A Question about C trumpet Conversions

Sunday, 22. May 2016 1:46 AM

A recent question:

Will you convert my Olds Ambassador to a C trumpet, and replace the bell with a Bach 229G?

There are basically two questions going on here. One is about converting a Bb to a C, the other is to assemble a C trumpet from various parts.

First thing to be aware of is that virtually all C trumpets are cut down Bb trumpets.

A decent playing Bb converted to a C will retain the same personality as the Bb but will be slightly brighter/lighter as befits the higher pitch. In converting an Olds Ambassador, it should really have new bracing to do away with the lead pipe to valve casing to bell braces. This work is trumpet modification, which is what I advertise on my website, and for which I could supply a fixed quotation.

To assemble any trumpet from a bag of disparate parts will result in a totally unpredictable instrument. This work would fall under the heading of trumpet design and is much more involved and time consuming due to all the experimentation. I do this for my own range of trumpets, and have also done it for other manufacturers. If I did this for you it would be at my regular charge-out rate and the cost would be dependent on how many changes were required to produce an instrument to your satisfaction.

To replace a C bell with a Bach 229 will introduce the characteristic Bach sound (a plus) as well as some of their intonation quirks (a minus). We currently have two basic models of C: one, the Jaeger 229, uses a Bach 229 bell (the bracing needs to be changed to cope with the characteristics of this bell) and the Jaeger Custom C which uses our own bell. The Jaeger 229 has better intonation than the Bach 229C (especially on the 5th and 6th harmonics) but still prefers alternate fingerings. Our own bell gives better intonation and sounds somewhat broader than the Bach bell.

The Jaeger C trumpet concept is different to that of Bach and other manufacturers - they tend to use a longer bell tail than we do (I shorten this when I use their bell), but this means that their front end needs to be shorter than ours. The Jaeger design cannot easily use their lead pipes. Because Jaeger C trumpets have such good intonation, I do not want to change my overall design.

Sorry to be so long winded - my recommendation at this stage would be to proceed with the conversion (and brace replacement) of your Ambassador. You will be pleasantly surprised!