Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

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ttf_Elkhart 88H
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_Elkhart 88H » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:05 am

After helping a student find a great-playing used 88H last year, I'm wondering if any company is building a new high-quality trombone that copies the Conn 88H or plays a lot like it.  Steve Ferguson says that Conn-Selmer's build quality went into the tank when they moved 88H production from Eastlake to the Bach plant in Elkhart, so they're off the list, and Blessing is now just an importer of Chinese instruments stenciled with their brand name.  Is anyone catering to this demand, or shall I keep pointing students toward the used market if they want a great 88H?
ttf_bubbachet
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_bubbachet » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:15 am

The Getzen 4047IB is very 88H-like and Kanstul's 1588 plays very similarly to my Elkhart 88Hs, but has an updated valve. Both of those are worth trying!


ttf_tbathras
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_tbathras » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:23 am

I've not played one, but I hear Courtois has a superb 88H "copy".  The AC440, I believe.  The only Courtois I've played was as small bore, and I wish I never sold it even though I don't play that size horn any more.  It was just fantastic.
ttf_Burgerbob
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_Burgerbob » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:37 am

I would just get a used one. Millions of them out there, most of them quite good.

I bought a beater late Gen 1 horn for $600 a couple years ago. Very good instrument.
ttf_Duffle
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_Duffle » Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:13 pm

Courtois AC440BR
Kanstul 1588
Getzen 4047IB
Some Rath combinations with a lightweight red bell
Some Shires combinations - they make a 'vintage Elkhart' model, but other combinations as well
Some M&W combinations

ttf_Matt K
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_Matt K » Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:23 pm

The Ralph Sauer Shires was heavily inspired by his Elkhart 88. You can get dual bore or single bore.
ttf_ChadA
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_ChadA » Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:40 pm

For those posting about the Getzen, it’s the 4147IB, not 4047.  Great horn. 
ttf_Bach42T
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_Bach42T » Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:01 pm

Replicas of 88H - shaped objects and refreshed variants of the ilk are just that, they aren't real 88Hs.  A real 88H is a real 88H, even the Conn-Selmer 88Hs.  It's a shame though, the parts are good but the assembly and finishing is just not up to par.   Used 88Hs, Elkharts of vintage are getting older, worn and require more upkeep as they push half a century old and beyond.  And it's one thing to be a high school student just interested in a quality used 88H.  What about those out there with the means who would like a fresh, quality, well-made new model to last 50 more years?  A Virgin 88H, they just aren't worth the hassle.  I found recently when I compared the quality of a newly-purchased King 2B+ against my student (1970s) 18H Conn Director, everything was put together right.  No excess solder, the fitment was tight and the finish did not have the new ripple skin that infects all Conn-Selmer horns regardless. I cannot believe a horn valued at 5% could be made so well in comparison.    I am telling you that it is not worth it anymore. Now if there are any $600 beater 88Hs out there, I can't find them or haven't looked hard enough or it's not 2005 anymore and inflation has caught up.
ttf_greenbean
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_greenbean » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:34 pm

I have to say... the Gen II 88H's from Eastlake Ohio are pretty darned nice.  They have the King valve - which is excellent.  And they can be picked up at reasonable prices.
ttf_harrison.t.reed
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:16 am

Quote from: greenbean on Jan 31, 2018, 09:34PMI have to say... the Gen II 88H's from Eastlake Ohio are pretty darned nice.  They have the King valve - which is excellent.  And they can be picked up at reasonable prices.

Or the CL valve, which is pretty great. I love my Eastlake 88H
ttf_ChadA
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_ChadA » Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:07 am

Quote from: harrison.t.reed on Feb 01, 2018, 04:16AMOr the CL valve, which is pretty great. I love my Eastlake 88H

I just picked up an Eastlake-era Greenhoe/Conn 88HTG.  What a great horn.... 
ttf_harrison.t.reed
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:19 am

Quote from: ChadA on Feb 01, 2018, 05:07AMI just picked up an Eastlake-era Greenhoe/Conn 88HTG.  What a great horn.... 

Were the Greenhoes Conn parts plus a GH valve, assembled at GH? Or were they built at Eastlake using a GH valve? Those are rare birds!
ttf_Horn Builder
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_Horn Builder » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:38 am

GH bought the parts from Conn, assembled the bell sections using said Conn parts, plus GH valve/tubing, then sold them back to Conn. Conn supplied the slide and case.

They aren't exactly "rare", there are quite a few of them out there. I built a whole bunch of them!

M
ttf_harrison.t.reed
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:43 am

Maybe it's just rare too see em used!
ttf_Chris Fidler
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_Chris Fidler » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:17 am

I have a Rath R4/F
It's the "88H Elkhart" version....... Except it plays better than any 88H Elkhart or otherwise that I've ever tried/owned.

The Specs are...... Red brass 550R Lightweight bell. Bronze Slide. Yellow Brass tuning slide and a Rotax valve.

Boom Image
ttf_Horn Builder
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_Horn Builder » Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:22 pm

And I have an M&W 322-2R-GN that smokes every Conn I've ever played. So there!!

M
ttf_Chris Fidler
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_Chris Fidler » Fri Feb 02, 2018 1:26 am

Ha...... Your Mother was a hamster and your Father smelt of elderberries  Image
ttf_anonymous
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_anonymous » Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:54 am

 Image
ttf_Euphanasia
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_Euphanasia » Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:59 am

I'm not understanding this "Plays better than an 88H" concept.

If the 88H has a particular sound, and someone is looking for that sound, a horn that's "better" would by definition be different, right? And isn't "better" totally subjective? If you think another horn is "better," it would seem that you didn't like the original characteristics of the 88H.
ttf_Chris Fidler
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_Chris Fidler » Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:19 am

Quote from: Euphanasia on Yesterday at 06:59 AMI'm not understanding this "Plays better than an 88H" concept.

If the 88H has a particular sound, and someone is looking for that sound, a horn that's "better" would by definition be different, right? And isn't "better" totally subjective? If you think another horn is "better," it would seem that you didn't like the original characteristics of the 88H.

OK let's change "Better" to "Just as good but without the quirks and with a very good slide and rotary valve"......... Image
ttf_Elkhart 88H
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_Elkhart 88H » Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:28 am

Quote from: Bach42T on Jan 31, 2018, 07:01PMReplicas of 88H - shaped objects and refreshed variants of the ilk are just that, they aren't real 88Hs.  A real 88H is a real 88H, even the Conn-Selmer 88Hs.  It's a shame though, the parts are good but the assembly and finishing is just not up to par.   Used 88Hs, Elkharts of vintage are getting older, worn and require more upkeep as they push half a century old and beyond.  And it's one thing to be a high school student just interested in a quality used 88H.  What about those out there with the means who would like a fresh, quality, well-made new model to last 50 more years?  A Virgin 88H, they just aren't worth the hassle.  I found recently when I compared the quality of a newly-purchased King 2B+ against my student (1970s) 18H Conn Director, everything was put together right.  No excess solder, the fitment was tight and the finish did not have the new ripple skin that infects all Conn-Selmer horns regardless. I cannot believe a horn valued at 5% could be made so well in comparison.    I am telling you that it is not worth it anymore. Now if there are any $600 beater 88Hs out there, I can't find them or haven't looked hard enough or it's not 2005 anymore and inflation has caught up.

If Dan Oberloh's shop didn't have such a long backlog on overhauls, it would almost be tempting to buy a used Conn 88H that plays well but has mechanical issues and send it out for overhaul.  I don't understand how Conn-Selmer can keep that Elkhart plant running with such poor assembly and finishing quality.  I'll take my business elsewhere rather than paying good money for Conn-Selmer's bad workmanship, thank you.
ttf_savio
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_savio » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:09 am

I regret I sold one of my Conn 70h. (1941) It was the best of them all. It didnt have any "quirks" either. I dont think its possible to copy it. The other conn's I have is slightly different but all have one common thing. They sing better than any other trombones. Except one of them which Im going to repair. Make the slide perfect with new parts and be sure the valve is 100%. Maybe change it, but to the same kind of rotor valve. They still have parts for slide and rotor that fits?

Leif
ttf_wgwbassbone
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_wgwbassbone » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:37 am

Quote from: Chris Fidler on Yesterday at 07:19 AMOK let's change "Better" to "Just as good but without the quirks and with a very good slide and rotary valve"......... Image

Not trying to start something but my 88H has no quirks, the slide is one of the best slides I've ever played, but yes the valve is a bit underwhelming.
ttf_sonicsilver
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_sonicsilver » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:08 am

I have a theory that the entire classical tenor trombone playing world just wants a nice 88h or 42b. The manufacturers' failure to put the bits together properly is why we have Yamaha, Rath, Shires and all the rest. If Conn and Bach just made the effort to build the 88h and 42b properly, I think they'd clean up.

There are good examples of the 88h around, from all eras (and duds from all eras too). Now that so much retailing has moved online, it's harder to try a few different ones in search of a nice example. However, a good horn can be found for a reasonable price, if you do a little research and a bit of hunting.
ttf_JohnL
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_JohnL » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:31 am

We've been through this a few times, including a really good discussion on the long-running Shires question thread. If what you really, REALLY want is a vintage 88H, that's what you need to buy. Full stop.

There's quite a few companies making great trombones out there. They can build something for you that gives you a similar playing experience but is more consistent, more predictable, and doesn't have decades of wear - but they can't make you a vintage 88H any more than General Motors can build you a 1970 Mach One Mustang.
ttf_John the Theologian
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_John the Theologian » Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:33 pm

Quote from: JohnL on Yesterday at 10:31 AMWe've been through this a few times, including a really good discussion on the long-running Shires question thread. If what you really, REALLY want is a vintage 88H, that's what you need to buy. Full stop.

There's quite a few companies making great trombones out there. They can build something for you that gives you a similar playing experience but is more consistent, more predictable, and doesn't have decades of wear - but they can't make you a vintage 88H any more than General Motors can build you a 1970 Mach One Mustang.

Especially since Ford made the Mustang, not GM. Image

ttf_JohnL
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_JohnL » Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:54 pm

Quote from: John the Theologian on Yesterday at 12:33 PMEspecially since Ford made the Mustang, not GM. ImageThat's the point. GM never built a 1970 Mach One Mustang, so why would you ask them to build one for you now? Likewise, neither Shires, nor Rath, nor anyone else (other than Conn) made the 88H in the first place, so to expect them to be able to make one now is, IMHO, not reasonable. Heck, Conn can't do it, either.
ttf_Duffle
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_Duffle » Fri Feb 02, 2018 1:04 pm

Many people believe the design of the  original 88H was pretty much perfect straight out of the box, but I think there is a flaw in the design, namely high F#, G and Ab are inherently unstable. On virtually all 88H's I've ever played, particularly Elkharts, these notes just don't feel stable. On 8H's they are better, but on 88's they are hit or miss. Pick up a Rath or Shires or Edwards and they just lock into those notes. It's pretty important an instrument can play all the notes.......
ttf_sonicsilver
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_sonicsilver » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:45 pm

Quote from: Duffle on Yesterday at 01:04 PMMany people believe the design of the  original 88H was pretty much perfect straight out of the box, but I think there is a flaw in the design, namely high F#, G and Ab are inherently unstable. On virtually all 88H's I've ever played, particularly Elkharts, these notes just don't feel stable. On 8H's they are better, but on 88's they are hit or miss. Pick up a Rath or Shires or Edwards and they just lock into those notes. It's pretty important an instrument can play all the notes.......

Yes, it's a solid design that has stood the test of time and many many concerts. The supposedly vague Ab was supposedly fixed a couple of design iterations back by changing the radius of the tuning slide and a bit of geometry elsewhere in the bell section. My experience has been the opposite to yours: I've never had any problems round there on any 88h horns and I wonder sometimes what people are complaining about, or if they're just repeating something they once heard Bob Bigname say about his own instrument with its own quirks.

I have a recent-ish 88HT from about 10 years back. Played back to back with my Elkhart, and thinking back to other Elkhart 88h horns I've owned or played.... honestly, it's a better instrument. There have been quite a few tiny design improvements (leadpipe, slide stockings, bigger valve, wider angle F tubing knuckles, different thumb lever and more) and they do add up. But the key thing is the sound. Not quite as rich as an Elkhart, although the violas won't notice. It's a great, classic 88h sound but with an extra dose of clarity and projection and much more helpful at extremes of dynamic. But maybe I just got a good one and the next off the production line was a dog. That's part of the fun with Conns.
ttf_Elkhart 88H
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_Elkhart 88H » Fri Feb 02, 2018 5:12 pm

Quote from: Duffle on Yesterday at 01:04 PMMany people believe the design of the  original 88H was pretty much perfect straight out of the box, but I think there is a flaw in the design, namely high F#, G and Ab are inherently unstable. On virtually all 88H's I've ever played, particularly Elkharts, these notes just don't feel stable. On 8H's they are better, but on 88's they are hit or miss. Pick up a Rath or Shires or Edwards and they just lock into those notes. It's pretty important an instrument can play all the notes.......

My 88H from the end of the vintage Elkhart era (1970) locks right in on those notes.  Maybe I got lucky, or maybe I've just learned to compensate for a small quirk in a great horn.

I briefly tried the 88H-like Courtois when a friend brought one to a rehearsal.  If I were in the market for a new horn, I'd give that one some serious consideration.
ttf_Gabe Langfur
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_Gabe Langfur » Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:03 pm

Quote from: sonicsilver on Yesterday at 10:08 AMI have a theory that the entire classical tenor trombone playing world just wants a nice 88h or 42b. The manufacturers' failure to put the bits together properly is why we have Yamaha, Rath, Shires and all the rest. If Conn and Bach just made the effort to build the 88h and 42b properly, I think they'd clean up.

I have to disagree.

I love the sounds of the classic orchestral trombone designs (and I would put Holton in the mix) played really well. However...I've been doing this long enough to remember listening to auditions for my orchestras before and after custom trombones became the standard. More players show up to auditions making good sounds and demonstrating good command of range now than before.

That doesn't necessarily mean the players are making better music, just that the trombone playing aspect they are bringing to the table is more uniformly competent, and I think easily customisable instruments and mouthpieces deserve a lot of the credit for that. 

As a bass trombone player, I learned to play and won two auditions on a Bach. I own an early Elkhart Bach now and love to play it when it fits in the situation. I also own a pre-WWII Conn70H and love to play it as well. But the instrument I play every day and bring with me to almost every gig I do is a Shires that simply offers me a wider range of tone color, articulation, and expression than either of my vintage instruments. It's set up to respond pretty similarly to the Bach, but I can do things with it that I can't do with the Bach.
ttf_wgwbassbone
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_wgwbassbone » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:39 am

Quote from: John the Theologian on Yesterday at 12:33 PMEspecially since Ford made the Mustang, not GM. Image


 Image Image Image Image
ttf_wgwbassbone
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_wgwbassbone » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:42 am

Quote from: Duffle on Yesterday at 01:04 PMMany people believe the design of the  original 88H was pretty much perfect straight out of the box, but I think there is a flaw in the design, namely high F#, G and Ab are inherently unstable. On virtually all 88H's I've ever played, particularly Elkharts, these notes just don't feel stable. On 8H's they are better, but on 88's they are hit or miss. Pick up a Rath or Shires or Edwards and they just lock into those notes. It's pretty important an instrument can play all the notes.......

I guess I have a good one. All of the notes are good!
ttf_TromboneMonkey
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_TromboneMonkey » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:02 am

I played the rounds on a bunch of 88-style horns at Baltimore Brass a while back. The GEN II was good, the Yamaha 882 was better, the Getzen IB was better still, but an old Elkhart 88h with TIS was easily the best.
ttf_paulyg
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_paulyg » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:41 am

I have yet to play an instrument I like better all-around than my '65 88H, but trying to hit trigger register notes is like playing darts blindfolded.
ttf_wayne88ny
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_wayne88ny » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:46 pm

Quote from: Duffle on Yesterday at 01:04 PMMany people believe the design of the  original 88H was pretty much perfect straight out of the box, but I think there is a flaw in the design, namely high F#, G and Ab are inherently unstable. On virtually all 88H's I've ever played, particularly Elkharts, these notes just don't feel stable. On 8H's they are better, but on 88's they are hit or miss. Pick up a Rath or Shires or Edwards and they just lock into those notes. It's pretty important an instrument can play all the notes.......
I've also found this to be true which is probably why, before the advent of the improved valves, many if not most of the Orchestral principal trombonists played straight trombones (Conn 8H or Bach 42) whenever possible.  You can learn to reliably play those notes on an Elkhat 88H, but it takes effort.  My solution was to take an Elkhart 8H bell, have a valve section built using an improved valve, and make the bell section convertible.  Compared to an 88H, the altered 8H bell section is much closer, playing wise, to an 8H.  Today you could probably get an even better results using a Shires TruBore valve.

I've played a couple of Courtois 440AC trombones, one was outstanding, the other not so much.  The player who owned the outstanding Courtois 440AC traded it in on a Rath, which he thought was even better.  Had I known he was going to trade it in I probably would have bought it from him.

Just as a sidelight, the few people I know who have played an 8H special (a special order 8H with a valve) that preceded the 88H prefer it to any 88H.  These however, are rarer than hen's teeth, especially one in good condition.

The Eastlake 88HT is an excellent trombone.  Slightly easier to play than an Elkhart, but, as a previous poster said, slightly lacking in the richness of sound.

A low cost alternative to a new 88H is the Getzen 1047R.  I tried one at a music store and found that it to played quite well and a lot like an 88H.
ttf_harrison.t.reed
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:31 pm

Quote from: Duffle on Yesterday at 01:04 PMMany people believe the design of the  original 88H was pretty much perfect straight out of the box, but I think there is a flaw in the design, namely high F#, G and Ab are inherently unstable. On virtually all 88H's I've ever played, particularly Elkharts, these notes just don't feel stable. On 8H's they are better, but on 88's they are hit or miss. Pick up a Rath or Shires or Edwards and they just lock into those notes. It's pretty important an instrument can play all the notes.......

never had that problem on an 88H. I also never used a "standard" mouthpuece on one either.
ttf_harrison.t.reed
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Is anyone building a great 88H copy these days?

Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:31 pm

Quote from: Duffle on Yesterday at 01:04 PMMany people believe the design of the  original 88H was pretty much perfect straight out of the box, but I think there is a flaw in the design, namely high F#, G and Ab are inherently unstable. On virtually all 88H's I've ever played, particularly Elkharts, these notes just don't feel stable. On 8H's they are better, but on 88's they are hit or miss. Pick up a Rath or Shires or Edwards and they just lock into those notes. It's pretty important an instrument can play all the notes.......

never had that problem on an 88H. I also never used a "standard" mouthpuece on one either.
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