Archive for November, 2009

Summit Update #5 

Quite a few people have been asking me to give feedback about when I receive my Harrelson Summit.

So…let me introduce you to Serenity.

Harrelson Summit Bb Custom "Serenity"

 She’s a smooth looking lady with all the right curves, and only speaks when I want her to.

Of course at the moment she’s looking a little fresh – but over time she will develop a lovely tan and get a more mature look about her.

 This is of course from the latest line of Harrelson trumpets – built by the man himself Mr. Jason Harrelson.

www.harrelsontrumpets.com

 I’ve had the horn less than a day upon writing this – but I wanted to give some feedback in stages so you can see all the stages that you will be going through in buying, selecting, receiving and adjusting to your new horn should you decide to purchase a Harrelson.

 Now back to the horn…..

 Positives:

Great sound – This is the kind of sounds that fills up the room.

To use imagery – it’s like a cold winter’s day where you are able throw a blanket and start up the open fire in the living room kind of feeling. That’s the kind of warmth that goes right to the core and warms you all over.

This is due to the 5.25 bell that spreads the sound wide rather than uni-directional. 

At this stage I tried it out with my Wedge Gabriel 24 and the Wedge Gabriel FLX, an Al Cass 1-2-1 (the horn was gap adjusted for an Al Cass 1-28) and an Al Cass Cornet 1-24 with adapter. All had pretty similar results.

I felt that the Wedge FLX was essentially a Chris Botti type /Flugelish sounds concept in one with a simple switch.

Efficient – I’m kind of new to the whole SWE concept.

I try not to think too much about the physics etc of each horn – and instead try to judge by what I hear and feel as I approach a horn.

I get the impression from this one that very little escapes the horn before the sounds you created at the business end travels of the bell rim.

 Design – Well I admit that the design won’t be liked by the majority as it’s a little far from the norm I think that this design just plain rocks!

Jason changed the leadpipe mouthpiece receiver from the original design to something that he worked on for his artist series Summit – and I love it!

Way better than the original design that I thought I was buying at the time of purchase. 

Workmanship

I’m pretty fussy when it comes to fit and finishing.

This horn is pretty much flawless.

I’ve seen a few custom horns recently and I’d have to say his fit and finishing is some of the best I have seen. I love how when I first picked up this horn it felt almost exactly the same as my old horn (all-be-it a little heavier of course)

We talked about this during my consultation – about wanting to have a similar feel to my old Z horn. All I did was take some photos of my old horn with a measuring tape visible in the background so he could see the mm measurements.

I can’t believe that he could make it fit so well from 3-4 photographs.

He also specially filed the middle brace edges and offset the 1st valve ring by 20 degrees or so to match my hand placement.

 

Tuning & Slotting

One thing I noticed immediately was how rock solid this horn was in regards to holding a note in tune.

Vs. my digital tuner it pretty much locks onto a note and the needle stays there until you move to the next note.

The slots also seem to be a lot closer together – as such it’s quite easy to miss or overshoot the notes upon adjusting.

 Negatives:

The negatives are not really to do with the horn at all.

I am very impressed with the horn to be honest. 

The issues I had were with the following:  (I’m not trying to bag anyone here – this was my individual experience)

 Time: – It took a lot longer than expected.

Now I gave Jason a pretty hard time about the delays – this horn took 6 months instead of my expected 2-3 month wait.

I have to make it known now though –  when they say (meaning his previous customers) it will be worth the wait they are not wrong. 

So a big apology goes out to Jason for reminding him each time the horn was delayed a little. I guess being a first time rookie to having a horn custom built and having thousands of dollars out there in the land of the US where someone was hopefully building me something – was a little too much to bear in some stages. 

In hindsight you should expect this as it really is just a single guy putting out these hand built horns to your specs.

If you’re new to having a custom horn made like I was be prepared to wait for months above your expected time line.

For perspective buyers I guess you have to realize that he knows better than you.

(Cue me taking a bite of humble pie myself here)

I get the sense that very little goes out the shop door unless he’s 100 satisfied with it.

Communication – For me it was a little lacking.

I like to know when there’s a delay and what’s up with progress etc at all times. (I live in Japan and this is pretty much expected without question)

Different strokes for different folks I guess – but if you’re expecting frequent updates I think you need to lower your expectations in this regard.

They simply don’t have the manpower to do this at this stage.

I did go so far as to send them an ideal customer experience model (as this is kind of the area of expertise that I work in for my day job).

Haven’t seen any feedback on that yet….

 Half and Half

Weight – I’m not sure this is really a negative or a positive – but this horn does weight substantially more than others I have tried.

The plus side of this is the horn is built tough – and it really does not let much energy escape out whilst the sound wave is traveling to the bell and out.

 Adjustment – Well I picked this horn up and could go up and down 2 octaves (low G to G above the staff) no problem – but it kicked me a little when I wanted to go higher. (Normally I can go to the high G without to much issue). Pretty sure this is just me adjusting to the horn.

Also I had one of my wisdom teeth out about 12 days ago – so not in a position to let rip at the moment as the mouth is still healing.

I’ve had it less than a day – so this was to be expected.

I recall when I first got my 6310Z it took me about 2-3 weeks to essentially get how to blow the horn correctly so will be taking it slow and steady here too.

Raw Brass – This is my first raw brass horn.

If I’d had the $$’s I would have gone with the Gold Plate.

But seeing as I’d rather look at another horn that put gold plate on this one (Gold is obscenely expensive right now) raw brass finish it is.

I’m definitely not a fan of bright raw brass – so can’t wait till she turns nice and brown and a little worn looking.

I doubt that will take long – after one gig you can see finger marks starting to show in the pics and the dark brown section on the 3rd valve.

Okinawa is pretty brutal on horns as it’s so humid here.

 

All in all I am very happy with my purchase.

I got this for an absolute bargain price as I purchased one of the very first Summits that were made available. 

This is a great trumpet and I would happily recommend this to anyone who was looking for a nice dark and smooth sounding horn.

Actually…..scratch that – I’d really prefer it if there was only a few of these out there so I’m the only one who sounds like I do. 

But seriously – if you’ve been watching Ebay lately you’ll see that Harrelson Bravura’s are selling for less than what you would pay for a new Bach or a Yamaha.

Why not take a leap of faith and try him out for yourself?

His work is flawless, they do what he says what they will do, and the horns are currently under priced in my opinion.

 If you are not satisfied with the horn you should at least be able to get back what you paid for it straight away – how many horns can you say that about?

P.S. I am not in any way affiliated with Jason Harrelson or his horns, or sell any of his horns.

(Wish I was as I’m looking for a new job next year – anyone working for a trumpet related business that requires a trumpet fanatic to represent them or help out in the shop?)

Just a regular player sharing an experience…..

Will post again once I have clocked up some hours in the shed with my new lady.

 

Here’s a post from one of our trumpeting friends up North – Mr Derek Hopper who plays trumpet in the Jazz Inspired combo group:

We met Sarah Bradley (TV One’s Good Morning Show) at her rural accommodation outside of town and rehearsed with her on the hotel door step for several hours.

Sarah is a jazz singer as well as a TV presenter and she sang a number of show tunes such as “I got rhythm” and “Anything Goes” and a range of jazz standards. 

Our first set was on an outdoor stage in a fairly strong breeze and we were miked up like a rock band.

Always take pegs!

I had my music pegged and the wind still threatened to blow the music stand over. Depending who we talked to in the audience afterward we sounded bad or wonderful, possibly depending on whether the audience member was a fan of Sarah Bradley or not.

Things could only get better and they did. We played to a packed house at the Corvette Cafe and Bar for 3 hours on Saturday night. Folk were cramming the sidewalk to hear us and we were pressed for an encore at the end. Nice to have our music appreciated!

On Sunday we played from 10 am onward at the same restaurant to a fairly steady crowd until numb lips and fingers forced us to stop around 2pm.

A highlight was meeting a French speaking guy who used to be a sort of personal assistant to Clark Terry, Jon Faddis, Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis and many other jazz greats when they toured in Europe. He had several photo albums full of snaps of him hanging out with them.

I also enjoyed hearing Mike Booth playing flugel and trumpet with his combo he is a pretty fluent improvisor with a good sound.

Although I did not get to hear them, the Queen City Big Band were appreciated by many people we spoke to.

Other bands/artists at the festival were: Miles Ahead, Indigo Blue, Riverhead Slide, Good Oil, Brilleaux and Mike Cassidy .

The organizer, John Norris, was pleased with the success of the event and is already making plans for next years festival.

Yep, after searching around for month I have uncovered another great Flugel for players to consider.

(Actually to be perfectly honest this one fell into my lap with the relationship we started with Carol Instruments in Taiwan)

We first brought you the Phaeton flugel with its contemporary looks and sound that has been turning some finely tuned ears already.

Now we bring you the latest from the Carol Workshop.

Allow me to introduce the Carol CFL-620 

This is Carol Instrument’s answer to all the Smooth Jazz Ballad players of the World.

Now, I am talking strictly at this stage from viewing the photos provide from the factory – but doesn’t this look like a great flugel? 

This one has apparently been in the works for a number of months and is about to go into production.

Some things that strike me in the design immediately are the following:

 Look at the 3rd valve trigger

Finally someone has thought about trying to make a trigger that blends with the overall design of the horn and looks like it should be there – not some standard trigger that is both uncomfortable and looks out of place. Notice also the attention to detail with the post and each end being part of the design here too! Nice touches from the Carol design team there! 

Weighted Valve Caps

From what I can tell these are similar to the C trumpet in that the valve caps are weighted heavier than standard which allows for easier ‘slotting’ of notes.

 Amado Water Keys

One of my pet peeves with a few flugel designs was the 1st valve water key being to close to the right hand thumb – and as such you would occasionally knock it and throw your tuning off.

I’m not a huge fan of this style of keys – but having seen some of the other trumpet water keys these are built tough and should go the distance and provide good drainage too.

 1st and 3rd valve trim

They could have left these areas the same with the lacquered brass – but it seems that they were thinking about potential wear areas as you have a nice silver/nickel trim instead. It also fit’s nicely into the overall design. 

From discussions with the factory this horn will be available with a Yellow Brass or Gold Brass bell.

You can also opt to have it in a silver plate with either bell configuration. 

Another great product from Carol?

I’ll keep you posted once I’ve tried it! 

Stay tuned……

This came into my inbox today as I had requested a picture of the Carol CR-388R Cornet from the factory.

The 388 is the top of the line offering from Carol Intruments in the Cornet range.

It’s either a Gold or Rose brass bell plated in Silver and Gold. (I need to confirm this)

It comes with the standard cornet hard case for good protection.

Notice the different sized bottom valve caps – so you can dial in and fine tune your sound.

Carol Cornet 388R

What a nice horn! Not too much more I need to say about this.

If it strikes your fancy and you’d like to get your hands on one be sure to contact us via the website and we can give you pricing detail etc.