Scouts-L Mail Archive for April of 1999: Bugles, Trumpets, and all the rest
Bugles, Trumpets, and all the rest
Tue, 13 Apr 1999 17:09:26 EDT
OK, everyone can just refer anyone to this in the archives in the future.
Mark the date. And the disclaimer - I have absolutely no personal interest in
the companies about to be mentioned outside of my own....
You can get a lot of different bugles. However, if it has a LIST price when
new of less than about $130 you are *probably* getting something that is made
in China and something that makes my Brass repair shop guys just roll their
eyes as they tell you it cannot be repaired. Yup, I'm in a music store.
The brass used is thin, of a very poor mix, and it cracks very easily. VERY
easily. And it cannot be repaired in most instances.
On the other hand every one of you should be able to go into a music shop and
tell them you want the Rexcraft Bugle from Harris Teller in Chicago. Let me
grab their catalog....
Page 217. #BU14, Rexcraft Bugle. I have an old catalog but they show the list
price is $127.50, and I know its now more than that. Rexcraft WAS the
"Official BSA Bugle" when there was one. They don't make the chrome plate
like they used to (I know somebody asked a short time ago) but it is still
the same high-quality bugle I bought 31 years ago at age 11. Heck, they still
use the same box and mine still is stored in that box.
Should it be damaged even I can go into the brass shop and remove minor dents
without paying one of the shop guys and it is a good, quality horn. The slide
is made to play in the regular key for bugles ('G') and if you pull it out
you can also play in 'F', although I'm the only one weird enough to try that
so far as I know.
And that 31 year old bugle went through a complete Scouting life -- tossed
around, snatched from one kid to another, carried in a backpack, etc., etc.
#1 son now has it.
Rexcraft uses the same construction methods as regular trumpets get, for the
most part. And trumpets are not that hard to get repaired if you find a
repair shop. So no matter what the kids would do -- barring major damage --
there would be someone who can repair it.
For reference there are two other brand names I know of that are *probably*
quality instruments (and the first time you think "Its just a bugle" instead
of "its an instrument" you're in trouble, because the kids will pick up that
concept fast and roll over the thing with a pickup truck once they think its
"just" anything less than a quality instrument). One is VMI, and Harris
Teller also carries it. I've never had one so I cannot tell you how good or
bad it is. Another is Amati, also carried by Harris Teller and it comes in
two types -- a Bb (pitched like a trumpet with no valves down) and a G/F like
the Rexcraft. I never owned an Amati bugle, but I have one of their piccolo
trumpets, which I like well enough. I also have one of their flugelhorns in
the store and it will never be sold, probably, it is not "in tune" as you
play scales. Amati is known to be a good, European name brand, but they do
put out the occasional clinker, in my limited experience with them.
Harris Teller DOES NOT sell to individuals, so all of you put down those
phones and stop dialing information. Even if you do call them, without an
account they will tell you to go to your local music store. So if you want a
bugle through them go to your local music store and if the store says they
don't deal with the company, write to me off the list.
For reference, that Bugle is about 1/2 the cost of a used trumpet that has
been fully serviced by a music shop (ours are $350) and a lot less than a new
trumpet (starting around $700), although if you get an old Conn or Bundy or
King trumpet for less and clean it up (and I'll gladly tell someone how to do
what you can at home) you'll have a horn that'll last. My 31-year-old bugle
shares space with the Trumpet my dad bought for me when I was 4, which makes
it 38 and the cornet my grandfather played in Circuses in Minnesota after his
homestead was destroyed by a major fire but before he came back to Chicago to
find a job a few years before the depression started. I have no idea of its
age but its the preferred horn amongst all us old men, its easiest to blow.
So you should have an idea how long a quality horn will last, even if it gets
treated less than gently.