February 2015

Tricked Out Trumpets

If you liked the Hot Rod Horns feature, you’ll love seeing these modified brass instruments.

See how trumpets are made in this video:


Dizzy Gillespie’s iconic trumpet, pictured below on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., came about by accident. As the story goes, his bandmates were horsing around one evening before a show and knocked it over, causing the tubing to bend in an uncharacteristic way.

He liked how it changed the sound, and decided to keep performing with it.


Custom trumpet manufacturers Jaeger Brass makes a custom trumpet in the key of D/Db, that looks like this:


The pocket trumpet is made by a variety of manufacturers, and has the same amount of tubing as a standard Bb trumpet. Its compact design makes it highly portable and perfect for traveling.


The Firebird trumpet, invented by trumpeter Maynard Ferguson and trumpet designer Larry Ramirez, is a rare model that features both valves and a trombone-like slide.



See the Firebird in action:

Some of the horns in this video are unusual, but have a great sound:

See a custom Schlub trumpet tested in this video:

Learn about plunger mute technique in this video from Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz Academy:

Hear the differences in the modifying effects of various trumpet mutes:

Listen to the changes in sound produced by mouthpiece depth:

What can you do to improve your instrument?