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.
A brand new development from Donat mouthpieces, in collaboration with Ko de Rooij: Tone-Ring mouthpieces, available for cornet and flugelhorn, designed to give an unmatched combination of sound and playability. Along with a unique new design, adding a Tone-Ring to the cup, a shorter heavy blank has been developed for improved tuning. Characteristic for the … Continue reading Tone-Ring Mouthpieces from Atelier Donat
Over the past few years I have come across numerous apps for reading and performing with ‘sheet’ music. I find the developments staggering in how far we have come, integrating this technology into our performances. However, there have always been compromises to be made, whether it be in turning pages, marking up parts, editing, or just the general viewing and using experience, that I have made me wonder whether I wouldn’t just prefer to have some sheets of paper in front of me! That is until now!... I tried BlackBinder for the first time a few weeks ago on my iPad, and it is the first app that I have found that really addressed all of these niggles that I had.
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!
When you talk about getting your trumpets adjusted so that they respond perfectly to you or matching and adjusting a mouthpiece so that it works perfectly with your horn, you are probably already thinking about Bob Reeves!
Keep your horn clean and you will never have a problem with sticky valves or slides. Keeping it clean inside also removes bacteria that can build up in the tubing.
‘Design Innovations’ is a series of articles looking at new and innovative developments in trumpet design, as well as gadgets and tools that are designed to make our practice and performance easier.
Mario Guarneri will be known to many readers as a performer and educator of the highest calibre. A former member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mario is also in demand as lecturer on the pedagogical concepts involved with his designs. Here he shares some thoughts and insights on the processes involved with the development of the BERP.
Interview with Hub Van Laar (June 2018 @ ITG Conference, San Antonio) What made you want to play brass in the first place? As a child you had 2 options in my village. I began by playing football, and in my first game I scored 3 goals… in the wrong direction! It was then decided … Continue reading Van Laar Trumpets : Interview and Instrument Overview