Announcement: Stage One Endorsement

Discussion in 'Horns' started by NickD, Jun 17, 2005.

  1. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Well, folks, I would like to bring things out into the open.

    I have had many email exchanges and conversations with Felix Vayser of the New York Trumpet Company. He had my interest in the Stage One Series piqued upon our first conversation. I was eager to try them.

    Now, I have about 20 or more different horns in my little studio, all of them top quality. What has been very interesting to me is how quickly folks have picked the sound of Felix's horns over my other trumpets in almost EVERY blindfold test. Granted, in many cases the listeners (everyone from professional trumpeters to family members) did say the difference was subtle, but they kept picking the sound of Felix's horns even when I tried to trip them up. Now, how the listener reacts is very important to me. THEY are paying the bills around here!

    I certainly find the sound of his trumpets to be every bit the equal of everything else I own, from my position behind the mouthpiece. So, when the listeners talk, I listen!

    So, I am pleased to announce that I will be officially endorsing the Stage 1 Series trumpets from the New York Trumpet Company.

    This has not been an idle decision on my part. I am in a position to "just say no," and I would kindly do so if the horns didn't measure up. However, they do far more than just measure up. I now have a California model in my possession, and it is excellent! It has the focused "blow" that I liked about the Special Edition Phaeton and the valves are simply perfect. The horn has a great feel in my hands and the unique finish is very attractive. The sound is different from what I am used to and I can back off on it and let the horn do far more work. It is that more compact tone (not smaller - more focused - hard to put into words) that listeners are picking up on. One of my pro friends (a fine legit player) said I sounded I was trying to knock a wall down with my previous axe, but with Felix’s horns I just sounded like I was playing the music.

    So, it is with great excitement that I announce my endorsement of the Stage 1 series. Felix is definitely onto something!

    I would also like to take a moment to comment that I am definitely available for clinics and lectures. During the school year, I need a significant notice time, but if you are interested in having me come out to your facility, let's communicate! I'm sure we can sort out the details.

    I am looking forward with great anticipation to working more and more with Felix. He is giving the trumpet world something really good; a choice of some of the best instruments in the world.

    Thanks for your time!

    Nick Drozdoff
    New York Trumpet Company
    Stage One Artist
  2. Whataguy!

    Whataguy! Pianissimo User

    Jan 16, 2004
    Osaka, Japan
    I seem to remember a post of yours that said you were playing a Chicago Brass Works horn just a little while ago? How does the Stage 1 CA compare with the CBW?
  3. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Stage 1 and CBW:

    I have a model GSC CBW horn. If you check my posts in the Lounge area (about the current state of the Brass Bow, CBW and Wayne's move), I have plans for that trumpet. I got the GSC almost two years ago. It has served me well, but, for a variety of reasons, I intend to put it in my studio storage for now.

    As to how the Stage 1 series compares, I would have to say extremely well. It is a different sound with a smaller bore and it allows you to back off and use less air - effort - to achieve a nice big sound. It is very efficient.

    In addition to the way the horn blows, it just feels great! Like with the special edition Phaeton, the Stage One horn feels solid, but not cheesy. It feels like a high end axe, but one that I will not be paranoid about on gigs when it comes to mutes and the vagaries of the free-lance environment. This horn is solid without being a massive thing to hold up; very well balanced.

    I am going to be using the Stage 1 exclusively on all my gigs and jam sessions beginning this weekend. I am that happy with it. As to my GSC, well, the horn has a special place for me, and I'll be assigning that postion for it in my studio.

    One quick comment. In endorsing Felix's horns I will NEVER say "this or that horn is better than another." Like with shoes and mouthpieces, horns are a fitted item. I have a great deal or respect for all of the manufacturers out there. As to the NYTC Stage One's if you are looking for new axe that is really special, you owe it to your self to at least test one out. Felix has three models. He also has quite a line at NYTC. I don't see anyone else out there with that kind of unique variety of equipment.

    I hope that adds a bit of grist for the mill! ;-)

    Peace, all.


    ALLCHOPS Piano User

    Nov 14, 2003
    Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

    Congratulations Nick!!!

    I would agree with your description about the California... I would have loved to own this horn 20 years ago. It gives me the feeling of having to think a little less about the common idiosyncracies that trumpets generally poccess!

    Good luck this weekend even though I don't think you'll need it!

    Tony G
  5. NYTC

    NYTC Forte User

    Nov 1, 2004
    Nick,Tony,Dylan and Brandon.
    I want to thank you all very much for the trust that you put in me and my instruments.
    Words cannot describe how proud I am that my trumpets are in your hands.
    I would also like to thank every one for the great support that my company is getting.

  6. Whataguy!

    Whataguy! Pianissimo User

    Jan 16, 2004
    Osaka, Japan

    Hi, Nick! I wanted to apologize for a badly worded post. I didn't mean to force you to say which horn was better, but wanted to know exactly what you wrote. Thanks for being the consummate diplomat and composing that wonderful reply.
  7. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    No apology required!!!

    Man, there wwas no need for an apology, but I sure appreciate your kind words.

    You posed a very reasonable question, and I just did the best I could with it. :-)

    I'm grateful for your involvement at TM!

    Well, I've gotta run. Big concert tonight and I want to get my practicing in early so I can nap in the afternoon.


  8. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Heat of Battle!

    OK, last night I took my new Stage One California Model to it's first big gig. I've been putting it through its trials in my studio and it has been faring well, but last night wia the first job with the Mighty Larry Eckerling Orchestra.

    Now, let me explain the challenges of the biz for some of the younger players on the forum. Free-lancers have to face a variety of conditions that ranges from specatular to awful. Full times orchestra and theater players work in a consistent environment every night. What I deal with is the OPPOSITE of consistent. While it keeps life interesting, it can be challenging.

    Last night was challenging. It was a beautiful day in Chicago, but cool in the evening. Our gig was at the Chicago Botanic Gardens for a huge society affair and we were in a tent beside a beautiful little lake. Now, it got cool enough to cause a pitch struggle with the horn. I had to hold it constantly to keep it warm. Also, as we were outside, there was no acoutic ambience, and I mean NO ambience! Often there is something for a building or the tent walls, but this tent had no walls.

    OK, you've got the picture. This event was in my home town and the planners had asked me to play some solo feature numbers. After much consideration, I decided to just blow a couple of jazz standards. I've played these affairs enough to know that the guests were not going to be in concert mode. By the time my turn came, sure enough, most folks were talking even when their friends were performing.

    I played Sandu, and old Clifford Brown tune as a moderate blues shuffle. Then I played Hello Young Lovers as a scorching bebop tune. I soloed from in front of the band. Now,the band was in full jobbing mode by now, and this means a bit on the loud side. I set up one of the singers mics for myself. Well, the sound man got scared and turned it down. The problems is, HE TURNED THE MONITORS DOWN, NOT THE MAINS! Arrrgh! Now, I was having a hard time hearing myself, but I was just screaming through the mains. I would have tried to say someting, but it has been my experience with this sound man that I can't tell him anyting, so I just let it go. It was only for two tunes.

    Now, I know both of these tunes well enough to fly by radar, so to speak, so I basically was able to play fine. I had to shed a lot of nuance, though. Oh well...

    Now to the Stage One. It played GREAT! The two telling points were the solos and the end of the gig. The solos simply came off great for those folks who were listening. I got lots of compliments. Also I did a big latin vamp on the end of hello young lovers and uncorked a high G which felt effortless. The end of the gig was equally interesting. Remember, we had no acoustic amibience and this spells trouble for trumpeters. The temptation is to overblow and waste your chops. I was careful to hold back a bit and crowd my mic more than I am wont to. Well, we do some horrendous medleys once folks get to dancing. We do this long tiring Jackson Five thing, which, in and of itself, would require a rest, but Larry has taken to tacking the old Earth, Wind and Fire tune, September on the end of that. We do it in A concert, and the vamp on the end is quite duanting. I had NO trouble last night, in spite of the dubious conditions! The horn really held up fine.

    Larry even continued that medley by sticking Play That Funky Music on the end of it! This ended up being the last tune of the evening, and the horn section has a lot of fun as we stretch this out. The lead singer works the crowd and we start playing horn lines from old Parliment and the Funkadelics tunes to goad him on - big fun! Well, we come to the end of the evening and after our lead singer goes through his whole James Brown style cadenza, we play a big long noisy chord for the ending. I had no trouble hitting the high A (the 4th) and decided to see what I could come up with. I clipped the E (tonic) over double C, clear as a bell. I'm not sure how loud it was as I was on mic, but it felt as solid as I have felt in a long time (I'm no Arturo!).

    All in all, to quote from Casablanca, with respect to this horn, "this is the beginning of a long (or is it beautiful, -- I forget) friendship!"

    OK, that's enough raving out.

    Peace, all.

  9. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Stage 1 in a Big Band Environment...

    Last night I played with the Guy Fricano big band. Guy had me on split lead and split solos with him - quite an honor when one considers Guy's talents. He is an old school hard-bopper from Chicago and stubbornly relishes his vintage Chicago Benges.

    However, from the first note I played he couldn't stop raving about the sound of the Stage 1. Also, my old friend Dick D. was playing lead alto and was sitting in front of me to my left. Dick took me aside, completely unsolicited, and just went on and on about how impressive the horn was. Dick has a great ear and I value his word.

    Here is what impressed me. Unlike the previous post, the acoustics in the night club (Chicago's Green Dolphin Street up on Ashland a couple of blocks north of Armitage) are good. The first thing that was striking, even to me from behind the horn, was its projection. It just went right out there - very focused. However, it produced a big fat sound - not thin or preferentially favoring the upper partials to a fault.

    I found the horn to be very efficient. Guy threw "Groovin' Hard," the old Don Menza chart, to me on the third set. The shout chorus can be daunting, but it felt great! Normally, I take a breath just before the pick-ups to the final high G to make sure that I can hammer it home. Last night, I played the entire final phrase in one breath and the high G came popping out just fine.

    I have found Felix's horns to be quite efficient. I can "pace my air much better." I really like this. Also this Stage 1 California model has a great sound. Felix has characteized it as his more commercial sounding horn. Man, it just sounds GOOD to me.

    Also, I REALLY love the valves (the same Eclipse modified cluster used on the Phaeton). Now, that I've broken them in, they just snap-crackle-and-pop!

    OK, I'm nearing the end of my review of the Stge One California. I have a jam session tonight and Sunday, another big band gig tomorrow and a rock gig on Saturday. I am also going to record a legit brass ensemble piece to see how it works in that environment. That should be enough to completely judge this horn.


  10. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Cool, Dylan!

    Cool! That's what I was hearing last night as well.

    What is it about big bands and too loud? Or bands in general!

    I think rhythm section players should not be allowed to wer ear plugs when they play. I'll bet that would really settle things down, but my cynicism is showing!


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