Elkhorn, Wisconsin No Longer a Part of the United States!

Posted by Brett Getzen on December 13th, 2010

OK, not really.  However, recently one of our competitors sent out a mass mailing to all of their dealers stating that they are “the only brass instrument maker producing all its horns in the United States”.  Apparently, in their world, Elkhorn, Wisconsin is no longer a part of these United States.  Believe me, that was a shock to all of us here at Getzen.

That’s the only explanation for their statements.  After all, every Getzen instrument is manufactured at our factory in Elkhorn.  In fact, our current production facilities are less than a mile away from the converted barn where the Getzen Company built its very first trumpet.  So obviously they either think Elkhorn is located outside the borders of the United States or they are grossly misleading their customers.  And we all know the later never happens right?  Right?

The fact is we pride ourselves on the fact that all Getzen instruments are manufactured in the US.  In an industry riding the wave of outsourcing, it is a badge of honor to be part of a very small group of manufacturers holding strong to our roots.

We take the standard of “Made in America” very seriously.  It is a little known fact that the requirements for using that term are pretty loose and liberally enforced.  Basically, in order for a product to be marketed as “Made in America” a significant change has to be done to any parts in the US.  For example, Brand X could import bells, valve sections, pistons, etc… from Trumpetland to the US.  Once here, those parts could then be soldered together, silver plated, and polished and the resulting trumpet could be sold as “Made in America”.  Since the imported pieces were just that, pieces, a significant amount of work was required to turn them into a finished trumpet.  So even though the term “Assembled in America” would be a better definition, Brand X can legally claim their horns were “Made in America”.  While technically and legally true, this practice profits greatly on the market place’s lack of knowledge about the fair use of the term.  It may not be dishonest, but it is definitely misleading.

At Getzen, we take an entirely different approach.  Take our 390 student trumpet, for example.  There are roughly 97 parts used in the manufacturing of a 390 trumpet.  Of those 97 parts, 73 of them are made right here in Elkhorn, WI.  The remaining 24 parts are all manufactured in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, or other parts of the US.  And that is our lowest priced, student level instrument.  I think we can all agree that a 100% American made student instrument is a rarity these days.

Could we reduce costs and increase profits by purchasing pre-made bells, valves, pistons, etc. from some offshore company, slapping them together in Elkhorn, and patting ourselves on the back while selling them as “Made in America”?  We sure could, but then we wouldn’t be selling a real Getzen instrument.  As long as my name is on the bell and I have any say in the matter that will never happen.

Sincerely,

Brett Getzen
Getzen Company, Inc.

7 Responses to “Elkhorn, Wisconsin No Longer a Part of the United States!”

  1. Herb Says:

    I take great pride in owning a Getzen trumpet because it is such a fine musical instrument, because it is *truly* MADE IN THE USA, and because Getzen keeps Americans’ jobs where they need and should be: in the good ol’ US of A! Go, Getzen!

  2. Brett Chambers Says:

    THank you for your commitment to your quality values. I have three Getzen instruments(Genesis, vintage c trumpet with tunable bell, and a 350 trombone). I’ve given my Godson a Getzen 700 trumpet, and a friend’s daughter a Getzen 770. They are great instruments for the to learn, and grow into.
    I see your posts in the forums, and you answer people honestly, and pretty quickly, considering you’re running a company.

    I’m an fan of your company, and a user of your products/tools. Keep doing what you’re doing. There is a lot of us out here that appreciate what you represent, because you do what you say.

    God Bless,
    Brett E Chambers

  3. Barb Says:

    My husband was just reminiscing about visiting your factory during a field trip in 1955 while he was in the 8th grade. It was sponsered by the marching band from Waukesha.

    I once watched a program on PBS regarding the making of brass instruments. Perhaps it was your company.

    We need more “made in America” products.

  4. C. Dvorak Says:

    Yeah for your commitment to the USA! I wish more companies had your patriotism an quality consciousness and that more schools and organizations realized that buy American policies help all of us. A Getzen Eterna and Getzen Pro Series trombone are found in my home and used by two of us in the Lake Geneva Symphony. They can’t be beat.

  5. John Davis Says:

    I have never played a Getzen horn before. But after reading this article and hearing all the great things about Getzen from forums and other trumpet players, my next horn will definitely be a Getzen.

  6. Dave Says:

    I am so glad you have this commitment to your product.I was born and lived in WI all 51 yrs of my life except 4yrs military service.I bought a 390 series trumpet from your co.(in Sep 2011), and a returning and relearning player.When searching for a trumpet I found your web site and surprised that they were not only made in USA but,IN WISCONSIN!! went looking 2 days later and bought one on the spot.Flawless construction and finish not a mark on it,amazing quality control and is rare to see that on anything made,period!.I have just begun to play or in my case blow until I get it right,its sounds great when I get right.My son plays in a band at school and he says its very good compared to any other maker.Well I am going to committ to playing it as good as possible so I can buy the pro model later. Thanks for making such a fantastic trumpet.

  7. Curtis Ethington Says:

    I’ve always played a Getzen Trombone for that very reason made (really made) in the USA, and i’ve been playing for over 30 years keep it up and never give in.
    Curtis Ethington

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