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Thread: Chinese instruments

  1. Chinese instruments

    Here in Norway some of the bands have started to buy Chinese built instruments to 1/5 of the price of other brands according to Norwegian prices. I have always regarded the known brands that we discuss on this site to be the best and most safe to buy, and still I'm convinced that I myself would always buy Besson, Wilson, Yamaha, Sterling and all the others. (Ref thread Euphonium Comparison)

    But... there is always a market. And if a school band or amateur band can save a lot of money buying a professional trombone at the cost of $1000 or so I'm sure that they would go for it.

    I have tried two of these trombones myself and they sound pretty well. I just saw that they have a couple of euphoniums on their site now. They look very nice and I would like to have played one to see if the quality is as good as the trombones.

    To be honest; when I first heard of this I was very skeptical. I still am, but in the light of my other thread here about 'killing the bastards' these instruments may well have a place in the market, given that the quality is good and that they can perform well also after a couple of years.

    Is this sort of thing taking place in the US as well?

    This is a link to the Norwegian site that is selling them. I'm sure you can find a currency converter to discover the prices in USD. I've also heard that these people are making a lot of money so the cost from China must be very low.

    http://www.korpsinstrumenter.no/
    You have to click on Prisliste 2007 to view the prices.



  2. #2

    Chinese instruments

    I purchased a Chinese Flugelhorn off a popular online auction site. It was quickly given away. I will not make that mistake again! The pistons did not fit in the valves. There was one Solder that was not made... as a matter of fact, there was no solder under the support to show that an attempt was made to solder it. The tuning slides did not fit properly no matter how much or type of grease I put on them. The metal was so thin that I could see my finger rubbing on the metal from the other side.

    A person who has sold many tubas in the the United States has had the same experience except having had the benefit of seeing several different examples. I took a quick look for a quote this person had made on another form that spoke to the Chinese instruments but was unable to locate it. The quote was less then complimentary.

    Based upon the recent news stories here in the States, I have a high degree of concern that the metal and finishes used on these Chinese imports may contain metals and chemicals that will cause cancers or death.

    There is a HUGE difference between inexpensive and cheap.

  3. Chinese instruments

    That's exactly what I expected when I first heard about Chinese export. The reason I bring it up in this forum is that the instruments I tried (one tenor trombone and one bass trombone) was actually quite good. And the craftsmanship was as you would expect from one of the well known brands.

    The only thing that made me think of a "lesser" instrument was that it was quite easy to play on and easy to "blow out" compared to my Conn 88H.

    I have seen a lot of stuff coming out from China that is high quality. I am a outdoor person and spend a lot of time out in the mountains and in my sea kayak. I've seen tents, clothing, skis, kayaks and a lot of outdoor equipment made in China that performs outstanding. Right now I'm wearing a jacket from Arc'teryx that is made there.

    Back to the brass: The two trombones are still in my neighborhood and I shall take the time to test them more thoroughly and post the test here.

    Still skeptical, but no thumbs down yet for the Chinese

  4. #4

    Chinese instruments

    I have heard that some of the newer products (brass instruments) can be pretty good. Let me add two "however's..."

    1) Given the huge number of product recalls we have had in the States for products made in China (and that have been for years), I wonder how the quality control is on the more "hidden" aspects. Many of our toys have been recalled due to having lead paint, for example. You can't tell by looking or touching. Boosey and Yamaha have both gone through their own troubles with red-spotting and are past it now. I wonder if the Chinese companies are there yet.

    2) I worry about keeping manufacturing skills in our own country. I would hate to see the last few musical instrument makers give it up. The same is true of England and Germany. Too many people buying Chinese horns could mean that some more manufacturers disappear.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  5. #5

    Chinese instruments

    Kjetil,

    The Tuba Exchange euphs are Chinese-made, and are very nice horns. I'm local to TE, so I've had the opportunity to play several different lacquer and silver non-comps and a lacquer comp on several different occasions. IMO, the TE non-comp gives the Yamaha 321 a run for the money, both in terms of build quality and intonation, and, to my ear, has a darker and rounder sound. It's also large shank, which is another plus in my book. And, the silver non-comp is half the price of the lacquer 321. I would have bought a silver non-comp, but I lucked into a used Besson comp through ebay. (For other opinions, do a search for the reviews of the Tuba Exchange 4 valve non-comp by FergiSan and and JTJ.)

    That said, if I were buying new, I would be reluctant to buy a Chinese-, Indian-, or Brazilian-made euph--or any euph, regardless of country of origin--without test-playing several examples in order to find the best of the lot.

  6. #6

    Chinese instruments

    My problem would be the health risk involved if any of these horns were lined with lead. I'm very serious here. I'd be very interested in hearing that the retailers selling these horns in the US have had one shipped to a lab to be deconstructed and seriously tested. On-site inspections are worthless, only testing the finished product seems to work these days.

  7. #7

    Chinese instruments

    Originally posted by: Euphdad

    My problem would be the health risk involved if any of these horns were lined with lead.
    Hmmm. I'm not sure why they would line a horn with lead. They use it in paint for reasons of economy and practicality.

    Does anyone know if a standard brass instrument is entirely silver soldered? Or do they use lead in the solder? Any other issues?

    But I only used lead as an example of what they have done to toys. There may be other issues for brass instruments that I am not aware of.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  8. #8

    Chinese instruments

    Originally posted by: dwerden

    Originally posted by: Euphdad



    My problem would be the health risk involved if any of these horns were lined with lead.


    Hmmm. I'm not sure why they would line a horn with lead. They use it in paint for reasons of economy and practicality.
    I know, not likely they would line it with lead, also not likely aqua dots have a chemical makeup similar to a date rape drug. Considering the time my kids practice daily I think I really would need an independant lab report before I bought one of my kids a horn or any instrument made in China.

  9. #9

    Chinese instruments

    Well, then you probably should strike Yamaha from your list, because Yamaha manufactures most of its parts in Shenzhen these days, and it is highly doubtful that they test every shipment of raw materials coming into their factory, much less every piece coming off the assembly line. (Probably should strike any of the Conn-Selmer brands, too, because even though some brands are still assembled in the US, they source most of their parts from China as well.)

  10. #10

    Chinese instruments

    Originally posted by: mclaugh

    Well, then you probably should strike Yamaha from your list, because Yamaha manufactures most of its parts in Shenzhen these days, and it is highly doubtful that they test every shipment of raw materials coming into their factory, much less every piece coming off the assembly line. (Probably should strike any of the Conn-Selmer brands, too, because even though some brands are still assembled in the US, they source most of their parts from China as well.)
    I have, my son plays a 1967 Besson New Standard, the next horn we are looking into is probably a Sterling, Willson or another Besson. My opinion is that this topic is going to get more and more play, here and elsewhere, over the next few years.

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