Aftermarket Products for
Schilke Trumpets and Cornets


Several manufacturers make and market specific products designed to modify or enhance the performance of Schilke trumpets. At this point, what follows are the manufacturers' descriptions. I am always open minded and it is my hope to be able to try at least some of these products and post reports as I am able. Voodoo incantations optional.

Lightweight finger buttons:
Mouthpiece maker Mark Curry makes thin silver plated lightweight finger buttons for Schilkes similar to those found on Besson or Kanstul horns, except they are hexagonal shaped like the Schilke originals. They have no mother of pearl inserts and are flat on the top, as opposed to the deep edge bevels found on the stock Schilke valve buttons. Curry sees these advantages: they have more surface area which eliminates the sidepull that worn pearls can create, they warm to the touch, and can help sticking valves. These currently (2006) cost $24 per set of three. I personally have these and love them.

For independent reviews of this product, click here.

Brass valve stems:
This is the part that sits on top of the spring in each valve and is affixed to the valve button on the top. These are also made by Mark Curry of heavier weight brass that is silver plated to match the trumpet and are called "Action Rods." He describes the advantages as follows: "[t]hese precision made brass valve stems replace the stock alloy stems. Your first sensation when you put these stems on will be a more solid feel due to the slightly heavier weight of the brass. You will also notice a more even response in all registers along with improved tonal color, especially on attacks. They are designed with a pad retaining groove that keeps pads in place and a radial retainer that helps keep valve springs centered for smooth noise-free action. They also end the inherent corrosion problems that plague alloy valve stems." A set of three currently (2006) costs $45.

For independent reviews of this product, click here.

Metal valve guides:
For a time, the Brass Bow of Chicago, one of the nation's leading brass repair shopos, produced metal valve guides (the part that goes through the cylinder of each valve underneath the valve spring, catching the side of the valve casing, and holding the valve radially in place--the original ones are white plastic) for Schilke trumpets in different metals, including brass, copper, nickel, stainless steel, and titanium. The brass ones came either in raw brass or hard chrome plated. Their testing revealed that using one metal valve guide (brass) in the third valve on the E3L and in fourth valve on the P5-4 resulted in more body to the sound and improved response. For B flat and C trumpets, using a full set of valve guides resulted in the most satisfying similar improvement. The copper guides "add an even broader and darker sound and smoother feel with response." The hard chrome plated brass valve guides tend to add brightness and the stainless steel even more so. They were expensive, ranging in price for 3 between $52 and $72, with an additional fourth valve guide proportionately more expensive.

Unfortunately, the Brass Bow is gone and the metal valve guides are no longer made&emdash;the owner, Wayne Tenabe is now manning the Yamaha Pro Shop in New York City, though there are no doubt some sets of these metal valve guides floating around. It was also rumored (meaning I heard it more than two sources) that the retired machinist who made them died and no one else was interested in taking up the project.

These wouldn't fit on Schilke trumpets that have Yamaha valve casings anyway. But for those with Schilke trumpets with the Yamaha valve casings, experimentation is still possible and much cheaper. The brass valve guides which are stock on the Yamaha YTR 6335HII fit in these trumpets perfectly and your local Yamaha distributor may have them. I bought my set a few years ago. They were $2 for all three. I kind of like them (probably some irrational prejudice about how a brass instrument shouldn't really have plastic parts), though they didn't suddenly turn me into Clark Terry or Phil Smith. On the other hand, they were cheap.

For independent reviews of these products, click here.

Heavyweight bottom valve caps:
Mark Curry claims that by adding mass to the entry and exit points of the valve section, a trumpet's optimal response can be obtained. By adjusting the amount of tension on each valve, one can dial in the right amount of tone darkening and resistance. His CCAPS are available in silver plate in two weights, Standard (1 oz., ), best for all around playing (currently [2006] $48), and Magnum (1.75 oz), for the stronger player who wants the darkest, densest sound possible (currently [2006] $60). Curry's CCAPS are available for Schilke trumpets in a special blank that preserves at the bottom the hexagonal shape of the original bottom cap (see photo nearby).

Mark Curry provided the following details to The Schilke Loyalist on the use of CCAPS:

On Schilke 3 valve horns, use of the o-ring on #2 valve will make the mid-register play stuffy (Rick Baptist told me this, and it's pretty universal with Schilke trumpets). The way I set up my X3 is no o-rings on any valve, but put 2 shims (washers) in #3 and screw the ccap on, in effect, grounding out the 3rd casing. You get the slotting, but retain the brightness. Feel free to call me at (800) 695-1076.

For independent reviews of this product, click here.

Milashius Brass Instrument Technologies, in the wilds of Minnesota, also makes heavy valve caps for Schilke trumpets, called Technicaps. These are described as being "designed with careful consideration of the proper material and metallurgical structure to maximize the performance of the mass, which results in improved sound projection quality; refined pitch center and slotting of notes, and a concentrated tone with more prominence." These are slightly less than an ounce, come with O-rings and are available for $28.50 (for three, in silver) or $33.50 (for four). They are also available in gold plate for an additional charge. One needs to inform Milashius whether the Schilke trumpet has a Yamaha casing or not. The caps are made with such precision that they will fit either a Schilke casing or a Yamaha casing (ask me how I know), but not both. Interestingly, the stock Schilke caps will fit both.

Schilke themselves make a heavy weight valve cap which is visually identical to the stock caps but lighter in weight than the other heavy valve caps. The modest additonal weight is inside the valve cap, as you can see from the nearby photo.

Piccolo trumpet leadpipes:
Clifford Blackburn, Gerald Endsley, Dennis Najoom, and Osmun Music all make aftermarket leadpipes for the Schilke P5-4.

Blackburn's Louisville Leadpipes come in two models, the P1C, which improves the intonation and response without greatly affecting the tone, and the P2, which is more open, more free blowing, and slightly darker than the P1C. Intonation and response are excellent. Both models are available only in the key of A for the Schilke P5-4 and both come with a trumpet receiver, as opposed to the stock Schilke cornet receiver. They are available in A only because with a trumpet receiver on the B flat leadpipe, the total length of the horn is such that it will not play up to the required pitch. Priced currently (2006) from Blackburn directly or at most retailers around $190.

For an independent review of this product, click.

The Endsley leadpipe has a compound internal taper, is also supplied with trumpet receiver, and will provide both B flat and A tunings. In brass, it is $125.

Dennis Najoon, co-principal of the Milwaukee Symphony and designer of leadpipes found on the French Besson Classic (both B flat and C) and New Generation Meha marketed by Boosey & Hawkes and made by Kanstul, also makes a leadpipe for the the P5-4 with a trumpet receiver, currently (2006) costing $199 in raw brass and $219 in silver. It is advertised as "taking the 'quack' out of your piccolo."

Osmun Music makes only an "A" leadpipe which can be ordered in either a cornet or trumpet receiver, currently (2006) priced at $150.00.

Leather Hand Guards specifically designed to fit odd size horns, such as the Schilke P5-4, E3L, E3L-4 and G1L-4 can be obtained from Leather Specialties Co, currently in North Carolina. Larry Black played trumpet in the Atlanta Symphony for 33 years. He and his wife Rita make and sell hand guards, single and multiple mouthpiece pouches and leather gig bags. The handguards and all of their products are designed specifically for individual instruments, are very well made and priced reasonably.

And finally,

The Endsley Brass Brandenburg Bell is a small bell which replaces the fourth valve slide of a piccolo trumpet. The fourth valve is then used for the Brandenburg's high concert G's with the bell helping to fill out the tone to the normal timbre of the instrument. It is desirable that the bell be fitted to the instrument in the Endsley shop for closest tolerance. The bell can also be supplied with a detachable valve tube which allows it to be easily adapted to different model instruments. Brandenburg Bell in brass with fixed tube is currently (2006) priced at $175; in brass with threaded tube $225.

You really should go to the Endsley site and see the picture.

. . . . . .

I would welcome comments and reviews from those who have tested these products
or have any information about other such aftermarket products out there.
Please e-mail me.


The Schilke Loyalist


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