Best Flugelhorn

Discussion in 'Horns' started by Brass4evr, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. ldwoods

    ldwoods Piano User

    Jan 20, 2006
    That's funny Chuck. I intentionally play my vintage YFL731 with the first slide "backwards" because I find it easier to reach and drain without getting dribble all over my hand.
  2. Jason Parra

    Jason Parra New Friend

    Mar 6, 2007
    NYC, Miami, Boise

    You will need to try out different bore sizes and the mouthpiece taper suits you best. Most of the "French" style flugels have a small +/- .413 bore and a short mouthpiece that fits a French taper. The Larger more commonly produced horns of today have a .449-.460 bore with a standard flugel shank.

    You will definitely notice the difference if you play them side by side. If cost is a concern, and you want a decent mid range model.....Hmmm, I would say Rose bell Jupiter with a 3rd trigger (same material and build as a higher priced yammy) but brand new around 800.00, a 6' copper bell and .460 bore/standard. Don't get a Indian or Chinese model---junk, and I would stay away from Barrington and Amati. The lower end Bach "Aristocrat" is a decent flugel. It has a .413 bore and a third trigger for about 5 bills. I played a cheap German Schiller and a Bach "A" at a clinic I did in Louisville a few years back---they were very good for the -500 range.

    Now to get into a Pro model, you will need to buy used/vintage or low professional. I like the looks of the new Phaeton and Van Cleave (both can be purchased/seen at Dillon Music). But have never heard anyone with an opinion on them---=/- 1200.00. For 1500 + you can get into a very nice used Pro model (Kanstul, Yamaha, Sandoval, Shew, Strad). These are "line" made horns, but sound good, especially the Kanstul's. Plan on paying 2000.00 on up for any custom "handmade" instrument-your choices are wide in this range. Austin Winds sells a great Kanstul top line, great looking model for around 1800+, you can also get into total custom slightly used flugs in this range as well.

    I am saving my coin for a Taylor, or hoping a new endorsement may include a good flugelhorn. In the meantime I have been very happy with my classic L.A. Benge. It was made (by Zig K) in the late 70s and actually has a 1st valve U-slide. I stripped it down to raw brass and it plays nice--looks good too with a cool vintage patina look. So buy used or go with what you sound good on. It's not like we ever play them for an extended period of time (unless it's a combo date). Usually blend and intonation are right out the friggin door, once it has sat on its stand cold for over an hour.....Just waiting for a 16 bar passage (then the alto sax-flugel sound is often a made for You-Tube event.

    My choice..................The Taylor Phatboy!!! I get the "heebies" just thinking about one, girlfriend out.........Phatboy in.

    Good Luck,

    Last edited: Aug 23, 2008
  3. MPM

    MPM Pianissimo User

    Nov 10, 2003
  4. Bay Area Brass

    Bay Area Brass Piano User

    Mar 2, 2007
    San Francisco
    My Couesnon may not be the most in tune flugel out there, but I haven't found another horn yet that has the same feel, vibe and tone-it has that Freddie/Donald Byrd thing that I haven't found on any other flugel. I guess to each his/her own :)
  5. tunefultrumpet

    tunefultrumpet Pianissimo User

    Apr 9, 2008
    New Zealand
    I used to only play my flugel (Besson Sovereign) for the odd piece on big band gigs. People liked the sound but I was never that happy with it. Then when I started using it for combo gigs I put some serious practice time in on it and have been quite amazed at the improvement in the tone quality I am getting. Part of that has been getting used to the really deep cup mouthpiece (Denis Wick 4F) and another part is learning to blow it softly, not in the same way as a trumpet.

    I recently tried a B&S flugelhorn which was easy to play but was trumpet-like in its response.

    I would say, get any good brand of flugel and a good mouthpiece and then learn to play it well rather than be too picky about make and model :-)
  6. nordlandstrompet

    nordlandstrompet Forte User

    Apr 5, 2008
    I like very much what you say about learning to play the flugel. As you mentions, it is not a trumpet. I have also played the Besson Sovereign (947) with DW4F (and DW4BF) for some 15 years, and knows about all the tricks to keep it in tune, especially when you are fighting against a group of 3 Eb-horns in a brass band. The best flugel is always the horn which suits you best, together with the mpc which suits you best. Remember that a horn only allows you to play and fulfill your skills. (If you buy Chuck Magnione's horn, you are still yourself....). When playing, remember that you are the tuner/equaliser, the mpc is your cables, and the horn is the loudspeaker. You can make a good sound with a good tuner/equaliser and a rotten loudspeaker........
  7. tom turner

    tom turner Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Georgia, USA

    Ditto here!

    After a long search while playing trumpet in the Army band program, I found a great new Couesnon that I bought in 1973.

    Through the years trumpets came and went, but I told many friends that I'd never find a better sounding fluglehorn.

    That changed while at a cornet collector's meeting in 2002 when I got to play recently debuted Flip Oakes Wild Thing Fluglehorn. The thing was stunning, the perfect sound AND it played as easy and well as the finest trumpets . . . and I knew I'd have to start saving my pennies.

    I've had my own Oakes flugle now for about three years or so . . . and the "irreplacable" Queenie has been retired.

    I surely wasn't looking for a new fluglehorn when I got to play one . . . but when a horn blows you away it makes you WANT one for your own!


    PS: Ed, I'm also an owner of a Flip Oakes "Celebration" Bb trumpet. You have great tastes in horns!!!
  8. Robert Rowe

    Robert Rowe Mezzo Piano User

    Dec 24, 2004

    I'll agree with this ... (maybe not entirely with the "rotten loudspeaker" comment. I've been a guitar, mandolin and keyboards player, for over 40 years. I have learned a great deal about speakers. The subject is infinitely complex. There are speakers that reproduce sound in a very sterile manner, and there are speakers that are very "musical" in character. The very best sound reproduction can be highly enhanced with analog effects, not digital ones. Trust me on this one).

    I have been fortunate in acquiring a vintage F. Besson (Paris) fluegelhorn, which is extremely "sweet" in sound / tone character. My "main squeeze" fleugelhorn, however, has become one of several Martin Committee fluegelhorns, which most everyone disparages. Until recently, these horns languished in their cases. A prominent jazz-artist tipped me off on a near-perfect mouthpiece for these horns, and I have been in "7th Heaven" ever since. What a difference ....

    ... ~ More Mel Bay ... less eBay ~

    ~ Namaste ....
    Yogi Robt
    Last edited: May 16, 2008
  9. nordlandstrompet

    nordlandstrompet Forte User

    Apr 5, 2008
    Right gear for the right player is always a winner! :D

    Sorry about the "rotten loudspeaker anology"......

    Not the meaning to offend anybody.:-(

    Only used fro the purpose of vizualisation,

    by "the king of metafores"..... :roll:
  10. brassmojo

    brassmojo Pianissimo User

    Nov 22, 2007
    Lots of great Flugels out there ...the Flugelhorn sound I prefer is the Flugel that doesn't sound similar to either a large bore rotary or piston Trumpet. Flugelhorns have to sound different otherwise you might as well use a bucket mute. I found in order to get that soft, rich and melodius sound the French style, using the smaller bore (.413) is the best.

    I'm always mystified why some players prefer, or demand large bore and large bell Flugels? Are they planning on playing lead scream flugel chart? Do they want to "cut through with that certain sizzle?" How much back pressure can you generate on a Flugel with a Flugel mouthpiece?

    Kanstul makes the most popular and best sounding modern day Flugel---the 1525. The reason ? Price: this horn is cheaper (due the lower dollar) and more bang for the buck, than most Europian/Japanese horns. Kanstul put a copper bell on the horn to mellow the sound and made it with a .421 bore to keep the sound small,soft and centered.

    Yamaha started out with a great Flugel and out-sold everyone for some time. I don't know what happened; maybe the were too confident with their sales and cheapened the manufacturing process; maybe the sales of Flugels have dropped and they just don't want to bother ? Who knows. They just don't feel and play right---to me.

    Although I'm not a fan of the French they got the Flugelhorn right the first time---the Courtois and Cousenon are the sounds I prefer.


    P.S. I play a 1946 Courtois

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