Stage 1 California "Light" Review

Discussion in 'Horns' started by Heavens2kadonka, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

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    Lebanon, TN
    I'm currently in between Christmas gigs, so I must be brief. :-(

    Check my signature, and you guys will probably guess what this horn's review will be like. :lol:

    I also owe you guys a review on another new model from NYTC, the Bach Strad-esque VINTAGE model.

    Van
     
  2. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Age:
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    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    Alright, little late on review. Here we go!

    APPEARANCE:

    Pretty. This horn is raw brass, which means you see the horn without anything covered up. Any solder globs? NOPE. Any irregular parts, strangely fit braces, rings? NOPE. This is fine with me!

    I like raw brass horns. Very antique look.

    Now, the LOOK of this horn. The leadpipe is a special-make Phaeton pipe (I believe there is more venturi in the reciever, and the pipe is more conical in look, but I may be incorrect). The reciever is one of the first things people notice. Rounded and cool, is all I say there.

    The finger ring I liked so much on the Classic? Yup, its on this horn. The ring on the 3rd is a fully-rounded ring, which I like. The 1st hook. Ehh, I am neutral on 1st slides.

    The bracing? Bach-esque, but the center brace part (The "Ball") is a bit larger in diameter than normal.

    The bell? Oh man! The bell is large, noticeable. If you dont notice the leadpipe, you notice the bell. The bell is strange-looking, actually. If you are looking in the bell from away, the light gives the bell a stange shape. Almost like its not rounded. Very strange.

    The valve block is another interest point. Heavy-look, which is very interesting, since this is supposed to be a "lightweight" model.

    I prefer the straight water keys on this horn as well.

    Only one engraving on this horn. The reciever, says "STAGE 1"

    Oh, and theres the serial number on the valve block, too.


    SCORE: 9.5 / 10 (Would be perfect, but I need to buff this horn before I can be perfectly happy.)

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    MECHANICS:

    3rd slide is the only slide that feels like it needs more initial breaking in. Its the only place I still get the black stuff. All of the other slides are perfect.

    I have never been a big fan of recessed caps. Even the slight recessions on Getzens and EVEN MIRAPHONE EUPHONIUMS!

    However, the valve action on this horn is such that even *I* can't complain. These valves do not feel heavy, and there is that silky feel I get from Inderbinen and Eclipse. Now, if something gets in between the valve and the caps, say, a cloth, the valve will stick. Minor complaint, but I HAVE to be nit-picky before I give a perfect 10.


    SCORE: 9.5 / 10 (These valves are the only recessed caps I actually like! These actually have smooth, not clunky, action. I can feel the extra time put into the mechanics on this horn.)

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    BLOW/INTONATION/FEEL:

    This horn was strange, in that I.......

    HATED

    ........this horn for the firts two days. This horn's blow is different. People used to a Bach-like resistance will be aggravated at first. You have to lay back with this one. The horn doesnt tighten up throughout the register, which is something I'm REALLY not used to.

    However, I already notice an increase in endurance. Especially when I move between registers. Oh, and register is improved. Upper register is brillant, and lower register is fat. It all locks in. And that lack of resistance, when I get used to it, is GREAT!

    So thumbs up on the blow and feel.

    Intonation? Well, I feel like I have to pull out more on this horn. However, I'm guessing I'm just still trying to tighten up my chops out of habit.


    SCORE: 10 / 10 (Love it. Two thumbs way up! Anything that helps range and doesnt fight you up high and down low is beyond great. If I could give a higher score, this would be an "11")

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    SOUND:

    Heres where I start rambling.

    (I've always loved Yamaha student and intermediate horns. In fact, I wished more horns had a sound like them. Very vibrant, very lively. Oh, and the blow is just SOOOO easy.)


    The California is a light feel, but doesnt go overboard. The light, easy-feeling blow of a Yammie student is found here. Really love this.


    (I've also loved the ZeuS Olympus. Call me crazy, but its just got a huge sound that is not that hard to control. Also, it rings! Thunk the bell, and MAN!)


    The California is braced and just feels like an Olympus in your hands. Thunk the bell, and it sounds like a railroad track bell! Its amazing!


    (And yes, I've always had a spot in my heart for a Bach 37. Ringy, yet warm, because of the rim. Standard, blendable horn.)


    The California does not become too ringy, nor too dark. Its a perfect in between. Its not a Bach 37, its better. More warm than ringy.

    This horn can be drastically changed, with the heavy caps. The heavy caps controls the feel a bit more, like they lock in better, and the sound is dark with a slight ring. Without the caps, the sound is vibrant, yet controlled. The sounds and feels are different, but not absurdly so. Its the same horn, with two different, beautiful sounds.


    SCORE: 10 / 10 (The two sounds thing reminds me a lot of the old NY Stage 1 I fell in love with. Its amazing.)

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    OVERALL: 9.75 / 10

    This horn is the perfect 10. I really just became nit-picky just in case something comes along in the future that blows this horn away.

    However, I am not exactly convinced a better horn will come along anytime soon.

    This horn takes everything I loved about trumpets, from different horns, and put them all together in one package. This is the horn I dreamt about. The sound is close to a MR, with more brilliance; and without the caps, its more like a raw brass 37. This is so much like the old Stage 1 NY I feel in love with, its insane.

    The feel is easy and responsive, like the lightweight horns I love. However, the sound isn't sacrificed because of the light weight ring.

    The big sound is like those Olympuses I love. Yet, because it isn't a large bore, its still able to play well soft. I am still blown away by how much sound this horn gets as a more medium bore.

    It also feels great in the hands. The valves are silky, and the slides are smooth as well.


    This horn is a perfect synthesis of everything I wanted from a horn, with NOTHING that I didn't want in a trumpet. Its perfect. For me, anyways.

    Van
     
  3. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Van,

    That's Cool - sounds like a great horn.

    Can you sumarize the design differences between the California and the California Light models?

    Also, any pics for us to see?

    Thanks,

    Greg
     
  4. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Age:
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    Lebanon, TN
    The California had two swoop bell braces, and the bottom braces on the 1st and 3rd are sheet.

    The light has only the center bell brace. The brace on the 1st and 3rd are very small. The bracing style is reminiscent of an Olympus: very light. The bracing itself looks Bach-esque, but the middle piece is very round, very cool-looking.

    I believe Felix is about to post the Light model on his site. He's recently posted the Vintage. He's JUST recieved a shipment of these horns.

    Another California Light is going to Indiana, to Dr. Fox of Ibowtie Brass. If anyone is in the northwestern Kentucky or southern Indiana region, be sure and give Dr. Fox a call.

    Van
     
  5. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Will the price be the same as the other California model?
     
  6. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Age:
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    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    Aye, same price as the original California.

    I also know that Felix has a heavyweight model California as well. I havent heard much about this model, though....

    I am trying to talk Felix into maybe doing a C trumpet version of the California in later years.

    Van
     
  7. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    I can't wait!

    I can't wait to get my hands of some of this new stuff! Felix and I have spoken about some of these new axes, and they sound amazing!

    TTFN

    D/&out
     
  8. Clarence

    Clarence Mezzo Forte User

    Age:
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    Jun 23, 2005
    san diego
    Van, i asked you before about the sound compared to the pheaton 2030.
    Did you notice and major drifferance between the two as far as tone?
     
  9. NYTC

    NYTC Forte User

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    Nov 1, 2004
    Brooklyn,NY
    I do have a heavy version of the California,which is the same body and valves,but the bell is a 2 -piece,plus it is larger and heavier then standard.This is the only differense.
    Leigh only assambled one piece,and it is now played by Garret Savluk of "Boston Horns".
    This is the only prototype available for now.
     
  10. NYTC

    NYTC Forte User

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    Nov 1, 2004
    Brooklyn,NY
    Hey Clarence.
    How is it hanging?
    Are you talking about the Phaeton Custom,or a Stage 1?
    In any case,the Phaetom Custom plays completely different then the Phaeton 2030 standard.Everything was changed on that horn.
     

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