Different brands

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Hsop, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. Hsop

    Hsop Member

    Hi all,

    Whats your opinions on companies that use other peoples products, market them as their own and then add a significant price increase onto it.

    I've been looking at new cornets in particular smith and watkins. They have a k2 cornet which sells for approx £2500. After some research it seems Kanstul (the American based company) makes either all or most of the smith and watkins range. However there are several companies in Europe selling the exact same cornet as the k2 (a kanstul 1531) which can be bought for under £1500.

    Are there more brass manufacturers selling products as their own but using other peoples and just adding a large wedge on for themselves?

    Im sure smith&watkins will say there have been tweaks and mods to their instruments but is it worth£1000?

    whats your views?
  2. DRW

    DRW New Member

    Your opening line and the explanation that followed don't correlate to me. Remarketing someone else's product as your own isn't the same as sourcing parts from other manufacturers.
  3. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Active Member

  4. Hsop

    Hsop Member

    Hi DRW,

    using parts is is fine such as valves or bells etc but when it's the complete instrument ie a kanstul cornet with the only difference being that a company has used the exact same cornet but just engraved a different name onto it then this is where I am concerned. Especially for a £1000 difference.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  5. Mello

    Mello Member

    I am not sure, but it may be the opposite to what it appears. Dr Richard Smith- Designer of the probably best Sovereigns ever made (Round Stamp ) is an exceedingly highly qualified acoustician. I attended some of his lectures -to the institute of acousticians in London. He is also highly respected by leading instrumentalists. After he left B&H , he continued his work , working closely with Derek Watkins , to produce the Smith Watkins Brand. He also worked with John Hudson on the Cornet , so in essence Richard Smith is a designer of instruments , not necessarily the manufacturer . Could it be , that some of Richards designs are in the cheaper ones whilst the expensive ones maybe 100% Richard Smiths designing and even overseeing ?
    (A similar situation perhaps to B&H Sovereign and slightly lesser spec models being marketed under the B&H brand.)
    I truthfully do not know, but knowing the man, I honestly believe he is absolutely open, honest, and 100% reliable, and I would doubt that he is working any kind of strange practice in marketing terms.

    I do know that with some manufacturers sell what appear identical , but on closer examination , have slight variances : for example monel valves, are they 100% monel , or simply monel plated .

    As I say I honestly do not know, but from my experience in the industry , I doubt they are exactly the same -to the enth degree.

    I am certainly NOT saying there are differences , as that would be foolish , particularly without even seeing the instruments, but the original post did ask what our views are.

    Those are mine and may provide food for thought. No offence or slight intended .
  6. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Active Member

    My earlier answer covered the above, but being poor the extra £1000 would first seem OTT to me.

    Mello's response hits a spot. Companies like Smith Watkins have a positive reputation and a reputation they will not readily risk. The workshop costs of what they do might be comparatively low but one should also expect to pay something additional for the scientific development and expertise need to define and direct the mods.
  7. Hsop

    Hsop Member

    Hi Mello,

    the globe stamp cornets are great cornets like you say. I think they were produced approx between 1974-1984. However Richard Smith has nothing to do with these. He was involved in the design from 1984 onwards which are still good cornets but not as good as the globe stamps IMO.

    Also with regards to the other topic Kanstul designed and built the smith-watkins cornets. The only slight difference has been a moderate change to the leadpipe. Maybe not a £1000 worth of changes then.

    Wouldn't it be nice if companies built all their own parts like schilke as one example. Maybe that's not practical for companies but does seem a better option rather than having a mix match of various parts. Maybe again that's another reason the globe stamps play so well and are still around today in abundance.
  8. Mello

    Mello Member

  9. DRW

    DRW New Member

  10. Hsop

    Hsop Member

    Nice post DRW are you in the House of Lords/commons?

    Firstly I'm sure Richard Smith is a well educated (in physics) nice guy and I just wanted to share a few facts.

    There are many instrument makers today, to name a few;

    Renold Schilke , master craftsman and designer and also highly regarded trumpet player

    Andy Taylor, master craftsman and designer and very competent high brass player

    Vincent Bach, master craftsman and designer and cornet/trumpet soloist in Europe and America

    Then Richard Smith, uses a company called Kanstul (America) to design and build all his instruments for him. In fairness Richard designs the leadpipes (which has minimal effect on the instruments playability)

    A Kanstul cornet costs approx £1450. A smith watkins (k2) copy of a Kanstul costs approx £2500.

    Did I mention that Richard Smith has never played a brass instrument before? Personally if I was designing and building a product I would want to be able to use it myself. That's just me of course.

    These are my views and facts, no offence to anyone reading them.
  11. Alyn James

    Alyn James Member

    Do you have a hidden agenda? (only asking...).
  12. :clap:

    Leadpipe has minimal effect???? Looks like Richard understands a lot more than you do.
  13. Hsop

    Hsop Member

    No agenda alyn, I was looking at buying a new cornet but after research I saw the same cornet for £1000 less.
    How's the 4th section centralbankofdad? Plus a new leadpipe for £1000 really?
  14. DRW

    DRW New Member

  15. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Yes it would be heavy markup (especially given you can get the Kanstul from mainland europe - meaning no import duties - for £1422) except that it's actually not the same cornet, it just isn't.
    The 1531 doesn't have the interchangeable leadpipes, they have some smaller/less important differences too (Amado's vs trad keys, different valve caps and tops, etc).
    Will they play similarly? Maybe, maybe not - without playing them side-to-side it'd be pretty much impossible to tell (even ignoring how different each leadpipe choice will make the SW fee to playl).
    What should be pretty obvious however is that the extra work that goes into building that interchangeable leadpipe system (on each cornet, plus the costs of setting up tooling to build each available pipe itself, plus the cost of stocking said pipes.. and, well you get the idea) will add to the cost of manufacture... and you know what normally happens to added production expenses, don't you?

    Plus are we absolutely certain that there's no additional work/processing being done by SW?
    There are several rather well known trumpets built by Kanstul which are sold for a lot more money (Flip Oakes Wild-Thing being the most obvious, that's supposed to have a lot of after-manufacture fettling done to it - there were French Bessons made by Kanstul, too).

    If the 1531 works for you, great (if you can manage to try one before buying, which may not be so simple), but the Smith-Watkins is still a different cornet - at a different price.
  16. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Since you apparently admire Renold Schilke's work, I wondered if you had read any of his papers on leadpipe design; I don't think he would have agreed with you on the unimportance of leadpipes ...
  17. Mello

    Mello Member

    It appears that a few other companies may disagree also , as many instruments are made & sold with interchangeable leadpipes included. Mostly the set includes 3 leadpipes, though some only 2 .

    The following examples exclude Picc trumpets as it is common for them to have 2 (Bb & A). I have also excluded Smith Watkins as some people seem to have a downer on Richard Smith for some reason, (maybe because he was a Bassoonist ).

    Trombones with Interchangeable lead pipes include, : Yamaha / Edwards / King / Bach / Kanstul / Conn / Jupiter etc : and Trumpets with interchangeable leadpipes include: Eclipse / Taylor / Phaeton / Scherzer / Kamstul / Getzen / Stomvi etc.

    Obviously interchangeable leadpipes are not supplied with every model from each maker , but all the above do sell at least one model with I L' s, - most more. Other makers , whilst not including a set with an instrument, do offer choices of leadpipes according to what the player requests when ordering..
    Rath Trombones for example offer a great range of leadpipes to choose from.

    The above list ( which is certainly not exhaustive ) seems to suggest that maybe the leadpipe does have more than a minimal effect. ? I personally do not profess to know , but I accompanied Don Lusher many, many times , and it is a fact that he had 3 separate interchangeable lead pipes with his Trombone ( after he changed from his King 2B ). TBHonest as he said they made quite a difference, I assumed he was right.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
  18. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Including probably the most popular Bb trumpet out there - the Bach Strad. The most popular configuration (the 25 leadpipe with 37 bell) is far from the only one - you can buy them with a whole bunch of different leadpipes (as well as bells) if you so desire.
  19. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Active Member

    If you seriously think that changing the leadpipe has a "minimal effect" you have obviously never actually done it.

    Please take it from some who has - the leadpipe makes a HUGE difference. I have an Eclipse trumpet with three leadpipes - all of which make a huge difference to the way the instrument plays. It is always fantastic, but each leadpipe has a different character.
    (as an aside, the guy who builds the Eclipse instruments doesn't play either - but he does have an ASTONISHING set of ears when it comes to listening to how you sound)
    On one of my other trumpets I have had the leadpipe changed and it brough the instrument to life - better in every sense. Improved intonation, easier production, easier flexibility - it just improved things.

    Don't think this just applies to trumpets, I have played a number of cornets that have had their leadpipe either altered or replaced and every time the difference is VAST.

    As a similar query, I once was talking to a couple of guys from Kanstul about the various instruments they make and said that the F Besson piccolo trumpet (made by Kanstul) was fantastic (but sadly not made any more) and they said that they agreed, but they also had their own "identical" Kanstul model which was just as good (and still made). When I said that I disagreed they asked me to prove it, so I got out my F Besson piccolo and proceeded to play mine, then their "identical" model. After which they said they needed to check what the Kanstul model was actually based upon because the two didn't sound alike at all.

    Lots of manufacturers obtain some (all) of their parts from other manufacturers - it is more than just who makes the parts, it is who puts it together and to what specification.

    If you want a Kanstul, buy a Kanstul.
    If you want a Smith-Watkins, buy a Smith-Watkins.
    Don't worry about who makes what parts, for whom, just play what works with you on the end.

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