What I'm working on right now
More as I get them
Boosey & Hawkes
1) The Edgware . . . serial# 175xxx places this somewhere in 1959 or 1960. Solid grenadillo wood except for mouthpiece. Conical bore gives B&H's a particular sound and must have the proper mouthpiece to stay in tune (which this one does). Classic big band sound or great step up from a resin/plastic instrument. Beautiful low end and great solo high end. Keys are silver over brass, NOT pot metal. Compare to new student quality wood instruments at over $700. This lovely instrument just ... $350 - On Trial
1) This is a generic student resin/phenolic model. The key work is better than modern student but has some age. It plays well, and does have a good bass sound, when many plastic instruments sound too brittle. If you're just starting, this will work for you. $125.
1) Serial number is 4 digits but unreadable. This is either a Buffet or SML stencil based on the key work. Beautiful "German Silver" keys with silver plate. Early expert, possibly factory, repair (I barely saw it) and a hairline repair on bell. Tone is powerful and bold, but with coloration. High end is forceful. Pitch accurate. It is stamped "Made in France" nearly microscopically and has on the bell "CMI" and incomplete "TEM [this is faded] ONE" Great French instrument. . . . $425.
M. Masson, Thibouville Frere
1) . . . Serial# 5xxx early serial number, suspect 1st half of 20th century. Very nice quality grenadillo wood, with the big warm Parisian sound. This is definitely an orchestral instrument. It is more lightly built than student models and has great, even sound across the range. Action has been cleaned, lubricated, polished and regulated, wood has been oiled (in and out) and lightly finished with traditional shellac and oil. Pads are all intact and of high quality. Pitch is good across the octaves. Upon full cleaning the barrel was discovered to be good, old (big note and globe no name) quality Boosey and Hawkes but surprise of surprises, the bell is an SML 5 star, the best quality from a top-notch maker (as good at least as pro Buffet's) which I am sure contributes to the great sound. . . . $475.
1) 103 . . . Serial # 30-2xxxx Puts it in 1980, still while they were an independent brand "WT Armstrong" (not part of the Conn/King/Selmer conglomerate) and innovating. This is a few years after the development of a new scale which ensures exact pitch across the range of the instrument and is a top student model out there. If you need an open hole model, arguably the best student instruments come from Armstrong. c foot. Near new. Usually retails new between $700 and $900, because of two small dents (do not effect playing) in head priced at . . . $325
1) Ambassador . . . Serial # 177xxx places it sometime in 1955 or 1956. I personally like the sound of this very much, but it is "post on tube" rather than "post on plate" of construction of higher quality instruments. Good starter instrument. . . . $150
1) Elkhart brand, model LP66I . . . Serial# 78xxx. Serial numbers for the Elkhart brand by Buescher are spotty so no exact date here; they were separate from Buescher's eponymous brand's numbers, which are well documented. We do know they were built from sometime near the end of WWII and into the 60's, and have much of the same playing characteristics as the pro-models under the Buescher label. This one has a late 40's early 50's vibe, with slant bracing, offset "inside/outside" tuning slide, and "Elk in Heart" counterweight. Flare dent/bend removed, along with 2 sizeable dents (collapses) in the tuning slide. Slide is amazingly intact with nearly 100% of the original nickel, even on the socks. The slide had to be straightened, but now works great. It plays with a great mid-century big band feel. The lacquer was intact but flaking so I did a "Steam-punk" industrial treatment, hand stripping (no chemicals) the lacquer, and doing a brushed finish on all parts but the inside of the bell and the marque. A Bach 12C sits a bit deep but within limits and would be called a medium bore. I suspect this was newly purchased when the damage occurred and never looked at again. This is some great American brass with a light build that allows for a lot of punch! ... $450
Ludwig/Conn 2H stencil
1) This is a Conn stencil made for the Ludwig Music House in St Louis MO. Silver plated with plate missing only at the contact points. Chrome/Nickel plated slide (almost unheard of for this era) 90%. Matches Conn 2H down to the spit valve. Bore appears to .470 which puts it in the right ball-park for the 1920's jazz era, which is correct for the Ludwig Music House, whose heyday. For nearly a century it was one of the most import music emporiums on the Mississippi supplying many of the early jazz men with quality instruments they had stenciled by big name firms. Given the period, Conn made no bad instruments, they were solely a producer of professional instruments. If you play jazz, especially traditional jazz, this will give that sound. ... SOLD $380
Olds Ambassador A15 EARLY Los Angeles!!
The Ambassador A15 in its first 2 decades of production were excellent instruments, those from the Los Angeles shop (pre-Fullerton move 1955) were great, using the same brass alloy, and high-end nickel, chrome plated interior slides as the pro instruments Olds offered, usually without all the fancy appointments. This has the basic screw-on counter-weight, basic engraving, brass instead of nickel knuckles. This instrument is very early in the run, with the only visible serial number being 12x. This is a conundrum since Ambassadors were introduced around SN 27000. Custom orders did have a different number system, and sometimes prototypes were just numbered by what prototype number they were. That said, this is probably from the first year of production, 1947. As with all ambassadors, this is a dual bore, .485/.500", and has all brass appointments, except for a dot on the slide lock and the slide guard and of course the Olds nickel alloy inner slide. The basic engraving, basic appointments, and hockey puck weight with no central indentation and basic hand engraved "Olds" point to early in the model. Great mellow sound. Well loved, but well taken care of, with a completely new replating of the chrome. Case will need replacing. Old lacquer gone, but lightly polished with single coat of clear to protect. Great classic instrument for great price. . . . $400
Boosey & Hawkes
1) Oxford . . . serial# 251xxx makes this either 1957 of '58. Manufactured in England, not outsourced like their beginning student models. Medium polished brass with clear lacquer contrasts the heavy use of nickel. All wear points (tuning slide sleeves, all valve branches and lead pipe) are nickel. Valves excellent compression. Only spit valve on tuning, not third, and third slide is NOT adjustable by the ring. These more student points are on an otherwise nice instrument. More "band" than "orchestra" it is a fine buy at ... $275
1)Superior (model) . . . serial# 187xxx puts it just around 1965. All slides are free moving. This is 100% original, untouched. Unusual for anything but a pro horn, this instrument is valve and third slide matched by serial number. That means the valves and the third valve slide were hand fitted to the instrument. Valves are air-tight as new, and third slide as if just fitted. Most of the finish issues, and there are not many, come from age rather than play. Slight flaking. This model appeared in the mid-50's as a top student/conservatory level instrument with a lot of bang for the buck. Considered a big bore during the time, it has more power and nuance than similar instruments of the period, coupled with the light construction and great fit of parts it plays so easily. Made in the same great factory and same craftsmen as top of the line H.N. White instruments but more reasonably priced. No mouthpiece, case with taped handle, but good condition elsewise. . . . $375
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