My trip to Eclipse and the new RIMLESS bell model! (long)

Discussion in 'Horns' started by TrentAustin, Nov 22, 2005.

  1. TrentAustin

    TrentAustin Fortissimo User

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    Oct 28, 2003
    KC MO
    Part one:

    Howdy folks!

    I'm forcing myself to get on with normal tasks this morning as I definitely just want to sleep in all morning! I guess it's not jet-lag but home-happiness. This story is very long and probably rambles from time to time. I do hope you enjoy the post and feel free to email me with replies.

    England was an absolute blast! I can't imagine having nearly as much fun in such a short time! The trip started out with me getting up around 3:30 AM on Friday to ensure I got to the airport in time. Usually I'm so good in packing but I did happen to leave a few items here (more on that later!). The flight over was great, on a new 777 with an Exit row Aisle seat (score!). I couldn't wait to see Leigh and get down to business.

    Leigh picked me up at Heathrow and a short drive later we were in Luton. Luton is a cool little town with a very working class vibe and friendly people. We checked into the hotel (a lovely B&B called the Pines) and then Leigh treated me to a feast of WONDERFUL Indian food. I thought my "connection" here in the states was good but this was absolutely amazing! I was so excited to see the shop that after dinner (now around 10:30PM) I insisted that we go check out the shop.

    WOW! In all honestly it's the best laid out shop I've ever seen. Leigh and John have done a tremendous job creating a very relaxing environment for the staff... it's extremely well laid out with PLENTY of space between all the assembly stations and has seperate rooms for Polishing and finishing. I was shocked by the ample size and ease of the layout. One of the great things was what I termed "the wall of shame" where they have laid out hundreds of old horns on the ceiling. Leigh explained that these horns have definitely passed their prime but are extremely valuable when they need rare parts for other people's horns.

    Then he took me into the playing room and I was in heaven! Every model Eclipse (and multiple demos of the most popular ones) were in this room all lined up on benches. Some of the new prototypes (much more on this later) were also lined up! I just had to play a few... even with the freezing cold (the heat had been off since he left the shop around 5PM). Much more was on tap for Saturday.

    The testing day....Saturday

    The day began with me coming into the shop and meeting John, one of the funniest guys I've met! I know Leigh much more with our time at ITG (stuck on a mountain at 13,000 ft with a smoking diesel engine) and really wanted to meet John. He's the best valve man in the business and we did work thoroughly on his "american" accent while I was there! ;)

    A long warm up on my MY led eventually to a LOT of testing. As some of you know I tend to play the entire spectrum of work to survive. Although most of my work is small group jazz I do also work extensively with the Artie Shaw Orchestra. I also play a fair deal of salsa and hard GB stuff. Last tour I played lead and when I was playing with lighter horns (I think that section had a LA Benge, LT Bach, and Scodweel) I really wanted to get more edge out of my LR. I also have the MY but in my opinion it still had a sound that favored the warmer concept of the European Bb sound. That horn is great as well but I really was looking for something with the same projection and insane brightness. I had discussed this in depth with Leigh and he assured me that he had something right up my alley!

    First thing we did was try the three new rimless bell models. Leigh has been in design for quite some time (well over a year) on these but didn't want to release them too early as he wanted to make sure that they were up to specs of the rest of the trumpet line.

    What I experienced couldn't be described. I think this rimless bell model is the best horn that I've ever played, and I can't believe I'm saying that as I have always believed the LR would never be topped with my sound concept. Imagine a horn that at ppp-f has an amazingly rich, complex sound with the BEST scale... now imagine being able to up your DB level by 15% when you put the pedal to the floor... When I first starting playing "hard" on the rimless bell Leigh and John both jumped out of there socks. Mind you this was in the testing room with the door closed! That's what I'm talking about! I've always had to switch from my Osmun TA piece to a really small hight compression piece (Bobby Shew 1.25) to make ANY horn I've ever had brighten up. I do have a naturally dark sound concept.

    On this rimless bell I could play my Osmun piece FOR EVERYTHING! Wait... only one mouthpiece? yeah. I'll tell you about my gig on Sunday and the results coming up.


    Leigh has a few models of these bells... definitely contact him for more specific information as I just picked a bell that fit my needs from my sound concept.

    The one I ended up with I think is a Large flair, with a Nickel silver shaft and yellow brass flair.

    So, after 5-6 hours of extensive testing and modification I got the most brilliant horn I have ever played. Of course I thought I might only have been hearing the brightness from the players' side as maybe the rimless bell gives too much feedback on the player.

    The REAL testing day: Sunday

    As you know a horn can feel great in the shop but when you take it on the gig you really learn how it plays.

    Noel Langley was so great to me on the trip and actually lined a gig up for me at the London Jazz fest with the 606 club big band. This band was extremely good and gave me a great chance to see how the horn worked in the section. I played third and some split lead. I also had a chance to play a bunch of solos. The first thing I noticed was that the horn gave me so much feedback from behind the horn. Much more than even my Calicchios have in the past. I felt very comfortable in that section (a LT 37 Bach, LR 37 and Martin committee) and could hear myself so easily. Blending was GREAT and the absolute kicker was that when I wanted to push the horn hard it carried FAR much more over the rest of the band, to the point of actually being TOO much! WOO-HOO! PS: It's always great to see trombonists duck for cover while your playing. I'm sure they thought it was just the crazy American "blatting" away but truth be told I didn't take the horn up to the volumes I was playing at the shop!

    Much more is coming up later... I have to take a quick nap however! I'll be sure to include plenty of pictures as well.

    -T
     
  2. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Forte User

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    Glad you enjoyed your trip Trent - I am still fuming that I was laid up in bed on Sunday (I'm still not recovered).

    Looking forward to reading more about what you got up to.
     
  3. TrentAustin

    TrentAustin Fortissimo User

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    Oct 28, 2003
    KC MO
    I'm sorry to hear that you're not feeling the best. I'll try to type more later on and let you know more about the gig as well as more impressions of the horn (it's on my lap actually... letting my chops rest for a bit before the next part of the routine!)

    Sorry we couldn't hook up but will have a few pints at the ITG this year I hope!
    -T
     
  4. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Forte User

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    It would be rude not to drink a few beers :D
     
  5. music matters

    music matters Pianissimo User

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    Apr 26, 2004
    ON Canada
    I have been to Eclipse twice now and agree with all you have said. Leigh, John and the whole team are all fantastic - Leigh took myself and Noel to a pub and I had a great cow pie which could have fed 10!!!

    Noel was also really kind to me helping me choose a trumpet and he gave me a lesson as well, and sorted out tickets to see The Producers which is an amazing show!

    I think Eclipse is an amazing young company, and I hope I will be able to get up there agin this summer to annoy them all!!

    My Eclipse MR is a wonderful horn and plays/sounds exactly how I want.

    All the best,

    Graham
     
  6. TrentAustin

    TrentAustin Fortissimo User

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    KC MO
    From the TH site... someone asked if I got to try the cornet and piccolo prototype as well...

    Posted: 22 Nov 2005 16:51 Post subject:

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I did get to try all the line... In fact I had recorded clips on EVERY model horn with the same mouthpiece but as an idiot accidentally deleted the clips! GRR. Next trip or at the ITG I'll get a chance to do it again. I know that at the Boston Trumpetfest (you should bring some friends down from your area to Boston... it's 1 hr 40 minutes from Portland) I'll demo the sound qualities on all the Eclipse horns.

    The flugels are amazing, and that will definitely be my next purchase. As you can probably guess my trumpet budget is a little low due to the pending release of my new CD. I hope to come home from ITG with the flugel. It plays just like my trumpet (the only flugel to play that easily up to High E's) and sounds so gorgeous. Leigh actually let me borrow the flugel for the gig and I have a clip of me playing it. I have to learn how to transfer my videos into mpgs (any tips? PM me!) and then I'll put a few clips on the putfile site.

    The prototype piccolo trumpet was also extremely impressive. I think there's a new competitor to the Schilke and Blackburn pics out there as this horn played easily up to concert D's, E's and I could even do the Michael Haydn on it. I should have brought my pic mouthpiece but it was fine even with my Osmun TA mouthpiece. The sound is light, bright, and I think fuller than my Schilke. I can't wait to play it after more work is done on that. Even John and Leigh both told me the pic is in the VERY early stages of development.

    The cornets I think were the hidden surprise of my trip. I have always wondered why more people don't play jazz just on a cornet! His red bell cornet had the thickest, warmest sound and the yellow was in my opinion an EXTREMELY great brass band horn. I think people who play a lot of cornet will enjoy checking this out at ITG as well. The balance and feel of his cornets are amazing... look out for these to make a huge splash as well.


    Speaking of ITG anyone who will be attending will have a chance to try the majority of the Eclipse line. MY LR and rimless models will be there as well as my new flugel hopefully. Time to save the pennies.

    Anyone who'd like to come to Salem can try my horns anytime and of course they will be at the Boston trumpetfest too on 12/4!

    I'll finish my second part of the post soon.

    -T
     
  7. TrentAustin

    TrentAustin Fortissimo User

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    Here's the first clip of the horn... remember that I had only about one total hour of playing time on the horn but you can still hear how great the horn cuts when you want it to!

    http://media.putfile.com/Rimless-sample
    Post comments here or on the putfile site directly. Later on today I'll have Flugel and cornet clips as well as finishing up my review of the trip!

    Best,

    Trent
     
  8. NYTC

    NYTC Forte User

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    NICE!!!!!!!
    I hope you let me hear some of that next Sunday at the fest.
    You're good. :D
    It's really amazing how you can just come in and do it.
     
  9. TrentAustin

    TrentAustin Fortissimo User

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    Thanks a ton... jazz is great in that aspect... you can play with anyone anywhere if you know the "language" of the music.

    I wish the piano and bass weren't as loud. I guess I could have used a mic but I actually prefer not to.

    PM me Felix with any updates about the trumpetfest. I'm sure this horn will be a GREAT hit at the fest!

    Here's a flugel clip and I'll have a cornet clip up as well in the next few hours.

    Toys toys toys, uh, tools!
    -T


    Here's a quick clip of the Red brass flugelhorn... it's a scary instrument in terms that it plays just as efficiently as my trumpet but has the most gorgeous sound I've ever heard. My wallet is also empty from my recent trip and if I had brought two horns (and invoices) to the states my wife would have kicked me out of the house. I'm definitely getting one in June and retiring the CT olds.

    http://media.putfile.com/First-flugel--clip

    Enjoy!
     
  10. TrentAustin

    TrentAustin Fortissimo User

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    Oct 28, 2003
    KC MO
    Leigh asked that I put up this clip so here it is... I'm really fighting the big mouthpiece. I am really dumb that I didn't bring my flugel mpc.

    No worries cause I'll have the right mpc at ITG when I buy the horn

    Best,

    t
    http://media.putfile.com/Live-flugel-clip
    _________________
     

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