This horn is quite heavy, and it’s going to take some time to get used to it – by which I mean many hours of practise. And this means stiff neck, shoulders, back-ache …PAIN.
I’m not all that keen on pain. I believe in “No pain = GAIN”. So I asked Andrew Taylor, of Taylor Trumpets, the maker of this marvellous horn, if he would make an adaptor for me so that it would sit on a camera monopod. This he has done and you can see it in the photo. The adaptor is basically a highly elongated bottom-end valve cap with a screw-threaded hole at the bottom which is the same size as those found on the underside of cameras.
So now, whether I sit or stand, I can have the “Phatterboy” floating weightlessly in front of me. I’m not sure if I’ll use it for actual gigs any time, but it makes practising very comfortable.
Here’s a lovely picture of my son, Zak, playing the PhatterBoy.
Just how cool is that?
And what’s more – it sounds as good as it looks. He’s a very good trumpet player.
Here’s a picture of my amazing new toy.
I’m not quite sure what I think it sounds like. But doesn’t it look absolutely amazing?
I’ve got three mouthpieces which work with it and they all sound very different to each other – they all work, though, so maybe I should keep them all going for the time being.
One is a straightforward Besson 15 – a pretty normal sort of tenor horn mouthpiece which gives it a mellow and fruity voice with not much edge to the sound.
Another is the mouthpiece which Andy Taylor made for it (shown in the picture) which looks the best, has the rim dimensions of my (French) horn mouthpiece and the internal shape of some kind of Yamaha tenor horn mouthpiece. This is a harder, higher temperature sound which seems to have a more interesting colour in the high register.
The third is a Stork Vacchiano 1.5B trumpet mouthpiece – the biggest I’ve ever seen and might be quite good with the PhatterBoy. It makes it scream when loud – quite a hot and raucous sound. A bit like a flugelhorn with masses of electric guitar distortion pedal.
I blew the PhatterBoy into my portable digital recorder (a Zoom H2) and recorded direct to mp3. I wanted to hear what it sounded like in an acoustic space so I added some reverb. I used it with the mouthpiece shown in the photo. I think it sounds very promising. Not too much like a flugelhorn – not too much like anything, really – perhaps a bit like an alto-flute.