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Bach Trumpets – Bell Variations

by Bach Loyalist

Vincent Bach – Trumpet Bell Variations

Bell Construction – Bending

Selmer around 1973 changed the filler material in the bell crook to a frozen soap type filler from the previously used, confidential alloy of pitch type materials that had been developed through the 1950-1960’s.

Bell Construction – Blank

Instead of the traditional funnel shape or fan pattern after 1965 the Selmer Corp. used a newly developed flower “blank” shape that simplified the forming process and required a completely different approach to shaping the bell flair. Photos of the manufacturing process can be found here.

Bell Construction – Bracing

Early Bach trumpets used cast braces to attach the bell to the lead pipe, valve block. Today forged S braces are used instead.

Bell Construction – Logo

Similar to the valve serial number engraving, bells today are etched, where earlier Bach trumpets were roll stamped to get the logo applied. This was switched over around 2000/2002 to a computerized laser based system.

Serial Number Bell Model Logo Method Approx. Year
409101 37 Rolled Stamp ~1992
523376 37 Engraved ~2001


Bell Construction – Logo registered Trademark


Serial: 75534
R above Vincent
No Corporation

Serial: 75534
R above Vincent
No Corporation

After some helpful comments from fellow Bach loyalists (David, Tim), wanted to add some examples in this section. It is unclear when both the registered trademark, and the Corporation was added/removed from the Bach brass related bells. Here is a table which summarizes different examples.

Serial Bell ® Corporation
33937 239(C) No R Corporation
37302 311(F) No R Corporation
42160 37 No R Corporation
46422 37(181) No R Corporation
47312 37* No R Corporation
50782 37 No R Corporation
51622 37 No R Corporation
55746 37 No R Corporation
61081 236(D) No R Corporation
61824 37 No R Corporation
61855 239 No R Corporation
63003 37 No R Corporation
66953 37 No R Corporation
67184 72* No R Corporation
68278 37 R No Corporation
68400 37 R No Corporation
69168 229L No R Corporation
70424 37 R No Corporation
75094 37(LT) R No Corporation
75534 37 R No Corporation
76005 37 R No Corporation
81719 72* No R Corporation
83544 43 No R Corporation
854XX 43* No R Corporation
85744 304 No R Corporation
86766 25 No R Corporation
87675 229 No R Corporation
101647 37 R No Corporation
108090 37 R No Corporation
108735 43* No R Corporation
114917 236(D) No R Corporation
115945 72 No R Corporation
121192 37 R No Corporation
123404 37 R No Corporation
123887 37 R No Corporation
142397 229(C) No R Corporation
145843 229(C) No R Corporation
146373 R No Corporation
150018 239(C) No R Corporation
164284 239(C) No R Corporation
166706 72* No R Corporation
171892 37 R No Corporation
173912 43 No R Corporation
176291 43 No R Corporation
186493 37 R No Corporation
197405 43 R No Corporation
388483 43 R No Corporation
409696 72* R No Corporation
426673 (184) R No Corporation
474985 65G R No Corporation
478532 43 R No Corporation

It is important to note the major events during this same time. For example, Vincent Bach Corp. was sold to Selmer in 1961, and was part of the Selmer Musical Instrument company. (That would have been around serial number 21,000.

Another way to look at this is by the bell type. Perhaps the differences were related to the fixturing for stamping the logo on different bell mandrels. Same list as above, but sorted by bell type.

37 Type Bell

Serial Bell ® Corporation
47312 37* No R Corporation
55746 37 No R Corporation
61824 37 No R Corporation
63003 37 No R Corporation
66953 37 No R Corporation

68278 37 R No Corporation
68400 37 R No Corporation
70424 37 R No Corporation
75094 37(LT) R No Corporation
75534 37 R No Corporation
76005 37 R No Corporation
121192 37 R No Corporation
123404 37 R No Corporation

43 Type Bell

Serial Bell ® Corporation
83544 43 No R Corporation
854XX 43* No R Corporation
108735 43* No R Corporation
176291 43 No R Corporation

197405 43 R No Corporation
388483 43 R No Corporation
478532 43 R No Corporation

Bell Construction – Indiana, USA

Similar to the registered trademark/corporation above, there are variations to the State marking from IND. to IN, and also from U.S.A. to USA.

Serial State   USA  Other
412786 IND. U.S.A. Vertical Serial Numbers
(Bottom Right)
Bore Sizes
(Bottom Left)

IN USA Bell Font Changed
Vertical Serial Numbers
(Bottom Right)
Bore Sizes
(Bottom Left)

Please send us your notes on what serial number this changed also on your Bach brass instrument. Help us narrow down the serial number range.

Bell Construction – Model 182

In 2007, Conn Selmer started making the model 182 in their Eastlake, Ohio facility, and changed the bell engraving to the following:
in the U.S.A”
Serial  State USA  Other
17735X* None U.S.A.

in the U.S.A.

* Please note the serial numbers for the model 182 do NOT follow the traditional BACH Stradivarius serial number list.


Bell Construction – Rim

The Elkhart bells (>1965) have full round bell wire, versus early Bach trumpets which had a more traditional French half round bead.

Bell Construction – Seam

Early Elkhart, Mt. Vernon bells have the seam running towards the valve section.

Bell Seam Example [1]
Serial Number 48765

There have been different variations through the serial numbers. Some other examples include
(looking into the bell).

Serial Number Seam Position
117XX (NY 37ML) 6 o’clock
188XX (MtV M Bore) 7 o’clock

[1]  Thanks to Chris Kase for these additional examples.


Bell Construction – Thickness

On older Bach trumpets the bell thickness is tapered as the bell flares out. Today, through modern manufacturing techniques, the bell thickness is much more uniform, allowing for similar sound vs. daily manufacturing variations. This is one reason why older Bach trumpets often have a different sound to them.



Related Articles


Austyn January 11, 2012 - 9:46 pm

So do they change the bell stamping for every single horn? Like you said when they have the R. and the Corporation does that change for every horn?

admin January 14, 2012 - 8:08 am

Today the model numbers are engraved. Previously they were roll stamped as the bells were manufactured, prior to finish (plated, lacquer, …)

Bach Stradivarius - Transition to Engraved Logo? February 5, 2012 - 11:11 am

[…] early 2000's. Looking for any specific serial numbers ranges on either side of this transition. Bach Trumpets – Bell Variations | BachLoyalist Thanks for everyone's input, so I can add this to the BachLoyalist site. Also, if you have not […]

Martin Weger April 5, 2012 - 5:56 am

I found a trumpet, a Bach Stradivarius Model 25
Model Number: L 195182. My question is this a good trumpet?
Right now I’m playing a B&S Challenger II 3172/2.
Looking forward to a response from you.
Greetings from South Tyrol (Border to Austria)
Martin 🙂

admin April 6, 2012 - 2:58 pm

A Large bore, most likely built in 1981 time frame. Post additional questions on http://www.trumpetforum.com.

Andre' Walker October 7, 2012 - 8:05 am

What is the difference between the Bach LR25 Model 43 and the Bach Model 43* trumpet?

Bruce August 19, 2013 - 2:31 pm

It’s my understanding, that the LR refers to a reversed leadpipe, with a lightweight body. The bell is, unless marked, standard weight.
The 43* model, is a completely lightweight horn – lightweight body, and lightweight bell

Alexis Basque March 29, 2013 - 6:47 pm

The * likely means it’s a lightweight instrument.

jwentzel October 4, 2013 - 6:14 pm

i am contemplating purchasing a Bach Stradivarius trumpet model 37G. can you tell me what the G stands for and does it have an affect on the sound quality of the trumpet. and is there a specific leadpipe for this model. It is for my 12 year old son to play as he advances in his ability to play as he enters high school. Is this the appropriate horn for him in the stradivarius line?

Bach Loyalist February 9, 2014 - 6:06 pm

G = Gold Brass.

bob May 16, 2015 - 3:22 pm

what is the quality difference between a Bach Artist LTD-1
and a Bach Stradivarios

does it also depend on the year?

Please let me know, really trying to decide between these 2 horns for my 12 year old son, a promising trumpet player

Bach Loyalist May 16, 2015 - 6:11 pm

The Bach STD-1 is simply a student level Bach (TR200) that Brooks Mays music stores carry. The Bach Stradivarius is the professional series model by Bach/Conn Selmer. For a beginning student, the LTD1 or TR200 is a good beginner trumpet, for a high school player the Bach Strad. is a common instrument.

Is this just tarnish? (Bach 180 ML 37 S) - Page 3 February 16, 2014 - 4:41 pm

[…] […]

2 Week-old Student, 1974 Strad 180S37, Dings - Page 2 February 27, 2014 - 10:14 am

[…] to give bach (get it? give BACH? ), I found this nifty table on the BachLoyalist website: Bach Trumpets – Bell Variations – BachLoyalist You'll find the table if you scroll down a bit, and it list what serial numbers had […]

Bobby Rodd June 9, 2014 - 10:19 pm

I have a Mt Vernon Strad. The bell says Stradivarious with the word Model below it, but there is no model number, the serial number is L 25613. Where can I find more information on it. Thanks

Bach Loyalist June 17, 2014 - 9:56 am

This would be from around 1964 during the transition to Selmer. L = large bore. Contact Conn Selmer customer service in Elkhart, and see if they have the shop card for your trumpet.

BHipp July 14, 2014 - 11:40 am

I just bought a Model 37 ‘Corporation’ bell over the phone (sight unseen) and had it shipped directly to my repair guy. He has informed me that he has never seen this before: There is no printing on the bell below the word ‘Corporation.’ No ‘Elkhart,’ no indication of any location. Underneath the Vincent Bach signature is the word ‘Corporation’ and nothing else. I too have never heard of this. Any insights from anyone?

BHIPP July 15, 2014 - 2:45 pm

Check out this link to see a photo this bell. The stamped info on the bell includes all the standard info except the location. It’s the first bell I’ve ever seen like this: http://imgur.com/QbU9wZw

Jvand678 August 4, 2014 - 7:45 pm

First off, thank you so much for all the work you’ve done! Is there a chance you know a ballpark serial number when Bach switched from the side seam to a 6 o’clock seam?

Thanks again,

Bach Loyalist August 5, 2014 - 10:26 am

It seems to be rather inconsistent. Scroll down further on this page, and see you’ll see some other examples from 11-12,XXX (NY) with a 6 o’clock seam, and a 48,XXX (MtV) with a side seam… I add additional information as I get. Do you have an example side seam serial # you would like to share?

Joe V August 10, 2014 - 11:11 am

Unfortunately I don’t have anything that will help others. My curiosity is primarily for the corp bell horns. It seems that all the 30xxx and 4xxxx horns I’ve seen/owned were side seam while the 67xxx I owned was a 6 o’clock. I think the change was somewhere in the high 50Ks or low 60Ks for the 37 bell.

I’m sure it will vary with different model numbers as well. I will drop some serial number updates should I come across something worth while.



tubamirum August 3, 2015 - 9:46 pm

At one time up to about 1989 or a little after, Bach “engraved” the last three figures of the instruments serial number on the ring of the third valve slide and hook of the first valve slide. Can you tell me when they started and discontinued this practice as later horns are not marked like this. The other interesting part is that the numbers are etched or scratched by hand!

PRompa February 12, 2017 - 8:53 am

Dear all,

I have a Stradivarius with SN° 544227 (bought in 2002 as first owner), with sterling silver plus bell. I can’t find more details only that it is a rare trumpet.

Hope to hear any additonal info about this trumpet.

Kind regards in avance.

Bob March 27, 2017 - 7:09 pm

I have a Bach Strad without a number on the bell. How do I know what bell it is (37, 43,,72)?

KimD March 31, 2017 - 9:15 am

I purchased my Strad in1973. Model 25, large bore, no “R”, “Corporation” bell, Elkhart, IND. , U.S.A. , seam at 6 O’clock
Serial #: L 77192

Auditioned from over 50 horns, purchased at Long & McQuade in Toronto. The first time I played it, everyone in the orchestra turned to see what was making this sound. Simply a beautiful instrument. Now sadly for sale.

MoreBach January 23, 2018 - 1:06 am

Hi, my son and I just got hooked into the history of Bach after we received #18685 from the original owner. I call Conn Selmer customer service but was told the shop card does not exist for this year. I like at least know what bell it has. Any help will be great.
Also, I noticed someone entered it in your database. Can you let me know who?

Heds October 19, 2018 - 2:48 pm

I need a new bell for my Bach C trumpet, trying to weigh up between regular 229 and a 229 with French bead, any thoughts?

BlueNote February 10, 2019 - 12:11 pm

Just thought you might like to know that my wife just bought a Bach Model 37 from the early 70’s that appears narrow the gap in your bell stamp chart. It is serial number 68241 and has the ‘R’ and no ‘Corporation’. I can send you pictures if you would like.

Nellybeejay April 11, 2019 - 9:03 am

I purchased from E-bay about 10 years ago, a Silver Bach Stradivarius Model 37, has the “R” but no corporation, made in Elkhart, Ind. with the “signature” of Vincent Bach. Where can I find the serial number? It has the original Bach case with “The Selmer Company” stamped on it. I am looking to sell it but don’t have any information of what year it is or the value of it.

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