Archive for October, 2009

Online Mouthpiece Store Closing

Posted: October 28, 2009 in The Business

Greetings all,

Just a quick ‘Head’s Up’ we will be closing down the online mouthpiece store at it would seem that most of you are comfortable with dealing direct with us on ordering (We prefer it this way too as we get to talk to people) so this will be the last month for the Smallfish store. (Closing 1st week of November)

For those of you who wish to still pay via credit card just flick us an email or the order form and we can send you a payment request via paypal that allows you to use your credit card (you do not have to be a member of paypal to sue this service).

Instead of the online we store we are looking at replacing this with a bi-weekly to monthly update newsletter letting you know about all the latest and greatest products.

More information to come on this as I iron out all the details.

As such I will be doing some work on the mouthpieces page on the site that will allow for images etc instead of just the text. Please bear with me as I update this section of the site.

Regards, Shawn


Major Web Updates for Products

Posted: October 25, 2009 in The Business

This weekend I finally got the chance to sit down and knock off a lot of much needed updates to the website. The last month has been crazy to say the least.

If you cruise on over to Trumpetgear you will see that I’ve added a number of products this week.

Most of these are instruments – trumpets, cornets & flugels.

We have the 2 news brands on offer – Carol Trumpets and the new Phaeton Flugels. Both brands are worth checking out for sure.

Don has the Cornet CCR-300R available for play testing at the moment, and with any luck will receive the Phaeton Flugel prior to Nov 1st.

I’ll also be sending down the Carol CTR-400CR soon also.

On top of this we added 3 used trumpets to the for sale section. Two of these are my own as I will be receiving my custom horn soon.

So there’s plenty on offer right now on the lead up to Xmas.

I have to admit I don’t know the answer – but I do know that have the fun is in trying to work out the answer.

So in the spirit of experimentation I am in the process of having a Phaeton Flugel being sent down to NZ for people to give it a go and try it out for themselves.

In my opinion, some of the reasons a lot of people don’t own is a flugel is that 1) There’s a distinct lack of quality second hand models available and 2) If you do look to buy a quality instrument you will be looking to pay in excess of NZ$3000 for one.

This is where the Phaeton fits in.

We have a horn that was designed by a major designer (Wayne Tanabe – of Yamaha custom design fame) working together with a company to come up with something that still retains a sense of uniqueness and style about it.  You’d think with that kind of guy designing it you’d have a serious piece of equipment on your hands also.

Sure there are going to be plenty of people who are turned off by the contemporary look – but I’m betting there are equally going to be a lot of people who dig it also!


The price will also be an attractive price for the NZ player.  People have been telling me they are looking for options between NZ$1500 and $2000 – so here you have it!

These will retail for about NZ$1795 as a starting point. 

 (The Black Onyx Model and the Matt Silver models will of course be more)

The only question will be is it any good?

Normally I would test one myself – but that does sometimes  give a slightly bias opinion. This time round we will put it out to some players and see what they have to say about it – and then report back with some honest feedback.

For more information you can check out the PJLA Website and take a look at the options.

We can also supply trumpets should people wish to buy one of those – but for now will be concentrating on the Carol Brand in NZ.

Should you wish to trial the Phaeton drop us a note via the Trumpetgear website and we will see what we can do for you.

Hiya all,

Well it’s been a long time between last updates – and the reason for this has been due to the fact that there has been little to update you all on.

My trumpet is still at the workshop being put together – or so I am lead to believe.

I have to be honest with you all – the experience has certainly lost it’s buzz about it – from great upfront service to repetitive delays and mixed communication.

Now it’s just a case of hoping I will get the horn sometime soon and how I imagined it.

I was thinking of purchasing a matching Bravura for lead playing but I think I will hold on this idea and pick up a Carol instead.

On a more positive note I did recently test out 2 of Harrelson’s creations at Dr Dave’s shop and can tell you that they are very nice horns indeed.

Here’s hoping I can post images some time soon.

Seeing as I am in Vancouver this week…….. I figured I’d try and track down some local stores/manufacturers.

Vancouver does have the products &  services of Dr Dave Harrison (Wedge Mouthpieces) based not far from the city.


I pre-arranged a meeting with Dr Dave a few weeks back and I have to say I am glad that I did!

Not only is Dr Dave an incredibly nice and helpful guy, he is really very passionate about what he does and will go out of his way to ensure that you get good service and the right ‘fit’ of mouthpiece.

Best of all if it’s not in stock he can pretty much make it for you on the spot with his CNC and scanning units onsite.

This is the kind of one-on-one service that is ultimately lacking in a lot of retailers and manufacturers and goes a long way to ensuring a positive experience and that you get it close to perfect first time round.

Not bad for a practicing physician who knew zero about mouthpieces, running a small business or even what a CNC machine was just less than 2 years ago.

Luckily, I caught Dr Dave on a free day (he doesn’t have a lot from our discussions) and I went over to check out the shop and how he does custom pieces etc.  I think I ended up being there 4 hours talking about his mouthpieces, business concepts and horns all-in-all.

During this time I got to see a custom rim being machined from essentially first rough cut to the time that we both tested it out in his sound proof studio on site.

Custom Mouthpiece Machine

Custom Mouthpiece Machine

Of course I tried out a few Wedge’s for myself also.

I have to say I was very happy with my Al Cass pieces before trying these and went in with the thought that they would stand up to the Wedge’s no problem. It was interesting for me when he measured my pieces too that I found a recent purchase of mine (Al Cass Cornet 1-2) which should have been a standard size was in fact an Al Cass Cornet 1-24 size. This one I was preferring – so that gave a good base to choose a Wedge setup from.

After doing some side by side though – the Wedge’s do come out on top in a lot of respects.

  1. They are even more comfortable
  2. There is definitely more ‘Core” to the sound in all registers. i.e. the sound is fuller and more solid on attacks and long notes (in fairness I was testing with a heavyweight backbore and I suspect a lot more of the sound wave get’s transferred to the leadpipe with the added mass.
  3. You can change the backbores etc to suit your sound and style of play – and they come in heavyweight or standard weight for the same price.

With regards to point 3 above – this was proved in a fairer comparison on the piece you see Dr Dave working on on these pics.

This piece is a Custom piece that he made from the original mouthpiece and converted it to a Wedge Rim. (Oh yeah – he can take your existing mouthpiece and make you a Wedge Custom based on this – and craziest of all – if you don’t like it then you can still send it back for an exchange/refund!!)

Custom Wedge Mouthpiece ready for cleaning and finishing

Custom Wedge Mouthpiece ready for cleaning and finishing

From this we went back to his studio and both had a go play testing the piece side by side and in different horns to check the response and tone.

Dr. Dave testing the original piece's response prior to the Wedge

Dr. Dave testing the original piece's response prior to the Wedge

The Wedge certainly won that battle hands down – attacks were crisper – sound was fuller and it gave it a lot more power and what I like to call ‘rip or sizzle’ (this was a custom lead piece after all).

Now that we’ve covered Dr Dave. the custom pieces etc – let’s talk about the options I boiled down to.

I ended up walking away with the following:

– Gabriel ED 24 with a 25 ML Heavy Weight Backbore for trumpet

– Gabriel FLX with trumpet backbore and flugel

The FLX is an interesting piece in itself. You can either play it in you trumpet – and sound rather flugelish – or you can swap shanks and play it in your flugel exclusively.

The Testing Bench

The Testing Bench

All in all – these pieces are worth checking out!

Dr Dave has a lot of stock ready to go right off the bat – so if you are ordering a stock piece it shouldn’t take long at all. Even his custom work is fast once you are on the schedule.

I’ll be looking into bringing in a batch of these into New Zealand for sure – so be sure to contact us via the website if you want to give a wedge a go.

In the interim give Dr Dave a call direct and ask him about the Wedge – you won’t be sorry that you did.

(P.S. Don’t forget to mention that you read about it on Trumpetgear – and that Shawn sent you!)