Pip Eastop, Horn player, Photographer, Trumpet player

Horn player, Photographer, Trumpet player

Pip Eastop Hornplayer Photographer Trumpetplayer

Posts tagged “Taylor Trumpets

Phatterboy on monopod

PhatterBoy on monopod

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.


“PhatterBoy” Eb Tenor Flugelhorn

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.

Click to listen to a clip of my new PhatterBoy!


Taylor Trumpets’ “Phatboy” flugelhorn

Here’s something exciting!

It’s not a conception or a birth but some siginificant moment halfway between the two. Today, the building of a new instrument began. It’s an Eb flugelhorn. A big fat flugelhorn sounding one fifth lower than a normal Bb one. It’s being built by Taylor Trumpets and it’s going to be based on their amazing Phatboy flugel. Which looks like this:

My Eb tenor Phatboy flugelhorn is being made in this style

My Eb tenor Phatboy flugelhorn is being made in this style

If that is not a thing of great beauty then I’d like to know what is!

Why do I want one?

Well, this is a hard one to answer… Many reasons, I suppose. I’m a french horn player, mainly, but I’m learning jazz trumpet and I love to play the flugelhorn, too. My orchestral french horn is rather special in that it has an Eb alto section to it, a kind of “stealth jazzhorn” – exactly the same pitch as this new Phatboy Flugel I’m having made for me. Why Eb alto? Because it’s perfect for jazz, whereas the Bb of a modern french horn is – in my own personal opinion – not reeeeeeally suitable. It sounds a bit too gloopy for my taste.

So, I like to play jazz on my modern orchestral horn – but only on the Eb side of it. This is great because it’s so handy – I’ve nearly always got it with me – right there on my lap. Most convenient. BUT, it’s not a perfect solution, because, as it’s a french horn, it points backwards and this is not good for jazz. Jazz has to be right “in your face”. That’s my opinion – and it’s only that. Not a religion – just the way I feel about it.  I think jazz needs a horn with a forward-facing bell.

Another thing I like to do is play jazz on the tenor horn. I’ve not done it in public before but it really works as a jazz instrument – almost perfectly but not quite…  And why not? Because it points straight up in the air – not forwards. So, one thing I could so, I suppose, is to get an Eb tenor horn and bend the bell so it points forward. Yes, that would work fine – but it would look AWFUL.

Now look above at that beauty! See what I mean?

So, I’m hopeful that my new Eb “Phatboy” tenor flugelhorn will sound fantastic, play in tune and look fantastic. Fingers crossed!

I’ll try to get some photos of it, while it’s being built, to put here.