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Orchestral Horns


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Paul Randall
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a previous poster mentioned, our trumpet section here in the NC Symphony is playing Powell trumpets. And they are great instruments, particularly because Fred Powell makes each instrument to work optimally for the player ordering the horn. They are truly custom instruments. This does not mean that they won't work for someone else, as every Powell trumpet has excellent response, intonation, and resonance. It means that each horn is designed to have the tone quality and degree of bright or dark that the player wants to compliment their own unique sound, and to make their playing requirements easier. It would be incorrect to assume that a Powell trumpet will not blend with instruments from other manufacturers, such as Bach or Yamaha. That largely depends on the ability of the players involved to listen and work together.

As to why so many players play Bach or Yamaha instruments in symphony orchestras, think about this. Why do so many people drive Toyota and Honda, but few people drive Tesla? Is the Tesla not as good? Hardly. But it's a newer company with new designs and many people are more comfortable driving brands that have been around a long time.

As to whether an audition committee would tolerate someone playing a different make of trumpet, this is nonsense. We will be having a trumpet audition next year in our orchestra and I can tell you that no one on our audition committee could care less what brand of trumpet you are playing. We care about how you play. Period.
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andybharms
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who is confused? Many people apparently. Are you confused? Hard to say because you chose to be snide instead of making a meaningful contribution to this debate.

Paul, I appreciate you playing whatever works for you. To be clear, I’m sure the committee won’t consciously care as long as it sounds good. My point is that some trumpets are risky and some are not. But I’d bet you a beer that whoever wins your audition plays a Bach or a Yamaha! Deal!?!?
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theslawdawg
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew and Paul,

Appreciate the discussion and your experiences.

Do you have an example of someone who had a successful audition with a horn that isn’t typical?

All the best, Jr
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LittleRusty
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

andybharms wrote:
Who is confused? Many people apparently. Are you confused? Hard to say because you chose to be snide instead of making a meaningful contribution to this debate.

Paul, I appreciate you playing whatever works for you. To be clear, I’m sure the committee won’t consciously care as long as it sounds good. My point is that some trumpets are risky and some are not. But I’d bet you a beer that whoever wins your audition plays a Bach or a Yamaha! Deal!?!?

One can only hope the winner is a gear head and changes often so many rounds are awarded.
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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

andybharms wrote:
Who is confused? Many people apparently. Are you confused? Hard to say because you chose to be snide instead of making a meaningful contribution to this debate.

Paul, I appreciate you playing whatever works for you. To be clear, I’m sure the committee won’t consciously care as long as it sounds good. My point is that some trumpets are risky and some are not. But I’d bet you a beer that whoever wins your audition plays a Bach or a Yamaha! Deal!?!?


Andy, your posts are usually great. Your original post on this was spot on, but I am also unsure of what confusion were you trying to dispel? it's unclear.

I have almost never seen confusion on trumpetherald. A lot of wrong info on trumpherald, but they are never confused about being wrong.

So, mark me as #2 the confused category when I also ask, who is confused? Or more meaningfully, what category of posts were you responding to when you made your post?
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andybharms
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For every question, opinion, or uncited fact, there are dozens of students and others watching and reading. I think equipment is one of the most oft misunderstood, confusing things in the trumpet world. Just the other day I was talking a student out of some monstrosity of a trumpet with sheet metal and good luck jewels and whatever. A serious student with serious talent and work ethic. Not because he is a dumb kid but because there is so much misinformation out there.

Paul and I are deep down talking about the same thing— Fred Powell’s trumpets are for professionals, by a professional, based on a combination of existing technology and processes and new ones. Lots of great players play them. And there are other people making trumpets like this as well. Ken Larson comes to mind. But what not everybody understands is that these guys started with Bachs and Yamahas. Hell, to an untrained eye they look the same. To an untrained ear, they sound the same. I could play a trumpet that was not a Bach or Yamaha very happily. But, I am not tenured. I am fighting like hell to get to the other side of a final round. It just doesn’t make sense to play something I am not 100% sure works.

Here’s a story. I was playing a Yamaha Chicago gen 1 for a long time. I studied with great teachers, read, listened, etc. Never even advanced on that horn. As part of a strategy to ‘reinvent’ my approach, I switched up almost all of my instruments to Bach. I did not like it at first, and thought I made a mistake. It was my first audition on this new setup that I got to a final round at a major audition. Granted, I took my prep up a notch or two and started working with some new people, so I don’t have an isolated variable that it was the equipment. But I knew I needed more character in my sound and say what you want about Bachs they have character.

Is this making any sense? Maybe it isn’t supposed to. Maybe our equipment choices are part of the musical Sorting Hat that places us where we belong (excuse the Harry Potter reference).
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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

andybharms wrote:

...Hell, to an untrained eye they look the same. To an untrained ear, they sound the same. I could play a trumpet that was not a Bach or Yamaha very happily. But, I am not tenured. I am fighting like hell to get to the other side of a final round. It just doesn’t make sense to play something I am not 100% sure works.

Here’s a story. I was playing a Yamaha Chicago gen 1 for a long time. I studied with great teachers, read, listened, etc. Never even advanced on that horn. As part of a strategy to ‘reinvent’ my approach, I switched up almost all of my instruments to Bach...But I knew I needed more character in my sound and say what you want about Bachs they have character.

Is this making any sense? ...


Andy, I just don't think you read the OP. He said "interesting everybody plays bach and yamaha" then you said "let me dispel the confusion...everybody should play bach and yamaha if you're not tenured."

Based on what you're writing, it sounds like you are maybe stopping yourself from choosing equipment that might help you in auditions based on an antiquated philosophy. If there's a horn that would allow your musicality and sound concept to shine through better, perhaps you'd win? What you now know is that for you: yamaha 100% has not worked, and neither has bach. Why not try something else?

I am on also on team bach and yamaha but to add a personal anecdote myself: I have a friend who's in a very good "training" orchestra that has won 2 gigs on a Powell. So it can be done. Perhaps that anecdote dispels some confusion?

Good luck in your journey!
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andybharms
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some of the discussion points were going a different direction.

I would love to play the Andrew Harms Custom Hand-made trumpet but nobody is knocking on my door to make that for me I like trumpets but I also like eating things other than ramen and do hope to pay my car off one day... I am thinking about trying a different pipe on the Philly. I have been to finals three times now with it so I am hesitant because I do love the sound and I’m still figuring out how to make it do what I want in terms of color. I am also still figuring out the trumpet and music in general. Every day I have a new revelation it seems like.

But I maintain that most people are advancing, winning in competitive orchestral situations with Bachs and Yamahas, with probably other subsets on Fred’s horns, Ken’s, and Shires. I’m sure I’m missing some others but off the top of my head. Anyway I think I’m done here. Truth is I don’t care what people play. I don’t know why I dove into this discussion so hard. Too much time on the train and not enough practicing. Lots of great trumpets. People can make their own minds up— that’s the beauty of the market!
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theslawdawg
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

andybharms wrote:
Some of the discussion points were going a different direction.

I would love to play the Andrew Harms Custom Hand-made trumpet but nobody is knocking on my door to make that for me I like trumpets but I also like eating things other than ramen and do hope to pay my car off one day... I am thinking about trying a different pipe on the Philly. I have been to finals three times now with it so I am hesitant because I do love the sound and I’m still figuring out how to make it do what I want in terms of color. I am also still figuring out the trumpet and music in general. Every day I have a new revelation it seems like.

But I maintain that most people are advancing, winning in competitive orchestral situations with Bachs and Yamahas, with probably other subsets on Fred’s horns, Ken’s, and Shires. I’m sure I’m missing some others but off the top of my head. Anyway I think I’m done here. Truth is I don’t care what people play. I don’t know why I dove into this discussion so hard. Too much time on the train and not enough practicing. Lots of great trumpets. People can make their own minds up— that’s the beauty of the market!


Good luck with your journey, Andy. If you are ever in Oahu, I'll take you for some ramen that is worth the dollar bills.
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Last edited by theslawdawg on Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

abontrumpet wrote:
... it sounds like you are maybe stopping yourself from choosing equipment that might help you in auditions based on an antiquated philosophy. If there's a horn that would allow your musicality and sound concept to shine through better, perhaps you'd win? ...

-----------
In an audition, the concern is whether the player's 'musicality and sound concept' is what is wanted by the organization. It's the player's responsibility to show an excellent 'fit' and 'value'.

If a player's 'sound' is different than what the judges are familiar with, they are forced to make a subjective decision of whether it is acceptable. Having the 'sound' be familiar is more reassuring because it is a 'known quantity' and it's an easy decision.

Jay
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nextfamousbud
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vin DiBona wrote:
I have seen the Minnesota trumpet section list their horns.
I still think they are all on the following.

Manny Laureano; Monette
Doug Carlson: Bach.
Bob Dorer: Sonare.
Chuck Lazarus: Yamaha.

There was remark made on Trumpet Master (maybe) or elsewhere on how these different horns worked so beautifully despite being very different manufacturers.
A web search did not bring any concrete results about this, though.
R. Tomasek


Actually, I just very recently heard that the section (minus Manny) got a set of horns from Blackburn and are using those. Next time I see the orchestra(this weekend perhaps) I’ll check on that. My teacher has a Blackburn C and loves it, it’s a lovely horn.
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grune
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ricsim88 wrote:
Jerry wrote:
Ricsim88 wrote:
I remember watching an interview with David Bilger where he talked about equipment used by players who were at the National brass group a couple of years ago. He said that among all the trumpet players there, there were only 2 brands represented....and my guess is one was more abundant than the other....

Wasn't David Bilger playing a third brand a few years ago in the Philadelphia Orchestra? He switched to one of the other two brands after that, yes?
Anyone know why he switched?


I believe he was playing a Shires before. As for the reason he switched, he his now involved in the design and fine tuning of one model of his new brand....brand Y..
As far as orchestra players brand of choice. Just by looking at the Artists from Brand Y shows that most of the players from major orchestras are using brand Y, both in the US and Canada. It’s hard to put an exact number, but principals in LA, San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Boston, Pittsburg, Philadelphia, and more than likely many more, all play brand Y...In Canada it’s also the most popular brand amongst principal players of large/medium size orchestras.
I’m guessing there’s a good reason for it.


Very interesting comment. Seems times have changed dramatically. Back in my day, only one brand qualified for orchestral work, Bach. When I auditioned for a major orch, I was informed I had to use a Bach. My acceptance to the orch was predicated on me having a Bach C and Bb. No other brand was accepted. Yamaha was considered greatly inferior, which it was at that time. Still today, I cannot adjust to the feel and the way a Yamaha plays. Not to knock the Y brand today, just to say we all get set in our ways. Today, with so many brands to choose, I think I would have quite a personal challenge to select a horn. So many excellent horns to choose. Are we in a golden age for trumpets?
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CJceltics33
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The assistant principal of Baltimore plays a Monette mouthpiece with a Shires horn. The principal also plays a Monette mouthpiece...I would guess the rest of the section plays Shires, too.
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HaveTrumpetWillTravel
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting discussion... Related to the post immediately prior, I'm curious how market share shifts for mouthpieces.

If it's (likely) 90% of symphonic folk playing on Bach and Yamaha trumpets, do you think it's even 30% playing on Bach and Yamaha mouthpieces?

I've often thought that most rising students are probably better off putting $1000 into finding a better mouthpiece than into improving a horn, but maybe I'm wrong?
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HaveTrumpetWillTravel wrote:
...
I've often thought that most rising students are probably better off putting $1000 into finding a better mouthpiece than into improving a horn, but maybe I'm wrong?

----------------------------------------------------
In an audition situation, if there is a specific 'sound' that is demanded (or even maybe judged by the case being carried), then horn brand and type can be significant.

A 'rising student' with professional ambitions needs good evaluation and advice if their 'sound' or equipment choice doesn't meet the expected standards for specific groups.

Jay
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khedger
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GardyParty_11 wrote:
It seems like most orchestra trumpet sections are either exclusively Bach, Yamaha, or some blend of the two. There are few exceptions I can think of, but I'm pretty sure the Minnesota Orchestra and Oregon Symphony trumpet sections play Monette. I'm curious to know which sections are playing on Schilke or even Shires. Maybe Baltimore?


How does this work? I mean, if one were to get a job in the section of the Minnesota would they be obligated to then spend $20000.00 on a horn? Even if they don't like it? Do these organizations really dictate what horn a player must use? What a strange concept.

keith
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trumpetchops
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Years ago I was playing a symphony gig and there was a sub playing first on a Monette. We talked a little and I asked why he had his Monette silver plated. He said he was sick of not advancing because of the trumpet they saw in his hand. This guy did get a job but doesn't play Monette anymore. I haven't seen him since so I never asked why.

Again years ago, I went to hear the Boston Symphony. At the time the section was all Monette. They played a piece that required a bunch of trumpets. All the added people were playing Bach. I couldn't tell. It all sounded spectacular to me.

Again, years ago, I played a union band job, 4 of us in the section, not one Bach.

I don't do much orchestra work anymore. Even back then, not a lot. The last time I did a show in an orchestra, about 6 months ago, lead trumpet was Bach. Second was Wild Thing Third, (me) Monette.

When I cared if I got called to play with the symphony, I kept a Bach C because I thought I needed to have it if they asked. Nobody ever cared. A few guys asked to try my Monette, played it, shrugged and gave it back.

Just thought I would add some random thoughts.
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khedger
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

trumpetchops wrote:
Years ago I was playing a symphony gig and there was a sub playing first on a Monette. We talked a little and I asked why he had his Monette silver plated. He said he was sick of not advancing because of the trumpet they saw in his hand. This guy did get a job but doesn't play Monette anymore. I haven't seen him since so I never asked why.

Again years ago, I went to hear the Boston Symphony. At the time the section was all Monette. They played a piece that required a bunch of trumpets. All the added people were playing Bach. I couldn't tell. It all sounded spectacular to me.

Again, years ago, I played a union band job, 4 of us in the section, not one Bach.

I don't do much orchestra work anymore. Even back then, not a lot. The last time I did a show in an orchestra, about 6 months ago, lead trumpet was Bach. Second was Wild Thing Third, (me) Monette.

When I cared if I got called to play with the symphony, I kept a Bach C because I thought I needed to have it if they asked. Nobody ever cared. A few guys asked to try my Monette, played it, shrugged and gave it back.

Just thought I would add some random thoughts.


If these organizations use this 'one size fits all' method because they think it will lead to a better 'blended' section, they are seriously deluded. You put me in ANY orchestral trumpet section playing ANY prescribed horn and I guarantee you that the section will not sound well blended with me in it. I think this pretty much refutes the idea at work here.

keith
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blbaumgarn
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 2:31 am    Post subject: orchestral horns Reply with quote

I think if you look at sounds to model yourself after you are going to people who play in orchestras if you play in orchestras or bands. Jazz labs, small groups may be different if you are looking for a different sound. I always figured no matter what you play listening to those around you and becoming part of that sound is more important than anything and that is in any orchestra, band, brass band setting. I can hear the occasional Minnesota Orchestra concert where I live on public radio and saying anything negative about a Monette sound from the principal is ludicrous. To the person who said playing all Powell horns was what their orchestra did, great as that makes it easier for sounds to mesh. Some of the major symphonies now are playing Yamaha vs. Bach for years. If they feel the sound is what they are looking for great for them.
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Vin DiBona
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the many here who have never auditioned for a top flight orchestra (and that includes me) any comment about what horn you should use is moot.
For an audition you must not only play well and especially musically, but also have a complete knowledge of what the section uses. You cannot stick out.
Some orchestras do want particular instruments used and it is up to the player auditioning to have that horn make the sound needed.
R. Tomasek
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