Custom Phaeton Review #6, Chris.....a.k.a. the chief

Discussion in 'Horns' started by the chief, Aug 19, 2005.

  1. the chief

    the chief Pianissimo User

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    Feb 9, 2004
    Good morning

    I normally play a top-of-the-line Lawler TL-6, and I've also recently played a couple other horns; a Bach Strad 43* and a Schilke B1. I'll do small comparisons to those horns, but I'll try to keep the review independant.


    Looks and construction:
    I was initially taken by the look of the horn. It has a very radical design with it's frosted silver finish, fattened valve buttons, Eclipse-style bracing, and oversized rings. After having the horn for a few days, I'm not so sure how I feel about the looks anymore. The look has become a little 'whacky' for me, although I think it's a huge improvement from the original Phaeton (which I've only seen pictures of). This is strictly personal taste.
    I don't really care for the rings, both size and how they are twirled up. However, the rings make this horn very comfortable to hold. I've had other horns in the past where holding the horn starts to make my thumb blister....but not this one. I could hold this horn forever and it fits the hand perfectly.
    I really do like the valve buttons and how they fit into the caps when the valves are pressed down. I also like how the braces and the reversed/rounded tuning slide look.
    I'm not really sure how I like the finish. I loved it at first. I usually prefer scratched finishes because they don't become vulnerable to fingerprints, etc. This finish seems to be a little vulnerable to scratches, as I can see this horn has been busy. These scratches are only noticible up close.

    Blow (feel):
    The blow seems a little bit tight for me. I normally don't play a large-bore horn, just a normal ML Lawler with a 1A leadpipe. I tested the horn with some Arban's, Charlier, Clarke, some jazz tunes, and some solos. I have mixed feelings on this horn and I think it's because this is the type of horn that has initial pleasure, then difficulty, then great pleasure again. Does that make sense? lol.
    What I mean is that, when I first played the horn, everything seemed easier to play. Then I started noticing things that were harder to play on this horn, but those things are slowly becoming easier to play as I become more acclimated to the horn.
    I still have timing and coordination trouble doing some of the extreme double/triple-tounging etudes from Arbans, but I find that I have very GOOD control over playing the other things, like Charlier. I played the Haydn solo and found it very easy to control. This horn makes VERY efficient use of air. I found the lower register a little stuffy in sound and feel. That is something that may go away however once one becomes really acclimated to the horn.
    The horn also works very well with low volumes. Normally trumpets have a hard time with delicate phrases at extremely low volumes, but this horn is exceptional in that area.
    One area that this horn could use some work is in the louder volumes.

    Valves:
    Despite a slight hang-up on the middle valve if hit at the slightest of angles, I do like the valves, but I have some small complaints. They are a little loud. Not loud like valves with metal valve-guides, but you can still here the valves on the upstroke. The movement of the valves is valves is very consistent and they have a great feel to them. Some people may disagree about the loudness of the valves, but keep in mind that the valves I'm used to are made by Lawler/Getzen, so I'm very spoiled about my valves :). I've also played on horns that have had valve-venting/valve alignment, and those are usually the best feeling and sounding valves anyway. But these valves are not too shabby.

    Sound:
    It's not necessarly a dark sound. I wouldn't really call it dull either, but there is a lack-of-sparkle in the sound of this horn. In the lower volumes the horn is very mellow and has a very proper sound. However, the sound tends to break up and get out of control in the louder volumes. I think that is because you cannot feed this horn too much air. Maybe that's the efficiency biting back, or maybe I'm just not quite used to the horn yet. I do have a hard time getting a really fat sound in the lower register. The upper range of the horn sounds good. It doesn't get to bright. I would have loved to have gotten this horn in the fall where I could give it a try at lead-playing.


    That's it for now. I'll update this thread as I discover new things over the next 10 days. I will play it on a gig this coming saturday and possibly next week and give an update.


    -Chris
     
  2. FlugelFlyer

    FlugelFlyer Piano User

    311
    1
    Dec 15, 2003
    Palos Park, IL
    Sounds like what I (and possibly Van?) thought of the horn. How was intonation? Playability, upper register slotting, etc was almost perfect for me other than the blow, but that must have been the weakness of this horn; it's so easy to play that it looses the substance that other horns have and becomes "sterile", kinda like what happens when someone has too much plastic surgery. :shock:
     
  3. the chief

    the chief Pianissimo User

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    Feb 9, 2004
    The intonation was fine once I figured out where to put the tuning slide. I have it now about 1 1/4" out right now. At first I was having problems and I couldn't figure out why it was sounding bad (playing with a brass ens.), but once I put it to a tuner it was fine.

    The slotting seems normal to me. I usually played my Lawler with a heavy cap on the 3rd valve, and this horn seems very similar to that.

    I will really test out the upper-register in a couple days.
     
  4. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Age:
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    1,329
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    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    All recessed-cap horns have a different feel stroke. This is because they use thicker springs, and air suction to work the valves.

    The blow was almost perfectly what I wanted. Only the Eclipse, with its bell bow slide, felt better.

    The rings DO take some getting used to.

    Looking forward to hearing more, Chris! :D

    Van
     
  5. the chief

    the chief Pianissimo User

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    Feb 9, 2004
    I must confess. I like this horn much more now than I did just a few days ago. The blow still isn't my favorite, but I find that I'm able to color the sound much more than before. I previously commented that it was hard to get a brighter sound from this horn, but Im' having a much better time controlling the sound and getting what I want.

    Another thing that I've noticed since becoming more acclimated to this horn is the ease of control is getting even better. This horn is very easy to control and the response is getting better. The stuffiness in the lower register is starting to go away.

    I'm not saying this horn is perfect, but I've noticed a definte improvement in how it plays/sounds with the more time that I spend with it.
     
  6. old geezer

    old geezer Pianissimo User

    172
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    Dec 26, 2004
    Indianapolis,In.
    Phaeton

    Hey Chief - it sounds like both you and I experienced the same thing with this horn. I really did not care for it when I first got it but the longer I had it, the more I grew to like it. When I shipped it off to you and went to that first reh. with my own horn I then realized how much I liked the Phaeton. It is a shame that there will only be 5 of these horns made. old geezer Dave
     
  7. sublmbadfish

    sublmbadfish Pianissimo User

    75
    1
    Jul 9, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    It's a trend. I felt the same way as well.
     
  8. the chief

    the chief Pianissimo User

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    0
    Feb 9, 2004
    That's funny. I avoided most of the previous reviews before making mine.

    A man once told me, about Eclipse trumpets, is that it is a great horn...one of the best, if you stick to just playing it and no other horns, but it knows if you've been cheating on it, and it will respond bad when you do. This Phaeton is made by Eclipse right?

    I don't seem to have anymore trouble getting a bright sound anymore. Once you get used to the efficeincy of the air of this trumpet, everything will fall into place.
     
  9. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Age:
    32
    1,329
    1
    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    I have noticed no such thing about that when you play Eclipse.

    At the get together two weeks ago, I was going from Fides to Eclipse to Weril to Kanstul Chicago to ZeuS to Bach with absolutely no problem.

    Van
     
  10. nieuwguyski

    nieuwguyski Forte User

    1,512
    620
    Aug 9, 2004
    Santa Cruz County, CA
    I seem to recall JazzPlayerCollector stating that the Eclipse Equinox was a jealous mistress, as opposed to the other Eclipse horns.
     

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