Archive for the ‘Harrelson Summit’ Category

Which is better – a Bb Harrelson Summit or a Vintage Martin Committee??

Let your ears do the deciding for you.

I finally have some semi decent home recording equipment for which to make some accurate recordings of horns. (More on this later as I dive further into this)

This comparison I have been asked for several times – so here it is:

Summit vs Committee Sound Test

Conditions for recording:

Mouthpiece – Wedge Gabriel Rim 24 with a Medium Backbore on both horns

Mic – Audio Technica AT-2035 linked into a Stienberg CI-1 Audio interface and Audacity software – there are no effects added to this recording – it’s raw and ‘as-is’



As promised I am going to attempt to post more often as information and knowledge comes to me.

Here’s a horn that I managed to grab not too long ago which may be of interest to some:

What we have here is an earlier 2006 Harrelson 908 Modification done on a Benge 90C trumpet.

This is quite an interesting horn given that is has the full thickness leadpipe and a number of modifications around the leadpipe and bracing. The bottom caps were originally the heavy weight caps but they have since been ground down to between the medium and lightweight caps.

The bore of the horn is large – yet it plays and speaks quite easily – very even and clear tone with a nice core to the sound.

I had never really played a C trumpet properly for an extended period before – but I found this very easily to acclimatize too and have since been playing where I can a number of C charts to ensure that I can switch between a C and Bb trumpet with ease.

All-in-all this was an excellent buy and I intend to keep this one a while as it makes a great partner to my Harrelson Summit.

If you can find a used Harrelson – most of the time they make excellent purchases as long as you get specs that are close to what you are looking for. (Especially the 907 and 908 modifications as they were based on existing horns and modified to improve efficiency and sound)

You will find used horns like this go for US$1200 to a few thousand.

A lot better than buying new at twice the price – and no waiting time!

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.


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.

Update Summit Bb Build #3

Posted: August 31, 2009 in Harrelson Summit

Well, it’s taken a lot longer that originally aniticipated but his week may very well be the week that I receive my Bb Summit from Jason Harrelson.  I had an email late last week telling me the horn would be assembled late that week or early this week – and could I confirm that all the options I wanted were still the same.

The wait has been hard and long, but you just can’t rush things like this – it takes time and care – and that’s what is supposed to be reflected in the finished product. No doubt it will all be worth it. (The wait was a little extra as some parts we backordered at the supplier – of course not everything is made in house – just a large percentage is. Makes perfect sense to me)

Whilst waiting I did have time to think about a name that will be permanently stamped on the horn.

At this moment I imagine that  ‘Serenity’ is coming together.

I chose this name to reflect both the state of mind that playing music brings and also the nice calming tone that will be poured forth from the horn. (I’m personally not big on ripping through bebop charts and prefer to give the music space and the listener time to absorb – hence I play a lot of Ballads and slower numbers. ) It’s also quite a feminine name and will no doubt become the second woman in my life as I try and take my music up a notch to something a little more serious – spending more and more hours on the business end of the bell.

Next update – pics of ‘Serenity’ in the flesh!

Coming Soon!

(I hope…)

It’s a surreal experience talking to someone over the phone and trying to describe really what you are after in an instrument.

Well, last week came and went – and yes I did have a conversation with Jason from Harrelson trumpets about my new instrument that he is designing for me.

He asked a few questions about what kind of music I am playing (Big Band and Jazz Combo) – what kind of sounds concept I would like, and we went through the order form step by step discussing each step.

(I mentioned I have 3 very different instruments in the stable and what I liked/dislike about each – then I went on to describe what I thought was the perfect sound concept and resistance factor for me – a Martin Committee Deluxe Medium Bore)

This horn is really for me to branch out more into Combo playing and have something that I can blow all night long and not tire on – the 6310Z fits the bill most of the way but not quite.

The good news for me is that Jason has the experience and the answers on what I needed – and they came pretty fast. (I was surprised how few question I asked in the end – but if I have learnt anything from my time with luxury retail – sometimes it’s best to shut up and listen and just absorb, especially when you are dealing with an expert)

If I can offer advice to anyone considering a build – here’s my 2 cents:

  1. If you can – go to the workshop in person – of it’s overseas make sure you have tried a few other instruments so you can talk about what you are looking for in a horn (I must have tried at least 20 instruments in the last 12 months alone)
  2. Be very specific about what you want – and don’t leave anything out!
  3. Ask questions – I talked through finishes, mouthpiece gap adjustments, finger ring placements, slide design, SWE and more.
The original version of the Harrelson Summit

The original version of the Harrelson Summit

Here’s the final option sheet for me:

  • Bell #7 – 5.5  inches
  • Leadpipe #6 (most like a Yamaha Z horn in terms of resistance and blow)
  • Eliptical Tuning Slide
  • Smooth Brushed Finish with just the Harrelson Logo rugged – to tie back to the original concept
  • Ergonomic Finger Rings – but set a my dimensions (I took photos of my Z and measurements and sent them to Jason to match or adjust for finger positioning)
  • Saturn Waterkeys x2 – they are an extra $50 – but way better than amado – and look nice too!
  • Red Jasper Stone inlays on the finger caps
  • 2x additional sets of bottom valve caps (Light and Heavy so I can adjust to match)

Now that all that is dialed in I just have to sit back and wait for the vision to become reality.

From my limited conversation and talking through on the phone so far with Harrelson I’d say that these guys are top notch, and I feel very safe in the idea that they will build me a horn to match the sound concept in my head.

Next update on this thread will be when I get the horn in around 4-5 weeks time.

Can’t wait!

Well it’s been a week, and I am awaiting a consultation on my build for the new Bb Summit.(Will be spending and hour with Jason Harrelson to discuss the horn etc soon.)

Harrelson seems to be a very professional outfit – they send you a editable form for you to fill out with all the different options you would like as a primary draft.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the options I selected and why:

Leadpipe: I still have yet to decide on the leadpipe configuration – that one is a toughie.
I’ve been trying to work out between the Yamaha Chicago, B&S Challenger and the 6310Z which really does have the best blow and why that is – at the present the 6310Z is winning in the blow department – but the 9335 wins in the overall tone department.
I put down a #2 or a #6 Leadpipe at this stage – but that’s seriously an option I need to talk through with the builder.
#2 is a wide open pipe and #6 is similar to my favourite to play – the Z horn which has a ton of resistance.
Both will give totally different blows, and sounds once locked in on the horn.

Bell: Bell configuration is easy – I’m going for the 5.5 inch bell.
I mean why build a horn for a smooth sound and not take it the whole 9 yards?
This will allow for a nice smooth and full sounds that will spread – ideal for what I have in mind.

Tuning  Slide: Elliptical tuning slide. Was considering a semi-round slide – but thought why not go with something different? Simpe choice and should prove to be a little different.

Optional Extras:
Stone inlays – nice personal touch and sets you apart from other instruments.
My choice was to go for Red Jasper – nice stone and will look nice set in brass.
(Was a toss up between Turquoise, Tiger’s Eye or Jasper – there are many options to choose from!)

Bottom Valve Caps – Additional weighted caps – lightweight and Heavy ordered along with the medium.
It’s always best to buy extras at the time of build – so I requested 2 extra sets of caps so I can set
the horn up exactly how I like it – and extra US$75 well spent I think.

That’s it for now – next update after the consultation!