Discussion in 'Horns' started by gus, Dec 9, 2003.

  1. gus

    gus Pianissimo User

    Nov 10, 2003

    First of all let me tell you that I enjoy your posts quite a lot.

    Second, I would like to hear your comments on the ULTRA
    models. Are they intended to be a Bach killer??? or they
    are even mory heavy.

    Which was the purpose in mind to do this models??


  2. Larry Gianni

    Larry Gianni Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Hi Gus,

    Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad to hear you’re getting something out of my involvement in the TM site.

    Here’s what I know about the birth or the “Ultra†model and what I think is a great addition to the Calicchio line.

    The “ Ultra “ model came about during the early years of the Monette, Lawler, Taylor , Yamaha Heavy ( what I call the Muscle Trumpets ) era when most of the trumpet community thought going “ heavy “ was the way to go and bought into some of the now dis-proven theories of heavy wall/ heavy braced trumpets

    The Calicchio shop was inundated with requests for something that , let’s say , would blend with the Bach’s, Monette’s, Taylors , Lawlers , Yamy’s etc. easier, but still have the “ easy response “ , “superb airflow†and “ personality of a Calicchio that the player didn’t want to give up.


    Let's say, the principal trumpet in the local Community Band (maybe the band director's brother in law) came into rehearsal one day with a shinny new “Heavy Trumpet “probably trading in his Bach 43 or 72 for this monster, well, your playing next to him or further down the row playing second or third on your Calicchio, as you probably guess, the principal trpt. Isn’t going to stand a chance being heard or cutting thru and you'd start to hear about it like it's your fault. He just spent all this money on his dream trumpet and your “playing too loud†or “your not blending “starts being said in your direction.
    Well, off course, in the first half an hour, he’s “wiped out “and your fresh as a daisy ready for the 3rd hour or the show or rehearsal, which really pisses him off. Again, you and your Calicchio caused this “Mayhem “because in the Music Store he sounded like Bud Herseth, so it couldn't be him. Right

    Next, feeling the heat from Mr. “I’m the first trumpet player here “, you do go out and try a “Monster Trumpet “. Problem is, right off the bat, you’d realize how hard these instruments are to play and how much energy it takes just to get all the parts to start to vibrate. Your thinking “ Yea, it sound really nice for the first 20 minutes when I’m nice an fresh , but after that it’s “ Titanic “ time You quickly understand how really easy it is to play a Calicchio and how your “muscle memory†was really comfortable with the smooth air flow of a Calicchio and an “ ease of operation “ the Calicchio line has,
    You come to the conclusion that spending money on a trumpet like this would be a step backward in your trumpet playing “Big Picture “ , so you call Calicchio to see if they have any answers

    Hearing all this, Calicchio, Hollywood started to make thicker gauge bells in an attempt to make something that could help players dealing with this “heavy “trumpet.†syndrome going on. Well, as you well know, I’ve talk a lot about balance and efficiency and when you change just one part of the equation, the outcome isn’t always what you wanted it to be. So putting a Calicchio bell made out of thicker gauge brass on the same streamlined body, actually through the “ Calicchio Magic “ out of “whack “and wasn’t going to be the answer.
    Physical laws stay constant thru all things, whether you are building a car, building, airplane, trumpet or any other Widget. As most of you well know, if you put an oversized engine in a stock car because you want to go faster, if you don’t change the rear differential, brakes, plus other things, usually the engine runs “ full boost vertical “, but the rest of the car “ snaps “ apart pretty quickly. All things have to compliment each other, physically, to achieve the maximum output and efficiency. (I’m sure there are a lot of much better mechanics out there that can describe my example much better, but I think you catch my meaning)
    In trumpet terms, try throwing the largest leadpipe you can find on a Bach 37. You will probably be able to play a whole lot louder but a whole new bag of other problems will surface. You’ll be playing in the closet, by yourself, for months after a stunt like that.

    After recognizing this wasn’t just going to be a quick fix by offering “thicker gauge bells “(like some other manufacturers do) Calicchio realized it would have to design a new model, keeping the ease of playing and all the Calicchio trumpet making processes, but would have to include a heavier and longer receiver, thicker gauge leadpipe, valve casing with the same heavier gauge brass, more bracing to add stability and plus use heavy bottom caps, (plus a few other minor things)

    This is the new model Calicchio calls “Ultra “ and instead of being a Calicchio / Monette hy-bred or “ Bach killer “ , the public embraced the new model as being something different that’s quite unique and stands on it’s own 2 feet with a comparison in the Market.

    The Ultra had a smooth, velvety tone that not only projected much farther than it’s comparable competitors, but lyrically all the notes, no matter how fast you played , seems to “ pop “ out as individuals instead so a slurred run. All the notes had their own character and quality but kept that distinguishable Calicchio flavor to it's personality. The Calicchio qualities of the 1s/7 and 1s/2 , plus the 3/2 and 3/7 were kept, but the tone was warmer, the attacked pronounced and the fluid style really lent itself to a soloist trumpet whether in a small group playing classical or Jazz,
    to a “ Pictures at an Exhibition “ type exposed solo in a large ensemble, playing principal , second or third in a symphonic or community band situation , or “ outdoor “ playing where you really wanted to project with ease with a dense , strong , “ in your face “ core to the sound yet be able to hear yourself quite easily and play quite relaxed.

    What really warmed up the sound was the addition of the Red Brass bell and the Copper bell. Wow!! If you ever have a chance to play and ‘Ultra “with either of these alloy bells on it, in any size 1s, 2 or 3, you’ll probably be taking the bus home from the Music Store because you just traded in your car for it.

    The “Ultra “was definitely not designed to be Calicchio’s “Bach Killer “. ( I have been told on very good authority , by higher ups in the Schilke family, that their S series trumpets- Both Bb and C - were designed as an attempt to be a “ Bach Killer “ so Schilke could command more of the Bach market in the same tradition as their impeccable P4-5 picc. and E3L/ E3l-4 had successfully knocked off the all completion in the symphonic market) The Ultra came about because when you play a Calicchio, you ask yourself “How did I ever play that XXXX before my Cal.. it’s so tight and stuffy and I could never get the sound just the way I liked it, plus all the effort of trying to be heard always made me leave rehearsal with a headache “

    I hope this sort of answers the “Ultra “question. Of course, there’s a little more to its design than I’ve mentioned, but this just about covers the whole thing. Freddie Hubbard , along with his LB 3/9 that he played since 1972 also has a “ Copper Bell “ Ultra that he keeps for that special type “ something “ in his performances.

    Hope this helps,


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