I was playing major scales this morning on my old beat-up 1950 Blessing Standard after reading several posts and began wondering about this topic. We often post about briefly trying this or that horn and then declaring it to be a stellar performer, just so-so, or maybe a real dog. Do such declarations truly have to do more with the horn of the moment or haphazard mouthpiece matching?
When I began my comeback with this ugly old Standard, it truly seemed to be a real dog. I was trying to play it with an equally ugly beat-up Conn 4. Other than lousy sound, ragged articulation and poor intonation this combination....really stunk! I learned lots here on TM and other places as I proceeded and came to more completely understand the importance of the right mouthpiece. After considerable trial and error, I ended up with an old Blessing 13 mouthpiece. The difference was night and day! What had been a dog turned into a fine playing vintage trumpet. Am I suggesting that this combination is equal to my other finer Bb trumpets? No, certainly not, but it really isn't too bad either. The lesson for me was and is to be wary of passing judgement based upon a first fleeting impression.
I am a proponent, like most of us, of trying before buying when it comes to horns. I have not really taken my own advice, though. My Severinsen, Strad and Super Artist were all bought un-played. I do not remember having a wonderful playing experience with any of them right after unpacking them and sticking a random mouthpiece in their receivers. However, after some thoughtful experimentation with mouthpieces they each have become fine instruments for me.