Volume 11: The Trumpet Chronicles (The Holy Grail)

I’ve finally done it.  I’ve found the “holy grail” (for me) of trumpets!

It doesn’t look too fancy, does it?  What is it?  It’s a mid ’70s Olds Super Star Ultrasonic Bb trumpet in silver-plate.  This is an example of Olds’ top level trumpet model, about four years before they stopped production.  I could get into all the stuff about the later Olds horns not being as good as the earlier ones and so forth, but I won’t. It’s still the “best” trumpet I’ve ever owned.  I’ve been searching for a professional Olds horn for a long while, and finally found one I could afford.

It’s a warhorse.  It has been played by past owners.  A lot.  You can see it in the wear of the plating.  This is no out-of-grampa’s-closet-after-30-years trumpet.  It has been used and used well.  You know what?  I like that.  The horn has told a lot of tales in its life, and I hope to get it to tell a few more before I’m done.

It’s designed a little differently than I have seen.  It’s described as having a “straight-through” design, where the air goes through the lead pipe and straight through all 3 valves.  The valves are supposed to be interchangeable, also.  As a result, the 3rd valve finger ring has a “jag” to it, so that it lines back up with where the fingers are when holding it.

It plays beautifully.  When I play it, it seems to come alive in my hands.  I am in the midst of trying a new mouthpiece setup, along with a new horn, so I am figuring it will play and sound even better once I adjust to the changes.  I’m trying out a Bach 11 E/W to see if I can increase my upper register.

I also was able to find a really nice shepherd’s crook Yamaha YCR-233 Bb cornet recently.  It needs a missing brace added back to it.  It plays well also.

As a result of these finds, my Blessing Artist series Bb trumpet and my trusty ’53 Pan American Bb cornet are on eBay, per the “rules of the house” (if I buy a new horn, I have to sell one).  Both already have bids, so they’ll be going to new owners in a week or so.

In other instrument news, I was able to flip a Selmer Signet C flute for a $60.00 profit.  Woo hoo!

Stop back by in another 5-6 months for another edition of “The Trumpet Chronicles”.