Jason Harrelson Trumpet Review

Discussion in 'Horns' started by Dan Millheim, Sep 4, 2004.

  1. Dan Millheim

    Dan Millheim Pianissimo User

    Sep 4, 2004
    Fort Worth ,TX
    I am one of Jason Harrelson's first modified horn clients. He calls my horn the Triton 965. The original horn was a Benge before his modification. Jason also finished the horn in a Satin Gold finish. If you go to his E-bay store you can see some beautiful pictures of the horn he built for me.

    By profession I am a Worship Pastor at a large church in For Worth, TX and have been a trumpet player for 28 years. I am an active player and our auditorium seats 3500 so I needed a big horn! I also enjoy intimate jazz ballad work and play with some very gifted players in the Metro Plex. We just got back for an 9 day gig in Europe two weeks ago. Jason, the Triton was a big hit in Europe!

    OK, enough about me and now about the horn...

    A year ago I wrote a review on another forum of this horn and got attacked, or Jason's did. A lot has changed in a year which is in large part to Jason's visit to ITG, a horn tour and more clients that are speaking out for this artist and master builder. Jason, I am happy to see your acceptance into the trumpet world!

    My horn has his top of the line, or one of his top, modifications. From beginning to the end of my working relationship with HMT was great...we did have a bit of stress at times but that was my problem and my fear of working (sending $) with someone who was at that time totally unknown, Jason was very patient.

    (PRO) I am not an engineer and Jason has explained his designs on this forum but from my perspective the idea is that a lot of trumpets waste sound energy and that HMT designs focus more energy out the front of the bell rather then around the horn. Not sure if this makes sense but from a laymen's perspective the horn is still easily heard and the freedom to create the sounds that are in your head are easier on this Triton by far then any others trumpets I have ever played...and I have played many top horns. (CON) The 965 has a unique fin design on the bell among other things. At first I was so self conscious on gigs of this "look" that I tried to sell it but the amazing, amazing sound would not allow me to give it up. Now I am use to the "look" and it sure makes for many interesting conversations ha. If your happy in a "Bach 37 everyone looks the same" world then this is not your horn.

    (PRO) The horn was designed mostly for Jazz ballads and lyrical solo work. I wanted it "Smokey dark and fat" HMT also modified a Monette B1-1Fl to make it look like an intregal mouthpiece on the horn...again, you can see pictures of this too on Jason's E-bay Store. I know Monette says that any modifications of their equipment will ruin it but that was not true in this case and the horn, with this huge mouthpiece, makes for a "killer" jazz horn. When I use a more traditional mouthpiece on this instrument it screams with little effort. It really is amazing what it can do. PPP to FFF with total ease and you cannot over blow it...I dare you! Slotting, Core Sound, Tonal Color, Dynamics, Projection and Expression are effortless. (CON) NONE! I have been playing it for a year and I still get a kick every time I first warm up!

    (PRO) The horn feels so solid in your hand that people smile before they even play it. The "mother" of all lead pipes combined with the valve trim kit with top and bottom caps and special bell treatment have a perfect balance and feel that makes you feel like you could play any note you've ever heard.( CON) None from me, but don't buy this horn if you don't like heavy weight horns.

    Detail and Finish:
    (PRO) The horn modifications are very well made and artistically thought out. The braces and welds were finished off nicely and there is nice attention to detail throughout the instrument. (CON) This is my biggest issue with this otherwise fantastic horn. As I mentioned earlier, the horn came to me in Gold Satin finish. My trumpet was in a batch of horns that Jason was having finished in gold for the first time. He sends them off to a well know major plating company. Long story short, the finish was uneven and had some wear marks when I took delivery (you cannot see this in the E-bay pics)? I called the plating company and they told me it was due to the prep work of HMT not their treatment process. I HATE THIS as it marks an otherwise great instrument. In fairness to Jason I am sure he has done many more horns since then and has worked out his prep work issues for Gold finished horns.

    I hope this review is helpful for anyone considering an HMT modification on their horn? I have tried to be as truthful as I could and I am proud to own the 965 Triton.
  2. Daff

    Daff Pianissimo User

    Jul 10, 2004
    Hi Dan,

    Although I didn't follow the whole saga of those that gave Jason a bad time, I am aware that it occurred.

    I played several of his horns at ITG and found them unusual, fun and interesting to play. Wasn't quite sure what to think of them with respect to playability because the few minutes on each was simply not enough to run through the drills.

    The critisisms directed at Jason were not, however, related to playability of his horns. They seemd mostly related to aesthetics, fit, and finish, cosmetic and craftsmanship issues.

    He has advertised that he has a waiting list of clients, which in my humble opinion is perhaps a 'niche' market of those who appreciate the level of his engineering, craftsmanship and art in its current state of development, or perhaps those that have enough confidence in his work to want in on the ground floor with a prototype.

    I believe that to appeal to a more broad market, that he must first refine the areas of concern, his art and craftsmanship. If his horns displayed the proportions, fit, and finish customary with his price tags AND efficiently outperformed the competition, then they would be flying off the shelves. In fact, I would be standing in line to check them out.

    At ITG, I witnessed many finely crafted instruments and actually purchased one of them. Pretty impressive before even putting them up to your face. I honestly believe this is Jason's next major hurdle......refining the designs and craftsmanship to the point that the saliva starts running.
  3. JackD

    JackD Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 30, 2003
    Manchester / London
    I would really like to try one of Jason's horns. Does anyone know if there are any in the UK?
  4. Brassy49

    Brassy49 New Friend

    Jun 16, 2004
    Wow, how things have changed in such a short time. Jason has proved himself and his product in so many ways. How proud he must be of his diligence and tenaciousness.
  5. Cristina G

    Cristina G New Friend

    Jul 9, 2012
    Dallas, TX
    I watched Jason demonstrate his Summit One horn on Youtube and it blew me away. I like the finger rest beside the pinky ring and the availability of a bronze bell (his #11 bell).
  6. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    I played many of Jason's horns at the last ITG.

    They are EVERYTHING they are advertised as, fantastic trumpets!
  7. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    That's saying a lot, coming from a no-nonsense guy like Chuck.

    Perhaps Solar Bell might change to Summit Bell? ;-)
  8. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    I already ditched the Solar Bell.

    I played Arturo's Harrelson trumpet in Jason's private room. I do NOT "OWN" a double C, (meaning I don't have a double C that I can play in the fourth set of a gig. (That's for all of you who say you can play a double C)

    However, I played that horn, and was lyrically "playing" all the way to double C! It was amazing.

    I also played all of Jason's horns that were in the display area in the exhibitors rooms. EVery trumpet there was a horn I would have bought!! It would have been a tough choice and would have needed Jason's help as to which horn would work best for my style of playing. Mostly 30s-40s big band swing and ballads.

    Jason's horns are as good as they get.

    Here is a picture of me with Arturo's personal Harrelson trumpet.

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us
  9. sounds7

    sounds7 Forte User

    Sep 4, 2004
    New Orleans
    Chuck what configuration does Arturo have?

    Man oh man, Jason needs to get my Summit One to me! These threads are killing me! Ugggggg

    BTW my first Harrelson was purchased in 2004 shortly after the original post.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    The ITG came to Dayton to pay a visit. Last night, James Knabe with Harrelson brought a few of his horns and distributed them among the horn section. That's me left holding my Martin Committee, 'cause I couldn't get the other guys to give up their Harrelson's to me. I loved the one you can't see in this pic, the Summit SWE.


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