The Disturbing Monette Video

We all have had moments when something pops into our minds which is disturbing enough to keep us up at night and for me, this is one of those moments. Several weeks ago, while searching for topics for this blog, I came across a video produced by Mr. Dave Monette. I first met Mr. Monette many years ago while he was visiting our campus and was very impressed with his knowledge, personality and his obvious passion for the trumpet. As I have stated in more than one blog, I have a great deal of respect for this man and for that reason, I  found this article difficult to write. As you have read, the title of this post is called “The Disturbing Monette Video”. Continue reading, I will try to explain why your simple Bass fisherman from Branson, Missouri would be sitting at his computer writing an article which disagrees with arguably the most influential trumpet designer in the world today. In order to set the stage for this discussion, you first need to carefully view Mr. Monette’s video.

I have several issues with this video and will try to explain my concerns through a time line format so that you will be able to more easily compare my issues with the original video.

Watch the video here:

1:04 –  This diagram and the accompanying voice over seem to indicate that pivoting the instrument in the various trumpet ranges is done to compensate for intonation discrepancies in the instrument rather than air flow direction issues covered in Donald Reinhart’s book The Encyclopedia of the Pivot System . Read a summary of this important book.

1:45 –  Notice the test subject demonstrates the traditional pivot (lowering the bell of the horn) as he sets for the high note. Mr. Monette’s statement “the octaves line up easily, play(s) in tune and have a fairly consistent timbre and resistance” is not accurate. Even without using a tuner it is obvious that the top note is extremely sharp when compared to the two previous notes.

2:17 –  This demonstration was apparently done to prove that the length of the modern mouthpiece is the reason the test subject missed the high note as well as prove that the pitch is more of a problem. My issue with this segment is as follows-

  1. The subject has already demonstrated his natural tendency to pivot for the high note but in this segment he resists this action, misses the note and after pivoting, was able to reach the high note. You will need to replay this portion of the tape several times before you will be able to agree or disagree with my observations.
  2. Mr. Monette’s conclusion that the pitch was worse than the previous illustration again does not agree with what I hear or what my tuner tells me. We both (the tuner and I) think that the last segment was more in tune than the first. Check it out for yourself. With a tuner.

2:29 –  In Mr. Monette’s statement “This is why one constantly see brass players who play old fashion mouthpieces bobbing their heads up and down as they change registers.” He seems to be indicating that the pivoting of the instrument is needed to adjust for intonation discrepancies. My disagreement with this statement can be supported by past information collected by very well known and respected trumpet educators such as John Haynie in his extensive video-fluoroscopic studies at North Texas State as well as the numerous case histories done by Donald Reinhart in his book The Encyclopedia of the Pivot System. In both cases, it was demonstrated  that the pivoting of the instrument is directly related to the natural direction of the air stream. Even though these studies were done many years ago, one cannot believe that both of these knowledgeable and highly respected authorities could have been wrong and the real reason we pivot our horns is to improve intonation.

2:52 –  Although I was very impressed with the fuller, richer sound in this segment, I have a real problem with the players obvious change in his approach to this demonstration. Notice that, unlike the first two segments, the player this time plays the first note, removes the mouthpiece from his lip, inhales, sets, plays the second note, removes the mouthpiece, inhales, and again resets for the last note. It is obvious that the test subject has taken some liberties with this final demonstration. Also in this section Mr. Monette states “This was always my dream. The octaves line up great, the notes are full and rich and the high C is effortlessly in tune and rings with brilliance”. This sounds like a happy ending to a great epic movie but after checking with my tuner, we (my tuner and I) both disagree with this statement after discovering that the top note is very sharp and after recording the examples on my computer and playing back a loop of the notes, I found that the pitch was close to being the most out of tune of all of the examples.

3:10 –  The term Constant Pitch Center is apparently a cornerstone in Mr. Monette’s demonstration and for that reason I want to make one thing perfectly clear to my readers. Even though I have taken issue with this videoI do not take issue with Mr. Monette’s talents or honesty. As I have stated in several of my previous submitted blogs, I consider Dave Monette to be one of the most gifted trumpet designers as well as a very pleasant, caring gentleman and for that reason I felt compelled to challenge the video and not his ability or truthfulness.

3:27 –  Mr. Hession’s talents are most impressive and his demonstration actually leans toward amazing. We all are envious of players with such great ability. Through my years of playing, teaching and observing I have been conscious of the lack of change in the best players. While living in Dallas, Texas, I had the great privilege of doing some jingles with Don Thomas. Some of you might know of Don’s talents and some of you might know the work of his son John Thomas (lead trumpet for Count Basie, Chick Corea, Woody Herman, Maria Schneider, Bill Holman, Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Williams and many others).

Before such a recording session, Don Thomas introduced me to his very young son by saying, “this is my son John, he plays trumpet too.” Little did either of us realize at that time how much “he plays trumpet too” really would mean. On one occasion I arrived early for a session and Don was in the studio cutting some isolated screamers for a jingle. As I watched through the glass I was amazed at the accuracy and ease that this man demonstrated. Repeatedly the engineer asked Don to hit high note after high note and without any apparent effort or concern, he belted each note out with pinpoint accuracy and ease. It was one of those experiences that you never forget. Don was a truly gifted and humble person.

So what does this have to do with the Monette video you might ask? I have also had the great pleasure of working with similarly gifted trumpet players who exhibit this ease of playing in the extreme high range. Each player is able to perform in the altissimo register with no apparent increase in effort. Each of these players is also able to recreate their high range talents on any trumpet (and in some cases on any mouthpiece). For a video to imply that the reason for this high range ability is attributable to only a mouthpiece design is a bit questionable.

In conclusion, I would like to repeat what I had mentioned before- “Even though I have taken issue with this video,  I do not take issue with Mr. Monette’s talents or honesty”. I would also like to add that I have played on an earlier Monette trumpet but have not played on any of his mouthpieces and for that reason, I have no experience nor will I make any comments about the Monette mouthpieces. My concern here is totally on the video production, its content and implications.

41 thoughts on “The Disturbing Monette Video”

  1. I know this may be difficult to believe, but everything he says actually works. It has with me and with an amazing number of students and professionals. One just has to be open to giving up on the ego-driven belief of “controlling” the instrument but instead allowing it to work for you. This actually produces better and easier “control”. Unfortunately my experience has been that too many musicians lock themselves into a belief system without thinking for themselves. This equipment is not for everyone. It is very easy to critique a video but the statement that you “have not played on any of his mouthpieces” says it all.

  2. Mr. Price,

    Thank you for your comments for that is what blogs are all about. Sharing opinions and ideas is productive and challenging. I have addressed your comments as best I can and I hope that you understand my intent in this posting.

    You wrote the following-

    “I know this may be difficult to believe, but everything he says actually works”.
    I have no doubt that it does.

    “It has with me and with an amazing number of students and professionals”.
    I have no doubt that it did.

    “One just has to be open to giving up on the ego-driven belief of “controlling” the instrument but instead allowing it to work for you”.
    I agree totally.

    “This actually produces better and easier “control”.
    I’m sure it does.

    “Unfortunately my experience has been that too many musicians lock themselves into a belief system without thinking for themselves”.
    I agree again.

    “This equipment is not for everyone”.
    Correct again.

    “It is very easy to critique a video”
    I beg to differ with you on this point for the work and time taken to write this blog was very difficult and uncomfortable for me to do.

    “the statement that you “have not played on any of his mouthpieces” says it all”.
    Apparently I did not stress my comments enough when I stated twice-

    Even though I have taken issue with this video, I do not take issue with Mr. Monette’s talents or honesty. As I have stated in several of my previous submitted blogs, I consider Dave Monette to be one of the most gifted trumpet designers as well as a very pleasant, caring gentleman and for that reason I felt compelled to challenge the video and not his ability or truthfulness.

    Thank you again for your comment
    Bruce Chidester

  3. Hi, Bruce.

    Very interesting post and thanks for the plug of my article. I would agree with just about everything you said. A couple of clarifications, though.

    Reinhardt’s definition of “pivot” did not mean tilting the horn, as Monet is using it. Also, I would guess that if we watched Hession playing the octave slurs we would see him “pivot” as Reinhardt defined it (pushing the mouthpiece and lips together as a single unit up and down along the teeth). All players seem to make this motion, to a certain degree or other, although it can be quite minimal for some players.

    The angle changes that accompany this embouchure motion can be necessary and proper for players as they follow the natural curve and shape of their gums and jaw, as well as whatever jaw manipulation the player makes as well. Like the “pivot,” it’s different for every player. Both the angle change and the sliding of the mouthpiece and lips together along the teeth can affect intonation, as these help line up the lip compression for the particular note. Do too much of the high range embouchure motion and the pitch can go sharp, too much of the low range motion and the pitch goes flat.

    Dave

  4. Thank you Dave for your comments.

    One element not mentioned, and without doubt of equal importance is the tongue position and elevation. The raising of the tongue increases air velocity in the oral cavity and the corresponding angle of the air stream requires the appropriate lowering of the bell to follow this air direction.

    You are very correct when you addressed the amount of pivot for in the Encyclopedia it was stated that the amount of pivot tends to lessen as the player becomes more proficient with the instrument, or something like that. It has been a long time since I read the volume. And please remember I am only a Bass fisherman from Missouri.

    As a new member of the TPIN info site, I am very sorry that this article took on the life it did. My original intent was to question the claims made, not the ability of Mr. Monette or the value of his instruments. As I stated several times in my original blog, I have a great deal of respect for the man and his contributions to the trumpet world, but like most people, I can not agree with provable inaccuracies.

  5. Very valid points. I used a Monette B2S3 for a couple of years and was pretty happy with it. Although I realised after a while that (possibly due to the larger throat?) it ‘cost’ me more in terms of endurance, than say, a Bach 1½C.

    I’d like to try a smaller Monette mpiece to see how that would work out in the long term, but the price tag is just a bit on the high side unfortunately.

    I’ll be sticking with what works for now :)

    1. Thanks for your comments and visiting our blog. As the economy continues to fall, I think we will see more of the high end equipment being sold on EBay and Craigs list. If we have the cash to spend it is, unfortunately, a good opportunity to trade up on some of our equipment.

      Check back often,
      Bruce Chidester
      Branson Trumpet Ensemble

  6. I have owned a couple of Monettes in the past. I found that they did play very well in tune and made wonderful solo horns. The mouthpieces took a bit of getting used to, as they do tend to play differently than standard equipment. The problems I had, and ultimately the reason I sold the horns, was that I had a very difficult time blending in a section of players using Bach or Yamahas. The timbre difference between my former Monettes and the standard horns was quite significant. I am back to Bach now and have not faced these same issues. I will admit that the Monettes I had were older and quite heavy. I know that Monette now makes some lighter horns which supposedly sound much closer to a traditional horn, but I have not played one yet. I’d be interested to hear one of these horns in a section of Bach’s to see how it blended.

    Best,
    Andy Erb

    1. Mr. Erb.

      Thank you for visiting our site and I was very interested in your experience and first hand information on the Monette trumpets. As I said in my post, I have played on only one and that instrument was built for a player much different in playing style than me so I would not judge the instrument I used. My only comments about the intonation problems of the Monette were directed to the video not the instrument itself. We have had many comments about my criticism of the video and only one person addressed the video itself. One comment was nasty and missed the point of my post completely. The other comments were addressing the virtues of the horn but missed the reason I posted my comments.
      I enjoyed your comments very much and the question of blend in a trumpet section has not come up before. I’m sure we will have additional comments on this issue.

      Come back again.
      The very best to you and yours

  7. If you have ever talked with Dave, he will gladly show you the “error” in your playing ways.
    His approach is more physical than we tpt players like to think. Simply put, if your body is aligned and in tune, AND you have a solid understanding of air-flow along with how sound production works, his equipment simply allows for more playing efficiency compared to most conventional horns. With all these factors in to play, the horn simply allows you to not worry about out of tune intervals or even the fact that you have metal to your face, therefore resulting in a more intimate experience when playing his horns.

    1. Thank you very much for your comments and I will try “again” to address the misconceptions of this post.
      You wrote-

      “If you have ever talked with Dave, he will gladly show you the “error” in your playing ways”.

      I have visited with Mr. Monette and although our conversation did impress me as to his knowledge of trumpet design, my playing “errors” did not come up. At that time in my life, I was very content with my playing.

      “His approach is more physical than we tpt players like to think. Simply put, if your body is aligned and in tune, AND you have a solid understanding of air-flow along with how sound production works, his equipment simply allows for more playing efficiency compared to most conventional horns”.

      This sounds very interesting but what does all of this have to do with my post? As I have repeatedly stated, I have great respect for Mr. Monette’s trumpet designing knowledge and manufacturing skills. My only concerns are the claims and assumptions made on his video.

      “With all these factors in (to) play, the horn simply allows you to not worry about out of tune intervals or even the fact that you have metal to your face, therefore resulting in a more intimate experience when playing his horns”.

      I appreciate your comments and all I would say is that it is obvious that you have the same respect for Mr. Monnette that I also share but to address your comments, I would suggest that you re-read my post and if there is anything which is inaccurate, please address this for I have not changed my original view of the video. There are “provable errors” in his video which diminishes his creditability in the unbiased trumpet world.

      Thanks again for your comments.

  8. Mr. Chidester,

    I very much enjoy reading TheTrumpetBlog.com.

    I am a freelance trumpet player in Portland, Or. and, of course, there are many trumpet players in town that use and swear by Monette trumpets and mouthpieces. I have tried them (mouthpieces) myself at two separate times, giving at least 2 months to adjust. It wasn’t that the mouthpiece didn’t “feel good” or wasn’t easy to play, but in fact, quite the opposite. The underlying reason was pitch problems. I’m quite sure a large portion of this pitch problem was attributed to using these mouthpieces with non-Monette instruments. Perhaps they can only be truly appreciated on Monette trumpets.

    Certainly there are players that sound amazing on his equipment. Jeffrey Work and David Bamonte are both incredible trumpet players in the Oregon Symphony using Monette equipment. I believe both are exclusive Monette players except, perhaps, when it comes to high-pitched trumpets.

    Just one more interesting thing. I attended a brass choir concert about 8 months ago and noticed all of the trumpet players were playing on Monette trumpets and mouthpieces. Although they produced beautiful, full sounds when the dynamics were FF, there was one thing that stuck out. When it came down to playing with a light, crisp, centered sound, they all consistently sounded “tubby” or “fluffy”. It wasn’t the very end of the concert where I would expect to hear this, but actually the second selection.

    I hope I didn’t get off track too much. Thank you for this interesting discussion.

    1. Dear Mr. Bennett,

      First I would like to thank you for reading my post and leaving you comments.

      Your experience with the miss-matched Monette mouthpiece and different trumpet seems in line with my experience also. When Dave was first making his trumpets, I tried one which was made for a friend and I could not play it. When I asked Dave about it, his response was, “I didn’t make it for you, I made it for the other player”. It was at that time I understood that Mr. Monette was truly able to fit trumpets to individuals. I have the greatest respect for this man and appreciate all he has done for the trumpet world. My only complaint is that his video does not illustrate what he is claiming.

      Great hearing from you and please come back often.

  9. I completely agree, I went to a conservatory for trumpet, and my teacher taught how to play without using any pressure, and not moving your lips etc. It seems monette himself just had bad technique to begin with and the whole length thing is more psychological than real. I can play octave Cs on a trumpet from the 50s with a shitty mouthpice and not move my head, and have them be in tune. It’s just good embochure technique. He just wants to sell overpriced mouthpieces, and trumpets. Not that i think they’re bad playing mouthpieces, i used to have some. I just wish they weren’t so needlessly expensive.

    1. Thank you for posting your comments.
      I have no problem with his ideas; my only disagreement is with his video. The claims he makes do not agree with what I see on the video.
      Stop back and share your thoughts with all of us again some time.
      The very best to you and yours.

  10. Very strange article: What can possibly be ones motivation to decontruct the Monette video with such minute detail? I haven’t played in years, but back when I did I played Bach and Schilke. After years away from the horn I have personally greatly enjoyed the sound of the Monette horns. They are a great step forward in equipping players with even greater ability to project the music that is in their head. Certainly the Bach and Schilke horns or 20-30 years ago were amazing advancements over the horns of 100 years ago. Monette’s horns just contnue the evolution that allows trumpet players to further display their talents with fewer technical limitations in front of their chops. So in the end, I just wonder why someone who spent their life doing nothing but playing middle C quarter, half and whole notes for the lame likes of Bob Hope, Jim Nabors, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Anita Bryant, Carman Cavalara, Victor Borgie, the Four Freshman, Blackstone the Magician, Bobby Vinton and John Davidson needs to sit around dissecting videos. Read: he has nothing better to do than to knock advancement in what he failed at. Quite silly and sad really.

    1. Thank you for your comments and for the tenth time I would like to say that my criticism was directed to the inaccuracies of the video and no way reflected my opinion of the builder, designer or the instrument.

      I’m sorry that you feel that way about some of the experience I have had. Would it help to mention that I have also performed on the Festival of Trumpets program three times at the International Trumpet Guild as well as performing on other international programs? As far as my ability to read and play my instrument, where was the last time you heard me play?

      PS. I’m not familiar with the word “decontruct”.

  11. Actually, the First example is a trumpet in “A” on a standard mouthpiece. Showing you that yes, it plays much better in “A” than in “Bb”… because the Second example (the one you’re complaining about) is a trumpet pitched in “B-flat” (with a non-Monette mouthpiece). The video is correct. You were mistaken in thinking that the “A” vs. “B-flat” comparison [both without pivoting] is a comparison to pivoting and NOT pivoting using a B-flat trumpet. The longer “standard” mouthpieces were designed for trumpet in A. Monette’s mouthpieces are designed to be used for trumpet in B-flat.
    The visual of the player pivoting doesn’t have accompanying sound, it’s in there to just show the actual pivoting.
    So you are not correct in saying that it is inaccurate advertising.

  12. Bruce,
    I appreciate the feedback, however what it comes down to is this.
    What is the purpose of taking fault with a single video targeted to the general trumpet player population?

  13. Monette is a marketeer.

    Those of us who studied marketing at college can recognize it right away. It’s almost as if he’s read “marketing for dummies’ and is carefully implementing every tactic.

    Endorsements from big names, fancy-sounding solutions to everyday problems, the idea that trumpet makers have been doing it wrong for decades and Dave has uncovered the ‘secret’, slick videos and email lists that encourage personal details collection, recognizable designs etc.

    You could change a few words and replace the trumpets with teeth-whitening toothpaste, ‘become a millionaire’ ebooks or weight-loss milkshakes. It’s all the same.

    1. I would like to comment on the allegation that Dave Monette is a marketeer. The post states, “Those of us who studied marketing at college can recognize it right away. It’s almost as if he’s read “marketing for dummies’ and is carefully implementing every tactic.”

      This is absolutely not true.

      If you check out the Monette web site, you’ll see that it’s badly out of date. The section on the instruments is six years out of date. (It states that the instruments shown are the new 2007 line up and it’s 2013 as I write this.) If marketing was so important to Dave Monette, then he would be devoting a lot more attention to keeping his web site up to date.

      From what I have seen of Dave (and I HAVE seen him in action on many occasions), he is passionate about what he does. He is an artist, and his art is the instruments that he produces along with the methodology to use them. He also hosts performances at the shop, and this is also part of his art. He won’t compromise on what he does. It might be right or wrong, but he’s true to what he thinks is the way to do it. For example, when I had a trumpet built, I asked for a right fnger ring instead of a hook, but Dave wouldn’t do it. I can respect that.

      Many of Dave’s instruments (such as mine) are in raw brass, and he intentionally does not do a lot of polishing of the surface. If marketing was his intention, then he would devote a lot more attention to creating instruments that look really slick.

      Dave runs a small business, and he simply does not have time to devote to marketing. I know his office staff, and none of them are marketers. (Two are accomplished trumpet players.) If you go by the shop, you’ll most likely find Dave making final adjustments on trumpets.

      No, he’s definitely not a marketeer. You might like his stuff or you might not, but he’s no marketeer.

  14. I wanted to just chime in and say that you’re article was absolutely accurate. I’m not sure why there are so many negative comments about what you said. You were respectful but rightly pointed out that the video itself is misleading and inaccurate. I’ve played on several Monette mouthpieces and loved the quality and sound that I got out of them. I play with little tension, so they fit perfectly. I would love to own a Monette trumpet, because I believe they are some of the best horns made. Having said that, when I played B2 and B4S mouthpieces for several years, I still had a minor pivot because my embouchure moves the direction of the airstream when I ascend or descend. It’s that simple. It isn’t to compensate for pitch problems. It’s also obvious in the video that the trumpet when pitched in A is less in-tune in the high register. Monette mouthpieces are excellent, but not because they correct inherhent problems in the pitch of the instrument. It would be much easier to accomplish that with the design of the instrument itself, something manufacturers have been working on (and periodically accomplishing) for 150 years. My feelings on the video or exactly in line with yours. Monette makes fantastic products; the video is misleading and a little disturbing.

    1. Thank you and we should have made our case clear by now. As to why anyone would get upset with my comments, I think that anyone who paid that much money for a horn will be very sensitive to comments that even come close to questioning its merits. I agree completely with your comments and you and I understand that our complaints only address the video, not the instrument or the designer.

  15. Bruce,
    First let me commend you in the gentlemanly way you handled all the replies I read positive, negative, or attacking you personally. You have put on a clinic for professional public discourse! congratulations.
    Second, regarding the video, I’m not inclined to get out my tuner, but will trust yours is well calibrated and in good working condition and will trust the results you found that the mpc does not correct intonation issues.
    Third, the first time I watched the video and saw the kid resetting red flags were popping all over the place! And, having gone back and watched the video, you can plainly see the young man resisting his natural urge to pivot!
    Good job accurately pin-pointing the fallacy in Mr. Monette’s claims that his mpc corrects intonation problems.
    No matter what trumpet one plays, it is incumbent upon the player after all, to listen to the sound he is making and ensure he is playing in tune!

    Regards,

    PS Have you fished at Roaring River State Park?

    1. Once and it rained all day. I still like fishing below the Table Rock Dam and the last rainbow I caught was 36″ long. Till I revived it and let it go, I was a nervous wreck. Thanks for a comment dealing with the real world.

      Be safe and live long.

  16. The first thing I noticed with the video was that it didn’t take a genius to figure out that the real “secret” with the Monette mouthpiece was its shorter length. Having said that, I have been playing a Monette mouthpiece and have found it well suited for my particular playing; that is, I tend to play with a more relaxed embouchure, and the Monette mouthpiece I play seems to respond to that much better than the Bach’s, Yamaha’s, Curry’s, etc. that I have played in the past. Good article and nice discussion.

    1. Thank you for your comments and I have to admit I have never played on a Monette mouthpiece. My only problem is with the video’s assumptions, not the equipment.
      Some day when I have more money than I need, I’ll have to try one.

  17. Love Monette mouthpieces as do numerous established professional trumpet players. Amusing that you have never tried a Monette Mouthpiece and you want to criticize. Your “blog” sucks by the way.

    1. Thank you for reading my post.
      Too bad you did not read it accurately.
      This has happened quite a bit with those who are protective of the name Monette.

      1. I never said anything derogatory about his mouthpieces.
      2. I said nothing against his horns.
      3. I said nothing bad about the person in fact I was very complimentary of his knowledge of the acoustics of the brass instruments.
      4. My only criticism of the video was that what the voice-over stated was not accurate in the video.

      Now, as for the “numerous established professional trumpet players” using his mouthpieces, I have no doubt that this is true and as I stated in my post, I have not played on his mouthpieces.
      I don’t need to play on his mouthpieces to understand that his video was not accurate and the its assumptions were misleading.

      Now as far as your comment “Your “blog” sucks by the way”……..

      To be criticized by a person unable to read an article with an open mind or even understand what is on the page; and a person heavily steeped in heroism for a piece of brass, your opinion of my knowledge and writing skills in the trumpet area has as much credibility as the original Monette video.

      Thanks again for visiting and I hope the extremely high price of your mouthpiece is matched at the end of your bell.

      Please come back again when you have calmed down and are able to discuss topics in a civil manner.

  18. You have an excellent blog – - – - good discussions.

    I know that this will be slightly off topic. The topic is your critique of a video. My comment is more a response to the pro and anti Monette postings in this thread. (Some -unfortunately- hostile.)

    I bought my first Monette mouthpiece about eight years ago from a fantastic retailer on the East Coast. I had been fighting with my equipment for years, and this mouthpiece made all the difference. (The success of the mouthpiece fitting might be attributable to the fine salesperson – Lee Walkowich. Lee worked at Rayburn back then, but has since moved to a large retailer in DC.) That same mouthpiece works very well for me to this day, and I now exclusively use Monette mouthpieces for trumpets, cornet, and flugel (not for low brass – yet). I moved to Monette Country several years ago, and started studying with someone who has known Dave since before he started making trumpets. My teacher (who is fantastic) strongly suggested that I sell my Schilke (which I was dissatisfied with anyway) and move to a Monette – - – which I did. I am fortunate to live fifteen minutes from the Monette shop, and getting equipment there is like visiting a fine old fashioned tailor for a suit. (Those who live far away miss out on the in-person service, although I know that they do a lot over the phone.) Dave is absolutely passionate about his work. (In fact, I think that he’s just passionate – period.)

    A Monette horn needs to be played somewhat differently from other trumpets, so I think it helps to have some experience with the mouthpieces, and also to have a teacher who understands this equipment. My satisfaction with the horn might be attributable to these two factors.

    It should be clear that I’m happy with Monette mouthpieces; they work great for me. However, this doesn’t mean that they need to be everyone’s choice. Awhile back, I tried the Lynch asymmetric mouthpiece, and it didn’t work for me at all. However, I see that some very good musicians use the asymmetric. (e.g. Mike Vax) I see that some other fine musicians use Bach mouthpieces, Warburton, Yamaha trumpets, and Bach trumpets, and Schilkes, and Schagerls, and Stomvis, etc., etc., etc. People find what works for them. My Monette trumpet has a fantastic sound that works very well in many situations – - – less well in certain other situations. I suppose that you could say this about just about any horn (except pieces of junk that don’t sound good in ANY situation.)

    Your comments are valid, and -as I stated earlier- you write a good blog. Between the blog and your very nice arrangements, you make a valued contribution to the music community. Thank you.

    Best wishes,

    -GC-

    1. Thank you for your information and I find your open minded comments refreshing when it comes to the Monette concept.

      I know from experience that he can, and does build each horn for the style of the player which is a great talent.

      I also want to thank you for your support and I wish you and yours, the very best.

      Bruce Chidester

  19. Bruce,

    Thank your for your comments on the Monette video and friendly nod towards Doc Reinhardt. I understand your comments were directed to the inaccuracies in the video and not towards Monette himself. I myself enjoy his many videos posted on Facebook. I don’t have perfect pitch and did not notice the pitch differences you noted the first time I listened to the video.

    I would like to add a clarifying comment about “pivoting” to a misconception that seems to persist with you and several of you commenters. Pivoting has nothing to do with the angle of the instrument EVER according to Doc Reinhardt. Mr. David Wilkin’s comment describing Doc Reinhardt’s definition of the Pivot, as per his Pivot System, is 100% accurate. The so-called Pivot is the movement of the mouthpiece and lips, as one unit, on the inner embouchure of the teeth and gums as one ascends or descends. This is done in different directions as defined by each players natural alignment of their lips and teeth and is accompanied with a SLIGHT jaw extension. THIS definition of Pivoting along with tongue arch, as Doc would describe it, is only to facility the proper direction of air into the mouthpiece cup so the lips will continue to vibrate as the player ascends and descends. This “Pivot” allows the not-fully-developed complete lip pucker to continue to function as the complete lip pucker develops. After full development of the complete lip pucker ALL movement, that is the “Pivot”, is reduced to an absolute minimum. In fact, with fully developed players there is NO discernible movement, or “Pivot”, from the outside. And, there will be a SLIGHT minimum of instrument angle movement to accommodate the player’s level of jaw movement for ascending and descending.

    FYI, I studied with Doc in private lessons first intensely from about 1965 through 1968, then afterwards off and on through about 1972. I played for 9 years through High School and College, put the Trumpet down for 26 years ( Marriage, Kids, work, Divorce seemed to take all my time ) and I’m now a comeback player of 19 years. Doc taught me to think for my self and teach my self the mechanics of playing. As a result I’m now playing better than I ever did in High School and College. I play part-time in a semi-professional manor. I earn my living doing computer work and teaching computers in local two-year colleges. I saw Doc be much maligned, and quite vehemently, back in the 60s and 70s. All with incorrect information. It is very nice to see his teachings being re-discovered in the last 10 years. Though, I’m still wary about others dogmatic approach to playing techniques and continued mis-understanding and mis-representation of the Pivot System and just, exactly, what the “Pivot” is and what it’s for. Doc himself came to regret using the term “Pivot” in his later years as he saw how people frequently mis-interpreted it’s definition and it’s use.

    Well, that my two cents worth and I’m sticking to it…. -)

    Paul Del Rossi

    1. I just got home from a rehearsal and noticed your comments. I will spend some time on your comments for I was very impressed on my first reading. Informed comments such as yours take time to absorb and I want to ask you some questions for you were in the right place at the correct time to have shared in his knowledge.

      I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. New show, more rehearsals, etc.

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