John Packer 371

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Blue, Jun 18, 2018.

  1. Blue

    Blue New Member

    Hi has anyone had any experience playing the John Packer 371 cornet?
    I own a 271 which I’m thinking might be too narrow a bore for me. (I play front row cornet).
    Ideally I would like a Yamaha Neo as i didn’t like the Soverigns. But I don’t think I can stretch to one.
    The 371 is exactly the same bore as a Neo but I can’t find any reviews of it.
    I’d appreciate any advice if anyone has played a 371 vs a Sovereign or Neo
  2. dennis78

    dennis78 New Member

    No experience with the 371, sorry. I too felt the 271 was a bit tight. I bought a Brasspire Unicorn cornet and am really satisfied with it. I too play front row and personally feel that the larger bore of the Brasspire helped me a lot. Previously I played with a Bach cr310
  3. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Forget bore.

    Bore size correlates to free-blowing about the same as your cars engine size (liters) does to horsepower...
    That's to say, not much - to borrow a hackneyed old cliché: "it's not the size, it's how you use it".

    Near enough everything affects everything when it comes to instrument design and modification.

    When it comes to blow resistance, all else equal you'll find a more noticeable difference with different leadpipe tapers, bell tapers, bell flair/final diameter, weight/mass and more than you would with a couple of thousandths in bore size in the valveblock (which is all that number means).
    Heck, if your instrument or mouthpiece badly needs a wash (I'd go so far as to say most people don't do nearly enough) that can make it very very stuffy.

    Honestly, good value is in used - if you're patient you can pick up used sovereigns and xeno's for comfortably under a thousand... Best value is often in the unpopular Getzen eterna - free blow, good intonation and great valves, very hard to beat for value.

    Think about mouthpiece choice too - I don't know what you're using now, but that can make an absolutely colossal difference.
    fsteers likes this.
  4. Blue

    Blue New Member

    Thanks to you both for the replies.
    I play a DW4, and to be fair I tried a Sovereign back to back with my 271 and found my accuracy was better with the Sovereign. I find there’s too much back pressure with the 271 when I’m blowing hard with tends to lead to a muffled note or worse a split note.

    It feels like it needs opening up slightly which is why I thought the bore may be the issue.
    Other than this the instrument is damn good. As good as anything else I have played on. The price cutting seems to be in the silver finish rather than build quality etc

    I am “funny” about second hand instruments which is why I was thinking of new. I like to know where it has been and how it has been looked after.
  5. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Probably not the case here but it's also possible to experience a phenomenon whereby a setup that is too open actually feels tight - especially when trying to play loud up high.

    At any rate - if you feel like something more open will help, then its worth trying to get to play a few and see what you like...
    The bore size itself may not be responsible, but the large bore versions of certain designs are made to feel more open than their medium or medium-large counterparts - manufacturers know customers expect larger bore versions to be more open, so they often make sure they fulfil that expectation, without the bore being the primary reason why.

    Which Sovereign was it you tried?
    There's a whole bunch of different models, as well as variations over time (current Besson 928's aren't quite the same as the earlier Besson 928's... to say nothing of the entirely different B&H "roundstamp" models - and you've got large and medium bore models of each, with more changed than just the bore size ofcourse).

    Cost cutting comes in all kinds of places... at the end of the day, if you find something that plays well and that you're happy with then far be it from me to knock cheaper instruments.

    As far as I'm concerned though, most of the serious professional instruments are significantly better built, play better and are more enjoyable - having said that, I'm very picky.

    This is fair enough.
    I'd personally go with a used pro instrument over a lesser model new - it'll hold it's value much better and generally it'll play significantly better too... but there's definitely peace of mind in owning something from new.
    dennis78 likes this.
  6. Blue

    Blue New Member

    Cornets I’ve played (excluding when I was a kid)
    A medium bore round stamp Sovereign
    A large bore round stamp Sovereign
    Both of these were excellent
    Then in the early 90’s I was bought a new Sovereign and it was ok, I don’t recall the model number though.
    The next cornet purchases we made I actually tried a Sovereign back to back with a Yamaha Maestro.
    I chose the Maestro as the Sovereign I tried was awful. Rough valves, no ‘feel’ through the instrument, build quality was poor.
    I just didn’t get on with it at all, and I loved my Maestro.
    Fastward many years and I want to buy my own instrument. Obviously I would go with a Neo but I might need to wait a year or two for that.
    The 271 I bought is fine, I’m very pleased with it. Obviously the finish of the silver plate isn’t as good as a premium brand instrument, but otherwise it is great. And it still has monel valves rather than the cheaper steel valves of the Sovereign.
    Obviously I know that premium brands are going to be the better instrument and that they hold their value better. However the reason I ask specifically for experiences with the 371 is because I am thinking of upgrading to one of these to tide me over for the next couple of years before I can buy a Neo.
  7. Hsop

    Hsop Member

    You mention,' And it still has monel valves rather than the cheaper steel valves of the Sovereign.' The current Besson sovereign instruments have monel valves. The older Boosey & Hawkes 'round stamp' instruments had stainless steel valves. Both types of metals have been used to produce valves of differing qualities from numerous companies. The type of metal used is not as important as the design and fabrication process combined with the engineering and quality control.

    You mention that the 271 cornet (apart from the silver plate) is great, perhaps keeping that is a better option until finances allow a Neo rather than buying a 371 because the silver plating quality is likely to be the same or at least very similar quality wise as the 271 model. I have an old round stamp 921 cornet and a new model (German made) Sovereign and both play good.
  8. Blue

    Blue New Member

    On all the websites I’ve been on it lists the new Sovereign cornets as having stainless steel valves. The ‘new’ sovereigns I played (albeit 15 yrs ago) also had stainless steel valves and we had problems with the. To be fair I haven’t played the new 928’s and my cornets came from the lottery grant era and I know there were lots of issues with Sovereigns around the time so I may give them another try when the time comes as I’m sure things must have improved since the .

    To go back to my original question, the 271 is fine but I wanted something more free blowing and I wondered if anyone had tried a 371.
    It doesn’t look as if anyone has, but thank you to everyone for the replies.
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