Equipment News

I wouldn’t call myself an equipment junky, but I do like keeping up with the news and trends in the horn and brass playing world. This post is basically a run down on some recent equipment news, as well a few interesting links to equipment-related reading on the web.  Enjoy!

Marcus Bonna Soft Top Case: MB has done it again with the latest in his line of horn cases.  Pope Repair is selling this new case, which Ken describes on his website as having “a hard bottom and side shell, but the top is simply cordura with padding – thus allowing for a VERY small profile and light weight.” I’ve not seen these anywhere else but Pope Repair, but I’m sure that as they gain in popularity other shops will begin carrying them.  The above image is linked from Pope Repair, and shows the extremely compact profile of the new case. Although not as protective as a completely hard case, this new design seems to strike a good balance between protection and compactness. It’s also one of the more reasonably priced MB cases.

Custom E. Schmid Slides from Cantesanu Horns: Cantesanu Horns is now making custom F and B-flat tuning slides for Schmid double and triple horns. According to the product description,  “using the custom slides the sound becomes richer and warmer. Top professional musicians found them to have an even bigger impact on the sound than using a different bell.” I must admit that I haven’t heard of using custom tuning slides as a way to alter a horn’s playing characteristics, but I suppose it makes sense (the main tuning slide being as close to the lead pipe as it is).  Has anyone out there personally used these custom slides, and if so, did you notice any changes?  I’m pretty happy with my current equipment, but for those interested in tweaking their Schmid horn a bit, this seems to be the most economical route – the custom slides are cheaper than bells and lead pipes.

Iltis Dämpfer Mitt: Basically a deluxe mute bag with a removable “holster” for two mutes, the Dämpfer Mitt is a really well made accessory with lots of potential uses. I recently ordered one, and so far I’m very happy with it. There’s plenty of room for mutes and accessories, and the bag itself is small enough to take onstage without being conspicuous (image at left is linked from the Dämpfer Mitt website). I haven’t actually used the holster which attaches to a chair, but when I do I’ll report back. Even without the removable holster the bag works very nicely for protecting and transporting mutes. For more info, check out the Dämpfer Mitt website, and this review by John Ericson at Horn Matters.

Further Equipment Related Reading

Ken Pope on Horn Repair

Ken Pope of Pope Instrument Repair recently posted a great video on disassembling and reassembling rotor valves.  If you aren’t familiar with Pope Repair, it is located in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.  In addition to running his repair shop, Ken also sells pretty much anything and everything related to horns.  I’ve never purchased a horn from Ken, but over the years have ordered mouthpieces, sheet music, and various other items. The service and quality has always been top notch, and I highly recommend Pope Repair to all horn players.   Ken is also very personable and easy-going, which comes through in the video.  His instructions are clear and easy to understand, and if you’ve never disassembled a rotor but are interested in learning, this is a good place to start. I believe Ken is planning a whole series of videos on do-it-yourself repairs.

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