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In defense of the 37 Strad


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Stradbrother
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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2024 1:29 pm    Post subject: In defense of the 37 Strad Reply with quote

Hey friends.

A few weeks ago a thread was posted here that really brought me back. It was all about the downsides of the 37 Strad.

It was pretty cathartic for me. Let me explain...

Back in high school when I knew I was going to go to college for music, I bought my first professional horn - a Bach 37.

To be honest with you all, I didn't love it. In fact, I really liked playing my Getzen 700SP more than the Strad. But all of my private teachers told me "make sure you get yourself a Bach Strad", and a 37 was the only available.

To make a long story longer, this was right in the middle of the Bach strike, and boy, I got a dud. It was a horrific horn. It was super heavy, unbalanced, the engraving was shoddy, the valves were ALWAYS sticky and the springs were noisy. It felt incredibly tight above the staff, and intonation was always iffy.

But again, I bought it sight unseen. I was young, I didn't know things could vary in the trumpet world.

It wasn't until college that I tried another horn, a Bach 43 from way before the strike. It was like a whole different horn. It played so well, so effortlessly.

I was so frustrated.

I sold that crappy Strad I bought for hardly anything and never touched another 37 for 2 decades.

Now, that was until this past week.

I found a new 37 strad, serial number in the 760,000 range; very recently built.

It has changed my view on the 37 strad entirely. Now that I'm older and a much better player (someone who plays everyday for a living, that is), I get it.

A good Bach 37 has such a fantastic sound with so much core and focus to the tone. The sound reminds me of how I feel about the Bach 229 bell C trumpets, as in, a very mature, focused tone with very little spread.

The Charlier #2 on a good Bach 37 sounds so incredibly "mature". Just compact, focused, with a ton of color and core to the sound. Seriously, probably the best low C I've ever had on a horn. Just so focused, so much color.

However, this doesn't mean I would recommend the horn to a student. I still think the Bach 37 is incredibly tough to play. With the standard "square" tuning slide with double braces, the horn is incredibly tight. The slots are very very "stiff" in my opinion as well.

Let's not paint this horn like its fighting you, you can play high, you can slur all throughout the range of the horn, but the 37 doesn't do you any favors. You definitely have to work for everything that comes out of the bell of the horn.

Again, that is just my opinion, but with many students being taught to put a ton of air through the horn as a beginner, I feel like a 43 or 72 style bell is a bit more forgiving for students.

I'll probably never have another horn take the spot of my Don Miles horn, but that doesn't mean I'm not blown away by how good a Bach 37 can be.
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Rhondo
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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2024 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I still think the Bach 37 is incredibly tough to play


I haven’t played enough other horns and I’m also still early in my comeback so I can’t say for sure, but from numerous comments on this site it’s apparent that with Bachs as much or more than any other, each one is at least slightly different. Maybe someone else can comment as to whether Bach 37s are relatively tough to play compared to other brands and models.
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Stradbrother
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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2024 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rhondo wrote:
Quote:
I still think the Bach 37 is incredibly tough to play


I haven’t played enough other horns and I’m also still early in my comeback so I can’t say for sure, but from numerous comments on this site it’s apparent that with Bachs as much or more than any other, each one is at least slightly different. Maybe someone else can comment as to whether Bach 37s are relatively tough to play compared to other brands and models.


Again, totally just my opinion, I’m sure for many, the 37 is super easy to play. Heck, even the Bach Loyalist site mentions that it is easy to play.

For me, I’ll say… I have a hard time making it sound good. But I’m sure others have had vastly different experiences.
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Rhondo
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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2024 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You only have one sample to judge it on.

You may have a better Bach than the one you had before, but possibly it’s a good sample as opposed to an excellent one.
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Dayton
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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2024 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a big fan of the Bach 18037/19037. There have been many other options for around a century now, but that horn has stood the test of time, with some tweaks. Many of the great players of the past played it, and many great contemporary player still do. The 19037 gen 2 is superb; at least as good as anything Bach has offered in the past if not better.

Having said that, no one horn is best for everyone. For those that the Bach 18037 just doesn't work, or those who have simply decided they want something else, there are lots of excellent options -- some modeled on the 18037 -- including others from Bach like the wonderful 19043 and 19072V as well as models from Del Quadro, Divitt, Edwards/Getzen, Harrelson, Larson, Monette, Schilke, Shires, Stomvi, Thane, Van Laar, Yamaha. And fine vintage horns still available used from Bach, Benge, Conn, Olds, (and Blessing, Kanstul, Lawler, Sonare...)...available used.
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yinzbrass
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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2024 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, the variation in quality between like strads is a real issue for what purports to be a professional instrument. The strad in my signature is a nimble horn with pretty good intonation and a great sound. I've played on strads that vary from outstanding to lamps-in-waiting. The Yammies and Getzens may not play quite as well as the best strads, but (in my experience) are much more consistent.

I can easily try before I buy, separating the wheat from the chaff. It is sometimes harder to keep my students (and their parents) from plunking down several thousand dollars on a shiny new horn before I can play test it. I'd prefer that none of us need play trumpet roulette.
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Stradbrother
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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2024 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yinzbrass wrote:
For me, the variation in quality between like strads is a real issue for what purports to be a professional instrument. The strad in my signature is a nimble horn with pretty good intonation and a great sound. I've played on strads that vary from outstanding to lamps-in-waiting. The Yammies and Getzens may not play quite as well as the best strads, but (in my experience) are much more consistent.

I can easily try before I buy, separating the wheat from the chaff. It is sometimes harder to keep my students (and their parents) from plunking down several thousand dollars on a shiny new horn before I can play test it. I'd prefer that none of us need play trumpet roulette.


I agree with the variation issue entirely.

My Chicago Bach C horn in my signature is the best C trumpet I've ever played. But I play tested probably 20 nearly identical horns. All of a sudden I tried one that just blew the rest out of the water. Effortless tone, no weird intonation, immediate response.

The variation is wild. One of the Chicago 229s I played felt like there was a hole in it. Like you tried to play with a water key open. Every note was a fight.

I couldn't believe that one day, someone is going to buy that horn and be stuck with a stinker.

I've said this before, I'm honestly not the biggest Bach fan, but like you said in regards to comparing to Yamaha, I think every Yamaha is a 9/10 these days. Absolutely great, absolutely identical.

But with Bach, you can get anywhere from a 3/10 to a 10/10 that is so good that the horn has its own aura and personality.

But those 10/10 horns are very few and far between. Its almost worth play testing a bunch of brand new ones, as most used Strads are almost always guaranteed not to be 10/10 horns, otherwise, they would never be on the used market.
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Dizzyr1971
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PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2024 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say mine is a 10/10, it has a lovely sound and is very free blowing. But the deep slotting does make it quite hard work to play, sometimes it feels a bit like I'm clunking about in a suit of heavy armour....which btw has the advantage of keeping me in shape!

I find the way it makes me play, needing loads of air to maintain the sound, forces me to play continuos flowing improvised lines. On my lighter trumpets I sometimes find that I start playing lines which jump about in a disjointed way that don't dig so much
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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2024 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yinzbrass wrote:
For me, the variation in quality between like strads is a real issue for what purports to be a professional instrument. The strad in my signature is a nimble horn with pretty good intonation and a great sound


Exactly. I have written elsewhere on this forum that you really need to try about 20 Bachs before you can be assured that you have a decent one. Most people responded that my claim was preposterous. However, the amount of people that dislike a Bach37 but enjoy their "clones" is kind of silly. I can almost guarantee that most people that don't like a Bach37 have not played 20 of them or found a good one. Then they attribute their issues to the "pipe/bell" when really it's just a bad horn.
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zaferis
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PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2024 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

without writing a novel, I will point out something that doesn't get added to this discussion:
The Bach 37 has been around since when??? So when we're talking about "them" you're talking about generations. Lets compare with say Yamaha.. If you're comparing a 37 to a 6335 (just to pick one) Yamaha's offering would have short production period in comparison, then "upgrade" to a new model and design.. To me explaining/reinforcing the reoccurring "inconsistency" comments about Bach. So, Yamaha has it easier to have a reputation of being more consistent-accurate or not.
Yes, Bach had a well known period of time that production (because of union and other influences) was inconsistent. But with only minor changes the 18037 design has lasted. The New-ish 19037 Anniversary was a throw back to a time before many of the small changes were made... A great horn that MANY have tried to copy or "improve". IMO nothing has replaced the sound, versatility, and playability of a good 37.
Add in that brass is not a consistent metal and ages.. i.e. a 30, 40, 50 year old Bach 37 is likely gonna sound/play different than a new one based solely on that aspect.

One of my teachers said as a throw away statement that has stuck with me as a strong understanding... "I you want to, or need to, learn how to do a proper lip slur you need a Bach (37)" (I was playing a Benge at that time).. The more students I work with and the more those students show up with other trumpets, the more this statement proves itself.

In my own experience of a long list of different trumpets, some GREAT trumpets (production and boutique) Bach 37 is what I return to. 19037
Consistent reproducible, controllable, appropriate sound and clarity in all settings.
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CaptPat
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PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2024 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find it interesting that the Bach 37 seems to be the only trumpet model that engenders such a wide variety of opinions.
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Chickynuggie
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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2024 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For my $0.02, I was in a very similar situation - I played a King Silver Flair into college. I was instructed to buy a Bach. We only had one in 300 miles to test back then, and I worked all summer to buy it. I hated that horn, hated everything about it. But I was told that’s what I needed. I got through college, spent $300 on a rotary (neither of the rotaries in my signature are this horn) and sold the Bach. As you can see from my signature, I’ve now almost fully converted to Stomvi, as I’ve found their Master models to be exactly what I’ve always wanted. Maybe I had a bad Bach, but I also couldn’t change the tone. It’s sound was its sound. It was the same for my friend’s Mt Vernon Strad. That horn was better, but I’ll likely never switch from Stomvi, now. Strads may be (or may have been) the standard, but it wasn’t for me.
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Steve A
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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2024 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clearly it doesn't fit everyone, and that's fine. No other single instrument does either - that's why they make more than one.

But the suggestion that there's anything wrong with the design is hard to take seriously. There has easily been more great-sounding trumpet playing on a Bach 37 in the past 75 years than any other single trumpet design. I don't own one, so I'm not trying to boost it on account of personal bias, but the facts speak for themselves. Anyone who suggests otherwise clearly has an axe to grind (for whatever reason) that's blinding them to the reality of this.
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LittleRusty
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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2024 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve A wrote:
Clearly it doesn't fit everyone, and that's fine. No other single instrument does either - that's why they make more than one.

But the suggestion that there's anything wrong with the design is hard to take seriously. There has easily been more great-sounding trumpet playing on a Bach 37 in the past 75 years than any other single trumpet design. I don't own one, so I'm not trying to boost it on account of personal bias, but the facts speak for themselves. Anyone who suggests otherwise clearly has an axe to grind (for whatever reason) that's blinding them to the reality of this.

Interesting point. In reflecting on this a lot of criticism on Bach instruments is on their legendary quality control issues. You know the old “you need to try fifty to find the one good one” statements.

After one removes that from the discussion I think that the reason some people don’t like them boils down to personal preference.

At the end of the day, even if 50% of the possible market finds the design is not for them, there are a lot of people the design works for.

Yamaha has what I consider a good marketing strategy supplying instruments to schools, drum and bugle corps, etc. Eventually the brand will be burned into the subconscious level and be recommended to the less informed parents like Bach is now.
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OtherJMitch
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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2024 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good 37 has so much character in the sound. I know a French horn player who played his grandfather’s early Elkhart 37 in jazz band, and wow could that horn play!!! Every now and then we’d switch just for fun and I would soar over the band while he struggled on my Xeno
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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2024 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As has been pointed out, there are more 37's than any other trumpet on the planet. I'm pretty sure it's still the biggest seller, too. It's the first recommendation from many band directors to parents seeking a step up horn.

And it's also like any other brand of trumpet, it runs the gamut from great to poor. One of the best trumpets I ever rebuilt was a 37 back in the 90's. I'm currently rebuilding a 37 from the early 50's and both of these horns are players, but there are a lot of differences.

What's tough these days is the disappearence of music stores where one could go and try horns. It's a pig-in-a-poke when you order online, as many have found out.
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Rhondo
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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2024 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yourbrass wrote:
What's tough these days is the disappearence of music stores where one could go and try horns. It's a pig-in-a-poke when you order online, as many have found out.


Yep, virtually nothing near a major city like Los Angeles, at least as far as I’m aware. Down the street from me there is a Bach and maybe a couple of Yamahas hanging on the wall at Music & Arts, but that’s it.

I think for the west coast you’ve either got HornTrader in San Diego (mostly vintage horns), or Mighty Quinn in Washington.
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mograph
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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2024 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My '85 Strad, with a Curry 3C, gives a beautiful, dark tone, and with a shallow piece, it's an easy lead player up to a D, more if I focus. After a big band rehearsal, I ask "what else ya got? Don't end the rehearsal now!"

But I do need to focus on "pressing the air" (my term, hope it makes sense) with my core to make the horn do what I want. Without the air, it's very limited.

I'm having trouble connecting the higher notes back down to the C/B/A above the staff. But at this point, I attribute that difficulty to my lack of skill, so I'll get some help on it.

That's my position: I'm not yet at the point where I can say it's the horn, and not me.

... but I'll start saving up for a new one, and then start testing. I don't want to test horns until I can afford to buy a new one.
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huntman10
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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2024 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I really enjoy playing my collectible Olds, Conn,and Getzen horns as well as others, my high school and college studies were on 37 Strad trumpet and cornet. About the time I moved from college to the various aspects of "real life", I had acquired a late Mt Vernon unmarked bell Strad that I felt was my "true voice". Only after nearly 30 years did I get the shop card and find that it was a 43. Still have it, and a 37 cornet. Over the years I have picked up a few more 37 bell trumpets from time to time. Honestly, a few were lesser performers (all "pre-strike") but it always seemed a could work with whoever my "horn guru" at the time to improve them, with services like valve alignment, de-stressing some of life's little "owees", occasionally a new pipe, and that sort of thing.

Probably the most dramatic improvement was on a "Lone Star Special" shiny thing I spent too much on. The first valve was a bit low on compression, and response was just awful. I was lucky that I found an oversized piston that easily lapped in by hand. The horn also had received some kind of impact that had dented the bell at the brace on the flair side. I had my technician dismount the bell to straighten it, which took out the stresses. He then did a precise alignment of the valves. It became my favorite "serious" horn for about 6 years.

I probably should have kept it, but I started reducing my ridiculous excess, and couldn't pass up an offer. I actually use my 37 cornet now for those concerts.
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Winghorn
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2024 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Over the years I have found that many people who say that Bach Strads do not play well do not play well themselves.

Once again, we have the opinions of posters about whose playing level we know nothing about.

I once owned a Mt. Vernon Strad that a couple of amateur players felt was too “stuffy” and not a good instrument. It is now being played by the principal trumpet in one of the top American Orchestras.

Bach instruments may not be right for everyone (what horn is?) and some may be perceived as better than others. But if you plan to listen to someone else as to what trumpet to buy, or even try, I would make sure to consider their background.
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