Testing trumpets

Discussion in 'Horns' started by trumpetpimp, May 12, 2004.

  1. trumpetpimp

    trumpetpimp Piano User

    Dec 6, 2003
    I got a good tip from a professional lately for testing instruments. He said that you go to ITG and see everyone pick up a horn, squeal like crazy as high as they can, and say "That's a great horn!", or not. He said that's a terrible way to test a trumpet. Of course you want to try out the upper register for response and intonation but he said one of the best things you can try is very soft breath attacks on middle G. He said you can tell a lot about how a trumpet will behave from the way it responds in the middle register on breath attacks. If it happens quick and easy you've got a good match between player, mouthpiece, and horn. If you have to work to make it speak in the middle register but the upper register plays great you haven't really got a very good horn in your hands.

    I was wondering if anyone else had any good stratgeies for testing trumpets. One thing is I'm going to make a list of tunes and excerpts I want to play on it. I hate driving away from the music store and thinking, "Oh, I wish I played the opening from that canzona on it. And My Funny Valentine, and the lead part from You Gotta Try, and the Concone, and that Charlier..." You get the idea. :-)

    Apart from harmonic slurs, double and triple octave scales, breath attacks, and specifics tunes....does anyone have any good testing tips?
  2. rafterman

    rafterman New Friend

    Mar 30, 2004
    Dutchess County NY
    Testing Tips

    From a first chair in a major symphony:

    "Go to Dillons with one or two players you respect. Play a lot of horns and reach a consensus on the best one."

    From me - a limited player who knows what he likes but realizes that dogs, monkeys and rats do too:

    1) Have a really outstanding player take the horn during an extended rehearsal or gig. Listen and judge the horn. Give it extra points if he won't give the horn back or says "now I hate my horn."

    2) Watch yourself in the mirror while playing the horn. Consider it if it brings out the color of your eyes and makes you look younger. (Because I even think about this criteria, using #1 makes a lot of sense.)
  3. nowherenearadouble

    nowherenearadouble Pianissimo User

    Nov 12, 2003
    When I try a horn for the first time I play 2 tunes. First one is the trumpet solo from Summon the Heroes. That is one piece that tells alot about the horn in your hands. Next I play Misty, much for the same reason as was said about the middle G in a previous post. Of course I also have people listening in the hall (at different places in the hall).
    Ultimately it needs to be played during a performance though, that is what some people forget! How many times do you here "Tried this horn. Man you should here it up top! Cant play it in a section though!"
    Could be interesting to here how everyone else does it.
  4. Happy Canuck

    Happy Canuck Piano User

    Oct 31, 2003
    Toronto, ON Canada

    JACKKANSTUL Pianissimo User

    The key to a superior horn is how well it RESONATES. To find out you need to play softly. If it takes very little air to get it going it is working better. Also when you play very loud it should not break up. That's what separates KANSTUL INSTRUMENTS, they resonate like no others. Beyond that you have to know how to line this tube up better so things slot well and the valves work lightning fast because they were machined properly. Which is not easy to do since the piston is hollow inside. All things major manufactures know but have a hard time doing. So when you go to ITG try a KANSTUL. You'll be looking like this if you do. :D :p 8) :wink:

    To The Better Resonating Tube-KANSTUL all the way.

    Jack Kanstul
  6. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    I agree with most of what Jack says here before he starts his advertisement. However, the thing about "little air" will be depend on the mpc selection, in my experience.

    Here's my list:
    Superior intonation in all registers
    Great Valves
    Rich tone
    High resonance
    Excellent projection
    Highly responsive, yet secure
    High quality parts and assembly
    Flawless finish


    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    Re: Testing Tips

    I can hear it now ... "Does this horn make me look fat?" :roll:

  8. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    "Only the black one... the green goes with your eyes!"
  9. Dr G

    Dr G Pianissimo User

    Nov 9, 2003
    I'll stick with the silver, its a closer match with my hair.
  10. rafterman

    rafterman New Friend

    Mar 30, 2004
    Dutchess County NY
    Short model cornets with several shepherd crooks don't work for everyone. The large number of bends in these horns can add pounds to the appearance of shorter players who are only slightly overweight or even normally built.

    Also, bright silver and gold are superior to brushed finishes for deceiving the viewer's eye and drawing attention from flaws in a player's image.

    Black, green and red horns perform a similar function - but for a shorter period. Sooner, rather than later, the viewer wants to get a very close look at the person who picked out that horn. In these situations, viewers are predisposed to seek out oddities in the players appearance to confirm their sense that something is not right here.

    Later in his career, Miles Davis used unusual horns to cultivate an image that disturbed "the man," break away from the button-down look used by jazzmen to promote acceptance in the square world, and better fit the liberation spirit of the late 60s. However, his was a purposeful fashion statement that most players today should not imitate - except when playing with George Clinton or funk cover bands.

    Oh well, I'm better at testing patience than testing trumpets. Sorry.

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