Translated from the original article by Andrea Libretti in Strumenti Musicali Magazine
Getzen is an historical brand of American brass instruments started in 1939 by a former Holton employee. Getzen first started building trumpets in 1947. Since then, Getzen has gained experience and reliability recognized worldwide. The 400 Series was created to meet the needs of students who are on a budget, but don’t want to sacrifice the technical features and timbre of upper class instruments.
One of the strengths of the internationally recognized Getzen Company are the pistons. In fact, the durability and speed of their nickel silver pistons has become legendary unlike the Monel pistons found on nearly all other trumpets. The outer surface of the piston is shinier, harder, and travels the vertical movement within the casing with remarkable smoothness. More generally, the Getzen trumpets give a good impression of strength and compactness, as well as being well finished. The 490 is produced in a medium-large bore size which is ideal for the student. The entry bore size of the gold brass mouthpipe give a better response to the lower octave. The weight is on average with other instruments of its class at about 1030 grams. The first slide has a saddle while the third slide is controlled with a ring. The one piece gold brass bell improves tones in the lower harmonics. The trumpet is available in lacquer or silver plate and is available with a good hard case. Substantially, all of the features described above (except the pistons) are the same as many existing horns tested. What differentiates an instrument like the Getzen 490 is the quality of the materials used and the accuracy with which the parts are assembled. In this case, with a craftsman’s skilled hands, thus providing higher overall sound quality than the rest of the instrument industry.
When you test a horn for the first time, you must have a reference to the class of the instrument. It should be clear that if I’m talking about a student trumpet and define what is good about it, the review should be analyzed in the scope of the category of the instrument. If not done, you could be comparing a student trumpet to one costing 5000-6000 Euro.
In the case of student trumpets, it is natural not to expect a very full tone, flexibility, or comfort. Speaking of the Getzen 490 though, you will be pleasantly surprised by the overall quality of the brand, certainly well above the other horns of this same class. This means that during studies, the trumpet will increase the efforts of students and, likewise, increase the rewards they see. It is always more pleasant to play an instrument that one likes and better meets our expectations.
During this test we found a good overall tone with a good coupling of the harmonics. The fluidity of tone was inline with other trumpets in the test. The pressure necessary to control the air column required effort slightly above average, but in the transition to a professional level horn, this will help to teach better control. The pistons, as already mentioned, are extremely fast, accurate, and durable. There was never any binding on the pistons. The only negative of the trumpet is that the springs return the pistons so fast and powerfully that it can result in a slight noise from the piston returning. This is not difficult to work around however. Simply remove the piston, remove the spring, and compress it by hand until you achieve the desired strength.
In conclusion, we could not be more satisfied with the performance of the Getzen 490; a student trumpet with some professional features and tendancies. We could call it a semi-professional horn that can fully satisfy the needs of a student in the early years of training as well as those of an amateur musician in any band area. Of course, you pay for quality and it is natural that this instrument will cost a bit more than similar competing products. But try to compare the Getzen 490 trumpet with any made in Eastern Europe or East Asia and let me know.