B&S Challenger Bb MBX Trumpet

This German made horn has to be the lightest horn that I’ve ever laid hands on – and it’s not that I’m used to handling Monettes or Taylors! No, this horn is really light and it’s well balanced. Coming with hand lapped Monel pistons with boxed bronze springs, there is no doubting the quality of the components, although I did find that the spit slide on the second valve was a tad tight. I was also somewhat surprised that there was no tap on the third tuning slide. And if I’m being really picky why doesn’t the curve on the front crook match that of the back pipe?

That said, the Challenger is an extremely easy player with no real change of resistance over 21/2 octaves, and has a tone that is both smooth and even across the full range. The light hand hammered one piece brass bell with its French bead wire gives a sharper bell rim edge and by implication, an improved projection. However, I felt that the overall sound was somewhat on the bright side, so I changed the supplied 3 mouthpiece for one of my own (Taylor) 3’s which is slightly heavier and found a darker tone that I felt had more jazz character.

Although there’s no denying that the build quality and finishing is excellent – our sample came in French gold lacquer (there are silver and gold plated options), I was left feeling that the balance between lightness and strength could prove to be an issue when taking the Challenger “on the road”. Happily however, the instrument is supplied with a heavily padded, rectangular hardcase, with quality catch locks and grab handles.

For more go to www.philparker.co.uk

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