In the Spotlight: Austin Custom Brass

Austin Custom Brass serves the needs of brass musicians across the Midwest in the USA and beyond, and stocks an extensive range of John Packer Musical Instruments and Rath Trombones.

The business was founded by celebrated trumpet artist, educator/clinician and entrepreneur Trent Austin, who spoke to JP about working with the UK company.



Tell me about Austin Custom Brass.

TA: Sixteen years ago, I decided to open a shop dealing with having brass – only brass – at many different price points.

We were in Boston for 12 years before we moved to Kansas City. We’re kind of like a boutique shop, I would say, although we carry many different brands at many different price points.


How did John Packer Musical Instruments come upon your radar?

TA: We first met the team from John Packer Musical Instruments at the NAMM Show several years ago.

We’ve had great, great success with the brand, slowly building it up. Initially we only did the trumpet stuff like the flugelhorn, the trumpets and the cornet and now I think we're doing all the brass, including the tubas. It’s been really great.


What is it that attracted you to John Packer Musical Instruments?

TA: I think they are by far the best value instruments. We often have customers come in who can't spend the boutique money on the premier instruments. The market keeps going up and up and we’re constantly trying to fight that, as retailers.

We try to treat customers as well as we can. Sometimes they come in, they have a very limited budget, so they might not be able to afford the $10,000 euphonium or the $5,000 piccolo trumpet – so we say we have these different brands.

There are two things that I think JP does really well. The customer service is exemplary.

It's the care that JP provides to dealers like myself – that’s partly why John Packer was Best in Show [at NAMM]. It's always perfectly honest, perfectly straight and almost immediate.

Obviously if the instruments weren't high quality, it wouldn't matter, right? The instruments are high quality. The fit and finish is great. I mean, being a brass player, the valves work really great. The slides are great. The rotors are good.

There’s very little stuff that we have to do in our shop once we get them.


Tell me about plans for Austin Custom Brass in the coming weeks and months.

TA: One thing we've been working on very hard over the past few years is really pushing our lower brass, including the euphoniums and the tubas. We’re going to the bigger shows like ITF and ITEC and telling people ‘ACB is full service brass’.

One thing that’s going to happen – especially with the acquisition of Rath, which is pretty badass – is getting Rath Trombones in the Midwest. We ship throughout the world but we’re trying to get to a position where someone in our area can have a pro shop where they can get Rath Trombones.

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