Custom trumpet or stock

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by B15M, May 29, 2005.

  1. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    This post is in response to something on another thread but I didn't want to change the subject any more then it has been.

    I don't understand why a great trumpet player would play a trumpet, "stock off the shelf"

    I do understand the idea of different sounding trumpets but to go to the store and say "I'll take that one" just doesn't make sense to me.

    There are simple changes you can make that will make the trumpet play easier without changing the sound. Why not make the changes that work for you and still have the brand or sound that you want?

    If I were a great trumpet player and I wanted a Bach sound I would go to the factory and try a bunch of them or have them Make one for me.
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    While I can't explain what others think about I can imagine that some players just have a "whatever" mindset and downplay equipment concerns. They figure the differences are minimal so they don't go to the trouble. Psychologically, players like to feel that equipment is not a big deal and they'll almost go overboard to sustain what they feel is a healthier approach.

    I like working with Dave because he's known me for over twenty years, knew how I played then, knows how I play now. He has a pretty good handle on what I enjoy as far as trumpet sounds are concerned. There's another aspect, too, and that's the wide availability of a given product and knowing that you can waltz into virtually any decent store and be able to walk out with a horn you like if you're familiar with its general qualities.

  3. mike ansberry

    mike ansberry Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Clarksville, Tennessee, U
    I don't know exactly what it is about trumpet players, but it is just like Manny says. Trumpet players will pick up any piece of crap and play the job. You should see some of the harmon mutes around here. It seems like a beat up harmon is a badge of honor. This sometimes makes it tough as a brass instrument technician. The woodwind guys I know are really finiky about their horn. They say things like, "the Eb is a little stuffy" and be willing to pay pretty good money to get it better. Trumpet players are like, "honk, honk. Cool." and off they go.

    The flip side of that is me waiting for my Eclipse. Leigh said the model I chose will blow a lot like my Bach 37, but better and with way better intonation. Looking forward to that.
  4. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    There was a time when that was true of the Bach trumpet. I trooped to the Mount Vernon factory with Sam Krauss to have stuff done to his horns,and for Sam to show Bach what he had come up with on his own. Krauss was annealing horns in the 50s, Sam used a blowtorch to do it. He use emery paper on the bells to fine tune his and his students horns. Bach took copious notes on the likes and dislikes of players.
    The Bach trumpet we play today is the result of intensive work done in the past by Bach and the many players who regularly dropped into the factory. I am told that Mel Broiles almost lived there :D
    Remember history.
    The Monette factory setup sounds like Bach's plant, fifty years later.
    If Dave moved his operation to New York City.................

  5. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    B15M, I think there are two components to your question. The first is that
    I seriously doubt that any pro player walks in and points and says "I'll take it". They probably play the wheels off of everything in the shop before making their selection. The fact that it's "stock" doesn't make it bad or inferior in any way. There are just too many people "out there" playing horns that came "off the rack". We've heard "ad nauseum" about the variability of certain brands. When you have variability there WILL be some rotten ones, and there WILL be some great ones and there WILL be a whole lot more sitting somewhere in between those extremes.

    This brings up another point, however. That being "after sales" work. Who knows what (if anything) may have been done to the horn after the initial purchase? It's not like a pro player is going to say "Yeah, I walked in and picked this one out and bought it. Then I played it for a couple of weeks and then sent it to the guru who added an "ABC" leadpipe to it, tweaked the valves and adjusted a brace." Instead they may say (if anything... pros don't usually brag up their equipment) "I got this at a little shop just off Main Street in Tuscaloosa the last time our bus went through there".

    The final thing (so I can't count) is that not every pro has the resources to just "drop by" the factory and test out everything coming off the line or sitting in the showroom at that moment. If you're gigging the East Coast, are you going to spend the cash to make a run over to Anaheim to check out all of Zig's stuff?

    That's not to say that there aren't professionals who don't play or purchase (insert adjective from this selection: custom, boutique, super, hand-made, one-off, expensive) horns. We know there are... right!? At the end of the day you buy what you can afford and what you WANT, not necessarily what you NEED. :D
  6. uatrmpt

    uatrmpt Piano User

    Nov 29, 2003
    First of all, props to Tootsall for mentioning my hometown! :cool:

    Now, how many high school kids get to test their horn? Not many. How many get to compare it against other "stock" professional quality horns? Even fewer. Most horns are brought out to the band room by the local music store and that's what the student gets OR the student goes to the local music store (or catalog) and gets the first horn that's handed to him. Coming off a student horn, barring serious defect, any Bach is going to be an improvement. Most students don't know how to test a trumpet.

    I think it's silly to even think that a pro walks into a shop, picks one trumpet, and buys it. My question is this: how many horns did that professional cull before finding a horn that is perfect or did that professional just settle for a horn that's good enough (settling for certain quirks because those are just part of playing that brand of trumpet)? The average man does not have the luxury or pull to get access to the vast numbers of horns (or possibly even better horns that have been set aside) that the pros do.
  7. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.

    This was copied from another thread in this forum:

    "Andy's not playing the Monette in the BSO for now. He's playing a 239GH/25S Bach right off the shelf."

    This is what prompted the question along with reading the same kind of thing about other great players.

    I think of it like this;

    Think of two boats pulling a barge. One boat represents the player and the other is the trumpet. When one boat is a little light on pulling power the other picks up the slack and the barge gets there anyway.

    When a trumpet is not all it can be the player has to adjust a little to play mechanically correctly which takes focus away from making music.
    The end result is still the same, the barge gets to its destination. It would have been easier if the trumpet and the player were equal or as equal as possible.

    I hope that you followed this analogy.
  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous Forte User

    Oct 21, 2003
    Hey, I recognize that quote. Haha!

    I just attended a master class with Charlie Schueluter. During the class he wouldn't play on his big Monette trumpet (until the end), he simply used the horn and mouthpiece of each student. It was amazing to see him go from a Bach C trumpet with a 3C mouthpiece to a Courtois Eb with a 5C and still sound like Charlie. Sure, his sound changed a bit, but his approach to playing stayed the same. He sustained his notes and used his air the same, so the end result was pretty darn close.

    I think the same would happen with any of the great players. If Mr. Laureano lost all of his Monette trumpets, I think he would still sound great, like himself on a WalMart special (please correct me if I'm wrong Mr. L). Too often we hear "it's the player, not the horn" and let it go in one ear and out the other. It really is the player's approach to the horn that makes it work or not.

    This isn't to say that we can't fine tune eveything to get it working the best it can for us individually. I'm always experiementing with something or other.

    I've stood next to Balio as he plays his Monette Raja and then a Yamaha C and then a Bach, and all three sound amazingly similar. He sounds like Balio on a Bach for now. Don't know how long he'll be on Bach, but with the sound of the other brass sections in the Baltimore Symphony, the Bach, he thinks, works better for now.
  9. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    A few things occur to me as read the various posts:

    90% of the time we hear a trumpet it's from a very close distance, very close being defined as 15 to 25 feet, a class situation. Yet I believe that the trumpet for an orchestral setting is made to be heard at a far greater distance by an audience member. I also believe that you'll hear more differences from further away.

    The other thing that I thought was interesting was that as PBT mentioned, he heard Balio play three different instruments, one being a Raja, yet they all sounded similar from that vantage point. Well, if that's true, why do so many folks have a negative reaction to having a Monette in the section if it sounds so similar from that vantage point?

    Anyways, just food for discussion/thought. It is, by the way, a pleasure to talk with you folks.

  10. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I went into a lesson a while back and said to my teacher that I wasn't happy with the sound on my C trumpet. He told me that it didn't matter, " after a while playing on it your sound will come out of that trumpet."

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