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Bach 180ML
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50 49269
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers $1,257.87 8.4

 

Description:
The most popular of all Bach trumpets for good all-around playing. Features standard weight body and bell, and standard construction #25 mouthpipe (except for extra-large and Vindabona bores).

Available in five bore sizes.
M=0.453"
ML=0.459"
L=0.462"
XL=0.468"
MLV (Vindabona)=0.453"/0.459"
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Bore (inch): 0.459
Bell (inch): 4.8125
Bell Type: 1 Piece
Bell Mtl.: Yellow Brass
Valves: 3, Monel
Website: http://www.bachbrass.com
Keywords: Bach 180ML
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Review Date: 2/11/2004 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $1,650.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Classic "Bach tone" and projection. Good valve action and decent intonation.
Cons: "Clanky" valves.

 
I’ve been reviewing a lot of new horns lately from builders like Conn, Yamaha, Stomvi and Kanstul. Many of these horns seem to be derivative of the Bach, in fact I’ve reviewed a couple that were hard to distinguish from a Bach visually from a distance of just a few feet. Imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery. For better or worse, Bach Bb and C trumpets have become the de facto standard for orchestral and wind ensemble trumpet tone in the USA and those horns are the benchmark by which most competing trumpets are measured.

I’ve played many Bachs through the years, but I’ve never owned one and it’d been a least three years since I had one in my hands for more than a few seconds. If I’m going to keep reviewing horns I figured that I owed my readers an update of my personal Bach-knowledge. So, I called my good buddy Roger Holmes at Brook Mays’ LBJ store in Dallas, Texas to arrange a short loan. Roger quickly filled the need by loaning me a new Bach 37, serial number 584693 in silver plate, pick randomly out of the store room.

The fit and finish is very good with good valve action, even silver plating and smooth action on all slides. The horn is feels medium in weight and the bracing is relatively stiff, with two vertical braces on the main slide branch and large flanges on the braces between the leadpipe and bell. This brace pattern is copied on many other horns, down to the exact shape and size of the flanges.

The valves have fast action and don’t seem to require any special oil in order to work well. Some horns have tighter valves that will tend to be slow unless you clean them scrupulously and use ultra-light synthetic oils. I personally prefer valves in the later category, but I think that Bach has made a good choice for a horn that will likely be the first “pro” trumpet of millions of high school trumpeters. The Bach’s valves are a little on the “clanky”, noisy side, but they work with a sticking valve seeming unlikely.

The stock single case is excellent with nice materials, light weight, good weather and shock protection with useable storage compartments within the case. My own horn came with a European BAM brand case that actually has superior materials, but any advantage there is offset by the Bach case’s superior storage.

I’ve examined and played a lot of boutique, custom horns, like Blackburn, Lawler, Wild Thing, V-Raptor (these last two are serious horns despite their names) and almost-custom horns like Schilke and Selmer Paris. If you rank the boutique and custom horns at a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale, then the fit and finish of the Bach is about a 7. This is comparable to the overall quality of the Stomvi, Kanstul and Yamaha horns that I’ve reviewed in the last few months give or take a point.

Of course, playing is how you really test a trumpet. For this medium-large, .459” bore horn I used my Bach 3C and a GR66LX mouthpieces for most of the testing. There was a medium-large Stomvi USA on hand for direct comparison and, of course, my own Selmer Paris Concept TT was used, but it’s not directly comparable because it’s large bore.

First, let me say that this Bach was NOT “STUFFY”. It was easy to make it resonate and its “slotting” was solid and secure without being unduly “stiff.” Using my GR66MS I easily played up to G over high-C with a nice tone with good “sizzle”. (Some day I’ll write a little treatise explaining all these quoted words, but for now the quotes will mean that I know what I’m saying and I hope you do. Some of you will, since these are much used trumpet lingo, but I’ve found them problematic in reading the reviews of others). Going back to the 3C and the 66LX I noted a “focused”, full tone that seemed to “project” well.

The intonation compromises were typical of what I’ve come to expect of most pro trumpets. Tha
t means far from perfect, but close enough that they can be easily adjusted. Basically it’s, kick out a slide here, lip up a note there, and use an alternate fingering elsewhere and everything is wonderful. I’ve found that the so called “supper-horns” have the same compromises, but they differ only in degree. There were no intonation issues that made certain notes hard to play. I’ve played horns that got really hard above high-C because the intonation was so far off. Once again, I’d rank the intonation at a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. I’d also rank the Stomvi at a 7 and my Selmer Paris at a 9, just for comparison’s sake. I once owned an old Keefer cornet from about 1914 that had a wonderful tone, beautiful engravings and an intonation rating of 4!!

Let’s get back to that “focused” tone. The Bach 37 has a really rich palette of overtones with lots of midrange emphasis and very little emphasis in the upper partials. This is the key to the “Bach sound” in my humble opinion. The Bach’s tone is NOT a “dark” tone. I keep finding people wanting to darken their tone with things like copper bells and toilet-bowl sized mouthpieces. This is a matter of personal taste, but I think that a trumpet should sound a lot like this Bach. There’s a new phalanx of super heavy horns out there that rob the horn of its bell-like “ring”. I prefer the Bach’s tone signature.

The opposite of “focused” in my lexicon is “broad”. Horns with larger bells tend to have a broader, more diffuse tone. I don’t consider one bad and one good, they’re just different points on a scale. If 1 were the most “focused” horn possible and 10 were the “broadest” possible, then this Bach is around a 6. My personal horn is a 7 or 8, but if I played more orchestral stuff, I’d move closer on the focus scale to this horn.

This is a very good horn. It is a good, safe recommendation for almost all players. There are Asian horns that are almost as good for several hundred dollars less and there are several competing horns within a couple of hundred dollars in cost, plus or minus. Also, you can buy a better constructed horn, more resonant horn for a couple of hundred dollars more and you can spend twice as much and not get much more. Given all those options, it’s going to be hard for a player to go too far wrong with a Bach. It’s easy to conceive of a young person buying one of these in high school and using it for decades in a successful pro trumpeting career, or just pulling it out for community band and playing in church. Either way, it’s a great option.

Dave
Dallas, TX
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Anonymous
Review Date: 3/1/2004 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Good projection and tone
Cons: overpriced now

 
I had an old 180S37 which was so good when I sold it I got what I paid for it 8 years later!
Then I went onto a Schilke B1.
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Review Date: 7/11/2004 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: everything
Cons: nothing

 
I've spent my formative years playing this trumpet. I know it like I know the back of my hand... actually, I know my Bach better than I know the back of my hand. Intonation is spot on(except for when I'm tensing up, but that's not the horn's fault). The tone has core and focus, the valves are awesome, the finish is still pretty after 6 years of playing(if I give it a buffing). Find a good Bach and hang on to it!
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Anonymous
Review Date: 8/6/2004 Would you recommend the product? No | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Very popular Bach "sound"
Cons: Quality/price

 
My first "pro" trumpet was a Bach 37 purchased from Giardinelli (NYC) in 1970 - $450. with a hard case and cover! I played the heck out of that horn and it finally wore out after 20+ years. Went to tryout a new Bach and was totally shocked. The valves were junk and clattered, the construction was marginal and, out of the 6 I played, only 2 were worth buying. This is NOT the same horn that came from the factory in the 70's! If you want the Bach name, play as many as you can get your hands on before you buy or find a good used (10+ years old) Bach and play-test for yourself. Excellent horn if you find a good one.
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Anonymous
Review Date: 12/20/2004 Would you recommend the product? No | Price you paid?: $1,300.00 | Rating: 2 

 
Pros: optional valve buttons in various colors
Cons: stuffy

 
I know that much has been writen about this model, but I have owned 4 of then, and ended up selling then all. I just can't get excited about the sound. They all seemed stuffy and had no zing or sizzle in the upper or lower register.
I don't understand why so many band directors recommend these horns.
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Anonymous
Review Date: 4/6/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $900.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: nice dark tone, great look, will hold resale value
Cons: have to play a lot of 'em to get a good one (production inconsistencies), don't like the water key (maybe they'll use buttons soon?)

 
My parents bought this horn for me *used* when I was in junior high school, and I'm now in college, so it has served me well over the years (marching band, jazz band, concert band, solo work). I had my horn in the shop for some minor work last week, which forced me to play a different horn for a few days. Let me tell you, I was so glad to have my Strad back! I used my professor's Besson, and the valve action seemed muddy and generally unresponsive to me. It was also a more inefficient horn (takes more breath support, which I have problems with), so it wasn't a good match for me. I played a classmate's Strad to try and match my horn, but I think it was an older model. This thing was just a DOG. Noisy valves (probably needs new felts) and really bright tone. This old Strad I played would have made a great jazz horn, but that's about it. People say these horns don't "pop or sizzle", but I don't think it's designed to be that kind of instrument. I recently added two of the Bach heavy valve caps, and this has made a noticable difference, too. I notice darker/fuller tone and that the notes "lock" into pitch much better than with the standard caps. These are great horns if you can find a good one!
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Review Date: 4/18/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $1,000.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great response, good intonation, durable, good feel
Cons: Needs more care than most trumpets

 
I recently purchased one of these from a professional trumpet player (if you must know, Sid Arnold from Ottawa, Canada) and it is an amazing horn. I picked this horn up on a Saturday, when he said I could have it for a test run. I had a gig that night, both with a band and as a soloist, and wasn't sure if maybe I should wait until the next day. My band director said to go ahead. I tried it while he was still there, and was hooked on the spot. In fact, I found so little difference between this horn and my previous one in terms of the feel of the horn (although intonation was better and i had better options) that I used it that night in my gig. This gig was actually a highlights concert from a music festival, and my adjudicator told me that he knew that they were good horns, but he said that he heard an enourmous improvement in my tone, when I had played only as necessary during the week. I have used this horn since and it has lived up to my needs. In fact, I accidentaly dropped the first valve slide in the middle of a jazz band rehearsal (in my defense, there was too much oil on it, and I didn't have time to remove it) and I was worried. I cleaned it off, did a visual inspection, and saw no problems. When I reinserted it, it fit just as it had before. It does require more work, being a silver plated proffesional level horn, but that is insignificant when you balance it against the positive points of this horn. (Note: I don't suggest you attempt the first valve slide drop thing, it could cause damage, and I might just have been lucky. Either way, it can stand up to heavy playing.)
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Anonymous
Review Date: 4/29/2005 Would you recommend the product? No | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

 
The overall construction did not seem as sturdy as other manufacturers, i.e. the slides weren't as tight, the valves weren't so much as fast as they were bouncy. Was light for my preference.
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Anonymous
Review Date: 1/23/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: great sound
Cons: valves feel cheap and they are a little loud

 
This is a great horn. Its simply the best for all around playing. I use it with a monette STC-1 B6 mouthpeice. You wont regret buying one.
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Anonymous
Review Date: 4/3/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Reliability
Cons: odd valve noise.

 
I bought one of these in the UK some 15 years ago now and I thought it was the dogs danglies when I got it.
The only problem I have had with it is the annoying noise the valves can make, it seems to be the springs which I have replaced numerous times but the noise is still there.
After saying that it has served me faithfully for 15 years now. I do want to replace it with a different brand (Probably Eclipse or Wedgewood) although I will keep it and hopefully pass it down to my son if he ever shows any interest in learning the trumpet.

I would recommend paying the extra and getting a plated model, I have seen the lacquer come off in a matter of months on some of my friends strads.
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Anonymous
Review Date: 6/10/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sounds great, easy to get tone on, great valves.
Cons: Bad finish, missing silver on one of the valves.

 
I have heard do much bad press on these lately. I was trying out horns today and compared it to a Conn V1 and Yamaha.
The Bach sounds great.
I can get tone on it with the slightest breath of air (was not true for Conn V1).
It wasn't quite as easy to hit the notes in the high register as the Yamaha, but it was close and had a slightly richer sound.
The only detraction was a ragged area on one of the valves where the silver plating was missing. About 1 half inch long, 1/16th wide. Fit and Finish Quality control might need a little bump.
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Review Date: 6/11/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Decent tone, fairly good intonation, the Bach name
Cons: VERY inconsistent quality control, too restrictive for me, hard to find a good one among the bad ones.

 
Well, back in April 2005 I was looking for a pro trumpet. The Bach Strad was one of the many I tried. I got a Getzen, but that was just what simply worked best for me so that doesn't necessarily mean Bach isn't out of the picture. Now, on to the horn itself, it's not bad. The only problems I find is that most of the Strad line has a .459 bore, which is rather small for me and the other problem is that the folks over at Bach need to tighten quality control. I've tried about 5 different bachs at Anaheim Band,the 5 180ML's ALL played differently even though their specs were exactly the same. 2 of them played real nice with a dark and warm tone, but the other 3 were like silverplated student trumpets with Strad valves and the classic double brace. The 3 crappy ones had little to no response, unfocused tone, and VERY restrictive while the other 2 were relatively freeblowing. I'm not saying Bach makes crap trumpets, just try all the ones available if you really want a Strad as the current Bach company just isn't the same as the old Bach where EVERY single one of the trumpets were consistent. Also, don't shut yourself only to Bachs, there are other brands out there besides Bach that make better horns than they do, don't just go for the name.
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Anonymous
Review Date: 6/21/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $1,500.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Quick Response, good range of tone, cosmetically beautiful
Cons: noisy valves, and sticky first valve after some time

 
In my search for horns I have tried, Kanstuls,(and I have tried their full range) Callichios, Monettes(which I can't afford) Yamaha Xenos, Martins and Getzens. In the end the I was convinced that the Xeno was the trumpet for me until I went accross the road from Yamaha to try out a Bach. I walked away with a 180-37 silver. What a horn. It sings. It's tone color is fanastic and you don't have to work all that hard to get the tone you want. Its great all round. Definitely worth the buy but I would definitely advise the buyer to have at least 5 Strads put before him trying evey one before he makes a choice. There is a difference
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Anonymous
Review Date: 7/8/2006 Would you recommend the product? No | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 3 

 
Pros: looks good
Cons: Inconsistant quality

 
I recently replaced my 70s model strad with a new one. The quality control on the new one was just not there. The new style case is flimsy. This horn is stuffy. The tuning in the high registers is awful. Might as well have bought a $20 eBay Chinese special!
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Anonymous
Review Date: 8/20/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $1,995.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: great sound, looks good, good intonation, great valves, great silver plating
Cons: Nothing.

 
I recently bough a 180S 43 and i love it. The quality is excellent, the valves are great and quiet, the slides are fast, and it had that beautiful bach sound. I looked at about 4 strads and each one had the same great quality. I don't think they need to take more care in quality inspection. The Strads are great trumpets and i ghighly recomend them.
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Anonymous
Review Date: 9/1/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $2,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: great sound, good intonation, fast slotting, best valves
Cons: lacquer is poor

 
I am not a pro, but love to play trumpet. Some years I played Getzen and Yamaha. They were o.k. In a big shop in berlin I asked the owner to give me only one trumpet he thinks this is the best he can offer me. He gave me a Strad 180MLH37. This is my trumpet. It beats every other brand. I recommend a beginner to ask for a strad, let it test by a pro, and if it is o.k., buy it. In my opinion, and I tested a lot of trumpets - this model is in the end unbeatable and gives you a lot of fun playing.
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Anonymous
Review Date: 9/3/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $1,550.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: quality, tone-quality, solidity
Cons: response is lacking

 
I've had this horn for 7 years now; it was purchased while in high school. It served well up until more recently, when I am returning back to the trumpet from a 2 year hiatus. I'm finding that I've become a little more critical of the instrument that served me so well in high school and college, that I tried a 1970's handmade Schilke (was told handmade by Schilke himself!) B-flat horn (unsure of model). Comparison: the Schilke's response was effortless. Pianissimo was effortless. I was playing pieces in a whole new light as compared to my Bach just due to these aspects. However, I find that the sound did not even compare: it was much lighter and was hard to get the full, rich tone I've been prided with on the Strad horn. But just getting back into the trumpet, I'm going to start shopping and looking for that horn that has both incredible response and effortless playing of the Schilke, but the beautiful sound of the Bach.
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Anonymous
Review Date: 9/13/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: it's all about intonation, valves and range!
Cons: "They don't make them like they used to"

 
My first silver trumpet was a used model 37 that my parents bought for me back in the early 80s for high school symphonic & marching band. The trumpet's serial number dates it back to around 1977 and I believe they paid around $350.00 for it used. Through my college years and beyond I've owned and used a lot of different high-end makes & models from Holton, to King, to Getzen, to Olds etc. and every time I come back to "Old Faithful 37". I can't speak for new production models, and from reading some of the reviews they don't do the brand justice, but obviously there are some quality/intonation issues that Selmer needs to deal with. If you have the opportunity (and the means) to acquire a 70s/80s production model 37, LOOK NO FURTHER! They are well worth the $1000+ your going to pay on ebay. I've often referred to my 37 as a fine wine that just keeps getting better with age - cause it does. The valves alone on it are worth gold! There is no question that Bach Strad set the benchmark 30 years ago, I'm just not sure that Selmer maintains that benchmark today. Bottomline - there's a world of difference between todays 37 and yesterday's 37.
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Anonymous
Review Date: 10/21/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Lovely trumpet tone, good intonation
Cons: Nothing with my late 1970's example

 
I have the 37 bell and 25 leadpipe, which is the standard combination for the 180ML. It is a huge improvement over the Yamaha YTR-6335HGII that I used to play, that tended to be very sharp in the upper registers, at least with a Bach mouthpiece. It has a lovely classic trumpet tone and plays well in all registers.
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Anonymous
Review Date: 10/31/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $425.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Intonation, versatile, nice sound, quick response
Cons: None

 
I bought one of these brand new for $425 in 1974 (silver plate). This horn took me thru four years of high school and four years of college. I got a degree in music and played the Bach on two of the peices in my senior recital. I played first trumpet in a quintet for years, I jumped back and forth between lead and 2nd in the jazz band, I improvised on it, I played it in the symphony. It could do it all. What ever sound I needed, this horn could deliver with the right treatment and the right mouthpiece.

This horn was damaged beyond repair the summer after I graduated from college and I spent the ensuing years playing my flugelhorn and an Olds Ambassador that I picked up cheap. When it was time to buy a new horn, the Strad was edged out by the Xeno RGS (at least for me).
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Review Date: 11/13/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $550.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Solid horn with great sound for just about everyone.
Cons: A tiny bit stiff & sluggish

 
I've had this horn since 1977. I didn't appreciate how nice it was then, but as I've grown into a better player and tried a lot of other horns, this is probably the best all-around horn out there. It gets a 9 for orchestral playing, an 8 for big band jazz, a 7 for small ensemble, and an 8 over-all. In my opinion, a high-end Lawler or Schilke *might* be a little better, but I'm not going to sell my baby to get a little better performance. YMMV.
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Anonymous
Review Date: 12/3/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $1,400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Excellent response and intonation, solid investment.
Cons: Horns vary a bit in sound and response, slides could use dampen o-rings.

 
I purchased a 2006 180ML43S and I am very pleased with the horn. In my oppinion the intonation and response is excellent for a production horn. This horn was made just before the strike and I had some scratches that had to be polished out. So as others have pointed out, QC needs to tighten up. With the movement to offshore horn production I would be in line for USA Bach Strad product.
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Review Date: 1/19/2007 Would you recommend the product? No | Price you paid?: $1,300.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Good quality trumpet
Cons: production inconsistences -had to try lots of horns to find the one-

 
I owned several strads (37-43-72), and most of them were very good trumpets, but if you want to buy a new one, you cannot ask to a large retailer to send to you by mail. You should ask for a shop with at least 10 trumpets to find only one wich really works well. The other nine horns use to be "quasi" junk.
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Review Date: 2/6/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $1,000.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Intonation and Versatility
Cons: "Clanking" Values

 
The model 37 is a great middle of the road horn that can fit any situation. The strength of the horn lies in its ability to be so versatile. It can be played for orchestral, jazz, or classical playing. The intonation is great and can fit into a quintet situation and the horn still has enough power to cut through a 12 piece big band.

The horn also has enough piping to convert to an A horn which is a great trick to replace some transpositions.

The problem that I've noticed is the occurrence (very seldom) of the values becoming noisy while playing even when all the caps are tightly secured. But this is such a minor problem that can be easily over-looked.
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Anonymous
Review Date: 5/21/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: silent valves, spot on intonation, freeblowing, easy on the eyes, amazing compression
Cons: none

 
They say it takes a while to find a good Bach Strad, and they're probably right. That is why I consider myself proud to own probably one of the best Bach Bbs out there. I'm speechless at how little effort it takes to produce a large, robust tone with this horn. This one's a keeper. For those of you out there wondering, the vintage date is 2003.
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