Are we as trumpet players too wrapped up in our equipment? I was thinking about this yesterday after reading about Chuck Willardâ€™s (SchilkeB6) new Lawler C7 and looking at the incredible photos of it, looking again at Marc Meltonâ€™s Schilke X3LB in satin gold, and thinking about how much I would like to try a Lawler C7 or get my horn plated like one of those. (Not only would it be beautiful, but it would give my trumpet additional protection from my acidic hands.) For those who donâ€™t know about the pictures Iâ€™m talking about, Chuckâ€™s Lawler is here: http://www.trumpetmaster.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6276 And Marc Meltonâ€™s Schilke is here: http://geocities.com/drunkiq/after.htm (If you like looking at beautiful trumpets, BOTH of those links are worth checking out.) But back to the subject of being wrapped up in equipment, until recently, I figured that most "pro level" horns were more or less on par with one another, and I mostly adopted to take an "itâ€™s the player, not the equipment" stance as much as I could in practice, even though I talk up gear with the best of them. Iâ€™ve owned 2 Bach Strads in 19 years, played on my last one for the last 8, and have played a combination of about 4 different mouthpieces in all of that time. This isnâ€™t to say that I never tried other things in that time frame, but I never really made any permanent changes. And then I bought a new trumpet, more or less on a whim (because I really wanted it!) and it has driven home the fact that equipment had a much bigger impact on my playing than I had given it credit for. Iâ€™ve also had some conversations and taken part in some discussions regarding certain trumpets and instrument building practices, and it further strengthens the idea that not every "pro" horn is created equal, different players have distinctly different needs out of their equipment, and some trumpets are much better suited to certain playing requirements (lead big band, quintet, orchestra, etc) than others. But where do we draw the line? Iâ€™m of the belief that no trumpet or mouthpiece is going to make you a better player â€“ YOU are the musician, the "craftsman" so to speak - trumpets and mouthpieces are only the tools of the trade â€“ but at the same time, with the plethora of mouthpiece and horn makers today, especially the smaller, one-off shops that are doing some great affordable custom and semi-custom work, it becomes very easy to stop looking in the practice room as the source for improvement, and start looking to find a "cure" elsewhere. Here in the States, we live in a society where we have come to the idea that we can throw money at out problems to solve them, and this can easily translate through to the trumpet player who thinks that if they buy X brand of trumpet or mouthpiece, it will solve their playing woes. To put this in a different way, how many high school trumpet players over the years have purchased a lead-type mouthpiece, only to discover that it really didnâ€™t help them, (and it may have even hindered them!) and it found itâ€™s way into a shoebox to collect dust because their embouchures werenâ€™t developed enough to take advantage of its specialized purpose? I guess what Iâ€™m driving at is wondering how we find a balance and discover when a new trumpet or mouthpiece might be a good thing that could help us, and when our time, money and energies would better serve us by hiring a teacher and spending time in the practice room. I play a fairly specialized setup right now â€“ a Schilke B6 with a Schilke 14A4 mouthpiece. This has shown itself to work very well for the commercial type music that I play, but at the same time I believe that it has only magnified or enhanced what I could already do and it didnâ€™t really "give" me anything, although it has, in my opinion, significantly made my job on the gig much easier. In the case of both the trumpet and the mouthpiece, I feel it was money well spent...and yet, seeing things like Chuck Willardâ€™s Lawler C7, or Marc Meltonâ€™s Schilke, still leave me craving something different and wondering if they would be even better than what I currently have, and I wonder if I have become too wrapped up in the equipment, and not wrapped up nearly enough with practicing to make the most of the equipment that I already have. Once again, sorry for the ramble.