Money to burn ....

Discussion in 'Horns' started by GordonH, May 20, 2005.

  1. GordonH

    GordonH Mezzo Forte User

    May 15, 2005
    I am thinking aloud here and would be interested in readers comments:

    OK, my main Bb trumpet is 14 years old. Works fine but I find its a bit tighter than I would like (ML Yamaha 6335HS).
    I play it mainly in an orchestra these days.

    My criteria are that it needs to work for symphonic and light music repertoire.
    i.e. it needs a lot of weight to the sound, but the ability to add edge without overblowing, while at the same time having low resistance.

    As I see it I have a few options:

    1. Look at the current Xeno range which has addressed some of this (I can definitley try these out easily so will make the trip to the shop).
    2. Look at a Bach 43 (I never thought I would go back to bach but it looks possible as I met someone who had one and it made a nice sound).
    3. Get Denis Wedgwood to make me a trumpet to match the cornet I got from him (I am concerned it may be far too open a blow at .484 bore).
    4. Wild thing: have spoken to the UK rep but some difficulty getting a blow on one and he is over 500 miles from me (and not near an airport) so its not an easy day trip.

    There is another strategy open to me:

    Play rotary in the orchestra (which I do on Germanic type music already) and buy a Bb piston valve trumpet which would suit lighter, modern orchestral repertoire.

    I did consider making the pilgrimage to Portland, Oregon, but schedule wise its not easy, the return flight costs more than a Bach strad and I would need to wait a year for the instrument.

    Not sure about the eclipse system because of what it does to the geometry of the bell, plus the difficulty of cleaning the front tuning slide area if it doesn't come out.
    The instrument would need to be spectacular to get round these objections.

    Contrary to popular belief I have never owned that many instruments. Some have been direct model for model replacements and I only have three Bb trumpets (one a collectors item)!

    What about doing something off the wall and trying a Zeus Olympus?
    Would be interesting to try one and if it didnt work out I would get most of my cash back by selling it (thats what I tell my wife anyway).

    So, any thoughts on the above?
  2. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    If you'd go so far as to consider buying a Bach in the UK or even Wedgewood's prices, why not pop on down to Luton and check out Leigh's Eclipses? You just KNOW he'll have one that fits you perfectly.

    Edit: your comment about cleaning the bell? Not a problem. You just undo one screw and the bell "slide" comes off leaving the bell wide open. Leigh ships all of his Eclipses with a "REKA" cleaning kit which does a great job on the leadpipe as well (I use it on my other horns too... wish more stores over "here" would carry this product).
  3. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    1: Xeno has an excellent sound when blown through. Plus here, is it isnt expensive. Also, you are used to the Yammie feel. Also, you would have enough money left over to purchase an Eb or C, although you've made no mention of needing such a horn...

    2: The Bach 43 is not a good choice. Does not fit in an orchestral setting. Bright normally, and can go into a brittleness when pushed. Can overpower a band, as well as a section's sound with ease. NOT A GOOD CHOICE!

    3: The Wedgwood's look very nice, but you are right to be a bit iffy about the blow.

    4: The Wild Thang is also a larger bore, if I remember.

    1: You already own a rotary, so I would say just steer clear of this option.

    2: The Monette is the absolute top-tier horn, with the absolute top-tier price (between $6 and $30k, if memory serves me correctly). Quite the step up from an old Yammie, eh? :D

    I would say it would be an excellent choice, but it would be a LOT of money to dedicate for a horn that you may only use sparingly. Is your primary work on Bb?

    3: I would say try the Eclipse before you think anything else. There is a reason why Eclipse Trumpets have gained so much fame and recognition in the past few years they started building trumpets. I vote for you dropping by their new shop and getting acquainted with these fellas!

    4: ZeuS. Very good horn for it's price, and it does retain it's value better than other horns at it's price. The con here, is I don't know how their "Try Before you Buy" thing works. They used to have a three day trial, but that was about a year ago!


    Now, from the way you sound, you want an open sound, but not a diffuse bell sound. Meaning you want an open leadpipe! I look for a similar sound too. Whatever horn you test, be sure you try the one with the most open leadpipe. Just to check if I'm right, go to the place with Xenos, try one with a medium open pipe, and then an open pipe. BIG difference, ne?

    Now, my boss offers some pretty fine horns, and always has a few horns laying about from trade-ins.... :D

  4. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE

    Ed's mentioned Eclipse, that would be an obvious choice, but you have outlined your concerns.

    Give Hub van Laar a call. He is near Maastricht in Holland..I know it's a ferry ride, build it into a weekend away with the family. He makes a very impressive line of custom least give him a call.



    PS Have you looked at Stomvi? The master series has interchangeable bells, gold plated and sterling silver.
  5. BigBadWolf

    BigBadWolf Piano User

    Nov 30, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    How much are the Wedgewoods?
  6. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    Ron Heyes (Seinman is his username here) offers quite a few horns from varying makers in Europe. Contact him, it would allow you to get a chance to try horns that are a bit out of the way for you.

    If you dont get a hold of Mr. Heyes directly, email Felix Vayser. He is the big boss man, and he can maybe help you out on your quest for a new Bb.

    If you want to see what is offered by Ron and Felix first (no problem in that), check out

    Good luck on your search! Keep us abreast of the situation.

    BTW, have you considered maybe a vintage horn?

  7. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    You know, I have no real idea. He doesn't post any inofrmation on the site. I would probably venture a guess into the $3000 and up range.

    I do like the humor on Mr. Wedgwood's site, though.

  8. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003
    have you thought about a larger bore for your mouthpeice or a different leadpipe( i.e. Blackburn, larson, etc..)?
  9. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Forte User

    Oct 11, 2004
    Farnham (a place too smal
    I have a Najoom leadpipe on my Yamaha 6335HS and it has changed the whole instrument for the better. Might well be worth taking a look at (certainly cheaper than a new instrument).
    If you are unsure about whether you would like it, contact Will Spencer ( and see if he could fix you up with an interchangeable leadpipe system - you could have the benefits of the regular leadpipe and any new one.
    Having played a large number of Bach instruments he has converted, they have all come out the other end much improved.
  10. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    Yes, modification is an excellent, much less expensive way to get the sound you want.

    The only reason I would suggest going for an all-out new trumpet is the following:

    The bell doesn't ring like you want
    The valves are not like you want
    Mechanical problems in the horn that would cost too much to repair

    A Bach Stradivarius, for instance, has one of the best bell sounds out there, period. The valve action is also pretty darn good, the quality there hasn't decreased drastically since Mt. Vernon. HOWEVER, their leadpipes are garbage, generally (There are a few diamonds in the rough). It feels like every note fights you just a little bit. In fact, I have played Olds Ambassadors that can compete with some strads. A new leadpipe does wonders for the Strad, really makes you proud to own a Strad. I've played two Bachburns (Blackburn Pipe). The sound and feel could go up against the big makers, without shame.

    Oh, and bracing tends to be inconsistent. Lets not forget that. :D

    If you just find the tightness of the horn to be the only real problem, and like the sound that you get already, customizing is the way to go.

    I'll push Blackburn, because thats the only pipes I've had real experience with. Nice people, they offer a two week trial, and can let you try up to two pipes at a time! I was even sent a thank you note from Bunny, since I couldn't meet Cliff and her when I visited!


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