A moment to vent about Bachs

ClevelandErik48
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2023 8:36 am

A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by ClevelandErik48 »

I've played Bachs my entire life. I've admired and tried different makes over the years, but nothing matches the sound in my head like a Bach. But the manufacturing inconsistencies are so frustrating. I recently went to a very large music store that had multiple models in stock. I tried Conn, Shires, Yamaha and 3 different Bachs. By a longshot, the Bachs produced the sounds I liked best, but...BUT.

The 42AF I tried sounded good, but I couldn't move the F side tuning slide - why? Because it was literally bending horseshoe style because they'd machined it too wide to fit in the receivers.

I liked the 42BOF a lot - I really did. But the slide would have needed a complete realignment - it wasn't just dry and dirty from sitting in a store - it was misaligned.

I ended up buying a good, old-fashioned 42B with a traditional wrap. Because it sings, it sounds amazing, and it has the best out-of-the-box slide I've ever bought - 10/10 with the Yamaha slide lube. BUT. It's been three weeks of just practicing, and the entire spit valve assembly just popped off. It's under warranty, so that's not what I'm irritated about, I just want them to give a little bit more of a crap about quality control. And this wasn't even the only issue - I was already overlooking the rotor valve cap with really terrible threads - it takes me 15 minutes to find the one possible alignment for it to go on correctly. I was willing to let that go, because of the sound. But c'mon Bach. Folks like me are loyal - to a point. Rant over, thanks for humoring me.
User avatar
harrisonreed
Posts: 4865
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:18 pm
Location: Fort Riley, Kansas
Contact:

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by harrisonreed »

I wish I could give you sympathy, but Bach is terrible. There has only been one I've ever tried that I would want to play in any performance. That one single horn, out of tens of others I've tried, was beautiful!

The stories of people "finding the one" are kind of humorous because for the prices Bach is charging you can go to Edwards or Shires (or one of their dealers) and walk out with a Bach style horn that plays great and have no issues. Or even buy one sight unseen. You can't do that with Bach. Bach is charging $5500 for low quality builds.

There are people who sound very great on Bach, but some are big names from the past who claim they tried 10+ bells and multiple slides to create their perfect Bach. Sorry but that's not "playing on Bach", that's building your own horn by sifting through junk. Or people who mate Mt Vernon bells to Shires or Edwards setups -- again, that's just underlining how bad the Bach build quality is.

I can sympathize that you like the Bach sound, and you like the design concept. There is absolutely something special there. But in order to "fix" Bach, you need to vote with your wallet. I personally would not give them any money for what they are producing. They will continue to produce broken, low quality builds as long as people keep buying them.
chromebone
Posts: 308
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2018 4:29 pm

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by chromebone »

The problem with the 42 is it was created reluctantly by Vincent Bach only after symphonic players he approached told him they wanted a large bore horn and if he wanted them to play a Bach, he would have to make one. Bach himself thought the 36 was the perfect symphonic horn, and maybe he was right, but the players didn’t agree. What the 42 looks like to me is basically Bach taking as much of the 36 as possible and enlarging it where necessary to make it into a large bore horn.
The result is a horn that is great when it is constructed properly, but there is no room for error when something isn’t exactly right with any of the components or assembly.
Contrast that with the 88H, which has almost nothing in common with the 78/79H.
brassmedic
Posts: 1015
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:07 pm
Contact:

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by brassmedic »

ClevelandErik48 wrote: Sun Dec 03, 2023 10:22 am I've played Bachs my entire life. I've admired and tried different makes over the years, but nothing matches the sound in my head like a Bach. But the manufacturing inconsistencies are so frustrating. I recently went to a very large music store that had multiple models in stock. I tried Conn, Shires, Yamaha and 3 different Bachs. By a longshot, the Bachs produced the sounds I liked best, but...BUT.

The 42AF I tried sounded good, but I couldn't move the F side tuning slide - why? Because it was literally bending horseshoe style because they'd machined it too wide to fit in the receivers.

I liked the 42BOF a lot - I really did. But the slide would have needed a complete realignment - it wasn't just dry and dirty from sitting in a store - it was misaligned.

I ended up buying a good, old-fashioned 42B with a traditional wrap. Because it sings, it sounds amazing, and it has the best out-of-the-box slide I've ever bought - 10/10 with the Yamaha slide lube. BUT. It's been three weeks of just practicing, and the entire spit valve assembly just popped off. It's under warranty, so that's not what I'm irritated about, I just want them to give a little bit more of a crap about quality control. And this wasn't even the only issue - I was already overlooking the rotor valve cap with really terrible threads - it takes me 15 minutes to find the one possible alignment for it to go on correctly. I was willing to let that go, because of the sound. But c'mon Bach. Folks like me are loyal - to a point. Rant over, thanks for humoring me.
Why didn't you just buy a vintage one?
Brad Close Brass Instruments - brassmedic.com
GabrielRice
Posts: 970
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:20 am
Location: Boston, MA, USA
Contact:

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by GabrielRice »

brassmedic wrote: Sun Dec 03, 2023 1:03 pm Why didn't you just buy a vintage one?
Well...vintage Bachs are not always better.

I just bought a Corporation 50B. Very clean, probably not played much. Why? Because there is something desperately wrong with the slide. The spit valve cork seals and there are no problems obvious to the eye, but it plays flat and feels stuffy. It's clean enough - I can run a snake through it with no problem. I'm guessing there's a solder blob in the crook.

But if I play the bell section with a different slide? Fabulous.
ZacharyThornton
Posts: 519
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:51 am

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by ZacharyThornton »

I haven’t seen a new Bach post Covid that I would sell. I work QC for a large music store in Texas as my day job. I will not go into details because I do not like kicking people while they are down, but I have gone through at least 50 different Bach 42s of different specs. I would not feel comfortable selling even one of them to a student.
When someone comes in to do a fitting with me, I don’t even show a Bach anymore.
AtomicClock
Posts: 297
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2023 8:01 pm
Location: USA

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by AtomicClock »

ZacharyThornton wrote: Sun Dec 03, 2023 10:32 pm I work QC for a large music store in Texas as my day job. ... I have gone through at least 50 different Bach 42s of different specs. I would not feel comfortable selling even one of them to a student.
Do they get sent back to the factory? Or just sit there waiting for buyers?
brassmedic
Posts: 1015
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:07 pm
Contact:

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by brassmedic »

GabrielRice wrote: Sun Dec 03, 2023 1:44 pm
brassmedic wrote: Sun Dec 03, 2023 1:03 pm Why didn't you just buy a vintage one?
Well...vintage Bachs are not always better.

I just bought a Corporation 50B. Very clean, probably not played much. Why? Because there is something desperately wrong with the slide. The spit valve cork seals and there are no problems obvious to the eye, but it plays flat and feels stuffy. It's clean enough - I can run a snake through it with no problem. I'm guessing there's a solder blob in the crook.

But if I play the bell section with a different slide? Fabulous.
I didn't say they were "always" better. They've always been inconsistent in playing characteristics. But waterkeys that break after only a couple weeks, valve caps that don't thread on correctly, and slides misaligned to the point that you can barely move them - that's another matter. OP says it's under warranty, so I assume he's talking about a new instrument.
Brad Close Brass Instruments - brassmedic.com
Posaunus
Posts: 3664
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:54 pm
Location: California

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by Posaunus »

Ask David Rejano (Principal Trombone of the Los Angeles Philharmonic) how many Bach 42 variants he played a few years ago at the Bach factory before he found one he could take with him to play in the orchestra. (Hint - it was more than 25; less than 125.) Ask him what brand trombone he's playing now. (Hint - it's not Bach.)
MrHCinDE
Posts: 779
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:00 am
Location: Ludwigsburg, Germany

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by MrHCinDE »

In a few words, that sucks for the OP.

Their experiences of trying instruments and the contributions of others mirror my own and are the reason I didn’t buy a new Bach 42B, instead getting a nice used 42 and having the valve added etc.

I’m in the projects business, not products, but if the sales department told me that 50 out of 50 of my study reports were of so poor quality, that we couldn’t sell them to a major customer, alarm bells would be ringing.

I would like to think that the vast majority of individual employees take pride in their work, such a rate of poor quality would indicate something more systematic. Training? Unrealistic time for individual tasks? QC? Wages to attract and retain skilled workforce? Long-standing culture of “it’s good enough..”?

What’s a real mystery to me is that the quality of Conn horns from the same company was more consistent, though still far from ideal. The new King horns I tried were better still. What is going on with Bach?
musicofnote
Posts: 121
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2022 11:31 am
Location: Grossraum Basel, Switzerland
Contact:

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by musicofnote »

When I decided to get my degree on trombone (reformed high trumpet player) in 1991, I actually wanted a Yamaha, but all the pros in the area said "If you want to be a pro, you have to play Bach.". and "Yamaha? Waste of money - just screeches at high dynamics.". So I bit the bullet and bought a 42OG and a 50OG. Hate at first sight and stayed that way, but ... "If you want to be a pro, you have to play Bach." So I fought with them until I retired my day job in 2014 and decided to give myself the present I'd wanted all these years - and after seeing how many of these pros WEREN'T playing Bach anymore. Sold my Bachs to the local professor (first trombone in the Berlin Radio Orchestra who LOVED them) and bought my Yamaha Xeno 822g. Haven't looked back.
Mostly:
Yamaha Xeno 822G with a Wedge 109G or 110G Gen 2 (.300" throat - both Hybrids)

Very seldom:
Rath R400 with a Wedge 4G

"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it."
PhilTrombone
Posts: 131
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:50 am

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by PhilTrombone »

As much as I prize my vintage Mt Vernon 36, I have never picked up a 42 that I liked.
My Conn 88H fills that need quite nicely.
User avatar
Finetales
Posts: 919
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:31 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by Finetales »

MrHCinDE wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 12:58 amWhat’s a real mystery to me is that the quality of Conn horns from the same company was more consistent, though still far from ideal. The new King horns I tried were better still. What is going on with Bach?
I think it's just that with the same manufacturing tolerances, the Bach designs are more prone to being bad than Conns or Kings (especially with the 42, as chromebone mentioned). I feel like the King designs in particular just kind of work no matter how sloppily they're made...it helps that most of them don't have valves. I've tried a brand new 3B that played just like my vintage loopy 3Bs. While bad 3Bs do exist if you look hard enough, the majority of them just...work.
User avatar
spencercarran
Posts: 649
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:02 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by spencercarran »

MrHCinDE wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 12:58 amWhat’s a real mystery to me is that the quality of Conn horns from the same company was more consistent, though still far from ideal. The new King horns I tried were better still. What is going on with Bach?
Up until a few years ago, Conn and King were made in a different (unionized) factory in Ohio, while Bachs were made in a (non-union) factory in Indiana. Reports of poor build quality in Conn trombones seemed to increase once they moved production to the Indiana facility. Not sure what the current status of King trombones is.
MrHCinDE
Posts: 779
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:00 am
Location: Ludwigsburg, Germany

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by MrHCinDE »

Chromebone and Finetales might well be onto something but what is it specifically about the Bach 42B that is more difficult to build consistently than an 88H? I understand how it evolved from a 36 but not why the slide is harder to align or water keys are harder to attach.

The unionised/non-union aspect is also interesting. Does anyone know if many of the union members from Ohio move to Indiana? If not what on earth happened to them, there must have previously been a sizeable workforce making Conn and King instruments in Ohio. Is there not some sort of labour law in the US for the process of transferring the union members‘ rights into the new company?
sf105
Posts: 280
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:28 pm

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by sf105 »

Spanish grad student here in London told me that one still needs a Bach to get the job in many places in mainland Europe. I was surprised.
atopper333
Posts: 146
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2022 9:40 am

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by atopper333 »

sf105 wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 11:16 am Spanish grad student here in London told me that one still needs a Bach to get the job in many places in mainland Europe. I was surprised.
As a non-professional player never remotely in a position for getting a job playing, I have a question. Why is it that way? I mean, I get that there is a certain level of attention that professional equipment gets, but I guess I just don’t know the history that made it the standard horn. I’m not in a position to question the existence of the bias on horn selection, I’m just curious at the history behind it is all…
User avatar
harrisonreed
Posts: 4865
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:18 pm
Location: Fort Riley, Kansas
Contact:

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by harrisonreed »

MrHCinDE wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 10:38 am Chromebone and Finetales might well be onto something but what is it specifically about the Bach 42B that is more difficult to build consistently than an 88H? I understand how it evolved from a 36 but not why the slide is harder to align or water keys are harder to attach.
Well, I think it comes down to the valve. It's the same exact valve as the 36. So if you pile up poor build quality on top of the undersized valve, the issues start to magnify each other. With bad build quality, in general, even with the axial option it's not going to be nice to play.

The only good one I have tried was a special order 42T my friend had in the early 2000s, that was very well built and obviously did not suffer from the issue of undersized valve ports due to the Thayer. I played and it immediately understood what the 42 was all about.

I think if someone was dead set on a 42 from Bach, the Sawday conversion might be the way to go, or have a tech do something similar.
Last edited by harrisonreed on Mon Dec 04, 2023 11:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
Kbiggs
Posts: 1223
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:46 am
Location: Vancouver WA

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by Kbiggs »

I too have played Bachs most of my life. I grew up when people bought Bachs, and then had work done to them, whether it was just disassemble and reassembly, or customization (which is what I’ve done). From the player’s perspective, i think it comes down to the sound and feel. The low QC is there because people want that sound, and they’re willing to tolerate some sloppy workmanship to get it. Or perhaps they don’t know what to look for…

From the company’s perspective, I really don’t know how it continues. While I assume they receive feedback on their low QC, maybe their corporate culture doesn’t allow that kind of change. New stuff? Yes. Innovation in valves and some parts of design? Yes. But QC? I don’t understand it, either.

Yes, it’s a lot of money to buy new and then get it rebuilt or customized, especially compared to Edwards, Shires, M&W, Stephens, Greenhoe, and many other custom shops. Why does this problem continue? Ask Adam Smith, or “the market.”
Kenneth Biggs
I have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.
—Mark Twain (attributed)
User avatar
harrisonreed
Posts: 4865
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:18 pm
Location: Fort Riley, Kansas
Contact:

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by harrisonreed »

I'm reminded of my brother who would post video rants about his disappointment with each new Star Wars movie that came out since episode 1, "How can they keep doing this to the fans? It's terrible" etc.

But he would buy tickets each time to go see the new one when it came out. I got up and left during the rocket powered chariot race in Episode one. Haven't gone back since -- still mad they got my $7 for that atrocity. But they kept making them anyways.
Dennis
Posts: 233
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:23 pm
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by Dennis »

chromebone wrote: Sun Dec 03, 2023 11:48 am Bach himself thought the 36 was the perfect symphonic horn, and maybe he was right, but the players didn’t agree. What the 42 looks like to me is basically Bach taking as much of the 36 as possible and enlarging it where necessary to make it into a large bore horn.
The result is a horn that is great when it is constructed properly, but there is no room for error when something isn’t exactly right with any of the components or assembly.
Contrast that with the 88H, which has almost nothing in common with the 78/79H.
In the Bach catalogs of the 1970s, the 36 was classified as a "large-bore", and Vincent Bach's quote about the 36 being the ideal orchestral tenor was featured.

When the Model 42 was created Emory Remington was the leading trombone pedagogue in North America, and if you wanted to study with Remington (and later, at Indiana with Beversdorf) you had an 88H. Bach needed something that would compete (on specs) with the 8(8)H. Bach might have succeeded if he'd simply modified the 36 cork barrel and leadpipe to accept a large shank mouthpiece. They were already trimming some 36 bells to 8 1/2 inches rather than 8 inches. But we'll never know. Bach was notoriously frugal: he recycled parts constantly, and even kept using suboptimal designs. The 50B2 (but not the 50B2O) is still using the side-by-side trigger with rollers design. The split trigger design has some ergonomic issues, but the side-by-side arrangement doesn't fix those, and it's way suboptimal in terms of technical facility.

The problems OP was pointing out are not the design compromises that VB made with the 42: those have been around as long as the instrument has existed. The problems are the QC problems at the Bach factory. And while Bach has long been notorious as a box-of-chocolates builder, the problems seem to have really come to the fore in the aftermath of the strike, but they existed before then.

I had Patterson Horn Works go through my 1972 Elkhart 36B about 10 years ago. The horn had started playing strangely after an idiot knocked into the neckpipe. I got an emergency repair done, but I decided that at 40+ years old it could probably use some work.

They discovered that there was not a drop of solder in neckpipe and its ferrules. The dry assembly was good enough to hold up for 40 years. That was a handpicked horn chosen from dozen bells and slides. Once the neckpipe was assembled correctly, it was back to its old self. When Jim told me about that, he said it wasn't the first time he'd seen that sort of thing (no solder where it should have been, solder where it should not have been) with Bach trumpets and trombones.
User avatar
JohnL
Posts: 1699
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:01 am
Contact:

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by JohnL »

As long as people keep buying them in reasonable numbers, there's no motivation to get better.

Consider this idea: If they get feedback from a buyer about all the work they had to do to make their new 42 work, do they think: "Unhappy buyer; we need to clean up out act" or do they think "hey, our buyers are willing to spend a bucket of money beyond the purchase price because our horns are so great"?
User avatar
Matt K
Verified
Posts: 4126
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:34 pm
Contact:

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by Matt K »

Think it's a characteristic of Bachs designs generally. The 36 does seem to be a super solid design, for what it's worth. But the general design of Bachs is to, on average, have a similar amount of resistance, but it seems to go extreme on where that resistance is. On small bores, especially the 16M, it's a crook that's a little undersized. Not sure about the leadpipe. With the 42, the leadpipe is tighter, but then it has a Bach 50 crook. I think that tends to be much more finicky to get right vs. the Conn or King designs which have more of an open pipe but typically nothing particular extreme. Of all of the Bachs... the 36 tends to be the most like other standard designs so. I've also observed that 36s tend to be less finicky than other Bachs too.

The unique characteristic of the Bach instruments is the one-piece, soldered bell. So, some aspect of one-piece bells may also be a little trickier to balance. I think Matthew Walker has indicated he doesn't offer screw bells on one-piece bells because they don't work as well in the same way a two-piece bell works with the conversion, so the one-piece bells might be more of a variable in this whole equation, fwiw.
Posaunus
Posts: 3664
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:54 pm
Location: California

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by Posaunus »

I'm very happy that in 1972 I chose to purchase a Conn 88H after comparing it to 4 clearly inferior Bach 42Bs!
I love playing the 88H, which has required zero repairs (other than removing a slide dent after an "accident") or tech intervention in its 50+-year lifetime (and counting). It still plays wonderfully.
BrassSection
Posts: 172
Joined: Wed May 11, 2022 3:22 pm
Location: Central PA

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by BrassSection »

Only had one Bach experience. About 20 or so years ago had rotator surgery on right shoulder. Figured that would be a good time to send my King (tenor) out to be reconditioned. About ten weeks later I was itching to get my horn back, Christmas was coming and I was ready to play again. Former band mate was running the local music store, he handled sending it out. Said he checked on my horn, place was back logged about 9 months. He offered a Bach as a loaner until I got mine back. Mechanics weren’t bad, but not the best either. The big thing was the sound quality, or should I say the lack thereof. It just didn’t have the brilliance my old King had before recon, and still has to this day.
mark10450
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2023 10:59 am

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by mark10450 »

I currently have a Bach 42BO made in 1998, bought it in 1999, well my parents did when I was in 8th grade. I've only played on it and my King 2b. I picked up a Shires horn last month at a shop just for giggles, I didn't giggle...I cried at how easy it was to play that horn. I've gone back to that shop just about every other week and played a few different Shires horns and each one just feels quite fantastic. I'll likely pull the trigger on one in a few months.
ClevelandErik48
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2023 8:36 am

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by ClevelandErik48 »

OP here. I love all the history you all are sharing. A little more insight into why I bought what I bought…In the ‘90s, I was in HS and really falling in love with playing. My folks got me a 42BO and I guess I hit the Bach lottery because that horn was amazing in every conceivable way. Got me a full ride to music school. I burned out in college and got back into it years later, the horn had sat and I was an idiot when I was younger so it was in bad shape. I played a 42T for a while but didn’t love the Thayer. LSS, I’ve been chasing that sound since. I’ve tried a bunch (Conns, Yamaha, Shires, Edwards) none seemed like me. Demos btw, I haven’t bought all those different horns. I bought the 42B because it sounded great, and I want to eventually swap out the valve for an Olsen anyway (another reason I’m willing to overlook the valve cap). The water key thing is just stupid though, thus the venting. That might be the easiest solder job in the whole horn. Oh well. I was willing to take the risk and I have a great tech (I figured screw the warranty, it’ll take forever and why trust them to do the work).
AtomicClock
Posts: 297
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2023 8:01 pm
Location: USA

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by AtomicClock »

mark10450 wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 1:16 pm I picked up a Shires horn last month at a shop just for giggles, I didn't giggle...I cried at how easy it was to play that horn. .
I cried like that when I did the same thing back in the late 90s. I'm crying again because they aren't $2400 any more.
TromboneMonkey
Posts: 232
Joined: Fri May 11, 2018 9:58 am

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by TromboneMonkey »

I can't say much about the 42, as I've never owned one or cared to own one.

I have played a handful of medium and small bores from them which were good, some were excellent.

I've never played a Bach horn or mouthpiece younger than 1990 that I've liked. I don't know if quality has declined or not, or if survivorship bias is at play with older horns vs. newer horns. But not one horn or MP younger than 1990 for me has played well.
BrassSection
Posts: 172
Joined: Wed May 11, 2022 3:22 pm
Location: Central PA

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by BrassSection »

On the opposite side of the fence are trumpets. Only have feedback from one pro player that joins me a church occasionally, his take. Nothing but Bach…Bb, C, pic, flugal are all Bach and he won’t buy anything else. Don’t know if this is just his personal preference or if the trumpets are higher quality than trombones. Others he plays with won’t own a Bach for various reasons, primarily for the way they feel when played. Might just boil down to the old Ford vs Chevy personal preference. He did comment after trying my Holton trumpet “These feel like Bach valves, and I really like how this horn plays, it would make a great lead or jazz horn.”
RustBeltBass
Posts: 323
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by RustBeltBass »

sf105 wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 11:16 am Spanish grad student here in London told me that one still needs a Bach to get the job in many places in mainland Europe. I was surprised.
I dare say I am relatively well informed on what happens in the Central European scene, and that is absolutely not correct information.
User avatar
harrisonreed
Posts: 4865
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:18 pm
Location: Fort Riley, Kansas
Contact:

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by harrisonreed »

BrassSection wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 4:13 pm On the opposite side of the fence are trumpets. Only have feedback from one pro player that joins me a church occasionally, his take. Nothing but Bach…Bb, C, pic, flugal are all Bach and he won’t buy anything else. Don’t know if this is just his personal preference or if the trumpets are higher quality than trombones. Others he plays with won’t own a Bach for various reasons, primarily for the way they feel when played. Might just boil down to the old Ford vs Chevy personal preference. He did comment after trying my Holton trumpet “These feel like Bach valves, and I really like how this horn plays, it would make a great lead or jazz horn.”
Most trumpeters I know play Bach Bb and C trumpets, Schilke Piccs, and if they play it or need it, Yamaha D and Eb. A lot of commercial oriented players will trade out the Bach Bb for a Yammie Bobby Shew Bb.

In Japan it was either Xenos or Bach, with local pros. Other brands? Jeez, I think I've seen two Theins out there in the wild, and one of them was a 10lb piccolo. Besides that ... People be getting weird looks when they show up with any kind of weird looking trumpet.
Last edited by harrisonreed on Mon Dec 04, 2023 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Finetales
Posts: 919
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:31 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by Finetales »

BrassSection wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 4:13 pm On the opposite side of the fence are trumpets. Only have feedback from one pro player that joins me a church occasionally, his take. Nothing but Bach…Bb, C, pic, flugal are all Bach and he won’t buy anything else. Don’t know if this is just his personal preference or if the trumpets are higher quality than trombones.
Bach has even more of a hold on trumpet players than it ever did on trombonists. Unlike the Bach 42, a Bach 37 Bb trumpet is equally at home in classical, jazz, salsa...absolutely anything that requires a trumpet. Back in the day trombonists were to pick either a Bach 42B OR a Conn 88H...in trumpet land, it was just Bach DOMINATING for decades. The Bach 37 Bb made way more of an impact than the 42 ever did, and the 239 C is the gold standard among orchestral trumpeters. You either have a Bach C, or a horn that sounds like a Bach C. No exceptions.

Nowadays, Yamaha Xenos are held to equal or greater regard, for good reason. New Xeno trumpets are astonishingly good and the Bach-like models can do the Bach thing better than most Bachs. Yet despite this, I'm positive that more trumpeters still play a Bach 37 than anything else by an enormous margin. Here in LA a lot of players I know have been going all Xeno, but I also spend most of my time with freelancers/commercial players rather than strictly orchestral players. I play a Yamaha Bb myself, but I've played very few Bachs that I liked (which is true for either trumpets or trombones).

Now, Bach piccs and flugel? That's a yikes from me. Their Bbs and Cs are legendary, the other stuff...less so.
User avatar
TheBoneRanger
Posts: 214
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2018 4:55 pm
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by TheBoneRanger »

We need another Greenhoe/Bach style colab
imsevimse
Posts: 1488
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:43 am
Location: Sweden

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by imsevimse »

I guess I'm opening the can of worms when I say I like the Bachs I own :good:

In the 80-ies (almost) every symphonic player or serious student over here played a Bach 42B or a Conn 88H. Maybe the good Bachs were more rare. I had a Conn. I bought a Bach 36BO the year 2008 and that horn is a favourite. I have a real good New York Bach 6 mod VIII after I switched the broken leadpipe it had. I have a real good Bach 50B from the 80ies and a Bach 39 alto from 1982. All theese are very good horns. I have a Mnt Vernon Bach 12 and a 45 that I haven't figured out yet. Could be real good, I have just not played them enough to figure. I have a good Bach 42 and a 42B too, but they've not played much because I rarely play .547 sized horns. I find Bachs to be very different from Conns and Kings when it comes to were positions are, and how the horn intonate. It's what makes them more difficult to adapt to for me, but after a horn has been learned it's turned out well. I appreciate all the Bachs I own, especially the Bach 39 alto and the Bach 36BO

/Tom
User avatar
harrisonreed
Posts: 4865
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:18 pm
Location: Fort Riley, Kansas
Contact:

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by harrisonreed »

That's just it, Tom. There is something there, with Bach. It's just that the quality control and consistency, lately, is not there. You probably were lucky and buying from someone who was careful about what they let into the shop.

The good ones are very very good.
MrHCinDE
Posts: 779
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:00 am
Location: Ludwigsburg, Germany

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by MrHCinDE »

harrisonreed wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 11:35 am
Well, I think it comes down to the valve. It's the same exact valve as the 36. So if you pile up poor build quality on top of the undersized valve, the issues start to magnify each other. With bad build quality, in general, even with the axial option it's not going to be nice to play.

The only good one I have tried was a special order 42T my friend had in the early 2000s, that was very well built and obviously did not suffer from the issue of undersized valve ports due to the Thayer. I played and it immediately understood what the 42 was all about.

I think if someone was dead set on a 42 from Bach, the Sawday conversion might be the way to go, or have a tech do something similar.
This seems a reasonable theory, it would explain why after trying and disliking several Bach 42B and 42BO in the past, then playing Conn 88h/8h for years, the first Bach that I really enjoyed playing, and immediately bought, was a late 80s straight 42. I liked it so much that I got a convertible valve section made and sold all my Conn gear. All together for my convertible horn I‘m in for about 40% less cost than the street price of a comparable Bach 42B and have the knowledge that the valve is superior and workmanship of my trusted tech is excellent, as well as the flexibility of the straight and valve setups. I‘d rather support local craftsmanship than pay the high prices for poor quality out of the Bach factory.

FWIW in the amateur music scene in my region of southern Germany, I see a lot of Bach 42B and 36B, probably more than Conn actually. I don‘t remember them being so popular back home in the UK, at least in brass band circles. At that time people were mainly playing Conn, Rath and Yamaha.
BrassSection
Posts: 172
Joined: Wed May 11, 2022 3:22 pm
Location: Central PA

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by BrassSection »

Glad I joined this group! Except for the team at church, of which only my grandson (trumpet at school, and occasional part of a church ensemble) and our drummer/bass player who was a tuba major and is a local band director have any brass experience, I have very little contact with other brass musicians and have learned a lot here. Do have a few regular contacts in the local brass group but that’s about it. As far as my horns, they can all exceed my training and do everything required for me, and I wouldn’t trade any. Just nice to hear about the pros and cons of what’s out there. I have.gotten a thumbs up by the pros on all my horns.
JoeAumann
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:51 am

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by JoeAumann »

TheBoneRanger wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 5:15 pm We need another Greenhoe/Bach style colab
M&W
User avatar
Matt K
Verified
Posts: 4126
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:34 pm
Contact:

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by Matt K »

Think the idea is someone who assembles Bach and Conn parts with attention to detail.

That said, if I win the lottery tomorrow, I’d be calling up Matt and ordering a Bach style small bore setup with F attachment
JoeAumann
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:51 am

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by JoeAumann »

Matt K wrote: Wed Dec 06, 2023 2:41 am Think the idea is someone who assembles Bach and Conn parts with attention to detail.

That said, if I win the lottery tomorrow, I’d be calling up Matt and ordering a Bach style small bore setup with F attachment
Matthew will rebuild Bach or Conn instruments. That was my point.
Lastbone
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed May 15, 2019 4:56 pm
Location: Galena IL

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by Lastbone »

I have two Bachs, a 42BOG with nickel slide and a standard 50T. They have both been absolutely trouble free. Admittedly, I take a long while to warm up to a new horn, but they were both fine players out of the box.
The 42 has had the valve re-ported and an edge brace added. It is remarkably colorful -- it will pass for a small bass, blend easily inside a section or simply sparkle on a first part.
The 50 is still a work in progress -- it took a while to find the right mouthpiece/leadpipe combination. The intonation is quick and sure, it plays easily at all dynamics, but no matter how hard you push, it is impossible to make it sizzle. I has a big orchestral sound, but I'd never bring it to a jazz gig.
Guess I've been lucky. I should add that I got both of these when I lived in Chicago, where you get trash talked if you bring a Conn or Yamaha to a gig. (How embarrassing to admit that I bought 2 horns just to shut up the other players.)
User avatar
JohnL
Posts: 1699
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:01 am
Contact:

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by JohnL »

TheBoneRanger wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 5:15 pm We need another Greenhoe/Bach style colab
You might take a look at the Brass Ark/Sawday Bach 42 Upgrade Project.
User avatar
Burgerbob
Posts: 4807
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:10 pm
Location: LA
Contact:

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by Burgerbob »

JohnL wrote: Wed Dec 06, 2023 11:00 pm
TheBoneRanger wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 5:15 pm We need another Greenhoe/Bach style colab
You might take a look at the Brass Ark/Sawday Bach 42 Upgrade Project.
Which is no longer, they are done
Aidan Ritchie, LA area player and teacher
User avatar
Burgerbob
Posts: 4807
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:10 pm
Location: LA
Contact:

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by Burgerbob »

Been trying to think of a way to contribute to this thread... Odds are I've owned more Bachs than the thread combined. So I tallied them up, then tallied up the horns that I think were good from that overall sample.

I've owned

22 Bach 50s
12 Bach 42s
3 Bach 36s
3 Bach 16Ms

40 total

Out of that list, 10 total horns were what I would call good. A solid 25%!!

Keep in mind that I exclusively buy used, and usually buy CHEAP used, so it's skewed towards horns that people weren't valuing highly for whatever reason. I don't really care about new Bachs, I'll play them at a show but I'm not ever going to be in the market for one. I'm not their customer.

And yup... still love 'em. My current 42 is a large bore that actually makes me want to play large bore tenor, which is a success all in itself. I may be selling a very special 50, but I have plans for at least 2 more in the works. The addiction cannot be stopped by simple math.
Aidan Ritchie, LA area player and teacher
brassmedic
Posts: 1015
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:07 pm
Contact:

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by brassmedic »

Burgerbob wrote: Thu Dec 07, 2023 12:16 am Been trying to think of a way to contribute to this thread... Odds are I've owned more Bachs than the thread combined. So I tallied them up, then tallied up the horns that I think were good from that overall sample.

I've owned

22 Bach 50s
12 Bach 42s
3 Bach 36s
3 Bach 16Ms

40 total

Out of that list, 10 total horns were what I would call good. A solid 25%!!

Keep in mind that I exclusively buy used, and usually buy CHEAP used, so it's skewed towards horns that people weren't valuing highly for whatever reason. I don't really care about new Bachs, I'll play them at a show but I'm not ever going to be in the market for one. I'm not their customer.

And yup... still love 'em. My current 42 is a large bore that actually makes me want to play large bore tenor, which is a success all in itself. I may be selling a very special 50, but I have plans for at least 2 more in the works. The addiction cannot be stopped by simple math.
Step 1 is admitting you are powerless against trombones....
Brad Close Brass Instruments - brassmedic.com
claf
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:10 am

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by claf »

brassmedic wrote: Thu Dec 07, 2023 2:42 am Step 1 is admitting you are powerless against trombones....
So true, I'm a trumpet player and I'm selling most of my trumpets to buy trombones...
Gaudet bass (like Courtois 502)
Adams TB1 Open Flow dual bore tenor
Blessing .508 straight tenor with rose brass bell
User avatar
TheBoneRanger
Posts: 214
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2018 4:55 pm
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by TheBoneRanger »

JohnL wrote: Wed Dec 06, 2023 11:00 pm
TheBoneRanger wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 5:15 pm We need another Greenhoe/Bach style colab
You might take a look at the Brass Ark/Sawday Bach 42 Upgrade Project.
There are certainly people who can take your Bach parts and turn them into a great horn, but you used to be able to go to the Greenhoe site, select "Greenhoe/Bach" and in a month or so, a terrific 42/50 would arrive, made from Bach parts where it mattered, but perfectly constructed. If you craved the Bach sound, this was the easiest way to get a good one.
User avatar
harrisonreed
Posts: 4865
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:18 pm
Location: Fort Riley, Kansas
Contact:

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by harrisonreed »

Key word, "was".
hornbuilder
Posts: 929
Joined: Wed May 02, 2018 9:20 pm

Re: A moment to vent about Bachs

Post by hornbuilder »

Just a few examples of the sort of work I do. I have rebuilt "many" (I have lost count, but it is easily in the triple digits including those done previously in Australia, then Greenhoe and M&W) Bach and Conn trombones for clients (as well as Edwards, Shires, Holton, Yamaha, you name it) I'm more than happy to discuss possible projects with people.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Matthew Walker
Owner/Craftsman, M&W Custom Trombones, LLC, Jackson, Wisconsin.
Former Bass Trombonist, Opera Australia, 1991-2006
Post Reply

Return to “Instruments”