Gear Review

Instrument Review: New Bach B-flat Trumpet Models

The past few years has seen a number of new Bb models enter the Vincent Bach catalogue. Below is a summary…

LT1901B Commercial

LT weight #1 bell with French bead 5” bell, standard weight 2-piece valve section with bronze upper, custom #43 pipe.

This model was a long time in coming. After much experimentation, the #1 bell (so numbered because it is believed to be the first bell design that Vincent Bach drew) was used in lightweight bronze. One of the biggest features is the 2-piece lightweight valve section with a bronze upper, that really adds a lot of brightness to the sound, particularly when you ‘give it one’! The custom #43 leadpipe has a later taper than the standard #25, but opens out quickly through a nice open-feeling tuning slide section. It is available in both ML and L bore.

Lightness of response, dark tone in mid-register and mid to low dynamics, contrasting with real zip and zing for higher register work make this a real Marmite trumpet. For US readers, Marmite is a disgusting, sticky brown product that a vast number of sick people like to spread on their bread – it is not possible to be indifferent to it, you love it or you hate it!

For the record, I really enjoyed playing this horn. I have spoken to some players who have described this model as like playing on a Yamaha LA only without the good intonation! I do not agree. The LT1901B is an individual instrument with some wonderful characteristics that I have not found in other horns.

LR19043B Mariachi

Bronze 5” #43 bell with flat bell wire, lightweight 2-piece valve block with nickel upper, LR25 pipe

This custom model for the incredible Jose Hernandez was Bach’s first real success in putting an instrument together for the more commercially minded. Great jazz and commercial players over the years have played and loved their Strads, but there had never been an option for that natural brightness in an instrument.

What I like about this model is it still feels like a Bach. This may sound like a stupid point to make, but it has that natural bite and depth to the attack that makes Bach trumpets different. For a primarily legit player like myself, it feels very comfortable with a natural soft and dark sound, but then opens up as you go through the gears. In the right hands, this trumpet sounds spectacular! My colleagues in the UK and many around the world will already be familiar with Simon Gardner, who uses this model to great effect for warm jazz as well as spectacular full-bodied lead playing.

R180ML37/43 London

Standard weight 1-piece body, LR25 pipe, gold trim, yellow or gold brass bell.

This has been available and popular as a special order for a number of years, especially in the UK. It is basically a reverse leadpipe 180 model, but mounted on a standard rather than a lightweight valve section. This has now been launched for the UK market as a standard model with added gold bling and a price tag to match! It is now just available as special order if you want it to look like a ‘normal’ trumpet!

I was working with Conn-Selmer at the time of its launch in 2015 and had the opportunity to blow on a dozen of these models, mainly 37s but also a couple of 43s. They give a combination of the slightly more open feel of the reverse leadpipe with the solidity of tonal core that you get from a standard leadpipe configuration. I had always been intrigued to try this model as I was always unsure how much genuine difference in feel the reverse leadpipe on a 180 Bach actually made. I always put down the difference in response more to the lighter weight valve section that it was mounted on.

What I found was that this model does actually have its own distinct feel and sound and holds its own within the Bach catalogue. Bach marketing material tells us that it is designed with the brass band heritage and style of many top UK orchestral trumpet players in mind. I am not sure that I completely buy this, but it does certainly give a richer core to the sound. One point to note is that out of the many instruments that I tried, there was a huge variation between them all. We all know that the Bach bell-making process deliberately allows for some variation from instrument to instrument, and we are advised to try a selection before making our minds up. The variation between these London models was even greater however, so I would definitely recommend visiting a stockist who is able to keep a good range in store.

I believe that for most US players, this model would still be a special order – contact Thompson Music for further information.

19037 50th Anniversary Model

Side seam, round steel bell wire, 2-piece valve block.

This is a natural progression from what Bach have learnt from the design of the Artisan range a few years back. Looking to the past to develop something new is not something that happens too often in this industry, but is something at which Bach excels.

The spec above tells you what is different about this model from the 18037 so I will not rehash it here. There is even more natural resonance than the standard 180, and a more focussed tonal core. There is a fraction more weight in the hand compared to the 18037 which adds to the richness of natural sound and also improved slots. I initially found this disconcerting as I am accustomed to having plenty of room to bend notes in tune, particularly the top of the stave E, Eb, D which are generally very flat. The tuning is slightly better on this model, so having that room to manoeuvre was not necessary!

An interesting point that I learnt from a Bach insider is that they save production costs on the Strad 180 models in silver plate by actually using brass outers to the slides instead of the nickel silver which you can clearly see on the lacquered models. The silver plate hides it, so we can’t tell! I have had assurances that there is none of this cost-cutting on the 190 Anniversary Model!!!

19043 (52nd Anniversary Model!!!)

Side seam, round steel bell wire, 2-piece valve block

This is a model that I have not yet been able to get hold of to assess, so I have been kindly helped out by my friends at Thompson Music! Please see Mike’s video tour of both the 190-37 and 43 below.

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3 thoughts on “Instrument Review: New Bach B-flat Trumpet Models

  1. 72 GOLD BRASS L.W., 44 nickel pipe. I played one once and thought it was unbelievable. Ever hear of this combo?

  2. For what it’s worth, the “hidden” changes under silver plate have been common knowledge for a long time.
    If nothing else than that it’s very easy to see for yourself – just remove the slide and look at the inside of the receiver… if it’s a brass colour then it’s brass, if it’s a dark nickel-like colour then it’s probably nickel silver.

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