Oldest Instruments still in use?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by floppymute, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. floppymute

    floppymute Member

    Reading some recent posts on other threads, including those referring to the build-quality, or otherwise, of newer instruments versus old, set me wondering...

    What old instruments are out there still in use by bands? Maybe we could identify the oldest example still in regular use?

    I myself have a Hawkes single BBb Bass. It's serial number puts manufacture at or around 1896. It's no longer in regular use, only occasionally now, but it was used by my muisc centre band until recently and still plays well.
  2. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Everyday instrument is a 1970 Conn 88H. Not very old by some standards, but trombones do tend to have a shorter shelf life than some other instruments.
  3. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    1958 Conn 88H
  4. tubadaz

    tubadaz Member

    1950 F.W. Holton Sousaphone.

    In weekly use with a Marching Band in York.

    See profile Pic! :D

  5. The oldest instrument in use is an 1830's Valved ophecleide. It is pitched in Eb, and the first two valves are played with the left hand, and third and fourth with the right. There is no makers stamp on it, We have a number of instruments from 1860 to the turn of the century. We have this and some others on the web site.
  6. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    My sousaphone is a 1927 Boosey and Co. Still use it for gigs (not that often these days). Did use it with Kippax once, for the old 'Come follow the band' routine.
  7. jrshimmon

    jrshimmon Member

    I am currently using a 1923ish Boosey & Co 'Solbron' Soprano Cornet, awaiting a newer replacement. I have been playing it since the end of November and through Christmas and it ain't half bad at all. Sadly it was neglected for a few years so 2nd and 3rd slides have seized. I must admit it is much easier and nicer to play than a 1970's Getzen I was playing before.

    Sadly I think the valves are very worn and although they don't leak yet. I think another couple years will see it done if I just kept playing it.

    Oh well. 'Instruments of my Great Grandfather's I Salute You!'
  8. Rhonda

    Rhonda Member

    Hi there,
    my husband plays a Hillary ophicleide from 1830 in (very sharp) B flat (or very low C) with 11 keys. I have a German square piano from 1845. We use both instruments for Duo recitals.

    Though it's not a brass Instrument, I might have the oldest instrument around: it's a Beyer square piano from 1767. It's in the process of being restored.

  9. floppymute

    floppymute Member

    Some interesting examples turn up buried in school store-rooms.
    Some years ago I came across an old pea-shooter trombone, sadly no longer in playable condition, but the interesting thing about it was the oriental-style engraving and the mouthpiece in the shape of a minaret. There was no maker's name but I would guess it was made for military band somewhere in the far-flung corners of the Empire, India possibly?
  10. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    Did you buy it from new Mr B?:biggrin:
  11. I also have some woodwind instruments from late1700-1800 range, but they are not being played. My brother restored a couple of square grands in his career as a piano technician. his comment was they are difficult.
  12. JPCoulson

    JPCoulson Member

    We used to have a player that has played all music known to man...acccording to him anyway. That must make him about 300 yrs old, does that count!?
  13. Rhonda

    Rhonda Member

    So have I.
    I'm absolutely useless with brass instruments but love flauti traversi and recorders. Some 15 years ago I simply couldn't resist and bought two more than overpriced flutes in London :oops:.

    We have some Crummhorns, sackbutts, a hurdy gurdy and other medieval instruments but all copies.

    My other small square is a Broadwood from 1806.

    All in all the removal company wasn't too impressed when we moved over here. They reckoned seven keyboard instruments a bit much in one go. :eek:

    Rhonda :biggrin:
  14. fartycat

    fartycat Member

    Where to start...

    I regularly use some Boosey and Hawkes kettle drums (c1910). These have been reskinned with goat and make a decent noise. I also own and cherish a 1920's Deagan roundtop glockenspiel - such a nice sound.

    I have two identical tenor drums made of brass - one is a copy, the other an original made by Potters of Aldershot. The old drum saw service during the 1st World War and has a signature of one of the Potter family on a certificate inside the drum. When I took the drum back to Potters to get it reskinned the guy who did the work was the grandson of the person who made the drum!

    We also use 3 small bass drums, all vintage. The oldest is seen in several photos of the band from the 20's and 30's. We also have some vintage snare drums in the cupboard that I am wanting to do up and I also own a fair few vintage cymbals including some original Zildjians stamped with the made in Turkey stamp.

    The build quality for old drums and perc is far superior on most items in my opinion.
  15. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    My Euphonium which gets occasional use is a 1921 Boosey and Co.
    My Sousaphone is a 1945 King great for out door jobs
    The Baby is a 1992 EEb sov
  16. floppymute

    floppymute Member

    Is he high pitch or low pitch?;)
  17. Highams

    Highams Member

  18. brassbandmaestro

    brassbandmaestro Active Member

    I have played a BBb Bass, circa1915. Not a bad sound!!
  19. iancwilx

    iancwilx Active Member

    We had a Highams 5 valve euph in our school band around 1960.
    We never new it was so old, but it blew well and had a good clear sound.
    No one knew what the 5th valve was for.
    Mind you, most of us weren't sure what the other 4 were for either !

    - Mr Wilx
  20. Rhonda

    Rhonda Member

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