Jazzwise sampled two of the trumpet mutes from the stonelined collection of this American maker. First to the bell was the 111C Wah-Wah Copper Mute. A well-made, robust product, it was nonetheless a heavy weight in mute terms and on our trumpet, made it particularly bell heavy. However, this copper mute has plenty of body in the sound and is very clear and clean. With the plunger in, it produces a hard, tight sound. With the plunger out it is immediately more loose and mellow. The Mica Mute (104), is altogether a simpler, more matter of fact model. Again, the build quality is excellent.

The sound is very bright and clear and you can almost hear the stonelining’s distinctive edge. This mute is seriously loud! It might be the sort of mute you’d use if you were playing trumpet in a big band and needed to be able to hear yourself, as the mute is fitted with a deflector that bounces the sound back to the player. Mute sounds are as always down to personal sonic preferences and I would suggest giving the website a quick scan to view the full range. Quality wise though, these are top notch – and you’ re not going to require a second mortgage! 

 For more go to www.humes-berg.com

The concept behind the new Jam series by SR Technology is simple: to build a compact high definition audio system that combines minimal size and elegant design with exceptional performance. To this end, SR came up with three unique and highly portable amplification systems, all with a head mounted on-board mixer. The 150 Plus is perhaps the most useful for the gigging musician, with a total of six channels, multi-band EQ and a digital effects processor amongst its many features. The high quality amplifier produces a quality and character of sound that delivers exceptional clarity through the 8" woofer and its partner compression tweeter. With the sound of a much larger audio system, these compact, quality units are ideal when you’re crammed into a corner at one of those smaller venues.

D’Addario have recently released two new sets of strings that could be of particular interest to jazz players. For the bass guitarist there is the ECB84 set, a 40-100 set of chrome flat wounds, while for the guitarist it could well be worth checking out the EHR370’s, a set of 11-49 in stainless steel half round. There are also some new speciality singles: the CG075 and the CG080 are flat wound chromes specifically made for seven-string jazz tunings, while the CB032 is a flat wound bass chrome .032 specially designed for the 6-string high C note. Nothing ventured – nothing gained!

For many drummers, a Protection Racket product has become the case of choice. Lightweight, in durable veritable bomb proof nylon denier, with a fleece lining and heavy duty MITS nylon zips, they have all but become the benchmark of the softcase. Recently however, they have upgraded their best selling snare cases for added convenience and portability. You can now buy your favourite cases fitted with rucksack straps, concealed shoulder straps that can be packed into a pocket when not in use and perhaps most useful of all, cases with a retractable handle and a set of wheels!

For those of us who use them, music stands are invariably an awkward necessity but RAT’s new jazz stand is a model of ingenious design, using all the latest advances in lightweight manufacturing compounds and technology. Careful consideration has been given to the size, shape and angle of the legs so as to achieve maximum stability, while a reducing sleeve system has been used to adjust the height from table top through any intermediate level to the standard four foot base of the score support. The whole unit only weighs a couple of pounds and folds cleanly and easily into the face of the score stand, making it extremely compact with no protruding arms or awkward corners.

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