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BAC trumpets can't find much in the way of reviews


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Goby
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The issue that I (and it seems others) have with BAC using outsourced parts is not that they outsource their products, it's that the name BAC stands for "Best American Craftsmen". How can you be the best in America when you don't build 3 out of 4 production lines on US soil, and the custom series has a Chinese block? No one takes issue with Shires using valve blocks from Eastman (China) on their Q series horns, but Shires doesn't stamp "Best entirely East-Coast built trumpets" on their horns. If the company name were "Mike Corrigan custom trumpets", I see no reason to take issue with a global supply chain, as people have no issue with Ken Larson, Josh Landress, Taylor, or Thane using outsourced blocks. Adding to this, BAC does a ton of marketing proclaiming themselves the best in the USA, and claims to be "preserving the craft" yet they don't do the hard stuff (making valve blocks) in-house. This really rubs me the wrong way and seems like dishonest advertising. There are plenty of custom builders making better instruments than the BAC without any of the pomp and circumstance.
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LittleRusty
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Goby wrote:
The issue that I (and it seems others) have with BAC using outsourced parts is not that they outsource their products, it's that the name BAC stands for "Best American Craftsmen". How can you be the best in America when you don't build 3 out of 4 production lines on US soil, and the custom series has a Chinese block? No one takes issue with Shires using valve blocks from Eastman (China) on their Q series horns, but Shires doesn't stamp "Best entirely East-Coast built trumpets" on their horns. If the company name were "Mike Corrigan custom trumpets", I see no reason to take issue with a global supply chain, as people have no issue with Ken Larson, Josh Landress, Taylor, or Thane using outsourced blocks. Adding to this, BAC does a ton of marketing proclaiming themselves the best in the USA, and claims to be "preserving the craft" yet they don't do the hard stuff (making valve blocks) in-house. This really rubs me the wrong way and seems like dishonest advertising. There are plenty of custom builders making better instruments than the BAC without any of the pomp and circumstance.
Wow 😯

I hadn’t thought about it that way. But personally I don’t find the correlation between “Best American Craftsman” meaning they have more responsibility to use only American parts. Certainly there is nothing in that name that implies “entirely”.

Perhaps BAC has realized that they simply cannot survive using only shop produced components after they chose their name.
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OldSchoolEuph
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Goby wrote:
How can you be the best in America when you don't build 3 out of 4 production lines on US soil, and the custom series has a Chinese block?


Let's review (again)
- Apprentice - completely imported from low-cost manufacturing, entry level
- Artist - completely imported, with controls and tweaking like Manchester, or Flip's second line
- Handcraft - US-designed and built mixing KC-built parts with modified off the shelf assemblies (like completely rebuilding the valve block and reseating the pistons)
- Benge - Entirely US made, hand built, boutique trumpets with a long heritage (originally in France ironically, not the US)

Must be that common core math again, because Benge and Handcraft (that's 2 of 4) are clearly built in the US, with a third modified in the US (just like Dillon's, and Trent's - among the many) - not that it matters.

So Mike Corrigan is a blow-hard who picked an ambitious name outlining a goal to promote American design and quality. - If you want to pass up a horn because you don't like the name, have fun toppling statues and leave playing to people who pay attention to how the horn plays, how it lasts, and how many folks it keeps employed right here in the US.
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OldSchoolEuph wrote:
delano wrote:
Carol Brass is not (yet) Chinese.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-China_policy#:~:text=The%20%22One%2DChina%20policy%22,official%20names%20incorporate%20%22China%22.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_Consensus

Regardless of all that, the PRC is not currently in power in Taiwan.

I find it interesting that some people on this site are more than fine with some makers that are owned locally using Asian built valve blocks for their "Handcrafted in Kansas City" instruments, yet has some veiled skepticism of a different maker that is owned by a foreign company that makes all their parts in their domestic facility.

Hmmm.....
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OldSchoolEuph
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crazy Finn wrote:
I find it interesting that some people on this site are more than fine with some makers that are owned locally using Asian built valve blocks for their "Handcrafted in Kansas City" instruments, yet has some veiled skepticism of a different maker that is owned by a foreign company that makes all their parts in their domestic facility.

Hmmm.....


This is a fair point, and politely made for which I thank you.

I have asked BAC to share more, not just who makes those blocks, but many other details of the amazing heritage of brass making there. Such does not seem to align with Mike Corrigan's social-media oriented perspective on marketing, so I wring my hands in frustration wishing others knew what I know.

As for the other maker: met people who love them, and others who don't. I have no opinion and, you must note, have said I wish I knew more so as to be more informed and have an opinion.

Transparency is the best approach, I wish every maker would realize this.
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Subtropical and Subpar
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crazy Finn wrote:
OldSchoolEuph wrote:
delano wrote:
Carol Brass is not (yet) Chinese.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-China_policy#:~:text=The%20%22One%2DChina%20policy%22,official%20names%20incorporate%20%22China%22.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_Consensus

Regardless of all that, the PRC is not currently in power in Taiwan.

I find it interesting that some people on this site are more than fine with some makers that are owned locally using Asian built valve blocks for their "Handcrafted in Kansas City" instruments, yet has some veiled skepticism of a different maker that is owned by a foreign company that makes all their parts in their domestic facility.

Hmmm.....


Indeed, I recently put up a 30 minute video from that manufacturer, made in 2020, of how they assemble their instruments from raw materials in the United States, which I can further attest because I know people who work there. Haven't heard back yet. Go figure.
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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2021 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting discussion.

I think it's all going to mainland China, in terms of production, and it's only a matter of time. I don't like that idea, not that I have anything against Chinese instruments or parts, but because the U.S. really set the pace in the industry for a very long time.

I've looked at Carolbrass valve sections - they're almost too perfect! And I'm sure there are factories on the mainland that are producing decent instruments, I've worked on some YTR200ADII trumpets lately and they are well built, better than the previous versions. All student Yamaha brass are coming out of their Chinese factories now.

So if BAC or anybody else is using Chinese parts in their horns, they have to take responsibility for quality control, and that's enough, IMHO.
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Getzen
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2021 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yourbrass wrote:
Interesting discussion.

I think it's all going to mainland China, in terms of production, and it's only a matter of time.


Well I certainly hope not.
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MrOlds
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2021 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’m responding to this thread on a device made in China that’s about 300 years more advanced than a brass instrument. As are almost all of you.

As OldSchoolEuph points out, there are tiers in the market. Manufacturers build stuff for those tiers as cheaply as possible to maintain a profit margin for each tier while maintaining some expectation of “quality” for that tier.

Every thing else is just marketing. If you like the way you sound on a particular horn, play that one.
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OldSchoolEuph
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2021 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MrOlds wrote:
If you like the way you sound on a particular horn, play that one.


This should be a banner header on this site.
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Getzen
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2021 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MrOlds wrote:
I’m responding to this thread on a device made in China that’s about 300 years more advanced than a brass instrument. As are almost all of you.


I would disagree with this analogy in one sense. While developing something like a smart phone, iPad, computer, etc... is very difficult building one it is not nuanced. It is, if you pardon the pun, binary. It is either right or wrong. By that I mean there is only one way to do it that works. Building an instrument, just like playing one, is different.

Putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle of the Mona Lisa is time consuming and complex, but it isn’t the same thing as painting it. I can drive a car, but I’ll never win the Daytona 500.

We could take apart a pre-war French Besson and build an exact replica based on every possible measurement. Would it be the same? Maybe 90%, but the magic is in that missing 10%.

Some manufacturers can and do nail that 90%. And they can and do sell a lot of them. It’s the true craftsmen, from all over the world, that focus on that extra 10%. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t, but you don’t stop trying for it. That’s the difference between doing what we do to just make money, and doing it for the thrill and passion of it.

A long timer in this business once told me you don’t get rich building trumpets if you’re doing it right. The real rewards are something different. Something more. I always liked that. Although, getting rich would be nice.


Anyway, play what works for you. Don’t assume Brand X is great because of a good marketing plan or because “everyone” says it is. Just like you shouldn’t discount Brand Y just because of its country of origin or because someone else’s review.
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LittleRusty
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2021 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Getzen wrote:
I would disagree with this analogy in one sense. While developing something like a smart phone, iPad, computer, etc... is very difficult building one it is not nuanced. It is, if you pardon the pun, binary. It is either right or wrong. By that I mean there is only one way to do it that works. Building an instrument, just like playing one, is different.

Umm. As someone intimately involved in the computer industry over the last fifty years I have to say you are making the same mistake you are highlighting in your post.

I agree with the points you are making, but the same issues happen in the computer industry that happen in instrument manufacturing. It is just that most people don’t know enough about my industry, just like we don’t know about yours, to know the dirty little nuances, or corners cut, involved.
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MrOlds wrote:
I’m responding to this thread on a device made in China that’s about 300 years more advanced than a brass instrument. As are almost all of you.

Not sure about the last bit....

But, there's a difference between a trumpet and a cellphone, a violin and a keyboard. It's not a matter of advancement, it's a matter of craftsmanship.

It doesn't matter who builds your DVD player. It does matter who builds your trumpet, clarinet, guitar, or violin.

MrOlds wrote:
If you like the way you sound on a particular horn, play that one.

Can't argue with that.
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Master Jabroni
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MrOlds wrote:


As OldSchoolEuph points out, there are tiers in the market. Manufacturers build stuff for those tiers as cheaply as possible to maintain a profit margin for each tier while maintaining some expectation of “quality” for that tier.


The Chinese valve block BAC is using is cheap and not the same quality as Getzen, Bauerfeind, Meinlschmidt, Bach, Schilke or even Carol and is clearly the same valve block used on their mid tier trumpets. You can order those valve blocks from China for $50. When makers like Mr. Del Quadro make a horn they use a quality valves. I think it's shameful for BAC to use such cheaply made parts and charge such a premium price for their "American Made" horns
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Getzen
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LittleRusty wrote:
Getzen wrote:
I would disagree with this analogy in one sense. While developing something like a smart phone, iPad, computer, etc... is very difficult building one it is not nuanced. It is, if you pardon the pun, binary. It is either right or wrong. By that I mean there is only one way to do it that works. Building an instrument, just like playing one, is different.

Umm. As someone intimately involved in the computer industry over the last fifty years I have to say you are making the same mistake you are highlighting in your post.

I agree with the points you are making, but the same issues happen in the computer industry that happen in instrument manufacturing. It is just that most people don’t know enough about my industry, just like we don’t know about yours, to know the dirty little nuances, or corners cut, involved.


Fair enough.
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Subtropical and Subpar
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2021 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OldSchoolEuph wrote:

As for the other maker: met people who love them, and others who don't. I have no opinion and, you must note, have said I wish I knew more so as to be more informed and have an opinion.

Transparency is the best approach, I wish every maker would realize this.


The process by which they turn raw brass and nickel into trumpets and other instruments here in the United States starts around 7:50 here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njWitow40Vw

And here's a 2019 area new channel tour of the same factory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6kWAJqv-c8

You can also visit their factory and see for yourself.

I'm really not sure what more transparency one needs, particularly, speaking as a lawyer here, no manufacturer ought to show every aspect of their operations because it would give away proprietary processes, trade secrets, and other intellectual property that can be utilized by competitors.
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OldSchoolEuph
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2021 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Subtropical and Subpar wrote:
speaking as a lawyer here

?!
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Subtropical and Subpar
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2021 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OldSchoolEuph wrote:
Subtropical and Subpar wrote:
speaking as a lawyer here

?!


Sometimes in a competitive industrial market companies want to show off their new factory or process or what have you. It's their lawyers, usually inhouse counsel, who have to wave their arms about and say "What are you doing? You just spent X years and Y dollars developing that new assembly or tech to build your products; if you show it off your competitors will be able to figure out how you did it and reverse-engineer it for a lot less money than you spent doing it." That's what I meant. It does not behoove a company to show off every last nut and bolt of how they do things as it can give up their competitive advantage, trade secrets, etc.

In this case, for instance, the longer video talks about how the company invented some new type of trombone valve or rotor. It would obviously not be in their self-interest to show exactly how that is made.

But to get back to the point, those horns are made, from scratch, in the United States.
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Getzen
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Years ago, in my factory days, we had a particular process used in trombone slide tubes. We were the only ones doing it at the time and it made our slide action incredibly smooth and fast. When we gave tours, the equipment was covered up and ignored. We NEVER talked about it. Then an employee left for a competitor and spoiled the secret. Now almost every manufacturer does it in one way or another. There are other things we don’t talk about now and that’s where the 10% I mentioned before lives.

That being said, don’t assume the reason a particular manufacturer won’t show you something being done is because they have a secret. I can show you just about everything we do in a way that doesn’t reveal the secret sauce. If a company claims they do everything, but all you see are bells being spun and nothing at all involving valve construction or vice versa be suspicious.

There’s nothing wrong with outsourcing. We do it for cases and mouthpieces. Just be honest about it. When Adam was working with builders looking to buy our valve sections, one of his terms was that they disclose the source. As soon as they publicly claimed they made them in house, he would cut them off. Some were fine with that. Some were not and went elsewhere. So be it.

And apologies to the OP, this thread has definitely gone of course.
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Subtropical and Subpar
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Getzen wrote:
Years ago, in my factory days, we had a particular process used in trombone slide tubes. We were the only ones doing it at the time and it made our slide action incredibly smooth and fast. When we gave tours, the equipment was covered up and ignored. We NEVER talked about it. Then an employee left for a competitor and spoiled the secret. Now almost every manufacturer does it in one way or another. There are other things we don’t talk about now and that’s where the 10% I mentioned before lives.

That being said, don’t assume the reason a particular manufacturer won’t show you something being done is because they have a secret. I can show you just about everything we do in a way that doesn’t reveal the secret sauce. If a company claims they do everything, but all you see are bells being spun and nothing at all involving valve construction or vice versa be suspicious.

There’s nothing wrong with outsourcing. We do it for cases and mouthpieces. Just be honest about it. When Adam was working with builders looking to buy our valve sections, one of his terms was that they disclose the source. As soon as they publicly claimed they made them in house, he would cut them off. Some were fine with that. Some were not and went elsewhere. So be it.

And apologies to the OP, this thread has definitely gone of course.


All very good points. And from what little I know of the history of instrument manufacturing, things appear a bit... looser than in other industries. I believe I read once upon a time Zig Kanstul was working for Olds during the day and for Benge at night. Can you imagine, say, Ford and GM agreeing to have a key employee bounce back and forth? Or Apple and Google? I think not.

The overarching point is that, despite another commenter's unsupported suppositions otherwise, the evidence shows that the American manufacturer in question does make everything inhouse and in the States for their flagship horns, even though they have [scary voice] Chinese ownership.

Honestly, I'd be more worried about the continued American manufacturing future of a certain major brass conglomerate that is now a mere subdivision of a company owned by a private equity firm with a certain reputation for slicing expenses down to the marrow... and who a few years ago tried to sell to the whole thing to [scary voice] a Chinese company.

And you are right, this has strayed far off topic.
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