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Kanstul 1603 - how close to a committee?

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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2019 8:50 pm    Post subject: Kanstul 1603 - how close to a committee? Reply with quote

Kanstul advertises its Model 1603 Bb Trumpet as a Martin Committee equivalent. Has anyone played one and can compare that to a Committee?

A couple of secondary questions:
- weight compared to original?
- other modern makes closer to the original sound?

This may be old hat, but in my searches what I found was not mentioning the Kanstul and seemed to get bogged down on the significantly heavier Lawler C7.

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"Even if I could play like Wynton Marsalis, I wouldn't play like Wynton Marsalis." Chet Baker

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Last edited by kehaulani on Sat May 18, 2019 6:12 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2019 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had about 3 weeks with a 1603 and a 1956 Martin Committee Deluxe #3 bore. They are very close. I think the Kanstul was about the same weight, maybe an ounce or two lighter. The newer Kanstul was a little crisper in response, but only enough to attribute that to its tighter clearances.

There was the same sort of difference in sound. The Kanstul a little crisper, a little perkier, which was probably because it was 60 years younger. However, I believe I could detect the presence of the Martin's nickel inner slide tubes when I played it. Nickel has a certain specific high resonance frequency range of overtones, which the Martin had and that particular Kanstul didn't. The 1603+ has the nickel, but I didn't have the Martin on hand for comparison when I played it.

All told, I've played 4 individual 1603 trumpets. All but one were close in sound, response and character. The odd one probably needed a bore correction and valve alignment. The best of them was the first one, which Kanstul had at ITG in 2016. They are hand made instruments and not series made, so each horn had its own character, strengths and foibles, like anything else.

The design differences (not just the Kanstul, but each of the other manufacturer's designs, too) center around the valve block. The first, most obvious difference is the two-piece barrels of the Martin. Jack Kanstul once told me that one-piece valve casings avoid concentricity issues that can occur on two-piece designs. I cannot say if this is true or just a sales tactic, so take that for what it's worth.

If you take the 1603 and the Martin and turn them upside down to see the port axises (I mean to say the centerlines of each port and where on the circle of the case they fall), the Martin is unlike any other trumpet I've ever examined. The transfer ports are consistent between makers and are like a Bach. The other two port axises - the two valve ports of each valve, the lead pipe entrance (3rd valve) and the bell tail port (1st valve) form an arc. On the Kanstul they are positioned in such a way that each valve has a port axis at 90 degrees to the block's centerline. The Martin shifts this so that the centerline of the valve block bisects the arc equally.

Why point this out? Because this is what makes the Martin so sexy to hold. It's what makes it so narrow in top view. It also gives those iconic braces a more acute angle between the bell and lead pipe. And it is what gives the 2nd valve tube its laid back angle. The valve pattern is the most significant difference between the Martin and Kanstul. No one has duplicated that valve block.
Brian A. Douglas

Flip Oakes Wild Thing Bb Trumpet in copper
Flip Oakes Wild Thing Flugelhorn in copper

There is one reason that I practice: to be ready at the downbeat when the final trumpet sounds.
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2019 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought the Kanstul 1603 was as close to the original design as any I played at ITG in 2016. I have a friend who bought one, and it plays as well or better than any original Committee I've played or worked on.
"Strive for tone." -John Coppola
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