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Hammerschmidt tárogató

Discussion in 'Tárogató' started by Helen, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. Helen

    Helen Content Expert Saxophones Staff Member Administrator

    Since I'm not a tárogató player, I don't know anything about the value/price of this particular instrument. I just got an email notification about it today because I have Hammerschmidt set up as a notification of mine through eBay.

    Nonetheless, I thought it was interesting enough since I don't remember seeing a Hammerschmit-made tárogató before. The company is known more for being a high-end clarinet maker (and so/so saxophones). Does anyone have an opinion on their tárogatós? Are they any good? Not this one in particular, but in brand in general? Are they common? Is just shy of $3,000 a normal price for a vintage instrument?

    Inquiring sax players--who are also Hammerschmidt saxophone historians--want to know. ;)
  2. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Wow, what a lovely looking instrument. It will be interesting to see how quickly this one sells.
  3. kymarto

    kymarto Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    It looks very nice--high quality keywork and an automatic octave key to boot. It is at Stowasser price level, though, and without the brand value some folks might hesitate. I'm guessing it is quite good, but as with all tárogatók you don't really know until you try it.
  4. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    I was hoping you'd post, kymarto.

    I read a little bit on one of the taragato websites and they mentioned that Karl Hammerschmidt's father did make some Stowasser taragatos, but we'd be talking old horns.
  5. kymarto

    kymarto Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Well, don't forget that the last original Stowassers were made before 1917, when the factory burned down. The whole run was like 25 years. Ah, I see that Hammerschmidt still makes tarogatok. My guess is that the one advertised is a newish one. The website mentions that the price was 6000 Deutschmarks, which is equivalent to about 3000 euros today.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2014
  6. kymarto

    kymarto Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Well, the price of this very nice lookiing instument got down to $1500 so I grabbed it. I will report more when it arrives. My feeling from the pics on eBay is that this is a top quality instrument. The design is pure Stowasser, though the bore looks to have a bit narrower cone angle and the bell design is different. FWIW Hammerschmidt no longer advertises tárogatós for sale.
  7. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    He who dies owning the most tárogatók wins. (Or have I used that joke before?)

    While we are on the subject, I have gone back to the tárogató you sold me Toby and I am working on smoothing and sealing the inside bore. I finally have the upper joint airtight and it plays much better already, even without addressing the lower joint. My basic question for you is, if I sand the bore using the wooden mandrels wrapped with sandpaper I had made that match the taper of the tárogató, it will make an instrument with the same taper, but a slightly larger bore. Will that change the pitch of the instrument if the length doesn't change? I can find nothing in the literature that addresses this specifically. Thanks.

    It should not make a difference to the pitch theoretically, but there might be some small change. I doubt that with the amount you would be able to change the diameter, that there will be an appreciable difference. When I made shakuhachi large differences to the bore diameter did nothing to the pitch.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2014
  8. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    I gave up on the tárogató only because it had thirteen possible spellings. ;)
  9. kymarto

    kymarto Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Got back from the Philippines to find the tárogató waiting. As I thought, it is a fine instrument, with workmanship at least equal to the Stowasser. Those Germans...

    Keywork is very similar to the Stowasser--its heritage is apparent--but there are minor cosmetic changes: an extra flourish on the G# touch, different low Bb touch, longer bell with a different pattern of holes, straight instead of curved side Bb touch. Still and all, very similar.

    Wood is beautiful. One crack well pinned. Bore beautifully smooth.

    The first blow alarmed me, with all the short-tube notes extremely flat. Looking at the mpc I found that the chamber had been butchered--scooped out nearly to the outer walls. With my Stowasser mpcs the intonation is really excellent, much better than any of my Stowassers before I adjusted the hole sizes.

    The bore cone has considerably less angle than the Stowasser's. The sound is thus less spread than that of those horns, a bit more clarinet like, but not stuffy at all.

    All in all an excellent instrument, a bargain at $1500 (with free shipping :) )

    John, I think I am winning ;)
  10. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    I think you might be the only one in the "contest". :)
  11. I'd imagine it sounds a bit less soprano sax like and more towards an oboe sound. Is that about right?
  12. kymarto

    kymarto Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Damn close, but interestingly not only more focused but darker--so English horn-like.
  13. I think I want one like that.
  14. kymarto

    kymarto Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    OK, so now I've had some real time with this tárogató--in fact I brought it to China with me. It is arguably better than my Stowassers. Different to be sure. Intonation is better. Really solid, more than I thought possible with a tárogató. The upper part of the second octave is absolutely spot on, as is the rest, actually. Plays up to third octave F. The walls are about twice the thickness of the Stowassers--it is heavy as hell. Where the Stowassers have an advantage is in the bottom of the first register. The Stowassers have made a compromise with tuning in order to get the E and the fork F to vent decently. Hammerschmidt decided to let those be a bit iffy in order to keep the tuning right--especially in the second octave. Anyway, this is a prime horn; I'm glad no one glommed onto that when the horn was selling for $2750...I got it for $1500...
  15. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

  16. Not currently but a few years ago I did a bit of a tour of Hungary, Slovakia and Romania with the International Tárogató Ensemble.


    You only see me very briefly on the left at the beginning.
  17. What key is the tárogató? Would it fit into a choir of conventional woodwinds? It would add a very interesting voice to such an ensemble if it does.
  18. They're almost always in Bb but A and C are not unknown.
  19. kymarto

    kymarto Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    I have Stowassers in Bb, C and B natural. Bb are by far the most common--my B natural insturment is the only one of which I know. Stowasser made seven different sizes, including soprano in G and alto and bass tarogatok.

    It has a sound not unlike a soprano sax, but with a bit more clear oboe-like tone. However since the mpc is single reed and the bore larger than the oboe it allows much more bending of notes--much more like a sax in expressiveness than an oboe. Something I am experimenting with now is half-holing and glisses because of the open fingerholes. A lot of promising possibilities!
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