Trumpet/Bach Mercedes serial number 198168
Joe wrote at 2014-07-05 19:32:01
Last first here; Of the Olds Ambassador, their newest ones from the latter 1970's were NOT of the same build quality as those from say, the 1960's. I believe that it satisfies most folk by calling the Ambassador a better than average trumpet. How much better is where the stew begins to boil.
The quality of its materials was the same for all Olds models...the best of brass alloys and complementary trim metals. Built by the same master craftsmen that presented the highest 'level' horns, they were also designed/sonically engineered by the same designers. It is true that they were not given the same level of trim, gadgets and whistles as their counterparts, and that is the first of two major differences between the Ambassador and the other, highly lauded Olds.
The other difference, is the reason that they ever came into being at all. Olds needed a horn that they could market as a 'student' model horn to take advantage of the changed demographics of the time. There was a huge band program expansion in the public schools starting as early as the fourth grade. Desiring to maintain the same standards as they always maintained, while offering a product that was not a previous model with a name change, they took advantage of the genius in house that they had lured from retirement (Mr. Reynolds no less) and he was the primary designer of both the top of the line Mendez and the 'student' level Ambassador. Both used, in their inception the same bell and the same valve piston. In many dimensions they were similar, one being quality. The company now had the most respected trumpet player in the world playing the new Olds...endorsing the Mendez, and the rest of the line including the also new " AMBASSADOR" !!! It was the horn that sounded like this (he played) and is made affordable so that every..." great marketing for a great horn.
Final point on Ambassadors; Look for the absolutely finest examples of those built from 1948 to 1953. Be sure that you get an original case and mouthpiece. Lyre and paper work is a plus but not as imperative. Get as many as you wish but at least 5 prime examples. You do not want to deal with a horn that has any functional or cosmetic problems, period. Get each example cared for as I mentioned above. Not an expensive ordeal especially if you use ONE excellent pro to do the work they can and you can't do. Ask that each gets greased/lubed for storage and put them away, handling them w/gloves and rarely. You have a very inexpensive investment that will repay you MANY times over and at higher rates as the years go by. One more thing: get a 6th one, a little rough around the edges is okay. have your pro align it and cleaned out and lubed. Play this one and enjoy.
As to the Mercedes? Its a fine pro horn that doesn't impress by its looks, it has the 'blood-line' (build and quality w/o the glamour)of the Strad. with nothing to prove. It gives the player an opportunity to sound as good as ANY player of, before or after his or her time. It is an open and easy slotting horn that should, like any horn you ever purchase...old or brand new; have sonically cleaned, valves aligned,slides checked along with valves for leaks and unless new, change the water/spit valves. My preference for seal and longevity is black, synthetic rubber.