My new Stage 1 - fantastic!!!

Discussion in 'Horns' started by tptshark, Oct 5, 2005.

  1. tptshark

    tptshark Pianissimo User

    Jun 4, 2005
    Hong Kong
    I have been in the possession of my new Stage 1 Bb trumpet for about a month now and its time to let you guys in on the fun….

    This is the best horn I have ever played. Combined with the outstanding service offered by Felix at the New York Trumpet Company, this has resulted in me agreeing to officially endorse Felix’s company and his trumpets. Despite this, please trust me that this is a true account of the horn – I did not receive the horn for free, and I would not have endorsed it if it wasn’t so good. I cannot imagine ever wanting to change horn again (unless to another Stage 1 :-) )

    so on with the review...

    Firstly a brief list of what I have played (and therefore points of comparison):
    Owned - Schilke X3 (for 5+ years); Bach large bore, 72 bell, lightweight with 43 leadpipe (5+ years); Olds Mendez (for 10+ years);
    Played at various times - monette (don’t know which one exactly, the standard model); taylor chicago; another taylor (not sure which model though); yamaha bobby shew (hated it!); yamaha xeno; yamaha james morrison; callet superchops; callichio (don’t know the model); getzen eterna II; numerous bachs (the best being a 37 with sterling plus bell personally picked out by bobby shew); schilke x3 tunable bell; benge 5; martin comitee (the new ones); B&S challenger 2; plus an endless array of student horns!

    I play mainly lead trumpet, big bands and shows. But the first 3 weeks with the horn was on a classical gig – it works well in all situations as far as I can tell. Exactly what I was looking for – versatility.

    Overall first impressions:-
    Excellent. The shiny gold plate is wonderfully even and looks fantastic! It is a gorgeous instrument to look at! The only suggestion I would make is that you have a small piece of felt or cork put on your water keys to protect the finish on the tuning slide when you operate the water key ... the click of metal on metal makes me cringe every time because the finish is so beautiful! It feels really comfortable in the hand too, now that I am used to the extra weight (the Schilke x3 – my last horn - is a very light horn).

    Valves and slides:
    Though I thought initially that they were a little heavy feeling, now I am used to them they are wonderful. Very quick and precise. One small suggestion would be that a non-compressing material be used, rather than felt, to maintain the valve alignment; the felt has already begun to compress ... though admittedly I do strike the valves down quite hard (harder than most of my colleagues). After only a month, the valves are comparable to anything I have played, and feel more precise than the monettes I have played. They seem to be getting quicker too! For those who are interested, I have been using zaja blue oil on them.

    Great! The sound is exactly what I have been looking for, it is intimate and warm at lower volumes, then really lights up when loud - thank you Felix!
    Also, the sound of the horn with a mute in is unbelievable! Its amazing how much better this horn sounds than anything else I have played when muted!
    Also very controllable sound when using half valves.

    A bit early to tell, but I don’t need to use the slides as vigorously as I did on the Schilke. I have a few issues with intonation in the upper register, but I am convinced this is due to the tight back-bore on my mouthpiece (I played on a small BB with the Schilke, I have ordered a more standard BB and will post again once it arrives and I get used to it) . Overall it seems spot on! More on intonation in a month or so when I am used to the horn with the new m’piece.

    Ok - I will go and practice some of my standard routine now and give you a blow by blow account of the horns performance:

    1. (flow exercises buzzed then played)
    Nice even sound from low c to high c. very centred core to the sound, though I feel the need to pay particular attention to keeping the throat and mouth cavity open. The horn slots really well, everything feels much closer together, especially from g on top of the staff upwards - this is going to take some getting used to, I still sometimes overshoot and sit a little high at the beginning of each note.

    2. (stamp warm ups no.3 and 6)
    Once again a great evenness of tone across all registers and volumes. The same core of sound exists from pedal Db all the way up to double g (4 ledger lines) Even though it will really light up at high volume, it gets there progressively, it doesn’t just suddenly become bright. The sound is magnificently controllable! I noticed that there is quite a bit of reluctance to move from g on top the staff to a one ledger line above (do you call these high g and high a? I do) - i think its a result of me not being entirely sure where the note centre yet. High b and c sit quite flat - but again I think a more open m'piece will fix this (or maybe practice! :-) ).

    3. (clarke studies 1 - 4)
    Well, this has revealed a few things! Firstly, that I am a bit out of practice (3 weeks touring in a show that barely gets above mp)!! But also, how great the valves are on this horn! Wow! They are very quick to respond and the horn feels very even to blow through each valve combination. I love the sound of this horn at low volumes, the Schilke always sounded a bit splatty and brittle at low volumes, but this horn is gorgeous in its warmth and intimacy, a real buttery tone - like melted chocolate! :-)

    4. (arbans tonguing excercises - starting at p28 number 19 through to the end of the section)
    This is the best horn I have ever played. It is so good to play an instrument where you know for certain that any deficiencies are entirely the player not the horn. It responds incredibly well, in all registers, and has precisely the sound I have in my mind. Double tonguing and finger coordination seems so much easier on the stage 1, come to think of it, everything feels easier and cleaner.

    I think this post has gone on long enough, so I will go now... I am going to spend the rest of the afternoon playing some etudes, and some fun with a few big band charts. The horn is so much fun to play :)

    Let me know if there is anything else about the horn you would like to know, and I will endeavour to post a reply promptly. If anyone is in Perth, Western Australia and would like to see/try the horn let me know.

    All the best
    - Adrian
  2. Larry

    Larry New Friend

    Sep 21, 2005
    Thanks for the review. You didn't mention which Stage 1 model you reviewed. Just currious.


    ALLCHOPS Piano User

    Nov 14, 2003
    Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
    Stage 1

    Well worth the wait wasn't it?

    I enjoy practicing more that ever on these horns!!!


    See you in January, I hope your good with a little snow! ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-)


    Tony G
  4. NYTC

    NYTC Forte User

    Nov 1, 2004
    Thank you very much for the amazing review.
    We are very happy that you have joined our team and love your instrument.

    Adrian is playing a Stage 1 Classic with an optional Red Brass Bell and 24K Gold plating.

  5. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Aha, the Classic!!!!

    Yeah, man! Those Stage 1's are just amazing! While I play the California model, I had a Classic for a few hours last Sunday at the Chicago are mini fest. IMHO, it is just a fantastic horn! I would just as easily endorse that horn as my California model!

    'Nuff said!

    Have fun playing it. It will make the art of makig music even more fun!



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