Author of “Chops and Air Control for Trumpet”.
Lead trumpet Gateway Jazz Orchestra
Former split lead with Carnival & Carolina cruises show bands.
This is an unpaid testimonial for the Flip Oakes Wild Thing Trumpet. I have owned two B flat Wild Things the first I bought used just to see if they were any good and I was very impressed with it. I prefer the protection that plating gives to a horn, so I sold my first lacquered one and made plans to visit Flip personally and pick out my new baby.
I wanted to share my visit with Flip because of the supreme effort that he puts into each and every horn post assembly. I saw first hand the extensive procedure which takes Flip as much as a whole day per horn applying his “enhancement” and digital rotational valve alignment.
I can be a horn builders worse nightmare because I never stop asking questions and I must see everything and have it explained. Flip demonstrated the honing out of solder blobs and the ledges that occur inside any horns tubing fittings when they are initially assembled.
After inserting the special tooling a noticeable amount of solder and brass shavings are removed from every joint in the horn. He also demonstrated how he does the rotational digital alignment, and it was astounding. He actually unsolders the spring barrel on each piston to put the piston ports into perfect alignment with the ports in the valve casings measuring the alignment to exactly match the ports.
How much difference does all of this make??
Flip took a non enhanced Wild Thing right out of the box and let me try it against the horn he had already enhanced, and the difference was very noticeable. Without the alignment and enhancement the horn sounded great but lacked the projection, the free open sound, and intonation of the of the enhanced horn. My buddy Bob Lansdowne was with me and could clearly hear the difference and later purchased his own Wild Thing Trumpet.
This time consuming procedure which Flip puts into every horn eliminates the horn to horn inconsistency which many of us have experienced before. I know I played everything in the shop. Even my choice between the silver and gold plated over silver plate models was splitting hairs trying to find a lot of difference.
Although I did settle on the gold one because it had just a little darker sound. The playing tests which I did were mostly Low F sharp to High C or D. I did wander off 2 or 3 times up to Triple High C and The Wild Thing slots it well and everything in between with remarkable even scale and equal slot sizes from note to note. This can throw you back a little until you get used to it, but its well worth the adjustment mostly learning not to over blow the horn solves the problem.
We put several of the popular pro model horns to the test in Flips living room and I none were even close to Flips creation. Anyone may feel free to email me who would like details about those (other) horns.
Thanks Flip and to your continued success!!!