I recently purchased a Wild Thing trumpet in C. I’d like to share my experiences with others who may be considering such a purchase.
First, let me say that after about 3 weeks of playing the WT, I’m still finding more things to like about this horn. It is a trumpet that I can adapt to many types of music and performance situations.
My main trumpet for the past 35 years has been a C5 Schilke, which I got when I was a junior in high school. At the time, everyone thought that I was nuts for buying a Schilke [“everyone” played Bachs] and using a C trumpet as my principal horn. When I first got the Schilke [through my teacher, Don Reinhardt], it took some time to adapt to it. Playing in Reinhard’t studio or at home was one thing, but playing a Schilke C in high school band and community orchestra settings presented me with quite a challenge.
While in music school, studying with Seymour Rosenfeld of the Philadelphia Orchestra, I got to try out lots of different C trumpets…especially Benges [which Rosenfeld was selling] and Bachs [which so many people were playing]. I liked most of the Benges, but 1960 to early 70’s era Bach C trumpets were almost unplayable. My Schilke made me more and more pleased.
Flip [no pun intended] forward to the present. Surfing the web, I first heard of Wild Thing trumpets. In an age when so many people either go straight to Bachs or worship at the alter of David Monette, it’s amazing to me that fine products from Blackburn, Lawler, Stomvi, and so many other fine small shops get ignored. There are so many fine products out there seeking a chance just to be tried. I went to Flip’s website only because I couldn’t believe that there was a trumpet with the name “Wild Thing”. It seemed like a gimmick, but it got me to the site.
As you’ve seen, the site is extremely well constructed. That got me to try out the WT. Flip’s trial period is what sold the horn. There is no place near me that carries WTs, and I don’t know anyone else personally who plays one. If the horn was no good, I could return it and get my money back.
The afternoon I got it, I felt confused by the WT. It played so differently from other trumpets. It had this big, luscious core, but was there too much of it? That evening, I took the WT with me to a show I was playing. The show and was one of these weird groups, 2 electronic keyboards, an electric bass, drums, and me, an acoustic trumpet player. We were perched 20 feet above the stage and behind thick curtains.
The musical [A Funny Thing Happened…] contained soft, legato passages and very loud, high fanfares. From the first notes in the overture, thru the pounding fanfares, to the final high concert C, the Wild Thing was a dream to play. And each night it got better. It slotted each note well, it sang beautifully, and it felt comfortable. But how would it play in a straight, classical orchestra?
I had 2 rehearsals that week: one in which I would play principal on Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty, and the other where I’d play 2nd in Brahms’ 3rd Symphony. I was particularly concerned with how I would blend with the two different groups, and if the WT sound would be right for both principal and 2nd positions.
The Tchaikovsky never felt so secure. The graceful passages were silky, and the fortissimo’s were wonderful [later in actual performance, the audience went nuts after one fortissimo ending…I was sure it was because of the WT’s bravura sound!]. When I played 2nd on the Brahms 3rd, I was first struck with the huge low F natural [below the staff] on the opening tone. Wow!
Later in the symphony, the 2nd has many greater-than-octave jumps, the higher tone matching the 1st trumpet. In each case, the jump was easy, in-tune, and never overpowered but always matched the 1st player! The unison sounded like one player.
The WT allows for an enormous range of musical expression. It feels secure, making me feel more confident. It is never shrill-sounding, even when I’m feeling at the limits of my range or endurance. Although I worried that the WT wouldn’t fit in because of it’s unique sound, I’ve found that it has both let me lead the brass section and let me blend-in.
What a wonderful tool to bring to the job! Not only is the instrument great, but Flip [whom I’ve never met or had contact with prior to emailings and phone conversations] is a real human being. I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with either the man or his creation: the WT
p.s. I love to play the instrument for someone before letting them see the name on the bell or telling them what the instrument is named! It causes so much cognitive dissonance when people can’t believe that so capricious a name goes on such a beautiful looking and sounding trumpet.