Equipment History

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Equipment History

Post  Carpenter on Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:46 pm

I think it would be interesting to hear your history from beginner to today of various horns and mouthpieces that you played.

Are there any particular reasons for your choices? For example did a teacher recommend a switch, did a fellow band mate let you try something? What did you use in College or on Woody Herman’s band, etc?

I realize that is a loaded question, but I would enjoy reading about it when you have the time.

Thanks!

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Equipment History - Vizzutti's Theory of Natural Selection

Post  Allen_Vizzutti on Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:42 am

Early years - my Dad - who taught me owned a music store so I always had nice instruments beginning with the line of Conn cornets & trumpets, all in Bb culminating with the Constellation. Enter Doc Severinsen - guest artist when I was about 15. He heard me and gave me his Getzen Eterna. My starting mouthpiece was certainly a Bach 7C or 3C although I'm not sure. I remember trying some Conn and Olds mouthpieces along the way but not how long I might have used them. I ended up on a Bach 10&1/2C which I used for a long time. By today's standards that mouthpiece is not as shallow as it's reputation would imply. Plus Bach quality control and size consistency has always been legendarily bad.

During H.S. I went to Interlochen Music Camp for 2 summers and having been influenced by orchestral students there I tried to switch to a Bach 1&1/2. That lasted about a week and I said 'never again with the toilet bowls'. I had acquired a Getzen C trumpet by this time. Then I went to Eastman School of Music.

At ESM we had opportunity to experiment with mouthpieces, visit NYC and share ideas with other great trumpet players. I soon had new demands playing lead in big band, playing in the Rochester Phil, playing shows, chamber orchestra and in the faculty Eastman Brass Quintet etc. Firstly, the Getzen horns didn't make it as far as sound intonation and control. (The Eterna is pretty good as a solo instrument though and I kept my Getzen 4 valve flugel). I went to NYC and bought a Bach C and a Benge 3X-plus Bb with help from colleagues and a desire to match the 1st trumpet in the brass quintet. Trumpets were cheap in New York then.

The wild thing is the mouthpiece I was using successfully throughout these years on both C and Bb. I kept it quiet because I knew it had a negative stigma. It was a lucky find and a mistake. Schilke made a mouthpiece I ordered incorrectly and it worked great for me. I ordered a 14A4a. 14 diameter, A cup, 4 contour rim and an 'a' backbore - very tight. They sent me a 14A4 with a symphonic backbore - very large. It was definitely bright if you weren't careful but I was careful and it made many aspects of playing much easier. I played 1st on Mahler 5 on it, the Jolivet and Tomasi Concerti on it, big band on it and many other styles. I won an orchestral audition on it. Next came a choice. I had an offer to go with Woody Herman big band or join the San Antonio Symphony.

Woody's band was my choice. I thought is wise to attempt to up my game - volume and intensity. I had tried a Schilke 13A4 as an experiment to see if even smaller would be better and I couldn't play the thing AT ALL. Too small. Too stuffy. Too narrow. And it was only 1 size smaller. So I decided to have a custom Schilke piece made splitting the difference between the two sizes. The best comparison I have come up to describe the mouthpiece because I am often asked, is not very accurate but is - Bach 4E - which they don't make.

That was the beginning of the genealogy of my current mouthpiece. Various cities I visited on tour after that had mouthpiece makers and I would have them copy the Schilke without any other instruction. They always turned out different from my original and sometimes for the better. I used a Ghiardinelli for a long time, then a Maracinkiewicz, then the Yamaha Vizzutti design series we developed in Japan which is still available and very good. Recently, having been encouraged to visit Pickett Brass in Lexington, I switched to a version by Peter Pickett. He's a fine trumpet player, an engineer who really knows his stuff, and uses a computer lathe. It's available to the pubic at Pickett Brass.com. The computer lathe copies are perfect.

My set of mouthpieces now is as follows.
Bb - Pickett Brass custom
Piccolo - Pickett Brass custom with matched rim, slightly deeper cup and large backbore.
Flugel - Pickett Brass with his flugel cup & matched rim. (I don't know which cup of his he used).
C trumpet, (and more classical sound on Bb) - Yamaha version of original AV mouthpiece with slightly deeper cup.

After I first toured Japan with Chick Corea Yamaha approached me to try, evaluate and become involved with their trumpets and the rest, as they say, is history. Now I play the Vizzutti model Bb - 9335V and all the other Yamaha trumpets as needed. They are world class.

Factiod: the only trumpets i have kept from my past are the Getzen Doc gave me, my Dad's original Martin Committee model he bought as a kid, and a French Besson flugel I bought in the 70's.

In my opinion, modern horns and mouthpieces are far superior to the old stuff even though some vintage horns have endearing qualities.

Whew. Hope this helps. AV



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Re: Equipment History

Post  Carpenter on Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:55 pm

Thanks for such a great response. I enjoyed reading that!

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Re: Equipment History

Post  bach180s37 on Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:45 pm

Awesome read! Thanks for posting.
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