Wild Thing North Fort Worth, TX Stop.

Discussion in 'Horns' started by Dan Millheim, Dec 1, 2004.

  1. Dan Millheim

    Dan Millheim Pianissimo User

    Sep 4, 2004
    Fort Worth ,TX
    First, I would like to thank Tom Turner, and of course, Flip Oaks for allowing me to "test drive" the Wild Thing Trumpet. You have been wonderful to work with and I appreciate the opportunity you gave me to live with this horn for five days!

    My Review:

    Personal Background: (Let me preface this section by writing that I include the following brief personal information because for many of us that have followed the tour we enjoy hearing about those who tested the horn and what they do as much as reading their impressions about the Wild Thing).

    I am 43 and have been playing trumpet since the 4th grade. As a High School student I trained to be classical musician and had the privilege of working with some world class teachers including studies with Phil Smith of the NYPO - at the time I was his youngest student. Playing Trumpet payed for much of my college and graduate school via scholarships and gigs. In college I gave my life to Jesus Christ as well as my musical ambitions-trumpet playing was all consuming up to this point in my life. I thought this new focus and faith might mean giving up playing but instead it opened up an exciting career and new passion to use my music in full time vocational church music. For the last 19 years I have supported my family and served the Lord in three different churches as a full time pastor to artists. Presently, I serve as Worship Pastor at Harvest Church (www.theharvestchurch.org) and lead a worship and programing staff of six and together we are responsible for over 400 "artist types" that serve our church in the area of: Music, Art, Dance, Media, Sound, Lighting, Drama and other related artistic expressions. I am still an active trumpet player and, in addition to contemporary worship music, I love jazz music. This past August we did another jazz tour to Europe (my eleventh) and I play a bit around town as well ha.

    Horns I play and compared to the Wild Thing :

    Like many of you I have played a lot of horns through the years. My all time standby instrument has been a vintage Schilke b1 tuning bell with Beryllium Bronze Bell and a huge 20d2d mouthpiece ( influenced by my classical studies and teachers who played BIG mouthpieces). Two years ago I took delivery on a Jason Harrelson large bore Triton II 965 with a custom modified (by Jason) Monette B1-1 mouthpiece ( another huge mouthpiece). You can see this horns on e-bay as well as read my review of this instrument on this board. The Triton II, while a bit strange looking, is the finest instrument I have ever played BUT being that it is a heavy horn it does not do well with mutes.

    My WT research:

    For several years I had been looking for just the right horn to play jazz ballads with mutes. Since I play larger mouthpieces with larger bored horns I thought the .470 WT might be my horn. Our church auditorium seats 3500 so I like a big horn as well. I did a lot of reading and studying of every review I could find on the Wild Thing. Based on what I had learned I had even recommended the WT to other professional horn players in our area and recently one of my friends bought one from Flip. To be able to test the WT as part of the tour was a wonderful privilege and I thought that afterwards I would be placing an order but after the five days I can now say that it is not the horn for me. Let me explain...

    My observations:

    I would agree with most everything posted here about the construction of the horn. It is very nicely made and you can tell that Flip takes great pride in his instrument. The custom fitted WJ case is worth the extra money and I loved how it showed off the instrument... I use a Wiseman double case and would say this WJ hard-shell was very cool for a lot less money. I have read all the material about the different slides and their various playing characteristics and had no problem, after a few days, playing either the #1 or #2 and only wish the "test horn" would have also come with some of the new Jazz oriented slides. I did notice some intonation problems but with some practice these went away as I got a "feel" for the horn. The WT blew freely for the most part but FOR ME it seemed that it opened up more if you "put on the gas", so to speak, in the upper range then when playing down in the "fat ballad" , smokey jazz range which is where I live. Like many people that play this horn, I agree the .470 bore was very nice and not too difficult to fill even with my larger mouthpieces. The valves where smooth and fluid but surprisingly noisy...to the point of distraction for me. I had also read that the horn was designed to be able to mimic various playing styles or sounds and I had so hoped I could get it to play big and dark with the .470 bore and be a lighter weight horn I could use for jazz and mute work but, when it was all said and done, it was not much different then my Schilke (which is not a dark horn at all). I kept wanting to make this great horn work for me but every time I played it I kept thinking, "wow what a great lead horn" but that is not what I need. When I compared it against the Harrelson Triton II there was no contest and the Triton II blew the WT away for being a big, fat, mellow, effortless horn-but you can't stick a mute in it... ahhh. Also, since I got the horn over the Thanksgiving holiday I had a bunch of friends and family over at the house and many of them are musicians. I had them sit in one room as I played all three horns without them knowing which was which. Every person I had listen said the Schilke and the WT were to close to call but when they heard the Triton II that was the sound they liked best. I took it to work and had my music director listen as we blew through a few tunes together- He is a world class jazz keyboardist. After only a couple of songs he commented that it was a nice lead horn but that it was over priced.

    My conclusions: Great horn if you want to play screaming lead or section work. Awesome horn if your comparing it to a Bach or other production line instrument...ouch, but it's true. This horn is made by a great, great guy and Tom is wonderful too-you would be well care for by this team. I enjoyed the horn and again am so thankful for the trial. I am sure that there are many, many great jazz ballad guys that are far better players then I will ever hope to be who play this horn and love it but it is not the right horn for me. I also think that for the money there are some other great custom level horns out there that are comparable that might be a bit cheaper too. Thanks again for the experience.

    Now does anyone have a great jazz mellow horn I can stick a mute in?

    Finish Well,
    Dan Millheim
  2. bigaggietrumpet

    bigaggietrumpet Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Nazareth, PA
    Not to turn away from the original topic, sorry to hear you didn't like the horn as well as I, but you and I seem to enjoy the same qualities in a horn-dark, warm enough to melt a stick of butter, and OPEN. If I were you, I'd go try a Kanstul ZKT 1500 and see if you like that one, and your standard mutes should also fit.
  3. pwillini

    pwillini Pianissimo User

    Mar 4, 2004
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Dark horn you say, eh? Have you tried any of the horns with the copper bells like the Kanstul or the ZeuS Olympus? They've got to be that smoky sound you're after. A bit cheaper would be to look for teh old Conns with the Coprian bells. Paul Ayick was selling his 10B a little while ago, email him through his web site to see if he has it available.

    When all else fails, call Dave Monette, he'll make you a smoky horn, and lighten your wallet a bit too. But you'll have a great horn!
  4. W Scott

    W Scott Piano User

    Dec 8, 2003
    Carson City, NV.
    Yeah, try an old Conn 10B or even a Constellation for that dark sound. What's nice about these horns is that you can make 'em play dark or scream on them depending on what mouthpiece you are using.
  5. nieuwguyski

    nieuwguyski Forte User

    Aug 9, 2004
    Santa Cruz County, CA
    I'm speaking out of heavy-horn ignorance here: Why would a heavy horn not do well with mutes?
  6. Bebop2

    Bebop2 New Friend

    Jan 9, 2004
    Dark horn

    Have you tried the Selmer Chorus 80J? This horn a very dark sound with a lot of core to each note. I think it favors the low and mid range. But it might not work in a big band setting.

    I did try the Selmer TT and din't care for the feel or the sound.

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