Which flugel do I buy?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by WoodenFlugel, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    After some negotiations with 'er indoors, a bit of hunting about and some saving of pennies I am thinking of treating myself to a spanking new flugel :cool: . The trouble is, which one? I was amazed at the myriad of different makes these days all claiming to have a stunning sound and to be perfectly in tune throughout the range (yeah, right this is a flugel... ;) ).

    After a bit of asking and digging around, I've managed to narrow the list down to 3 but I thought I'd approach the tMP font of all knowledge and ask all fellow flugelators what their thoughts are. I'd especially appreciate comments from anyone who has one of the following three as to how they feel the manufacturers claims hold up, how well they are built, the sound they produce, how well they fit in with the Brass Band set-up, and generally are they worth me spending my (very) hard earned spondoolies on them. I'll try not to steer too much but I'm looking for a flugel that has a nice mellow dark sound (if it can make me sound like Iwan Williams then I'll be happy :D ) but without it heading towards trombone / horn territory. It should still sound like a flugel.

    The three in the frame are:

    Conn 1FR Vintage One. I guess this is most likely. Looks the biz (despite the slightly bizarre wooden handled trigger) and is the right price. Reading as many reviews as I can find there is hardly a bad word said about them. Reviews seem to concour that they hold well in tune and give a nice dark sound.

    Courtois 155R. This is the only one of the three that I can say I've played (so far). Very nice flugel. Big sound, and good value. Again most reviews are complimentary and most of the folk I know who have one like them, but I have heard more than a few grumbles - especially about build quality. I'd like whichever instument to last so this is a very slight worry.

    Kanstul 1525. A late arrival on the scene to be honest. I'm stuggling to find too much about them online but what I have found is extremely compliementary. I have played on a Kanstul flug (not a 1525, a custom class one) and although a supposedly cheaper model than my Strad was much better built, and it had a great sound. If the 1525 is as significantly better as the price difference suggests it must be a terrific instrument. It also looks fabulous (I know a minor concern but I'm an ugly git so at least the flugel ought to be pretty for the audiences sake) and I know Kanstuls build quality is second to none. My only fear is that the sound might be too "dark" for effective use in a BB. It's also pushing my budget (and my luck with my wife!) a bit. Depending on what I can find out and any comments here this may well be the one that gets my vote.

    Are there any others I've missed? I guess another Strad, but I've been there and done that and I've never been too happy with the build quality of the one I'm playing on at the minute - its been back to the repairers several times to have various bits soldered back on. I'd love an Ecplise or Taylor (or any other custom manufactuer you'd care to mention) but they are out of my budget. The Yamaha? Well I don't know - I can't think of any logical reason for not wanting one, but for some reason they just don't appeal to me.

    So fire away - your thoughts are very much appreciated :D
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2005
  2. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    dont try the wooden ones, they're no good at all!!!
  3. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    :roll: :roll:
  4. HorniKaz

    HorniKaz Supporting Member

    As usual..... a lot of help!! NOT! :tongue:

    Sorry, I'm no help either. But I'm sure which ever one you buy Ian, you'll sound fab! ;)
  5. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    Have you tried these instruments?
    Which one did you prefer?

    If you haven't tried them all, how can you possibly decide?

    What works for one person is not necessarily what will work for everybody.
    I can vouch for this being very much the case with flugels. Very recently (10 days ago) myself and another trumpeter went up to Eclipse - the mission was to get me a flugel.
    They had a couple of models ready for me to try - there is no doubt, they are the finest flugels around (anything that can make me sound like a flugel player has got to be something special), but which one to go for was a very difficult decision. John preferred the red brass bell, I preferred the copper bell. It was simply a case of finding the one which spoke in the way we wanted to sound.
    I now have a copper bell Eclipse and John is trying to sort out the finances for the red.

    I would have been very happy with the red and it would have worked superbly for everything I do, but I just preferred the sound and feel of the copper.

    I understand that being involved in the brass band world, to go for something that isn't already played in all the top bands is a bit of revolutionary thinking (tongue firmly in cheek;) ), but you really do owe it to yourself to at least try the Eclipse instruments - they have a cornet in development which is going to be a revelation for cornet players (all they need to do is put "Besson" on the bell:wink: ) - trust me, I've played it already.
    The only problem with going to Eclipse is that it is very easy to spend a lot of money. They are, however, worth every penny. An after sales service that is second to none, good coffee and an instrument that will be tailored to your individual needs.

    I have tried just about every flugel on the market (including all that you mention). If I had been forced to buy an off-the-peg flugel I would have gone for the Vintage1, but I wanted a flugel I love to play, not one that I would play when I have to. Since getting the Eclipse I have practised more on flugel than I have in the rest of my life - I have even added a couple of flugel pieces into my potential recital programmes. Until this point in my life, the flugel has been an instrument that I would pick up when a part told me to, but never by choice.

    You NEED to play them all (plus an Eclipse;) ), only then will you have any idea about how they will compare to each other. Everybody will have an opinion, which is fine, but there is only one person whose opinion really metters in this case - that would be you.

    Have fun choosing (and see you in Luton!)
  6. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Some weeks ago the British Bandsman had an article featuring a Brazilian made flugel. It's a Weril. It was recommended by a flugellist in a top section band (only I can't remember who it was or who she played for).

    I took an interest in this as at the recent Workers' Music Association Summer School, one of the brass players there also runs his own business, selling instruments, sheet music, accessories etc. and there for all and sundry to try out was a Weril flugel! A number of us tried it out and we were all impressed by its tone, the valves and its tuning (the tuning wasn't 100% but as you implied, Ian, not many of them are). It was a tad flat (for me) on the high Bb. (Most flugels are). It was certainly free blowing, though. (I didn't buy it, cos money's hard to come by at the mo!)

    Now if money's no object, then by all means go for one of those you've already mentioned, (I personally like the Courtois 4-valve) or possibly the Eclipse which Mike mentioned. (I say 'possibly' because I haven't tried an Eclipse flugel, but Mike knows what he's talking about). But I can point you in the direction of said 'businessman' who's selling this Weril for £350 if pennies are a little short. Certainly it's got plenty of 'value for money' factor about it, but at the same time I realise that what one person thinks is a good instrument, another will think it's crud. Nevertheless, I thought it might be worth sharing with you. By all means PM me if you're interested.


    Last edited: Aug 31, 2005
  7. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    Haven't played the Kanstul or the Conn (but if it's as good as their trumpets it should be OK), have yet to find a courtois with valves that work satisfactorily.

    The Eclipse Flugel, as Mike has said would win hands down anyway, you should really check them out before making your decision.
  8. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks for the replies so far folks - most useful.

    Mike / Dave Q: I fully intend to give my choices a thorough workout both at band and individually before I make a choice. Sadly it looks unlikely that I'll be able to try them back to back. As for the Eclipse - I would love one, I know they are already being used by some Brass Band flugel players so its not that revolutionary anyway :p . My problem is the £2000 starting price is just beyond my budget and I can't justify spending more than I have bugetted for. Sad, but I have to be realistic. I understand also that what is great for Mr x might be horrid for Mrs y but I'm just trying to canvass opinion - am I starting in the right place. Moreover I'd be interested to hear what people's longer term experiences are - stuff that I can't possibly find out myself from one or so months' trial.

    Dave P: I had heard that the Weril was a good buy for the money but I have more to spend so I figure I might as well use it all! Thanks for the info anyway.

    Keep 'em coming....:biggrin:
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2005
  9. Bryan_sop

    Bryan_sop Active Member

    Our band has a Weril Flugel. It's a nice sounding instrument and very well priced too. I'm quite tempted to get one myself (if and when I can afford it) although I did try the Eclipse Trumpet, Cornet and Equinox. If they are anything to go by, the Flugel must be great!
  10. largebore

    largebore New Member

    I'm not a flugel player, but I work with a lot of jazz guys who spend a lot of time searching for the perfect flugelhorn and trying out lots of different ones. The brands which these guys often rate highly (which you may or may not have already looked at) are:

    Leblanc "Arturo Sandoval" copper bell model
    B&S "Challenger"
    B&S "Brochon"
    B&S "Elaboration"

    Anyway, have fun searching!!
  11. bennem

    bennem Member

    I was considering a vintage 1 flugal a while ago and stumbled across a dutch maker Hub Van Laar. www.hubvanlaar.com

    I looked around and took in the general consensus on the web of what this guys reputation is and went for it unplayed. I ordered and paid for the B3 silver plate flugal and he sent me a B2 and a B3 to audition. I sent back the B2 and kept the B3, it is fabulous all for the same money as I would have spent on the vintage 1. Hand made, copper bell and the best valves I have ever used- Bauerfeind.

    If he made a cornet I would definitely audition it.....
  12. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    Think they're used on the Eclipse too.

    I've heard that B&S Challenger flugels are pretty good too, and not too expensive either.
  13. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    Yes, they are
  14. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Now thats interesting. Until about 3 months ago I'd never heard of Hub Van Laar (maybe because I've always played in a brass band and we never play anything other than besson instruments...;) ) until I saw one of his flugels in an eBay auction. Curious, I had a dig around the net and on his site and was very impressed with what I read and saw - but I ruled them out without knowing the prices as I saw they were handmade etc, so I guessed Eclipse price range (still too much!!). If they are Vintage 1 / Courtois money I might have to add it to my shortlist as they appear to be highly regarded.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2005
  15. bennem

    bennem Member

    The price of a van Laar flugel is € 1750,- raw brass and € 1950,- silverplated. Which equates to £1193 and £1330 respectively. Just remember that they come without a case which will cost you another £100 or so depending on what you buy. Shipping will cost you about £30-50.

    Also as the instruments are European you don't have to pay VAT on top of this making them really cost effective for a hand made instrument.

    And another thing you could also go the whole hog and get it gold plated.... or any combination you want. It is made to order.......

    Good luck with your search.

    If you are down Oxford way you are welcome to give my flugel a try.......
  16. axio

    axio Member

    I recommend the Courtois. I can't remember the model I played but it was a big big instrument that, when provided with sufficent air, carried anywhere with a beautifully warm sound.
    It was hard work getting into it... but once I did.. magic.
  17. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks for your offer....if I'm down your way anytime I might just take you up on that...:D

    It looking like October before I do anything anyway, as its obviously not a good idea to change things just before the finals, and I'm away on holibobs after that. When I come back I'll start to get hold of some flugels to audition.
  18. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    I just found this thread from a few weeks ago that I hadn't seen before...

    Although I have never tried a Van Laar flugel myself, I know that many flugel players in the Dutch top "fanfare bands" and other professional musicians use Van Laar flugels and trumpets (especially in the south east if the country, because that's were he is based, but also some of the trumpet players of the Concertgebouworchestra of Amsterdam...).

    Apparently, he's a very friendly guy, and if you make an appointment, you can visit his shop and try all models out if you want...

    Oh, and if you would be interested in a wooden flugel, check this link out: http://www.whc.net/rjones/buglebois.html

  19. Di

    Di Active Member

    Woow, we ought to be able to edit that into his avatar somewhere. ;)
  20. groovy

    groovy Active Member

    My brother has got on very well with a Selmer "Concept" flugel. According to our 1st horn player it is "ugly" and "weird" because it has a sort of matt-effect plating which i can't describe too well, but you can get normal plating too. It doesn't seem to be as free-blowing as the Yamaha (which is all I can compare it to) but it certainly ahs a very nice sound and seems to fit it fine with BB. However I have never played it so can't give an expert opinion I'm afraid, but you can see what you think.
    Sorry, not sure what it retails for and it doesn't seem to say on the website.

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