Discussion in 'Horns' started by fatpauly, Feb 24, 2004.

  1. fatpauly

    fatpauly Pianissimo User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Ellicott City, Maryland
    Well, being that I had the second ticket to Brother Tom's Travelling Wild Thing Show, and it has now progressed to the next person, I guess it is my turn to jot down my impressions of this instrument. As Pat (trickg) has already mentioned, I came over to his place last Monday and we had a little horn-fest. I brought over 5 of my horns for him to check out, and got to play his. I also could not resist trying out the Wild Thing at that time.

    Before I get into specifics, let me give you some information about my experience as a trumpet player. I started playing in the 6th grade and played through the 8th grade. Starting in high school, I abandoned the trumpet for cello, then abandoned the cello for a reel-to-reel deck in college. After a 30-year hiatus, I decided to get back into playing trumpet in January 2003. I bought a new horn (a Zeus Guarnerius), took a few months worth of lessons, started buying horns like crazy off ebay and other locations, and here I now sit. I do not play in any bands or at church or anywhere other than my own house. My crazy work schedule makes that impossible. Also, I am a bit of an iconoclast as far as playing - poor practice habits, playing many horns and mouthpieces in a sitting, and really progressing with no direction. Mostly I just want to play the sounds I hear in my head, and maybe someday they will get recorded in my studio.

    So, with that information on the table, let me say that when I play a new (to me) horn, the first 5 or 10 minutes of playing make a great impression on me. What was my impression of the Wild Thing after playing it for 5 minutes?

    What a beast it is!

    Within probably 10 notes, I could tell this horn is what I think is a superhorn - able to perform whatever the player demands at whatever volume level, with ease, grace, and a sense that there is always more under the hood. Immediately, I was taken by how even the tone of the horn projected through my entire range (about 2 1/2 octaves). With seemingly no effort, I could get the same tone playing low C and D as I could an octave or more up. Places where I usually expect a change, like slurring from B to C in the staff, were smooth and comfortable.

    I've seen people write that the WT is a jazz horn and not, perhaps the bestt choice for classical work. To some extent, would agree with that, but not that the horn is limited. Only that its real character and identity seemed to align more with a jazzier mood. I found that trying different mouthpieces greatly influenced my tone, so were I using the WT in playing something darker and more subdued, I would use my Denis Wick 4 or a Bach 7c Megatone. For brighter sounds, I fell back on my GR 64.7M* or Schilke 14a4a. These are the mouthpieces I use the most, so I am not surprised they worked in the WT for me.

    I tried each of the slides and really had not preference. Each imparts its own characteristic to the sound of the horn, and I liked them both. Being that I also switch off between the two rounded slides of my Zeus G and feel the same, this was no surprise to me. This brings up the inevitable comparison I wanted to test between the WT and the Zeus.

    To me, the differences between these horns are that the Wild Thing plays more consistently through my range than the Zeus, and has a bit more projection, especially in the lower registers. Of course, there is a difference in the quality of construction, with the WT clearly a finer crafted instrument. Not to say the Zeus is chopped liver, but it was clear to me that the Wild Thing benefits from superior craftsmanship. So is the WT worth the extra money?

    Well, I can only answer for me, and the answer is YES! Not that I am selling off all my horns to buy a Wild Thing, but if I were in the market for a top instrument from the Kanstul factory, I would place this horn at the top of the list. The quality of construction, integration, finish, and detailing of the Wild Thing is extremely high, and I from what I have heard, Flip's service after the sale is second to none. If I were a professional-level player, I would not hesitate to spend the $2500 it costs to get this level of attention in my instrument.

    Ok, what are the weak points of the horn? Not many, that is sure. To me a couple of things in the construction stood out. I don't really use valve slide stops, so I am not a fan of the standard threaded-post-and-lock-nuts on the 3rd valve slide. I prefer the simple elegance of the simple screw stop on the 1st valve, though the thought of the bare metal-to-metal contact that uses is a little disconcerting. Give me triggers!

    Also, I dunno the technical term, but the forward brace that connects the bell to leadpipe is too pointy! It is a long, thin design (elegant), but too sharp, and invariably caught my cloth as I wiped the horn down after use. Sometimes styling and function clash, and this, to me, is a fine example. Funny, tough, that elsewhere on the horn it was not an issue.

    Finally, I wasn't sure I would like the fancy, flat button caps at first. In the end I grew comfortable with them, but I am a toy lover, so having alternate caps available would be cool. I suspect that prospective owners might be able to work something out in this regard.

    Well, I that's all I can think of right now. Now that the WT is gone, I am stuck with my meager collection of Olds, Boston, Getzen, Conn, Zeus, and Selmer horns. I think the trumpets were jealous anyway and are glad to see the WT is gone. Those trumpets can be so petty at times! Simmer down, lads - daddy will play you tomorrow!

    A million thanks to Flip and Tom for this wonderful opportunity. Seems like the WT cornet and flugel are due for a road trip!

    Faithfully submitted,

    Paul Artola
    Ellicott City, Maryland
  2. pangaea

    pangaea Pianissimo User

    Nov 10, 2003
    nice review

    The hand-off has occurred, and I spent about an hour last night playing the WT. Thanks to Paul for letting me wake his family up early yesterday...sorry!

    I won't say much until I've played it more, but want to second the opinion that the WT is amazingly open across the horn--most impressive right off the bat was how open and easy the low register is. Below C it's beautiful, and I'm used to a schilke B1Lb (no slouch in the open-low register department).

    More to come!
  3. tom turner

    tom turner Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Georgia, USA

    This post has been copied under a fresh thread called "TOUR STOP #2--FATPAULY."

    It is now locked and I will soon delete this thread to clean up this section. The thread that was copied is identical to the one that is posted here.

    Before deleting this thread altogether I'll archive it in case any dispute arises concerning any editing on my part.

    Also, pangaea's initial comment on this thread has been pasted into a new thread called "TOUR STOP #2--PANGAEA


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