A good trumpet...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Comeback, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

    Jun 22, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
    What is it that makes a particular instrument a good trumpet for you? I have been pondering this question in recent weeks. For me, it is sound quality first, followed by cleanliness of articulation, evenness and fine intonation across my entire range, excellent dynamics control, and general responsiveness.

    I rotate between my three Bb trumpets, which receive far and away the most "face time" among the instruments in my little stable, and truly appreciate each of them. This week it is the 1952 Blessing Super Artist w/vintage Blessing 13 mouthpiece. Last week it was the 1972 Getzen Eterna Severinsen w/Blessing 3C mouthpiece. Prior to that it was the 2000 Strad 180S37 w/Bach 3C mouthpiece. You know, this old Blessing just may be the best combination for me that I have found so far. Along with the qualities I identified in the first paragraph, there is a sense of agility and confidence that it creates in me as I play that is simply a joy.

    Perhaps surprisingly, this thread is not written to be some sort of promotion of old Blessing Super Artists. Rather it is an attempt to encourage you to analyze why it is that your favored trumpet/mouthpiece combination has become so. My preference could easily change as I continue learning and experimenting with mouthpieces and trumpets, but I am fairly confident it will be performance-based and not influenced overmuch by reputation.

  2. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    A question I've also been exploring recently, Jim. I hesitate to call the following list "my conclusions" as it's a work in progress; maybe "my suspicions"
    would be more accurate.

    1) Providing the instrument meets a set of minimum requirements for a professional grade trumpet (intonation, acoustic quality through range, sound valve assembly etc.), mouthpiece selection has more impact than choice of instrument model.

    2) An extreme characteristic that helps you in one area (eg strong slotting, low resistance, brightness, core/projection), can work against you in other circumstances.

    3) We all have weaknesses where we welcome some help from the instrument, and conversely, all instruments have some 'weaknesses' where they need help from us. It's important that these areas of weakness don't overlap. I tried to explore this recently in the Janacek Sinfonietta thread, but coaxing other members to discuss faults in their technique or (particularly) their instruments was met with a stony silence, (if not hostility :-)). It's a pity really, because if we fail to be honest in these matters, we fail to come to balanced conclusions. One of my chronic problems is a tendency to drift sharp above the stave: this becomes a particular problem for me on a lightweight instrument. Another is airstream control and buzz in quiet passages: here I find a bit of resistance useful.

    I'm not a good enough player to play everything I want to play well enough on a single instrument, I need at least two.

    Most people would be hard pressed to come up with a pair of instruments as different as a 'stuffy' heavyweight Yamaha and a 'loud and proud' Wild Thing, but I love them each dearly, perhaps even equally, but for different reasons.

    There's one extreme end of my repertoire where I need the dependability of the Yam. At the opposite end, I need the faster response and flexibilty of the Wild Thing. But in between, the majority of my repertoire, I can play on either, and make them both sound good and pretty well identical.

    So for me, I think the whole idea of a 'perfect trumpet' is an illusion. But if not, it would probably be something fairly average.
  3. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    In order of importance...intonation, ease of play, responsiveness, sound. Usually, a horn that's good at all these is my favorite, and my mouthpiece choice will favor which attribute is more important at the time. For me, my old Bach ML 43 with a Curry 3C. mouthpiece will do most of what I need as far as my Bb trumpet playing goes. Big band type playing will bring out the Curry 3MZ., and really melodic playing will bring out a cornet...;-)
  4. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    1) The sound
    2) Accuracy of slotting
    3) Ease of playing in high range

    In that order.
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    For me, the three factors are sound, intonation and response but not necessarily in that order. For the most part we can expect two out of the three. Case in point, my Scherzer piccolo. It doesn't quite have the sound of a Selmer or the response of a Schilke. But the sound is better than a Schilke and the response better than a Selmer. The intonation is better than a Selmer and almost dead even with the Schilke.
  6. chef8489

    chef8489 Piano User

    Aug 8, 2011
    Asheville nc
    For me it is the open blow, sound and slotting. I want a horn that I dont feel is stuffy and responds quickly. Has to sound great when I play.
  7. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

    Jun 22, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Thoughtful post, Seth.

    Several months ago we had a discussion about percent contributions to trumpet playing experiences (imagine a pie). It was subjective, of course, but still interesting and perhaps even enlightening. There was general agreement among participants that the player was far and away the most important, followed by mouthpiece, and then trumpet. So far as percent contribution from each part of the player-mouthpiece-trumpet equation, there was no crystal clear consensus, but it seemed to me to break down as follows: player - 90 percent; mouthpiece - 6 to 7 percent; trumpet - 3 to 4 percent. It is interesting and a little humorous to me that what gets us most worked up here on TM and what consumes the most server memory is what may be least important!

    I did not post to your Janacek Sinfonietta thread, because to my shame, I knew nothing about the Sinfonietta. I agree with you wholeheartedly about honesty in all trumpet matters we discuss here, but pride and appearances present strong temptations that easily affect internet forum sincerity, and that assertion, I am fairly sure, is as much confession as anything else across my two-plus years of TM participation and 1,000 posts!

    "Trumpets as compromises" is a frequently discussed topic as well. When it can be inferred that someone is promoting his/her instrument as a perfect trumpet, I am always tempted to respond with something like "Oh yeah...for what?!" Its back to that player-mouthpiece-trumpet equation again; different (mouthpiece-trumpet) strokes for different (trumpeting) folks!

    Sethoflagos likes this.
  8. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

    Jun 22, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Unknowingly, you finally convinced me, Dale. Some time ago you suggested I try a Curry 3C. I finally ordered one - naturally, of course, after Mark's facility was struck by lightening! I'm supposed to receive it sometime in October - we'll see...
  9. TrentAustin

    TrentAustin Fortissimo User

    Oct 28, 2003
    Boston, MA
  10. J. Jericho

    J. Jericho Fortissimo User

    Mar 16, 2011
    Sound, response, intonation. Must have all three.

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