Philip “Flip” Oakes
Jazz Musician and Designer of the “Wild Thing™” trumpet.
Flip Oakes began playing at the age of 8. The trumpet was to be the first of many instruments that he would learn to play. Not only is Flip a great trumpet player but is one of the few musicians anywhere that can play both brass and woodwinds with equal mastery.
In his youth, Flip played in his father’s band in which his mother was also the singer. His father was a fine trombone player and introduced Flip to music early on where he soon learned that his love for Jazz was to be his primary focus and considers himself a Jazz player.
He soon learned to not only play many musical instruments but found he had a natural talent for repairing them as well. In 1973 – 1977, Flip owned the Olean band instrument and repair service in Olean, NY.
In 1977, Flip moved to Southern California and settled in Oceanside, CA. where he soon became known to both the public and musicians throughout the San Diego and Los Angeles area as one of the most versatile trumpet players around and one who could also repair and modify their instruments with an understanding of what every musician needed to get the most out of their instruments.
It always seemed to Flip that whenever he played the trumpet after playing a flugelhorn, the trumpet felt tight and small. Having owned over 100 different trumpets of different brands and bore sizes, and had played thousands of horns as a repair technician, he always wished that someone would make a trumpet that was not only easy to play but didn’t play like it had a rag stuffed in it. He wanted a horn that was open enough to enhance the sound, articulate easier, add range and also be easy to play.
Around 1978, Flip’s understanding of the mechanics and physical nature of the instrument gave him an insight that lead him to experimenting with trumpets by changing bells, trying different lead-pipes, altering the inner and outer slides, changing and moving braces, and many other alterations.
He learned first hand, the many different characteristics of the instrument and how to make changes in the design to get closer to the playing characteristics and the sound he wanted.
However, after many years of trying countless combinations, and realizing that what he was looking for in a trumpet was so very different from what anybody else had ever made that he decided to design a trumpet that would produce just the right sound with ease of playing that no other trumpet he had ever played could.
Armed with this concept, he went to Zig Kanstul, an expert horn craftsman and asked him to make the horn to exactly match his precise design and the result was truly a masterpiece! After making the prototype, and as trumpet players played it, they all said the same thing, “This thing is really WILD, and I want one!” Thus the birth of the FLIP OAKES “Wild Thing Trumpet”.
Flip has indeed designed a much different horn from any other trumpet and is really fun to play. It can be played from a whisper to the fullest sound you’ve ever heard from any horn. It can be very warm, and yet can be played as bright as you want. This horn also has the most even sound throughout all registers with, faster response, and ease of articulation.
The intonation is also suburb! Have you ever heard one of your favorite trumpet players on recordings get this great huge wonderful rich sound and then attend one of their live performances and been disappointed when listening to their sound?
Sometimes you hear a brittle, brash, harsh, or whiny sound which is really offensive, and unpleasant. When you play this horn with it’s unique design, in live performance you’ll have that rich full “recording studio” sound, and in recording it can’t be beat !!