Chase Sanborn is an engaging modern jazz trumpet voice with a warm, inviting tone, fluid lyrical phrasing, and a style that always swings. He exhibits the cultivated sensibility of a player at the peak of his powers.
Music Business Tactics is an easy and enjoyable read that provides sound, practical advice. If you are an aspiring musician, or you know one, get this book! You need this information!
Chase Sanborn goes right to the heart and soul of the music. His performance was an inspiration to hundreds of festival participants, and his positive and upbeat outlook made a lasting impact on our students
Jazz Tactics presents the material in such a clear and simple way, with the vitality and spirit of a live teaching session. This method speaks to all musicians, regardless of age and previous experience.
Chase addresses the needs of developing musicians in a manner that is understandable and relevant. My students were thrilled to work with someone who understands their learning curve.
Tuning Tactics teaches you to listen. In just a short time, I've witnessed strong improvement in my students' awareness. Tuning Tactics makes good intonation attainable for all!
Chase Sanborn has a natural gift for engaging and involving an audience. He shares a wealth of honest and knowledgeable information about music and the music business.
Brass Tactics offeres authoritative instruction balanced with sage and homely advice. It shows you how to handle yourself in any professional or amateur situation. No trumpet player should be without this book!

Trumpet Comparison: Yamaha 9335NY / 9335CH / 8335LA / 8310Z

A New Horn!
It’s time for a new horn. I say this not because there is anything wrong with my current horn, or because I am an equipment junkie (well…) I like to change horns every couple of years. Each instrument has its own characteristics. I must adapt my playing style to work most efficiently with a new horn. This keeps my approach to the instrument fluid, not stagnant.

Admittedly, there is a lure. Several new Bb trumpets have entered the market recently from Yamaha, each the result of collaboration between a specific player and master designer Bob Malone. I took a month to assess and compare the following four models:

8310Z (Designed in collaboration with Bobby Shew)
8335LA (Designed in collaboration with Wayne Bergeron)
9335CH (Designed in collaboration with John Hagstrom)
9335NY (Designed in collaboration with Bob Sullivan)

The 8310Z and 8335LA are part of the ‘CUSTOM SERIES’. The 9335 NY and CH models are part of the ‘XENO ARTIST SERIES’. There are other Yamaha professional models, including the 8335 Xeno and the 6335 standard Professional Model. I have owned both of these horns and know them to be fine instruments. Anybody searching for a new pro-level trumpet from Yamaha has a wide variety of models to choose from!

Bob Malone & The Chicago Project
Bob Malone joined the Yamaha team several years ago as Head of Product Design for North America. The results have been spectacular. Bob has extensive knowledge of brass instrument design. He spent many hours in consultation with world-class players to design these horns. Each instrument has a unique personality, reflecting the abilities and requirements of the artist it was designed for.

After joining Yamaha, Bob Malone’s first project was to design a C trumpet for the Chicago Symphony. He collaborated with CSO trumpeter John Hagstrom. The intensive research and design process spanned several years. The instrument that resulted, the ‘Chicago C’, is considered by many to be the finest C trumpet ever built. Several design innovations emerged, including a side seam, variable wall thickness and a flat-sided bell bead. These innovations have been incorporated in every trumpet reviewed in this article.

9335CH (‘Chicago Bb’)
The 9335CH is designed to blow and sound similar to the Chicago C. This makes it easy to switch from one to the other, and allows the Bb to blend with C trumpets in the section. The C trumpet heritage is evident in the bracing, with a second tuning slide brace placed further back towards the mouthpiece. It has an exceptionally long throw on the third valve slide, great for low F’s.

The Chicago has a tenacious grip on each note, slotting with accuracy that is startling. It feels like every note has walls on either side of it. As an example: I played a shake on a high D on the LA trumpet. When I played exactly the same way on the Chicago, the note did not budge! I could get the note to shake on the Chicago, however I had to overcome the horn’s natural tendency to lock in to the pitch. Well-defined slots can reduce kacks and clams and increase accuracy. However, it can also feel as if you are ‘running through a field of tires’. This sensation might be tiring to a player who is used to more lateral flexibility.

The sound produced by the Chicago is rich and full, and the scale is beautifully rendered. Certain ‘problem notes’ on other horns ring true on this one. The high F slots like no other horn I’ve ever played. There is also a very impressive dynamic range-the timbre holds steady from the softest passage to the loudest. Whether you are playing Mahler or Maynard, the sound will not break up.

9335NY (‘New York Bb’)
The 9335NY was designed for Bob Sullivan, a member of the NY Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra. Bob was looking for a horn that incorporated the intonation, control and consistency of his Yamaha trumpets with some of the tonal characteristics of his Bachs. The NY is the most similar in design to Bach, with two tuning slide braces spaced in a typical configuration. It has a very smooth response; the notes flow out of the bell, especially at soft to medium volumes. It requires a fair bit of effort to produce burn in the high register, so I’m not sure I’d want to play lead on the NY. I had the opportunity to play this horn on a recording session that required a classical sound and approach. Listening to the playback, the other players in the section commented on the rich sound of the NY.

The New York Bb has proven to be popular with jazz players as well as classical players. Marvin Stamm and Sean Jones both love this horn. It has a well-balanced sound that works in a variety of settings. For many players, especially die-hard Bach fans, the New York Bb may be the instrument you have been searching for all your life.

8310Z (‘Shew’ Horn)
The 8310Z was designed for Bobby Shew, who plays lead & jazz with equal aplomb and virtuosity. The 8310Z was designed to accomodate both styles. It has a medium diameter entry bore that expands throughout the instrument. This combines the efficiency of a smaller bore with the sound of a larger bore. It is the lightest of the four horns tested, with no tuning slide braces, and is the only one of the four with a reverse tuning slide configuration. (The top of the tuning slide fits over, rather than into, the leadpipe.) Reverse tuning slides often feel freer blowing. Some players prefer this; others like a little more resistance, as it gives them something to blow against.

The 8310Z has the burn and quick response high-register to make it a great lead horn, yet enough complexity in the sound to be used in a classical or small-group jazz setting. It produces a great deal of sound with less effort than most other horns. It is also very fleet and nimble; I found it the best of the bunch for fast jazz lines. Partly this may be due to familiarity. This has been my horn for several years and I know exactly where the notes lie.

This is a unique and very versatile design, reflecting the myriad abilities of the man it was designed for. It has proven very popular with lead, jazz and even classical players, including Tom Stevens and Haken Hardenberger. To quote a Canadian beer advertisement: “Those who like it, like it a lot!”

8335LA (‘LA’)
The 8335LA was hotly anticipated. It was designed for Wayne Bergeron, one of the most powerful and exciting lead trumpet players on the scene today. It is a bit heavier than the 8310Z, with a single tuning slide brace and a slightly larger bore. It will feel comfortable to players who like to put more air into the horn. As you might expect, the high register is solid. A Yamaha representative told me of his experience sitting in Wayne’s single-car garage listening to sixteen of LA’s top lead players test prototypes. This would have been enough to satisfy the most fanatical trumpet geek! When you listen to Wayne play this horn, you will rest assured the instrument is not the stumbling block in your quest for high chops.

Yet the LA doesn’t feel or sound specifically like a ‘lead’ horn. It is a very versatile all-round instrument which seems to do everything well. It probably has the least ‘personality’ of the four horns tested, but it is the easiest to just pick up and play. If your gigs require double C’s, the LA is up to the task, but you will find the horn equally responsive in every situation and every register. This is a design that will suit a wide range of players, from student to professional.

AND THE VERDICT IS…
This was a tough decision. All four horns are great instruments, and the Bob Malone/Yamaha connection creates a family resemblance. There are as many similarities as differences. While each horn has a unique sound and feel, deciding which I liked best was not an easy task. I could have chosen any one of them and gone on my merry way.

Initially I thought I would settle on the LA. My playing requirements are diverse and the LA covers all bases equally well. In the end, though, I chose the Chicago. While not the easiest of the four to play, it seems to offer me the most potential. It feels like a sports car that demands agility from the driver, but rewards with high-level performance. Although the Chicago was designed to blend in a symphony, it works for me as a jazz and lead player. In the upper register, I can produce a substantial amount of burn, and the deep slots stabilize the notes. Playing jazz, I am learning to ‘dance’ on the slots, and already feel less of a sense that I am climbing over walls getting from note to note. Ultimately, it comes down to an emotional connection. When I play the Chicago, I feel challenged and excited.

NOTES

Jazz or Classical?
The 8310Z and 8335LA were designed for jazz artists, and are described on the Yamaha website as jazz horns. The 9335 NY and CH models were designed for classical artists, and are described as orchestral trumpets. This is not clear-cut, however. A jazz player might prefer one of the Artist Series horns, and vice versa. My choice bears this out. This shows that a good horn is a good horn. The player is ultimately the one who will determine the sound that comes out of it. While the experiences and opinions of others are valuable, every player is unique. You need to find the horn that works for you.

Pricing:
The Artist Series (NY & CH) are substantially more expensive than the Custom Series. This is a result of the extensive research and development and a greater amount of hand-craftsmanship. Initially, the differences weren’t as apparent to me, but the more I played the Chicago and the NY, the more I became aware of the fine tuning that goes into these instruments. While the Custom Series horns play beautifully, the Artist Series offers a level of refinement that can only come with personalized attention to detail. (more on this below)

Where is the third-valve water key?
The Shew and the LA have third-valve water keys; the Chicago and the NY do not. This decision is made during the design process. The presence or absence of a water key will affect the response of the instrument. In the past, whenever I’ve purchased a horn without a third-valve water key, I’ve had one installed. I always felt that any sonic advantages were offset by the inevitable presence of water in the third slide. Since every detail of the Chicago was so carefully considered, however, I decided to honor the integrity of the design and live without it. As it turns out, it really isn’t a problem. By blowing hard it is possible to completely clear the third slide through the tuning slide water key. Many players are lazy about that anyway. I’m always exhorting my students to be more vigorous when clearing the horn of water.

Vertical Integration
Yamaha’s policy of ‘vertical integration’ carries many design elements of the Artist and Custom models through the entire line of instruments. Even the cheapest Yamaha trumpet has much in common with the most expensive. (This is not the case with every manufacturer.) The lower price is achieved by a lesser amount of hand craftsmanship, and in some cases the use of different materials. Designing from the top down creates a student instrument that plays very well. Also, when the student is ready to step up, the higher-level instrument will feel familiar. The advantages of upgrading to a professional instrument include more complex tone, better projection, improved intonation, greater consistency from note to note and smoother mechanical action. And usually a nicer case!

RESPONSES/QUESTIONS

Q: I’ve checked out the Chicago Bb, and was suprised by the significant price difference. Can you go into deeper details with regards to the ‘fine tuning’? Will it make my job as a trumpet player easier?

In the Artist Series, there is more individualized attention paid to the fitting of valves and slides, and a greater amount of R & D went into every single aspect of the instrument. The differences became more apparent with extended playing. I’ve been playing the Chicago exclusively now for several months. When I pick up one of my other horns, something is missing. Since posting the article, I have heard from a LOT of people who agree the Chicago is something truly special.

I considered the price carefully before making my decision. A colleague in Toronto, Steve McDade, was also testing the Chicago at the same time. When I brought up the price, he replied: “Yes, but it’s worth every penny.” Not everybody will feel that way. Some will actually prefer the less expensive models. One size doesn’t fit all. That’s why a company offers a range of instruments.

Whether a horn is worth the price, or whether it makes your life easier is purely personal. As I wrote in the article, the Chicago is not the easiest horn to play, but it challenges me to play up to its full potential. It is the product of many hours of collaboration between one of the world’s foremost designers and a world-class player. That’s worth a lot.

Q: Did you try more than one of each model?

No, just one sample of each. I’ve never gone the route of picking through identical models, at least not since playing Yamaha. They are famous for consistency, and while no two horns will play exactly alike, you can be pretty confident that a Yamaha out of the box will play well.

I always take a new horn to my repair guy (Ron Partch in Toronto) for fine-tuning. He checks valve alignment, looks for errant solder, and sometimes re-fits slides, water keys etc. He didn’t have to do much to the Chicago, but no mass-produced horn can receive the individual attention that he can provide. Mind you, he is a true craftsman and I trust him completely. This is not a job for just anyone with a hammer.

One Response to “Trumpet Comparison: Yamaha 9335NY / 9335CH / 8335LA / 8310Z”

  1. [...] mainly solo work, some orchestral and a lot of theater. You may want to check out this comparison: chasesanborn.com » Articles/Reviews My impressions of these horns was very similar to Chase’s. Good [...]

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