Phaeton Custom Review #2 - Review Completed

Discussion in 'Horns' started by NickD, Jun 1, 2005.

  1. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Hello, folks!

    I just got the modified Phaeton yesterday evening. I've already started really ringing this thing out. What I would like to do here is to post a series of comments and reviews as they come to me on gigs, rehearsals, recording, etc.

    The first thing I did was look the axe over. The new bracing looks just wonderful. I was NEVER into the bat wing bracing, personally. That is, of course, just a matter of taste.

    The finish is beautiful. The brushed silver with a bright silver inlay in the bell makes for an extremely cool looking horn.

    Now the best part, IMHO, are the rings! I can't stand flimsy rings! Now, I have changed my embouchure over the years, so I don't NEED ultra tough rings, but I can't stand the feel of those wimpy rings. These rings feel great and look good too.

    The horn has a really nice "heft" to it. It feels good in the hands and feels indestructable.

    The valves, so far, feel great. Very quick. Now, I have only played it one night, so I'll need to elaborate there on subsequent posts.

    The one mechanical criticisim would be the slides. They seal well and the valves are quite tight - great pop to them. However, when I work the slides they feel a bit "gritty." This could be attributed to a need for breaking in, but my GSC has silky smooth slides and a great pop, too, and has since I took delivery on it. This is extremely minor, though, on an otherwise fine horn.

    Now, I played it for my son last night (he plays piano, tenor and flute - a good musician for a 14 year old). In a blindfold test he could handily tell the difference between the Phaeton and my model GSC. I even tried to trip him up by not switching horns on one run. He caught it. I was playing ballads (Here's That Rainy Day, Round Midnight, I can't Get Started and Body and Soul).

    His conclusion was that both horns sounded really good. He could just barely tell the difference. However it was uncanny at how consistent he was (100%). He felt I had a slightly bigger sound on the GSC - a fuller tone.

    Then I began recording with it. I will post the finished product to my site as soon as it is done. This horn does project well and produces a clear bright tone, for me - very focused. However, I found it a bit easy to over blow on the low end, so far.

    Now, all of this "blowing " stuff is a matter of FIT. This is a great horn, but I'm not sure it is a good fit for me. I tend to lean towards very large bore horns (my favorite is an old Besson Meha .470 a buddy of mine turned up with!) with a very free blow. I've been told that my model GSC goldplated horn feels very big and hard to fill by other players. Well, again, that is a matter of fit - like shoes or a mouthpiece.

    I am going to use this axe on my gigs and jam sessions this week. I'll post each time I get some new feedback. This will get a bit protracted, but when I sign to do something, I mean to be thorough and honest! One can never really tell about a horn in just one session. One needs to use it for, well , a week to 10 days! ;-)

    Conclusion to this post: initial impression - VERY positive. I'll go down a similar list to Van's after I'm done.

    More to follow!

    Nick Drozdoff
  2. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    Thanks for the great review Nick. Do you have a link to some pictures?

  3. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    No pics, yet...

    I don't have pics yet! Geeze! I have had it 24 hours yet! :-)

    I'll get some ASAP! How do I post them here? Help!


  4. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
  5. PhatmonB6

    PhatmonB6 Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 16, 2005
    I play on the Phaeton 2030 with a monette b6 mpc and I truly enjoy it....Am I missing out on anything not having the custom??? :dontknow:
    By the way I have been waiting for some serious posts on the Phaeton trumpet know right up there with Eclipse and everything.....I know the majority of Phaeton posts have been how "unforgiving the horn is" but to me that makes for a better player. ;-) I would like to see alot more posts from players that blow the Phaeton and their feelings of it, good bad or indifferent.
  6. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Yup! It's the Eclipsed version.

    Yes. This is the special Eclispe modified verison (an Eclipsed Phaeton). Just a quck post here during passing period. I have played the original Pheatons back when Wayne Tanabe was involved with the design. I liked them OK, but felt that the sound was WAAYYYY too bright. It was also a bit stuffy. It slotted fine.

    Now, I'm, still working with this horn. but as part of my initial impessions, I would have to say the modifications, particularly the curved tuning crook, have made a huge difference. While I still don't think it will be the best fit for me, it is sooo much closer to what I like, it's not even funny. Oh yeah, in my original post I forgot to mention that this horn slots very well, too - has a nice Q!

    Gotta run! The bell rang.

  7. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Ok, now I'm getting a little freaked out...

    Ok, day two.

    I am almost finished recording a lttle tune I've slapped together that I'm calling Phaeton's Toys. I've got some stuff in there that will I hope will please everyone - from high stuff to mellow. For me this is a very interesting project.

    You see, I did another blindfold test today, this time with Chicago pro, my buddy, Bruce. Bruce is a stellar legit player but who understands and plays big band lead and jazz - VERY smart guy and a good friend.

    Well, I had HIM do a blindfold test with my Chicago Brassworks model GSC and the new Eclipse modified Phaeton. Now I had done quite a workout on these two horns in a band room before he dropped by, so I was ready for a break. I played a couple of ballads for him and then uncorked some high stuff.

    In EVERY case, he picked the Phaeton! What has me freaked, just a bit, is that I am starting to agree! My model GSC is a horn that goes for almost twice the price is getting matched by the Phaeton as I get used to it. Let me briefly summarize what he said.

    He felt the GSC sounded like I was just trying to blow a wall down. He felt the Phaeton had focus and character. We both agreed that I felt that I wasn't working as hard on it as I was reaching a point of fatigue!

    Things to make you go... hmmmmmmm...!!!!

    Till tomorrow!

    Nick Drozdoff
  8. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    Mr. Drozdoff,

    How would you describe the bell of the CBW? Does the end of the length have a sharper, V look, or does it have a more open, cavernous look? Just curious.

    The Phaeton's leadpipe is amazing. I also noticed a definite improvement in stamina with both the raw Brass Phaeton and this custom model.

    Its also amazing what a tuning slide can do for a horn...

    Felix, what is the price of the Phaeton Special? Just curious.

  9. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Ok, I couldn't really wait until tomorrow...


    The model GSC is a unique bell - copper from the stem to the flare where it turns to yellow brass with no rim. This is an extremely free-blowing horn with a very big sound - fat and round. I love it.

    The taper is just a tiny bit more conical right at the bell flare, but they are not all that dissimilar. So I wouldn't say it was all that cavernous.

    The Phaeton seems to provide a bit more resistance than the GSC. My reaction to that was a bit negative at first. However, after a lot of playing on it today, I feel more comfortable with it and find it to be an excellent horn. As of now, I had to say it compares very favoribly to an excllent horn made by CBW. This isn't a big surprise. Wayne did the basic design on BOTH instruments.

    The stock Pheatons weren't a good fit for me when I first tried them. I mean that. They were fine horns, just not the right fit. The modifications made by Eclipse have made a much closer fit to my needs.

    I did two more blindfold tests with friends who are good music consumers but musical laymen. They both liked both horns and couldn't tell much if any difference in the sound. I value their opinions and honesty and would have to say that I am concluding this is an excellent axe that really holds its own.

    Now, in subsequent posts, I'll speak no more of the GSC. Folks know where I am on that. It is a wonderful horn and that's that. However, if I didn't have it, I'd sure consider buying one of these modified Phaetons!

    Ok, I've really got to get off the PC now.

    Peace, all.

  10. NYTC

    NYTC Forte User

    Nov 1, 2004
    You never know utill you try it ;-)

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