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!

Review: Yamaha Xeno Trumpet (4th Gen)


8335SAs a Yamaha Artist, one of the perks is the opportunity to test new models. More’s the pity, eventually I have to give them back or buy them, which seems more often to be the case. (Spoiler alert.) With the release of the fourth-generation Xeno YTR-8335 trumpet, it seems time to revisit this venerable and consistently top-selling model.

The Yamaha Xeno trumpet harkens back to 1986, when Yamaha designed its first ‘heavyweight’ model, the 6335H. (Note: all Yamaha trumpet model numbers begin with the letters ‘YTR’. I will forgo them for brevity.) I owned this trumpet in both fixed and sliding bell configurations, as well as an updated version called the 6335HII. In 2001 the horn was redesigned and released as the Xeno 8335. In a review I noted that the sound of the redesigned horn seemed to have more core, the response was quicker and the slotting more secure. The Xeno 8335RGS served as my primary horn for several years, although eventually I was lured by other models including the 8310Z (Shew), the 8335LA (Bergeron), the 8340EM (Myashiro) and the 9335 (Chicago). I was curious to see how the new Xeno would stand up to this considerable competition.

The redesign of the Xeno bears the imprint of Bob Malone, Yamaha’s North American head of wind instrument research and design. It incorporates innovations that came about during the development of the top-tier Artist Series horns. Changes to the new Xeno include:

  • Yellow brass leadpipe.
  • Redesigned bell taper with bottom seam.
  • Redesigned valve casing with thinner inner wall.
  • Redesigned water key.
  • A sharper angle where the tube enters the third valve.
  • Two third slide stopper positions.
  • A heavier mouthpiece receiver on the reverse leadpipe model.
  • A silicone strap that keeps either or both of the first and third slides from sliding out in use or in transit.
    • Like the previous generation, the Xeno is available in both standard and reverse leadpipe configurations. The standard configuration is available in ML and L bore sizes, gold or yellow brass, and silver plate or lacquer finish. The reverse configuration is available only in one version: ML bore, yellow brass and silver plating.

      Comparison methodology
      Over a period of a month I compared three versions of the redesigned Xeno, and one from the previous generation:

    • YTR-8335S Standard leadpipe, yellow brass, silver plating.
    • YTR-8335GS Standard leadpipe, gold brass, silver plating.
    • YTR-8335RS Reverse leadpipe, yellow brass, silver plating.
    • YTR-8335RGS Reverse leadpipe, gold brass, silver plating. (Previous generation.)
      • I compared two horns each day, playing the same things on each, making notes of my impressions. Perceiving differences was easy, determining a preference not necessarily so. My impressions varied day-to-day and even minute-to-minute; there are a lot of factors that influence perception. Some of the qualities that I noted could not necessarily be considered a detriment or attribute for a particular horn. Reviewing my daily notes at the end of the month helped to formulate a broader view.

        8335S / 8335GS
        I started with the gold and yellow brass versions of the standard leadpipe model. Gold brass, with a higher copper content is commonly felt to have a warmer sound, possibly at the expense of projection. The difference between the two otherwise identical horns is subtle. While my preference was not 100% consistent, I favored the yellow brass horn more often than the gold brass horn, noting that the sound seemed livelier. With that plus the advantage of eliminating one variable, I switched my focus to the two yellow brass horns with different leadpipe configurations, which for most players would be the primary consideration.

        8335S / 8335RS
        In a standard leadpipe configuration both halves of the tuning slide insert into slides on the trumpet. In a reverse configuration the top half of the tuning slide slides over the leadpipe, eliminating the point where the air exiting the leadpipe hits the edge of the tuning slide. This affects resistance and response. In addition to the leadpipe and tuning slide, there are other differences between the two models: the standard has two tuning slide braces; the reverse has one. The mouthpiece receivers are different. The standard has a third slide water key; the reverse does not. The standard has a first slide hook; the reverse has a first slide ring. All of these things affect the way the horn plays, so the two have to be considered siblings with a common genetic background, yet each with different features and personalities. Following are some of my specific observations:

      • The standard configuration provides more resistance; the reverse feels freer blowing. This is in line with common perception.
      • The standard seems to slot more securely; the reverse offers a little more flexibility in note placement.
      • The reverse sounds broader and more open; the standard sounds warmer and more focused.
      • Intonation was a toss up. Some notes are better on one or the other, but both are excellent overall.
      • The reverse responds better with a more assertive playing style; the standard responds better if I back off.
      • With fresh chops I tended to prefer the reverse; with tired chops I preferred the standard.
      • In the high register, from high C to F, I generally preferred the reverse, but not always. Notes above high F consistently responded better for me on the standard, probably relating to the resistance.
      • The reverse feels like it would be my choice for playing lead, the standard for jazz or classical.
        • During the course of the test I decided that I would purchase one of these two horns. Trying to choose between the 8335S and the 8335RS I vacillated numerous times. In the end I felt that the sound and response of the standard is best suited to the kind of playing I’m most likely to do these days, and out came the credit card.

          8335RS / 8335RGS (previous generation)
          For the final segment of the test, I compared the new 8335RS to the previous generation 8335RGS, which was the model I used to play. After playing a couple of notes on the RGS, my first reaction (and that of Yamaha rep Geoff Houghton) was “This is a great horn too!” Subsequent playing tests convinced me that the new Xeno offers an enhanced level of refinement, but that it is building on a solid legacy; the previous generation still holds its own.

        • The RGS has a broad and open sound that is easily accessible, one reason why this horn has been so popular with a broad range of players.
        • The RS sound is more complex and involving. This was particularly noticeable when playing jazz.
        • The RS feels more tightly controlled, with a tenacious grip on notes, which could make the horn feel more demanding or more secure depending on the player.
          • Faced with indecision and offered a great deal on ‘last year’s model’, I bought the RGS too. This is the first time I’ve re-bought a horn I used to own, but what can I say? It’s a great horn and everything old is new again.

            As of this writing, I’ve been playing the Xeno for a couple of months. My initial impressions have held true; the 8335S with the standard leadpipe remains my favorite. I’ve pulled out my Chicago a few times to stay acquainted, but I gravitate back to the Xeno. I may still be in the ‘new toy’ stage, but there is no question that the Xeno holds its own as one of the top trumpets on the market today.

            Why switch horns?
            As a reader may surmise, I change horns relatively frequently. Part of that is simple curiosity; with a company like Yamaha there is always something new on the horizon and I try to keep abreast. From a personal playing perspective, a new horn requires slightly different input from the player to achieve maximum results. Growth results from adaptation.

            The unquantifiable.
            When assessing horns, one focuses on quantifiable aspects like tone, flexibility, response, slotting, high register etc. But there is an unquantifiable aspect to it as well; we can’t always precisely define why we are drawn to certain horns, just like people or foods. The gut instinct is an important consideration. Since you are going to spend a lot of time together, you should like each other from the start.

            Comments are closed.