How pros pick a horn?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by crowmadic, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 3, 2006
    Can you professional players tell us what you are looking for when testing a Bb trumpet for yourself. I'm looking for step by step details from the moment you pick it up until the last note played. The longer the list of details the better. Leave nothing out..................crow
  2. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    Apr 30, 2004
    Ok, maybe I'm not a "professional" in some of the meaning but...

    People say looks don't matter. I disagree to an extent. The first thing I do is check out the craftsmanship, checking solder joints and the angles/lines of the instrument. I'll pull out some slides and a valve or two and look them over. Basically looking for machining marks (which can lead to costly repairs, etc) creases, flawed material, etc. Sometimes bad metals/alloys do get past the QC guys. I'l check out the action and slide movment (although, that'll change with personal lubricants, prefrences etc.) After that I'll do some long tones low to mid register at different dynamics, checking out sound and manipulation (bending, etc) quality/quantity. This also gives me a check on air flow/resistance/feedback. After that I'll take it through the runs in the extreme registers, and play several selections of tehnical and lyrical stuff at different dynamic levels. Basically, I try to do an abreviated version of everything I would do on the horn and listen for that sound you want and the ease of producing that sound. It always helps to take an extra pair of ears with you too. I like to play test with three or four people, you really get the notion of what the horn can do. Of course, the main reason to have extra ears is because what you hear may not always be what is coming out of the bell... HAHA. Take care. Hope that helps a lil.

  3. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    I would imagine!

    I don't consider myself a pro at the I'll step back out of the way on this one (but I think sound quality, intonation and eveness will figure big in this...).
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2008
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I don't think that a "pro" makes as big a deal as most of us when picking a horn. If you have been playing professionally, you have learned to trust your ears. You pick the horn up, play some licks that you are familiar with. If nothing sticks out (intonation, blow, stuffy sound), you take the horn with you and try it out for a couple of days and then, if all is OK, write the check.

    I think many non-pros think that it is possible to by a horn with a checklist. Like finding a partner for the rest of your life, there are many things that just do not have to be logical.

    For the non-pros that are just trying to avoid mistakes, the most important thing is taking a second set of ears that you trust (preferably your teacher). Why? First of all, what the player "hears" is NOT what the audience will hear. Second, if we are still developing basic things like breathing technique, the horn could seem to have a problem that is us, not the hardware.
    I know many players obsessed with the idea of a "big, fat, dark teutonic sound". I just do not know of a lot of playing opportunities for such a sound.

    Bottom line? In tune, optimised blow (natural breathing possible - long phrases playable but not too stuffy!), sound usable in your playing venue.
    Intonation is checked with intervals, resistance with long phrases out of your repertory and sound by your buddy with the good ears!

    My personal opinion is to buy where you get support. Going to a music store and spending 4 hours, then buying on the internet is not only not cool, but not professional. It costs money to maintain a storefront and knowledgable staff, the benefits for the player are GREAT!
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2008
  5. ozboy

    ozboy Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 17, 2007
    A lot of professionals are sponsored and their horn choice is dictated by fiscal policy. I was a sponsored player for a while and you get into a funny head space where you convince yourself that the brand is 'hot' .A lot of this has to do with the fact that you have company representatives spruking the specs and features of the horn.
    There is a lot of merit in the blindfold test. Take a friend for a second opinion and get the salesperson to hand you horns at random. Pick out the ones you like. Take a few notes and then go away and do some research.This site would be a good forum. If you have a couple of horns start a thread asking people who play each of the horns to give you some thoughts. They might point out strengths and weaknesses that you can keep in mind.
    Don't forget that horns of the same make and specs can play very differently. A mate of mine picked out a horn and then shopped around to save money and got sent a dud. Many sellers offer trial periods which is handy.
    Other people will and have given you advice about what to play when trialing a horn.
  6. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 3, 2006
    thanks to all...........crow

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