Over the years I have had a number of people ask me what horns I play.  Instruments are a very personal decision and my thoughts are only my opinion, so here goes.  I am very proud to own and play Eclipse trumpets and Flugel horn.  I own a LHY Bb and C trumpet in gold plate, a Red Brass Flugel in raw, and the most recent addition to the family is an Eclipse piccolo in polished gold plate.  The piccolo is so amazing I am posting a separate blog devoted especially to it!  Stay tuned.

I also own a Blackburn Eb/D trumpet in silver.  I know of many players who consider the Blackburn Ebs the finest in the industry.  I agree with that opinion – so far.  Leigh McKinney at Eclipse Trumpets is working on an Eb/D and if it turns out anything like his other horns (especially the pic and flugel) this will be the new industry standard.  I am in touch with Leigh about the development of this horn and will definitely keep you posted as things evolve.

What I have found playing the Eclipse trumpet line

These horns have a slightly tighter resistance feel than some of the big horns out there today.  At first they feel a little “cornet-like”.  Interestingly though, that initial feeling goes away as you get used to the horn.  Relaxing into the horn and getting used to letting the horn ring on its’ own and not forcing, dramatically effects ones’ endurance and musicality in a very positive way.  These instruments have a very wide color spectrum, which make them a very versatile sounding horn.  There is also something about the resistance and blow that makes them uniquely comfortable and confidence-inspiring to play as well.  Now when I try other horns my Eclipses feel natural and like home.  The big technical differences in these horns are the Bauerfine valves which not only are the smoothest out there but also have a slightly shorter stroke.  This makes the tube wrap slightly different that conventional horns and you can feel this in your hand.  Eclipse trumpets also tune at the bell so the lead pipe is a continuous pipe to the valve block.  These two issues might be part of the reason behind the way these horns feel.  My Bb and C trumpets also have the interchangeable lead pipe option offered by Eclipse.  Changing pipes alters the resistance-openness of the horn and changes the brightness or brilliance of the sound slightly.   (I think bell flare and materials have more to do with the sound but the lead pipe has an affect.)  I have six different pipes for my Bb and six for my C which kind of feels like 12 different trumpets!  Actually I only use 2 or 3 pipes and 90% of the time I’m on one pipe.  It’s been great having all these options when I’m working with students helping them finding out what size trumpet works for them when shopping for a horn.

In short, all of my Eclipses have quickly grown on me in such a way that they feel like part of me and help bridge that gap between instrument and player.  I realize all trumpet manufacturers are striving for this quality but all the factors going into the Eclipse, be it technical, esthetic, balance, valve block, achieve this “unity with the player” better than any other horn I’ve ever played.

My demands and requirements for a trumpet are very high as I do a wide variety of playing.  I am a university trumpet professor which gives me the opportunity to perform chamber music and solo recitals.  I am principal trumpet in an orchestra as well as section in two others.  I also work in a very active jazz quartet and get calls for shows and other commercial work as a lead player.  I have had trumpets that have excelled at certain aspects of these demands but not in others so it seemed like I was always compensating in some way or another. (ie. Trying to blend in a brass quintet, have the power and clarity in an orchestra or expressive sound in a jazz setting.) Because of this I have been keeping an eye out for the magic trumpet that makes me feel confident in all the areas of music that I am involved with.  With the Eclipse trumpets, I have found a set of horns that can do everything I ask of them.  They have unparalleled intonation, are beautifully and artistically constructed, and a feel that has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.  Plus, the staff at Eclipse is the most caring group of folks in the business!

The Eclipse icon found on a number of my pages will take you to the official website. Be sure to tell them Dave Cooper sent you!