Most bang for your buck!


  • Global Moderator

    What brand, in your experience, provides the most value? I have played some "less-expensive" brands that I was very impressed with. CarolBrass and Bill Pfund trumpets come to mind. For the price of a used Bach, you can buy a beautiful, well-built instrument with fanstastic response and valve action.


  • Qualified Repair Techs

    I’m super impressed with Jupiter’s intermediate models, 1100MS and 1100RSQ. Most intermediate horns are just dressed up student models, but there is a HUGE jump in quality between Jupiter’s student and intermediate. I might even like the 1100s more than some of the XO line! I’m tempted to pick one up as a “dangerous gig” horn - I could gig on either of these models any night of the week and we’re selling them at $500 and $700. Perfect bar band horn, but I haven’t had any issue playing any literature on one so far, and i’ve easily tested 100 by now. Very consistent as well - i’ve Yet to play a bad one!



  • I love the Manchester Brass ACB custom mode. It is one helluva band trumpet at around $1400 USD. I've been playing mine for near 3 years now. I love the valves, the tone...just about everything about it.



  • "Best bang for the buck" is in the eye of the beholder. There are gear-knowlegeable posters who know brands/models much better than I, but the best horn I've found is a Conn 38B Connstellation.

    They seem to be around $1,200.00. Some good other horn buys can be had in the $600.00 - $800.00 price range, but I don't consider them professional. and I guess this is where "Best Bang" comes into play.

    A Connstellation is a professional quality horn. I believe it has the same qualities of new, professional horns costing three times that much. It has been played in the full gamut of playing situations, from symphony to jazz combo.

    One good examole is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBXzw7Llhpk&t=1060s
    or here:

    An aside is that the finish on Connstellations is almost bullet proof and they have held up well, cosmetically, for those who care.



  • What is "value"? Do we compare purchase price to what you can recover after 5 or 10 years?

    I have always learned that we buy cheap tools twice.



  • @ROWUK I knew someone who said that one of the best bits of advice he got from his dad was: "Always buy the best; you'll never be disappointed." I find this advice to be true for at least two additional reasons. First, your budget is then limited to acquiring things that matter the most, sparing you from collecting junk. Second is that I find that the best is rarely the most expensive to purchase; the equation of price with value can very well be a mistake.


  • Qualified Repair Techs

    It’s fine to say “buy the best”, but then we have many other arguments on what is the best and why. When you get into professional trumpets, you don’t necessarily get into better quality for every dollar spent. You do get to the point of buying one instrument over another because it suits you better. A prime argument is that I could spend $1k more for a Bach or Yamaha than I did for my Adams A1, but they don’t suit me as well. Then we get into the vintage horn argument - is it really a bang for your buck if it’s a pro model and costs you less, but is worn to the point of being unplayable. There is a Connstellation on my bench that I would never think of gigging on, but I could grab any one of those Jupiter 1100s and have a successful gig tomorrow. In 5 years my chances would still be better on that Jupiter than on some of the worn out Bach Strads we’ve had that badly need a valve job, though the Jupiter may not have the same resale value as either of those horns. Are we looking for resale value or playability? Good questions to consider!
    I also agree with comments about Manchester Brass and Carolbrass - nice players at their price point.



  • Aren't those Jupiter models relatively recent? How does one compare it's intrinsic value when comparing it to a horn that's a half century, or more, older?


  • Qualified Repair Techs

    @Kehaulani For me, that’s an easy choice. I don’t gig on vintage horns, not because I can’t, but because I don’t want to play on something worn out, or come to rely on something I can’t replace. I did gig on vintage horns at one time, but it was terrifying any time I had an accident on a gig and no other horn I had on hand could take the place of the one that was damaged. Every A1 I’ve played with the same specs as mine has felt the same, and I also find very little difference between these Jupiter horns of the same model - one of the things I like about them, very consistent. I could replace them with another without worry. In contrast, almost every Bach I have played is different with very few exceptions. The models that feel most consistent to me are the Artisan, the Commercial, and the Mariachi, but I don’t like any of them enough to own one. It would be pretty much impossible to just pull a 37 or 43 off the shelf and expect any two to feel the same.



  • I get your point about replacement parts and I think it's a valid one, but OTOH, I've never had to work with a secondary horn, ever, nor have I ever been in a compromising position due to a malfunction. YMMV.



  • @ROWUK said in Most bang for your buck!:

    What is "value"? Do we compare purchase price to what you can recover after 5 or 10 years?

    I have always learned that we buy cheap tools twice.

    I've enjoyed my CarolBrass Pocket Trumpet for many years. And I've had no problems with a house brand trombone I got from WWBW. Depending on your goals, a less-expensive horn may be very appropriate.

    However, Rowuk raises a good point. The OP talks about buying one of these horns for the price of a used Bach. But note that over the years, that used Bach will hold its value. That less-expensive horn likely will not.

    And as mentioned by others, that used Bach (or Yamaha, etc.) comes with a well-supplied network for support and parts, while these less-expensive horns may not.

    Mike



  • To add a bit to my comment about cheap tools twice:

    We ALWAYS have to consider what we are using the instruments for. An amateur in a town band will certainly have different NECESSITIES than the working pro. If I read the comments by many amateurs on the internet, I wonder how they really play. The comments do not match the requirements. Many times we have a luxury issue - more money than common sense. We cannot necessarily equate price with performance but there is a bottom line for quality.

    At the end of the day, no one can answer the Bang for the Buck question for someone else. How much is pride in ownership worth? How much inspiration do we get from having something special in our hands? How many owners handicap themselves by believing the yarns that they spin.



  • Well, to me it's all about the music. Who cares what it looks like? It's a tool.

    To contrast, I am a Martial Artist. The older and funkier your Black Belt looks, the more wear and tear it, and you, have had. I remember during a workshop once, even seeing a guy beating his belt on the sidewalk, to look older.

    The musical circles I've hung with wear their worn instruments with pride, not as museum showcase pieces.


  • Qualified Repair Techs

    Lucky you who’ve never experienced an accident on a gig- i’ve Had horns knocked around by drunk audience, other musicians, wind blowing music stands, and banging into things in the dark. I always had a secondary horn I used for parades and such in the Navy, but the inventory was so terrible in my first Navy band that I used a less expensive one of my own. I’ve done plenty of civilian gigs over the years that I don’t want to take my best horn on, but also want a dependable player that won’t hold me back, so I’ve always kept my eye on the lower cost alternatives out there. A worn horn holds no sentimental “badge of honor” - I need a working tool to get the job done.


  • Global Moderator

    I know how I feel:

    If I want the tool now, I go to Harbor Freight. I pay for this later.

    If I want a better tool a little later, I wait and go to Lowe's or Craigslist.

    Either way, I pay later.



  • I had the good fortune to purchase my Getzen Eterna from a NY pro who really rarely played it. It was, and is still in pristine condition and is nearly 40 years old. So, in my case, a pro horn for $750 and not showing any quit.
    There's my bang for the buck story.



  • @administrator said in Most bang for your buck!:

    I know how I feel:

    If I want the tool now, I go to Harbor Freight. I pay for this later.

    If I want a better tool a little later, I wait and go to Lowe's or Craigslist.

    Either way, I pay later.

    I’ve many Harbor Freight tools that have outlasted and outperformed many big name brands.



  • @djeffers78 said in Most bang for your buck!:

    @administrator said in Most bang for your buck!:

    I know how I feel:

    If I want the tool now, I go to Harbor Freight. I pay for this later.

    If I want a better tool a little later, I wait and go to Lowe's or Craigslist.

    Either way, I pay later.

    I’ve many Harbor Freight tools that have outlasted and outperformed many big name brands.

    A very small core sample group, however. And you have either been very lucky or very careful with tools.....IMO



  • @BigDub said in Most bang for your buck!:

    @djeffers78 said in Most bang for your buck!:

    @administrator said in Most bang for your buck!:

    I know how I feel:

    If I want the tool now, I go to Harbor Freight. I pay for this later.

    If I want a better tool a little later, I wait and go to Lowe's or Craigslist.

    Either way, I pay later.

    I’ve many Harbor Freight tools that have outlasted and outperformed many big name brands.

    A very small core sample group, however. And you have either been very lucky or very careful with tools.....IMO

    Not at all. I’m a commercial electrician! My tools get used and abused. Since Home Depot and Lowe’s now sell what were once high quality professional grade brands the quality has went way way down. The price has not went down as far to match though.

    Doyle linesman pliers
    SDS and SDS max bits
    1/2” drive sockets
    Wrenches
    All have been very dependable tools and if I ever have to I’ll buy them again


  • Global Moderator

    @djeffers78 said in Most bang for your buck!:

    @administrator said in Most bang for your buck!:

    I know how I feel:

    If I want the tool now, I go to Harbor Freight. I pay for this later.

    If I want a better tool a little later, I wait and go to Lowe's or Craigslist.

    Either way, I pay later.

    I’ve many Harbor Freight tools that have outlasted and outperformed many big name brands.

    Certainly hasn't been my experience.


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