View Full Version : Trying to understand Bach news

10-26-2007, 12:16 AM
I have been a trumpet player for nearly 30 years, and recently decided to treat myself to a Bach Strad. However, I was surprised and confused by all of the bad news about Bach which I've found on the web! Now, I don't know what to do, but it would be a great help if all of you could confirm whether I at least have my story straight.

* Bach, owned by Conn-Selmer (now owned by Steinway), has been making trumpets at Elkhart, IN for many years, after relocating production from New York.
* In April 2006, workers in Elkhart went on strike. Supervisors took on their jobs, and production volume and quality suffered dramatically.
* As of October 2007, the strike is still unsettled, but production volume and quality seem to have somewhat stabilized.
* Players of post-strike horns have given them mixed reviews -- some find them pale imitations of the original; others are OK with them (Compare to pre-strike horns, which everybody loves).
* Pre-strike horns now fetch a premium price at places like eBay, but no retail store carries pre-strike horns any longer.
* Speaking of retail, WWBW went bankrupt and is now owned by Conn-Selmer
* For now, production of Bach trumpets is still in Elkhart and they are still handmade, though there is always the threat that this may move to China. Some parts for the current Bach models are coming from China, and some of Bach's student trumpet models may be manufactured there.

Is this all basically right? Are people generally happy with post-strike horns now? (politics of buying "scab" products aside)?

10-29-2007, 12:15 PM
1) Selmer was renamed Conn-Selmer after the acquisition of UMI (United Musical Instruments) which build Conn, Benge and King.

2) They are still on strike with a union decertification vote due in early November. There were about 50 people that crossed the pickett line. In addition there was some tooling-up at the Conn Eastlake plant where they are currently building one model of Bach.

3) WWBW went bankrupt after aquiring Music123 and subsequently losing a law suit to the previous owners of Music123. Conn-Selmer bid on the operation and later withdrew their offer. They were eventually bought out by the owners of The Guitar Center.

4) Bach was talking about farming out their student instruments not the Strad. They have been buying some instruments from Yamaha for years. Yamaha does get some of their instruments from China.

5) As far as pre-strike or post-strike horns. The current ones I've seen are not significantly better or worse than previouse ones. I've played quite a few of the post-strike horns and there are some pretty nice ones out there. The only way to know for sure is to go try one. I'd trade my NY Bach for most any of the new ones.

11-08-2007, 12:13 AM
Thanks for the feedback. In a couple of weeks, I am going to head over to WWBW and try out several Bach Strads.

I've never played one before -- what should I look for? How could I tell a bad post-strike horn from a good one? (Especially if even the "bad" one is better than my current horn)

11-08-2007, 02:36 PM
Some advice when trying out horns. First take your current horn with you. You can't tell a good one from a bad one without comparing them. You should also take some music that you're familiar with and a tuner. I've tried quite a few post strike Bach's including the model 182 made in Eastlake OH, some of the horns are better than the others, but I can't say I've found any that are horrible. Look at the fit and finish, make sure the horn works the way it is supposed to and if it feels good then it probably is. Also take somebody with you that can listen to go and give you input. I've tried horns in the past and have gone so far as to ask other customers in the store for their opinion. Not so much which one is best, but how the horns compare. Just get their opinion. They don't necessarily have to be trumpet players. When you're at WWBW don't hesitate to ask to play several horns, for me a trip there is usually an all day event. After you decide on a horn be sure to check that all the slides pull smoothly, the valves work (you may need to oil them) and that the valve guides aren't broken. (I've seen a few although not on a Bach.) Happy hunting, have fun.

11-08-2007, 08:33 PM
No pun intended. Thanks for the suggestions.