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Top Five Student Trumpets


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Trumpet_King
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:43 am    Post subject: Top Five Student Trumpets Reply with quote

TUESDAY, JANUARY 26, 2010

THE TOP FIVE STUDENT TRUMPETS OF ALL TIME
First of all, I would like to clarify the term "student trumpet" so as to not to confuse the history buffs. The idea of a student trumpet came about during the late forties and early fifties when trumpet sales were heating up. The big bands and the jazz ensembles acts were everywhere at the time. The companies didn't want to build a "student horn", so as to tarnish their venerable images. But the idea sprang up that what was needed was a great playing, pro feeling and sounding horn which could stand more abuse, more wear. There were several great companies building horns at that time. But the F.E. Olds Company, under the leadership of Roth Reynolds, built The "Ambassador" trumpet, which was an immediate hit. So other companies started pricing a less expensive "pro" horn for the bulging demand that was coming. When word got out that these "student trumpets" were really good.... very close in quality to the pro trumpets of the day, sales boomed! Remember, a pro trumpet in the forties could cost as much as a car. The process of making a trumpet was a highly technical endeavor for that time. So a horn that was within "reach" that could do the job was truly needed. But for the record book, the term "student trumpet" should be used lightly when discussing these well made horns. In reality, they're not that different from their sibling pro models.

So lets get started, the Olds Ambassador is without question the top student horn, the consensus is strong. With it's valve design and it's responsiveness and tone, the bullet proof Ambassador is at the top of the mountain. The number two, my dark horse, is the early Holton Collegiate trumpet, built before the Leblanc purchase in 64', these horns are all around great.... with a similar tone to the Ambassador (not quite as dark and edgy). These trumpets have excellent featherlight valves and are pleasure to play. Since Holton never really built a "student" horn, the Collegiate was their starting point.... it had thinner skin which helped it project some brighter tones. Sliding in third is the King 600 tempo series (UMI horns not included). The King does not rule all.. but these trumpet have a big beautiful sound with great valve action. A great all around horn, the responsiveness and tone of the king may be it's best attribute. Running a real tight fourth are the 2 series Yamaha trumpets which came later in the cycle in 69'.... they were free blowing and responsive, these trumpets just keep on making their owners happy at night. But in the day, their finishes leave something to be desired. Like a good woman... she gives and takes. These Yamahas have consistency issues with valves and the finishes become brittle over time.... but delivers as an instrument with it's tone and playability. Lastly, the Getzen is a easy and free blowing horn that is similar to the Yamaha. In fact, they could be switched in order.... as the consensus of the Trumpet Herald forum would suggest. But I will go ahead and drop them a notch down because of the valve issues.... they're a little less reliable. The Getzen, like the Yamaha, produces a wonderful tone... a quality trumpet.

1) The Olds Ambassador
2) Holton Collegiate (early models 50's to 64' )
3) King 600 Tempo (60' to 65')
4) Yamaha YTR 2 series
5) Getzens 3, 5 series (capri)

I would like to mention that the Besson and Kanstul trumpets are close to the top also.... but because of their relationship and similarities to the Olds, I excluded them. But these companies are building the best "student horn" of the day. The starting line ups for the UMI brands of today, Bach, Holton, King and Conn are all good horns, but inconsistency issues still plague these companies... but improvements have been made since the late nineties.

So there it is, for all to ponder, digest and reject!

I'd like to thank the guys on the Trumpet Herald Forum for chiming in with their thoughts and filling in some blanks. I surely do appreciate it. Thx. Trumpet King




I've written a guide to buying a student trumpet... already. Well, It's still a work in process... I'd like to hear your choices for the top five "student" horns EVER.... and please explain your choices. I will publish the results. The Olds Ambassador is already at the top.... so lets hear it from some of you old pros... Trumpet King

01/25/2010: Thanks so much guys... great info! I will wait a bit longer to put the" top five student" list together... but this has been helpful so far. Well, except for verry, he's as uptight as Mike Tyson at a spelling bee. Trumpet King

http://trumpet-king.blogspot.com/


Last edited by Trumpet_King on Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:29 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Don Herman rev2
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

New: Kanstul or Getzen student models, followed by Yamaha, then Bach (all I have tried)

Old: Ambassador, Conn Director, King
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veery715
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't take this the wrong way, but you should check your spelling - you spelled "hear" correctly once and incorrectly once. And your subject title refers to FIVE but in your text you write TEN.

If you want folks to take your blog offering seriously, you might consider double checking spelling and facts. In the blog your write YTR's but plural words don't have an apostrophe, and you refer to the King Superior company, but the company is King, and the Superior is a model designation.

Best get someone to proofread for you.

My list of top 5 student horns, in no particular order:

Olds Ambassador - rock solid, good valves
Conn Director - generally the same
Getzen 300 - almost intermediate
Bach TR200 - Bach type sound in a student horn
Yamaha 23Xx - ubiquitous and serviceable


veery
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Capt.Kirk
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Currently Available new models:

Getzen 390,490,Capri,700
Yamaha 2335,4335,6335,6345
Kanstul 600,700,900,103
Jupiter 600,606,1200
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice blog!

You mention the Yamaha student model trumpet in your blog. I started out on the cornet version of this, and it was a nice horn.

The Yamaha 232 was made from 1969 (way earlier than one would think) until 1983. I believe that Yamaha went to mostly 4 digit models (at least for trumpets and cornets) at this time. Many of the pro models prior to this had numbers like 737 and 738 (for example).

It was succeeded by the Yamaha 2320 which was made from 1984-1997.

This was followed by the current Yamaha 2335.

I haven't played the various models, they're probably pretty similar. I think the Yamaha's play a little nicer than some other current student models, but are a little more delicate in construction. The valves are prone to more issues, and the leadpipes are slightly more prone to red-rot. Still, nice horns, and very consistent.

The student cornets were the 231 (until 1983) which was succeeded by the 2310. That model number is still in use (currently it's the 2310 II), and the 2330 is a shepard's crook version - which is pretty sweet.

The Yamaha 6335 and 6345 are pro-model instruments that are still in production today (I play one myself).
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TrentAustin
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Eastman 420G is a tremendous entry-level instrument.
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Dan O'Donnell
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't forget Eastman.

Although they are made in China, they are by far superior to any Trumpet I have play tested from the Asian region.

The price is significantly below top name brand student horns (enter U.S. Marketing costs etc.) and I would also honestly say their playability, intonation and tone to be even superior than some of those student models (especially their Gold Brass Bell student models).

In short, Eastman has advanced the quality of their Trumpet making almost similar to the quality improvement movement in Japan starting in the early 50's.

As for their Flugelhorns...well...based on the one (and only one) I play tested from their initial launch...in my opinion...they missed the mark significantly. IF I did not play on a "dog" (making it an inaccurate assessment) and all of their Flugelhorns are like the one I play tested...I can only assume that overtime, they will design out the issues from an R&D approach and/or improvements to their Flugelhorn manufacturing processes.

Anyone living around LA or Orange County (or out here visiting) can visit Anaheim Band Instruments (A.B.I.) and play test both Eastman's student and professional Trumpets.

(Note: Dave Browne (the owner) is a great player and as you can imagine has played on many great horns. Over the past couple years, he has been playing on an Eastman. It is also important to note that he has given out Eastman's in exchange for top brand named Trumpets traded in by other great players.)

I can assure you...once you have play tested them for yourself...you too will be pleasantly surprised as to the quality of their Trumpets.
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right - I forgot what the question was - best student models of all time. I wish I knew more about ones like the Conn Directors (never had one) or the good Bueschers. Unfortunately, I don't.

I do, however, teach beginner band - and have done so for about a decade. I've seen plenty of student trumpets over those years, though most are the new models rather than vintage. I'm not sure what this list is, but I'll give thoughts on the ones I've seen.

Olds Ambassador - everything has already been said, I think. Great horn for anyone. I've used mine in concerts, though I bought it for pep band.

Yamaha Student Trumpets (YTR 2335)- nice playing trumpet. Not as tough and durable as the Olds (though, what is?) or even some other current ones, but plays nicely.

Bach Student Trumpet (TR300, I believe) - It does get a Bach-like sound. Unfortunately it's marred by inconsistent construction. One trumpet will work great, the next will have serious valve issues right out of the plastic wrap. Valve issues, as in the valves aren't properly fitted to the casing. Often the blow can be just a little tight.

Getzen Student Trumpet (300, 400, 390, etc) - much like the Yamaha in blow and weight (both are lighter than the Bach). I think it's sound isn't quite as nice and round as the Yamaha, but they have valves which are superior (not surprisingly).

"Accent" Student Trumpet (offered by Eckroth Music stores in MN and Midwest) - these are made in Germany in the B&S factory. They're pretty good trumpets. The valves have issues in some specimens. I think they're tougher than the Yamaha and better made than the Bach. They get a pretty nice sound. An all around decent horn.

Kanstul Student Trumpet (Kanstul 700, Besson 609) - Possibly the best current production student trumpet. Good valves, great construction, and nice sound. Unfortunately, it's the least seen one out of the one's listed.

King Student Trumpet (UMI production, Conn is probably the same) - very similar to the Bach (this was before they were the same company), decent sound, but marred by inconsistent construction and finish. Good ones are pretty good, poorly made ones aren't too rare and a pain.

Like I said - this isn't really a list of my favorite student models of all time (don't know enough, sadly) just comments on student models I've seen.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I've been working on a trumpet primer myself over the years, which I've given out to parents who wonder about companies and models. It's more about what trumpet to get after the student model - but it's got some stuff on student horns. I've never published it on the web and haven't worked on it for a few years, though. Good to see you're putting something out there. Don't worry, I won't borrow any of your material.

For fun, I'll make a list of cool trumpets that some of my students have had over the years...

- LA Benge 3*
- Olds Super
- LA Olds Ambassador
- Reynolds Emperor
- Olds Recording Cornet

Way cooler than most of my horns. Or any of my horns.
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VetPsychWars
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crazy Finn wrote:
Right - I forgot what the question was - best student models of all time.


What I'm curious about... there was a time when there were no "student models". I have a Buescher catalog from 1939ish and it has prices. The top-of-the-line "The 400" was $130.00 in lacquer ($1900 today) and the entry-level "Aristocrat" in lacquer was $95.00 ($1400 today). The mid-priced horn, the "Custom Built" was $115.00 (clearly about $1700 today).

Looking at the Aristocrat, no one in his right mind would call that a "student horn". Was it built to a price point? Sure. Was it specifically designed for "easy for kids to learn on?" HELL NO... except... my niece is playing that same Aristocrat and after only a few months her tone is stellar.

I learned to play on "The 400".

I am not exactly putting forth any position but I question the value of horns built specifically for students. It seems like a load of crap. Why aren't you putting the best horn you can afford into your student's hands so they can learn from day one to play a professional horn instead of screwing around "moving up"? Now we all know that kids are clumsy and they break everything they touch, so perhaps you're not giving your daughter a (yanking a name out my butt) Wild Thing. But there are plenty of used pro horns and plenty of opportunities to educate.

Student horn? Why bother?

Tom
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plp
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My #1 these days are the Kanstul 709/ Besson 609, essentially the same trumpet in most respects. Some of the Bessons don't have the socks on the water keys, and I believe some of the earlier Bessons didn't have the nickel main tuning slide receiver on the leadpipe.

This is not just a good student trumpet, but would do well through high school.

#2 Ambassador.

#3 Yamaha 2XX or 2XXX series. Very well built nice playing trumpets, never had a problem selling one.

#3B (tie) Getzen 300, 390, 490. Once again, a very well built trumpet with excellent valves, by and large. I've had two with valve problems, but even Getzen valves can't overcome a bent 2nd valve slide. The 300 series are again great re-sellers, perhaps because the lacquer seems to hold up very well, at least on the <15 year old horns.

#5 English Besson 2-20. While the lacquer does not stand the test of time, some of these get a really mature sound, almost Bachish. The Edgeware valves are pro quality if so equipt.
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razeontherock
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed that you want a student to start on the best instrument they can afford. A Getzen 700 is hard to beat, as is an entry level Kanstul. (709)
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VetPsychWars wrote:
What I'm curious about... there was a time when there were no "student models"...

I am not exactly putting forth any position but I question the value of horns built specifically for students. It seems like a load of crap. Why aren't you putting the best horn you can afford into your student's hands so they can learn from day one to play a professional horn instead of screwing around "moving up"?

You know, that's a great question. I've got some thoughts on it, but I don't have an "answer." Now, I'm only speculating, so I could be completely wrong but...

I bet the modern student horn phenomenon came about when assembly line manufacturing and a degree of automation become possible or the norm in brass manufacturing.

In the past the thing that was the primary expense in making trumpets was the hours of labor that skilled workers would have to do to build a trumpet. Of course, in many shops, and for some models it still is. Let's say it took "x" hours for a skilled craftsman to build a trumpet - normal fairly good model trumpet. Back when most of the building, manufacturing, and assembly of the horn was done by hand, building a less sophisticated trumpet - a "lower" model that could be sold at a lower price point still took almost "x" hours to build, perhaps "x-2." Once machining things like valve blocks, bells, and valves got more automated and required less labor time to create, you could create the parts for a trumpet in - let's say - 50% of "x" (or x/2). It wasn't a superbly finished trumpet, not handmade to high standards of other "pro" models, but it was pretty alright. It also cost a lot less to make. What to do with it?: behold, the "student" model trumpet was born.

I would imagine that the rise of the affordable trumpet coincided with the rise of the public school band program. It probably happened in the late '40's and '50's. The first such instruments I can think of are the Conn Director and the aforementioned Ambassador. I think, before that, most trumpets were simply professional models, simply sold at a few different price points. Of course, the Ambassador was for a while, nearly equal in quality to the other Olds models.

It's an excellent question - and I don't really have the answer. I am curious now, though. Maybe others can help.
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Maarten van Weverwijk
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The best student horn is a used pro horn.
Yeah I know, it's not the opinion you were looking for.

MvW.
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Wes Clarke
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maarten is right. A good used pro horn is worth the investment. Maybe not for all, but for most it will prove worthwhile. Consider the kid who starts at 8 or 9 years of age. He or she might play for 5 or 6 years on their first horn. That means 260 weeks or more. Even if you spend $1,000, that's less than 4 bucks a week. What are you spending for lessons? If you consider resale value, the calculus is even more in favor of the better horn.

We don't often look at things this way, but in some cases, we should.
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Maarten van Weverwijk
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wes Clarke wrote:
...A good used pro horn is worth the investment...Even if you spend $1,000, that's less than 4 bucks a week...

Yes, and like you shortly mentioned too, if we're only talking about the investment it gets even better than that.
Let us say that after 5 years the child decides to stop, or he/she wants to up-grade to a new pro-level trumpet.

-A shiny Chinese made starters trumpet: $200-300. Market value after 5 years of use (if the instrument survives that long): NOTHING. Parent lost those $200-300.
-New student tpt of $800. Re-sale value after 5 years: $400 maximum. Parent lost $400.
-A maybe not so shiny, used pro-tpt: roughly $800-1200. Value 5 years later: most likely still $800-1200. Parent didn't spend a single $ and the child used a high quality instrument.

Problem is that most parents prefer to go for "shiny and new" rather than for something that actually plays well and keeps its value over the years.....

MvW.
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plp
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's think about that just a moment. Student trumpets have two things other than outright price that designates them as student. First is durability.

I learned the hard way a Bach 37 bell is MUCH thinner than an Ambassador bell, after I bent one while trying to straighten a brace. The responsiveness that tends to go with professional instruments comes from lighter, thinner materials and lighter bracing. By the time someone has reached the point where a pro trumpet is worth playing, they have gained the good habits of care (hopefully) that will extend the life of that trumpet.

I've read comments from a few of the educators here about students whom don't seem to appreciate their instruments, from the number of dents and dings their high dollar instruments receive, and have heard the 'spoiled rich kid' comments first hand from a few locally. These are sometimes the same kids that end up with high performance sports cars before they have matured enough as drivers to fully appreciate the handling and power. IN both cases they would benefit from something more durable and less 'flighty'.

Momma and Daddy are going to see to it Junior has the best of everything, when sometimes they are not ready for it.

The second thing is tone production. The reason most advanced players don't like student trumpets is the restricted blow. The comments of 'stuffy' get put out there a lot. The stuffiness is intentional, as a beginner hasn't developed the skill to marshal their air efficiently, and need the help of a bit more resistance.

There are exceptions to every rule, one being a fine student that played an Olds Mendez from beginner band to high school. Not surprisingly, he sat first chair pretty much the entire way, more to having both a grandfather and father whom are pretty good players themselves than the gear he was playing, although I'm sure the trumpet helped.
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Maarten van Weverwijk
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed.

On a side note: The durability story might be generally true, although few big name instruments have softer and more vulnerable tubes and valve casings than the Yamaha 2300 series trumpets & cornets. Not very heavy duty at all.....

MvW.
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Capt.Kirk
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

True the YTR 6335 and 63345 are considered Pro models but often one can find them new and used for around the same price just a few hundred more then the student models new. So based on their close pricing especially used to the student counter parts I included them. I mean if you can afford a 6335 for instance the trumpet will easily get a kid all the way through school from 5th grade to 12th grade on one horn which makes a lot more sense then buying two horns! It is not like the price difference is going to make much difference if they decide to quit and the parent lets them.[/code]
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Capt.Kirk wrote:
True the YTR 6335 and 63345 are considered Pro models but often one can find them new and used for around the same price just a few hundred more then the student models new.

That's true Kirk, they are an affordable horn. A used 6335 is less than a new 2335. Crazy, but true. They both have the Yamaha delicate build that Maarten talked about - I know about this first hand. However, they are one of the best value trumpets Yamaha makes right now.
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Capt.Kirk
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recomended a YTR=6335 when the sister inlaw decided she did not want to buy her son an overhauled LA Olds Ambassador........They have the money for new horn and since they had been renting for about two years the kid has proven he will stick with it. He is in 7th grade right now and I am sure he will appreciate the 6335 the older he gets plus the band teacher has to love it! I played it myself this Christmas and it is a solid horn just as I remember them for a student the price new or used on the YTR-6335 is really a bargin for what one get's! These are really under rated horns. I have seen about 6 of them go for around $500-$600 on ebay in close to new condition! I prefer the 6345 myself because I tend to move a lot of air and I feel more comfortable on it! Seldom see them localy though!
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