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Tell me about Fred Powell Trumpets


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dkwolfe
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:44 am    Post subject: Tell me about Fred Powell Trumpets Reply with quote

Good Afternoon;

I recently met someone who had just picked up a Fred Powell trumpet (it wasn't even finished yet), but it wasn't a good time to be pestering them with questions about it (they were getting ready to perform).

So, tell me about them. What are they like? Are they a "jazz only" type of horn, or are they "all around horns".

I currently play a Gen 1 Xeno (and I'm fairly happy with it), but the idea of having something that allows for more of the color pallet would be great.

Thanks,
D
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trickg
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know that Fred Powell was instrumental in the design of the Conn Vintage One trumpet, and that his horns are supposed to be the bomb-diggity. I'm not sure who here has an actual Powell trumpet though.

Possibly the best source would be to get in touch with Fred directly and make the inquiry there.

PowellTrumpets@gmail.com
or
fred@powelltrumpets.com

That, or message him through his Facebook page.
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houdini1313
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just got a "Powell Signature Custom Series" horn built for me, I cant say enough good things. Fred is easy to work with, knowledable, and a master crafstman.

Powell trumpets are being used in major symphonies and broadway shows. When you go try horns its like going to the eye doctor, 1 or 2, no talk about parameters, just what feels good and sounds good. There are lots of options, bells, weights, all tailored to each players needs.

I should post up a full review sometime. My horn is built for my freelancing needs. Most my gigs are commercial/lead, but ai need a horn that can do it all. With my bell, leadpipe, etc, the horn is built to make me sound legit with a certain mouthpiece, but easily light up for commercial lead playing.

For me the horn isnt getting in the way, classical or lead the horn lets me match the sound in my head. Very even scale, intonation is great. Its horns built the right way, everything is hand built in Elkhart.

I liked my Bb so much I already have a C on order.

I recommend going to the shop or a show and trying the options in person. I'd be happy to answer any questions you have, I like supporting people and businesses who serve their customers well and make great products.
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jaysonr
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The N.C. Symphony section is playing Powell C trumpets and they sound fantastic!
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markp
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

houdini1313 wrote:
When you go try horns its like going to the eye doctor, 1 or 2, no talk about parameters, just what feels good and sounds good.


I like the way this sounds and don't think I've ever heard of other makers doing it this way.

As someone with really screwed up eyes who gives the optometrist nightmares, I can relate. (One is far-sighted and the other is near-sighted, and one has an injury to the retina.)

So, I take it that for best results, you go see Mr. Powell in person at his shop?
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JJMDestino
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fred Powell is an awesome guy and an amazing craftsman. His horns are extremely versatile and are used in every setting. I have tried a number of his horns my colleagues played and was always impressed. I tried a prototype he had at NTC a few years ago and it blew me away. I was playing a Shires at the time and immediately put it up for sale. Fred and I never talked specs. I told him in great detail what I liked about the horn and also what I would like different. He knew my playing needs very well and absolutely nailed it! Fred is a brilliant designer and builder.
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Matthew Anklan
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So many helpful comments above already, but as a very happy customer, I just want to chime in here as well.

I played my very first "Powell trumpet," a Conn V-1, back in 2002 when he was with Conn Selmer. I've been hooked ever since. I now play a custom trumpet built for me in 2010, I have a custom flugelhorn, and a custom C trumpet. Anytime somebody tries my horns they always comment on how evenly they play, how responsive they are, and how the sound doesn't break up, even when pushed to the extremes.

I would be more than happy to answer any questions about working with Fred, and also to help facilitate a shop visit if anyone would like.

Kindest regards,
- Matt
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houdini1313
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

markp wrote:
houdini1313 wrote:
When you go try horns its like going to the eye doctor, 1 or 2, no talk about parameters, just what feels good and sounds good.


So, I take it that for best results, you go see Mr. Powell in person at his shop?


Thats exactly what I'd recommend, or see him at various trade shows.
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acritzer
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have Fred's Classic II. It's a "stock" horn, simply meaning that it came with a certain lead pipe, bell, etc.
It's a fantastic horn! Can easily be used in any setting.
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GarrettFaccone
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:44 am    Post subject: #NailedIT Reply with quote

Seriously great thread post happening here!

houdini1313 wrote:
I just got a "Powell Signature Custom Series" horn built for me, I cant say enough good things. Fred is easy to work with, knowledgable, and a master craftsman...

...I recommend going to the shop or a show and trying the options in person. I'd be happy to answer any questions you have, I like supporting people and businesses who serve their customers well and make great products.


Perry (Houdini1313) NAILED a great review of Fred Powell and his trumpets! Perry and I went to visit Fred's shop a month ago and I was totally blown away with what Fred has to offer. All of his horns are tailored to the specific player in question. Like Perry and Matt Anklan, I need a horn that will let me play ALL styles of music convincingly with a great sound. Not only do Fred's horns let me sound great, they allow me to not have to worry about the inconsistencies from big name brand horns that we have all grown up with. I can just concentrate on the music!

I currently have a custom Bb on order with Fred Powell and cannot be more excited for my horn to arrive!
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hose
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This review of Powell trumpets is long overdue on TH. Great advise from others here. I've known Fred for over 25 years. Watched him grow and pay his dues as a designer/manufacturer. He is an expert at analyzing a player and coupled with knowledge of what genre the player frequents, produce the best horn for that player. My Powell is now seven years old. Designed for me. The best horn I've ever played and worth every penny.

Go to the shop if you want to save time and shipping costs while you "dial it in". Especially if Fred doesn't know how and where you play.
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LittleRusty
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There seems to be a thread through the posts here that Fred is able to build horns that match up well to the individual.

I don't mean to denigrate Fred or the Powel trumpets, but this begs the question of what this does to the potential buyers if one ever decides to sell their Powel instrument.

Does one need to find someone who desires the same characteristics in a trumpet as the seller? Or can they go back to Fred and have him tweak it for them?

Again, not meant as a negative. Many of us are always looking for a tweak here or there. Dick Akright once told me he felt Bach's inconsistencies actually helped him in sales since not everyone wanted the exact same instrument.
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patdublc
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fred is a good friend and one of the top custom builder of horns. He has a system of parts that people can try to find the combinations that they like. It is a very versatile setup. By design, he steers away from one-trick horns, but if that's what you want/need, he can help you with that.
He's also one of the nicest guys in the business and a great player.

We've been toying with the concept of going on a national tour together. That's a BBQ tour, not a trumpet tour.

Yes, he can tweak a horn for you.
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hose
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LittleRusty wrote:
There seems to be a thread through the posts here that Fred is able to build horns that match up well to the individual.

I don't mean to denigrate Fred or the Powel trumpets, but this begs the question of what this does to the potential buyers if one ever decides to sell their Powel instrument.

Does one need to find someone who desires the same characteristics in a trumpet as the seller? Or can they go back to Fred and have him tweak it for them?

Again, not meant as a negative. Many of us are always looking for a tweak here or there. Dick Akright once told me he felt Bach's inconsistencies actually helped him in sales since not everyone wanted the exact same instrument.


That's a good question. Over the seven years I've owned the horn there's a few people who have tried it and weren't blown away with it. Nice horn...probably wouldn't buy it. They wouldn't want to wear my shoes either since my shoes are my size. It's similar to if you had a stock horn tweaked for you. The next prospective owner might not like those tweaks. The Powell valves are impeccable and it is obvious that it's a well made horn. Ergonomics, etc. Since the horn fits me so well I don't plan on getting rid of it. However, I presume that Fred or others could customize it for someone else if that was desired.
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Rene Janisse
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My understanding is that Mr. Fred Powel and Mr. Cliff Blackburn were instrumental in designing a trumpet made in Germany called a Sonare. I believe it was primarily made at the B & S factory and tweeked eslwhere. The lead pipes were designed by Mr. Blackburn the rest of the horn including the microlock valve system was Mr. Powels design. The top models had the bells cryogenicly treated.
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James Becker
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rene Janisse wrote:
My understanding is that Mr. Fred Powel and Mr. Cliff Blackburn were instrumental in designing a trumpet made in Germany called a Sonare. I believe it was primarily made at the B & S factory and tweeked eslwhere. The lead pipes were designed by Mr. Blackburn the rest of the horn including the microlock valve system was Mr. Powels design. The top models had the bells cryogenicly treated.



You're right about Clifford's contribution to the design of the Sonare trumpets, primarily his exclusive design and manufacturing of all Blackburn USA leadpipes in his Decatur, Tennessee shop.

As tester of Sonare trumpets for the first five years (trumpets first released in in 2005) I personally set up every German made (B&S) Sonare trumpet at the Vern Q. Powell Flute factory in Maynard Massachusetts. Microlock valve guides were the brainchild of VQP owner Steven Wasser and the design was refined by Clifford Blackburn and VQP engineer Bob Zmrzly. All VQP flutes and Sonare trumpets received cryogenic super cooling treatment.

My role as Sonare trumpet tester ended after Steven Wasser purchased E.K.Blessing. It was at that point that Fred Powell was brought on board. Fred's contributions were incorporated into the new domestic Sonare and Blessing offerings made in Elkhart, IN.

I hope this clarifies the Sonare trumpet timeline and those involved in their production.

FWIW Vern Q. Powell Flutes was recently sold to The Buffet Group, the owners of B&S.
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razeontherock
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow Mr. Becker, always so nice to read you filling us in on the details! Thank you

And to those promoting Powell trumpets, it'd be SO nice to have a youtube vid of his shop, you discussing the choosing / making of a horn with him, some demonstration playing of a few models showcasing the versatility of each ...
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Matthew Anklan
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

razeontherock wrote:
Wow Mr. Becker, always so nice to read you filling us in on the details! Thank you

And to those promoting Powell trumpets, it'd be SO nice to have a youtube vid of his shop, you discussing the choosing / making of a horn with him, some demonstration playing of a few models showcasing the versatility of each ...


Great idea. I'll see what I can do.
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dkwolfe
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good Afternoon;

Thanks for all the great info. As I look to upgrade, I think the Powell trumpets should be on my list.

Thanks,
D
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

YOU WILL NOT BE SORRY!
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