About Me - January 7, 2004

Equipment information

TRUMPET

I play a Model 37 Bach Stradivarius trumpet, purchased new in 1987. It has seen its share of wear and tear. A wooden rifle once whacked it while I was in high school marching band. It's been dropped many times. Two slides are totally stuck. It also has several small dents and one nasty looking repaired dent that was the result of being stepped upon.

click for more pics

Despite the damage, it actually is a nicely playing horn. The only real complaint is that the valves are a bit slow sometimes. I have to oil them once every couple of days or there is a good chance one might not make it all the way up.

I've thought about buying a newer horn, but it just isn't a priority right now. My horn isn't holding me back. I also like the idea that my horn (in its current condition), which probably wouldn't sell for more than $400 on eBay, is affordable to a fairly wide population of would-be trumpeters.

Update September 6, 2008: I finally had my trumpet professionally repaired by Rich Ita of Brass Instrument Workshop. Check out the photos to see how good the trumpet looks now compared to how it used to look.

FLUGELHORN

Update: I sold this flugelhorn on 12/5/05. I'm keeping this info on my equipment page, however, for informational purposes.

I've played a flugelhorn a few times over the years, but I've never owned one... until now! (August 3, 2004).

I had hoped to find a good used one on eBay. I watched the auctions for a few weeks, but all of the good horns were priced beyond my budget. Eager to make a purchase, I decided to buy a low-cost Jupiter flugelhorn (Jupiter 846RL), as it has some great reviews on music123.com.

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As of this writing (September 2004), I've had my Jupiter 846RL flugelhorn for about one month. Following are some comments:

I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm still having trouble oiling the valves on this thing. Just getting the oil in the right position while holding the flugelhorn is challenging; I guess, because I'm not used to its size/shape. Positioning aside, things are still tricky because the valves are very tight in their casing. The tightness causes the oil to spill out (onto the horn, floor, hands, etc?) rather than to drip into the casing. Even a few drops of oil can create a mess.

I am gradually getting better and neater at oiling the valves, which is good since they need to be oiled often. If I let the horn sit for a couple of days without playing and without oiling, the valves seize up. The first time this happened, I thought perhaps I accidentally bumped/dented one of the valve slides. With some force, however, the valves can be unstuck and oiled. After that, they work normally. This stuck/unstuck procedure has occured a few times, so I suppose this is something I'll have to get used to.

Update 12/31/04 - The valves have gradually been getting more and more sluggish, even with the premium red ProOil valve oil. As of a couple of weeks ago, they've been so bad that the horn is unplayable --unless I want to work on bugle repertoire ;-). After doing some research, I decided to buy the Pro-Oil Hybrid 141-A7 (you gotta love the name!). I cleaned my horn per the instructions and am pleased to report that the valves are incredibly fast now. Better than my Bach, even. We'll see how long this lasts...

Update 2/19/05 - After a constant battle with sluggish valves, I sent the horn back for repairs.

The flugelhorn has some intonation problems, especially with low G and F# (two of my favorite notes!). Both notes are quite a bit sharp, requiring a lot of lip adjustment or the use of the third-slide trigger. This really isn't a big deal to me, as I'm used to lipping up or down anyway to fix the *normal* out-of-tune notes. High notes occasionally sound a bit off to me too, but I haven't played enough of them yet to know whether it's the horn or just me.

Despite the negatives, I really enjoy playing this flugelhorn. I'm still surprised at how well the notes slot, at least compared to my Bach trumpet. Interestingly, switching from one instrument to the other during a practice session seems to improve my precision on the trumpet. While trying to match the precision of the flugelhorn, I think my lips are focusing better than usual. Then again, maybe I'm just getting better overall. Who knows?

Update 12/5/05 - I sold this flugelhorn...

CORNET

I wanted to buy a back-up trumpet to use when/if I get my Bach repaired. Rather than buy a trumpet, I figured it would be more interesting to get a cheap cornet. I found an Olds Ambassador Cornet from the early 1970's on eBay, and purchased it for about $100.

As of this writing (Nov. 19 2004), I've only had the horn for a few days. It's a very solid instrument. I think it's heavier than my Bach, but I'm not sure since I don't own a scale. It has a great sound and performs really well. So far, so good!

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MOUTHPIECES

I've only played on a few different mouthpieces. I started out on a Bach 1 1/2C. When I went to a music store to buy my first mouthpiece, they were all out of 3C's. Not knowing any better, I bought a 1 1/2C and used it exclusively for about 6 years.

Since then, I've gradually been moving to smaller mouthpieces. The shift started with a Bach 3C that I played during my college years.

When I started playing the trumpet again (I stopped playing for 7 years), I switched to an old Schilke 15 that somebody once gave me several years ago. I really like the way the Schilke plays. To me, it feels like the air is accelerated. It's easier to lock in high notes (my range isn't so great? high for me is a G at the top of the staff). Unfortunately, the Schilke's rim isn't very comfortable on my embouchure.

After a year or so on the Schilke, I switched to a Bach 5C. Yet another free mouthpiece! This one was actually sent to me by mistake in an order from music123.com. When I told them that I hadn't ordered the mouthpiece, they let me keep it.

I found the rounded rim of the Back 5C to be more comfortable than the Schilke 15, but I missed that accelerated feeling. So, I bought a used Yamaha 11C4-7C on eBay... followed by the purchase of a Marcinkiewicz 4/7C.

The Marcinkiewicz has the accelerated feeling that I liked with the Schilke, and it has a comfortable rounded rim. I've come to discover, though, that the rim is a bit too narrow and it causes me to fatigue early. So, I've returned to the Yamaha as my primary mouthpiece.

I may do another mouthpiece trial in the future, but for now, I'll alternate between the Yamaha and the Marcinkiewicz.

RECORDING EQUIPMENT

To learn more about the microphone, software, and overall craziness I use to record my audio tracks, click HERE!

Comment by Julian

Hey, interesting knowing about your mouthpieces. I use a Mega TOne 1 1/4C. Intersting mouthpiece for sectional work. BIggest sound on any mouthpiece. FOr Small group I found the best mouthpiece was THe Kanstul CG3. YOu should try them out, they are a cool mouthpiece

Comment by schneezecake

Nice trumpet blogging. I have a Benge trumpet and I play on a Schilkie 15B but I'm in the market for something else. Why did you go to something smaller from the Bach 1 1/2?

Julian, above likes the Megatone 1 14 C. Those are so weird, I tried one 40 years ago and they were tiny. But maybe that is a big one. I have no idea of the diameter on that one. That CG one he says may be a Claude Gorden model. Those really have exceptional all around flexibility and range..the problem, dorky tone in my opinion, unless you like sounding like Harry James.

Comment by Rick

The move to the Bach 3C occured after my "blowout," which you can read about in the "My playing history" posts located in the ABOUT ME section.

I've gradually been moving to smaller and smaller mouthpieces to help reduce fatigue and improve my range. The Yamaha 11C4-7C has been my primary mouthpiece for over a year now. Of all the mouthpieces I've tried, it seems to work best for me.

Thanks for the comment.

-Rick

Comment by pascal

Hi,

I play cornet for several years with a marcinkiewicz mouthpiéce model n°7. I'm looking for a trumpet, my cornet is old and not in tune.

I have not found yet a trumpet existing , all I try sound too small

Do you know any good trumpet with an heavy sound like my cornet

What do you think about the marcinkiewicz trumpet ? I live in France and i don't know why but there is no model here. Do you know the french mark Courtois it sounds not to bad, what do you think about this trumpet ?

Thanks for your answer and for your site

Take care

Comment by Julian

The 1 1/4 c Bach Megatone is a big moutpiece and as for the Claude Gordon it doesnt sound corny!! just depends on who is playing it, I use it for my flugel and it sounds great for bop! just to clear that up with Schneezecake!

Pascal, have you considered trying Yamaha Xeno trumpets? I have one that I use for big bands model (8335 RGS) instead of my Strad 25! it has a great big sound, dont know much of the courtoias trumepts, I know they make killer flugelhorns!

Hope I could help!

Comment by Dean

I have numerous mouthpieces.Bach7c, Shilke15, now Bach Megatone 1 1/4c . I love the megatone. It seems to be effortless in any register that I do.

I am now thinking of getting a Flugelhorn. I have been playiong a trumpet with a bore size of 459. Should I get a flugelhorn with a bore size close to my trumpet and if so, will the sound be different? Also what brand should I get?

Comment by Marty

Very, very nice site. You're attention to detail is astounding.

Keep your Strad 37, (the 37 refers to the bell type, which is "slow" on the 37 model. Meaning it stays tight from the bow and doesn't open up till close to the flair.). A beat up Strad is better than many newer horns. If you had a Strad 37 next to a Strad 43, you'd see the difference immediately.

In anycase, your Strad sounds a bit beat up and you may benefit from a newer horn and perhaps even a different design. I read your comments and I see you as a "cool jazz" era player. Maybe a ballad guy. Go to a music store and see if they have a Martin Committee try it. Very warm, cozy sound. Like velvet. The notes almost play themselves. I like the upper register and play lead. The Martin is a dark sounding horn. Brooding and lyrical. I think you would become fast friends.

The valve sluggishness on the flugel was most probably due to a chemical reaction of oil and saliva with the metal of the valves, (most often made of monel). The reaction causes a sludge that builds up in the tiny pits in the surface of the valves and casings and voila! Slow valves. Getzen has abandoned monel valves for this reason and have gone back to nickel. Some companies are using stainless steel now. Monel had a long run, but a lot of valve problems can be traced to it's use.

Anyhow, a friend in our amateur jazz band just bought a Giardinelli trumpet, (made by Amati), it wasn't a lot of money and plays like a 37 Strad. Despite what people say about Amati, I have an Amati Piccolo Bb/A and I love it and no one has ever complained about the sound.

Flugelhorn. what a cool instrument. Mine is an old Couesnon, (say coos-non). Most flugels are a smallish bore - .420" more or less. Some newer models are larger trumpet bores -.459". I don't care for the larger bore sound as much, although the upper register on the larger bore flugel sounds better to me.

I, too, left the trumpet for about 10 years back in the '80s when I started my printing business. When I finally pulled the horn out after a good 10 years - I was sooo relieved - it was as if I never stopped playing.

Outside of my family, playing trumpet is my favorite thing to do. I'm interested in your improv stuff. I'm no good at it, although, I can play most songs by ear pretty easily. I tried Abersold, but it wasn't fun. No fun = I don't want to do it. Too many other things I HAVE to do.

Thanks for your great site - well done!

Comment by Luke

hey im a trumpet player and i need a great mouthpiece that plays excelllent with jazz. i want a big fat luscious tone with a better range (mine sucks) or the same as a 7c. can you help me one which one i should get?

Comment by Rick

Hi Luke,

I suggest that you ask your question in the Mouthpieces forum of the following site: http://www.trumpetherald.com/forum/

The Trumpet Herald community will surely point you in the right direction...

-Rick

Comment by Dean

Since my last writing, I was considering a flugelhorn. I have stepped up to the plate and bought one. I am a Bach lover, but I could not fall in love with the sound. So, I went to the other side of the earth and bought a Yamaha 231. Yes, I know it is not there top of the line, but something about it told to take it home. Besides, for trial and error, the price was right. My friend and partner in playing music loves the Yamaha and he is a big Bach lover. I am considering of selling my 231 and buy a YFH 731 or 631 .

As far as mouthpieces, I tried variety of different mouthpieces in the flugelhorn, and to my surprise, the Bach megatone 1/4C won the position.

And finally, it is really nice to read what other musicians have to say regardless if they are a professional or not. Thank you for this forum.

Comment by BB

Congratulations, on such a wonderful site, your thoroughness shows a great dedication, and you have created a tremendous resource web page for brass players both amateur and professional. I will be pointing some of the trumpet students i know to your page, where i hope they find inspiration and information.

I would suggest you try a few more mouthpieces, one i would suggest might work for you is a Curry 3Z, it has the compression you like, plus the wide confortable rim, and relatively deeper cup for a lead mouthpiece. I suggest this may assist with some endurance issues, when playing in the upper register. Just a thought...keep up the good work....and never give up !

Comment by Lorrin KIng

Hi Rick, Totally enjoy reading your website and subjects! Thanks for providing such candid and honest opinions. I read your comments about your Jupiter Flugel's valve problems. I do have a comment on trumpets. My father played jazz cornet/trumpet for 60 years untill his passing in '97. His primary instruments of choice was a Olds Super Cornet (50's) and a custom '69 Benge pocket trumpet. I play several horns-'75 Getzen Severinsen, '71 Ambassador Cornet (built like tanks and great valves), '77 Benge "C" and '82 Benge 3x (pre UMI). If you have a chance to try a vintage Benge (pre '78), please do so. They were custom made instruments made to exacting tolerances by master craftsman. They are so light and responsive and just feel great in your hands. I still belive that with some exceptions (higher end professional horns-Schilke, Monette, Bach etc), vintage horns like Olds, Benge, Getzen were better made than modern brands like Jupiter, Amati etc. I found my Serverisen at a garage sale for $200 (it was only played 3 months in '75 and sat in a closet for over 30 years!) After taking it to a repair shop to unstuck all the valves and slides, it played like a dream!! Unbelievable fast valves. Your Bach 37 strad is a great instrument. Thanks for keeping up this great website. Aloha, Lorrin

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