One-of-a-kind Custom Olds Ambassador Eclipse trumpet conversion! (now sold)
A total one-off, Olds Ambassador rebuilt and refinished and converted to Eclipse tuning by the respected UK boutique maker. I have had it for three years and played it in many professional engagements and in a music video. I bought it on ebay for US$720 (£440) I then paid import tax and postage. I have taken great care of it and it is still in excellent condition with no dents and the finish is still close to that of a new horn. It plays amazingly well, and you are welcome to come and try it at my office in Bethnal Green, East London before the end of the auction – the players I know who have tried it have loved how well it plays. I am selling it because I have a number of trumpets and now a small baby. This horn is one of my favourites, but I need to reduce the collection.
No mouthpiece or case, will package well for postal delivery, or you can collect from Bethnal Green or Woodford.
The following text is written by the guy I bought the horn from, three years ago. The condition of the horn is still excellent as he describes
“Serial # 2XXXXX dates the horn from 1958
Up for sale today is another horn from my personal collection. I’ve recently bought a new horn so this one is up for sale. I made the switch to mostly Vintage horns as my belief is that they truly sound better than any modern instruments being currently manufactured. This is a great example out of my collection that I’m selling. This is truly a one-of-a-kind item. My new rule is “buy one, sell one” and since I just acquired another horn so I have to let go of one of my own.
This is a wonderful 1958 Olds Ambassador Trumpet that Leigh McKinney at http://www.eclipsetrumpets.com customized into a dual-tuning model. If you don’t know about the Eclipse trumpets they feature rear-bell fixed tuning. It’s a truly revolutionary design that stabilizies the attack and makes connections extremely consistent.
An Ambassador? Why not an Opera, or Mendez you say? Well, truth be told the Olds Ambassador horns have had a resurgence over the past few years. The valvesets are the same (even though these now are MUCH tighter than the older Olds of the time)… the materials are very much the same. Hey, if the Ambassador was good enough for Lee Morgan to record some of his Blue Note Albums on it must be pretty darn great!
You’ve seen them go for a great deal of money online on ebay. This is the Ambassador on steriods. Here’s a brief list of what’s been done to custom modify this horn as well as some words about how these horns (I think fewer than 10 have been made… Leigh’s company took off and he stopped making conversions around 2004) play:
(material found online at www.trumpetmaster.com)
Street price for the conversion was about $1K in 2004, without the horn. So you’re getting a heck of a deal if you go through with the trade.
The horn is an Olds Ambassador that Leigh McKinney (Eclipse trumpets) custom modified. He describes another horn below (my horn is scratch silver with gold accents and polished silver bell… it’s quite stunning).
“Hiya George (who got the first conversion, his was in brushed lacquer… mine is in silver plate).
Just a few words about your horn! This is what we did:-
Took the whole thing back to component parts to repair or resurface each part (its easier to get to everything properly)
The 1st and 3rd slides have been reversed so they could take Eclipse ring and saddle and work like most modern horns do.
The valve section was re-surfaced due to a lot of wear over the years.
The bell was cut into 3 pieces and assembled like an eclipse bell with the tuning slide at the back of the bell.
Of course each horn is different, so we must put the same length back into the bell that we have cut out, so the bottom slide length tends to vary a little.
I considered taking away the front tuning,but i wanted to keep as much as i could of the amazing craftwork that originally went into this horn.
Same with the braces!
So what we have here is a horn that benefits from an Eclipse tuning slide which can be used on its own by closing off the front tuning totally and just tuning with the back slide,, creating great slotting.
Or you can reverse the prosess and use only the traditional front tuning, giving you that same olds ambassador feel.
We were very lucky with this model as it worked out that you can actually use both tuning slides together at different lengths of pull to fine tune the instrument and it sounds fantastic.
We have had 3 pro players try it and they all agreed that it was worthy of being used in many of their playing situations (but we already knew that about olds ambassadors anyway didnt we!)
Noel Langley, Eclipse Artist, said this about the modified horns.
Hi George – I am going to nail my colours to the mast and say that (IMHO) you will soon be taking delivery of THE best looking and best sounding Olds Ambassador on the planet!
I, along with many British players have long been a fan of Olds instruments. Maybe its to do with the robust and business like construction of these horns, or the many design innovations this company was responsible for implementing and refining, but whenever you play an Olds you have the feeling that you have a very serious piece of kit in your hands. Whilst it is true that the Ambassadorhad the reputation of being a ‘student horn’ – compared to sophisticated trumpets like the Recording or the Mendez – we have to bear in mind that they wre made by the same master craftsmen to the same exacting standards and from the same standard of component parts as the premium Olds brands. We all know that these horns have far more substance to them than any modern entry level horns and are more than a match for many ‘pro’ lines.
What Leigh has done with the raw materials you sent him has taken this honest work-horse of the trumpet world to a whole new level. First of all i have to say that the horn looks absolutely gorgeous – those pictures do not do it justice at all. The horn gleams and glistens and all of the Eclipse additions to the instrument look as if they were always meant to be there. If anything the extra weight included in the rear tuning slide assembley has improved the balance and feel of the horn in the hand. I must say that I find the slide stop sits particularly well on an Olds as its design was inspired by the third valve slide stop on a vintage olds super . The way that Leigh has picked out the Olds badge, along with the usual Eclipse highlights is absolutely stunning – so now on to the good news!
It plays like a dream and you basically have two great horns in one. Using the front slide you have the classic sound and feel of a beautifuly restored Ambassador – warm, dark, open and flexible. Using the rear slide you can experience the greater projection, firmer slotting and deadly accurate intonation that you would expect from an Eclipse trumpet. The sound is also considerably brighter, more dense and with a much more even feel over the whole register. There is also the opportunity to graduate the change between these two extremes by using both slides in combination. I think you will have hours of fun experimenting with this new feature – I predict that your practice sessions may double in length or frequency without even realising it! I was very tempted to try to smuggle this horn out of the factory under my coat yesterday – and came back today so that I could have one more session on it before it gets sent back home.
It would be great to hear your thoughts George – I’ll be very interested to see which slide you prefer using and in which situations. Enjoy!
The horn’s overall condition is excellent. The valves (see the pic) are like new smooth and feel like they are brand new. The horn has no dents or dings. The finish is in good shape. This horn could pass for barely used instrument.
No Case or MPC included with this sale.
This horn is truly a one in a kind instrument so please only serious bidders/questions only.
On Aug-03-08 at 18:43:52 PDT, seller added the following information:
Also worth mentioning that the Eclipse model trumpet sells for around 2000GBP. I’ve owned Eclipse (was an artist rep for the company) and think this horn plays pretty darn close to that horn!
I will record soundclips tomorrow and post them soon.
On Aug-07-08 at 16:30:55 PDT, seller added the following information:
Sorry for the delay but I’ve uploaded 3 sound files to my website (originally www.trentaustin.com, now below):
I recorded them on my Zoom H4 with no editing. They are totally raw, low-fi mp3 takes.
Please contact me for offers and more details. Geoff