I am one of Jason Harrelson's first modified horn clients. He calls my horn the Triton 965. The original horn was a Benge before his modification. Jason also finished the horn in a Satin Gold finish. If you go to his E-bay store you can see some beautiful pictures of the horn he built for me.
By profession I am a Worship Pastor at a large church in For Worth, TX and have been a trumpet player for 28 years. I am an active player and our auditorium seats 3500 so I needed a big horn! I also enjoy intimate jazz ballad work and play with some very gifted players in the Metro Plex. We just got back for an 9 day gig in Europe two weeks ago. Jason, the Triton was a big hit in Europe!
OK, enough about me and now about the horn...
A year ago I wrote a review on another forum of this horn and got attacked, or Jason's did. A lot has changed in a year which is in large part to Jason's visit to ITG, a horn tour and more clients that are speaking out for this artist and master builder. Jason, I am happy to see your acceptance into the trumpet world!
My horn has his top of the line, or one of his top, modifications. From beginning to the end of my working relationship with HMT was great...we did have a bit of stress at times but that was my problem and my fear of working (sending $) with someone who was at that time totally unknown, Jason was very patient.
(PRO) I am not an engineer and Jason has explained his designs on this forum but from my perspective the idea is that a lot of trumpets waste sound energy and that HMT designs focus more energy out the front of the bell rather then around the horn. Not sure if this makes sense but from a laymen's perspective the horn is still easily heard and the freedom to create the sounds that are in your head are easier on this Triton by far then any others trumpets I have ever played...and I have played many top horns. (CON) The 965 has a unique fin design on the bell among other things. At first I was so self conscious on gigs of this "look" that I tried to sell it but the amazing, amazing sound would not allow me to give it up. Now I am use to the "look" and it sure makes for many interesting conversations ha. If your happy in a "Bach 37 everyone looks the same" world then this is not your horn.
(PRO) The horn was designed mostly for Jazz ballads and lyrical solo work. I wanted it "Smokey dark and fat" HMT also modified a Monette B1-1Fl to make it look like an intregal mouthpiece on the horn...again, you can see pictures of this too on Jason's E-bay Store. I know Monette says that any modifications of their equipment will ruin it but that was not true in this case and the horn, with this huge mouthpiece, makes for a "killer" jazz horn. When I use a more traditional mouthpiece on this instrument it screams with little effort. It really is amazing what it can do. PPP to FFF with total ease and you cannot over blow it...I dare you! Slotting, Core Sound, Tonal Color, Dynamics, Projection and Expression are effortless. (CON) NONE! I have been playing it for a year and I still get a kick every time I first warm up!
(PRO) The horn feels so solid in your hand that people smile before they even play it. The "mother" of all lead pipes combined with the valve trim kit with top and bottom caps and special bell treatment have a perfect balance and feel that makes you feel like you could play any note you've ever heard.( CON) None from me, but don't buy this horn if you don't like heavy weight horns.
Detail and Finish:
(PRO) The horn modifications are very well made and artistically thought out. The braces and welds were finished off nicely and there is nice attention to detail throughout the instrument. (CON) This is my biggest issue with this otherwise fantastic horn. As I mentioned earlier, the horn came to me in Gold Satin finish. My trumpet was in a batch of horns that Jason was having finished in gold for the first time. He sends them off to a well know major plating company. Long story short, the finish was uneven and had some wear marks when I took delivery (you cannot see this in the E-bay pics)? I called the plating company and they told me it was due to the prep work of HMT not their treatment process. I HATE THIS as it marks an otherwise great instrument. In fairness to Jason I am sure he has done many more horns since then and has worked out his prep work issues for Gold finished horns.
I hope this review is helpful for anyone considering an HMT modification on their horn? I have tried to be as truthful as I could and I am proud to own the 965 Triton.