Every year in Germany, shortly before Easter, we have the world largest music fair in Frankfurt(at least the fair people advertise it as such - my feet agree today). I generally do not go to fairs because there is seldom something new that I haven't seen and it is one full day of running around and being bombarded by things that would be almost musical if they happened one after the other. That combined with the normal pubescent attempt to prove that "Maynard did not know what range is about" squeeks and squeals, strains my patience and nerves. In any case, after not going for a couple of years, it was time to take the plunge with my second son who is studying recording engineering at the SAE. I spent about 3.5 hours in the wind instrument pavillion. Of course there are many trumpets there and I tried quite a few and would like to give just a quick run down. I stopped at Andy Taylors' booth first. I have played a couple of his horns before but never met him in person. What a wonderful person he is! We talked for a while. I let him know that I normally play a Monette Ajna 2 and he should decide what I should try first. He gave me his lightest horn (I do not remember the name - it doesn't matter anyway because ALL of his horns played wonderfully)! With all the noise (those damn Maynard wannabes!) it was not so easy to get a real picture but except for his heaviest large bore Chicago model where one single note (G on top of the staff - could have been me, the gap, the mouthpiece or the horn) was a bit flat, I could have been very happy with any of these horns! Monster Bauerfeind valves, excellent workmanship and I have the impression that if you buy one of his horns, you buy into the family. The real treat with Andy was his medium bore Cornet. I HAVE NEVER PLAYED A SWEETER SOUNDING INSTRUMENT IN MY LIFE! TRY HIS HORNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I played the new Bach Piccolo. After reading about it here at TM, I just had to try it. 2 or three scales and I put it back on the trumpet stand. I won't go into any detail, but there is nothing about that particular one that I played that DESERVED the name Bach. If Vincent was alive that horn would have gone back to the drawing board. Bob Malone needs to align more than the valves! Another hit was a rotary Bb made by Laetzsch - the trombone maker. That horn almost plays itself. Just breath into it - it's alive! His piccolo trumpet (also rotary) is on my list of best instruments that I have played. Easy high register, in tune, well built and with his "Full Flow" patented valves. The casings are made out of red brass and the valve is out of carbon fiber. It has marine grade ball bearings so it NEVER needs to be oiled. A true maintenance free valve. I have these valves on my picc and after 8-9 years, they are still maintenance free! We could start a discussion if carbon fiber belongs in a trumpet, but after the amount of time I have played them, the low and high temperatures and them NEVER having let me down sonically or mechanically, I have no further comment - other than to try it! Kanstul was there with it seemed like 50 different trumpets. I tryed his X model and that is a very fine horn. In tune, easy blow, brilliant sound, easy to hear in that noisy environment. It just felt too light for me (I am just used to a heavier horn). So they pulled out a 1501. That played like a perfect Mount Vernon Bach! The sound was a bit more compact than conventional but more expressive. It would fit playing in german orchestras very well. I also tried one of the Piccs (only the one with the trumpet shank) and it was very good. Most of the piston valved Piccs (Stomvi, Selmer, Schilke.....) sound too bright to me. When playing chamber music with human voices, the sound sticks out. I have the impression this is the same way. The rotary instruments with gold brass bells get closer to what is in my head. Courtois was also there. Their trumpets really "bark" (no they are not dogs! The sound is very sharp and concise) especially in the low register. These may very well be the most efficient trumpets ever made. Fantastic build, intonation and projection. You just have to have that to me bit agressive sound in your head. They sound "up close" regardless of how far away you are! I noticed that at the last Nakariakov concert that I went to. Well, I could go on and on but have some other stuff to do tonight. Just for the record: I tried no new mouthpieces!!!!!!!!!!! I looked at the Yamaha line up - didn't see anything new so didn't spend any time playing anything there. I think today was enough fair for the next 3 or 4 years!