Schiller Bass Trumpet Review

Discussion in 'Horns' started by euphmaster, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. euphmaster

    euphmaster New Friend

    38
    2
    May 18, 2007
    Hey Gang! This will be my first post, but certainly not my last. After a looong time of being a trumpet player, I switched to Euphonium. I had incredible endurance, range, and facility on the euph coming off of trumpet, which I was always limited with. As a jazz musician living in Asheville, NC, I was able to use the euph for gigs and ppl would get real interested, but I always felt like I couldn't get the sound I wanted from a sweet Besson 967. I met Rich Wiley, a jazz trumpet player/professor at UNCA, and discovered the world of Bass Trumpets!

    At first I bought an old Lidl-Brno piston valve horn. It had a mean dent in the tubing leading to the bell, but as a brass repair tech I was able to bring it out nice and clean-like. It's a great entry level horn, but I wanted something nicer. Yes, a Bach or Getzen would be terrific, but I can't afford the $3700+ just yet (I spent that on my tasty 967!).

    After poking around the net, and reading many reviews of poopy horns, I decided to take the plunge with the Schiller American Heritage. For $500, I must say that I am impressed. As a $500 horn goes, you would expect some flaws, but the good stuff is plentiful, and worth the purchase.

    CONS:

    - It's a little stiff from low C# to low F
    - One water key for lead pipe drool, but the majority of the condensation collects by the 3rd valve pipe, where there is a removable slide. You need to depress the valves, and blow like a mofo, over and over and over again. You will eventually get it all out. After that, you do a little circle manuver to get the rest of the moisture to roll out the bell. It's a process, but I don't think it's any easier on other bass trumpets. <shrug> small price to pay for saving thousands!
    - The lead pipe is cut very sharp-like, not in tone, but in feel, where you would put the mouthpiece in. You need to really kinda wedge your mouthpiece into the leadpipe for a sealed fit. Even the noname 12C mp the horn comes with is jiggly, and needs a squeeze.
    - The case it comes with has no extra storage. You fit the horn and mp in there. That's it, but again, whatever... small price to pay to save thousands of dollars on a decent bass trumpet.
    - There are some natural intonation problems that will stand out. Low D and C# (but to be expected) though you can use the 1st valve slide to help tune it up. Middle Bb (in the staff) is just strange. It's out of tune, and sounds stuffy. I don't like this note at all on this horn, even more than some of the others that are off.

    PROS:

    - Looks great! Nickel plating, shape, the whole kit-n-kaboodle!
    - The construction is pretty dang good! Very surprised here, folks. It doesn't feel flimsy, or weak, and has a good weight to it. You feel it after a long while of holding it when playing.
    - The tone is pretty dang good as well! The lower register, from low C to low F# is beefy, clear, and free blowing. The middle register can get a little wonky, and feel stiff, but the more I'm playing it, I believe it's just something to get used to... like new shoes. The upper register is beautiful too! It's very free blowing from the upper middle register to high E. You can feel it punching back a tad when going to High F, but you can nail High F to G with little to no trouble what-so-ever. After High G the G# will start feeling like it's kicking back a lot more. A solid High G is cool with me on a horn like this though. Enough heads will turn when coasting up there with a bright, clean, and clear sound.
    - This horn only costs $500!!!

    I immediately put the noname 12C in a drawer, and will never look at it again. I popped a bach 12C in there at first, and it was zippy, but I wanted the lower register to speak more. I took out my bach 7C, and have settled on that for now. It seems to give me the best of all the worlds I'm looking for at the moment. I may get a mouthpiece conversion so I can use my large bore yamaha 48 - I love that mp!

    Anyway... that's my two cents. This horn will be used mostly for jazz/funk/rock but I am going to try to apply it to some classical playing too. It sounds nice during adagio/legato playing, but the intonation may just upset that applecart too much. We'll see if I can tame it to work for this playing as well.

    -euphmaster-
     
  2. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    2,858
    67
    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Thanks for the post. That's a different view of Schiller horns than is usually found here.

    That brings up some general questions about bass trumpets:
    (1) Does it use a trombone or euphonium mouthpiece? Why do you need an adapter for the Yamaha 48? Is it a trumpet mouthpiece? If you were to use a trumpet mouthpiece (or a very small trombone mouthpiece), would you be able to play just as high as with a Bb trumpet?
    (2) When you specify range such as "High E, F and G" are those the same notes that trumpet players would refer to? I assume "Low C to F#" is an octave below what a Bb trumpet can play. So, does this mean that a bass trumpet has a full octave more usable range than a Bb trumpet?
    (3) Since you are coming to this instrument from a euphonium, does that mean that it would be considered as an acceptable substitute in a regular symphonic band? What about doubling on trombone parts?
    (4) In a jazz setting with a small mouthpiece, would it be considered more as a substitute for a trombone or could it play treble clef parts as a substitute for a flugelhorn? Which one would it sound more like?

    I ask these questions because I have been intrigued by the idea of a bass trumpet and I have tried playing a trombone with a trumpet mouthpiece and find that I can play just as high as on my trumpet but also an octave lower. Since a bass trumpet has the valves and the advantage of fitting into a smaller space, it seems that it might offer the best of both worlds.
     
  3. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    3,139
    1,601
    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    Okay I'm thick but is a bass trumpet much different from that odditiy the valve trombone

    Anderw
     
  4. euphmaster

    euphmaster New Friend

    38
    2
    May 18, 2007
    Cornyandy... no, it's not that much different. A bass trumpet will have more edge in it's sound than a valve bone.

    Comebackkid... wow you have a lot of questions. All-in-all, a bass trumpet will play an octave lower than a regular trumpet, it's still a Bb inst., and uses a trombone/euph mouthpiece. I wouldn't say that a bass trumpet is an acceptable subsitute for a euph, baritone, or bone, but I do think that you can add it to one or more of those sections for a nice blend in color. Popping it in a low brass ensemble for example could be nice. The bass trumpet is it's own entity, rare/odd, though an individual amongst horns, though it shares qualities of other instruments. As far as playing it with a trumpet mp, like you mentioned you do with a regular bone, I would be hesitant to WANT to do it, though it could be interesting. Why anyone would want to take an already intonation demanding instrument, and create more heartache for themselves by playing with an inappropriate mp is beyond me though (and I'm into free/experimental/noise jazz too).

    -em-
     
  5. graysono

    graysono Mezzo Forte User

    715
    215
    Jan 22, 2007
    Hyde Park, Utah
    Check out Serge Chaloff's solo on Opus de Funk with the Woody Herman band (2nd Herd?) It was originally on an LP called Road Band and I don't know where it is now. But it was/is a great example of the bass trumpet's use in a jazz setting.
     
  6. Ursa

    Ursa Piano User

    306
    16
    Jan 17, 2009
    Northern Michigan
    (1) A bass trumpet would use a tenor-trombone shank trombone mouthpiece, as do many entry-level euphoniums. Higher-end euphoniums (Besson, Willson, and the 6-series Yamahas) use a larger, bass-trombone shank mouthpiece. The Besson's mouthpiece shank is too large to fit a bass trumpet.
    (2) The bass trumpet, played in treble clef, has the same written range as the Bb trumpet, but sounds an octave lower. Low F# refers to the same 1-2-3-valved F# below the staff that you'd play on a standard trumpet.
    (3 and 4) A bass trumpet is going to sound something like a really small-bore valve trombone, or an alto slide trombone...along with the same intonation challenges as a valve trombone. Like a small-bore valve trombone or the alto slide trombone, it really doesn't have a use as a direct substitute for anything. You'd have to simply pick your spots carefully, and play the instrument where it's unique timbre can stand on its own merits.

    Bach makes a variety of really small tenor-trombone shank mouthpieces intended just for the bass trumpet, along with the alto and small valve trombones. If you do get a bass to evaluate, you might find them of great interest.
     
  7. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    2,858
    67
    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Thanks euphmaster and ursa for the information. It sounds like there are enough options for mouthpieces for me to experiment. I will keep my eyes open for a bass trumpet to try out.
     
  8. euphmaster

    euphmaster New Friend

    38
    2
    May 18, 2007
    It has been eight days since I've posted the review. I wanted to add an update, just as I am playing on this horn. It has become a lot more free blowing, especially in the areas that I mentioned originally that felt stiff. With the use of proper technique, a player can really do some damage with this horn. I would like to mention that I have found it necessary to hold a cloth in my left hand while playing; the nickel plating was getting tarnished beyond polishing VERY quickly. This solves the problem for the long haul, and actually makes holding the instrument more comfortable.

    -em-
     
  9. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    2,858
    67
    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    What could they do in the manufacturing process that would cause that? Are you sure it's nickel? Or is it your body chemistry? Ever had another horn with nickel in those areas?
     
  10. euphmaster

    euphmaster New Friend

    38
    2
    May 18, 2007
    I'm sure it's a combination of the nickel plating and my body chemistry. The horn is nickel plated; stated so by the manufacturer. I have never had a nickel played horn, only silver. Assuming that nickel plating is cheaper, I can see why it was used over silver plating. Doing something like that would only take a good cheap horn, and put it into another price bracket too, though I would almost rather pay a few hundred dollars more to have true silver plating. Getting the horn silver plated can always be done down the road, if I continue to find that this horn is worth the investment. So far so good!

    -em-
     

Share This Page