Mikel Bartol

#1 Flip,

Here’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

I retired as a professional trumpet player in 1984 and began playing again in May of 1998, 14 years later. I currently play with a jazz band sponsored by Hewlett-Packard in Boise Idaho, made up of HP employees. One of the players in this band found out that I had played before and me for months until I finally said I’d play. So, I dusted off my old Holton T100X, had the cork replaced on the spit valves along with a professional cleaning. Armed with my old/new horn, I began playing. Once under way, the music bug hit me again but this time I didn’t have to make a living at it! Good thing because I sounded HORRIBLE due to years of inactivity!

To make a long story longer, I noticed that some of the other trumpet players in the HP jazz band were playing on newer horns with lighter valves and various technological advantages over my instrument. This was the catalyst for me beginning my search for a new horn. I began surfing the web and finding one manufacturer after another and analyzed everything I could get my hands on, including those instruments made in third world countries.

One day, another trumpet player in our band mentioned that a gentleman by the name of Flip Oakes invented a new type of trumpet called The Wild Thing. My immediate response was “that’s a funky name for a horn”.

NOTE: By this time I’d been playing about six months and my chops were really starting to come back. As a result, I started playing over half of all jazz solos with the band.

I found Flip’s website and began asking questions of current WT owners. My interest began to peak as I too read some of the testimonials, thinking it’s too good to be true. Meanwhile, I traveled to different cities and tried various trumpets along with some very expensive instruments made by Curtois and Taylor. Finally, I narrowed my search down to just a few horns and was going to give the WT a try once my finances allowed it.

In the February/March timeframe, I had the following trumpets in my hands for trial.

* Taylor Jazz Trumpet
* Taylor Lead Trumpet
* Antoine Curtois Evolution I

Finally, I called Flip and arranged to have a WT sent to me. At this point the Taylors were my favorites, especially the Lead version, however, I had not yet tried the WT. The next day I received the WT by mail, while at work. That afternoon I took the WT home with me and thought I’d give it a gratuitous try, thinking that I’d settled on the Taylor Lead Trumpet.

So, I get home and unpack the horn, put my favorite mouthpiece in and aim the WT at a corner in my house to get an idea of the sound. After the first note came out I realized that Flip was right! The sound was incredible, with overtones ALL over the place. I played the other trumpets again, just to give myself a sanity check and there was NO comparison, they sounded thin by comparison. The WT’s scale was even from very low all the way up into the stratosphere and I could color my sound with ease.

I immediately sent the other trumpets back to where they came and have been using the WT ever since.

In a nutshell I observed the following:

* My range has improved, primarily due to the WT being so free blowing
* I had a full sound to begin with but now it is my trademark
* I do not work as hard as I used to for complex passages
* Never needed the smaller tuning slide, I just took off with the .470 bore and never looked back.

Another item worth mentioning is Flip’s willingness to help in any way. I spent quite some time talking to Flip before and after the purchase and found him always congenial and most of all, honest.

My parting comment is this: Last Saturday I was featured during our Festival on “NIGHT IN TUNESIA”, as played by Dizzy. The last chord is a B that’s held while I play my last few licks. I soloed up to the high F# and had no problem glissing up to the Double “B”, holding it out. There is NO WAY I could have done that on my Holton!

Looking forward to trying those Curry mouth pieces next.

Very Kind Regards,

Mikel

#2 Hey Flip,
2/14/2006

Can you believe it has been 7 years since I purchased my first Bb WT trumpet? Now I have a WT American cornet and Flugelhorn in my arsenal of instruments. They have been used on various television shows, recordings and live performances with recurring comments on their beautiful sounds.

Bb WT Trumpet: Attached is a sound file (Pa ‘Gozar ) from a CD of my latest Latin music project which was released last week Feb 9th, 2006. You’ll notice that the horn actually slots a double C# at the end of the trumpet solo. Not just one of those lip slurs to hit the note but right on the money. Try doing that on another trumpet!!! Not that it’s impossible on other trumpets but the ease of slotting those notes on the WT makes it a joy and not an Olympic workout J

Additionally, I receive comments on the quality of sound and that it fills the room.

Bb WT Cornet: This instrument plays extremely well in tune and its sound rivals that of the trumpet, albeit a more rounded/fuller sound in my opinion. I also recorded ‘Claudia’ using this instrument and you can hear the very clear and full sound of this instrument on the wonderful Ballad, originally recorded by PAQUITO D’RIVERA. Although I am not the featured instrument on this recording, you can hear how the cornet compliments the Alto solo during the transitions into the improvisational section.

Flip Oakes Flugelhorn: Year after year I have tested Flugelhorns and been through so many that I lost count. Time after time one of two major problems exists in the Flugelhorns I’ve tried; 1) The instrument plays out of tune or 2) It plays in tune but the valves are horrible. After receiving your flugelhorn a few weeks ago on a trial basis, it only took one day to figure out that this one was VERY different. The next night I was playing a very high profile charity function and needed to use the instrument on a tune called “Freckle Face”. At the beginning of the solo section the other musicians immediately turned around to see what I was playing. The other musicians said the difference between the ‘other’ flugelhorns I have used and yours was dramatic with way more core and overtones. NUFF SAID, EH?

Respectfully,

Mikel Bartol

MP3 sound clips

Listen to Mikel’s WT Trumpet sound clip of ‘Pa Gozar’ from his CD “Caliente”

Listen to Mikel’s WT American Cornet Sound Clip on “Claudia”

Email: calientejazz@msn.com

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