We reviewed the PTrumpet’s sister PBone back in our February 2013 issue and loved the fun and functionality of the instrument. Like the PBone, the PTrumpet is very light sporting a utilitarian design and comes with a 5C mouthpiece rather than the standard trumpet 7C. All the tubing follows straight through (for ease of manufacture), apart from the crooks that are formed at a sharp right angle, rather than the usual curved profile.
There is a single sprung spit-key on the main tuning slide but interestingly there’s no way of adjusting the first and third valves, although this shouldn’t present any serious problems. The valves are of a traditional design: unscrewing at the bottom and there is good resistance to the springs. Clearly plastic doesn’t react the same as brass when it warms up. Our sample didn’t leak, was in tune and played well with the fingers sitting nicely on the valve heads.
We did however find that when two valves are down, there is more obvious resistance than with just the one depressed. Like the PBone, we were once again pleasantly surprised by the mellow tone of this instrument – although it was a little quiet. Fitting the house 3C brass mouthpiece livened up the session! All round the PTrumpet is great fun and we have to say – perfectly giggable.
For more info go to www.ptrumpet.com
This trumpet felt good the moment I took it out of its rather snazzy, leatherette coated, “old style” rectangular box case with its brass catches and corners. The Supreme is a hand-made to order instrument that is remarkably lightweight and beautifully balanced and comes with what can perhaps best be described as a floating bell. The bell is rimless and interchangeable and there are a number of different sizes and styles from which to choose, but the great thing about these bells is that when you tap them, they “ring” like crystal. Which immediately tells you what sort of response you are going to get from this horn.
The instrument is solidly built, with one of the best sets of pistons that we’ve had the pleasure to play through in a long time – very smooth, with a good press action and just the right amount of resistance. Abalone insets to the valve tops is also a nice touch. Sonically we were expecting a lot from the Supreme – and it didn’t disappoint. You could almost feel the bell vibrating. This instrument is so easy to play it’s untrue! Using a 7C mouthpiece the Supreme produced a very immediate, bright sound with a lovely warm tone.
Made with a seamless construction and a wooden base for extra resonance, this fibre straight mute from Dennis Wick packs pro credentials and sound into a student price. It’s super lightweight and because of its conical fibre construction, it shouldn’t suffer from any dings or dents. The corks have also been contoured to avoid ‘chipping’ – a rarity at this price point.
Dynamics are excellent; you can get a lot of punch from this horn and really drive the sound – it’s a true soloist’s instrument. And it’s very consistent at the bottom, while you can soar up to top C with ease. We tried a 3 mouthpiece just to see what the Supreme might produce and sure enough, there was the same brightness and warmth to the sound but with a lot more body and depth. For more go to www.rawbrass.co.uk
Attached to the house horn, we found it easy to play in any part of the range with good intonation. It is definitely more mellow than similarly spec’d aluminium or metal mutes and has a clean, round sound, particularly at the top end. We really liked this sweet side to it’s character. What it doesn’t have is a rawness and a hard, gritty edge to it’s sound, as when you do it still retains that inherent warmth.
We reckon that this fibre mute would work really well in an ensemble situation, but can’t imagine it behind a full big band brass section. An excellent product, with the Denis Wick stamp of quality written all over it. Every horn should have one! For more go to www.deniswick.com
Flugelhorns are few and far between when compared to the prevalence of their trumpet cousins. So when a clutch of new instruments appears on the market, our ears are pricked with anticipation. Yamaha have produced two new models – the Custom 8315 and the Custom 8310Z, of which there are a number of options. We chose to look at 8310ZS (silver plated) and the 8310ZG (Gold Brass) along with the 8315 with its laquered gold brass bell. The obvious difference between the Custom 8315 and the Custom ZS and ZG models is that the former carries a two piece bell, while the ZS and ZG have one piece bells that come with a noticeably bigger flare. Both new model lines also come with new leadpipes and upgraded triggers.
The Custom 8315 model is very light, very playable and has a very clean sound, although we felt it was sonically somewhere between a trumpet and a flugelhorn rather than the alto/counter tenor of the flugel. With this in mind, we decided to change the supplied, standard 7C Yamaha mouthpiece for something a little more interesting, to see if we could coax a change in tonality out of the instrument. Sure enough, a Taylor 3 immediately made the Custom sound much more mellow and warm. The Custom ZS instrument, like the Custom ZG comes with a Yamaha ‘Bobby Shew’ mouthpiece and this produced an indentifiably sweeter sound from these two horns. Both the ZS and the ZG models are a breeze to play, with the ZS having a true, tight sound with a definite edge, whereas the ZG has a fuller and richer sound, with a slightly more complex set of tonal characteristics. We can see the Silver Z cutting through nicely in a Big Band scenario, having the clarity rather than the depth. By contrast, the Gold ZG with it’s mellow tones would sit perfectly in a small combo and is very much a soloist’s instrument. As you might expect, each instrument is supplied with a quality semi-hard case.
For more go to procustom.yamaha.com
This is a tidy little trumpet at a budget price that has student / semi-pro written all over it. A very narrow and sleek instrument with a gold bell and lead pipe, the 77T certainly looks the part. The overall finishing is good, with all valves and pipes being airtight – I particularly liked the use of plastic ‘O’ rings on the pipe joints to stop any damage to a metal to metal surface. There are integral springs inside the pistons and on my sample the valves worked well. However, the thickness of the metal on the casings means that great care needs to be taken when removing the head, as cross threading could be a problem. Sonically the sample 77T had good intonation and produced a bright, relatively hard sound, particularly when pushed; there is no question that this horn is less forgiving at the top end than it is in the lower register, where it will comfortably play down to F sharp. Exchanging the supplied 7C mouthpiece for a 3 didn’t have any great effect on the sound quality.
For more go to staggmusic.com