1977 Conn Trumpet

Conn 16B

In 1997 I had a mid-50s, double neck 8 string Mossman steel guitar, which I loved. For some unknown reason (insanity?), I traded it for this trumpet. Why I didn't just buy the horn, I have no idea, it wasn't that expensive. I really wish I still had that steel guitar. One of those "DOH" moments.

The horn I got was this Conn 16B Bb trumpet. It dates to around 1977. It's a basic student model, nothing great, nothing awful. I do like Conn horns, but while I wouldn't say this one is a particularly spectacular example, it does the job.

I actually gave up strings for a solid 4 months after I got it and just played this horn. Really. I had no steady gigs at the time, and got way into the horn. Me and Tim (on his 40's Selmer clarinet) would get together a few times a week and practice Traditional New Orleans jazz (NOT Dixieland - they are not the same thing). We had a blast. But things heated up again, Honey Buckit took off, so the horn went in the case and didn't come out for 10 years, except maybe for a few quick toots.

Then, in 2008, I casually mentioned to my friend Adam East that I had a horn; he said "hey, bring it to our next Sweetjuice gig in a couple weeks". I protested, thinking I hadn't touched it in 10 years, and stunk even then. He insisted, so I figured, OK, 2 weeks to learn trumpet. Great. I practiced my ass off, showed up to the gig, and pulled it off. Afterwards, we were talking, and I told Adam the story. He was shocked - he thought I was a horn player in high school or whatever, and had just put it down, he had no idea I had a total of 4 and a half months on it. He later confessed had he known that, he wouldn't have been so adamant (pun!) about it. But the other horns were also shocked I was coming off of only 2 weeks of practice. I mean, they weren't floored by my chops, but they just assumed I was a trumpet player, so I guess it worked. Since then, I've played my horn with Adam and Kris whenever our paths cross. I also occasionally play it with Chris Chandler if Frankie can't make the gig. I have sat in with Truckstop Honeymoon on both trumpet and cornet.

Earth Wind and Fire have yet to call me, however.

I use the 7C Benge mouthpiece that came with it, standard beginner's mp. I will eventually try a new size, but just haven't gotten to that yet.

If I practice a bit and get loose, I can get to the high C, but I wouldn't say it's particularly smooth or musical, and I can't navigate around that high, more like "breatttthe - blowwwwww real hard". My "iffy" range goes up to the G (F for you guitarists) below high C. It's not the most solid, dead center G, but I'll do it. Quickly. I am comfortable with anything up to the E below that. (it's a D for you guitarists) . I actually am OK with the limited range, I just wish I could find time to practice enough to get more stamina. But I am still trying to learn how to play the god danged guitar.

My mutes include a straight, Harmon, and plunger (that old school, wah wah sound).