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Thread: Any Pros play the Schilke 51D?

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by booboo View Post
    I think you may be right, but I'd say that certainly up to about 25 years ago the divide in equipment choice and concept of euph sound on either side of the atlantic was much more evident. I think maybe thanks to 40 yrs of itea conferences and now youtube we are all exposed to different playing cultures a bit more. Certainly if you listen to the top british globe trotting soloists now you can hear a more modern and 'transatlantic' approach compared to the top british players of the 60's/70's who were very much brass band soloists. I'm sure if you got Steve Mead, David Childs or David Thornton to play a Wilson and a 51D they wouldn't sound so different to when they use their Bessons/Stirlings and Wick mp's. Likewise, Mr Bowman would likely still be recognisable on a Besson/Wick combo.
    In my experience, a brass player with a firm concept of their own tone and style will sound like themselves regardless of the equipment. The player will adapt to the equipment and their ear will reign supreme.

    Different equipment will make some things harder and some things easier. Matching equipment to sound concept is less about making a certain sound possible and more about making it easy.

    That said, Steve Mead and his line of Ultra mouthpieces for Wick seem to be creating a sound that is neither traditionally British nor American. I'm not sure I'd call it "Transatlantic", but that may be as good a word as any. The design of the Ultra sacrifices some warmth and breadth for focus and clarity.

    For me personally, it works very well as a daily driver piece (doing an even split between American wind ensemble literature and German blaskapelle music). If I were playing with a brass band and were expected to play with a British accent, I'd probably switch to a classic Mead or a regular Wick 4AL. Finding the traditional brass band tone on an Ultra would be a challenge. That said, with a brass band, I probably wouldn't be playing the Kanstul either. The horn favors an American sound and approach to playing. None of this is to say that I couldn't in a pinch. It'd just be more work.
    Adrian L. Quince
    Composer, Conductor, Euphoniumist

    Kanstul 976 - SM4U

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Farmington Hills, MI
    Quote Originally Posted by jkircoff View Post
    There's a general impression I'm under that people looking for an "American" sound use Schilke 51Ds with Willsons, and people looking for a "British" sound use Denis Wicks with Bessons.
    Correct for the most part. I come from a concert band background but have played on a 2900S in Brass Bands for almost 23 years now. I switched from a 51D to first a Wick SM4M many years ago and for the last 3-4 a SM4MX. By the way I have no interest in a Prestige due to the quirky intonation. If I switch it will likely be to an Adams E3.

  3. I'm agreeing with both of you I think, but I believe the concert band/brass band background is a greater influence on the concept of sound than the Besson/willson or wick/schilke choice. I've had extended periods of time doing my thing in brass bands and concert bands, but my equipment choice has remained pretty constant while my approach/ concept of sound has changed to suit. Might just be me, ymmv.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Dumfries, VA (Potomac Shores)
    In my experiences with my own playing, I generally will tend to sound like "me" on most any combination that I try. I usually go with what "feels" the best to me and allows me to feel like I'm able to produce what's in my head the easiest. There are things that I have always loved about a 51D/BB1 mouthpiece set-up, as well as things that I hate about it. The Willson/51D/BB1 set-up is used by a lot of my fellow colleagues in the DC military bands... and not just because Dr. Bowman uses it. It produces a specific type of feel and slotting on that particular set-up is quite remarkable. The tone is very focused and pitch is very easy to maintain center. I do know of some players that use that set-up that will tell you that it isn't the most "comfortable" set-up, but they ultimately stick with it because of the previous statement. I've heard a good friend of mine, Hiram Diaz, play on large equipment and now on the Willson 2900 and I believe a 51D. He sounds great regardless, but for him, I strongly prefer his playing on the 51D set-up, even though he definitely has the power to play larger equipment. It's all up to the particular player, their air usage, what they have in their head, and ultimately what is most comfortable.
    Brandon Jones
    Principal Euphonium - The United States Air Force Band, Washington, D.C.
    Principal/Solo Euphonium - Brass of the Potomac
    S. E. Shires Artist & Clinician
    Mercer & Barker Signature Artist

  5. I think you are absolutely spot on with the feel, comfort, and the concept in your head. None of the equipment choices we are discussing are that far apart and it ultimately comes down to the 'man behind the gun' I think.

  6. Yes I do play a 51D. I won my job playing a BB1 but truly it is a sharp rimmed mouthpiece that I just couldn’t see playing comfortably anymore. My teacher in high school, Jay Bertolet, recommended that I purchase a 51D early on. Like Brandon mentioned, I went through a whole series of different mouthpieces for a very long time, not really sure of what I wanted to sound like, more just going for ease of pedal register playing, and flexibility. For a time I even played a Greg Black 1G (ridiculous), and sometimes a Bach 2G (doubly ridiculous). I had major tone quality issues.

    The 51D, in gold plating for me, is the balance I am looking for. Nice deep cup shape for clarity of articulation and depth of sound, nice comfortable rolled rim for ease of flexibility, and gold for slipperiness.

  7. Listen to Hiram. He is awesome!
    Adams E3 0.60 Sterling bell - Prototype top sprung valves
    Concord Band
    Winchendon Winds
    Townsend Military Band

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Quote Originally Posted by daruby View Post
    Listen to Hiram. He is awesome!
    Agreed!! I got to hear him live in West Palm Beach, FL last year when the "President's Own" came to town at the Kravis Center. He played a duet (forgot title) with trumpet and it was fantastic!
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (recently sold)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank

    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    El Cumbanchero (Raphael Hernandez, arr. Naohiro Iwai)
    Greensleeves (arr. Alfred Reed)

  9. Ben Pierce plays on a 51D and recommends it to most (basically all) of his students, including myself, and I do enjoy it very much!
    Music Education and Music Theory Major
    Miraphone M5050

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