How Good Does A Trumpet Have To Be? Part 2

I was sent this response from one of our other sites which seems to confirm my thoughts on my previous post “How Good Does A Trumpet Have To Be”? Part 1 “By chance I can across comments by Algridas Matonis (Algirdas Matonis) who is a Euphonium player in River City Brass – both of them are ‘big’ in the USA and produce some ‘good stuff’. It seems like AM supports the view that it is possible and practical to produce excellent music on ‘lesser quality’ instruments as demonstrated in this video of him talking and playing a ‘student’ instrument”.

How Good Does A Trumpet Have To Be?

If you ask most trumpet players this question the answer is usually “I need one better than the one I’m playing on now!” But is this a true evaluation of our current instrument? To fully understand what I am about to say, I will approach this question from two different perspectives; How good does the instrument have to be to satisfy its player? and…… How good does the instrument have to be to make a difference to the listener? How good does the instrument have to be to satisfy its player? Every musician wants to be able to perform with…

Starting Over…again part 6

One of the greatest joys I have experienced while writing this blog for the past 7 years is when readers write in with their own views and opinions. This is a very fine example of such a reader. His name is Felice Sobrero and after viewing my post he left a comment on his experience with the same issue I was covering which was being able to practice in a confined or volume conscious area adjacent to neighbors. Felice graciously agreed to share his more extended experiences with me on his solution to our common problem. I think you will…

What is a Flugel Horn and Do I need to own one?

The flugelhorn, also spelled fluegelhorn, flugel horn or flugelhorn has a long history in European countries but is relatively new to ours. Its popularity in the states probably dates back to the fifties through the use of such well known names in jazz as Shorty Rogers, Kenny Baker, Clark Terry, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Nat Adderley and Art Farmer. The purpose of the flugel was to give the player an alternative to the edgy, powerful trumpet sound. During the Bebop period (1945-1960) the trumpet was king, but when cool jazz started to gain a following in…

Solving your Jazz and Legit Mouthpiece Problems

On one day you are playing Brahms in an orchestra and the next you are playing Kenton in a club and the choice of sound is becoming a problem. One requires a soft and gentile timbre and the other a more edgy tone with an increased high range. One solution would be to change trumpets for each situation but at the cost of instruments today, who has that kind of cash. Another possibility would be to attempt to color your tone with your existing equipment but you will find this is only an act of desperation. This scenario was exactly…

Are You Pushing Or Pulling Your Valves Down?

This may seem to be a strange question to be asking but the answer may determine the proper function and life span of your valves. I have recently been added to the list of unemployed musicians in the Branson, Missouri area. Our show season runs from March through December and due to the fact that we now have some time off, I thought it time to check the condition of my equipment. Due to the fact that I have been experiencing some problems with my first valve, I decided to look it over for any unusual wear or damage. Unfortunately…

Saying Good Bye To An Old Friends

After several decades of working with this great cup mute, it may be time to retire him (her), for newer and more improved models are now available. Your corks have been replaced at least a dozen times. Your bottom has been epoxied at least twice and you colors have faded. The number of scratches, dents and scuffs show a well-used history which includes some of the best (and the worst) bands around. You have performed on concert stages performing contemporary as well as classical compositions, and if I remember correctly you actually were used to warmup in front of Aaron…

How To Place Your Mouthpiece In Your Horn

Have you ever heard or read something that does not make any sense to you at all and then you set out to prove it wrong only to find that it is actually true? This happened to me this past week and even though it is an embarrassment, I will swallow my pride for the betterment of the brass world. This past week I read a post on one of the brass bulletin boards which stated that this person claimed that the rotation of the mouthpiece could actually change how the instrument responded when played. Just the thought of someone…

Put A Spring In Your Playing

With all the advances in trumpet materials and design, you would think someone would do something to improve our valve springs. There is one thing that you can do yourself to possibly improve the performance of your instrument. And the answer is inside your valve casings. Valves are made to go up and down when we perform and in most situations, they work well. Sometimes they stick and in most cases a good cleaning will solve that problem. But if a nice warm bath and cleaning has not improved your valve action you might consider changing your valve springs. After…