This feels just right the moment you pick it up. It’s light, yet solid, feels comfortable in the hands, is perfectly balanced and it’s compact. Uniquely, Eclipse horns have their tuning slide to the back of the instrument before the pipe enters the bell, so that the front end of the instrument is a clear unbroken tube. Eclipse claims that this free flow of air in the tube before it reaches the valves gives the instrument a better overall response. Putting in a mouthpiece makes this immediately apparent. Crucially, there is an immediate response and, yes, is it forgiving. Short travel valves make the model quick and one that offers good resistance, while the tuning is tight with a good vacuum.

The 460ml bore probably adds to the amazing amount of depth and presence in the sound with plenty of power and clarity and “the bottom” really speaks while top is very clear and clean. The LR can be coaxed into producing a beautifully focused, smooth and silky sound but don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a one trick pony, because this baby can also really chuck it out and will kick like a mule if you ask it to! This is a horn that clearly achieves what it sets out to do. You think we like it? Damn right. Go to

The Phoenix is a hand built instrument that can be made to your own specifications relating to finish and bore size. Taylor Trumpets have never been known as lightweights in any sense of the word, and the Phoenix is no exception. It has a solid, well-engineered feel, with a quality of workmanship that is second to none. Short valves and a compact movement allow for fluency and speed when required and a medium large bore offers good resistance and by implication greater control. The instrument is supplied with a ‘3c’ mouthpiece, although this can be customised to your own needs. Playing the instrument is a pure pleasure, with a good consistency right across the full register and a tone that is both warm and lush, while at the same time being clear and defined. The Phoenix is certainly worth taking a good look at if you’re in the market for a new horn with a definite character and identity. And if you don’t fancy crossing the proverbial pond and putting in the legwork to check out the Stateside manufacturers, this Taylor could be right up your street. For more info go to

Quality entry level Flugelhorns are few and far between. So when a recognised manufacturer launches a new model, we’re keen to see where it sits in the scheme of things. Coming in three finishes, Brass, Rose Brass and Silver Plated, with both brass instruments having a Rose Brass lead pipe, the Series 5 is a very clean, well engineered and surprisingly well balanced horn. With good intonation, the pistons felt comfortably tight and there was no adjustment needed on the solidly built valves.

The supplied Chinese made mouthpiece is modelled on the standard 7C, but has more of a cone than cup and a distinctly narrower bore, which gives the horn a brighter but slightly thinner sound, somewhat akin to a mellow trumpet. It does however help facilitate entry to the top register. Fitting the Series 5 with a standard 7C mouthpiece gave a more rounded and darker tone, but made the upper register a much more difficult!

Playing the Flugelhorn softly produced a clean, clear sound that is typical of the instrument. Driving it was a totally different proposition, as it certainly punches the sound out but at the same time, takes on a ‘trumpety’ timbre with a distinctly more brassy edge. Aimed at the student/intermediate market, we think that this horn ticks most of the right boxes and is more than capable of producing the goods when required. Brass band members might like to know that it carries a crook for a music stand. The whole package is protected by a semi-hard zippered, moulded polystyrene case with a clutch and end grab handle and sizeable zippered front pocket, together with a detachable back harness. For more info go to

This is a very pretty looking instrument, and almost looks too clean around the joints to be manufactured – as per engraving stamp – in the US. But this horn does feel substantial with a bell that seems stiffer than on a normal Bach and the plating is exceptional. So how does it blow? Yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s very, very user friendly, with no obvious vices, except perhaps being a little characterless – but it does what it’s supposed to do. And for a Bach 37 it sounds pretty good, with a solid Bach tone, offering a nice fatness as well as being bright. OK, it’s typically tight when pushed – but that’s a 37 for you, you either like it or you don’t. Splitting hairs, we felt the valves were a bit chunky, with pistons that perhaps weren’t up to the quality of the rest of the instrument but everything functioned perfectly. This is clearly an instrument that will suit the straight ahead player and will see any music student through college and on into the profession. And if they all come off the production line like our sample, they’re likely to be back ordered ‘til kingdom come. But don’t be looking for that magic individual, because we don’t think you’ll find one. Coming in the original hard shell case with stitched leather corners, it’s enough to bring tears to your eyes.

The Bach Aristocrat FH600 Flugelhorn has been developed and produced specifically to give Bach trumpet players a flugelhorn option. A keenly priced instrument, it is extraordinarily good value, with many professional features found on instruments twice the price. With a .434” bore, the FH600 has a new ‘air-through’ design together with a red brass first branch, a third slide trigger, three water keys and a classic Bach-style tuneable mouthpiece. The FH600 also includes nickel silver outside slide tubes with brass inner slide tubes for trouble free slide action, while the plasma-welded bell provides for full tonal vibration right out to the rim. With a genuine Vincent Bach mouthpiece and special Cordura covered case with a large accessory/literature pocket, this is some package and well worth checking out.

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