GAUDET C trumpet

  • Global Moderator

    I've just snared a Gaudet C trumpet on fleabay which from the pictures could only have been a Courtois... typical pinkie hook (but without the hole to make AC), typical Courtois valves, typical Courtois water keys... but the engraving on the bell says "Gaudet, France". It was a mere € 250 so not much lost in any event (no other bidder!), but I'd like to know more. Anyone out there willing to part with essential knowledge? Nothing on horn-u-copia.

  • Hi barliman2001. The Gaudet family bought Courtois at the beginning of the XX century or so. Gaudet trumpets are commonly found in French auctions, and I think they were their answer to the a growing demand for cheaper horns (Couesnon territory, in my perception). I've seen Gaudet trumpets with Courtois marked valves - I don't know if this was the case for all of them. I think there are also some more recent models that don't look much like a Courtois, maybe stencils.

  • Forgot to say I have no idea how good they are.

  • Global Moderator

  • @barliman2001 : the valves are marked A. Courtois (Amboise), same as in the link I posted.

  • @pss
    What do you mean by that?
    Amboise is a city along the Loire...

  • @Voltrane : I know, Indre et Loire - that's were the factory was, I think it's closed now.

  • 7e87e215-4930-4c46-ba2e-2f65dd44251c-image.png ![0_1562528466838_40293882-1bc6-437d-9feb-0447f5199c19-image.png](Uploading 100%)

  • @pss
    Thanks, I did not know!
    I found this but in French:
    Hope it helps regarding Gaudet.

  • Don't forget to tell us how it plays, barliman. I've read appreciations that go from "mid-level" to "very good". I've always considered there should be a reason for the lower cost, although the similar valves are a good sign (as long as they're not the ones that didn't pass QC...).

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    @pss From what I can gather, Gaudet is the new name for those Courtois workers who did not appreciate the Buffet Crampon takeover and who started a new company under the name of the Courtois ex-CEO... and it seems they took quite a bit of parts and machinery with them (Courtois-branded instruments are now being made by B&S in Markneukirchen on their existing B&S machinery).

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    Well, I've had the Gaudet for some weeks now and played it for a week (a ten-day hospital stay intervened). It's stunning. Just as I like it.
    It's perhaps fifteen to twenty years old, with perhaps 20% lacquer loss, but only one tiny dent. Immaculate valves, buttery smooth but with a very satisfying "plop". intonation is almost 100%, very like a good Bb. It's a worthy partner to my 154R flugelhorn. Only thing that needs to be done is to put a new spring into the water key - it's airtight when closed, but does not return when you open it. But that is a very minor thing.

  • @pss said in GAUDET C trumpet:

    Don't forget to tell us how it plays, barliman. I've read appreciations that go from "mid-level" to "very good". I've always considered there should be a reason for the lower cost, although the similar valves are a good sign (as long as they're not the ones that didn't pass QC...).

    Kind'a one-off comment - I had a friend at North Texas who played a Vito alto sax, student line. Pretty good bang for the buck.

  • @barliman2001 : but the acquisition by the Buffet Crampon Group was in 2006, I believe at least some Gaudet trumpets are (or look) older than that. still exists, re-launched by the Gaudet family, and they say they were Courtois' beginner brand until the 90s ("anciennement la marque étude de Antoine Courtois Paris jusque dans les années 90"). Maybe they stopped making Gaudets when they merged into the JA Musik group, 199?

    Do you also have the sib extension? Any marks on the valves? (see the photos here:

    Anyhow, good news, they sell a lot cheaper than Courtois, if I come across one of those I will give it a try.
    Other good news: Google as noticed/indexed us, on a search for "courtois gaudet amboise trumpet" we're on the second page.

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  • Re: GAUDET C trumpet

    I almost bought that horn. I missed out, but luckily I found another one on sale from a seller in France 🙂

    As others have said, the Gaudet line was Courtois's student/intermediate line.

    That said, mine plays like a horn costing at least 10 times more (I paid $300 inc. shipping from France). I've played it against a friend's Xeno C, and the Gaudet stands up better to being pushed. On the Xeno, loud = brash, whereas the Gaudet just gets... louder.

    Comparisons notwithstanding, as a C trumpet in its own right, I just love the sound it produces. It sings in every register, with a big sound despite only having an ML bore.

    When I first picked it up, it had the usual intonation quirks on E, Eb, and G, but I found that changing mouthpieces (and therefore, I guess, gap) has corrected that. My first inclination was to go down to a tighter mouthpiece, but that gave a very brittle tone. The best sound ironically comes with my normal piece, a Blessing 1.5C. Of course, if I can get my hands on a vintage Courtois mouthpiece at some point, I'll try that.

    I guess the real question is, what do manufacturers change between pro and student models? And that comes down to economics.

    It doesn't make sense to vary the raw materials since they'd get a better deal buying in greater bulk. So probably not much saving there.

    Manufactured parts would be made on the same lines, but maybe by less experienced builders? That would reduce the cost of the lower-end models. But they are still people who were working for Courtois, one of the finest brass makers in the world, and they would have been taught by master craftsmen.

    The Gaudet only has a 3rd valve ring (which has actually been removed on mine, so I'm going to have to get one put on) and nothing on 1st, so that's another saving.

    Where the biggest savings probably came, though, is in time. I suspect tolerances are looser in the student horns, there may be differences in how processes like valve lapping were carried out, the plating is probably thinner, and there was maybe less attention to prep and polishing beforehand. Similarly, QA may have been less stringent than for a pro horn.

    This is all conjecture, of course.

    But in the end, all horns - pro or student - are hand made, so there's always the chance to get a star for $300 or a dog for $3000.

    Is mine worth $300? Definitely. I was lucky. The bell has been repaired at some point, but very professionally. The plate is near perfect, and the compression is tight. I checked valve alignment and it's spot on, which makes me think someone aligned them in the past. Intonation is good and the sound quality is on a par with a good Bb, like you say.

    Is yours worth 250 EUR? If it plays well, which it sounds like it does, then who cares what name is stamped on the bell 🙂

  • Global Moderator

    @robcs Well, mine is exactly the same. I had a friend test play it as well - pro player with 25 years of playing in London West End musicals under his belt - and he wanted to take if off me for a whopping € 1,500 at once. Did not get it. I've had a number of C trumpets in my time - I started off with a Bach Strad 239, then had a Strad rotary, a Stomvi Elite C, a 1940 Couesnon, a Votruba rotary C (which I only play-tested for a friend of mine who wanted it to top a friend's gold-plated Lechner - which it did), but the Gaudet is the one that fits me best. It came with a #1 Tilz mouthpiece which suited it very well indeed, but for me it does best with my regular Bach Megatone 1C, or with my Stomvi Mouthpiece System on 1 B configuration.
    As to being an intermediate/student horn... I've recently got info from another player who used to visit the Courtois works pretty regularly that Courtois did not produce different lines per se. That's why there is the Courtois stamp on the valve block. They produced the basic trumpet (i.e. without additional triggers and rings and the like) and then had their quality control guys go over the hooters. Anything that was not 110% perfect (little blobs in the lacquer, minute scratches and the like) was then branded Gaudet, while the perfect horns got the AC pinky ring and were branded Courtois.
    As to 3rd valve rings - mine has an underslung one so as to make space on the upperside of valve #3 for a lyre holder.

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