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trumpetmike
18.02.2006, 01:45
I have just returned from a day in Luton. Not the most glamorous of venues, but there is one place that is always worth visiting, the Eclipse workshop.
This visit was primarily to play the newly released cornets. I had played the prototype last year, but there was still work to be done – the guys at Eclipse have been working hard at these and they now have three flavours of cornet available, distinguished by their bell material – Yellow Brass, Red Brass or a Copper bell.
Before I write any more, I would like to state that the opinions I give here are purely my own. I am not an official Eclipse endorsee, I am not an Eclipse Artist and I receive no money from Eclipse for any word that is written.
I do not promise that you will feel the same about these instruments, there is no perfect instrument for everybody, these are just my thoughts about the latest cornet to hit the scene.
All models use the same valve block, so I will address the valves first – like glass. Very smooth, very responsive and this is no surprise to me – I have an Eclipse Flugel (Copper bell) and the valves have just got better and better since I purchased it (and they were fantastic when it was new).

I started with the Yellow Brass bell model. The first reaction was “wow, I’m playing my Maestro.” The tone colour was almost identical to the Maestro that I have played for years, but there was a major difference – the intonation. I have often found that cornets suffer with intonation, especially in the upper register (above the stave) and when pushed to dynamic extremes (both loud and soft). The Eclipse Yellow played with spotless intonation from the very bottom to as high as I took it (for the record, it was taken to the G the octave above the stave). This is a very impressive cornet. As well as a few traditional cornet solos (both fast and slow) and brass band excerpts, I also played through some of the standard orchestral cornet repertoire (Petrouschka, Lieutenant Kije etc) – if I was wanting a cornet to be able to match the volume of the orchestra, yet still sound like a cornet, this would be a very strong contender for the perfect instrument.

Moving next to the Copper bell. What a sound!
This instrument has a tone that could best be described as almost flugel-like. It is simply beautiful. If you are a player who has a naturally bright sound (which I find I do), this could be a great instrument to balance that aspect of your playing. Beyond the tone colour, this instrument has the typical Eclipse intonation (excellent), even ascending, again, to the heights. If I am being critical, I would say that this instrument is not as easy to control as the Yellow bell model. When taken above the stave, or to upper dynamic levels, I found that the tone colour changed. What had been an almost flugel-like cornet became something different, thinner. If you are never going to play above the stave, nor at dynamic levels above f, this cornet is a stunning instrument, but I found it a little too much of a struggle at the upper dynamics and range. The more orchestral style of pieces were quite a struggle to achieve the desired results, for me.

This left me with the Red Brass Bell model. After the first few notes I knew this was a cornet that was going to be very impressive. The tone was how I have always imagined a cornet should sound – dark, rich, smooth and like melting butter. Nearer to the Copper than the Yellow, yet not as fluffy at the edges. Intonation was, no surprise, incredible retaining the same tone colour throughout – from the pedal range right through to the octave above the stave (and beyond). When taken to extreme dynamics, the tone remained as full as when played at a comfortable level. In simple terms, this cornet can do everything – it sounds fantastic, it has superb intonation, it will play as quietly as I could wish for and will rise to a dynamic level that could be heard through a full symphony orchestra – without the sound breaking up.


If I was playing cornet regularly, I would have ordered a Red on the spot (I had actually decided after just two notes!), it is (in my view) the finest cornet that currently exists.


If you are looking for a new cornet, you owe it to yourself to try the Eclipse range.
Leigh McKinney will not try and sell you one, he will let you go to the workshop and play them without forcing you to do anything. If you then choose to buy one, he will be there to offer his ears to aid your decision as to which bell you want.
The only decision left after that is what finish to go for – lacquer
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y62/TrumpetMike/Eclipse/eclipsecornets097.jpg

silver
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y62/TrumpetMike/Eclipse/eclipsecornets093.jpg

or gold
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y62/TrumpetMike/Eclipse/eclipsecornets043.jpg

the choice is up to you.



Well, those are my thoughts on the Eclipse range of cornets – as I stated at the beginning, these are just my thoughts. You may well think differently, but there is only one way to tell – go to Luton and find out for yourself, I would strongly suggest that you won’t regret the journey (although your bank manager might have other thoughts).
If I find myself in a regular cornet playing position any time soon, my Maestro will be for sale and there will be an Eclipse Red in my hands.

And one further thiong to remember, unlike when you are purchasing a regular instrument, if there is something you are not happy with, you are able to talk to Leigh (and the other guys at Eclipse) and you can work things out to your specifications - my flugel, for example, has a slightly different trigger position to most, because it has been placed exacty where my hands want it. The same goes for the finger hook. When I purchased it, I had the choice of which style of waterkey I wanted - everything about the instrument is custom built to your needs and specification by real craftsmen.

For information on pricing, please visit the Eclipse website - www.eclipsetrumpets.com (http://www.eclipsetrumpets.com)

iggmeister
18.02.2006, 11:11
I've seen and read quite a bit about Eclipse products and all that I have read has been very positive.

The Xeno has caught eveybody's attention but this might just be one to challenge it. I hope that they go to competitions with a trade stand as that is where many people get their first glimpse of new hardware.

Igg

brassneck
18.02.2006, 14:59
Here's a link to the Eclipse website for those who require it! (cornet price last listed as £1850).

http://www.eclipsetrumpets.com/2005/welcome.htm