GEAR TALK TUESDAY: Add A Little Variety To Your Brass
  • TUESDAY, JUNE 13, 2017

  • Posted by: Peter Hammel

As a horn player, I sometimes get frustrated with the repetitive sound of whichever horn I'm playing. Sometimes trumpet sounds too bright, flugelhorn too soft, you get the picture. A harmon mute can only change the sound so much, and I envy guitar players' and vocalists' freedom to add pedals and processors to change their sound. However, with the right setup and correct processor, any horn player can shred their brass or woodwind instrument like a Gibson SG. These are three of the best entry level processors for anything from the euphonium to the flute.

MXR M103 Blue Box (plus Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby Wah Pedal)


Cut to 1:35 to watch Mike Maher carve up the solo section on the "Binky", the Snarky Puppy classic. Try to remember that he's playing a flugelhorn, something that typically sounds like this:


Digitech Vocal 300


Though this processor is no longer in production, it's easily acquirable on eBay and other sites. The Digitech Vocal 300 creates a variety of noises, but it's customizable synth sounds are incredibly unique and electronic. Subtract the saxophone sound, and you can't quite put your finger on what you're hearing.

Boss VE-20


This vocal processor calls for a higher price tag, but a number of features separate this sound box from others. You can match both major and minor harmonies to your pitches and loop your sounds. In a sense, it can create an entire horn section with just one player. On top of those abilities, it also includes distortion and flanger capabilities.
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