Update Summit Bb #5

Posted: November 25, 2009 in Harrelson Summit
Tags: , , , , ,

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.


 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…..


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. 


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.


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.


  1. Derek says:

    Hi Shawn,

    great to hear you finally got your new horn! I am pretty interested in whether you find any difference in your endurance on the Harrelson compared to your Z. I found for me it takes a little more work to play a large bell horn compared to a standard bell horn, but of course it depends on a other factors about the horn as well.



    • trumpetgear says:

      Hi Derek,
      I noticed it takes more and it takes less……. more volume of air – but less trying to push it through the horn.
      After just the one gig last night to judge the initial opinion – and I am sure that this will change I found that the higher register was definately harder – as I haven’t worked out the slots or the best way to hit those notes.

      It also takes more air overall as the volume of air required is greater – but once you get the air going it’s very free and easy to keep it there.
      I didn’t find too much issue with endurance – as you really need to back off on this horn – way more sound it transferred out front – so you find yourself pushing less to get the same sort of sound levels.
      i.e. I felt like I was playing p – but the sound coming out would be mf.
      When I hit forte sections I really had to back off to where I would normally play mf.
      I let rip in a few section to see what it would do and I filled the club pretty well to all four corners – and Top Note where every Tuesday I play fits about 150 people. (Not that there’s ever that many people there 🙂 )

      I think these are the kind of things that Jason might be referring to when he’s talking about the SWE concept on his website. He just explains it better than I do.

      Those are my initial reactions anyway.

  2. CB says:

    Glad you are liking yours so far. I feel about the same about mine. This is the only horn besides my Committee that I don’t have to pull the tuning slide at all. Although I’ve had mine longer than you, I’m still getting used to it as I’m not yet playing it all the time for certain reasons. I recorded with it and it sounds great. I am looking forward to a lifetime of great experiences with it. Welcome to the club.

  3. Alan Fajardo says:

    escribiria todo en ingles pero la verdad soy pesimo haciendolo…

    soy de mexico y acabo de encargar una summit jazz…

    estoy muy emocionado con la idea de tener un instumento hecho para mi con mis espacificaciones…
    y teneiendo tan buenas referencias de ello como lo que acabo de leer…

    yo tengo una 8310Z y busco casi lo q tu pusiste…

    a ver como me va…

    if you put this on the google translate yo will not have any problems to read this…
    sorry… but my english is not the best…

    thanks for the experience…!!

  4. Eddy says:

    Do you still have your Summit? Is you opinion still the same? Would be interesting to hear

  5. trumpetgear says:

    Hi Eddy,
    Sorry for the really late reply…..
    Yes I do still have my Summit.
    My opinion is still it’s on heck of a great horn and it’s in my bag for most of the time.
    If I had to be 100% honest for the purpose that I originally bought it (small combo playing) – it is not my ‘go-to’ horn – that task falls to my trusty Martin Committee about 90% of the time.
    The sound concept was designed to blend with saxes well and give a nice broad tone – it almost does this too well (depending on the sax player).
    There’s no way I am thinking of selling it though – needs more time and playing than I have devoted to her yet.
    Hope this helps.
    Rgds, Shawn

    • Eddy says:

      Thank you for answer,i just got my Summit and you were right in every sense,this horn is amazing!!

    • CB says:

      Wow, that’s almost exactly my experience but my over 90% Committee usage is because I’m not playing much real jazz now. Still will keep my Summit though.

  6. Gábor Komlossy says:

    Hey, everybody ! Do not afraid of waiting long to get Your horn. Lot of manufacturers quality fall down because of quantity .All theese horns: Monette, Harrelson, Taylor stc. needs time to born.
    Best regards

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