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Discussion in 'Horns' started by tom turner, May 31, 2004.
What was your impression of the Flip Oakes "Wild Thing" trumpet?
Wild Thing in AL
I'm sorry it has taken me a few days to post my impressions on the WT. This has been a really busy week. I just got back from the new Harry Potter flick with my family, and I had a few minutes after everyone else has gone to bed.
I handed the Wild Thing off on Tues. and I was really sorry to have to let it go. I want to thank Flip and Tom for the opportunity to test drive that baby. This has really been a unique experience for me, as I've not been able to play many different horns over the years.
First a little about me. I'm a comeback player, now in my 3rd comeback year. This is after a 20 + year layoff where I would basically play once or twice a year for giggles. I started back playing again when my church music director organized an orchestra. I've played the same horn through HS, college and my comeback, a Los Angeles Benge 3X serial #10***. I've played very few other horns over the years. I've tested a few Yamaha's including the Xeno, and I've played my son's Bach Strad 37. I've never really played a horn that I preferred over my Benge, at least until now. The Benge is a very fine free-blowing instrument with a bright, clear tone. I had it overhauled including replated (silver), and the valves redone 2 years ago, and it basically looks new. Over the past year, I have explored the idea of buying a different horn with a little darker tone, but needed a horn that is versatile enough to play lead. Well I'll be hard pressed to find a horn that fits that bill better than the WT.
The first thing I noticed when I unpacked the horn was the unique Walt Johnson case. It was compact and really protected the horn well. It was easy to transport, and I liked the shoulder strap, which made it easier to carry my other horn case or flugle case. The horn was a thing of beauty with excellent fit and finish. The first and third slides moved very easily and the valve action was fast and smooth. I wasn't sure if I would like the thin metal finger buttons, as I was used to the mother of pearl buttons on my Benge. However, I think I could get used to these because it made the valve action very fast- faster than my horn. I also liked the shorter valve stroke.
The second thing I noticed was the solid feel to the horn, but not too heavy. My Benge is very lightweight, and the Wild Thing definitely felt heavier, and at the same time felt well balanced. It was a full 3/4 to 1 inch shorter than my horn, but had a thicker wrap and much larger bell. I wasn't sure I could handle such a large bore horn, and initially I felt I ran out of air easier. However, the more I got used to the horn the less I noticed this. I played with both the #1 and #2 slides and I couldn't personally tell much difference in the blow. I eventually gravitated to the #2, but I think it was because psychologically I knew it had the tapered bore. My general impressions of the way it played were very favorable. In the lower register, it had that thick, full sound which was darker than my Benge. When I played above high C the tone brightened considerably, but did not have the edge that I get from my horn. The horn slots extremely well, and intonation was good through out my range. I experimented with several different mouthpieces. I primarily play a Monette LT B6L, and this is the mouthpiece I used most; but I also played around with a Bach 1 1/2 C, a Schilke 14 B, and a Yamaha Bobby Shew Jazz. Once I got used to the feel of the horn, I didn't have problems using the more open backbore, deeper cup Bach and Yamaha. In fact I loved the dark sound I was getting from the deeper cup.
The true test for me was when I played the horn at band rehearsal Saturday and church services Sunday. I had many compliments from the other trumpet and brass players. They loved the rich, fat sound that I got with it, and I loved the fact that I didn't get tired and run out of air as I thought I might. The horn played great and slotted well up to F above high C. The high D and E tend to flat on my horn, but I didn't have the same intonation problem with the WT. It also blended well with the other trumpets including a Bach Strad and UMI Benge.
As the saying goes, "all good things must come to an end" and thus on Tues. I shipped the Wild Thing off to Georgia to the next lucky guy on the tour. Again, I want to thank Tom and Flip for allowing me to participate in this grand experience. I plan to try to play a few more horns before making my decision on a purchase, but the WT will certainly be hard to beat.
If you don't mind me asking, what part of Bama are you in? I'm in Tuscaloosa and didn't sign up for the tour in time to get the horn on this leg. I should be getting it when it finishes the Southern rounds before it goes up north. I definitely can't wait. I'm school will have started by then so I can compare it to a ZeuS Olympus that a fellow student has.
What part of AL are you from?
I live in Anniston. We're pretty close to the GA line, so I guess that is how it dipped down here and then back to GA. It came to me from North Carolina. Do you play in the Bama band? I'm an Ole Miss alumni myself. Good luck on the coming football season except when you play us of course. We'll see if we're any good post-Eli.
Yep, I'm in MDB. As far as the football team is concerned, I we're still trying to find out if we're any good post-Coach Stallings!