blessing artist ml1?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by pitchfork, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. pitchfork

    pitchfork New Friend

    Mar 20, 2006
    i read many good reviews for this. it looks like something that i could learn on and would still be able to use once or if i get good enough to jam live. for $640 it seems like a good deal. what do you guys think?
  2. sdhinote

    sdhinote Pianissimo User

    Feb 3, 2006
    Palm Desert
    I have an ML-1G. I think Blessing has an undeserved bad rap from some circles and are thought of as only making "student horns". However, they make so many horns and parts (student and pro) for other manufacturers that cost so much more, that this claim becomes unfounded. Granted, they've had quality problems in the past, but both of their pro lines these days can stand up to comparison with those brands costing so much more.

    I use mine daily. It has a great sound for jazz and orchestra, slots well in the upper register and the valves are extremely fast. I like it better than the Strads I've owned. I own a couple of more horns that I use for differnt situations, but this a great all around horn for anyone. I played one in a local shop and thought it was a fine trumpet. When I found I could get it on Music123 for under $700, I bought one. A friend tried mine against his new Stomvi and couldn't discern much difference at all between the two (even in looks). Don't judge a horn by price and looks alone. Compare how other manufactrer's horns play for you and if the differences aren't enough to justify the price difference, buy this one. You won't be unhappy.
  3. TopGun

    TopGun Pianissimo User

    Oct 28, 2003
    To tell you truth I don't know anything about it. You might want to look for a used Bach or Yamaha. I bet you could find one in that price range.
  4. TopGun

    TopGun Pianissimo User

    Oct 28, 2003
    Sorry Geoff I did not see your post before I submited mine. I don't mean to put down the horn at all its just I don't know a great deal about them. I thought Blessing had shut down there shop for a bit. I could be way off on this.
  5. sdhinote

    sdhinote Pianissimo User

    Feb 3, 2006
    Palm Desert
    Not a problem! I don't think they've temporarily shut down, but I too, could be wrong about that. Thier website doesn't mention anything about it.

    Which brings me to my only pet peeve about Blessing. They don't promote themselves effectively. They've been around forever. Clifford Brown used a Blessing. Their website looks like someone's kid made it, which plays right into the rumor/myth mill that they've been subjected to. Obviously they can't say "we make such and such pro horn for Zeus/Olds/Bach", etc., but they could say compare ours to (same brands).

    They need to re-introduce themselves as a brand to be compared to with a price difference and find a couple of good pros to endorse their products. All other brands have paid endorsers/clinicians, whether the horns are good are not. Do you really think most of the paid endorsers who supposedly "designed" a horn actually have degrees in metalurgy, or accoustic sciences? They're handed a new horn, get asked about what they like and dislike. Modifications are made to their satisfaction, they're given some new horns, and sent on a promotional concert tour as a clinician for a nice bit of pocket change. In other words, they need a good PR department.

    The easiest way to find out if Blessing made some other brand's horn: If its a 460 bore, there's a really good chance they made it. That's the only size pipe they use. OOOOH! This soapbox has become pretty lofty! Need a ladder to get down!
  6. PH

    PH Mezzo Piano User

    Dec 2, 2003
    Bloomington, Indiana
    There was a really good thread on TH a few weeks ago where Brad Goode and I gave our first hand stories of working with the company on design and modification of this instrument. it can be found here:

    Here is a paste of my initial post in that thread.

    "When Blessing was putting this horn design together for the first time in the early 1980s they were known almost exclusively as a company that made student horns. It had been years since they had marketed a pro horn (since back in the days of Clifford Brown). They decided they wanted to put together a horn that would primarily appeal to jazz players (the lightweight version of the ML-1) and that would be affordable--a pro horn for not much more money than the price their competitors were selling student horns.

    They brought in 6 jazz artists at various stages of the process: Pete Candoli, Conte Candoli, Red Rodney, Ira Sullivan, John McNeil, and me. They asked each of us to loan them a horn or two that we really liked and to tell us why we liked it. They were really surprised that the majority of horns we gave them were various Martin Committees along with a few old Benges and Bachs. Being an Elkhart based company, they had expected that we would give them all Bachs and Conns. Local bias...

    They went about copying the various parts of each of our preferred horns and then they mocked up a series of "Frankenhorns" from the copied parts and sent us the horns for a test drive. They wanted us to practice on them and even take them to gigs if we dared. Then we would talk to the guys at the factory (primarily Merle Johnson and Randy Johnson) about our perceptions.

    We went through the same process at that time regarding their flugelhorns as well.

    Eventually, all 6 of us agreed on a set of specs. They made the horns in both light and standard weights. Unlike today, most jazz players seemed to prefer lighter horns with their greater facility and realized that a light horn played well could have plenty of depth and breadth in the sound.

    I played and endorsed various editions of that horn for about 10 or 12 years. The only major design change I can recall in that time was a redesign of the leadpipe by Mr. Pilczuk. That new pipe greatly improved some of the intonation quirks.

    The ML-1 was a very good horn--excellent value for the price. I don't know if it still is. I haven't tried them in years. In 1995 I started playing and endorsing Bach. Around that time Brad Goode joined the Blessing company in a similar role through his association with Red Rodney. Perhaps Brad will comment further (I hope).

  7. pwillini

    pwillini Pianissimo User

    Mar 4, 2004
    Kalamazoo, MI
    I bought an ML1-G from a friend a few years ago. I used it as my primary horn for about 18 months then gave it to my son to use in church and school jazz band. I went back to my Bach 37.

    Now, using my Bach as my primary horn doesn't mean I gave up on the Blessing. I use it every so often to solo in church. It has a broad sound, great slotting and great valves. Response is quick and slots are right on. I like the sound, the only thing is it isn't what I would normally use as a solo horn , I like the sound of my Bach or ZeuS (depending on the song).

    The Blessing is a great horn at a great price! You cannot go wrong buying one of these horns. Be prepared to be pleasantly surprised!

  8. DaveH

    DaveH Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    I have owned and played two ML-1 trumpets back in the early 1990s.
    They were decent horns at the time, and I can't comment on them now.

    At the time, I was looking for a good professional horn - Bach Strad type instrument or something of that caliber. I was playing in a situation where most of the other players had Bach Strads and I thought I was going to get a Strad copy at about half the price. I got half the price, but not a Strad equivalent.

    I think the Blessing is a good value for the money, but having played the Strad and the ML1 side by side, it was my opinion that there was no comparison...the Strad won hands down.

    The tone was much bigger, richer, denser, and with much greater projection on the Strad, and the build of the Strad appeared much better. Simply higher quality.

    There was about a 2:1 price difference at the time, so what would you expect? The Strad was about twice as expensive as the Blessing and I felt the difference was definitely noticeable, especially in regard to sound and construction.

    I think you tend to get what you pay for. I no longer have the Blessings. I ended up playing a Strad 180-37 and an LA Benge instead (I don't have those either now as they were both stolen. Today, I have a Kanstul French Besson and a 1970 King Silver Flair - two of the best horns I have ever owned other than a 1965 King Silver Flair I had and should have kept). I do not have any particular gripe with Blessing at all, but I do think that if you are looking for a Bach Strad sound - or something equivalent - you will not find it with a Blessing ML1. You will get what you pay for, and if the price gets you what you want/need, then the Blessing should be fine.

    But, if you want the quality and sound that is available for more money, then you will need to be prepared to spend more money.

    IMO, it is a very good intermediate horn.

    When I hear that the players in the trumpet sections of the major orchestras, or the players doing most of the LA session and studio work have switched to ML1s, then I also will reconsider... ;-)
  9. wvtrumpet

    wvtrumpet Pianissimo User

    May 14, 2004
    West Virginia
    I own and ML-1. This was my first "pro" level trumpet purchased by my parents back in 1983. I used this horn all through high school and in college for about a year. I started to realize that I was being limited tonally and not matching well in chamber ensembles ect. I sent the horn to a repair guy in Pittsburgh and he did a lot of work on it. He basically took it apart and put it back together, cleaning up all of the poor soldering and turning this into a custom horn. He felt that the construction of the Blessing was on par with any horn made during that time. I moved onto a Bach but often times pick up the Blessing for jazz gigs ect. Has a very nice dark sound and super valves. I feel for a beginner it is a GREAT horn........

Share This Page