First Horns



  • I did a brief search of the site and did not find another thread addressing this topic. I thought it might be interesting to collect stories and photos concerning the horns that first helped us become involved in trumpet/cornet playing.

    A post by Dale Proctor, in which he enclosed a photo of his first Conn trumpet, got me thinking about this topic. I will be posting a photo of my first cornet, a Holton Galaxy, and my first trumpet, a LeBlanc 707 Sonic in a subsequent post, along with a little more detail about how those horns drew me more deeply into music making.

    Jim



  • Well, my first horn was a hand-me-down silver cornet from Austria. I stopped by some relatives on my way to Japan. My cousin had just gotten a new trumpet and wanted to know if I wanted his cornet, which I took. Took a lesson from my cousin-in-law who became almost legendary in his region, so got off to a good start. Not much later, the valves froze on me and I got a used, no-name American cornet for fifteen bucks. What did I know?

    Changed it about five yeas later for a K-Modified Selmer trumpet in 1960. I think it was a really good horn but I got a new trumpet teacher and he influenced me into getting a new Connstellation. BTW, I later learned later that he got kickbacks from a certain music store. But, like I said, what did I know? Nevertheless, it was a good horn and served me well.

    No pictures unless hieroglyphics are accepted. 😁



  • Some godawful King rental. I think it was a Cleveland standard but it was terrible. Maybe it was just me but even today I don’t care for any of the King that I’ve tried



  • My first horn was new King Cleveland cornet, around 1962. At the time I didn’t know any better, but it was a stuffy, hard to play instrument that was sold with a too-small mouthpiece. I’m fortunate that it didn’t discourage me from continuing to play. I was stuck with it for four years, and then got a used Conn 6B Victor trumpet, handing the cornet down to my younger brother. He did the same, and my youngest brother ended up with it. He still has it, so I’ve been able to play it again in recent years. What a terrible instrument! 😁

    For reference, here’s a pic of one exactly like it, same case too.

    D50623F5-08E9-4620-A2E1-9FD76A63BE8F.jpeg



  • LOL. I still have it, 53 years later. Besson Stratford cornet. Weirdly enough, it still has some of the smoothest valves and slides I have ever owned. Sound quality, not so much.

    besson.jpg


  • Qualified Repair Techs

    I started on a Cleveland cornet exactly like that! It plays like a sewer pipe, and is currently in my home shop waiting to become a lamp. I kept it all these years just so some other poor kid wouldn’t get stuck with it! My replacement for it was a 1960 Benge 3X that my first private teacher sold us for less than it was worth because he didn’t want me to play that cornet any more. I don’t own that horn anymore, but played it from 7th grade through most of college! Wish I still had it - he had bought it from Bobby Shew when they were playing together in Las Vegas.



  • The cornet I began upon was some nondescript rental. I wish my memory was sharper about such things, but I have no recollection about brand or model - I think it was pretty beat up, though. The first horn that was truly mine was a Holton Galaxy cornet purchased in 1962, identical to the one below, which I now own, and which was also manufactured in 1962. I played my original Galaxy through ninth grade. I have had the Galaxy below for a couple years. It’s original finish is around 90% and I enjoy playing it a great deal.

    Jim

    029283CD-4025-4F93-B018-F4F7B95F59CC.jpeg



  • @flugelgirl said in First Horns:

    I started on a Cleveland cornet exactly like that! It plays like a sewer pipe, and is currently in my home shop waiting to become a lamp. I kept it all these years just so some other poor kid wouldn’t get stuck with it! My replacement for it was a 1960 Benge 3X that my first private teacher sold us for less than it was worth because he didn’t want me to play that cornet any more. I don’t own that horn anymore, but played it from 7th grade through most of college! Wish I still had it - he had bought it from Bobby Shew when they were playing together in Las Vegas.

    Lol..that’s exactly how I’ve described it in the past. When my nephew (and godson) was going to begin band in middle school, my brother was going to let him use the Cleveland cornet. I told him not to, that I would give him a better one I already owned. It was a really nice, good-playing Conn Director cornet, still a student instrument, but a much better one. He had already started band when I gave it to him, and he played it a bit and said “I like this one a lot better”. Even a beginner could tell the difference...😉

    997E928D-608C-4890-9499-18011A5B57E2.jpeg



  • My first: The Olds Ambassador. Got me from 5th grade through Jr. High. Don't have a before, but here is the after... after Tom Green took the dents out of the bell, bends out of the leadpipe, red rot leading into the valve casings, then gold beaded it to blend it all together... and it sounds very close to my Committee:
    a6e88355-24fd-46f8-8c80-ac6db9d6b79a-image.png



  • @flugelgirl said in First Horns:
    It plays like a sewer pipe,

    LOL!


  • Global Moderator

    The Selmer Radial, which I still own, was my first instrument. I very much like this trumpet.



  • The brand of my first trumpet is lost to my memory. I think it had "American" in the name, but I'm not sure. It most likely came from the Montgomery Ward catalog as the "Good" of a "Good, Better, Best" choice. The rest I recall clearly.

    It was chrome plated. Can't get shinier than that, can you? Nor hotter to the touch when playing outside in the sun, like at outdoor concerts and in parades. The manufacturer plated the slides without compensating for the thickness of the chrome, so they all were an interference fit. Nice. Do you know how much time and effort is involved in sandpapering hard chrome off the slides? I do. The bottom-sprung valves, on the other hand, weren't burdened by any plating whatsoever, so they did not resist wear, even with Holton valve oil. Remember the glass eye dropper bottles and the smell?

    The case was just big enough to hold the trumpet, mouthpiece, a bottle of valve oil, and a cloth to wipe the horn down. I made a larger case to hold mutes and music, along with the trumpet. I lined it with green velvet, and I trimmed pieces from an old bed sheet to cover the outside, painting it tan, the same color as the original case. I did get compliments on it (not bad craftsmanship for a 13-year-old boy, if I do say so myself). There was just a sli-i-i-i-ight catch. I couldn't find wood thinner than 1/2 inch plywood to make the case out of. Lightweight it was not!

    As difficult as it was to remove the plating from the slides so that they could actually slide, the chrome on the valve block wasted no time in starting to wear off, so I bought a leather protector to stop the wear. I later discovered that the leather protector absorbed and concentrated moisture and salt from perspiration from my hand to voraciously pit the metal underneath.

    Better times were ahead a little over a year later, when I traded the remains of my first trumpet for a Selmer Signet Special cornet, an intermediate-level horn that served me well for the next three years and enabled me to play in tune without having to lip almost every note into pitch, like I had been doing. What a pleasure that was! Traded that in on my first Bach Stradivarius trumpet, but I'm getting away from the subject of this thread, am I not?



  • My first horn was a Varsity ( according to the inscription on the bell ). I paid $25 for it in a pawn shop in 1953. The professor of music who taught trumpet at The Maritime Conservatory Of Music in Halifax, N.S., was an abrupt and arrogant man who said the instrument was a horrid piece of junk and told me to come back when I could afford to buy something better. I still have that piece of junk in my closet, and actually used it for a couple of weeks when I made my comeback in 2016, after a 50 year hiatus. Actually, it does sound like a tin can. The professor was correct.
    I did go back to the conservatory with a better horn, a Conn 28B Constellation that I loved and played for 12 years. I prefer to say that the Conn was my first horn.



  • The first horn I played was a very old Eb tenor horn belonging to the town band which I joined in 1946 when it was reformed after WW2, band folded in 1949, as I expressed a desire to keep playing my father bought me a cornet, a 1904 Besson Class A Prototype, he paid the equivalent of $64 which I now realize was about 2 weeks wages.
    New instruments were rare and very costly in Australia at that time. When I came back to playing in 1986 I found the Besson to be in high pitch and virtually useless.

    Regards, Stuart.



  • My first horn was a used Yamaha YTR2320.

    Served me well for several years until I upgraded to a Xeno. The 2320 was still used as a bad weather marching horn.



  • I wrote about my first horn, a Holton Galaxy cornet, above. This post is about my first trumpet, a LeBlanc 707 Sonic. Prior to my sophomore year of high school, in 1967, I traded my Galaxy for the 707 Sonic. I felt I needed a trumpet for high school, and the thought of having two horns never crossed my mind. My private teacher may have influenced my selection, but I don’t remember for sure. My choice may have had something to do with Al Hirt, or it may simply have been the fit, beautiful finish, sound and response. Regardless, I purchased the Sonic and played it throughout high school and beyond. It served flawlessly in concert band, orchestra, jazz band, all city bands and orchestras, and in pit orchestras for summer stock theater productions. I sold it to a family acquaintance, who still has it as far as I know, in order to help finance Mrs. and my honeymoon. I was without a horn for several decades thereafter, until the trumpet playing itch began to develop again sometime in the 1990s (as an aside, I satisfied that itch with a $20 garage sale Blessing Standard). Anyway, several years ago I found an old 707 Sonic in restorable condition on ebay. I sent it to Mark Metzler, he worked his magic upon it and the result is below.
    821245EC-0CA4-4AD1-B63C-99195335B373.jpeg



  • Jerico - Pan American?



  • @Kehaulani said in First Horns:

    Jerico - Pan American?

    I seriously doubt it. This horn was an irredeemable POSTSO.



  • @J-Jericho said in First Horns:

    @Kehaulani said in First Horns:

    Jerico - Pan American?

    I seriously doubt it. This horn was an irredeemable POSTSO.

    So was my Pan American. Bought it for a dollar.



  • @Kehaulani said in First Horns:

    @J-Jericho said in First Horns:

    @Kehaulani said in First Horns:

    Jerico - Pan American?

    I seriously doubt it. This horn was an irredeemable POSTSO.

    So was my Pan American. Bought it for a dollar.

    My first trumpet was not as sophisticated as Pan Americans are. I suppose comparable horns are produced today by those fine exemplars of the craft in India.


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