After the success of the ground breaking and innovative brass training instrument pBuzz, we found after talking to customers and trumpet based teachers that while they really welcomed a simplified training instrument for brass, they didn’t feel an affinity with the pBuzz in the same way as trombone players did.
Chris Fower, our Director of Creativity and Innovation, shares how we used this feedback and went about creating an instrument that would be the best way to start not just a brass journey, but more specifically a trumpet journey...
'Creating an instrument that, like pBuzz, isolated one of the key aspects of brass learning whilst becoming 'the best way to start your trumpet journey' meant that a similar instrument would have to both look like a trumpet and play like a trumpet; leading directly to skills that would project a learner more effectively onto their trumpet learning pathway.
I had been looking at the British bugle, which is somewhat different to the American bugle, and thinking about how this used to be an access point into brass learning for thousands of children in the past. Whilst researching the history of the bugle I came across images and video of the American G bugle and American musicians playing bugle calls on trumpet for Taps and other ceremonials. Why not create a simple Bb trumpet without valves which could be used to explore that other set of brass playing skills; crossing the harmonics or partials?
Once the idea had formed, it was technically possible to quickly create a concept prototype, using existing parts from our current manufacturing. I shared these with trumpet players and teachers in the USA and at home here in the UK and they were met with great encouragement!
With approval from players and teachers, the next stage was to get our pre-production prototypes into the hands of children to try. The teachers and ourselves were totally blown away by how quickly the kids made progress 'without the complications of valves' (as Tim Hayward, one of my oldest trumpet playing and teaching friends put it). By just concentrating on breath and buzz, the students, who had not played before, really got to grips with creating a great sound, crossing the partials and never had to worry about playing a 'wrong note' as all our material worked with concert Bb and F at the same time.
Guess what? The pBugle plays so well, that while it was designed with the beginning of a trumpet journey in mind, seasoned trumpet players are really enjoying blowing on it too. It slots beautifully, and is vibrant and alive in the hand, so it may well find its place in experienced players trumpet collections! Whether it’s bugle calls, Drum and Bugle Corps or beginning a trumpet journey I am sure the pBugle will find a place in the hearts of the trumpet world!'