One of my favourite lockdown revelations over the past few months has been seeing the instagram posts of beautiful handcrafted leather products from Trumpet Bags. It's creator, Tomasz Dabrowski talks to me here about getting this great new project off the ground.
It is always intriguing to receive new trumpet gadgets through to try out and review. I have always used mouthpiece buzzing as an important part of my practice as well as my teaching, so the Buzz-R looks like an interesting prospect. Finding an effective embouchure calisthenic aid that can realistically be incorporated into a practice … Continue reading Buzz-R : Product Review
In May 2018 in San Antonio (TX) I had the great pleasure of meeting Tom Clary at the annual ITG conference. Tom is the founder / designer / master craftsman behind Clary Woodmutes, and was there to display his range of beautifully-crafted wooden trumpet mutes. Two years on, Clary Woodmutes continue to go from strength to strength with a broad range of exquisite looking (and sounding!) mutes - I was delighted to sit down and spend some time with him (socially-distanced over Zoom of course) to chat about this great progress:
From conception, to design, to manufacture these all have incredible style, durability, attention to detail, and above all ... quality.
The Ft Series mouthpieces are new from Fultone Brass. A range of 6 mouthpieces (with many more developments in the pipeline!) aiming to bring efficiency and great intonation across a broad range of styles, to a wide range of trumpeters. Many top UK trumpet players have been involved in the development of this range since 2016, and now they are available!
I have spent a lot of time recently (mainly virtually!) working with players who have used this enforced period of time off to look at new and possibly better mouthpiece options for themselves. Many classical, and particularly specialist orchestral players are traditionally very conservative in their choices and often choose to stick to the ‘tried … Continue reading Finding the perfect orchestral mouthpiece
Hands up, anyone who has wasted a practice session messing around with heavy valve caps and trim in the hope that they will be the answer to all of their problems. And then gone back to what they had on originally. I guess that I am probably not alone. There are some really attractive options out there and there is no doubting their ability to give you a ‘pimped up’ horn. At first glance, these trim kits from Frate Precision are beautiful. A gold-plated refined Italian design with black onyx set into the finger buttons, and black anodised aluminium stems. They are simply stunning. Ultimately though, what will persuade us to keep them on the horn is how they help or improve the instrument’s performance.
The last few years have seen a number of great advances in the integration of technology to the music practice room, teaching studio and performance platform. Going 'paperless' as a musician is heralded as a worthy goal to aspire to, but how many musicians really believe that this is achievable? Well I decided to see if this was possible. With the help of my upgraded iPad and nkoda, I set myself the challenge of going paperless for 2 months.
"When you are passionate about something, you can always find room to consistently pursue what is important to you. So I have, for example, no scruples about a practice session in an empty airport gate before a connecting flight, or to practise in a car park if there is nothing better available."
The challenge of adding resistance to the mouthpiece buzz is one that a number of people have tackled, but always with big compromises to be made. German trumpet player, educator and designer, Markus Arnold talks to me here about his journey in designing the acclaimed 'Buzz-R'.
Randy Dunn is a trumpeter from Houston, TX with incredibly broad experience across diverse musical styles as a performer and educator. It was fascinating to interview him on a whole range of topics including his approach to playing and teaching as well as working on mouthpiece designs with Legends Brass.
The Frate Precision HM cup Mouthpiece range is an excellent solution for trumpet players
You will probably already be familiar with and have seen the 'BG France' brand around. It is huge and has a great reputation for quality. However, you may not be aware that they now do a great range of trumpet accessories to go alongside everything else. I caught up with Franck Bichon to find out more about his design processes.
At the helm of Atelier Donat is Dimitri Donat. The workshop was set up by Dimitri's grandfather in the French Alps in 1936, originally to manufacture parts for the Swiss watch industry. Now, generations of technical expertise are combined with a musical passion to create some of the most innovative mouthpiece designs today.
So, here is a really interesting new product that I have been sent through for review… The Vhizzper mute is the brainchild of Christoph Baerwind, trumpeter in ‘German Brass’ and ‘Der Orchester der Hamburgischen Staatsoper’. The essential concept is a practice mute that can also be used as a mouthpiece mute. This is not something that I have encountered before so was fascinated to give it a try.
Since 2006 Dario Frate has been designing and making mouthpieces from his base in Lombardy, Italy. The aim across the entire range is to give the player richness of sound, fluidity, and to do it as easily as possible. These are certainly noble ambitions and I was very keen to try some mouthpieces for myself!