Born Vincent Shrotenbach in Vienna in 1890, he initially received training on violin, then switched when he heard its majestic sound. Although Vincent also displayed a strong aptitude for science and graduated with an engineering degree, he gave up a promising career to pursue his first love and an uncertain future as a musician. Performing under the stage name, Vincent Bach, he established a musical success as he toured throughout Europe.
World War 1 forced Vincent’s move to New York City where he arrived with only $5.00 in his pocket. A letter to the famous conductor Karl Muck got Vincent an audition and a resulting position with the Boston Symphony. By the following season, he was first trumpet in the Metropolitan Opera House. While on tour in Pittsburgh, Vincent’s mouthpiece was ruined by a repairman. Vincent had great difficulty in finding a suitable replacement. While on furloughs he spent time in the basement of the Selmer Music store remodeling old mouthpieces.
In 1918, with the investment of $300 for a foot-operated lathe, Vincent went into the business of making mouthpieces. The business grew rapidly and in 1924, the first Bach trumpets were produced. Musicians frequently referred to a Bach trumpet as a real ‘Stradivarius’, thus inspiring the name Bach Stradivarius. Bach trombones followed in 1928.
At the age of 71, Vincent sold his company. Although he received twelve other offers, including some that were higher, Vincent chose to sell to the Selmer Company. In 1964, the tooling and machinery for Bach instruments were moved from Mount Vernon to their current home in Elkhart, Indiana. Today, these instruments continue to embody the highest standards of craftsmanship and are held to Vincent’s original designs and blueprints.