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New E.F. Durand Bb Brass Cornet w/Case 2151L

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Customer Reviews

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Exceptional Quality for the Price Review by BobL
This review is broken into two parts. The first part is a general summary for people who are just trying to get a general impression of the instrument, and the second part contains technical details for people who live and breathe brass instruments ;)
This is an extended review which I am doing as a courtesy for other potential customers, since before ordering the cornet I was frustrated by a lack of reviews for this instrument anywhere on the WWW.

I ended up winning an eBay bid for a new cornet from USA Music Supply's sister company. It is listed as CR-2151L in the company's catalog, and the manufacturer lists it as "E.F. Durand French Engineered Model DC110". I am placing the review at this website because I felt it would help more people if it was placed here instead of at the sister company's website.


For the price I felt that this was an excellent purchase. For less than $150 delivered, you receive a brand new, reasonable quality cornet and case. The instrument sounds like a cornet, not a trumpet. It plays in-tune well, especially in the typical range of high school level music (from G below the staff to the G above the staff). A lacquered brass instrument such as this is probably the easiest to care for over the years, and the cheapest to have repaired when the inevitable scratches and dents happen. The manufacturing quality of the valves and slides were exceptional for the price of the instrument. In addition to the instrument you will need to purchase a trumpet/cornet care kit which includes: valve oil, tuning slide grease, mouthpiece brush, bore brush, valve casing brush and a cleaning/polishing cloth. THE POLISHING CLOTH MUST BE UNTREATED or TREATED FOR POLISHING LACQUERED FINISHES! These kits are typically $15 to $25 in price. You may also wish to get a soft cotten cloth about 10"x10" clean-up (for spit, etc.), a small piece of flexible rubber for freeing a jammed mouthpiece (a 2"x2" piece cut from a bicycle tube, or a flat rubber jar opener), and a small baggie for holding the valve oil and slide grease. The oil and grease go in the baggie, and the baggie is wrapped up in the cotten cloth. The whole thing is carefully placed in the case with the instrument and you are ready to go!

For an adult who has never played an instrument before, or for anyone who has previously played another instrument and is on a tight budget, I would recommend this product. For a 5th grade student starting out, this may be an excellent choice, but the parent should be aware that the case (and its instrument) is not a tank! If your child is careless or rough on things, you may wish to buy a replacement instrument (probably of higher quality) by his 9th grade.



The case is made of black woven nylon, and has plastic zippers, two nylon handles and a carrying strap. The inside of the case has a light-weight black, synthetic plush material and a moderately-soft backing material such as styberfoam or a light-weight plastic. The interior of the case has room for the instrument, one mouthpiece, the very cheap cotton gloves and a cotten cloth wrapped baggie containing valve oil and slide grease. There is no room for any music or mutes. The outside of the case has a zippered compartment which is not quite large enough to hold the standard method book. The case has an extra deep plastic cup to hold over-sized mouthpieces, but the enclosed mouthpiece will rattle in the case. I use a small piece of foam stuffed in the plastic cup to prevent the rattling. The instrument, mouthpiece and case are amazingly light weighing only 5 lbs. 2 oz. (2300 g). Given the light weight and the choice of using the strap or one of the handles, I believe even a fifth grade girl would have no trouble carrying the instrument to school and back.


Disclaimer: I am not a professional musician. I am an amateur who played cornet growing up and was a weekend musician in my late teens. I have given private lessons, but am not a teacher either. I have only had the instrument for two weeks, so I have not had a chance to adapt to the instrument and its mouthpiece.

The instrument was made in China. It appears to be a basic European designed cornet with the crook and a short length. The instrument is made of brass and nickel/steel alloy tubing. The valves are monel alloy. The bottom & top valve caps are stainless steel, as are the valve stems and keys. The valve and stem felts are made of rubber. Including the mouthpiece the instrument is 13 3/8" long (34 cm) and weighs 2 lbs. 8 oz. (1133 g). The bell size is about 4 5/8" (117 mm) wide. The bore size of the 2nd valve slide is about .45" (11.4 mm). The valve travel is longer than I expected, about .45". The springs of the valves are stronger than I prefer, but as it is a brand new instrument that I have only had for two weeks, I think it is premature to begin playing with the spring tension.

Upon receiving the instrument the first thing I did was disassemble it and inspect each piece for problems. I found no problems with the valves and the valve casings. I saw no signs of scratches in the valve cases or flaws (high spots) on the valves. After carefully cleaning and lubricating each piece, I reassembled the instrument and did not notice any leakage around the water valves, slides or leadpipe. The visible soldering ranged from very good to excellent, and the brass polishing and lacquer were almost perfect.

When I bought the instrument I expected to get a cheaply made instrument that would hopefully play in-tune. I was pleasantly surprised that the instrument is light but the brass does not appear to be overly thin or thick. Flicking the bell with my finger I heard a moderate ring. Each slide has outside tubes of steel with nickel finish. The short length of the instrument and its adequate bracing makes it less likely that the instrument would become hopelessly bent if dropped.

Using an electronic piano with standard equal temperament and A=440 Hz, I tuned the cornet, and then played each note (in the Bb written range) from the low G below the staff to the 1st C above the staff, comparing each note to the piano's corresponding note. Here is what I found after tuning the instrument to the C in the treble staff using the tuning slide, but not moving the valve slides from being pushed in all the way:

The low G was very good, with only a small amount of lipping needed to bring it into tune.

Notes from the low A to the higher E within the staff were in tune and played exceptionally well. It was quite easy to play from softly to loudly in this range.

Notes from the higher F within the staff up to the 1st C above the staff required harder blowing as you went up the scale, but each note either played in tune or could be brought into tune with minor lipping.

The mouthpiece. Hmmm. Everybody seems to like a different mouthpiece since each of us has a slightly different lips, teeth and jaws, and likes to play different types of music. What I can say is that the included mouthpiece seems to be a servicable generic mouthpiece that was chosen to match the instrument. In my case, I like the instrument enough that I know I will continue to play it, so I have ordered my preference for cornets -- a Denis Wick Heritage 4BW mouthpiece.

Finally, my overall impression. The instrument appears to have been designed and engineered by someone who understands cornets. It is a basic, serviceable design, made to be affordable and durable, while still having an excellent tone in the basic range. It has adequate bracing to be useable for years, while not be a dead sounding instrument. The manufacturing appears to be good. I doubt if the case will hold up to heavy abuse, but is OK if you are careful. For the price it seems to be an excellent choice, but don't expect this to be the equivalent of an instrument that costs several times as much! (Posted on 7/14/12)

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