Mystique vs. A Standard

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by MUSICandCHARACTER, May 14, 2004.

  1. davidjohnson

    davidjohnson Piano User

    Nov 2, 2003

    these sentences are what i had in mind-

    'Do you like having a unique horn with some mystique? Or do you feel better with a Bach, Schilke, Conn, Benge, etc. '

  2. W Scott

    W Scott Piano User

    Dec 8, 2003
    Carson City, NV.
    Heeey! I have a Conn with a unique mystique---a Constellation. You don't see them every day. I find it fun to show up with a horn that, if you don't look too hard, looks similar to a Bach. Then, when I light it up, heads start snapping around as folks wonder what in the world is that horn?! :D

    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    You would have to say some of the vintage horns have a mystique. The Connstellation 36/38B would fit into that category. Ferguson played one for awhile .... Conn tried to remake them but had lost the setup and design.

    Certainly some vintage horns have a great amount of mystique.

  4. SteelyDan

    SteelyDan Pianissimo User

    Nov 19, 2003
    Phoenix, Az
    Hi Guys,
    Speaking as one who has had a tremendously bad experience with owning a Bach Strad I can only say that I could care less about the mystique of the horn that I own. That doesn't mean I cannot appreciate the craftsmanship/quality of other people's axes, just that I will now only put my money where the best "feeling/playing" horn for me is. Obviously, money may be an issue, but I no longer look down on other equipment just because it's less well known. For example, ever since I can remember, Getzen's were seen as inferior horns in every respect by the players and teachers that I was around yet after getting rid of that beautifully, majestically, and artistically finished Strad that played and felt like a wooden bucket I ended up getting a USED Getzen that is light years ahead of my old Strad. I wouldn't trade it back for any reason. Ideally, I'd like to have a Lawler(some day I'll have the money and Bruce @ NorthernBrass will have a new order) but it's not because of any perceived "mystique" on my part. I simply believe that Lawler has the combination of all of the features and playing characteristics that I'm looking for. Anyway, time to get off the soapbox.

    Thanks For Your Patience,
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Mystique? Peer pressure? "Standard"?

    In my opinion, there is really no such thing as "Standard" anymore. Take something as simple as tooth paste or deoderant. There are about a zillion varieties to choose from. I have to stand in front of the display sometimes for 5 minutes to find what I'm looking for among the multitude of brands, flavors and types. Same goes for horns. Even the "Standard" Bach really isn't standard these days. Sure, the Silver ML 37 is still probably the most popular model these days, but among my crowd, I see just as many ML 43s, 72s and LB 25s as the 37s.

    As far as what is considered a "Standard" pro level horn, again, there are great horns being made by a multitude of companies such as Yamaha, Conn, Kanstul, etc, that are every bit as good as the fabled Bach Strad, maybe even better.

    As for peer pressure, that might be something that I would worry about if I was in High School or something, but now, I really don't even care what my horn looks like or what brand it is, just so long as it plays well.

    As for the "mystique" aspect of a trumpet, again, my biggest concerns are

    1.) Does it play well
    2.) will it enable me to get the job done without working my butt off?

    When you get right down to it, in my opinion, there really are only a few things to consider about a trumpet for playing characteristics:

    1.) Blow
    2.) resonance
    3.) response
    4.) Timbre
    5.) Inotonation (not necessarily in this order)

    You can mysitique it all you want, but if it doesn't perform well in all of those areas, I don't care who made it or how much it costs, I don't want it.

    I recently had some minor modifications done to my Bach Strad. This had nothing to do with any mystique or peer pressure. It was all about getting my horn to perform for the situations where it is most getting played.

    I suppose this is why in the last 18 years I've done the bulk of my playing on just two horns - and if I knew 7 years ago what I know now about brass repair, I might still be playing the the one that I got rid of for the one I'm currently using, but alas, at the time I was under the impression that my old Strad was worn out.
  6. ChasStarr

    ChasStarr Pianissimo User

    Feb 22, 2004
    NE Louisiana

    I think you nailed it!

    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    While I agree on the characteristics, we all have different opinions about said characteristics.

    Blow: Some like very open horns. Some like some resistance ... some prefer quite a bit.

    Resonance: Goes with Timbre usually. Call it color if you like. Some like bright sounding horns, some want a more mellow tone. Big difference between a Bach 37 and a Callet for example.

    Intonation: Has to do a lot with blow, resonance and setup. Well slotting horns can be a drawback when playing high a doing shakes, for example. Some open horns suffer from intonation problems because there is too much "room." Reverse leadpipes can help, but they make the horn less free blowing.

    Trade offs, trade offs.

    The mystique usually comes in the timbre and resonance part of the above criteria. You do not want a horn that is hard to play, or is difficult to play in tune. BUT ....

    sound characteristics are very different. I have demoed many horns and have listened to players play various horns. I know Bach players that will not play anything else. They love the Bach sound. Terrific!

    I knew one guy who played a horn I had who sounded great on the horn. Great! Compared to his horn, it was night and day. He didn't like having a ring on the first valve slide instead of a U saddle so he moved on to another horn. I have heard some great playing by some people on various horns, but they wanted a different sound. The blow was good, the intonation was great, the response is what they wanted ... but not the sound. At that is a very subjective thing!

    I guess I like being a little different, a little mystique in my sound. Will I play a crappy horn to get it. No. But I wish to be a little different. And if the truth be known, I want a horn that blends well with an ensemble. A dark sound -- rich timbre if you like. I play mostly in a concert band and small brass ensembles. I don't want a bright, cutting sound for jazz. I rarely get called for jazz gigs, and when I do I play 3rd or 4th book.

    So I agree with you as much as I can ... but personal differences make a difference. It also makes the trumpet world a great place. A plethora of top horns to choose from. Your choice. Grand isn't it?

  8. music matters

    music matters Pianissimo User

    Apr 26, 2004
    ON Canada
    An interesting thread. I think its very important that we feel our trumpet is special. For some people this means they would like it to look different than others/sound different etc.

    For me I want the horn that has that WOW factor when I play it. If other people like the same horn and its common it doesn't bother me at all as it will still have that WOW factor as its the way it plays/sounds and feels when I play music that turns me on.
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    The only problem that I see with a horn that has a WOW factor, is that often times, especially in a legit, section setting, you really don't want to stand out among the group. However, in less "formal" settings such as a big band or a show band, yeah, you might really want that WOW factor.

    As a self proclaimed section utility player, I have never really had desire for the WOW factor in my horn, at least not in that setting. What I have always been about was having a solid, blending sound that was going to compliment the section and make things solid and easier for the lead player. For that task, I have never needed anything other than a Bach Strad. The two that I have owned were both solid playing horns, and have been more than enough horn for what I needed of them in those section settings.

    However, as of the last couple of years, I have been playing in a show/rock band and I could definitely use a little more WOW to my sound in that setting. Had I won the Eclipse contest, my design for the Eclipse Inferno certainly would have had more than a little WOW to it. My idea was to take a medium large horn, but put on an extra-large bell with a tight taper, keeping bracing and weight to a minimum. The idea was to create a fast responding, brilliant, easy blowing horn that would just light up in a rock band setting. (Click here to read the description of the Inferno - it's on page 2 of the thread, scrolled down about 3/4:

    But alas, I did not win the contest (heck, I didn't even place!) and I don't have the sheckels to shell out for that kind of horn on my own, so it looks like I'm sticking with the Strad for a while.

    It isn't that I'm against the more custom horns, because I'm not. I have a BIG interest in those kinds of horns, but I'm not about to trade a perfectly good Bach Strad that is versatile in all playing situations for a horn that is a little more specialized because I never know when I'm going to have to switch from playing rock band to playing something like, oh, I don't know, say the Vivaldi Concerto for two trumpets in C. (That I just happen to have a scheduled performance of in August.) Not that my Inferno design wouldn't be just as at home playing that, but chances are, the other guy that I'm performing this duet with is most likely going to be on something like a Strad or a Xeno, and that WOW factor might just stand out a little too much if I were playing on a horn like that.

    At least my Strad isn't stock anymore, so I have a couple of things to talk about with the other gearheads that I know. ;)

    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana

    Some excellent thoughts! I have one thing to add. The WOW factor can be different for everyone. If ensemble work is your primary work, the WOW might be "this horn blends wonderfully." People will notice that too.

    Some recent WOW experiences for me:

    Listening to a very good player play Hummel during a demo on an Olympus.
    Playing a very open, large bore, large bell Holton cornet (I now own it).
    The intonation of the reverse leadpipe up high (Conn V1, Olympus)
    The sound that came from a Jupiter XO.

    All of these "WOWs" are from a more legit standpoint.

    I posted on the Bach board that I love the sound of a good Bach. I have not heard nor played one, but I think a Bach 43 with a 25RL leadpipe might possess some mystique, or WOW factor. If I come across that setup somewhere, I would love to play it.


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