Calicchio Leadpipes and Bells

Discussion in 'Horns' started by Larry Gianni, Nov 24, 2003.

  1. Larry Gianni

    Larry Gianni Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Hi All,

    I was asked privately about the difference between the 2 different models Calicchio’s the 1s/2 and the 1s/7, but I thought I would put this on the forum and give you my thoughts on it.

    Up until recently, the models were named with the Bell / Leadpipe numbers as the model. The terms “Studio “and “Classic “were introduced.
    I never liked these names because it tended to typecast the trumpets so in this forum I’m going back to the Bell/ Leadpipe determinations for the different models.

    First a little history. Dominic (sometimes spelled Dominick) eventually ended up with 10 different leadpipes and 4 trumpet bells. (Not counting the flug. And picc. )

    Calicchio came to Los Angeles with the “Superior “bell, which was the besson copy “and was later named the #1 bell. Because his trumpets were so popular with the west coast Studio Musicians, he developed a slightly broader flared bell which he named 1s (s for studio). The 2 bell and the 3 bell followed. I believe the #3 bell is the copy of the LB Martin Committee which he was a part of developing.

    The leadpipes developed in order from 1 to 10, but the #1 is not the tightest and #10 is not the largest. They numbered as the came to be.

    The 4 main leadpipes that the players seemed to gravitate to were the #3, #2, #7 and #9. these pipes in combination with his bells seemed to work the best for the majority of players.

    Now, all 10 leadpipes had 3 cuts that could be made at the opening, S cut, R cut and L cut. The mandrill had 3 different lines on it to mark the different cuts. So that gave 30 different leadpipes in all (like a Bach 25 and a Bach 25H, same pipe different opening)

    Well, the 3L, 2s and 7L and 9s also became popular. Walt Johnson 2 bell / 3L pipe, John Harmer 1s/2s, Bobby Findley 1s/2s, etc.

    John Duda still has the original leadpipe mandrills with these marks on them.

    Before 1968 , the 1s / 7 seemed to the favorite standard combination, then Chuck Findley came to town, leaving Buddy’s band and came into the shop and after trying the combinations like the 1s/2 for the extra “ sizzle “ and intensity “ it produced giving him that distinctive “ sound “ . That model soon grew in popularity with the growth of “pop†recording in the 60’s and 70’s and the how well the microphones picked up the 1s/2 Calicchio trumpet large range of overtones against the blare of guitars , thumping basses , B-3 organs and clavinets , plus screaming vocals.

    The #2 pipe even though, tapers slower than the #7 pipe, actually lets the trumpet have “freer blow “to it. I think it balances the trumpet in a different way so the trumpet is more efficient when not overpowered. Bob Reeves told me that the Bach 43 is actually tighter than the
    Bach 25 pipe, but helps the Bach trumpet feel bigger.

    Got to go, more to come, stay tuned

  2. MPM

    MPM Pianissimo User

    Nov 10, 2003
    Calicchio "Labels"


    Great info. for us "trumpet geeks"! And I too never liked the "Terms" / labels. The whole "Studio 2 'This is a Lead Trumpet' " crap. What exactly is a "lead-trumpet" or a "lead-horn" anyway? UUGGG! Give me a break!

    A good trumpet is a good trumpet, if it plays in tune, if it helps you easily get the sound you hear in your head, and if it gets to the target (be it a studio mic, or the ears of the guy sitting 50-100 feet away in the middle of the concert hall).

    Sorry ... but I had to go there! And, I'm glad to see the discission back to model numbers that mean something. That's very interesting reading you've posted! BTW, talk to Dave ... there's a guy in Branson who has a very nice (old) ml bore 1s-3. Very nice horn! And no the guy won't sell it, we all asked already (ha ha ha)

    Have a nice day!
  3. Larry Gianni

    Larry Gianni Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Hi Mike,

    This is really just part 1 of a long discussion but I've the oportunity over the years to talk to alot of guys that knew Dominic very well and his methods.

    Guys like:

    Zeke Zarchy , Buddy Childers
    Tony Terran , Ray and Joe Trisari
    Mickey McMahon ( Lawrence Welk ) , Jack Sheldon
    Graham Young ( Henry Mancini ), Frank Beach
    Johnny Zell , Jay Diversa
    Jack Laughbach , Denny Christianson
    John Audino , Nelson Hatt
    Pete and Conte Candoli , Buddy Powers
    Maury Harris , Ray Anthony
    Shorty Sherock , Bob Reeves
    Bert Herrick
    Bill Peterson
    Dalton Smith
    Paul Hubinon
    Ollie Mitchell
    Steve Madaio

    Not all of these guys played Calicchio's exclusivly and of course some have passed on, but they were all frequent guests at the Hollywood Shop thru the 60's and 70's and since Dominic was not a big note taker like Bach and Schilke. they gave me valuble insights into what went on in the shop and his thought process

    A " Dominic " disscusion was always entertaining and informative, with everyone telling their favorite story.

    Everyone, if you don't know who some of these guys are , do your homework and find out. These were the guys that you've heard over and over thru-out the years on movies, TV, Radio and Recordings.

  4. MPM

    MPM Pianissimo User

    Nov 10, 2003
    Calicchio Stories!


    I'll look forward to reading the things you have to post on this forum. It's always interesting to learn how models of trumpets (leadpipes bells etc) come about.

    About my comment about a "lead-trumpet". It may have sounded rather, abrupt .., but the term, and how it ever came about baffles me slightly.

    Since this is the Calicchio forum I'll try to make my point here. Larry you know what Im talking about - this is aimed more at readers who might not know the names you posted, and those that might use the term (and no I'm not trying to nor do I wish to insult anyone).

    Let's take Calicchio. Is it good one. SURE!!! A "lead horn"? Which model for lead? What bore, bell & leadpipe for playing lead trumpet?

    Well ... Larry... you said Dave Trigg likes a medium bore (what bell and leadpipe). Chuck Findley likes the 1s-2, and I know Jay Daversa, he played one too during his LA days. I also know of guys that like the "Freddie Hubbard" configuration (both .460 & .468 bores) and they are fine lead playes. Mike Williams (lead trumpet for Basie) likes the light weight models right? For 10 years I liked the 1s-7. **I know Gozzo played a Calicchio for a little while. Perhaps you can find out which model**

    My point is that to use the term "this is a good lead horn" makes no sence. Freddie Hubbard (a jazz giant of mankind) plays Calicchio. But, his favorite configuration might to be liked buy guys that are primarily lead trumpet players.

    Ok, let's take a Bach 37. How many "legit" (and I hate labels) players use one? Ok .... alot! And how many "lead trumpet players" use one ... how many should I mention? **Point -- You can't put the label "it 's a lead horn", on it.**

    Bobby Shews trumpet, the Yamaha 6310Z. Bobby sounds 'sooo' good playing jazz on it. Lead ... well .... YA THINK ? (ha ha) And how many other guys play one in different situations? **Point -- Is it a lead horn, or a jazz horn? ... YES!**

    Schilke trumpets ... Ditto the above!

    Ok .... sorry for the "soap-box", arguing semantics ... back to Calicchio.

    The fact that so many players have played Calicchio over the years, in so many situations, to me negates putting any label on it other than "This Is A Trumpet". I'd really like to know, just out of curiosity what models all those guys played.

    Larry, have you access to those records? Are there any? Maury Harris .... he play Calicchio? On all the video tapes I have I can't tell if it's a Bach or Calicchio.

    Pwew .... I have a brain cramp ... :lol:
  5. Larry Gianni

    Larry Gianni Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Hi all,

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

    First to answer a couple of questions for MPM:

    Dave Trigg's Calicchio - Med. bore / 3L or 2s leadpipe cut slightly under 13 and 1/16th inches long ( he's deciding about leadpipe as we speak - both have a .340 opening ) / 1s-Z bell / Reversed Leadpipe / very minimal bracing ( ala Schilke )
    very litewight valve casing and tubing. It's a real " Flame Thrower ".
    As you know, the shorter the leadpipe ( within reason ) the farther down the bell the nodal pattern ends up and the closer the slots become when you play high , but it's alot easier to crack also. A very fine line.

    Maury Harris's trumpet - Maury played a Olds Super Recording and Olds Studio when he played the Tonight Show ( he owned several Calicchio's , but because he played 4th trumpet on the show, he like what his Old's did for him there ). He's the trumpet player that sat on the camera end of the section. ( Johnny Audino, Snooky Young, Conte Candoli and Mauriy Harris )

    Johnny Audino mentioned to me on several occasions, that the section always sounded better when Maury was playing in it. A good player is still a good player no matter where he sits.
    Maury also played " the Hollywood Palace Show " for many years which was a live broadcast with a trumpet section that was made up of Maury , Jimmy Zito ( Calicchio player ) , John Audino and Mannie Klein.
    F.E. Olds ( Anaheim )was very generous with their product when they were still in Anaheim with the LA Players. If you remember, Bobby Shew endorsed the Olds " Studio " before his tenure with Yamaha.
    The Anaheim F.E. Old trumpets are a very under-rated , high quality line of trumpets, in my opinion. ( they finally was bought as a division of Chicago Musical Instruments and moved to 7373 N. Cicero Ave, Lincolnwood, the early 70's ) and should be more sought after.

    Back to Calicchio bells:

    In Dominic's day , he used 2 alloys for his bells . Standard Brass and his " B " bell which was a bronze type alloy. His " B " bells would be slightly lighter and would have that Beryllium quality to it, projecting farther.
    I do have a couple of old Calicchio's with " B " bells on them and I always wanted to have them tested for exactly what alloy he used.

    Dominic actually made Stainless Steel bells , which are recorded in his register , but I can't tell you why ( Chris or Irma didn't know either ) or what it sounded like. I imagine it would sound very metallic and sound would compact and travel very well.
    We can call this one the " Marching Band " bell ( correct me if anyone has better information on a SS bell uses )

    Tulsa - Calicchio now uses 3 thickness of metal gauges and 5 different alloys These are the thickness of the flat brass they use for forming the bells.

    The Calicchio bells now are made up of different metals ( still using Dominic's original mandrill's ) from the " Z " bell which is bronze / copper / brass mixture close to Dominic's " B " alloy bell but without any so-called toxic components, Regular Brass,
    , Gold Brass , Solid Copper and Sterling Sliver.

    " L " bell - under 15 gauge flat brass - sometimes as low a 10 gauge for very special orders. Oh course, the thinner the initial flat brass the more likely the bell will split when being put thru the bell making process.

    Regular bell - slightly under a 20 gauge

    " U " bell - this is 25 gauge or better.

    They are all still hand made at the factory in a very time consuming process. Formed from flat brass and brazed with a single seam down the length of the bell, I.e.: one piece bell, drawn , annealed , cooled and hammered many times over and over before the final product. Also, not always in that order.

    John is also getting back to the very lightweight casing that Dominic's Calicchio produced.
    I have been told many times, by some old-timers around town ( not old guys ) that their favorite Calicchio's had such a thin brass valve casing , that if you squeezed them too hard while playing , your valves would actually " hang-up, but " Oh, what a sound " they'd say.
    I don't believe John is going quite that far with his designs, but he intends to get as close as he can to the original versions without this " valve " problem occurring.

    More to come,


    In comparison, the Bel Canto used a 24 gauge flat brass sheet and the Scodwell uses a 25 gauge flat brass sheet. I do have a par of digital calipers and micrometers that can make measurements after the finished product , but as you well know alot is done to the thickness of the metal after the bell making and buffing process as occurred , not to mention lacquering, sliverplate or goldplateing adding to a final measurement

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