A trumpet player in my band really wants to get a flugelhorn, but he's on a tight budget. Are there any flugels under $1000 that are worth buying, or is he better off holding out until he can afford something more?
(I am a trumpet player myself, and will start out on tenor sax soon)
Personally, I would also recommend the Jupiter and Yamaha brands. The Yamaha horns are really good in my opinion, although I do not feel that the Jupiter horns have the right 'flugel-core' sound - it depens on how picky your friend are - i know that I am...
The Cortouis horns are really exellent in quality, and the Couesnons are classic horns for soloists. The Couesnons tend to be hard to play since they vary a lot in pitch on the horns.
I bought my flugelhorn in 1967 new for $250. Six years later I bought my Bach Strad trumpet new for $350. That shows you the inflation. Today the Bach Strad sells for about $1800. I don't know the brand of my flugelhorn though a name on the bell says "Reynolds". Pricewise it was a medium-good quality horn. I had a lot of trouble learning to play it in tune. That may be because of the mouthpiece - a Martin. I tried playing it with various bands in which I played trumpet or trombone. But people always said it was out of tune. It doesn't have many tuning adjustments. The point is I thought I got a cheap one that was the cause of tuning issues. But that does not seem to be the case. The flugelhorn is the oldest of my horns now but looks the best. Today you have a much larger choice in horns. I'd suggest a well-known brand such as Conn or Bach but the Jupiter and Blessing Artist models look nice for decent prices. If I were to buy one today, I'd get a Conn Vintage One Professional based only on the Conn reputation.
Dr G gave the best advice as usual. Get to know the market.
Today, after learning to play the soprano sax, I can appreciate the flugelhorn and will play it more when I get new valve springs. The sop has the same tuning issues as the flugel horn.
Don't get one unless you have a very well-trained ear. About the time you get one or two of those, you'll start losing your hearing. (That's an occupational hazard.) The flugelhorn sounds great when played by an experienced player. So does the sop. They are both horns you must work very hard to play in tune.
Wonder if it used to be worse yet. Years ago I interviewed Clark Terry. He said he had gotten interested in the horn in the late 1950s and that very few were available, and none could be played in good tune. He worked with (I believe) Selmer to redesign the flugel to play better.
Interestingly, this was about the same time Lucky Thompson and Steve Lacy picked up the sopsax. Perhaps it was caused by big bands finally going under for the 3rd time* - giving musicians the free time to spend with extraneous instruments.
*First they dropped off the record charts - then TV killed ballroom dancing - then rock broke big.
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