How I am getting on with my new B1

Discussion in 'Horns' started by Graham Altham-Lewis, Mar 3, 2004.

  1. Graham Altham-Lewis

    Graham Altham-Lewis New Friend

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    Feb 1, 2004
    Hi all,

    I have recieved good advice from many of you over the last few months and I got my new Schilke B1 a few weeks ago so I thought I would let you know how I am getting on with it. For some background I am a Maths teacher in a British school in Dubai, but also teach trumpet to a few students and help run the school Jazz band.

    I was playing a Yamaha 6335HS2 and my mouthpiece is a GR 3M. I am really pleased with the Schilke. It has a wonderful tone, it is transparent and neutral with lovely warm overtones compared to my Yamaha. The Yamaha has a brighter more focussed sound (still good but I much prefer the B1 - why I bought it!).

    My lower register is much more controlled and my upper register is better although occasionally I slot the notes wrong but I am guessing I just need a bit more time to adjust to the new instrument. Lip flexibilities/Clarkes Technical studies are much clearer for me as well which is very pleasing. I know that the player makes the biggest difference but there is a difference in pro horns and how well you play on different models.

    The valves on the Schilke are superb and I am very impressed with the fit and finish - very good quality. To me the Schilke B1 has that wonderful feeling when you play it - the "Wow" factor! - when you go fo it the whole thing vibrates in your hand but the sound doesn't break up - its excellent.

    The GR 3M seems to be a really good match as its quite a focussed mouthpiece so balances the step bore and larger flared bell well so the sound is not too diffuse. What mouthpieces have you all found to work well?

    So thank you for all your great posts and...
    ..what made you all buy Schilkes and what improvements did you notice over your old instrument?

    By the way has anyone played Martinu's Sonatine - its a great piece of music!

    Happy playing!

    Graham.
     
  2. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

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    Nov 27, 2003
    Denver
    How does your endurance compare on the two horns? I wouldn't be surprised if a 3MS wouldn't work really well with the B1, increasing endurance and range while maintaining tone.

    Dave
     
  3. Graham Altham-Lewis

    Graham Altham-Lewis New Friend

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    Feb 1, 2004
    Hi Dave,

    My endurance seems similar on the B1 to the Yamaha. What I have noticed is that my upper register is easier to get on the Schilke when I am not tired but harder when I am tired compared to the yamaha. I do not notice that the B1 is freer blowing than the Yamaha until I go into the upper register and then it is apparent. I am still getting used to the horn though as its only been a few weeks.

    What differences did you notice when you changed to a schilke and what horn were you playing. In fact it would be interesting to know from all schilke owners what they used to play, and why they changed, and what the differences were compared to their old horn...could be an interesting thread.

    Happy playing!
    Cheers
    graham.
     
  4. Graham Altham-Lewis

    Graham Altham-Lewis New Friend

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    Feb 1, 2004
    Sorry Dave - I just noticed you play a Selmer-Paris concept TT!! many apologies! How does that compare to a schilke?

    cheers

    Graham.
     
  5. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

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    Nov 27, 2003
    Denver
    Graham, the symptoms that you describe (the B1 being initially easier but becoming comparatively harder as you tire) indicates that you might benefit from an incremental mpc change. Talk to Brian Scriver for the best advice.

    You sensed my affinity for the B1. It's my favorite Schilke and I was seriously considering a B1L when I found the Concept TT. The TT has a more open blow than the B1 and feels more dynamic. I found that the TT has the resonance of the B1L with the security of a fixed bell. Both horns have astoundingly smooth, fast valves and first rate construction. Oh yeah, with Selmer you're not forced to buy silver. ;-)

    Dave
     
  6. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Graham, from the tag line you'll know what I'm playing. Here is a little story (severely editted since just over a year has passed) about my experience testing out Schilke horns.

    Schilkes, et al.

    I had determined that my Bach strad was giving me problems: not problems that, in time, I couldn't eventually overcome (intonation was "squirrely"), but that at my advanced age as a beginner I didn't want to "waste time" overcoming. (I didn't pick up a trumpet until just after my 50th birthday). Due to the relative rarity of decent trumpets in my local shopping area for trial, I had pretty much decided to buy (online if necessary) a brand that had a reputation for quality and consistency: this had led me to Schilke. Just about when I was ready to "pull the trigger" for an online order, I noticed from the Schilke dealers list that a store only 5-1/2 hours drive away was a listed dealer for Schilke: after contacting them they said they'd bring in some horns "on spec". They did....and after talking to Phil Baughman at the Schilke factory I found out they were bringing in X3, B1, B5 and S32. OK...I started salivating right away. Here's what happened.

    Into the store…pretty swank place. The ground floor is virtually covered with cabinets of rare or otherwise hard-to-find CDs. Posters of the Canadian Brass, etc. lining the walls and vying for space with some really expensive stereo gear…the owner told me that only about 5-10% of his business was instruments…but what instruments! B & S trumpets, Schilkes, Hoyer Horns, Warburton & Stork mouthpieces.

    Four guys standing around the counter, one of them deep into the bowels of what looks like a very costly TURNTABLE (you youngsters probably won’t remember them…they predate cassette players which predate cd players which predate minidisks and mp3 players, which predate DVD players!). The man with the tools in his hand says “I thought you might be the trumpet appointmentâ€â€¦.come on in hereâ€â€¦.and leads me to a glass door inside which is a fancy “listening room†with even MORE expensive stereo gear. “Set up there and warm up…I’ll go get the horns…

    In he comes with a Schilke double case holding a new B1 and an X3. Back out he trots and returns with a sealed cardboard box. Opening that one he withdraws two huge lumps of bubblewrap, one containing a new S32 and the other a B5. I think I’ve died and gone to heaven. Bryan says “OK…I’ll leave you to play with these for a while and go finish up that turntableâ€. The door closes with a reassuring “chunk†and I know I won’t have to share my experience with the CD shoppers outside.

    Now, I brought all 4 of my mouthpieces with me…Dennis Wick #3 and #4B, Laskey 50B, and Schilke 13A. Gingerly working my way through the some open valve slurs and then some F scales I’m horrified to find that I’m SHARP! I once had a similar experience with two New French Besson horns with the Najoom leadpipe and blamed it on the horns; big mistake. Eventually Bryan comes back in and says “how’s it going?†I explain about the tuning problem so he says “run through the scales againâ€.

    Now…it turns out that Bryan plays with a symphony, wishes he lived where he could make a living doing nothing but playing trumpet, and for a while played 2nd trumpet to Jens Lindeman (of Canadian Brass fame) while Jens lived in Edmonton! In short, Bryan knows his way around a trumpet! After a bit he says “hmmm….you’re fighting a “smilieâ€â€¦.drop your lower jaw just a tick and thrust it forward a hair….think of putting your chops in more of an “O†formation and use AIR, not tension, to generate the note…it feels like you’re hanging on by your fingernails.â€

    OK…so all of a sudden the horn starts coming back into tune….I’m on the B5 at this moment. “Just a sec…I’ll go get another mouthpieceâ€â€¦and off he goes to return with a full Warburton Dealer’s Kit! “What have you been usingâ€? he asks. I tell him…he tells me to try each mouthpiece through the B5. “OK…you sound best with the Laskey….and he assembles a Warburton and hands it to me…try this.â€

    WOW! ZING…right onto the green on the tuner. Very impressive….â€what is this?†I ask. Warburton 4MC top on a B10 bottom…the Wick sounds too tubby for you….the Schilke 13A is flying sharp. I asked “what kind of backbore is the B10 bottomâ€? “it’s got a fairly short cylindrical section…goes into the taper fairly quickly…less resistance….takes the “piercing tone†out of your sound and drops you into tuneâ€.

    With THAT little bit of detective work done we proceed to listen critically to all 4 trumpets. This room is the size of a fairly large living room with a carpeted floor and a high ceiling. It’s not too “bright†but not dull….actually about as good as it gets for a store (It better be…he sells $25,000+ stereos in that room!).

    I notice right away that the X3 is hard for me to control. Oh, it’s in tune OK, but the note tends to waver around a bit and the sound is just..â€offâ€. Bryan agrees and hands me the S32. The S32 is actually surprisingly good. I’ve brought my Strad with me for comparison and we both think the S32 sounds the most like the Strad….lots of core to the sound, perhaps “basic†is the right description for it’s sound. One thing the S32 has that I wish the others had…a thumb ring on the 1st slide. VERY ergonomically located and sized…it feels good. Not that the thumb hooks on the three “B†series horns aren’t comfortable (even more so than the one on my Strad)….but it just seems “rightâ€.

    The B5 projects its sound straight out, is VERY in-tune, feels good and blows evenly. The notes “lock in†(at least in my opinion) quite nicely….it would work for me. It would make a great ensemble horn, has a nice, “delicate†touch to it’s sound and isn’t overpowering. The B1, however, just has that “something extraâ€. The sound has a nice, solid core but there are some upper partials that “ringâ€â€¦just a lovely tone. Back and forth I go through the horns, Bryan handing them to me quickly while I run scales, little ‘lines’, slurs…. but at the end of the day it’s still the B1 that we both think is the magic horn. Now…I could live with the S32 OR the B5…. no problem at all. But the B1 is like…having gravy on your mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce on your turkey. As Bryan says….â€you sound best on the B1â€.

    Wow…two hours have blasted past and my chops are starting to flag a bit. The deal is concluded and it’s time to pack up the horns (a Strad and a Schilke sharing room in a Protec triple case…..I wonder if there’s a law against that? It’s 3:45…time to get into the car (a really heavy, overcast and drizzling day), and weave my “not-always-knowing-where-I’m-headed way back to pick up the Mrs. and the kids who have been on a "Mall crawl".

    Flash forward a year and a half. I've never touched the Strad since: in fact I sold it about 8 months after buying the Schilke. I felt that the "blow" was so totally different that I needed to settle in on one particular "setup" and "leave it at that". After a few months I had consulted with Bruce Lee and ended up with a GR66*** mouthpiece (I was extremely happy with a Sparx 4 on my cornet and wanted an identical rim). The B1 continues to play well; the fit and finish are still in "like new" condition, especially the valves. I'm using Binak PRO which requires a weekly or biweekly "swab and dab" and reoil and I think this really helps keep them spotless.

    I took advantage of Schilke's offer to provide replacement top felts (apparently there was some question about the thickness of felts that were being used at the factory about a year and a half to two years ago and they offered free replacements). Other than that it's been clear sailing.

    So if it's so great, why look at an Eclipse? Come ON! For half price!? Get outa here! The one thing I've told Leigh that I'd like it to have a "feel" similar to the Schilke but with a different sound. He has advised (and Noel has confirmed) that the MR bell is most likely to provide that different sound and the Eclipse "tuning bell" design should feel "equally open" (perhaps moreso, but that can be "tuned back" with a mouthpiece adjustment). Will I sell the Schilke? Maybe; maybe not. I thought I'd never buy another "playing" trumpet after the Schilke... but that was before the contest. (Note: trumpets bought out of curiosity don't count).
     
  7. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

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    Nov 27, 2003
    Denver
    Nice report Ed. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.

    Dave
     
  8. bkmdano

    bkmdano New Friend

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    Nov 13, 2003
    Ed,

    Thank you for the testimony. I know how you feel with regards to selling the Schilke. I bought my Lawler for the sound and ease of playing. I had a B5 and had always regretted not buying the B1. The B1 and my Lawler have a similar feel and blow. I finally sold the Schilke for financial reasons, actually my wife doesn't understand the need for two horns. However, as soon as I can a Schilke B1, custom with thumb ring and tuning slide post will be ordered from Schilke. I love the Schilke sound and miss it's unique richness. The Lawler and Eclipse are great horns and very easy to play, however, the Schilke has it's own unique qualities that you will miss. I guess I'm telling you DON'T SELL THE SCHILKE!!!!! :wink:
     
  9. DrunkIQ

    DrunkIQ Pianissimo User

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    Nov 21, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    The first sentence I grabbed from your quote really hits home. So I decieded to post som personal thoughts out loud to see how other felt.

    Schilkes over most horns seem to have a great deal of feedback. They have a way of letting you know what they are doing. It's very strange. If you put a valve guard on then you will lose some of this feedback and I never suggest that anyone uses one on a Schilke. As someone has said before, the horn seems alive...

    To your second question. I have been playing on mine for over 15 years... it is hard to comment to this and I can only do it in reverse (what I don't like about other horns).

    To tie into the first and second section I quoted from you - About 2 times a year my brother swings by and visits from out of town. He always grabs my Schilke and comments on how the horn does not seem to fight him, the difference in sound, the vavles and the feel of the horn. The last three times I have made him try to play on a heavy weight mouthpiece and he has not liked it. There was a difference in sound. hmm....

    I concluded that he does not feel the feedback on his lips that the his normal mouthpiece offers so he is not able to correct his playing as quickly as he could with the normal weight. After this I wondered if the feedback from the Schilke is allowing us to unconsciously make changes in our setup.

    -marc
     
  10. Graham Altham-Lewis

    Graham Altham-Lewis New Friend

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    Feb 1, 2004
    Ed it sounds like you went to a really good shop and had a good time testing out the trumpets. Thank you for all the info - very interesting. Mind turntables....theres something else I really like!! (along with some decent valve amps!) - sounds like my kinda shop!
     

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