The Story of Vincent Bach
by Franklin Beal
excerpt from the 1954 Embouchure & Mouthpiece Manual
As a brilliant musician, a graduate mechanical engineer, and a practical manufacturer, Vincent Bach is eminently qualified to speak on all subjects related to brass instruments. What proved to be his life work really began at the early age of six years, where he was introduced the violin and bugle. His aptitude was for the bugle and having developed an excellent embouchure, his thoughts turned to the trumpet. At fourteen Vincent Bach began taking lessons from Georg Stellwagen, principle trumpet player with the Vienna Tonkunstler Orchestra. Mr. Stellwagen was considered one of the greatest trumpet virtuosos in Europe. later Bach took lessons from the First Trumpeter of the Vienna Opera House, at the same time pursuing his studies to become a mechanical engineer, that being his chosen profession.
After graduation, Bach’s first engagement was an officer of Engineers in the Austrian Navy. Concluding his military obligations, he went to work as a construction engineer in an elevator factory in Vienna. His artistic impulses, however, had never lagged and his unusual ability on trumpet and cornet attracted such attention that the emoluments from his music far exceeded his earning capacity on the job he held, that he turned to music exclusively.
Vincent Bach became a cornet virtuoso in his own right, a concert artist with well-received recitals in Austria, Germany, England, Denmark, Sweden, Russia and Poland. At about the same time of the outbreak of the First World War, he came to the United States. Briefly after his arrival, he was engaged as First Trumpeter with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the leadership of Dr. Karl Muck.
The following season Bach appeared as trumpet soloist throughout the summer of 1915 at the San Francisco Exposition. Following that engagement he returned to New York to play First Trumpet with the world-famous Russian Diaghilev Ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House. later he toured the principle cities of the United States with this Ballet.
In 1917, when America entered the First World War, Mr. Bach became Bandmaster of the U.S. 306th Field Artillery Regiment. At the conclusion of his military service, he played as soloist in various New York theatres (Rivoli, Capitol, Rialto and Roxy) and during this period he open a small shop, at first for the sole purpose of making mouthpieces for his own needs. However, when musicians heard his play the “high F” during his solos, they wanted to know what mouthpiece he was using and they begged him to duplicate mouthpieces for them.
Without serious intention of becoming a business man, Vincent Bach was practically forced into the manufacture of mouthpieces and the little shop grew at such a rapid pace that he was compelled to give up his theatre work.
The curriculum of European colleges prescribes a thorough study of physics in engineering courses, including acostics, and this schooling has proven exceeding valuable to Vincent Bach. he also keeps abreast of current acoustic progress through his membership in various acoustical societies. He gave up his lucrative musical career to devote all of his time and effort to the creation of band instruments and mouthpieces unsurpassed in workmanship and playing qualities.
In former years players had to suffer untold experiences of discomfort, experimenting to find suitable mouthpieces, going from one small repair shop to another, paying dearly for the same mistakes other professional had made many times before, irritating their embouchures and, finally, using the mouthpieces with which they could “get by,” felling that nothing better could be found. Vincent Bach went through that torture like many another ambitious soloist but with a perseverance and mechanical ability that earned him the reputation of being the top specialist in the construction and manufacture of the highest grade brass instruments and mouthpieces for the professional artist. The results of his many years of experience in testing innumerable sample mouthpieces and instruments in top symphony, opera, symphonic band, and as soloist on the concert stage, are made available to you.
He has, therefore, solved the player’s greatest problem by presenting a large selection of models in a great variety of sizes, rim shapes, cup depths, and tone qualities. A player no longer has to upset his embouchure by trying misconstructed experimental models but has the opportunity to secure already time-tested, completed models of ultra perfection, and to select, o the basis of the following instructions, the mouthpiece whcih will give them the best tonal results and the highest degree of effciiency.
then continues the mouthpiece catalog.