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New York, Mt. Vernon, Elkart Bachs


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 1:31 pm    Post subject: New York, Mt. Vernon, Elkart Bachs Reply with quote

Shooting in the dark here. I would be interested in hearing any experiences you may have had playing horns from the 3 eras. Are there differences in materials, bore measurements, tonal characteristics, etc.....

Thank you,

CA
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Aspeyrer
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’m sure I don’t have the most experience with these varieties, but I’ve played/owned over a dozen of each era, but only Bb.

The most apparent thing to me is that most of those trumpets didn’t play as well as modern models. In fact, most of them played pretty poorly. A few stood out as far as sound and playability. The most consistently nice have been the early corporations I played. But I think it has also to do with those horns being more abundant and in better condition.

Recent anecdote; Had a well maintained (valves replated) Bronx era Bb 37 ML that Esteban Batallan was interested in trying. After he played it for a couple of days he had Mr. Hagstrom measure the bore size as Esteban felt something was not as described on the shop card. Mr Hagstrom noted discrepancies between the bore size in various ports. The trumpet had a great sound, but something with the bore size had it play less efficiently above the staff. This was not the first time I had trumpet from that era with that issue.

Like all horns, best play before purchasing.
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steevo
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My experience is that while these locations are three identifiable stamps in the bells, there are more than three distinct eras of trumpets that bear the Bach name.

Prior to the sale to Selmer in 1961, Mr. Bach was always changing and (hopefully improving) the design of his instruments. There are others here that can speak better about the timeline and evolution of Bach trumpets than I can, but I wouldn't want to categorize them into three distinct buckets.
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Goby
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a general run-down

Early NY (1925-1947):
These horns are lightweight, tightly wrapped, and quite ornate. These instruments feature lots of nickel trim, a French bead bell, a longer mouthpiece receiver, and bulbous ferrules. This was the period of experimentation for Bach, so there are a lot of unique combinations that can be found in this era. The late 20's horns often featured the T bell, B bell, #4 bell, #6 bell, and #7 bell, all of which are pretty bright by today's standard. The T bell has been brought back by Bach, and is now called the 1 bell (or 1B on the commercial model). The 30's saw the development of the 10 bell and 7-10-62 bell (renamed #25 in 1934), and Bach primarily built horns with the 7 or 6 leadpipe. In the early 40's, a lot of the now classic designs emerged, including the 37 bell, 43 bell, and the early development of Bach's C trumpet designs. WWII saw a lot of experimental combinations and "X" horns, which were older horns that Bach took back and replaced parts on in an effort to improve them. Shop cards for those horns were marked with an X, and they were given an extra digit to the serial number.

Late NY (1948-1952): In 1948, Bach did a major re-design of his instruments and switched to cylindrical tubing for the ferrules. This period is where Bach settled into most of the "usual" combinations that we still see today, although M bore was much more popular.

Mt. Vernon (1952-1965): Some consider this the "golden era" of manufacture for Bach. This is where the CSO C trumpets were built. Mt. Vernon Bachs still have lots of nickel trim, and the bells on Bbs are mainly 43 and 37 for ML bore, 37 and 38 for M bore, and 25 for L bore. In 1962, Bach designed the 72 bell and 43 leadpipe for the "Vindabona" model, which was meant to imitate the sound of a rotary trumpet.

Early Elkhart (1965-1975): Elkhart was a brand new factory, and much bigger than Mt. Vernon. These horns are almost identical to the late Mt. Vernons, except the bells were made using a die, and the beads are round rather than flat on Mt. Vernon designs. Early elkhart Bachs had 2-piece valve casings, and the same nickel trim of Mt. Vernon. The selection of bells and bore sizes is the same as late Mt. Vernon. Vincent Bach was the shop foreman until roughly 1975, and passed away in 1977. Around that time, the company switched to one-piece valve casings, which are a lot less expensive to make, and don't sound as good (imo).

"regular" Elkhart (1975-2003): This is the period in which Bach squandered their reputation. Gradually instituting cost-cutting measures, their horns eventually lost all resemblance to the earlier designs, with nickel silver being replaced with plated brass tubes, replacing metal valve guides with plastic, and ramping up production without necessary QC. This culminated in 2003 with Bach's workers going on strike and management responding by firing them all. Quality took a nosedive, and these early 2000's horns are generally to be avoided.

post-strike 2010-2021: Bach revamps their line, putting out commemorative editions of early NY horns (reissuing 6 and 7 bell designs), the artisan model, 50th anniversary models, and 190-series horns with 2-piece casings and a higher overall quality. New Bachs are as good as any vintage, and Bach's quality is trending in the right direction, with lots of new designs being put out.
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silverhorn
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mt. Vernon era Bachs are the best I have played. There’s a reason why they tend to be among the most sought after vintage trumpets.
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Speed
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a very early Elkhart 37 (SN 34xxx), and until recently, a 190S37. I found them to be very comparable in sound, feel and quality of construction. Both are/were very good instruments.

Take care,
Marc Speed
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LittleRusty
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Based on the timeline in Goby’s post I own an early Elkhart ML 37 in silver with a trigger and a post strike that looks and plays identically. At the time I bought the second at a Bach day hosted by Penninsula Music and Tedd Wagoner, I was amazed at how the new trumpet played so much like the first.

This may just be my abilities to detect minor differences.
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would you all please stop and not make me want a Mt. Vernon or a brand new Bach ? I really like my 1992 Bach and even more so since the overhaul in 2015 BUT you guys talking about there are so much better Bachs out there makes want to have either a MV or one of the cool new models
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Goby
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have a good playing Bach, for your own sanity, don't sell it!
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I won’t. Too good of a horn plus a lot of memories attached.
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Subtropical and Subpar
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brassnose wrote:
Would you all please stop and not make me want a Mt. Vernon or a brand new Bach ? I really like my 1992 Bach and even more so since the overhaul in 2015 BUT you guys talking about there are so much better Bachs out there makes want to have either a MV or one of the cool new models


What did the overhaul do for your Bach that made you like it more? I have a 1995 Bach that to my admittedly not universal knowledge is a pretty solid horn, but has developed a drop or two of redrot in the leadpipe. I'm on the fence about whether to overhaul it - replace the pipe and tuning slide, PVA, blueprinting, all that jazz - or save a bit to upgrade to a Shires or Bach Artisan in the future.
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aspeyrer wrote:
I’m sure I don’t have the most experience with these varieties, but I’ve played/owned over a dozen of each era, but only Bb.

The most apparent thing to me is that most of those trumpets didn’t play as well as modern models. In fact, most of them played pretty poorly. A few stood out as far as sound and playability. The most consistently nice have been the early corporations I played. But I think it has also to do with those horns being more abundant and in better condition.

I'm not sure if I've have played as many old Bachs as you, but I disagree.

Anyone who has read my posts knows I'm not a huge Bach fan. I have a 184L cornet, and it's nice. The standard modern Bach Strad 37 isn't my cup of tea. It's a fine horn and does what it does, I just happen to not care for how most of them play for me - regardless of whether it's a "good" one or not. I like both the 43 and 72 models better.

I find that most modern Bachs are pretty similar. They all are more or less the same in what they're trying to be. The specific horns vary, some more tight, some more open, variable intonation, and how they feel in the upper register - but they're all kind of aiming at the same thing and depending on your preference you might like one specific horn better than another, while another person might have different preferences.

The older Bachs I've played are somewhat different. I've played a few Mt Vernons, a few early Elkharts, and unfortunately I don't think I've had the chance to play any NY Bachs. Almost universally, these are more responsive, resonant, and to varying degrees - at least a little more flexible. There is still variability, in mostly the same things, just like you see in modern Bachs, but some of those base characteristics that I mentioned earlier are a bit different than modern Bachs.

The modern lightweight models (bell, body, etc) get some of the way there, but they're kind of in between the modern Bach and those things that the older ones had.
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OldSchoolEuph
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:29 pm    Post subject: Re: New York, Mt. Vernon, Elkart Bachs Reply with quote

cool arrow wrote:
Shooting in the dark here. I would be interested in hearing any experiences you may have had playing horns from the 3 eras. Are there differences in materials, bore measurements, tonal characteristics, etc.....

Thank you,

CA


https://www.trumpet-history.com/Periods.htm
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ Subtropical: I had it overhauled completely after about 25 years due to red rot in the leadpipe (tell a teenager to clean his horn, especially when you are the only brass player in the whole family …). I had the leadpipe replaced with a 43 pipe, a new OEM tuning slide, valve alignment, dents taken out, braces redone and readjusted plus a full cleaning and re-assembly by Martin Schmidt who really knows his stuff.

So, the horn is still „original“ in the sense that only Bach parts were used but the different leadpipe plus all the other adjustments made it a great horn. Even my teacher who does not generally like Bach (seems he never even owned one) commented favorably on the horn.

I have played two other piston horns so far that I thought were „better“ (i.e. easier for me to play, great sound and intonation). These two were an Edwards X-13 and a Martin Schmidt Professional Line model. Now I spent about 900 EUR for the overhaul as opposed to 2800 (Schmidt) or 4800 (Edwards) on a new horn … good deal for me.

I am the first one to admit that my Schmidt rotary is the best horn I own. Every time I pick it up I’m amazed at how easy it is to play and how great it sounds. Intonation and playability up high is awesome. In the last rehearsal I never, not once, missed the high concert A in one of the pieces. And the clarinets in front of me never complained I was too loud

But there are extremely few horns I would trade my Bach for commercial stuff.
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trumpet56
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a NY Bach with a 26 bell/7 leadpipe that has a warm resonant sound with an excellent balance between the core and overtones. I lso have a Mt. Vernon Bach/Tottlephone C with a 238 bell that was once owned by Ghitalla. It also has a warm sound but is responsive land lights up when needed.
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Subtropical and Subpar
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brassnose wrote:
@ Subtropical: I had it overhauled completely after about 25 years due to red rot in the leadpipe (tell a teenager to clean his horn, especially when you are the only brass player in the whole family …). I had the leadpipe replaced with a 43 pipe, a new OEM tuning slide, valve alignment, dents taken out, braces redone and readjusted plus a full cleaning and re-assembly by Martin Schmidt who really knows his stuff.

So, the horn is still „original“ in the sense that only Bach parts were used but the different leadpipe plus all the other adjustments made it a great horn. Even my teacher who does not generally like Bach (seems he never even owned one) commented favorably on the horn.

I have played two other piston horns so far that I thought were „better“ (i.e. easier for me to play, great sound and intonation). These two were an Edwards X-13 and a Martin Schmidt Professional Line model. Now I spent about 900 EUR for the overhaul as opposed to 2800 (Schmidt) or 4800 (Edwards) on a new horn … good deal for me.

I am the first one to admit that my Schmidt rotary is the best horn I own. Every time I pick it up I’m amazed at how easy it is to play and how great it sounds. Intonation and playability up high is awesome. In the last rehearsal I never, not once, missed the high concert A in one of the pieces. And the clarinets in front of me never complained I was too loud

But there are extremely few horns I would trade my Bach for commercial stuff.


Very helpful, thanks! As I said, I am on the fence about having similar procedure(s) done to my Strad 72 bell. Replace the leadpipe, maybe the tuning slide (there might be one dot of red rot in it), fix any solders, PVA, all that good stuff. I have also owned my horn for about 25 years now (and didn't even know that it had to be cleaned as a teenager!), about half of which were primarily spent in the case. I became a comeback player maybe six years ago now and it's a typical case of the hobby that takes over one's life

I've always liked my Bach, and it's a very solid horn, maybe one of their better 90s era builds, but I know it's not the best. I've played on friends' and teachers' Monettes and Shires and Klaus Martens, etc. etc., and they're simply better horns. And the Bach still likely has years left in the tank; the red rot is still quite minimal and the rest of the horn is in very good shape. Additionally I've mostly been playing on my other, very different B flat trumpet, a Kanstul near-stencil of the Conn Connstellation, which maybe doesn't have the "ring" of the Bach but it's just so damn easy to play. Something about that small bore / big wrap combination. It makes me want to nab a Conn long cornet of similar proportions, like the 28A or 10A. So many horns, so little time (and talent!).
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking back, I would say a good overhaul is worth it. Is the Bach better than some of the other horns that are out there and that I have never played? Probably not, but it is a very good horn and, having had it for 30 years now, I get everything done with it. The one exception where I think it is not ideal is orchestral and smaller ensemble stuff. This is why I bought the rotary, which is much better suited for that kind of music. Plus I really wanted a rotary trumpet.

But again, as a decent hobby player the Bach does serve me very well and there are few horns out there that I would trade the Bach for. Maybe none and just add a horn
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Subtropical and Subpar
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brassnose wrote:
Looking back, I would say a good overhaul is worth it. Is the Bach better than some of the other horns that are out there and that I have never played? Probably not, but it is a very good horn and, having had it for 30 years now, I get everything done with it. The one exception where I think it is not ideal is orchestral and smaller ensemble stuff. This is why I bought the rotary, which is much better suited for that kind of music. Plus I really wanted a rotary trumpet.

But again, as a decent hobby player the Bach does serve me very well and there are few horns out there that I would trade the Bach for. Maybe none and just add a horn


Thanks again! I suppose I am leaning towards overhaul as opposed to dropping the best part of $4,000 after a lengthy safari to see what new horn design I like best. I am not in an orchestral settings so a rotary trumpet is a luxury beyond justification for me (and the very solid German band I am in sports zero rotary trumpets or flugels). I use my Bach and cornet in concert bands, my Kanstul and flugel in jazz and German polkas. And as you said, we can always add horns to our collections!
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Yamahaguy
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Goby wrote:
38 for M bore...Elkhart was a brand new factory, and much bigger than Mt. Vernon. These horns are almost identical to the late Mt. Vernons, except the bells were made using a die, and the beads are round rather than flat on Mt. Vernon designs. Early elkhart Bachs had 2-piece valve casings, and the same nickel trim of Mt. Vernon.
Really great info here, Goby! Hoping my 1965 38 arrives tomorrow, first time I've ever tried one.
It has a Corporation bell which I've read are quite coveted by some. Personally, every Mt. Vernon
I've played has been average compared to my mid-Elkharts. Then again, having Charlie Melk's
expert touch on optimizing them doesn't hurt. I'll be sure to report back!
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Goby wrote:
..."regular" Elkhart (1975-2003): This is the period in which Bach squandered their reputation. Gradually instituting cost-cutting measures, their horns eventually lost all resemblance to the earlier designs, with nickel silver being replaced with plated brass tubes, replacing metal valve guides with plastic, and ramping up production without necessary QC. This culminated in 2003 with Bach's workers going on strike and management responding by firing them all. Quality took a nosedive, and these early 2000's horns are generally to be avoided. ...

I played Bachs for years. Then I started this thing called a "horn safari" five years ago that I learned about right here on TH! Then I thought: Poo-poo on Bach tpts...I'm gonna find me somethin' really nice...so off I went a wandering in Trumpet Land...and I'm still wandering...BUT over the past year, I picked up two Bach Bb tpts from 2003 and a Cleveland model C tpt from 2019. All three are basically in mint condition and are great players! The two Bb tpts are a 43* ML and a 43H ML. I had heard things like Goby's comment above regarding Bach during the "strike years," but I'm wondering if 15+ years is long enough (even when sitting in a case in a lonesome closet) for any "stress" during manufacturing to have had time to "release" itself (poor wording, I know)...but these horns have incredible life in them...lots of resonance, which is something that I often missed in other Bach tpts that I had owned and played. So perhaps that period of Bach tpts are coming into a time when simple valve alignments (if needed) and cleaning could put them on a much higher level than traditionally accepted.
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