Brad T.

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About Brad T.

  • Rank
    DCP Veteran

Profile Information

  • Your Drum Corps Experience
    2009-2012 Cincinnati Tradition, 2013-present Columbus Saints
  • Your Favorite All Time Corps Performance (Any)
    Phantom Regiment 1989
  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Columbus, OH
  1. Check eBay. I picked up a rather ugly looking Dynasty 3v for $99 a few weeks back.
  2. Good luck. It was easier for me to find an Olds Ultratone II two valve picc than it has been to find a 4 valve 5/4 DEG Super Magnum contra
  3. I've taken a look at some Top 12 990s. I completely agree that some are one flat tire away from ruin at times. But to even start the cycle of a horn contract, the initial money needs to be fronted. I don't know if manufacturers will ship on a payment plan. So the first year of a contract is the most expensive, especially if the previous horns don't sell whatsoever. Obviously this can be offset by capital campaigns, crowdsourcing, and member fund raisers. The bottom line is, the first year in a contract is a steep price to pay. A corps with low brand recognition or placement may not be able to sell horns every year and therefore may never recover the initial costs. Corps in the perennial Top 5 have their horns often bought and paid for by fans, band directors, and other corps before summer tour even begins.
  4. Adams marching brass is built in Europe from Taiwanese sourced components. I've detailed the corps contract setup, yet people still say corps get things for free and make money hand over fist. Instrument manufacturers have multiple trade prices for a given horn: Manufacturer's cost to produce, retail purchase price, retail purchase price for bulk orders, retail sale price, retail sale price for schools, and drum corps contract prices. The retail sale price is the one listed on every website like WWBW and so forth. That is a price all music shops whether online or brick and mortar agree to list the horn at in order to sell that brand. The retail purchase price is the price most brick and mortar music stores will sell said instruments at, plus a slight markup of maybe $50-$100, through verbal haggling. The other prices should be self explanatory. If you want an example of retail purchase vs sale price, look at Kanstul's list price for Bb marching brass (purchased through a dealer), and their price for G bugles (purchased direct from Kanstul). An end user very likely can buy the Bb horns for the G prices after haggling, but regardless, that is a great example of the price discrepancies in the trade. Drum corps contract pricing is roughly 30%-40% of the full MSRP listed on sites like WWBW. So a $1200 list price trumpet is sold to a contract corps for $360-$480, and a $2000 list trumpet is sold to a corps for $600-$800. If you look at every corps that uses Yamaha horns, all of their "used horns" literature advertises the horns at the same price. So a used Xeno trumpet from Bluecoats is the same as from Crown, is the same as from Boston... usually around $1200. This "sale" price of $1200 isn't really a sale price at all. Yes it is below the $2000 new list price, but you're buying a horn that's been beat up pretty hard for at least one summer. I know of corps who don't sell all of their horns and continue to market multi-season horns at the same "sale" price. Ultimately, any horns the corps *do* sell net a few hundred dollars of profit. The sale of used horns is not 100% profit however. In theory, this seems like a good idea. But ultimately it only benefits the Top 12 corps whose pockets are deep to begin with. The corps still have to pony up the initial cost to buy the first round of horns, and then pray they can resell them, otherwise they carry that debt over multiple seasons and really can't buy new horns until the old ones sell, which gets progressively more difficult as they are designed to fall apart much quicker than the old G bugles. Example: the Kilties own a handful of 5/4 size Dynasty Supermag contras. These horns were bought by the Madison Scouts in 1999. These horns are 18 years old and still being used. You don't see any corps marching an 18 year old Yamaha or Jupiter Bb. A 2-3 year old Yamaha is in worse shape with far worse plating wear and so forth. The companies follow planned obsolescence to ensure the contract corps push hard to turn over product each year. Honestly it is in fact a huge money pit for everyone: band directors and fans who buy the used horns, corps who can't sell full lines, and the only ones making out are the manufacturers.
  5. So, I find this whole idea intriguing. So much so, that there is one song that is note for note the same, except transposed down a whole step. This would be Phantom's Fire of Eternal Glory. If I could find a better version of Madison's "Never Walk Alone" besides one lot recording from 2001 on G, I could also do the same with that piece. Attached are SoundCloud links to the original 1993 gymnasium recording (on Dynasty G bugles) in Concert C, a high quality recording of Phantom in 2012 during an encore performance (on Jupiter Bb/F brass) in Concert Bb, and the same 2012 recording pitch shifted to Concert C. 1993: 2012 Concert Bb: 2012 Pitch Shifted to Concert C: The 1993 version is my personal favorite because the rich sound of G bugles cannot be duplicated on Bb horns. Yes, the adjusted pitch recording sounds very much like the 93 version, but the F mellophones sound a bit more tinny and restrained, the trumpets don't come close to the sizzle of the G bugles, and the massive Jupiter tubas pail in comparison to the GG contras. At the time, Phantom should have been using a mix of 2 and 3 valve Dynasty contras, in 4/4 and 5/4 size.
  6. Deep pockets? I wish. That's why this ideal drum corps will never happen. I am aware the activity exists in other nations. If these other countries wish to build their own instruments, great. But the fact the instruments are built and sold purposely to undercut American markets makes me very angry. Sadly I can't buy American made electronics anymore. I can barely find American made clothes. I could argue that a nation that divests its entire manufacturing infrastructure will never survive a catastrophic global market collapse, but this is DCP. Those contract deals you mention aren't just for the "top corps." Corps up and down the roster are able to sign with one of the Pacific Rim nations and get an influx of garbage from Jinbao, Jupiter, or Yamaha. Jupiter contract pricing is some of the cheapest out there, at less than 30% of MSRP listed online such as through WWBW and other retailers. Their product is also akin to metal kazoos. Contract pricing by and large is roughly 30%-40% of MSRP. That shows the *true* value of the raw materials and starvation wages paid to laborers in these Pacific Rim countries. So an Andalucia Bb trumpet (soprano or whatever they claim it to be), that lists at $1200 new likely costs under $500 for a corps to buy on contract. These corps then turn around and sell said horns for $600-$700, tell everyone what a deal they can have by buying gently used, and pocket the rest. Most of the Pacific Rim horns don't last more than 2-3 seasons before completely calling apart. I own G bugles that are 50 years old in better shape than 2 year old Yamaha tubas. At the end of the day, if your only concern is initial costs and/or a resale fund raiser, and the ethics behind your $500 trumpet don't matter, buy all the garbage you want. I personally care about the quality of my instruments, the conditions of the factories in which they were made, the skill level of the craftsmen, and whether or not they are paid fairly. I am not completely against overseas manufacturing. My concert tuba is from Germany. If I owned a Euphonium, I would choose a European brand any day. For marching brass, I will only buy American however.
  7. Much like with American made everything else, this mass flooding of the market with cheaply made Chinese garbage will put American workers and factories out of business. As a consumer I would rather pay more and know I'm helping to keep food on the table of a citizen of my own country. I'm not a MAGA type, I'm just a consumer who finds the flood of cheap Chinese garbage in the market to be wholly offensive. If I ran a drum corps, and some day wish to, I will only purchase King or Kanstul. And since I will be buying a brand new line of G bugles, Kanstul will be my horn manufacturer.
  8. The JinBao System Blue horns are junk. Made of thin brass that dents easily and have very poor quality control. The Professional line was redesigned when pulled from King so as to not be direct copies. There are just small changes between the King versions and the JinBao versions. The standard line or whatever they call it is all clones of Yamaha and Kanstul equipment.
  9. Roughly once a year I try to put up a want ad for a Willson DEG 4v Super Mag Contra. I've been searching for about 6 years now for one and still haven't had the opportunity to pick one up. With DCA going bando like DCI and allowing any brass, and a number of DCA corps ditching G, there has got to be one floating around. Hey Kilties, got any you're not using anymore and willing to part with one? Jim Ott Brass Ensemble bought the whole lot of Empire Statesmen horns that was posted here about 3 years ago so those former Super Mags are not for sale. Someone has to have one for sale for a reasonable price. The Erie Thunderbirds keep finding them, so someone's gotta have one.
  10. To me, having played a number of different Yamaha horns, it takes way too much effort to get any decent volume or projection out of them, especially the tubas. Yamaha tubas sacrifice actual tone quality for weight savings. I thought Spirit and Genesis had a nice rich low brass sound with some nice overtones. Very similar to G horns - better be since Kanstul's Bb and G lines use the same parts! I've heard that Yamaha horns also don't have a rich bass voice simply because that's not what the Japanese like to hear. Japanese music values mid and high voices more so than the low voices, whereas American music traditionally has a deep bass foundation. So... YMMV!
  11. Talked to the Adams rep at Finals. He told me they were in discussion with a few corps to sign contracts upon completion of current ones. Clearly Spirit was the first one whose contract was up. As much as I actually find Adams to be decent playing horns, it is a step backwards from Kanstul. They weren't the best hornline the past few seasons, but the depth of sound and tone color they had simply wasn't had by any of the Yamaha or Jupiter corps.
  12. If you'are playing with concert pitch instruments, you have to use concert pitch fingerings unless you find music written specifically for G bugle. That means the written middle C is 1st valve. I think a primer on transposition for trumpets would help you greatly with your confusion. Simply put, in a band setting, you have to change your fingerings to play the correct pitches that everyone else is. If you're playing solo, no one will care whether you play in concert pitch or transposed. I have a chart somewhere that has all of the fingerings for G bugles to play the correct concert pitch based on whatever music you're reading: G transposed, Bb transposed, Eb transposed, F transposed, and Concert Pitch. You never mention if this bugle has two or three valves. If you only have two valves, you can't play a number of notes. Nothing you do will make those notes play.
  13. Follow up: if you're dead set on playing a G baritone in a street band that is playing out of something like a Real Fake Book, and you want to play from treble clef sheets, your useable note range, provided the horn has 3 valves, begins on a low Db (1-2-3) that you'll never see written in a fake book. The lowest you'll see in a fake book is probably a G (0). Using your standard valve pattern for a major scale, if you start on the G two lines and a space beneath the treble clef: G (0), A (1-3), B (1-2), middle C (1), D (0), E (1-2), F# (2), G (0). You should be able to figure out the rest from there. You'll be playing exactly one octave below what's written.
  14. You are putting too much thought into this. G bugles are traditionally written the same as a British Brass Band - every part is transposed treble clef. Low C (grand staff middle C) on the clef is concert G, and that concert G is the 2nd harmonic of the horn. You are probably familiar with harmonic series/overtone series? Over the years, because some people who play low bugles either refuse to learn treble clef or just somehow don't understand it, a system of writing a transposed Bass Clef developed. This is a unique thing to G bugles and is found nowhere else in music theory. The transposed Bass Clef, often referred to as "Texas clef," treats Concert G as a written Bb. Your standard bass clef fingering chart for a 3v Bb tuba, Euphonium, or baritone will then give you the fingerings. I find Texas clef to be miserable, as I've played multiple keys of low brass, particularly tubas, that when I read bass clef, I automatically switch to concert pitch fingerings. So the Bb above the bass clef on G baritone bugle Texas clef is tuning G, aka 4th overtone. It should be played open. When I see that note, my brain is wired to play 2nd valve as that is what Concert Bb is on a G baritone. Simply put, if you already read treble clef and understand the Fingering pattern for treble clef, keep reading treble clef and adjust your mental pitch centers to G. Easiest way to play.
  15. America the Beautiful was sung by an Army vocalist before finals started. Personally, as a fan and performer, I enjoy large performances. The fans love it and I find them to be fun. Sounds like a bunch of better-than-thou prima donna MMs and techs these days. God forbid your elite corps sounds less than perfection because of a large performance.