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Adams A4 Shepherds Crook Heavy Bb "Hybrid" Trumpet


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mbradd
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 11:01 am    Post subject: Adams A4 Shepherds Crook Heavy Bb "Hybrid" Trumpet Reply with quote

Iíve been asked a couple of times about the new horn I bought and since there isnít a whole lot of info out on the web about these fantastic instruments just yet, I thought Iíd give my two cents here.

The Adams A4 Shepherds Crook Heavy Bb ďHybridĒ trumpet. I purchased this instrument three weeks ago from Trent Austin of Austin Custom Brass in Malden, MA. And if youíve read anything by anyone who has dealt with Trent, youíll know right away that heís a class act and makes it very easy for you to spend large sums of money. Heís also the only dealer for Adams trumpets in the US. I am still learning to play this instrument and it will continue to unfold for me, Iím sure, as I get used to all of its unique qualities.

First of all, it is a large bore 0.462Ē with a 5.5Ē in bell flare and an asymmetrical tuning slide. It is a HEAVY horn, although weíre not talking a Monette with metal strips everywhere. The instrument plays incredibly well. Intonation is very good. Slots very well in the upper register and the sound is very much a cross between trumpet, flugel, and cornet. You can bring out different characteristics reminiscent of any of those horns by switching mouthpieces. I typically play on either a Bach 2C megatone or a 10Ĺ C. Between those two mouthpieces alone, you get a wide variety of sounds. Both still intrinsically trumpet, but the megatone gets closer to the darker flugel territory while still retaining some of the zip of the trumpet sound and the 10Ĺ C brightens the horn up allowing it to really cut through a band.

I also picked up from Trent one of his TA/TF trumpet/flugel mouthpieces which gets the horn almost completely into flugel timbre territory. The sound is amazingly dark and warm. I donít miss the Benge flugel that I traded in to get this horn one bit! I have no doubt that there are many more sounds that I could get just changing mouthpieces alone. I will continue to experiment with that!

The valves are Bauerfeind, which Adams has now bought. If youíve read anything about the Bauerfeind valves, you know theyíre incredible. Smooth, precise, perfect. Iíve never played valves this nice.

I do have a few minor complaints, and I do mean minor. The bell is a shorter distance from the main tuning slide due to the shepherds crook. As a result, the main tuning slide touches the bell when pulled out fully. You must push the spit valve open in order to take the slide off or on and you must be very careful about not smacking the bell with the spit valve. I'm concerned that I may scratch the bell up at some point. I donít know if a water key would have been a better idea as I know they do use them for the regular A4.

There is no spit valve for the 3rd slide, so emptying it is a bit of pain as you must loosen the slide stop in order to take the whole slide off and the top of the inner slide is longer than the bottom, making it a little awkward to take off.

These are truly minor complaints as the horn is incredible to play. Adams is making some of the finest instruments out there, and IMO the shepherds crook A4 is an instrument like no other. The variety of sounds that you get from switching mouthpieces makes this a definite chameleon horn. This is a perfect horn for anyone doing a lot of recording work as you have a nearly endless range of sonic possibilities. Do yourself a favor and check them out at a convention or make the trek just outside of Boston. Boston is lovely in the summer anyways!

-MBradd

***Note: I've edited this post as I recently learned I was mistaken with the bore size. I was under the impression that it was the .470. It is not. It's a .462. Still a large bore, but not by much!










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Adams A4 Shepherds Crook Bb
1970's Bach 37 Bb
1970's Getzen Flugel


Last edited by mbradd on Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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veery715
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Drop dead gorgeous!! I want one (but Trent already knows that!)

I love the copper-colored valves.
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bebop
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 12:18 pm    Post subject: Adams Reply with quote

Would you say the horn plays on the bright or dark side using a Bach 3C on it? Would it fit into a section of say Bach's and Yamaha's. Or, is it more of a solo type horn?
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mbradd
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@bebop: I'd say the horn is more dark than bright and a 3C probably won't change that a whole lot. In terms of fitting into a section of Bach's and Yamaha's, I'm not sure yet. I haven't had the opportunity to try it in that context yet. I'd like to think that it will play well with others, but it is a unique sounding instrument and will probably be more apt for solo and small combo work where blending with other trumpets isn't a concern. Having said that, I didn't buy it play in big band sections. I still have a Bach 37 for that if necessary.

***Update: I've been playing this horn in a symphonic wind band and I'm glad to say that it definitely plays well with others. Blends beautifully with a section predominantly made up of Bach's and a couple of Yamaha's.
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Adams A4 Shepherds Crook Bb
1970's Bach 37 Bb
1970's Getzen Flugel


Last edited by mbradd on Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Retlaw
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How does the blow compare to your 37? Did you try/consider a .460?

Walter
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mbradd
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Retlaw: I don't believe I tried the .460. I did try another Adams Shepherd, but for me, I just liked this one better. It had a slightly different finish on it. It may have been a .460, but I'm not sure.

In terms of the difference of blow between the 37 and Adams, they're very very different. The Bach, which is a standard ML, has always been a little stuffy to me with a lot of resistance in the upper register. The Adams is very open. I've never considered myself to be a large bore guy, as I've tried many over the years and always felt I had to work too hard to keep the sound supported. For some reason this one really works for me. I don't feel like I have to blow my brains out to fill up the horn. The sound is easy, centered and full.
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1970's Bach 37 Bb
1970's Getzen Flugel
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mulligan stew
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got the non-shephard's crook version of this trumpet--the Adams A4 Custom Heavy--and it is phenomenal. As you say, amazingly responsive to mouthpiece weight. Doesn't feel large at all and has a sizzling upper register, and a fat, barking lower one.

I have no problem with the lack of a water key on the third slide. I'm used to trumpets like this and it makes for a better playing horn.

Superb valves, slides, and overall fit and finish. And handmade to boot...


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mbradd
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beautiful horn, Mulligan. Is that a raw brass finish? The lack of water key on the 3rd isn't that big of a deal. I'm just used to being able to pull the slide on my Bach and it's more a matter of convenience than anything else. Easy things to deal with for a horn that plays and sounds this awesome. Congrats on your horn! If it plays anything like mine, I know you're in trumpet heaven.
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1970's Bach 37 Bb
1970's Getzen Flugel


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mulligan stew
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yours is gorgeous too. Yes, it's raw brass...I polished it once when I got it and am leaving it alone now. As far as I can tell, it's identical to yours except for the bell. Is yours lacquered?

Amazing instruments. Incredibly easy to play.
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mbradd
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it has a lacquered, satin finish. I always said my next horn was going to be a raw brass, but when I played this horn, that never even entered my mind. Sometimes you play something that shatters what you think you want.
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1970's Bach 37 Bb
1970's Getzen Flugel
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rpoutan
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matthew, what is the thickness of your bell - .016, .018, .020, or .022"
What is the bell material - brass, gold brass, or red brass?
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mbradd
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not know about the thickness of the bell, but the horn is essentially their A4 which is one of their heavy horns. I would guess it's on the thicker side. It has a gold brass bell.
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scatanas
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mbradd wrote:
I do not know about the thickness of the bell, but the horn is essentially their A4 which is one of their heavy horns. I would guess it's on the thicker side. It has a gold brass bell.



the thickness of the bell is written right on the mouthpiece receiver (usually on the underside) but it's written in the European metric system so it's:
Metric US
0.40 .016
0.45 .018
0.50. .020


and the bell material is written on the bell right where it says ADAMS CUSTOM INSTRUMENTS (under that it says Yellow Brass, Rose Brass, etc).

When i had my Adams A4 built for me i've had many conversations with Miel Adams on the phone, but regarding BORE SIZE he said he does either
.460 or .470 so i find it sorta interesting if this bore is .462


*I will post images of my Adams A4 soon along with a review. But yeah, GREAT instruments!! EVERYONE that plays my horn wants to buy one. It has SO much finesse and it's so easy to play "It's like it plays FOR you" is what cats usually say. I have the 0.50 thickness bell (so 0.020'' for U.S.) with a Red Brass Bell. It's a great horn.
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TrentAustin
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm thinking Matt's horn is either a .40 or .45 but my weak memory is failing yet again! Too many high notes on my gig last night!
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mbradd
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So that's what those numbers mean! Crazy Europeans (and uh....rest of the world for that matter), using the metric system! Well, ya learn something knew everyday. Guess I can call it a day! It's a .40, so it's on the thinner side. Jeez, if this is the lighter material and weighs this much...

But in terms of the bore size, I originally thought it was the .470 due to the information in the catalog and website. But Trent mentioned that he thought it was a little smaller and I watched him check it himself. .462. Perhaps due to being hand made there are small anomalies like this? Whatever the configuration, I love this horn more now than I did when I first wrote the review. It's the best horn I've ever played.
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1970's Bach 37 Bb
1970's Getzen Flugel
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rpoutan
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matt, with the thin .40mm or .016" bell, what makes your A4 shepherd play so dark? It's called a heavy horn and where does the weight come from? I assume that the leadpipe, .470 bore, heavy mpc receiver, and shepherd's crook all contribute to the darker sound. Would you say that it plays darker than a Bach/Kanstul with a 25O or 43 leadpipe and 72 bell? Play more open or about the same?
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scatanas
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rpoutan wrote:
Matt, with the thin .40mm or .016" bell, what makes your A4 shepherd play so dark? It's called a heavy horn and where does the weight come from? I assume that the leadpipe, .470 bore, heavy mpc receiver, and shepherd's crook all contribute to the darker sound. Would you say that it plays darker than a Bach/Kanstul with a 25O or 43 leadpipe and 72 bell? Play more open or about the same?


I'm not Matt, but i played a demo version of him model for quite a while before settlling down on what i want on MY Adams A4.

Yes, the bell is very thin, but the shephard's crook the huge bell with the shape of the bell flare make the difference, along with the ASTOUNDING craftsmanship on the horn.
Also on my Adams A4 the EDGE of the bell is thinner (kinda like french bead system) and i'm sure that has something to do with the sound.

The darkness is just in the low register, very full huge sound. As you go higher the sound lightens up and it just says "ELEGANCE" in the sound. Beauty.

You owe it to yourself to try one out. If you don't like it -No problem. But if you Do like you may very well realize this is the horn you've looking for.
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Capt.Kirk
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well that is a beautiful horn. I love the valve section must be their Bronze valve option???? Nice looking horn!
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mbradd
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rpoutan wrote:
Matt, with the thin .40mm or .016" bell, what makes your A4 shepherd play so dark? It's called a heavy horn and where does the weight come from? I assume that the leadpipe, .470 bore, heavy mpc receiver, and shepherd's crook all contribute to the darker sound. Would you say that it plays darker than a Bach/Kanstul with a 25O or 43 leadpipe and 72 bell? Play more open or about the same?


Where does the weight come from? I don't know. I can only say that it weighs far more than my Bach. I'm not that much of a techy when it comes to this stuff. I just know what works for me. In terms of the darkness factor, I think it has to be in the shepherd's crook design. The sound of this instrument flirts with cornet/flugel sound and it was significantly different from the standard A4, which as far as I can tell is the only difference in construction. I can't speak to a Kanstul comparison, but I've played the range of Bachs and there is just no comparison. The Adams horns are just different animals. Darkest, most open horn I've every played. But open in a way that does not exhaust me playing it. Even though it's on the smaller side of large bore, every large bore I ever played before wore me out very quickly.

There's also the bottom valve caps which are far heavier than the Bach heavy caps I had on my 37. We're not talking pounds here, but it's significant.

That's all I can come up with. That and they must sprinkle magic Dutch pixie dust on it!
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1970's Bach 37 Bb
1970's Getzen Flugel
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Bill Dishman
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:58 pm    Post subject: Shepherds Crook Bb Trumpets Reply with quote

Marcienkowitz (sp?) has a Renaissance model shepherds crook Bb.

Any comparison with the Adams A4?

Bill Dishman
Gainesville, Florida
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