Brand named instruments or not??

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by bagpuss, Dec 16, 2003.


Are brand names important in instrument selection??

  1. Absolutely, it HAS to be a good brand for me to even look at it.

  2. Not neccessarily. I go by the sound produced.

  1. bagpuss

    bagpuss Active Member

    Just a thought that ocurred to me. Do bands/players select an instrument based on the fact it is a named brand?? Or, do they select instruments because of the sound they are capable of?? In my experience, brand named products aren't necessarily the best money can buy and a comparable/better sound can be had from an instrument that isn't as well known. Thoughts please.

  2. If sound were the only criterion for selecting an instrument, then the brand name would be less important.

    However, there are other factors in selecting an instrument: quality of construction, longevity, ease of movement of the valves/slides, intonation, lack of "stuffiness," etc.
  3. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    Rockhampton, Qld, AUSTRALIA
    Brand names are just so you can easily identify an instrument's history. I mean if Okie's Tubas made the world's most loved tuba 5 decades in a row, because you can identify with the name and it has a good reputation, you will at least give it a go.

    If TheMusicMan's Soprano cornet consistently has tuning problems, and everyone knows this, you'd be very hesitant to waste time trying a new improved model.

    ****Brand Names have been changed to prevent slander. And please buy a TMM soprano cornet!!*****
  4. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    West Sussex
    In principle you're absolutlely right, but IMO in a niche market with a very small range of producers, the best known brand names get to that position for good reason - ie because they make the best. I know there's some fantastic "student" models out there by brands most of us have never heard of that are great quality and value....but not for me. With the amounts of cash involved I'd rather stick with the devil I know - its a straight choice between Maestro and Sov every time (for horns anyway), at least until another brand builds up a better reputation!

    Did you have a particular brand/instrument in mind puss?
  5. A J Foad

    A J Foad Member

    Unfortunately, the process of choosing the right instrument is much more complex than picking the correct 'brand named' one. It's very easy to say 'Mr Fabcornet' from 'Thebestband' plays on one of these so I'm going to buy one. It's all about personal taste, and finding the right instrument for YOU. Of course, unless your band is in the position of being able to buy a complete set of new instruments then you'll be limited to whatever is available, unless of course you are buying for yourself.

    Brand named instruments however are exactly that, because over the years they have built up a good reputation for producing quality instruments. It's the same for any manufactured product. What you have to be aware of though, is that there are, sadly some 'duff' instruments (with brand names too) which slip through the quality control net.

    The key thing to remember is - Try before you buy. Get someone along to choose with you. Listen to them playing the instrument and make sure they can constructively criticise the sound when you play it. NEVER buy an instrument just on brand name alone!
  6. Trom41821

    Trom41821 Member

    Telford, Shropshire
    I couldn't vote because I consider both options to be considered at the time of purchase. Perhaps the brand name draws your attention in the first instance, then followed by the feel, sound etc. etc.
  7. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    South London
    in my opinion it's always safest to go for a well known make of instrument as far as the trombone market goes. So many companies have problems getting them in tune or capable of taking a wide range of volumes, that it seems that it's best to go for a company with experience in their craft.
  8. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    I go by sound... but the well-known branded names are always better anyway

  9. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly Active Member

    Bolton, Lancs, England
    These days trombone players probably have a greater choice of instrument brands than any other brass band players, which is probably an advantage for us.

    However, for any instrument, I would definately say try a few different makes before you buy, and choose a brand X instrument because it suits you and the way you play and because you get a good sound on it, rather than buying a brand Y instrument because it happens to be fashionable at the moment, or because brand Y is used by a famous player in a top name band.

    Way back in the 1980s I was looking for a new bass trombone, and it came down to a choice between brand A, which was very popular and fashionable at the time (and is still popular today), and brand B, which at the time was not well known, at least in brass band circles (brand B became popular a few years later, but seems to have slipped back again these days. The vaguaries of fashion.). I tried both, but it only took a few minutes for me to discover that brand A was not for me, even though many fine players used it and sounded terrific on it, so I went for brand B instead, which suited me much better.

    The instrument I play currently, while a well-known and established brand, is not particularly popular these days, at least in brass bands, but it works for me.
  10. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Isle of Arran and lovin' it!
    The problem with this thread is that it's a great topic but it's difficult (certainly for me) to comment on certain experiences I've had with a particular make wihout possibly inducing a lawsuit!
  11. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    Rockhampton, Qld, AUSTRALIA
    I don't know how it could be considered slander if it's a mutual discussion based on experiences...

    That's why I'm not a Mod, I'spose :wink:
  12. JessopSmythe

    JessopSmythe Active Member

    Pontyclun, South Wales
    Although there are some brands I'd prefer to stay well away from, it's always worth keeping an eye on developments. I'd been told for years to stay away from courtois, for example. However, when a band I was with bought a set of Courtois trombones I was really impressed by how good the Bass trom felt and quite gutted when they refused to let me buy it when the band folded. True, in a niche market like ours, brand name is generally good, but don't let hearsay put you off. Try the instrument, speak to people who own one but try and ignore the advice of someone who's 2nd cousins, best mates, daughter inlaws landlord had one in 1928
  13. bagpuss

    bagpuss Active Member

    I may not have explained myself very well here (not entirely sure I'm going to do any better now!!)

    What I was driving at was that certain people will go for an instrument purely because of the name of the people who made it. Others (like me) will go for the one which sounds/plays/feels the best, regardless of the name on the box. I'll give you an example. I recently went to a local music centre to price up and buy a china cymbal for band (no, not one made from china). There was a huge choice available to me and I tried them out. Now obviously, I tried the named brands first, like someone said, they are the most well known for a reason. I tried them all, new and second hand. There was a choice of 2 in the end. A second hand Sabian which wasnt exactly what I wanted but it was close, or there was an unnamed cymbal. The unnamed cymbal was by far the best and I mean it was massively nicer sound and better response than the other, so I chose it. It was £30 and the second hand Sabian was £160

    To give another example. Wem were lucky enough to receive a lottery grant back in 1997. When it came to choosing instruments, Roger asked the 'section leaders' for advice and preferences. The position I was in at the time was that I was playing trombone and percussion so I was asked my opinion on both. When it came to trombones, there were only 2 choices as far as I was concerned. We were pushed to try brand 'x' because that was what the worlds top players were using at the time and they were brilliant instruments. I refused because I had experience of them and thought they were horrendous instruments (many bands sent them back) and so in the end we got the brand that I wanted adn I'm happy to say we've never had a problem with them. With the percussion, it was assumed that we would want the market leading brand 'Z', but again, I said no. There were other makes we could get which were as good if not better than brand 'Z' for certain instruments and they could be had cheaper too, thereby enabling us to buy more for our money. ONce again, I can't think of any occassion where I've wished for a different brand (except tubular bells perhaps).

    So, what I'm trying to find out is do people go for a brand name purely because of the branding or because it is genuinely the best they can buy???

  14. Despot

    Despot Member

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