Many thanks to all who attended ‘Trumpet-Fest’, a fun time was had by all and plenty of Trumpet bargains got snapped up including some of the NEW Cannonball Lynx Trumpets!
The main feature of the day, aside from the bargains, was the live gig @ 2pm on the Dawkes Live Stage. Our resident big band ‘Blakes Heaven’ took to the stage and played some original funk charts written by their leader Nicholas Blake. The band were joined by Cannonball Trumpet artist Winston Byrd. Winston certainly hit some screamers and his character on stage was clear for all to see. Amazingly he didn’t just use his own Trumpet, but he casually selected a different Cannonball for each tune and blew the house down accordingly.
Winston Byrd – Cannonball Trumpet Artist
The atmosphere at these live events is usually something quite special with a mix of young and mature in the audience. It was especially nice to welcome EBJO (East Berks Jazz Orchestra) onto the stage before the main event. The outfit, led by Sue Dunsdon and run by Berkshire Maestros gave a great performance and hopefully it will have given them some invaluable experience for them in front of a live audience. We strongly believe in supporting young musicians and giving them all the tools and experiences they need to create a long lasting love for instrumental playing.
We were delighted to welcome Allen Vizzutti into our store one afternoon in October 2013, as part of a European tour we were able to grab some time and sit down and chat about all things Trumpet and Allen’s extensive playing career and experience.
In this 1st video Allen discusses some of the early years of his trumpet playing and how it was influenced by his surroundings. Later in the series Allen will offer some invaluable advice on testing Trumpets, Mouthpieces, playing high notes, extending your range and approaching the Jazz idiom.
Many thanks to Yamaha Trumpets, whom Allen is a performing artist for, they have a big passion for music education and interaction with music professionals.
We help lots of customers coming to the store (or mail order) choose an ‘upgrade’ clarinet. Often we’re asked “what are the differences?” – Well there are often many technical differences to do with the internal bore shape and size of the clarinet, the wood quality and how it is treated, plus multiple manufacturing and quality control differences. However, what it comes down to is the sound, we only stock models that we feel are good enough to deserve your hard earned investment, and as such we encourage players to play-test the instrument themselves to determine what’s best.
However, some people often ask us to play the instruments in the shop for them, this can be useful to hear what the instrument CAN DO, but it’s worth remembering we all play differently and have broad opinions on what a clarinet should sound like. To help give you some idea of the different clarinets please have a listen to the clips below (same mouthpiece, reed, lig etc used) and see what you prefer and why! (All prices correct as of 28/11/2013)
Buffet E13 (£1240) -The Buffet E13 has long been the best selling intermediate clarinet. It has a smaller bore with some parts conical and some cylindrical which are similar to, if smaller than the R13. With a typically ‘French’ sound it has an expressive and vibrant quality which has made it such a favourite. The bore design and size make it easy to play and keep the intonation well in check using most mouthpieces.
Leblanc Bliss (£1095) - Julian Bliss worked with Leblanc and underwent a real re-design of the clarinet. Particular attention has been paid to the feel and ergonomics of the instrument. There is a streamline layout and this is enhanced further by the sleek ringless barrel and bell. This is really a clarinet players clarinet, the springing is well balanced and positive and the key action feels nice and close to the body, everything is under the hands where it belongs.
Yamaha YCL-650 (£1026) – It contains many of the features and playing characteristics of the custom series clarinets including undercut tone holes, resonance chamber in the bell and many of the benefits only seen on handcrafted instruments. A poly-cylindrical bore ensures a sweet clean sound on this classy instrument. The 650 is made from high quality selected and seasoned Grenadilla wood to ensure the finest tone colour and durability
As they say, “the proof is in the pudding” – so the best way to form an opinion is to come in and try out some clarinets yourself. Don’t forget we also offer a ‘home-trial’ period so if you can’t come in or just can’t make up your mind, we can help!
Rico have certainly ‘rocked the boat’ in the clarinet mouthpiece world since the introduction of their Reserve Range. The initial range consisted of the X0, X5 and X10. Featuring advanced modern manufacturing techniques coupled with vintage mouthpiece designs the Reserve Range offers a dark, rich, centred tone that is easy to play and ‘reed friendly’. After some touring of Europe with Ricos product specialists they felt there was a requirement for something a little different/extra for players in our area, thus the release of the X10E.
• The world’s first 100% precision-milled, vintage-inspired mouthpieces
• Proprietary rubber is unique to Reserve mouthpieces and is milled, not moulded
• Precision machining delivers unparalleled accuracy – no hand finishing required
• Designed by a team of top players, craftsmen and engineers
• Available in four facings: close, medium, medium-short and medium open
More open facings for added resistance and projection the X10E also features a unique baffle design for increased tonal resonance and ease of response.
Pitched at A=442 z X10E is an ideal mouthpiece for European students and professionals alike as well as symphonic clarinettists worldwide.
Watch a clip of the new X10E being played by Julian Herve (solo clarinettist of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra) playing Prokofiev at the BBC Proms @ the Royal Albert Hall in 2013. LISTEN
The wonderfully creative and dedicated guys and girls at Cannonball are all players of some sort or another. They’ve got a few videos up online featuring their acoustic technicians playing various charts. This month we wanted to highlight a recent video they made playing a specially commissioned piece by Gordon Goodwin called ‘Cannonball Run’.
It’s great to know that these excellent musicians are responsible for the design, testing and customisation of every Cannonball Sax that arrives in with us. This is certainly a unique set-up in the Music Industry and it’s one of the main reasons Cannonball Saxes continue to turn heads and switch Sax players on to the next generation of great instruments.
The Alto solo is taken by Randall Clark who is the chief Alto/Sop acoustic technician at the Cannonball facility in Salt Lake City, UTAH. The Tenor solo is taken by Cannonball artist and consultant Dr Ray Smith. The Sax player in the middle of the section playing Soprano is Tevis Laukat who is the President of Cannonball Musical Instruments and for anyone who attended our Live @ Dawkes Cannonball Gig you will know he can play a bit…just a bit! Rounding out the section are Ryan Lillywhite on Tenor (chief Tenor/Bari acoustic Technician) and Daron Bradford (Cannonball Clarinet & Flute specialist) on Baritone…it’s a pretty PHAT sounding section!
Stay posted for more Cannonball Sax news, reviews, videos, tips, gigs etc…
Here’s Abi from the workshop in the first in a series of DIY repair tips to help with emergency Sax issues. Of course these snippets are just helpful hints to get you out of a spot of bother, if unsure we always advise bringing your Sax in to see our qualified and highly skilled technicians. Stay posted to our newsletters and Facebook for more top tips.
This beautiful Selmer Tenor Sax was brought in recently for some Workshop TLC. It’s serial number 22540 puts it as a very early ‘Balanced Action’ model. This was the first time that a Selmer had both bell keys (low B & Bb) on the front side of the sax, as we are used to seeing today.
This movement of the tone holes, keys, pads etc facilitated a better design of the whole left hand low table key cluster, making the movements around C#/B/Bb a lot easier and lighter. This particular sax has some features that we’d not seen on any Selmer beforehand and weren’t present on most ‘Balanced Action’ models. From an aesthetic point of view, the most striking was the ‘Art Deco’ style engraving, it obviously dates the Sax accordingly and is quite full in it’s design.
In addition to the aesthetics there were also some quirky technical differences. The adjustment screws that regulate the right hand F/E/D keys are normally behind the keywork arms but on this Selmer they were up in front near the touchpieces, they also had felt discs underneath to quieten down the action. You can also see in the picture below how the low D key pearl touchpiece is on a bridging plate between the E and D key.
Regulation Screws (click pic to enlarge)
In addition, you can see in the picture above that the body finish is more of a satin silver than bright silver plate like the bell. As you can see on the pictures below the Sax needed a good tidy up and when finished it looked (and played) great! The guys and girls in our Workshop take great pride in their work and we’ve been rather overwhelmed with work on Vintage instruments recently as customers appreciate the special skills needed to put these instruments into best working order. The combined experience in our workshop ensures the greatest care and detail on all Sax repair work.(click on any pic to enlarge)
We’re delighted to announce that East Berkshire Jazz Orchestra (EBJO), run by local youth music provider Berkshire Maestros, will be playing Live @ Dawkes as part of our Trumpet-Fest celebrations on Satruday Nov 16th.
Thanks to Cannonball Musical Instruments & Dawkes partnership with Berkshire Maestros the EBJO musicians will enjoy a rehearsal with guest US Trumpet star Winston Byrd on Thursday evening and then they will take to the Dawkes Live Stage on Sat Nov 16th @ 1.30pm to play a few numbers ahead of the main performance at 2pm by ‘Blakes Heaven Big Band’ + Winston Byrd.
Winston Byrd – Cannonball Trumpet Artist
We’re very excited and proud to support young musicians, both in terms of access to performance and training opportunities. It would be great to give them your support so come down and see what great young talent we have in our local area.
Many thanks to the EBJO musical director Sue Dunsdon who has organised the rehearsal time accordingly and is looking forward to giving her young players this great opportunity.
If you want to know more about Trumpet-Fest click here & as a preview here’s a little clip from a previous Live @ Dawkes event…a Big Band on a stage in the middle of a music shop, why not?!!…
For those of you that have been to Dawkesyou know we have a big shop area, but now we’ve converted our previously ‘unseen by the public’ front building (maybe we need a better name for this area!) into a spacious teaching and master-class/clinic suite. The front couple of rooms are taken up by our MyMusic adult teaching service and that leaves a larger room for events and ensemble rehearsals etc. Well, in true Dawkes style we thought let’s give this room a little launch so to speak and invite arguably the most well regarded young clarinettist the UK has produced for many a year…Julian Bliss.
As ever it’s a case of letting customers know via email and flyers, and word of mouth in the shop. We were pretty taken aback by the speed of response, within 48hrs of the first email going out we had over 75 people signed up with more on the waiting list! Thankfully Julian was very generous with his time and fitted in an ‘extra session’. In this kind of situation it was good to have Julian demonstrate a little and talk to the guests about his playing philosophy, techniques and history. We will in the future offer more playing based critique sessions where players can get involved but due to the numbers of guests this wasn’t practical for Julian’s visit.
Julian warmed up with a pretty fluid, reduced and bespoke version of Rossini theme & variations and I’m pretty sure that grabbed the attention of all of the audience!
He went on to cover his early years of playing including his search for the ‘right’ instrument, let’s just say it wasn’t the recorder! It’s amazing to think at such a young age (4-6) he actually made national TV appearances and even played for the Royal Family, all of which might seem mind boggling to the average person but Julian seemed to take it all in his stride and perhaps it was his young age that prevented any nerves and fearfulness. Indeed he touched on the fact that he didn’t get nervous because he really had no concept of what that meant, and no-one had ever told him to be nervous!
Julian Bliss @ Dawkes
Julian went on to cover his visit to Sabine Meyer for a lesson where he was pretty much torn apart for how he played. Although initially this visit upset and set Julian back, he returned to Meyer after 2 years in the US and played for her again. Despite not feeling he’d improved (!) he was eventually able to convince her to take him on as a pupil. Long months of technique practice followed with emphasis on tone, bridging the gap between notes, intervals etc. – no doubt this was hard at the beginning but what struck me was that Julian is clearly very self motivated and a pretty single minded desire to improve himself must have fuelled him through what could be perceived as gruelling exercises.
The technique of good tonguing was discussed and Julian gave some practical examples of how to approach rapid tonguing. The theory was based around not sending a new breath down the instrument between each articulation but rather keeping the air flow constant and simply using the tongue to separate between tongued articulations. It’s well worth a watch of the video that discusses this to get more of a grasp of it.
Julian then spent some time discussing how he would approach practising a tough piece of repertoire, it basically involved lot’s of slow practice using rhythm variations to really get the fingers learning it properly. Dedication to practice is seemingly something he’s never struggled with although he admitted it’s a case of getting into the correct mind-set (turn your phone off, make the time, lock yourself away etc.) but don’t over-practice; take breaks, spread it out through the day to keep your concentration up and mind fresh.
The session couldn’t have been complete with some virtuoso flashing of the fingers and Julian obliged with a modified rendition of the famous ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’
Whilst this is always something of a crowd pleaser I think everyone will have come away from the sessions knowing there’s more to Mr Bliss than just the showman. Julian has recently delved into swing/jazz clarinet playing which has required a new approach to his clarinet playing and general musicianship, and his work with the Leblanc company on his own range of clarinets is something that he is passionate about, and something that will seemingly continue onwards and upwards, he let us in on a few new ideas they are currently working on (hush hush!).
We’ve had great success with the Bliss clarinet and it was nice to see some users of the Bliss clarinets in the audience. Clearly the instrument is extremely capable of playing to the highest levels, Julian uses a standard version (albeit with ‘blinged up’ gold key work) and the versatility across many genres is something that your author finds quite re-assuring about the Bliss clarinet when played. They’re certainly worth a look when considering an upgrade or recommending to a pupil/fellow musician.
The biggest thing I took away was that whatever your chosen profession (or hobby or skill) the more dedicated you can be with practice and time devotion to the chosen topic, the more success you will yield. Whilst the premise is clearly obvious to us all, knowing it and actually doing it is what separates the best from the rest.
Sam G (Dawkes Music)
Customer Quotes from the day:
“It was a great masterclass- Julian was funny, informative and inspirational” - (L Truslove)
“We really enjoyed the masterclass and I do believe Julian has found the secret to encourage two 11 year olds to willingly practise a little more, thank you!” – (J Rean)
”William (9) who is learning and I also really enjoyed it, especially the fantastic Rhapsody in Blue glissando at the end of the 3.15 session – more please!” – (K Wilcox)
Hi All, just a little quick top tip from our workshop to get you out of squeaky problems on your clarinet. Of course many things can cause issues with your instrument which is why we recommend keeping it regularly serviced, but this little tip may get you or a pupil out of trouble!