Passing Judgement

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Comeback, May 27, 2013.

  1. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

    Jun 22, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
    I was playing major scales this morning on my old beat-up 1950 Blessing Standard after reading several posts and began wondering about this topic. We often post about briefly trying this or that horn and then declaring it to be a stellar performer, just so-so, or maybe a real dog. Do such declarations truly have to do more with the horn of the moment or haphazard mouthpiece matching?

    When I began my comeback with this ugly old Standard, it truly seemed to be a real dog. I was trying to play it with an equally ugly beat-up Conn 4. Other than lousy sound, ragged articulation and poor intonation this combination....really stunk! I learned lots here on TM and other places as I proceeded and came to more completely understand the importance of the right mouthpiece. After considerable trial and error, I ended up with an old Blessing 13 mouthpiece. The difference was night and day! What had been a dog turned into a fine playing vintage trumpet. Am I suggesting that this combination is equal to my other finer Bb trumpets? No, certainly not, but it really isn't too bad either. The lesson for me was and is to be wary of passing judgement based upon a first fleeting impression.

    I am a proponent, like most of us, of trying before buying when it comes to horns. I have not really taken my own advice, though. My Severinsen, Strad and Super Artist were all bought un-played. I do not remember having a wonderful playing experience with any of them right after unpacking them and sticking a random mouthpiece in their receivers. However, after some thoughtful experimentation with mouthpieces they each have become fine instruments for me.

  2. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Absolutely NOT ... I will not dispute that there are mouthpiece - instrument combinations that allow a player more ease in playing, yet I'm not chasing such and "make do" with what I have (mostly student quality). Too, although I'm not, IMO great players can make any mouthpiece-instrument combination sound great ... even a hose and funnel.
  3. arlington

    arlington Pianissimo User

    Aug 14, 2012
    Lancaster, OH
    Many people don't spend enough time with mouthpieces to get to know them well. They just buy em and then chuck them up on ebay after a short while. Their loss is my gain. And that goes for trumpets, mouthpieces, mutes, etc.
  4. Stefen

    Stefen Pianissimo User

    Apr 1, 2013
    Sutton Bridge, LINCS. UK
    Im also in the belief that a 5 min blow on a mpc or horn in a music shop is sufficient to make a judgement, also I have found in the past that you can sound pretty good on a mpc until you get used to it. etc.... As wynton says, it takes time, so give it time!
  5. Churchman

    Churchman Mezzo Piano User

    Apr 26, 2012
    I have Selmer Manhattan - it works with a 'Truetone 3c' gold-plated cheapie mpc - wow it works. But with other mpc's which run well in my TR400, its a dog.
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    It has to do with haphazard mouthpiece matching.

    For one of my lessons with Claudio, the brought out a horn he just bought at a street sale for $75. He requested I play it. I said, "Claudio, it sounds like a $75 horn". He smiled, took the trumpet, but replaced the mouthpiece. He asked me to play it again. The horn sang... sang like no other horn I had heard up to that day. The rest of the lesson, Claudio and I roamed the jungle of Manhatten on a mouthpiece safari for my Olds Recording. We bagged a good one that day.
  7. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

    Jun 22, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
    gmonady's experience is consistent with some of mine. When aspects of horn/mouthpiece performance such as gap, back-bore, orifice size, and perhaps bore size are considered, it may seem to some that simply popping a mouthpiece into an unfamiliar horn, giving it a couple toots, and pronouncing it good, bad or indifferent may be premature. For example, would it be reasonable to expect stellar performance from an instrument designed to work best with 1/8" gap when fitted up with a mouthpiece providing none?


Share This Page