Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

 
Advanced search

952968 Posts in 62845 Topics- by 15308 Members - Latest Member: TolgaAkman
Jump to:  
Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Down
Print
Author Topic: Elkhart Trombones  (Read 9277 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
UNC345
« on: Sep 28, 2009, 07:47PM »

I know this is most likely a dumb question, but why are Elkhart trombones supposed to be so great? :/
Logged
Euphanasia

*
Offline Offline

Location: Moses Lake, WA
Joined: Jan 20, 2005
Posts: 5122

View Profile
« Reply #1 on: Sep 28, 2009, 08:02PM »

I know this is most likely a dumb question, but why are Elkhart trombones supposed to be so great? :/

I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.  Eeek!
Logged
JohnL
Edge Monster

*
Offline Offline

Location: Anaheim, CA, USA
Joined: Aug 1, 2004
Posts: 6155

View Profile WWW
« Reply #2 on: Sep 28, 2009, 08:33PM »

I know this is most likely a dumb question, but why are Elkhart trombones supposed to be so great? :/
It's not Elkhart trombones, but Conn trombones made in Elkhart. There are actual Elkhart brand trombones (likely made by Blessing), and several companies have made or do make trombones in Elkhart.

Conn was in Elkhart for many years, and had a tradition of building some very fine brass instruments; the 8H and 88H were the dominant orchestral trombones of their day, and the small-bores were also very popular. Then the company ended up in the hands of a corporation that figured they needed to cut costs, so they moved production to Abilene, Texas (and some other places where labor was less expensive). A lot of the best workers didn't make the move. To make matters worse, several popular models were redesigned to make them cheaper and easier to produce.

If you think trombone players are picky about the Elkhart vs. non-Elkhart Conns, you should talk to a French horn player about Elkie 8D's vs. Abilene 8D's.
Logged

Like the chicken says:
"You knew the job was dangerous when you took it."
sly fox
love old trombones' engravings

*
Offline Offline

Location: here, there, anywhere but mostly Topeka KS
Joined: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 15292
"trombone enthusiast, photos of trombones - gallery"


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: Sep 28, 2009, 08:59PM »

I know this is most likely a dumb question, but why are Elkhart trombones supposed to be so great? :/

I own the copyright on all stupid and dumb questions since I have asked every possible one.

lucky for you, I don't charge anything for people to use them.   ;-)

as far as quality of "Elkhart" trombones or other instruments, I can only say that the early detailed engravings of the vintage instruments from the late 1800's to the 1950s are amazing.

IMHO, YMMV

Logged

Allen
First and foremost I'm a proud Dad & lucky Husband.  They say great minds can differ (not that I claim to have a great mind).  Remember that $ and my opinion buys coffee at the diner.
vegasbound

*
Offline Offline

Location:
Joined: Aug 2, 2008
Posts: 1762
"Get your tee shirt from http://www.derekwatkins.co"


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: Sep 29, 2009, 12:41AM »

You need to play one to fulyy understand!!
Logged

'There will never come a day when I don't need to practice'- JJ Johnson
UNC345
« Reply #5 on: Sep 30, 2009, 04:05PM »

that's kinda about what I figured, I just didn't know for sure.....I'm guessing Elkhart Bachs are considered nicer for the same reason, then again they are all part of Conn-Selmer...
Logged
sly fox
love old trombones' engravings

*
Offline Offline

Location: here, there, anywhere but mostly Topeka KS
Joined: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 15292
"trombone enthusiast, photos of trombones - gallery"


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: Sep 30, 2009, 04:22PM »

check out these sites for history of manufacturers,a lot of vintage trombones were made before the manufacturers were gathered under "Conn Selmer"

Conn

http://www.xs4all.nl/~cderksen/

Bach

http://www.bachloyalist.com/

I believe the NY, NY  or Mt Vernon, NY instruments are the most sought after, but I don't know for sure


KING

http://www.hnwhite.com/
Logged

Allen
First and foremost I'm a proud Dad & lucky Husband.  They say great minds can differ (not that I claim to have a great mind).  Remember that $ and my opinion buys coffee at the diner.
sabutin

*
Offline Offline

Location: NYC
Joined: Sep 26, 2005
Posts: 4543
"A professional freelance NYC lower brass player."


View Profile WWW
« Reply #7 on: Sep 30, 2009, 04:57PM »

Elkhart, Indiana had a several generations-long brass building tradition. Direct from Europe by way of the East Coast. When my good trumpet playing friend the late (and much lamented...he was the best in every way) Larry Wise was growing up there in the '40s/'50s, they actually had a fully stocked brass tech shop class in the high school.

Think about it.

Generations of old world craft tradition from the early part of the 20th century right through the wind band/brass band/swing band eras, when brass instruments actually had an important function in the society. And now people like Gary Greenhoe, buying parts from other manufacturers, simply putting them together w/real; craft and producing truly great instruments instead of the crap that is largely coming out of UMI these days as a result of bad workmanship.

Hmmmmm...

Why are Elkhart Conns so great?

Because they were designed and made right.

Why were they designed and made right?

How?

Because there was profit to be made in the endeavour.

And why was that?

Because the musical culture of the country at that time was very, very sophisticated.

Yup.

Now?

So it goes.

There is still profit to be made in brass instruments, but only in high-end, professional level horns and in mass-produced crap for the (now) know-nothing student level.

Then?

Little kids had Elkie 6Hs. The lucky ones did, anyway. Hell, as late as the early '60s I bought a fine new sterling silver 3B for a couple of hundred dollars...maybe less, I don't really recall...and I only had to work a summer to get the money together.

So it goes...spiraling down the drain, this culture, in pursuit of the easy buck. The same system holds true up and down. McDonalds makes a profit and the gourmet market makes a profit. Mercedes makes a profit and disposble POS cars from Korea make a profit. Symphonies and funded jazz groups make a profit and so do tweener "music" and devolved rap crap. Rich and poor, with not much in between.

So it goes.

(Flush...)

Got yer health care all set up?

Good luck wif it.

It's all talk, all money, and no curing.

All hat, no cattle.

Bet on it.

Just like UMI.

S.
Logged

Visit <http://samburtis.com/>. Lots of information on that site in the form of articles plus a link to my method book "Time, Balance & Connections-A Universal Theory Of Brass Relativity" which includes several chapters of the book.
king5b
*
Offline Offline

Location: Wakefield, RI, USA
Joined: Jun 21, 2000
Posts: 552

View Profile WWW
« Reply #8 on: Oct 01, 2009, 05:17AM »

Fortunately we have some great instrument makers today in the US. Kanstul, Getzen/Edwards and Shires are making some fine horns. The Kanstul student trombones are as good as many pro models. I had an Edwards jazz horn with a slide that far surpassed anything that I have ever played. Yamaha is making some great instruments.  UMI is not the only game in town.  I think that we have better choices today than ever.  Want a 2B or an 88H? Check out what Kanstul and Yamaha have to offer. We have more options today than ever.  I think that we are living in a much better time than the Elkhart years because not only are many of the Elkhart trombones still around but we have many fine alternatives. We have many fine craftsman making trombones today.  Lets give them some credit for what they are doing. I think that in may cases they have surpassed the Elkhart craftsmanship. Want a great horn?  Buy one made from one of today's craftsman.
Logged
sly fox
love old trombones' engravings

*
Offline Offline

Location: here, there, anywhere but mostly Topeka KS
Joined: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 15292
"trombone enthusiast, photos of trombones - gallery"


View Profile
« Reply #9 on: Oct 01, 2009, 05:49AM »

no doubt we have great craftsmen (women???) now.  however what is the price of new trombones????

Logged

Allen
First and foremost I'm a proud Dad & lucky Husband.  They say great minds can differ (not that I claim to have a great mind).  Remember that $ and my opinion buys coffee at the diner.
BGuttman
Mad Chemist

*
*
Offline Offline

Location: Londonderry, NH, USA
Joined: Dec 12, 2000
Posts: 42763
"Almost Professional"


View Profile
« Reply #10 on: Oct 01, 2009, 06:24AM »

no doubt we have great craftsmen (women???) now.  however what is the price of new trombones????


Back in 1964 I was pricing trombones and was interested in a King 4B or a Conn 88H (top of the line pro horns of the day).  List price was $495 and street price was just under $300.  Back then a car cost between $1600 and $2000.

Factor inflation and things today cost about 10x what they did in 1964 (salaries were also about 1/10 what they are today for the same job).

So our $500 trombone should list at $5000.  Can you think of a few brands at that level?
Logged

Bruce Guttman
Solo Trombone, Hollis Town Band
Section Ldr, Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orch.
sly fox
love old trombones' engravings

*
Offline Offline

Location: here, there, anywhere but mostly Topeka KS
Joined: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 15292
"trombone enthusiast, photos of trombones - gallery"


View Profile
« Reply #11 on: Oct 01, 2009, 06:28AM »

no, and admittably, I'm no expert

but what is the reason people desire the vintage trombone

memories??

why are they recommended by some people on these forums?

cost only???

I know many families can't afford x,xxx for new trombones.
Logged

Allen
First and foremost I'm a proud Dad & lucky Husband.  They say great minds can differ (not that I claim to have a great mind).  Remember that $ and my opinion buys coffee at the diner.
BGuttman
Mad Chemist

*
*
Offline Offline

Location: Londonderry, NH, USA
Joined: Dec 12, 2000
Posts: 42763
"Almost Professional"


View Profile
« Reply #12 on: Oct 01, 2009, 06:42AM »

Not all vintage trombones are worthwhile.  A friend of mine has a Beacon trombone that he uses only for parades because it sounds so awful he doesn't dare play it in "polite company".

FWIW, there were "custom" makers back when I was looking at my trombone in 1964.  At that time Larry Minnick had a reputation like Gary Greenhoe today.  Williams had a reputation like Steve Shires today.  And they had prices much higher than your "mainstream" horns.

Vintage horns that play well are desired.  Vintage horns that quack are not.  Nobody is bragging about finding a great Pan American today.  If somebody found a Getzen Deluxe (or bought the one I sold in 1964 to Victor Stein) I feel only pity for them.

But my 1925 Olds TIS horn is a wonderful player.  And there are lots more.  From the better makers: Conn, King, Bach, Holton, Selmer, Martin, Reynolds, Olds (and there were good European makes as well; we didn't see many of them in the US).
Logged

Bruce Guttman
Solo Trombone, Hollis Town Band
Section Ldr, Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orch.
king5b
*
Offline Offline

Location: Wakefield, RI, USA
Joined: Jun 21, 2000
Posts: 552

View Profile WWW
« Reply #13 on: Oct 01, 2009, 06:55AM »

There is no doubt that the Elkhart Conns are of high quality have earned this reputation.  However, Conns made in other years can also be of high quality. I have a Conn 6H made in 1991 which is a fantastic playing horn and is built very well.  I have owned Elkhart 6H's and the 1991 is as good as the Elkhart ones.  I have owned 88H's that were not of Elkhart vintage that were good horns. Granted the 1991 6H does not have fancy engraving but I don't really care about that.  Some players like the engraving. I prefer no engraving.  One thing about the Elkhart years is that the plating on the inner slide tubes has a history of flaking and wearing off.

I would not reject a non-Elkhart Conn for consideration just because it wasn't made in the "golden years".  



 
Logged
sly fox
love old trombones' engravings

*
Offline Offline

Location: here, there, anywhere but mostly Topeka KS
Joined: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 15292
"trombone enthusiast, photos of trombones - gallery"


View Profile
« Reply #14 on: Oct 01, 2009, 07:17AM »

as an owner of an Elkhart 4 H Artist (1940ish) as well as an Abilene 6 H (mid 70's) I am grateful for the clarification and education.

this is one of the great things, IMHO, about TTF.  How you can gain useful information, history and opinions.

As always, we must remember that individuals experiences vary, I will never be as talented with my trombones, regardless of their own quality as an individual who has more musical talent than I do.  No matter, as long as I have fun with what I am doing and no one actually gets sick if I ever play in public.

any one know of a gig where I could play one or two notes, and the back up plays covers the rest?

I seem to remember an old show where the host did that, played one note and the guest star took the rest.

I don't think it was Jack Benny, I think he could play actually the violin, but it was a show like that.


http://www.pbs.org/wnet/makeemlaugh/episodes/best-of-the-best/joan-benny-about-jack-benny-and-his-violin/16/

Joan Benny: My father was a very good friend of Harry Truman, when Harry Truman was in the White House.  And my father went to visit him.  And they used to play duets, cause Truman played the piano.  And they loved to play duets together.  So my father goes to the White House, and hes carrying his violin case, and he gets there, and the guard security, of course, says, Mr. Benny, I hate to ask you this but I have to.  What are you carrying in that case?  And my father to be funny said, a machine gun.  And the guard said, Oh thank God, I thought it might be your violin.

Logged

Allen
First and foremost I'm a proud Dad & lucky Husband.  They say great minds can differ (not that I claim to have a great mind).  Remember that $ and my opinion buys coffee at the diner.
sabutin

*
Offline Offline

Location: NYC
Joined: Sep 26, 2005
Posts: 4543
"A professional freelance NYC lower brass player."


View Profile WWW
« Reply #15 on: Oct 01, 2009, 08:17AM »

Fortunately we have some great instrument makers today in the US. Kanstul, Getzen/Edwards and Shires are making some fine horns. The Kanstul student trombones are as good as many pro models. I had an Edwards jazz horn with a slide that far surpassed anything that I have ever played. Yamaha is making some great instruments.  UMI is not the only game in town.  I think that we have better choices today than ever.  Want a 2B or an 88H? Check out what Kanstul and Yamaha have to offer. We have more options today than ever.  I think that we are living in a much better time than the Elkhart years because not only are many of the Elkhart trombones still around but we have many fine alternatives. We have many fine craftsman making trombones today.  Lets give them some credit for what they are doing. I think that in may cases they have surpassed the Elkhart craftsmanship. Want a great horn?  Buy one made from one of today's craftsman.


I agree. My Shires horns far surpass my older instruments in many ways, especially in terms of fitting in with newer idioms and newer styles of playing older idioms.

Nevertheless, the original question was "Why are Elkhart trombones supposed to be so great?"

And  I answered accordingly.

The remarkable thing about Elkhart Conns...and classic Kings/classic Olds horns as well...is how many truly great horns they made and over how long a time they managed to keep up that kind of quality. 60+ years, really. The peak of American culture when you get down to it, on all levels.

A culture which is presently in decline.

Sure there are good people doing good things in many areas, but for them it is a continual uphill climb against a media-promoted mountain of mediocrity. Plus the competition from other cultures has ramped way up in the last 30 or 40 years.

Can you imagine Gary Greenhoe's or Steve Shire's shops looking like this today in terms of size? (The Conn factory in the '30s)



Never happen.

So it goes.

S.



Logged

Visit <http://samburtis.com/>. Lots of information on that site in the form of articles plus a link to my method book "Time, Balance & Connections-A Universal Theory Of Brass Relativity" which includes several chapters of the book.
BGuttman
Mad Chemist

*
*
Offline Offline

Location: Londonderry, NH, USA
Joined: Dec 12, 2000
Posts: 42763
"Almost Professional"


View Profile
« Reply #16 on: Oct 01, 2009, 10:27AM »

Sam, OSHA would have a field day with those machines.  Belt-driven, no guards; a nightmare waiting to happen.  I'd bet there were a few employees there who were missing a finger or two (or perhaps just the tips).

One difference was that in the 1930s you would spend time as an apprentice learning all the fine points to your craft.  When you were good enough they called you a journeyman and paid you a better salary than the stablehand at the Livery down the street.  It was a good enough salary that your wife could stay home and raise the kids.

Nowadays the model is "labor is labor" and it doesn't matter whether you just walked in or have done the same job for 25 years.  In fact the guy who just walked in is probably a better choice because he's cheaper.  Hence the current state of quality (or lack of it).

My friend worked for Shires for a while.  He came there as an experienced organ pipe maker, so he was used to working with brass.  Still, he did the minor stuff.  Steve was the most experienced person in the shop and did the really critical jobs.
Logged

Bruce Guttman
Solo Trombone, Hollis Town Band
Section Ldr, Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orch.
Elkhart 88H
*
Offline Offline

Location: Southeast Michigan
Joined: Feb 26, 2002
Posts: 1806

View Profile
« Reply #17 on: Oct 01, 2009, 10:53AM »

... Vintage horns that play well are desired.  Vintage horns that quack are not.  Nobody is bragging about finding a great Pan American today.  ...

Why no love for the Pan American trombone, Bruce?  They were built on the blueprint of the Conn 4H.  I've played several that were quite good, including two Super Pan Americans (with the nickel-plated trim and fancy engraving) and one regular Pan Am.  I like them better than most of the Directors and Connquests I've played, FWIW.

... But my 1925 Olds TIS horn is a wonderful player.  And there are lots more.  From the better makers: Conn, King, Bach, Holton, Selmer, Martin, Reynolds, Olds (and there were good European makes as well; we didn't see many of them in the US).

Agreed on the great vintage horns, especially the TIS Olds Standards.
Logged

Don Bilger
Second Trombone, Southern Great Lakes Symphony
"Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid." - Frank Zappa
JohnL
Edge Monster

*
Offline Offline

Location: Anaheim, CA, USA
Joined: Aug 1, 2004
Posts: 6155

View Profile WWW
« Reply #18 on: Oct 01, 2009, 12:03PM »

I'm guessing Elkhart Bachs are considered nicer for the same reason, then again they are all part of Conn-Selmer
Actually, the Elkhart-built Bach horns on on the other side of the equation; as noted elsewhere, the NY and Mt. Vernon Bachs are the desirable ones.

Most instrument makers (in fact, most manufacturers in general) go through a "golden age" when they're doing their best work. Then something happens. The company gets sold, grows too fast, moves, the owner passes away, or some combination thereof, and things change.

Shires, Greenhoe, Kanstul, and Rath are all in their golden age right now. Getzen is in a golden age, too; you might consider this the company's second.

Maybe a thread discussing golden ages for different makers?

One reason for owning vintage horns? Because no one makes a horn like that any more. Memo to all the the makers mentioned as being in a golden age: If any of y'all start making horns that play like my vintage Olds horns, I'll be the first in line, cash in hand.
Logged

Like the chicken says:
"You knew the job was dangerous when you took it."
BGuttman
Mad Chemist

*
*
Offline Offline

Location: Londonderry, NH, USA
Joined: Dec 12, 2000
Posts: 42763
"Almost Professional"


View Profile
« Reply #19 on: Oct 01, 2009, 12:08PM »

Why no love for the Pan American trombone, Bruce?  They were built on the blueprint of the Conn 4H.  I've played several that were quite good, including two Super Pan Americans (with the nickel-plated trim and fancy engraving) and one regular Pan Am.  I like them better than most of the Directors and Connquests I've played, FWIW.

...

I have a Pan American cornet that is lamp grade.  I will also talk no end about how nice the Getzen Super Deluxe my school had and how lousy the Getzen Deluxe my parents bought me for the princely sum of $50 brand new was.
Logged

Bruce Guttman
Solo Trombone, Hollis Town Band
Section Ldr, Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orch.
Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Up
Print
Jump to: