Reasons to collect trumpets?

  • I am curious to know why people seem to collect trumpets, cornets, etc., in the same key (eg. Bb). I can understand why a pro would want all keys. Investment? Hobby? Curiosity? thanks.

  • I don't collect. I just have a couple of horns to be used in different musical context's.

    Ex: Yamaha Z Shew because of its light weight. My daily horn.
    Committee for jazz soloing.
    Schilke B7 for all around work
    Conn "New Wonder" Cornet for older jazz

  • People collect things for a lot of reasons. Curiosity, appreciation for design and craftsmanship, the physical act of possessing and holding objects in hand, using collectibles as they were made to be used, appreciation of the artistic nature of objects made long past, the history, etc. I have collected other things besides trumpets. As investments go Trumpets haven't become all that remunerative and that is not why I have collected more than a few dozen to begin with. I'm not in the business of flipping them. However, I collected military surplus Curio and Relic weapons for a lot of years. I started clearing out my collection a while back. The I sold a dozen of the least valuable in a few hours at a gun show and more than tripled my money on each one I sold. I probably could have held out for four times my money but I was really trying to reduce my inventory. Letting go wasn't all that easy with any of them but I really needed to see them go. Supply and demand is a real force of economic nature with all objects worth collecting.

    In the gun Curio and Relic world, you could always tell the dilettante from the serious collector when they would sooner or later offer for their curio and relic collector bona fide : "I wouldn't own a gun I didn't shoot". Real collectors would have a hard time shooting each one of their collection and some they would never want to shoot because of possible consequences of one sort or the other. When a trumpet player says he wouldn't own a trumpet he doesn't play he isn't a collector and has no idea what collecting ...probably collecting anything.... is about. Doesn't mean he isn't a fine person and maybe a fine musician. Just a thought to pass along.

    I know someone who spends probably $300 a weekend on restaurants. He and his wife love to go out Saturday and Sunday and sometimes Friday too. He's been doing it for years. He wonders at my various collections that I have spent way less per year on. However, what does he have to show for the money he has spent? No way to recover any of it. Of course, to each his own.

  • I’m thinking in my comeback I collected to compensate for lack of ability.
    I did the same thing when learning the bass guitar.
    Probably had a dozen each trumpets and cornets, it was fun to jump around and play mediocre on all of them. Now that I recognize the aspects I like about their capabilities and my own, it’s just a couple that I actually play.
    I’ve not collected any baritone horns and I believe it is because I was proficient enough to practice what’s needed.
    Now I’d rather collect the knowledge of playing
    I do still have my two Holton New Proportions cornets. One long and one short. Both beautiful and a plus with the short version is it’s sound actually blends and plays well in the brass band setting. The long model (Couturier) model the one everyone thinks of as the New Proportions is nice as a solo instrument but doesn’t blend.

    I’m pretty sure I collected to compensate for my lack of ability. Now I know I can’t blame the brass and the collection has stopped

  • In some cases it took many Ebay bargains to find really nice playing instruments. My favorite cornet and trumpet were made between 1937 and 1947. Can't exactly go to a local store and try those out. Each one was the second or third copy of that instrument I purchased, looking for a better example. And also so I have a backup in case the primary has an issue.

  • Why not?

  • Another thing to note about collecting anything and internet sites is holy grail collecting that drives prices. For instance, for film camera fans of all degrees of fascination some cameras are fawned over...... like anything ever made by Leica for instance.....just because of the name. Purely mechanical SLR's bring several times the price of more modern cameras with lots of sophisticated features that in the day of introduction sold for five or six times as much. A Canon A2e with lots of programmed features that sold for over a grand new in 1993 can be bought for as little as $25 today with a good auto zoom while a fully manual Pentax K1000's twenty years older that sold for $200 or so once upon a time go for $50, $60 or more dollars with a less sophisticated lens because the student has more learning control and the enthusiast can feel more like a photo "artist" because he can read the light meter needle and adjust the aperture and shutter speed to balance it and manually focus the lens.

    In trumpet collecting, horns that look pretty much like, and pretty much function exactly like, every other horn are sworn by and attract large prices because of fan accepted assumption of significant superiority. If someone who could play well were to take a Martin Committee in good shape, and an Olds Ambassador in good shape, behind a curtain and played the same melody in turn on each horn how many people listening on the other side of the curtain could honestly tell which was which or which was better? Collectible object value is ultimately a subjective thing and market value can go up or down over time for anything. However, if you can pick up a King Liberty or a Conn Constellation for cheap.... or any other old professional grade horn.... do it.

  • Qualified Repair Techs Credentialed Professional

    You need a reason?

  • Why do golfers have 9 irons and 3 woods in their bags? To have more control on how the reach their goal, whether that means driving the ball with a 3 wood out 200 yards to the center of a dogleg to the right, as opposed to using the driver that would take them 250 yards into the rough. Or using the 9 iron to drop the ball 80 yards onto the green as opposed to using the 7 iron that would take them over the green into the sand trap.

    I have collected trumpets to get me to reach the goal I have toward the gig or session I am hired to play. Through trumpet hangs and visiting my locally favorite music stores, I get to sample horns that when playing, places each one into the context as to whether that horn will help me optimize the quality of the type of performance to which I bring the instrument.

    Let me explain: I have two flugelhorns. I use one for a back up (in case the other is in the shop which has happened on different occasions). I then choose the Getzen Eterna when playing outdoor venues and more contemporary (jazz rock) songs as it projects very well. I choose the Kanstul 1526 for venues that will be in small, intimate clubs with more rich ballads being used for the set list.

    I have accumulated three lead horns, and must admit, two of which I rarely play out anymore. As I was unsure if my Harrelson would ever materialize, I first used the Super Recording and found it's brightness and ease of playing filled the role as a great lead horn. I then after several years of coxing with the price coming down each time, decided to adopt the Getzen Power bore, and that horn was not only efficient and bright, but also had laser crisp slotting and then became my lead horn of choice. Then my Harrelson came through and that horn is just the most amazing lead horn as it takes the qualities of the other two to another level... and it is nice eye candy.

    My Martin Committee, that one I take from my bag to play with small ensembles.

    My Olds Recordings, I use for classical work as they have a bold resonance that announces that a classical piece has arrived.

    My Ambassador, I take with me when I travel on vacation as if it gets lost, or stolen from the room, it is easily replaced.

    My Allora Pocket trumpet is another travel horn that goes with me on longer trips when I have to pack more cloths in the bags.

    So that is how I rationalize my "Reasons to collect trumpets?"

  • One of these days i will clean out a room of everything. Except a chair, a music stand. And a few hundred trumpets;) Well on my way for the trumpets, just need to clean out a room. Then i can go in there and sit among ALL my trumpets naked.

  • Want to clean out a room? Eat a Burrito before you set up that chair and music stand. 😈

  • I am not a collector. The horns I own get regular use at various functions.

  • @GeorgeB said in Reasons to collect trumpets?:

    I am not a collector. The horns I own get regular use at various functions.

    Probably that's all for the best that regular working musicians have only one or a very few horns. Familiarity with a horn you like and believe in is important for individual performance. But at the same time, one could collect something and restrict use according to circumstance and maybe never use according to function at all and still find pleasure in owning.

  • Hi kehaulani,
    I have various trumpets but can I not be considered a collector. However, I did meet a guy who I would consider a collector. When I saw his collection my first thought was "Oh my Goodness!" I was like a kid in a candy store and each trumpet had its own sound and feel. Seeing a good collection like the one I saw recently is something I'll take to my grave. They were things of beauty and wow did they play well!
    Words fall short when describing a really nice collection of fine trumpets

  • Not sure if I'm a collector of trumpets. I have 20+ horns, mostly vintage, predominantly Olds. After 25 years away from playing, I decided to treat myself to the horn that I could never have as a kid - an Olds Recording. I learnt to play and grew up in the local brass band. Once I could make a decent noise, they started providing me with nice cornets - the last one was a B&H Imperial. The only trumpet I had was an Eastern European "Zenith" branded horn. Looking back it was pretty ordinary, but I was playing 1st trumpet in the school and concert bands with it. Some of the other kids with rich relatives had Olds Recordings - there was never really a full range of instruments available in Oz. I always thought that cornets were naturally easier to play than trumpets because I had a good cornet and a PoS trumpet :-). When I started working and had discretionary income it was "invested" in motorbikes and good times!
    When I started playing again, I bought my Recording and discovered an absolute treasure trove of beautiful vintage instruments that, by and large, were stupidly good value.
    So... a collector? Probably more of an accumulator and I'm planning to do something to reduce the count, but I like @Trumpetsplus response the best "you need a reason?"
    These days I try to cycle through the herd every now and then, but end up back on the same couple of horns.

  • @N1684T said in Reasons to collect trumpets?:
    Then i can go in there and sit among ALL my trumpets naked.

    The dripping of valve oil directly onto the skin can enhance the skin's texture, for sure.

  • I get dirty enough in my day job. A little valve oil will just clean off some of the really dirty stuff on me;) Just googled "naked trumpet room" and came up with a good use for Tubas;)

  • tuba262757AE00000578-2976029-Blowing_your_own_trumpet_The_men_s_loos_in_The_Bell_Inn_Sussex_f-a-9_1425384609417.jpg

  • Global Moderator

    @N1684T said in Reasons to collect trumpets?:


    Well, those are "Wagner" tubas, so more like French horns from a tonal perspective. But hey, that is one creative use for them.

  • Qualified Repair Techs Credentialed Professional

    @administrator Wagner tubas are fingered left handed like a french horn are are set up as double instruments F and Bb. These are fingered right handed and have only one set of valve slides that look to be Bb length. Judging from the bell size these are probably Kaiser Baritones.

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