A day out in Dunstable (Eclipse)

Discussion in 'Horns' started by music matters, Aug 1, 2004.

  1. music matters

    music matters Pianissimo User

    219
    1
    Apr 26, 2004
    ON Canada
    I went to the Eclipse factory the other day to try out their new flugel horn. After a chat with Leigh on the phone he kindly offered to pick me up at the station so I got on the train from London and after a 40 min train ride was picked up by leigh and whisked off to the factory.

    The factory is a workshop and its easy to realise how much each horn is lovingly custom made by hand. It reminded me a little of the photos Schilke have on their website of their factory. I like the fact that they are not mass produced but caringly made until each horn plays correctly as Eclipse want. (Of course I like the fact that they are British too - hurrah!)

    All Eclipse trumpets and flugels have some common characteristics which I will list first. The valves are outstanding and equal the best I have ever used which is the Taylor. When you do Clarkes chromatics each note just locks in perfectly and almost clicks from one note to the next. I think my Schilke is very good in this respect but the Eclipse outshines it here. When you do a run of double tounging each note just centres beautifully and locks into place with the utmost clarity. Again this is better than my Schilke for comparison. The intonation is incredible on the trumpet and flugel. So without a shadow of doubt Eclipse instruments are of the highest quality and are top horns.

    I started with a special edition Yellow flugel made for a particular customer. It had extra thick lacquer which made it fluffier than the usual Yellow bell and I found it a little less responsive. I then went to a red lacquer which fitted me beautifully I felt at home with it straight away. Leigh said my facial expressions whilst plaing showed that I was getting on much better with the Red - feeling a lot more comfortable obviously made me look more comfy! I then compared the unfinished raw brass Yellow and red side by side and it was very easy to tell that both had a lovely rich smooth fluffy tone but that the red was warmer and richer than the Yellow. Both played incredibly evenly throughout the registers and were very similar to play - just the difference in sound really. The red was my personal fave but its horses for courses. The copper is a different animal altogether. Go low and its as fluffy as a poodle that's just had a blow dry! As you move up through the register it changes in characteristics and did not feel as even as the brass bells to me. Some will love this flugel but it is definitely at the poodle end of the spectrum!

    Now I was only there to try out flugels, but I couldn't resist trying the trumpets as well even though I am not in the market for a trumpet and love my Schilke. I liken it to if I owned a Ferrari but I still would want to try out a Porsche 911turbo to see how it drives.

    All eclipse trumpets seem very versatile and could be used in a variety of situations. None of them were as light as my Schilke but the really heavy ones still had a core to the tone and would still work in a variety of situations. The copper one was a different beast of course!

    They all played superbly but my personal favourite was the Large bell with a larger flare to the bell (this was similar to my schilke B1) with the red brass for darker overtones, although it still had a wonderful brilliant core.

    As a lot of you are aware I love my Schilke B1 and have no plans of changing it. Nothing , for me, has ever come close to my Schilke in how it plays and feels and sounds until now. If I had played the Eclipse large red bell trumpet the decision would have been a lot harder for sure but I don't need to worry about that as I have a trumpet I really love and suits me, and I just need to practise more so I deserve it!

    So in my opinion Eclipse instruments are exceptional and if you can get the chance to try one out I would do. I had a great 3 to 4 hours at Eclipse and would like to thank leigh very much. If you get the chance a trip to Dunstable is most enjoyable.
    MM
     
  2. FreshBrewed

    FreshBrewed Mezzo Piano User

    520
    1
    Nov 11, 2003
    Houston, TX
    MM,

    I'm jealous. As long as I have known Leigh, I've never been to the shop. I keep wanting to go but things always come up and I am deprived. However, I have had the chance to play most of his horns when he brings them to Germany. I chose the MHY in the end and am now awaiting my next horn from him. Unfortunately, I won't see it until I am back from Iraq. :cry:

    I think what is so different about Leigh is that he has such drive when it comes to trumpets...........and he doesn't even play them! Glad to see that he chose to build them though. :D I wonder if Noel has ever offered to give him a few lessons. :p
     
  3. music matters

    music matters Pianissimo User

    219
    1
    Apr 26, 2004
    ON Canada
    Hi Mike,

    Yeah I was lucky to be able to go the factory and it really was a wonderful experience. When you get back you should definitely take a trip up there if you can. I have decided to go for the Eclipse flugel - I have gone for the red bell with Savannah finish. What attracted you to the MHY trumpet over the others and what finish did you go for? I think Eclipse make amazing instruments and I hope they go from strength to strength as they have amazing products, are great people to deal with and just deserve to do well. Take care out there in Iraq,
    Best regards
    Graham.
     
  4. FreshBrewed

    FreshBrewed Mezzo Piano User

    520
    1
    Nov 11, 2003
    Houston, TX
    Graham,

    Lovely choice of flugel you have chosen.....especially the finish! I think what drew me to the MHY was the way I sounded on it(I played it for quite a while). To me, my sound is my strong point and that is always on my mind when buying a horn. All of the horns had the same blow for me, but the MHY just tickled my fancy with its sound. I chose the Savannah finish with "FreshBrewed" engraved into the bell. All of the slides are done in gold, as are the valve caps. Leigh really went the extra mile to help me get exactly what I wanted even though he questioned my sanity with the engraving. The story behind my "name" is because I am a coffee drinker and thought the Savannah reminded me of a smooth blend coffee.

    Currently, I have ordered a flugel from Leigh with the yellow brass and am having it done in Savannah as well. I may ask Leigh to make it a scratched Savannah since I saw that particular finish on a trombone that Leigh overhauled last year and really liked it.
     
  5. music matters

    music matters Pianissimo User

    219
    1
    Apr 26, 2004
    ON Canada
    Hi Mike,

    Looks like we'll be the first Eclipse flugels in Savannah! Let me know when you get it. Leigh said he may put some pics of mine he's currently making on his website so you will be able to see it in a couple of months.

    Best regards
    Graham
     

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