|My new CarolBrass Pocket Trumpet|
However, I decided in 1998 that I wanted to give it another try. Unfortunately, I had sold all my trumpets in 1991( I had a Bach Stradivarius Bb, a Bach Strad C for orchestral excerpts, and a Shilke D/Eb for playing the Haydn Trumpet Sonata and so forth). So I went to Sam Ash in New York and bought a cheap Holton Symphony Bb trumpet. I couldn't really tell if it was any good because all the horns I tried sounded terrible; I hadn't touched a trumpet in years so I had NO embouchure at all. The horns weren't terrible: I was terrible!
So I messed around with trumpet again for a while, for about two years. Then I put it down again for another 5 years or so, and then in 2005, dusted off the Holton Symphony and decided to try again. When I accepted the job at the University of Manitoba in the Fall of 2009, I was assigned a trumpet student. This inspired me to practice so that I would be able to explain and demonstrate physical and musical concepts more readily. I still struggle with the physicality of the trumpet, but I'm better than I was in college. I also have had so many more musical experiences that it has helped my musicality on the instrument. I can oftentimes play tunes that I know on piano but have never played on the trumpet.
|Not a Piccolo trumpet!|
|"How does it play?""I don't know, but it sure is RED!"|
After doing a lot of research on line, I found many good reviews of the CarolBrass Pocket Trumpet. CarolBrass is a company based in Taiwan, and they are various distributors in the U.S. I found a brand new CarolBrass Pocket Trumpet being sold on Ebay for $750 through California Music Supply. It took a couple weeks to ship to Winnipeg from California. When it finally arrived, I was excited, as I hadn't bought a new trumpet since 1998!
So I inserted the Monette B6 mouthpiece into the pocket trumpet and played a bit. My first impressions were pretty good: it has a nice mellow tone, and felt pretty good in all registers. The things that took a little getting used to were holding the trumpet, since the third valve slide on a pocket trumpet is operated by the left thumb, as opposed to the left ring finger on a normal trumpet. I will admit, when I play low D and C#, the notes which are very sharp on a normal trumpet, I have a hard time getting this slide out. I'm getting better at it the more I play, though. Also, I thought the overall intonation was very good, but sometimes, the accuracy of hitting the notes where I'm accustomed to feeling them was a little different. Again, the more I play it, the better it feels.
Most people are mesmerized by the look of the horn. I got the one with the "satin" finish on the bell, which makes it look almost vintage. Some people have called it "cute". I agree. And most people have remarked that it sounds good. Like I said, the more I play it, the more I like it. I'm not sure if full time trumpeters would ever totally replace their normal Bb with a pocket trumpet. Still, what with the airlines constantly cutting back on what you are allowed to bring on flights, it's definitely worth considering, especially for those who just want to have something to practice on vacation. For me, I'm bringing it on my next road gigs as a leader (I wanted to be able to bring the trumpet and the melodica;I think both of these could fit in one bag....). I'm also hoping to bring the pocket trumpet on my tour with Jack DeJohnette in May. Maybe Jack with let me play a few tunes with the band....
So to conclude, I give the CarolBrass Pocket Trumpet a hearty endorsement. Especially when you consider the price, you get a high quality horn for pretty reasonable cost. CarolBrass makes regular trumpets, flugelhorns, cornets, and trombones as well. I have my eye on a CarolBrass lightweight Bb of normal size. So many instruments, so little money.........