Archive for October, 2006

Extending a Helping Hand

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

Brandt Brass Band Click image for larger view

In the fall of 2005, I was contacted by Mike Vax. Not a big surprise since Mike checks in with us at the factory quite a bit. This call was different. Mike was looking for our help. Some friends in I.T.G. had passed a story on to him that he thought we would be able to assist with. A group of musicians were having trouble getting instruments. Specifically a piccolo trumpet. The musicians were members of the Brandt Brass Band of Saratov, Russia. A very talented group rapidly making a name for themselves. Up until that point, the band was forced to borrow a piccolo trumpet from a neighboring town’s band. Not at all an ideal situation. In an effort to alleviate this, the members of the band were able to scrape together a few hundred dollars. By no means was that enough to purchase a new piccolo. They were hoping that through contacts in I.T.G. they would be able to find a used piccolo at a reasonable price. Enter Mike Vax.

Mike called us after he heard the tale and asked if there was anything we could do to help. Trumpet players around the U.S. had heard of the band’s troubles and were donating money to the cause hoping to boost the band’s buying power. Mike wanted to know if we had an old or seconds piccolo around that we could sell the band directly. We did not. After discussing the situation with my father Tom Getzen, we came up with a better solution. Rather than selling the band an old horn, we decided to give them, free of charge, a brand new 3916 Custom Series piccolo. From our standpoint, we had been fortunate in life and this was a perfect opportunity to pass that along. At the time, Tom relayed a lesson to me that my grandfather had taught him. At some point in life, you’ll have the chance to help someone else. While the time, effort, or dollar amount may not seem like much to you, to them it will mean the world. This was a perfect example of one of those situations.

Immediately, I got a hold of Mike and told him the good news. He was ecstatic and quickly passed the development on to his friends in I.T.G. The news spread fast and I was inundated with emails and phone calls thanking me for our donation. That’s not the reason we did it, but they were all appreciated. As word spread of our donation, trumpeters continued to donate money to the band. The new plan was that the band could use that money to help pay for a quality recording of the band with a CD to follow. I’m personally excited for that since I have heard nothing but praise for the band’s performances and I’m anxious to hear them for myself.

Soon after we decided to donate the horn, I was contacted by Mr. Gary Mortenson. He had great news. Gary had arranged for Steve Chenette, a former President of I.T.G, to deliver the horn and cash donations to the band during a visit to Russia. This was great, as it would ensure the horn made it to the band in good condition. Once the method of delivery had been established I had the piccolo prepped and shipped it to Steve. I also sent along several care kits (valve oil, cleaning cloths, etc…) for the band.

Once the piccolo was on the way to Steve and all the arrangements had been made, the members of the Brandt Brass Band emailed me to express their thanks. They asked me to pass on their “endless thankful words to all the people who some how took part in our life and help us to work better”. A few weeks later they also took the time to send me a nice Christmas greeting. I was honored that they would take the time and proud that they were so excited to get the instrument.

Fast forward to March of this year. Steve Chenette made his way to Russia with the piccolo and donations in tow. He emailed me from Saratov to tell me how excited the members of the band were upon his arrival. In fact, they couldn’t wait to try the horn. Instead, they spent nearly a week playing and practicing on it so they could use it in a concert shortly after the “official” presentation. After having the 3916 for a few days, Oleg Abramov emailed me to pass on their feelings. “Our trumpeters now behave like children.” Oleg said. “Everyone is trying to play it and they are always discussing it.” He went on to say, “Thanks a lot for the wonderful gift! We haven’t had such a trumpet until this in Saratov! So I think now it’s the most beautiful treasure in musical Saratov.” When asked how the players felt about the horn Oleg said, “Our piccolo player, Nikolay Khudoshin, is very delighted with the instrument. It’s very beautiful, has reach and a wonderful sound. It reacts on every breath you put into it!” “As our guys are joking,” Oleg wrote, “we have a beautiful blond, but we haven’t chosen her name yet. An enormous huge Thank You! If you’ll need something someday you must remember that you have 3 friends in Saratov, Russia that have close relations with one of your girls.” You cannot imagine my sense of pride. Knowing that not only were we able to help, but that the piccolo was met with such high regard. That, after all, is the most important thing. In July, Oleg Abramov contacted me to say that Nikolay Khudoshin enjoys the piccolo more with each practice. He went on to say that they have chosen music for their upcoming recording. The band will be performing Mozart’s The Night Queen’s Aria from The Magic Flute. I’m sure I’m not the only one anxiously awaiting its release.

All in all, this was a very rewarding experience for the company as a whole and for me personally. It was great to see the trumpet world come together to help their brothers in need. I am just glad that we could have a small part in the effort. Hopefully the piccolo will serve the band for years to come. I wish them and everyone who helped them continued success in all of their future endeavors.

News Coverage Videos: Channel IST | Channel Russia

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A Visit From Bugles Across America

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

Bugles Across America visits the Getzen Company
As a part of their 2006 convention near Chicago, several members of Bugles Across America visited the Getzen Company for a tour and a luncheon. B.A.A. is an organization dedicated to providing volunteer buglers to sound Taps at military funerals. Several of their members were instrumental in the development of the Getzen American Heritage Field Trumpet. For more information on Bugles Across America visit www.BuglesAcrossAmerica.org.

Improving from Start to “Finish”

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

At Getzen, we pride ourselves on our industry leading quality and we are constantly striving to find ways to improve our products even more. In that effort, we have made two key advancements in our production.

First is a new, cutting edge, aqueous ultra sonic cleaning system. This process uses a combination of special cleaning solutions and ultrasonic tanks to remove oils and other surface contaminates left behind during manufacturing. The process leaves the surface clean and prepared for lacquering or plating. A clean surface is key to bright plating as well as preventing acid bleeds and other lacquer defects.

The second advancement is an all new silver plating system. Our constant strives for improvement led us to create a new solution and implement new plating methods. Together, this provides a stronger, more durable bond with a brighter, richer silver finish.

Matching the Outside with the Inside

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

Field Trumpet Case Click image for larger view

The American Heritage Field Trumpet has served to show the proper respect to American’s veterans. Now a new case will also reflect those strong feelings of patriotism. The case features the same great protection in a lightweight package as before, but in red, white, and blue colors. Contact your local Getzen dealer or Bugles Across America for more information.

What Does a Trombone Leadpipe Do For You?

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

Everyone knows that trombones have a bell and a handslide. What a lot of players don’t realize is that all trombones also have a leadpipe. However, the majority of leadpipes are fixed (soldered) into the handslide. This is because most manufacturers do not want to offer options to the customer. To the manufacturer, options mean building more complex components with additional parts. This adds time and money to the construction of the horn. On the contrary, at Getzen we believe in offering the player a wide variety of options. These options are all intended to better fit each instrument to each specific player.

Getzen offers a large number of trombones featuring three interchangeable leadpipes included as standard equipment with the instrument. In fact, every Getzen Custom Series trombone model is designed with the added flexibility of interchangeable leadpipes. This flexibility gives the player more control over response and timbre by custom fitting the leadpipe to their specific playing needs.

The Getzen Custom Series line of jazz, tenor, and bass trombones were derived from the industry leading Edwards Instrument line. Edwards trombones were the first to provide interchangeable leadpipes as a standard feature with their instruments nearly two decades ago. The interchangeable leadpipe system fit perfectly with the modular design of Edwards trombones. In essence, the Edwards design allowed players to custom build a trombone for themselves in an affordable and timely way by simply choosing the components that worked best for them. Over time, the Edwards technology made its way into the Getzen line. Now, three brass leadpipes are included with all Getzen Custom Series trombones as well as with Eterna bass trombones.

Many players do not understand the basics of the interchangeable leadpipe system. Why are they used? What are the differences between the three? How do players properly choose which leadpipe is right for their situation? To answer these questions, you must understand the physical characteristics of the leadpipe and why it is built the way it is. There are only three parts to a Getzen leadpipe, but each is crucial to the overall performance of the trombone.

1) Receiver
Simply put, the receiver accepts and connects the mouthpiece to the horn. Great care is taken to ensure the proper fit between the mouthpiece and receiver. The fit is crucial because it allows for proper vibration transfers into the instrument. An incorrect fit would result in not only an annoying “buzz”, but also in a less efficient blow caused by air leaks between the mouthpiece and receiver tube.

Leadpipes Click image for larger view

The receiver also has an external portion known as the threaded nut. It serves two purposes. First, the threaded portion screws into the handslide and “fixes” the pipe to the horn eliminating any vibration or buzzing. The threaded nut is also used to denote the different sizes of the leadpipes. Each receiver nut has either one, two, or three decorative cut lines in the knurling. This tells the player if they are looking at the smallest, medium, or largest size pipe.

2) Venturi
The venturi is the smallest diameter section of tubing after the receiver section. Since the diameter at the end of the leadpipe is the same for all three sizes, the initial diameter of the venturi dictates the rate of taper over the length of the leadpipe. With a smaller venturi, the rate of taper will be faster from start to finish in order to match the bore of the instrument. On the flip side, a leadpipe with a larger venturi will have a slower rate of taper into the instrument. The venturi is what gives the player the feeling of compression or something to push against to start a note. Think of the venturi as acting like your mouthpiece throat. If the venturi is too large for a player the horn will feel woofy and lack clarity. If the leadpipe is too small the instrument can back up and feel tight. The three venturi sizes we have chosen to use are the result of many years of development and experience with thousands of players.

Leadpipes Click image for larger view

3) Tapered Tube
The tapered section of tubing within the leadpipe determines the sound characteristics of the leadpipe. Generally speaking, a faster taper will produce a more compact sound. A slower taper will create a broader sound and resonate with more width near the player’s face. As previously mentioned, it is easy to distinguish which leadpipe is which based on the cut lines in the receiver’s threaded nut.

When selecting an instrument, it is very important to find a compression level in your instrument that is right for you. When testing an instrument or trying to find the right leadpipe, you should be thinking of this compression. Compression within the instrument should be right at the chops. If compression develops too far into the instrument, you will have to correct it by tensing your chops in an effort to get clarity back into your sound. This will make any articulations much more difficult as you battle against yourself and the horn. If there is too much compression, it will begin to back up into your throat. You may feel a tightening in your throat because of this, which can/will cause tightness in your sound.

When testing leadpipes you should play a lyrical etude that covers most registers. This allows you to get a better feel for the leadpipe across a wide spectrum. It also gives you the chance to better study the sound differences between each pipe. You will also want to try a scale and a more articulate work that covers most registers. This is a great way to study how the leadpipe effects the articulation. All the while, you should be paying close attention to what you are experiencing with each leadpipe. Some differences are dramatic while others may be more minor and hard to notice right away. It is important to note that every player is different. The best sounding and most comfortable leadpipe should always be chosen, regardless the specifications of the leadpipe or what size one’s colleagues may prefer. Allowing a player’s preconceived notions to come into play may prevent him/her from choosing the leadpipe that fits best. Therefore, it is imperative that an individual “blind test” each leadpipe in the beginning. This creates an open mind and prevents a biased opinion from the start. It can also be very helpful to do a blind play test for someone else. Let them listen to an etude and scale on each leadpipe without knowing which is which. Get their input and opinions from the bell end.

Once all of this is done, you can put the information together to find the leadpipe that gives you the best compression, tone, and feel. Keep that leadpipe in the instrument. While experimentation is never a bad thing, you will generally not need to retest or change leadpipes unless you make a change to your mouthpiece. If that is the case, the same technique should be used to find the right pipe again.

The purpose of these leadpipes is to properly match the instrument to you as the player. While working with musicians as I have over the years, I have found that making a small change close to the face will result in a large change to both sound and overall response. Each person has his/her own resonating characteristics that make the matching of the horn to the player necessary. Everything from oral cavity, chest cavity, dental structure, and overall height/weight will determine how much air volume each player has and how that air works for them. An individual may be over 6 feet tall, but if they are not efficient with their air they may need a smaller diameter venturi on their personal leadpipe in order to give them the best compression, articulation, and sound.

At Getzen and Edwards, we know it is important to find the perfect instrument for you. An instrument that not only matches your playing style, expectations, and needs, but one that matches you physically. Matching your mouthpiece and personal playing characteristics to the leadpipe can give you a much better overall playing experience. Getzen has made the conscious decision to let you decide what is best for you. We want to help you find the perfect instrument for your playing style.

So what does all of this mean to you? It means that you now have the knowledge and tools to find a better instrument. One that can work with you instead of against. Finding a great instrument is not only important to you, it is also important to us at Getzen. We strive daily to provide you with that instrument. Why limit yourself musically? Give yourself the tool to do the job and find the enjoyment of a great instrument resonating with you.

About the Author
Christan Griego studied music performance at Texas Tech. under the tutelage of Don Lucas. He has worked as the Director of Development & Marketing at Edwards Instrument Company for the past 8 years. In that time he has fit thousands of trumpet and trombone players to their instruments. Some of which are: Joe Alessi, Dave Taylor, Mark Lawrence, Leonard Candelaria, and Christian Scott. Christan also owns Griego Mouthpieces which produces trombone and tuba mouthpieces.

Photo Album

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

Getzen Display 2006 Musik Messe
Once again, Getzen proudly displayed the full line during the 2006 Musik Messe in Frankfurt, Germany. Long time fans and first time Getzen buyers visited the booth during the 4 day event.
Mike Lekrone and Mike Vax
University of Wisconsin marching band director Mike Lekrone visits with Mike Vax after a jazz performance in Madison, WI this past May.
Music Messe Dinner
Tom Getzen (front left) treated Swiss distributor Peter Marcandella (far right) along with Getzen’s Dave Surber (rear center) and Brett Getzen (far left) to dinner at Claudia’s in Sachsenhausen, Frankfurt. All four were sure to thank owner, Eisa-Mohammed Solaimaukehel (front right) for another fantastic dinner.
Dave Allison
Dave Allison worked with the Brea High School Marching Band during a clinic sponsored by Getzen and Pecknel Music. Dave is a well regarded player/clinician and has worked closely with Pecknel all over South Carolina.
Jack Long and his Getzen 900 Eterna Classic
Jack Long shows off his new custom made 900 Eterna Classic. The trumpet was presented to Mr. Long to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Long & McQuade Musical Instruments in Canada. The trumpet featured hand engraving, custom etchings, and a gold trim kit. As Mr. Long put it, “I can’t think of a gift I would have appreciated as much.”
Tom Getzen and Haim Attias
In Frankfurt, Tom Getzen gladly welcomed Haim Attias from Getzen’s Israeli distributor Hamusica Musical Instruments. Haim wanted to learn more about Custom Series trumpets to meet the growing demand in Israel for quality instruments.