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Review: Schagerl JM Meister vs Bach and Others



 
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Phoenix864
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:13 pm    Post subject: Review: Schagerl JM Meister vs Bach and Others Reply with quote

Last May I purchased a Bach AB190S from the Washington Music Center. Over the course of the following months I began to notice a variety of quality issues with the horn. I recently went back to the Washington Music Center to discuss the issues. While they did not see the issues in the same light as me, they were extremely generous and allowed me to select a replacement horn.

After trying various trumpets, I ended up on a Schagerl James Morrison Meister. As I did not see much info on the James Morrison on Trumpet Herald, I though I might share my experience with it and compare it to my prior Bach.

I very much liked the Bach AB190S - it was a great all around horn. Its intonation was very good and its slotting was very middle of the road. Sound quality was excellent - it offered a very clear, rich, sweet sound with moderate brightness. The horn responded well across the dynamic range, though it didn't quite offer the same core that something like a Scodwell Las Vegas offers at higher dynamics.

When playtesting it at the shop, I felt the JM Meister was the equal of the Bach, but I didn't feel it was superior in any way. However, after playing on it at home for a bit, I've noticed a few spots where I prefer the JM.

The JM's intonation is very good, though it has slightly tighter slotting than the Bach. The JM also sounds very good. It's less sweet than the Bach and is a bit darker, with more of a core to the sound. At higher dynamics the horn sounds more 'substantial.' I can't say I like the sound more or less than the Bach, it's just different. I look forward to using the horn in ensemble playing to see how it projects and blends.

I can't say exactly why, but after a few practice sessions I've found my high range to be more consistent on the JM. I could get up high with the Bach no problem, but when I need to get out repeated Bs, Cs, and Ds above the staff the JM keeps my pitch up there far more reliably than the Bach.

My stamina on the JM also seems to be better than the Bach. I feel that I've been able to do 2+ hour sessions without feeling nearly as fatigued as I would have been on the Bach.

I didn't originally notice these benefits when I was demoing the horn, but they've started to become more apparent as I continue practicing on the horn. If they keep up like this then the JM will be by far my favorite trumpet I've ever played.

I also playtested several other horns, most of which also don't seem to be very common. For those that might be looking for info on them, here are my thoughts.

B&S Challenger 2: Very nicely put together horn that includes a great case. Felt very solid and played well, though it was pretty vanilla feeling. Very close to the AB190S, but the sound wasn't quite as good (sound was medium bright, but lacked the sweetness offered by the AB190S). That said, the valves were fantastic - probably the best I've felt on any trumpet. For its price, I'm surprised I don't see more of them around.

Scodwell Las Vegas: A very nice lighter weight horn, I would guess more aimed at commercial/lead playing. Similar slotting to the Bach with great intonation. It lacked the sweetness/richness offered by the AB190S, but offered a bright sound with a very solid core. Felt great when played loud and/or up high. If I was looking for a big band horn this probably would have been my pick, but I wanted something with a richer sound.

Schagerl JM1: Very similar to the JM Meister, but sounded slightly stuffier and wasn't quite as in tune with itself. Still a very solid horn for its price.

In the end, I feel very pleased with my James Morrison Meister - it functions very well as an all around horn and fits my needs perfectly. I hope to get many happy years (if not decades) out of it.



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cgaiii
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Always nice to have a horn that you feel good about and that inspires you. If it is good for you than it is a great horn! Enjoy it and congratulations.
Washington Music Center is a great place to try out horns.
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Phoenix864
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cgaiii wrote:
Always nice to have a horn that you feel good about and that inspires you. If it is good for you than it is a great horn! Enjoy it and congratulations.
Washington Music Center is a great place to try out horns.


Thanks, it certainly is nice to have a horn you feel good about. I would definitely concur - Washington Music Center is a great shop. Tons of horns, especially from brands like Schagerl and B&S, which seem to be pretty hard to find in the US. Top-notch service too. They didn't need to go as far as they did in helping me out, but they still did it anyway.
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c cup
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am glad to see you are enjoying your Schagerl JM Meister. I bought one about a year ago, also from Washington Music. I love it. A friend had bought one about six months before me and after hearing his and playing it I thought I had better get one. The intonation and slotting from bottom to top is spectacular. Very versatile depending on if you are using a shallow or deeper cup. Great lead/commercial sound. Bright but with great overtones and richness. Also beautiful legit or jazz sound with a deeper cup and more open backbore. I tried a lot of horns at Washington Music and liked a lot of them. But The Schagerl was my favorite.
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trumpet56
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you considered the mouthpiece you match with your Schagerl JM Meister? IMO the mouthpiece is part of the trumpet and is the first point of contact between the player and the instrument. Did you audition the Schagerl Apredato another James Morrison stroke of genius? If not, in my experience its definitely worth a trial. After a lifetime mouthpiece safari the Schagerl (Hans Gansch) has given me the balance between come and overtones I was searching for.
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trumbachpet
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:51 am    Post subject: schagerl Meister Horn Reply with quote

It's nice to see some comments on the Schagerl Meister horn in these pages as not much has been written about this horn from what I can tell. I totally agree with everyone's comments about the sound and playability of the horn and am quite pleased with it. The only issue I find with the horn is, probably because it is made by a European maker, that it is tuned to a 442 A instead of to a 440 A. European orchestras tune to 442 A and we in this country tune to 440 A.....so to play in tune here, I have to pull the tuning slide out quite a bit more.
Have any others found this to be the case......I have not seen anyone mention this.
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hibidogrulez
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice trumpet. Glad to read that you enjoy it and great service from Washington Music Center.
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Seymor B Fudd
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I can't say exactly why, but after a few practice sessions I've found my high range to be more consistent on the JM. I could get up high with the Bach no problem, but when I need to get out repeated Bs, Cs, and Ds above the staff the JM keeps my pitch up there far more reliably than the Bach."


Congrats tom the new horn! Your experiences with the Bach 190 pretty much like mine; fantastic sound, well in tune but - I had the same issues up high! I had a difficult time finding the notes from Bb and up.
Besides that I found the horn somewhat too easy blowing. And somewhat too bright me behind it. I seem to need a bit more resistance - found everything I wanted in the Yamaha 6335 RC.
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Locutus2k
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have one JM Meister trumpet, too. It's not my all day or favorite trumpet but it's one i like to keep near all the time ... just in case.
To my ears the strong points of the JM Meister horn is the very solid intonation across the whole range, the nice open (but not too much) blow and the sound that is what i would expect from "the best Bach out there".
For lead/Big Band playing i prefer my Bach NY and for solo/small combo playing my Edwards x-13 but the JM Meister is an all-around horn that always deliver.

P.S. The JM1 horn, that i've played in the past, is a totally different horn to my ears, more "compressed" (would not say "stuffy") and less accurate. A very good student/entry level horn built with Carol Brass bell and parts, while the Meister is made in the house (only uses Carol Brass valve block, that is excellent).
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Phoenix864
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After about 7 months of playing I still am enjoying the JM Meister - it continues to be a reliable daily player. As others have mentioned, it is a very well-rounded, all-purpose horn - a comfortable, middle of the road blow, good response and slotting across the register, excellent valve action, and a phenomenal sound.

I would especially speak to the quality of the sound - I find it to be rich, warm, and a bit mellow. I find it to be a lovely all-around sound that I always enjoy listening to. After bringing the horn to rehearsals, I received comments about how much better my sound was, even from people who did not know about the horn switch. I had previously been bringing a Bach AB190S to rehearsals, so it wasn't exactly like I was switching from a low-quality horn.

This recording I did of William Bolcom's Graceful Ghost Rag has a few solos which highlight the JM Meister's sound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0MkZVfmCrs

trumbachpet - That's interesting - I have not experienced any issues with the tuning myself. I've found the JM Meister to be quite well in-tune, both with itself and with others, without needing to use an excessive amount of tuning slide.

Locutus2k - I tired the JM1 along side the JM Meister and would absolutely agree - the JM1 has a more compressed sound with a bit worse intonation than the JM Meister. My instructor went as far as saying it sounded 'stuffy.' The JM1 I tried was still a solid horn, but the JM Meister just felt and sounded a bit better across the board.
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