Industry Close-up: Ultimate Sound and Playing Feeling-Global Announces New XO Trumpets & Trombones

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XO RB-L (left) & XO PX-GB

 

Global Corp., a leading wind instrument distributor in Japan, introduced 2 individual new models of piccolo trumpet and bass trombone under its exclusive brand XO late last year.

The first XO trumpet came into the market in 1995. Since the very beginning, Koichi Haido, manager of Engineering Dept. and trumpeter himself (photo), has been instrumental in the product development. Today, the XO line has expanded to include cornets, flugel horns, C trumpets, trombones and light-weight Bb trumpets. Very recently, they introduced Eb and piccolo trumpets and bass trombones.

Piccolo trumpets played like Bb
The development project started with the piccolo trumpets. The Global design team thought it natural because development of highest register piccolos would make them easier to go to Eb in lower register next. Nevertheless, in terms of sales volume, market for piccolo trumpet is far smaller than Bb. It's not common in orchestral music and musical pieces, and seldom played in symphonic works.       

Because trumpet ensemble by brass members is trend these days, manufacturers are inclined to add transposing instruments to their lines to cover wider tone range.

The most characteristic feature of the XO trumpets is that they can be blown in the same way as the Bb. They have playing feeling equivalent to Bb even on high register.

Usually cornet shank is standard to piccolo trumpet, but the XOs have an exclusive  mouthpiece specially designed for them to achieve superior playing feeling and tonal resonance.

Haido says, "We were most concerned to develop piccolo trumpets comfortable to play, and capable of producing one octave higher register than Bb. High tones in full tonal volume were what we sought after. Three points, easiness to play, excellent pitch and high quality sound, are critical for wind instruments. Good piccolo trumpets should have been played easily in stable pitch."

Excellent pitch means that player can get correct pitch when the pistons are pressed, and a series of natural overtones without pressing the pistons. High quality sound must have fine resonance and tone projection. The XOs are designed to help players deliver their original sound.

Though Global had rich experience and manufacturing know-how for Bb models, tapering inner tube of mouthpipe for piccolo trumpet was not easy. They made numerous prototypes and had them experimented by professionals.

The bell which is smaller than that of Bb was another obstacle because it has a far steeply curved configuration. In the first stage, they sometimes broke bells while hammering, but soon they successfully solved the problem, and quite reliable manufacturing technology has been established.

Osamu Takahashi, principal trumpeter of Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Hiroki Tochimoto of NHK Symphony Orchestra, and other top players experimented the XOs give high remarks commenting that they are easy to capture high tones, and stable voicing for every tone range.

Bass trombones developed with An Orchestra Player
Bass trombone is a requisite for symphonic orchestra as an instrument bridging tone range from tenor trombone to tuba. It's common for big jazz bands to have one bass trombone player for the section.

Global invited Hiroyuki Kurogane of NHK Symphony Orchestra in designing the first bass trombones. They new models employ XO-exclusive double axial-flow valve which is standard to tenor models. These years, trombone players much favor the axial flow valve as it features excellent air flow and open sound.

                   (photo:XO-original double axial-flow valve) 

The movable F & Gb lever designed to fit small hand players provides quick response. Haido tells about the development background, "We took considerable time before defining the bell shape because it's deeply related to playing feeling and tonal color. We examined every factor of bell from taper, configuration to size. In the same way, we carefully studied shape of tuning slide and internal tapering. I even flew to our contracting factory overseas to explain our ideas about taper shape."

After 3 years of extensive engineering works, the RB series bass trombones made their debut at Japan XO Trombone Quartet Concert in October, 2009 before they were put into the market. The quartet is consisted of Masakatsu Kurita, Kazuhiko Tanada, Kazuyoshi Wakasa and Hiroyuki Kurogane. Three of the tenor players have performed the XO since the very beginning, but the group will now act as an XO trombone ambassador.

The XO stands for extra old class of brandy. Tadamichi Fukuda, chairman, and then president of Global, named the new line in hopes of bringing the highest ranked instruments in the market. Haido adds, " The XO embraces something extra which we have originated in manufacturing. We are very pleased with the outcome of the new piccolo trumpets and bass trombones.

Global have plans to add Eb trumpet and alto trombone to the XO line in the near future.(http://www.global-inst.co.jp/)

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This page contains a single entry by jmtrades published on January 18, 2010 2:59 PM.

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