When I first read all the hoopla about the Wild Thing on the trumpet network (TPIN), I presumed that it was a joke, a trumpet pipe dream. How could any trumpet be that good? How could any trumpet be named “The Wild Thing”? Well, I have since learned that the trumpet is real; and is named the Wild Thing, designed by a very real, and I might add, a most congenial Flip Oakes and made by Zig Kanstul, a reputable manufacturer.
I have always preferred the blow and sound of my Bach Strads (43lr, 72 bells) over the half dozen other trumpets I have owned and dozens I’ve tried at brass conferences. But from the first note I knew that the Wild Thing was unique. Incredibly, it seemed to offer the advantages of both medium and large bore horns, easy blow, quick resonance, precise slotting, excellent intonation, consistently open sound from the very low to the super highs.
Although I usually have no problem changing mouthpieces or horns on a whim, even on a gig, the Wild Thing did take some getting used to because it demands a different approach. I wasn’t comfortable shelving my tried and true Bachs until after I had worked with the WT for about two months trying to relax, let go and literally let this horn play.
I doubt seriously that I will play my Bachs again.
In fact, I have already sold one of them. Having spent a lifetime with trumpets and trumpeters, I’m not flip enough (pardon the pun) to claim that the Wild Thing is the “best” trumpet on the market or that it is for everyone, even though I believe that Flip Oakes has made a major breakthrough in trumpet design that doesn’t strain the left arm. I must say that the Wild Thing gives me more of what I want in a horn than any trumpet I have ever played as a professional big band and theater sideman for more years than I care to admit. I have to add, however, that because of its, er, peculiar name, I’m shy about publicly admitting that I get giddy as I play with my “Wild Thing” every night.