Today is a typical Saturday at Harrelson Trumpets. I arrived this morning just before 9am to meet a new client who is ordering a Summit Bb trumpet. We spent around two hours discussing the Summit trumpet he had borrowed and after playing several horns in the shop we had an ideal configuration to fit his playing preferences. We also looked at inlays, finger rings, water keys, screw stops, trim kits, etc. as all of these have various options.
This reminded me that I had made it a goal last year to create a section of the HT website that showed every option and walked clients through the order process. In fact, Jen even designed and launched such a page, but it was inexplicably lost from our files never to be found. Such an online system would be a valuable tool so I'll make sure we get a new version up an running as quickly as possible.
It was also brought to my attention that the descriptions of our individual model instruments have also been lost. At one time, there was a paragraph explaining each model in detail so prospective customers would know which would best fit their needs. In the past few years, we have changed servers, web hosts, software, etc. several times to keep up with the latest technology. However, in the process of doing so it appears we have omitted some important information. I'll be sure we get these back on our website as well.
Yes, dealing with web updates IS in fact part of a typical Saturday. But primarily, I am here alone building parts for the following week of trumpet builds uninterrupted by questions, calls and emails. Today I am milling Bravura braces, finishing a C Bravura order and setting up the twin spindle lathe for mouthpiece receiver production.
Marquis Hill stopped in the shop a few hours ago checking out horns and placing an order for a new Summit Bb. He will be playing at the Twin Cities Jazz Fest later today so if you read this in time, go check him out. He's a great musician with a soulful sound as well as a very nice guy. I'm grateful to work with such talented, dedicated musicians who truly appreciate great music and acoustics!
Back to milling Bravura braces...
When I was a 10-year-old boy in fifth grade, I opted to play the trumpet in the school band. Back then, I believe the rental fee was $25 per semester and my parents did not have the funds to make this happen.
So the band director, Mrs. Oakey, waived the fee when I told her I couldn't join the band. She assured me the fee was just a formality and I did not need to pay. She then handed me an old cornet that I played for the next 4 years.
Being on a budget has always been a fact of life. My parents are very intelligent and hardworking, but they never earned a lot of money. My sister and I were very happy growing up to the point that we did not know we were on the low end of the income scale. In fact, going to Goodwill was one of our favorite activities as we could sometimes find a hidden treasure in the toy department while my Mom was shopping for our clothes. I never gave a second thought to wearing used clothing or playing with used toys. When we received new clothes and items, we cared for them and kept them like new as the value was clearly important to us. As I grew older, I wondered how so many people could justify spending $X for something new when you could buy it used for 10 cents on the dollar. When it came time to buy my first vehicle, it was used. In fact, I've owned over two dozen cars and only one of them was new. When it comes time to buy a home, most people buy used the first time around, right?
Well, fast forward to college and my take on reality changed dramatically. Almost all of my friends received a new car for high school and/or college graduation. This blew my mind. How could their parents afford brand new vehicles for their KIDS? Now I get it, some people have more money than others and buying new cars may or may not be a reality.
However, purchasing one of my trumpets can be a reality for just about anyone. It is one of my core beliefs that my trumpets and accessories be available to everyone regardless of income. My SWE Trim Kits are an incredible value considering the advantages gained by Standing Wave Efficiency starting at under $210. That's around 58 cents a day if you saved for one year. And with our latest "Trade in Event", you can receive up to $2500 off your new Harrelson trumpet by trading in your used Bach, Yamaha or whatever. This means you could purchase a brand new Bravura for $4.09/day if saved over the course of one year (or $1495 cash + trade). Show me another custom trumpet builder (or any manufacturer in existence) that comes even close to this offer and I'll show you a potential competitor with Harrelson Trumpets.
Not to blow my own horn, but this is the opportunity of a lifetime to own a true handmade custom instrument that fits your specific playing preferences. I will discuss your musical and equipment goals, offer various leadpipe, bell and tuning slide configurations to meet your needs and answer any and all questions along the way. The best part is that ordering a new Bravura or Summit includes EVERYTHING you want in your new horn; finger button inlays, saturn water keys, SWE trim kit, ergonomic finger rings, choice of leadpipe, bell & tuning slide all for one fixed price. Where else can you even find these options? We are the exclusive manufacturer of more custom options than all other manufacturers COMBINED.
If only I could have purchased one of my own horns or even a trim kit back when I was starting band at Newman Elementary in Billings, MT.
So go get a jar out of the closet and start dropping in 58 cents a day to get into your first SWE Trim Kit. Then you'll be hooked and for just over 4 dollars a day, you'll be on your way to a BRAND NEW Bravura!
Believe it or not, here at Harrelson Trumpets we get this question every month or so, "Who builds Harrelson Trumpets?". Well, the answer is simple, WE DO! Or more specifically, I personally build every Harrelson Trumpet and my shop assistant James cleans them up while Paul is careful to check each trumpet build a third time against the original order form. It blows my mind that anyone would think we didn't build our own product. And if we didn't, then who would be secretly producing them for us all the while remaining anonymous?
When I step back and think about this question, it makes more sense in the backdrop of modern manufacturing and branding. Many brand name companies do not produce their own products. And those that do produce something often achieve this by way of anonymous factories in China, Indonesia or some other place we associate with soul-less mass production. Maybe Harrelson Trumpets somehow come across as mass produced, but I really don't see how this is possible. I build more custom trumpets each year than all other manufacturers combined. Only a small handful of the instruments I build are stock options, usually within the HT series. Looking at our photos of completed trumpet orders posted daily on Facebook, there is a wide variety of options produced every week.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I also receive this question quite often; "I see so many variations, but what will my Summit look like when it's complete?". The answer is whatever you want your Summit to look like. You also determine how it will play to a great extent by choosing your leadpipe, bell and tuning slide configuration. This may sound like a fair amount of work, deciding on all these options to have your trumpet made custom to your preferences. But in reality, it is a fun and rewarding experience that usually results in learning more about yourself while working with me personally to find the best options to fit your particular needs. Having the final word on each and every piece of your trumpet is seriously an addictive process that many customers choose to repeat with a second or third Harrelson horn.
I am making it my goal to provide more explanation and an inside look at my work through this blog by making new entries every week. I find it easy to forget to write my blog as I really do wear many hats at HT producing just about everything that goes out the door. Hopefully, this blog will answer the big questions and give most of you insight into my approach to physics, acoustics, music, trumpet, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I seriously love what I do and have made tremendous sacrifices to pursue a full-time career in trumpet design, manufacture and performance since 2001. Please feel free to send me ideas for future topics and questions.
ps...here are a few older photos of horns that I built with my own two hands, right here at Harrelson Trumpets in Minneapolis Minnesota!