What makes the Olds Ambassador such a good student trumpet?

There is a mystique around the Olds Ambassador. If this is a ‘student’ horn, then why do so many trumpeters who have progressed beyond student-level enjoy playing this horn?

Olds Ambassador Trumpet
Olds Ambassador Trumpet

The answer is that it is not built like a student horn in many key areas. The valve body, for example, is very well constructed.

Robert Dale Olsen, R & D Director at Olds in the 1960’s, shared his insight to the Olds Ambassador with the Trumpet Player’s International Network (TPIN) in 2007.  Of particular interest was this paragraph comparing the Olds to the Mendez. (Rafael Mendez was associated with the Olds company, and the Mendez was the Olds professional-level trumpet. )

… As part of their plan to develop a student model trumpet, it was decided that the new model would be called the Ambassador It would essentially be the same as the Mendez, but would have to sell for much less. There was great concern among Olds management that the new Ambassador could not be inferior in quality to any other Olds trumpet. The differences between the Ambassador and Mendez are largely observable; the Mendez has two triggers, the Ambassador has none; the Mendez has a more expensive claw type bracing system, and a more expensive case, etc. etc. The essential tapered sections which govern the basic musical characteristics are thought to be the same. It is Zig Kanstul’s recall that the leadpipes may be somewhat different. Notwithstanding myth, both trumpets were constructed using the same thickness brass for the bell. The Mendez model did not have a thinner bell.  — R. Dale Olsen. Full post is available on the tpin.org archive.