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Conn 10B "New Era"
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1 5873
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers $40.00 8.0


#1½ Bore
New Era Trumpet
1931 - 1940
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Bore (inch): 0.458
Keywords: Conn 10B "New Era"
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Review Date: 11/4/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $40.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Brilliant sound and good projection. Awsome valves. Cool looks!
Cons: narrow wrap a challenge for big hands. hard to find replacement case

I picked up my 1935 vintage 10B New Era from a newspaper ad. It had been laying in a garage for over 20 years and had not been played for close to 50 years.The bell was dented pretty badly but not crushed. There was a leak in the bell crook by the #1 valve and all the slides were frozen. The Bb/F slide stop hardware was missing. The lacquer finish was about 75% and had turned dark olive green from aging (typical of vintage Conn lacquers). The case was very rough.

The valves however still moved quite smoothly. I took it home and removed the valves to oil them. They were nearly perfect! They were bone dry but totally free of corrosion, a testament to the quality of Conn's "crysteel" valves.

I inserted my mouthpiece and blew...whoa! It had a brilliant sound with great projection (once I plugged the air leak with my thumb). I was blown away by what I was hearing from a horn that had been dormant for nearly half a century!

$150 later at the local repair shop for cleaning, repair and overhaul and I had a horn that can hold its own with anything else out there. I have since removed the old olive green lacquer and went raw brass (sorry collectors!). It looks beautiful but takes a lot of work to keep it that way. My long-term plans are to silver plate the entire horn and gold wash the bell, which was an option for this model.

I have played it in my jazz band and community band, as well as some church solos. In my opinion, I feel this horn is better suited for jazz and solo work. In community band I was having a challenge in trying not to play over the rest of my section because of the projection and sound. Research indicates that Louis Armstrong played this model for a time during his career. After playing it, that makes perfect sense to me, and why I wouldn't play it for concert or orchestral work.

As with many vintage horns, it takes a little bit of lipping to center the tone, especially in the upper register, but it's not too bad. I rather like the challange and the sounds I get. The bottom sprung valves are smooth, fast and quiet. It's lightweight and just a cool looking horn!

The 10B is a "peashooter" model (long and skinny) and someone with big hands may have a challenge holding it. It's also 21 inches long making it difficult to locate a new replacement hard case. It will barely fit in many of the soft cases I've tried. The original "coffin" case is in poor shape but still works. Long-term I will perform my own form of restoration on the case.

It may be a strong word, but I have grown to "love" this trumpet and play it regularly. In terms of being a collector's trumpet, it's probably a "break even" proposition based on restoration costs versus collector value.

The horn doesn't seem to be in very high demand. The sale prices I have seen of average-good or restored 10B's is around $250-$400. The same age 40B's (the same basic style with the rimless "vocabell") seem to be more popular and are fetching higher prices.

The only reason I don't give the horn a higher rating is that it is not (IMHO) an "all purpose" instrument. It's forte seems to be in jazz, lead and solo work, but it is a lot of fun to play and I plan to hang on to mine for a very long time.
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