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Thread: The Magic of Classic Horns (??)

  1. #1

    The Magic of Classic Horns (??)

    Here is a blog post I just published, relating to a topic we often kick around. Why are some old horns so magical? That might lead to...should I get an old classic instead of a new horn.

    Here is some fodder for discussion!
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  2. #2
    I may be going a slightly different direction here, but my take on this is that there is so much more than just sound what makes an instrument 'magical'. Personally, I think the 'magic' is mainly in what I attribute to the instrument. Take my Couesnon cornet from 1902: the thought that over 100 years ago, people were able to bend pipes into these shapes, craft valves etc., or simply the fact that I can play the same instrument that was played 100 years ago, that is what makes it magic for me.
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    Another example, my old Anton Hüller Tenor-horn is awfully out of tune (though has a beautiful singing tone in the higher register), but what makes it magical to me is it's shape and the color of the patina; that's just something you don't get with modern instruments.
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    Or how about my Besson Class A "Prototype" C-trumpet? Nothing special about it except that I have never come across another Besson Class A "Prototype" C-trumpet...they just don't show up that often and that apparent rarity is what makes it magic to me.
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    Last edited by MarChant; 12-27-2019 at 05:36 PM.
    Martin Monné
    • Wessex Festivo, 4-valve compensating (2017)
    • Hirsbrunner HBS 378 Standard, 4-valve compensating (1983)
    • Mahillon Bass Saxhorn, 4-valve (1927)
    • Anton Hüller Tenor Horn, 3-valve (Early 20th Century, HP, wallhanger)

  3. #3
    MarChant - good points! After all, "magic" is a vague enough word that one can use it in several ways.

    I have a few old horns. The one that most deserves the "magic" designation is my King Liberty trombone. Its response and tone are fantastic. I have a newer Yamaha small-bore trombone (.515, larger than the King) that came with 3 different leadpipes. No matter which one I use, it doesn't have the "magic" tone of that old King!

    King Liberty trombones have a reputation and apparently are in high demand, so it's not just me.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Hidden Valley, AZ

    See below...

    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard
    1918 Hawkes & Son euph 3&1 original
    1917 Conn C/D/Eb mellophone original
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original

  5. #5
    I know I'm late to the party, but I think it might be more simple than this. Old horns are just different. They literally don't make them like they used to. For some people that's good, and for some people that's bad. I'm just a hobbyist, so for me, the greatest enjoyment I get from an instrument is whatever unique quality it has in its tone quality and the experience in playing it. I've played a Besson Prestige that was brand new at the time. It played really, really well. I'm sure it would inspire confidence in any band director or conductor. But confoundit, it didn't have much personality, it wasn't fun to play, and it sure didn't produce a sound that I was very fond of. A few minutes warming up on my old Soviet Bb Tenorhorn and I feel like I'm practically singing. Maybe it's just due to lack of sample size though. I haven't played that many new instruments, but the ones I have don't seem to be swaying me any.


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