Blessing Artist Cornets – Forgotten Gems?

Posted: July 4, 2011 in Gadget Talk
Tags: , , , ,

If you’re anything like me – you probably have a number of horns sitting in your closet/cupboard at any one time. Lately the collection has been explanding though as I keep discovering a number of great instruments from the past that are build solid, and sound great.

A couple of horns have always been on my ‘want to play’ list since I started listening to jazz trumpet players about 10-15 years ago.

Namely the Blessing Artist series trumpets that were made famous by their association with Clifford Brown back in the 50’s.

(Blessing Super Artist Cornet from the late 1940’s pictured below)

Being in Canada these days certainly has it’s advantages as I have access to a who plethora of instruments from across the border – so when I spied a couple of these horns for a reasonable price I just had to get them for a test run.

Of course to do the ultimate test I required as standard series Artist and the Super Artist.

Luckliy enough I happened upon both within the space of a week and bought both for ‘comparative purposes’

Both the horns I got – were bought for a fraction of what they should go for – it seems that everyone is after the trumpet versions today (especially Committee trumpets) and has forgotten what an absolute bargain some of these horns can be had for if you look around and do your research (and due diligence of several days of sifting over endless internet pages)

These horns are both great – and great value to boot.

Now, just to be clear I am talking about the pre 50’s versions of these instruments – they are easily spotted by the mico-tuner ring at the bottom of the main tuning slide.

Most have the underslung 3rd valve ring also. If you are looking to pick up one of these horns – these are the ones to go for!! Be wary of this as there are a lot of much later produced horns under the same name that are IMO no where near as good as these older versions.

The major difference between the two at surface value is the addition of the Nickel Plated slides on the Super Artist vs. the all Brass of the Artist.

What the nickel slides seem to do from a playing perspective is to allow for a more solid tone and core to the sound – and the notes slot noticeably easier on the Super for me. The sound is also a lot fuller on the Super and the projection seems to be better.

Having said that, if it’s smokey and intimate you are after with a noticeable warm edge to the sound then the Artist is a great choice.

A lot of people love the all brass versions of these horns, and I can see why. One top of the advantages in price (usually at least half the price of the Super) you get a whole lot of horn for your investment.

Both of these horns seem to be some-what mouthpiece sensitive – so be prepared to spend some tiem dialing in the sound with a properly matched mouthpiece shank (far too many people write off good horns without looking at this area and the valve alignments)

So that puts it totally down to personal preference about what you are looking for out of these horns. If it’s a more all-round horn you are looking for perhaps the Super Artist is the way to go. If it’s jazz and Dixie style horn you are after see if you can track down an original Artist.

Better yet – save up a few pennies and get both! – It will probably cost you less than a new intermediate horn from a major manufacturer and give you years of service, and when you are done you might even get more than what you paid for it back.

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Comments
  1. Roger Clark says:

    Hi There,

    What mpcs have you been using in the Artists for the best effect?

    Cheers,
    Roger

  2. trumpetgear says:

    Hi Roger,
    Apologies for the delay…..
    Finding a period specific Blessing Mouthpiece always helps – luckily there was a #15 included with one of the horns.
    I also find that most american made cornet pieces from the era seem to work fine.
    I’m lucky enough to have access to Al Cass and some 30’s Bach pieces and they all work well.
    Keep an eye out for Bach New York versions and you should be ok.
    If you are struggling to find some I have a few.

    Dr Dave (Wedge mouthpieces) and I have tried some of the wedge cornet and flugel mouthpieces and these give a really nice warm tone also.

    Rgds, Shawn

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