Even although I swore last year that I would not visit the fair for a couple of years, a couple of interesting opportunities outweighed my common sense........ The Frankfurt, Germany Musikmesse is arguably the largest in the world. It is definitely bigger than the NAMM show in Vegas which I would consider second. Just about everything from el cheapo electronics and musical toys to very exclusive custom instruments are on show. Instead of starting with the good stuff, I'll let you know what wasn't there: Kanstul did not return this year Bach had no picc on display (at least not in the customer area) Courtois did not have the 4 valved Nakariakov Flugel on display Andy Taylor was not there What dominated: CHEAP, Cheap and Cheaper. A real invasion from the far east. There were horns that almost fell apart in your hands to decent ones like the Andreras Eastman line. As I was only planning a single day at the fair, I did not feel a need to get involved with this side of the market. One may question the "need" for these cheap things that destroy the profitability for the entire retail market. I am not convinced that trumpets are like drugs-just get somebody started and hooked and they will advance to the profitable stuff. I think cheap horns spoil the experience and do not ultimately lead to more or better players. I wish our society was not based on the stock market and shareholder value......................... What was special for me this year: The Schilke P7-4. This horn has the easiest upper register of ANY picc that I have ever put up to my face. The first couple of notes that I played that day were the Michael Haydn up to the high A. The Brandenburg came afterwards, the high notes just "popping" out. I consider this horn to be considerably easier to play than the P5-4. The down side for me is the very bright/brilliant Schilke sound. One of their managers was working the booth and I asked if they could envision a gold brass version of this horn. I am sure that a mellower Schilke could establish a new sound standard and give the rotary horns a real run for the money! I also met Andrew Naumann the owner and tried his nat. This is also an axe worth considering if you are in the market. EXCELLENT intonation, the slots are moderate so you can almost play without the holes. A great, secure upper register makes this thing a real alternative to the Egger dominance (you all know my preference for CHOICE!). The Inderbinen booth had some real works of art. Bells that look like they were sand cast or hewn out of a block of silver. They also had the heaviest horn that I have ever played (heavier than the Monette Raja) as well as a horn with a 7" bell. There was a cute 10 year old with a tenor sax at the booth playing jazz standards like a grown up. No heavy solos, but beautiful tone, great rhythmn and nice vibrato. Kühnl and Hoyer had a new full-sized bell pocket trumpet (1,400 Euros) that played just like a big horn. I have relatively small hands, but this horn was not easy to hold. It was easy to blow though, responsive from pedal tones to double C (and beyond for players better than I am). Lätszch did not have that killer rotary Bb on display. Instead they showed an excellent rotary C and a compensating rotary baritone horn. This guy builds horns like a watchmaker! Perfect in every detail! Phaeton had a stand and all of the samples had "sold" signs on them. These horns are built in Taiwan, but the build quality is essentially like Schilke. They had a black chrome model that looked really cool - and played well too! Yamaha is by far the largest exhibitor. They had a hall of their own (as well as dedicated booths in the recording/PA sections of the fair too), that was so noisy that I decided to resist the urge to try anything. I apologize to all of you as the new horns definitely would be worth auditioning, if I can't hear myself, I just won't waste my time. The Stomvi booth was an ear opener. The new Titanium horns are HOT! I tried the Bb and C horns with both the square and round slides. These things speak very easily, get very loud (with a bit more edge than I prefer) and have excellent intonation. The C was a lot of fun to play, one of the few that I have tried that allowed for an effortless switch between Bb and C. I also tried their piccs and am not sure that my try out was fair. Stomvi is well known for instruments that are in tune. The lower end models were not with my Monette AP/BP5 or Bach 10 1/2E. The top model did pretty well on a A side, but the on Bb pipe the concert Bb octaves were more than a quarter tone out. I say that this may be unfair, as the piccs are designed for use with cornet shanks and I tested them with the optional trumpet leadpipes. The top of the Line Titanium is the only one that had a sound that I could live with. Just as I was getting ready to leave, they brought me a Mambo model. I am not the first player somebody would think of when somebody says "mambo", but this horn was alive! All you have to do is blow a bit of air through and push the right valves down. The horn does the rest! Absolutely unsuitable for classical or jazz players that like dark and sexy, but for everyone else, I can only say you NEED to try this horn out before spending any money! Ricco Kuehn was there with the complete line up. I didn't feel a need to play them this year as there was nothing "new" and I have only praise for every horn that I have ever played. Schagerl was there and I have 11 colleagues with massive valve problems(all of the horns went back for service within the first year and the repair just made the valves less "tight" - many had to go in several times because the problem came back!). I asked them about this and they denied knowing anything about it. Funny enough, the horn that I tried out there also had a sticky first valve that did not improve even after they oiled it........ I say BEWARE, there is a problem here and I have a problem with basic denial! As far as accessories go, there wasn't much of anything special, standard mutes and stands, most brands known in the states. I will do a separate thread on a brass treatment that was mentioned here about a year ago. The rest of the day I spent listening to a Yamaha artist (Rüdiger Baldauf) playing a variety of Yamaha horns as well as a prototype flugel that has a "sexier" sound than the current generation. After that I had appointments in the harddrive recording, microphone and PA side so there isn't anything more of note for TM. I went home very flat footed, but as usual with a notion that most brass players just want to attempt to show off during fairs and that they really are only acoustic pollution. Screaching around double C out of context has to be one of the major annoyances known to mankind! The only place worse is the hall with drums, electric bass and guitars............. There are great methods for testing instruments, unfortunately, I did not hear many players giving any horn an honest chance. If anything pops into mind, I'll add it later! good reading!