WILD RIDE STOP #21 -- Cincinnati, OH

Discussion in 'Horns' started by swthiel, Sep 4, 2004.

  1. swthiel

    swthiel New Friend

    Background. I first heard about the Wild Thing via the internet prior to my most recent comeback. Knowing that my old horn (a Bach Strad ML, 37 bell) could really stand an overhaul (since completed), I toyed with the idea of buying a Wild Thing. The considerations that stopped me at the time were the cost and the fact that I'd been coming back every year or so for a long time ... I was uncertain that this was the comeback that would stick. (Fortunately, this was the one that finally "took.") Almost a year into my comeback, I bought a Kanstul Chicago MLP and had the Bach overhauled.

    I play mostly in church and combo settings, once in a while in a big band, although the big band playing is picking up. I'm not a professional player, but I do consider myself to be a serious amateur player.

    My points of reference for this review are my current main Bb horns, the Bach Strad and the Kanstul Chicago. I use the Bach in "serious" settings and the Kanstul in combo/big band playing. I've had the Bach since it was brand new, so it really sets my expectations for the qualities of a "good" trumpet. I currently play on an early '70's Bach 5C mouthpiece, and I used it for all the play tests that I describe below.

    I was able to use the horn at home, in a combo gig (keyboard, bass, drum, guitar, trumpet), and in a big band rehearsal. I only used the #1 slide. I wanted to record a couple of sound clips at home, but had some major technology problems that I couldn't resolve in time.

    Now for the review ...

    Mechanics. I echo the high praise you've seen before regarding workmanship. It's really a beautiful horn, and has a "solid" feel in the hand. It somehow feels different from my Bach due to differences in perceived weight and balance, but feels great in the hand. However, I love the way my Chicago feels in my hand, and prefer it to the Wild Thing and my Bach. The WT's valve action is closer to that of my Chicago than to that of my Bach; I prefer my Bach's valve action. The valve slides are comparable on all three horns. I suspect that these preferences are all really personal, and many of you who are reading this would prefer the Wild Thing's valves and feel in the hand.

    Playability. This is the area about which I was most concerned, having never spent a lot of time on a large bore horn. The only time I've played a large bore horn was when I tried out a Kanstul Coliseum; my conclusion from that trial was that the horn was too big for me. The Wild Thing was a pleasant surprise. Yes, the WT is free blowing, but I didn't get the sense of falling in to the horn that I got with the Coliseum. It felt more like my Chicago, except that I found it a bit easier to drive in my usable upper register (which is up to a 2-ledger-line D). Above this range all playability limitations I observed were due to the player, not to the horn! One pleasant surprise was how the WT let me bark out my lower range (A - F# below the staff), where I occasionally have some problems, especially on my Bach. It's really easy to open up the sound ... using the horn with the combo (w/o amplification), I was easily able to make myself heard!

    The only thing I struggled with was intonation. I didn't check it with a tuner, but I found myself needing to make different adjustments with the slides and embouchure to play in tune in a big band rehearsal. I attribute this to my habituation to my other horns ... by the end of rehearsal I wasn't worried about this. I think it just took me a little time to habituate to the differences in blow and innate intonation of the horn.

    Sound. Basically, when I play a good trumpet, I sound like me, and that's true for the Wild Thing as well. I only used the #1 slide because I really didn't like the way I sounded with the #2 slide ... I really had to work to get a sound that I like with the #2.

    I do try to use a different sound for jazzy playing than I use for church playing, and I found it a little easier to get my jazz sound with the Wild Thing than with my Chicago. I asked my wife to listen to me play several things on both horns (WT and Chicago) without looking ... she couldn't hear a difference. In statistical terms, the variability of the player exceeded the difference between the horns.

    I didn't spend as much time trying to get my legit sound, but it's doable. I suspect that if I'd spent longer at it, I would have been able to sound like I sound on my Bach.

    Bottom Line. The Wild Thing is a superb instrument! It was a pleasure to play, and I can certainly understand why the Wild Thing lovers love their horns.

    Thanks to Tom and Flip for making the "Wild Ride" possible!

    Steve Thiel
    Cincinnati, OH
  2. the chief

    the chief Pianissimo User

    Feb 9, 2004
    Cool. Thanks for the review, I can't wait to try it.
  3. bikelawyer

    bikelawyer New Friend

    Sep 22, 2004
    Cincinnati, OH
    Wild Thing Cincinnati

    Wow, another WT in Cincy... I have a weird one, I guess...It was purchased by a college kid in Kansas somewhere. He then either screwed up the cleaning or tried to strip the lacquer but now its down to multi-colored raw brass! ... in any event I bought it off the trumpetherald website for a pretty good price due to the condition...he had installed heavy bottom caps and there was only one set of slides. The look of the thing has a very "smoky bar" feel to it

    I have played a Bach [32000] since the mid 1970s. It's a C horn with BFLat slides... what did I know, I was 17, playing lead in all bands/orchestras and was the only one without a "silver" trumpet... turns out it is a hell of a horn.

    I am a returning player... playing in the living room for 20 yrs, occassionaly out, but not regularly. The past 2 yrs I've played out a LOT, mostly blues or rock. I switched back to the C horn for all that since it was easier for me to solo in A than B, or in E than Fsharp~!

    Which brings me to the WT... I wanted a BFlat horn, this one came up the same time as a Calicchio... don't know what I was thinking but I bought both. After playing a Large bore Bach for 20 yrs, I couldnt get down to ML Calicchio, but the WT, WOW, what a horn... I wrote Flip immediately about it.. .it was great.... great sound, great mechanics... my stuff sounded good from the low FSharp up the stratosphere... I went to California on vacation and called Flip... he invited to his "Shop" which I expected to be a storefront... it was his home. His wife and dog greeted us and took us to the basement. Flip was shocked by my horn's appearance - stripped raw brass -- and spent an hour or more going over it, tweaking it. We replaced the heavy caps, etc... now it sounds even better. I ended up buying a good mute, a couple books, etc...Flip and his wife were wonderful!

    I can't say enough about this horn. I've had it a couple years now and play it all the time. Blues, jazz, ska, funk, soul... weddings, funerals, receptions, big band, combo, and even funked up with my Yamaha effects box...it sounds great!


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