Kanstul Mariachi!

Discussion in 'Horns' started by Adrian, Oct 4, 2004.

  1. Adrian

    Adrian New Friend

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    May 24, 2004
    Can anyone give me the downlow on this horn?
     
  2. W Scott

    W Scott Piano User

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    Dec 8, 2003
    Carson City, NV.
    Adrian,
    You're the guy looking for his first pro horn---right?

    Well, the Mariachi is a Kanstul copy of a Conn Constellation. These horns are bright, sweet and can be very loud! They are excellent horns for solos; lead chair in some concert bands that play a lot of marches; and really good for Baroque and many orchestral pieces; they are played a lot in Salsa and Tejano music.

    But, if you are into Jazz---I don't think the sound would work. If you play with a lot of Bachs' and Bach clones, everybody is going to know where you are as the sound (IMO) complements but doesn't blend with the Bachs'.

    If you think a Connie might work for you, I'd buy a used one in good shape off of E-Bay and then have the valves replated and precision aligned at the Brass Bow. That's what I did and my horn is just a joy to play.

    I hope this helps! :)
     
  3. Adrian

    Adrian New Friend

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    May 24, 2004
    This horn wont actually be my first pro (but im actually renting it) :lol: ...i've had this bach strad 180 for about 6months now...and im not reallly pleased with the sound. I dunno how to explain it...i find it kind of bland...im looking for more bite and i saw the name mariachi and it caught my eye(plus a trumpet player i know plays on a kanstul and says they are awesome) so i wanted to get some more info on it...my jazz band is also really into latin music with i quick beat...anyway you say it is the same as the constellation i will go try it out. Any other suggestions or comments will be appreciated...thank you.
     
  4. W Scott

    W Scott Piano User

    488
    4
    Dec 8, 2003
    Carson City, NV.
    Yep, I've always found the Bachs' bland too. You'll like the Mariachi in that case. The only bad thing I've heard about them is that for some reason, Kanstul designed the darn things so it's really hard to get the tuning slide out without banging into the bell.

    But if your band is into fast Jazz/fusion and/or Latin---I'd say you'd be hard pressed to do better than a Mariachi or Constellation. The Callichio 1s/2 would fly right along up there too, but I find there's more core to the sound with a Constellation.

    Have fun and let me know what you think!

    Bill
     
  5. bigaggietrumpet

    bigaggietrumpet Mezzo Forte User

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    Jan 23, 2004
    Nazareth, PA
    You might also try one of their Chicago models. I've never done it personally, but I've heard they are also excellent jazz horns of Kanstul quality.
     
  6. fleebat

    fleebat New Friend

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    Jun 15, 2004
    Adrian,

    I bought a Kanstul Premier Mariachi about a month ago. I don't have any experience with actual Constellations, so I can't speak to how close this horn is to that. My impressions are a bit different from those already posted:

    I own and play a vintage Bach 37, a Kanstul Chicago (ML) and an '83 Besson Meha (by Kanstul). Mouthpieces are vintage Bach 3c & similar (Reeves, etc.). I've had a big, fat, warm sound since I was a little kid (long, long time ago!). So there's the perspective.

    I cannot see how this model (mine, anyway) could possibly be considered "bright" by any stretch. It is easily the darkest & smokiest of my horns. And this isn't just the difference in feedback from behind the bells. I've A-B'd it for two well-known pros who had the same opinion.

    Others' mileage may vary (there are people who think this is the best horn they've ever played), but I've had a heck of a time getting onto this thing. Crisp tonguing is easy... I find it real maleable even though it slots well... and there is a great deal of core... valves are good. But the blow is very weird, coming from any of my other horns. I wouldn't call it stuffy, just... well, weird. I've played and really liked other medium-bore horns, so that isn't it. Seems like I have to really TRY to make anything happen with it. Sometimes I'll pick it up, and I think the intonation's pretty good. Other times it seems awful. Mystifyin'! It's SO different (for me) from the Besson-based horns that we're all used to. This is absolutely a personal thing, because some guys just love it, but I really have to work to get around on this thing, and I'm not talking about stuffiness. For me, it feels like I'm playing something between a cornet and a Chinese flugel.

    I can't imagine playing this horn in any Bach-blending section. It isn't that kind of dark.

    Of course, I could just have a funky one, or just be really incompatible with the horn. I bought mine from Jack Kanstul, thinking I'd forego bigger available discounts in favor of some personal expertise and "hand-holding." Jack told me he had a couple, and had found this to be a really nice one. All I can say to that is that we must have very different tastes in trumpets. For this reason, I highly recommend that you TRY BEFORE YOU BUY! I WANT to like this horn. Want to use it for small-group jazz. But so far, it hasn't made the roster.

    Hope this helps.

    Rusty Russell
     
  7. fleebat

    fleebat New Friend

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    Jun 15, 2004
    PS:

    Someone said this horn wouldn't be good if you're into "jazz." I take that to mean big-band music. I think of jazz as combo music (when I was a kid, we didn't call our big band a jazz band. We called it "stage band." Jazz was Miles, Freddie, 'Trane). As for big-band stuff, I agree. This would stick out like crazy in a big-band section filled with Bachs or Benges or Kanstuls or Schilkes or... well, you get my drift. If I can get used to the thing, I think the sound would work fine for combo applications.

    Also can't believe anyone would consider this a "loud" horn. It isn't even in the ballpark with my others in that sense.

    On the other hand, my Chicago is amazing. I think I could fit in almost anywhere with that. It can be dark or bright, it slots well up to G, is really in tune and has lots of personality. Kind of has power steering, if that makes sense. If you're lookin' for an alternative to your Bach, you might want to check one of these out as well.

    RR
     
  8. MUSICandCHARACTER

    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

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    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    And it is great looking! Nickel with brass or Silver with gold trim.

    [​IMG]

    Of course is does depend on your primary use for it.

    Jim
     
  9. chetbaker

    chetbaker Pianissimo User

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    Nov 17, 2003
    GEORGIA
    Adrian
    I apologize, right now, if I become long winded about this horn but it's only due to the fact that I have a great passion for it and for everything it allows me to do in my playing. Let me start by saying that I have owned/played the Mariachi for about 2 1/2 - 3 years now and, like I told Kanstul dealer PC King about a year ago, it's the ONE horn that I WILL NOT get rid of !!! :D In my 35+ year playing career I have probably owned over 200 horns. They have all come and gone except for this one. Now I'll tell you why it works FOR ME!

    VERSATILITY - My playing consists of playing the lead and jazz booksl in big bands; small group jazz with a drummer-less trio; dixieland, which I love; and, on occasion, a little concert band stuff. This is the ONLY horn that I have ever owned that I feel comfortable with in all of these playing situations. IMO you couldn't find a better horn to play lead in a big band. It cuts like a hot knife going through butter, it has an open upper regfister, and it's sound is BIG and ballsey! Put it in a section and I've had NO problem blending with other players no matter what make/model horn they are playing. IMO this "blending" concept is overly hyped, anyway. PLAYERS have more affect on blending as opposed to what HORN is being played in a section. If the player has ANY kind of ears he/she will know when to play bright, dark, soft, loud, etc. You just have to listen and be able to form a concept of the sound you want/need in your head...then get it to come out the bell of your horn! (I guess that's a whole 'nuther topic!).Dixieland is a piece of cake with this horn as is a small jazz group. In other words this is one of the most versitlie horns I've ever played and as long as you 'tell" it what to do it'll sound as bright or as dark as you want it to :wink: !

    MOUTHPIECE/HORN COMBO - I would guess that the majority of players would have more success with this horn if they use a mouthpiece that has a good-sized cup volume and a BB/throat that was a little more open than normal since this horn has a SMALL, .437 bore. However my thinking differs here from most. I like the resistance to be on my mouth with an open feeling coming from the bell section, or the other end of the horn, so to speak. I use VERY shallow pieces, on the narrow side, diameter-wise, and change my BB depending on what I'm playing and, sometimes, how I feel that particular night. Since I mostly play the "Warburton System" I can use anything from a tight #2 BB up to an open #10 and still feel comfortable. FOR ME this horn has the PERFECT blow.

    FIT & FINISH - As with most Kanstul horns the plating/slides/ valves, etc. are exactly like they are supposed to be and work exactly like you expect them to. The ONLY negative I have with this horn is the 1st slide trigger. Unless the player uses his/her RIGHTHAND thumb the trigger is useless due to it's positioning. Simple solution...remove it like I did!!! :roll:

    VALVES - I have seen some reviews of other players who expressed concern over the valves on the Mariachi. Personally my horn has tremendous valve action and as much compression as you can get. When I first got the horn I did TWO things to it...and you might want to do these as well. (1) CHANGE THE VALVE SPRINGS to ones with lighter tension. I also own a Kanstul 1525 Flugel...and have owned their cornets, picc, etc. They ALL had springs that, for me, were too stiff with way too much tension. Pick up a set of Schilke springs or those 'speed springs" that Osmum sells and you will notice an immediate improvement on the valve action. (2) Spend $125 and get a PROFESSIONAL VALVE ALIGNMENT performed on your horn. After purchasing my horn I immediately sent it to Wayne Tanabe at "The Brass Bow" and had him do a PVA. When I got the horn back there was a BIG difference as to how the horn played! Think about it...if each of the valves are off (up & down stroke) by .010 you're already down to a .407 bore...which is smaller than most piccs! :roll: With the valves in alignment and with the open, more conical wrap that the horn was designed to have (and known for), you'll have a VERY efficient, EASY blowing instrument!

    Is this horn for everyone? No, there's no such animal. IMO to play this TYPE of horn you have to be able to control your chops and, most of all, you have to have a VERY efficient use/control of your air stream. If you don't it will probably end up backing up on you, similar to the way the Yamaha Bobby Shew models do on alot of people. If you're patient for a few weeks and learn how to use the resistance of the Mariachi TO YOUR ADVANTAGE, IMHO you'll have the best playing, most versatile horn on the market! :shock: BTW...the ONLY two places that I would purchase a Kanstul horn are from (1) PICK MUSIC and (2) Tulsa Band Instruments. They are both super nice to deal with; know their stuff (and product); have a "try before buying" policy; and have VERY competetive pricing. You can't go wrong! I hope this helped & good luck in your search.

    Butch
     
  10. fleebat

    fleebat New Friend

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    Jun 15, 2004
    chetbaker, adrian,

    Sounds like your Mariachi is perfect for you, Butch. Sure wish we could get together and compare horns; from the way they affect each of us, they sound like completely different models!

    I've always been able to get along pretty well with just about any horn, but this one still has me stumped. You mentioned having to get used to yours as well. Aside from resistance, which I haven't had a problem with, can you describe what you went through in getting used to it? Again, I really want to like this horn, but after 4 weeks I would still feel real uneasy about taking it on a gig.

    Thanks, Rusty Russell
     

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