I've been needing a new trumpet for quite a while now, having been playing a Jupiter 300 student trumpet for the past 8 years. A while ago I finally persuaded my parents to take me to London to go to some music shops, I live near Derby in the East Midlands, which is probably the worst place in the UK to try out trumpets, although there seem to be one hell of a lot of trumpet players, they all play Yamaha Xenos! (No joke, about 15 of the 20 people in my bands do!). But I had played the xeno and I was not impressed, it was better then my Jupiter, but that's not saying much, I had to compare it to other pro model instruments first!
It was an early start (for me, I tend to get up at around 5 in the afternoon), so we were at beaconsfield by 11. Beaconsfield is where you live if you earn a few millions pounds a year, and find that a house in London is not good enough, and you want to spend 6 million pounds on a house. As soon as we came onto the highstreet of the town, we saw Rosehill instruments, the first of our 3 destinations.
Upon entering the shop, I was greeted by a tall thin man who played woodwind, who took me over to a man that knew considerably more about the best section of musical instruments! (brass by the way). He asked me to follow him upstairs, which I did, where he took me into a room, and said he would be right back with some instruments. When he came back he had with him a Bach Strad (ML 37 in lacquer with a reversed lead pipe), a Wilson 600 celebration (lacquer, with a reversed lead pipe), and a Challenger 2 (normal lead pipe, in Silver). He told me he would come back with a Schilke.
The Wilson: When I picked up the Wilson and blew a few notes into it, I found that it had a decent sound, but when I tried playing some of the stuff out of the Arban, I found it unresponsive, and it was difficult to get a good attack on notes with it.
The Bach: I've heard good things about the Bach strad, but when I played it, I found that although it was responsive, the highish register didn't sparkle enoguh (maybe due to the lacquer), and it didn't have such a nice tone compared to the Challenger and Schilke.
The Schilke: I had high expectations for the Schilke, being the most expensive out of them, but when I played it, it had a nice tone on any note I could play, but I had difficulty playing very low notes, and jumping between notes on it.
Challenger 2: When I started playing the Challenger, I loved it, it had all of the things that a good trumpet should have, all the good points of the above instruments, and more! Although this was the cheapest of the instruments I played at Rosehill, it was by far my favourite.
So far my favourite was the Challenger, i liked everything about it, but would it stand up to the instruments I played at Dawkes?
When I got to Dawkes, I was once again taken into a room, and was brought a list of trumpets to try out, I picked a Getzen 3050L, and Yamaha Xeno, a Bach Strad (normal lead pipe and silver this time), a New York 7 Strad, and a Yamaha New York artist model.
The Bach: I found that the Bach without a reverse lead pipe was much easier to play, and the sound was clearer and nicer above the G above Middle C. But I was still not overly impressed, and I wanted the Challenger back!
Yamaha Xeno: The same model as I had tried before, and I felt the same way, the sound was too harsh, and it stayed harsh whether I played pp or ff (not surprised about ff though..) it didn't compare to the others at all.
Getzen 3050L: When I picked up the getzen, I could tell it was a quality instrument, when I played it, I knew it was, ti exceeded all the ones I had played before then, apart from the Challenger, which it drew with.
New York 7 Bach Strad: What a looker!!! It was the best looking instrument I had tried out so far, and it was also the nicest sounding, it was brilliant in all ways, yet it still couldn't beat the challenger, I don't know why i like that Challenger so much, must the the German in me ;) . It had a brilliant sound, even with 1st and 3rd slides that wouldn't budge, it still was quite in tune on a bottom C sharp and D!
Yamaha New York: WOW!! What an instrument, it was perfect, it could scream, and it could sound like a flugelhorn, even with my worn out lips, I could go right up to high C, and hold it! I didn't think anything could beat it (apart from price), but then I met Will.
On the second day of the trip, I went even further down south to a small village of the name Elstead, in it, lives Will Spencer, a guy that has quite a reputation. He supplies the RAF marching bands with trumpets, after beating 15 other companies for the deal, he drew with Yamaha, but not just any Yamaha, the Chicago, one of their 2 most expensive Bb turmpets, and then he beat it! So, I had high expectations, but unlike with the Schilke, these were not to be misplaced, when I walked into his shop I could see that this was a man who knew his stuff, he immediately began explaining to me all about the different parts of the instrument, how they affect how it plays, what someone like me should be looking at etc. then he let me play one of the RAF trumpets, and I was blown away, it was far better then any of the ones I'd played before, even the Challenger which i had fallen in love with, I tried quite a few combinations out, found a few that I hated, and a few that I loved, I decided that this was the trumpet for me.
If you're ever nearby, you should phone in, and visit! These are trumpets that will make you regret buying your last one (unless it's a monette, I've never played one, but they're very heavy horns, and Wills are extremely light).
Thanks for reading.
P.s I am do not endorse any of the trumpets above, nor do I have any of them.... yet!!!