OK, so I need to say right off the bat that I have no intention of actually answering this question! I am certainly not qualified. This past year (plus change) has seen it become ok for us all to express ‘opinions’ on science, and for us to have the choice to either agree or disagree, sometimes depending on our political leanings. This confusion has been confusing!
Alliance Brass mouthpieces were launched in 2006 by Roger Webster, former principal cornet with Black Dyke and Grimethorpe. Initially these were for the brass band world to accompany Besson instruments but in more recent times, there have been some significant developments with their trumpet range. Stephen Wick from Alliance Brass and Denis Wick Products was … Continue reading Alliance Brass : Mouthpiece Review
Further to my interview with Tom Clary, the master craftsman behind 'Clary Woodmutes' [read it here if you haven't already!], Tom has kindly sent me a beautiful Kramer Adjustable Cup model to try out. Crafted from gorgeous Sapele and Cherry woods, this model is named after Don Kramer, one of Tom's former teachers. The above … Continue reading Clary Woodmutes : Mute Review
Originally from Venezuela, Kissis Muñoz is now based in Miami and building a reputation for herself as a top trumpet player... What first attracted you to the trumpet? What made me fall in love with the trumpet was its sweet sound and also its strength. Any early musical influences? Yes, my dad runs a band … Continue reading Trumpet Artist Profile : Kissis Muñoz
Lasse Lindgren is a multi-faceted musician, with a reputation as a great 'lead' trumpet player as well as a great 'jazz' player. In recent times, he is also responsible for the resurrection of the great Ullvén Mute brand, made famous by players such as Dizzy Gillespie and Maynard Ferguson. Lasse kindly talks to me here … Continue reading Trumpet Artist Profile : Lasse Lindgren
I was recently sent a range of new products to take through their paces from BBICO - the British Band Instrument Company. Their Edgware range (named after their North London home) encompasses an intriguing ethos of sustainability.
Established 2013 in Philadelphia by Chinese-born bass trombonist Sun He, Ultimate Brass started as a brass instrument repair studio and later became an innovative company that designs and makes brass instrument mouthpieces, trombones, trumpets, and brass instrument accessories. Ultimate Brass Mouthpieces and accessories are being used daily by members of the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, New … Continue reading Design Innovations : Ultimate Brass
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:
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.
"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
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.