, it certainly appears that my Special flugel has the original tunable leadpipe and it doesn't take any modern flugel mouthpiece. Cornet mouthpieces fit and I've gigged on the horn using a Wick 4 mouthpiece, but with every cornet mouthpiece I've tried the horn plays flat enough that I have to keep the leadpipe pushed in all the way and still find myself having to push the pitch up when the horn is cold.

I didn't want to hijack the "Playing a Martin Committee flugelhorn with a cornet mouthpiece" thread, so I started this one.

Does anybody out there have any idea what mouthpiece came with my horn? Does anyone have one they could sell me, or at least loan to me? I'd like to give the horn a chance to convince me it doesn't need to get modified to be useable.

Yes, the leadpipe receiver extends a fair amount beyond the bell bow, so there's tubing to be sacrificed, if that's what it comes down to. And no, it's not a pristine example -- it's lived a hard life and being modified enough to be playable is a good outcome.

But I'd really like to be convinced that it's not necessary.
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pc2001197
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2022 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

could it be an Olds shank cornet mouthpiece?
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stuartissimo
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2022 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found this thread discussing the flugel and it mentions that the mouthpiece should have a small morse taper shank.

https://www.trumpetherald.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=78425&sid=48b20f5611b2124844030be336a948dc

Also, a cached google result of a site I could no longer open mentioned selling an L-12 flugel with an ‘old 7A’ mouthpiece. Maybe that was referring to an Olds 7A?

EDIT: found another thread confirming it’s an Olds 7A flugelhorn mouthpiece:

https://www.trumpetherald.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=41075&sid=5e99836a9d33301f5f7f0aff22b387fa

It also states the Olds mouthpiece was a bit shorter…might explain your intonation issue.
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Halflip
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2022 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you considered trying Charlie Melk's replacement leadpipe for Olds flugels?

Not only do I have the Reynolds Emperor stencil of the Martin Imperial/Committee/Magna flugel, I also have the Reynolds Emperor stencil of the Olds L-12. On the latter I use the Melk leadpipe with good results (it improves the intonation and other playing characteristics), and it accepts a standard small Morse taper flugel mouthpiece.

Of course, if your early Special has a different diameter leadpipe from the later L-12's, all bets are off.
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ChopsGone
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2022 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’ve sold both L-12’s and the Reynolds FU-52 I used to own, but IIRC the L-12 took a Small Morse Taper (aka “Bach”). I did have a GR/Melk leadpipe I used in one of them, but while it was a step up, the L-12 didn’t need as much help as most other flugelhorns.
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Halflip
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2022 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ChopsGone wrote:
I’ve sold both L-12’s and the Reynolds FU-52 I used to own, but IIRC the L-12 took a Small Morse Taper (aka “Bach”).

Agreed, but the OP says his very early "Special" L-12 has a leadpipe with a receiver that will not take any modern flugel shank. I was suggesting the GR/Melk leadpipe mainly because it definitely would accept a regular small Morse taper flugel piece.
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nieuwguyski
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2022 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Bach flugel mouthpiece inserts 3/8" into the leadpipe of my Special. That's not much. Given that it's borderline unusably flat with a cornet mouthpiece, it's completely unusably flat with the small-Morse taper flugel piece.

Additional info: Years ago I sent the original leadpipe off to Kanstul and had them make a French-taper leadpipe. It fits perfectly, and the result (with a French-taper mouthpiece that cost basically as much as the leadpipe) is no better, getting up-to-pitch-wise, than the original leadpipe with a cornet mouthpiece. I didn't mention this because my question was really if anyone knew what mouthpiece Olds originally made to match the horn.

If Bach mouthpieces fit well and play up to pitch in the later Rey-O-Loy-belled L-12 they must have changed a few things, including the receiver.

I'm aware of the Melk leadpipe and am confident enough it would fit that I'm planning on getting one. Then I plan to have to have the female tube that accepts the leadpipe cut down as close to the bell-bow as possible and having the Melk and Kanstul leadpipes cut down to match.

Thank you all for your contributions. It would seem that the original design of the Olds flugelhorn didn't remain un-tweaked long enough to have left much of a record.
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stuartissimo
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2022 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The website of Robb Stewart has an article on Olds mouthpieces through the decades (they even have photo's of the tooling used to make said mouthpieces). Maybe you can send them an e-mail with your question...

Also, have you tried the flugel with an Olds cornet mouthpiece from that era? I know of other flugels from that era that used cornet mouthpieces...maybe Olds initially made it to fit their cornet mouthpieces, and only late changed the receiver to accept more standardized mouthpieces?
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nieuwguyski
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2022 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had a few Olds 3 cornet mouthpieces pass through my hands over the decades, including at least one from the era in question -- which was well after Olds moved to the standard shank. They passed through my hands because I'm not a fan of them (and I accept the utility of shallow-cup cornet mouthpieces for certain situations).

As far as intonation goes they don't play much differently than a Bach 7C cornet mouthpiece... and I've tried a Bach 7C in the Olds flugel, as well as a Reeves S-cup cornet piece, and the horn still plays flat. I can imagine a shallow-cup, trumpet-throat, short (the length of a Denis Wick) cornet mouthpiece possibly allowing some intonation wiggle room, but I can't imagine wanting to play the horn in a gig situation with such a mouthpiece.

Catalog pictures of the later Rey-O-Loy-belled Olds flugel show the leadpipe extending beyond the back bell bow about as much as on my horn, which makes me wonder if they changed other things to raise the pitch of the horn. I play with a guy who gigs on the later Olds L-12, so maybe I'll bring my Olds the next time I play with him so we can compare proportions.

And to forestall the inevitable questions, I can play in the center of the slot on a flugelhorn. I gigged for decades on a Bach Strad flugel and could play in tune. I have since gigged for decades on a Calicchio flugel that has to be pulled out quite a bit to play in tune. I'm currently storing, for a friend, a vintage Schilke flugel and I can play a tuning Bb on that horn with a reasonable amount of slide-pull (though I won't claim I can then play it in tune).

Some strategic shortening is looking more and more likely.
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stuartissimo
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2022 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nieuwguyski wrote:
And to forestall the inevitable questions, I can play in the center of the slot on a flugelhorn.

If I gave you the impression that I was questioning your experiences or skill level, then I apologize because that wasn't my intent. Mostly I was just trying to think with you, hoping to help find a solution.

nieuwguyski wrote:
I play with a guy who gigs on the later Olds L-12, so maybe I'll bring my Olds the next time I play with him so we can compare proportions.

Sounds like a good idea. I'm curious what the differences turn out to be.
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nieuwguyski
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2022 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stuartissimo wrote:
If I gave you the impression that I was questioning your experiences or skill level, then I apologize because that wasn't my intent.


No comments made on this thread so far have challenged my abilities, which is nice. I brought it up because it's a reasonable thought in these cases -- "I have a horn of decent pedigree that plays sharp/flat/horribly out of tune," and you have to wonder if the questioner can play any horn in tune or has had a better player play the horn in question.

No apology needed.
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nieuwguyski
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2024 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a follow-up to this thread, I finally found an online scan of an early '60s Olds Catalog that showed the brass-bell flugel and identified the associated mouthpiece. It turns out it's an Olds 17. I found an Olds 17 online and have ordered it. We'll see how it turns out.
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mike ansberry
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2024 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought an L-12 back in the 1970s. I had the same problem. I unsoldered the mouthpipe and cut enough off so that the receiver end is even with the back of the bell. (I cut off the end that goes into the 1st valve. It doesn't affect the venturi because the mouthpipe is the outer part of the tuning slide. The inner part is uncut and not affected. This solved my problem, and I still play this horn.
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nieuwguyski
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2024 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Olds 17 mouthpiece certainly didn't fix the tuning. It's a reasonable facsimile of a flugelhorn mouthpiece -- probably close to a Bach 7CFL mouthpiece, but with the Olds blank and a cornet shank. With the original mouthpiece, the horn still plays flat.

I'll have to try the 17 mouthpiece in my Recording cornet. If it works, it would be amusing to play the combo in a section, since most players have only ever encountered the Olds 3 mouthpieces.

But I'll be taking the Special flugel to the repair tech for shortening, as described by Mike Ansberry in the preceding post.
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