Posted by js on December 28, 2001 at 20:23:07:
In Reply to: Re: Cheap Asian Tubas posted by Rick Denney on December 28, 2001 at 09:49:42:
As much as Couesnon automatically commands some respect - being European and also being tied in with the old Gautrout line (Grande Prize de... etc., etc., and incidentally a fine old maker of Ophicleides) of French instruments, far later during early 1960's (when cheap Asian instruments were virtually non-existant) the French Couesnon line served (the United States, at least) certainly as a "bottom drawer" choice.
Couesnon instruments were, at that time, distributed in the U.S. by Gretsch Guitar and Drum Company to offer their combo-oriented outlets "something" to sell to school band customers. The Couesnon brass were paired by Gretsch with some ultra-bottom-drawer woodwinds called "Lafayette". The quality European instruments were already in organized distribution (Leblanc, Selmer, even to a limited degree Courtois [some Holton stencils]) and I suspect that Gretsch found Couesnon to be quite "available".
Couesnon's "one" legendary instrument from those days, their flugel horn, was more of a "fluke" horn, as it played far better than planned (I would conjecture). Further, only about half of the Couesnon flugels that I've seen had useable factory piston tolerances, and I would tend to assume that other 1960's etc. Couesnon brass met the same standard...No one ever brings any other old Couesnon instruments in for repair or service.
Couesnon of old made some interesting instruments, but (in my opinion) the Couesnon 1960's instruments that are encountered by modern "instrument finders" (e**y, etc.) are not too far above (if any above) the mainland Chinese instruments of 2001, except for (perhaps) a very very minor "leg up" on acoustical design.
Joe "who sees no tragedies when Couesnon and Lafayette instruments are utilized by interior decorators, and, 'first world' or not, don't ask me to ride in a French helicopter" S.