Thoughts on the Lawler Cornet

(An Average Jethro’s Review)

Manufacturer's Cornet/Flugel Page Location:

Options Selected on This Horn: 0.464 inch bore, red brass bell, brush lacquer finish (extra cost), Amado water keys, 1st valve saddle, 3rd valve ring, pinkie hook.

Reviewer’s Current Mouthpiece: Denis Wick # 4
Reviewer’s Cornet Use: brass band, brass quintet, weddings, etc…

The Lawler cornet’s tone is very warm and dark. At softer dynamics it seems to get an even more intimate sound…the kind of sound that is very agreeable to nuance. The louder dynamics still retain the cornet character without getting “edgy” or “trumpety”. The shape of the sound is perhaps not quite as broad (big in diameter) as my Sovereign 928…but it still seems every bit as dark and lush. The core of the Lawler sound may be slightly more “dense” (focused).
TONE RATING: 9.5 out of 10

The color of sound makes it easy to blend with other cornets and with the flugelhorn. The horn actually seems to WANT to blend. But there is also enough density available to project through the ensemble when needed.
BLEND RATING: 9.5 out of 10

Tuning Slide Position for A-440 at third-space (tuning) C: Out only a quarter of an inch. [May be due in part to player/mouthpiece mechanics.]
Low C#: About as sharp as my other horns…but easily adjusted with the third valve slide.
Low D: Also sharp…but easily fixed with the slide.
Bottom-line E: A little sharp…but the slide helps.
Second Line G: Very good.
Third Line B: Very good.
Fourth-Line D: Surprisingly good.
Top Space Eb: Also unusually good.
Top Space E: Another nice surprise. Very very close.
Top Line F: A little high, but the first valve slide moves easily.
G on Top of Staff: A teeny bit high, but not much. Easily lipped.
A Above Staff: A little high, but not too much. Easily adjusted with the slide.
High C (second ledger line): Very good.
High D (on top of second ledger line): A little low…but this may be more a function of my air/embouchure/etc…
Overall: Compared to other horns I’ve played and tried, I would rate the intonation somewhere between very good and excellent.
INTONATION RATING: 8.5 out of 10 (I expect this to get better as I adjust to the horn.)

The blowing feel of the Lawler is a little different than my Sovereign. It feels like there may be a tiny bit more resistance (maybe due to the bore?? 0.464 inch on the Lawler versus 0.466 inch on the Sov). That being said, it is not an excessively tight or closed horn at all. It still feels plenty open to me. Basically it feels like I don’t have to work quite as hard on this horn. Perhaps this will ultimately help my endurance just a little.

The tongue seems to speak a little more quickly than on my Sovereign. Slurring through the partials seems a bit smoother, too…especially if I don’t get too physical and just let them flow.
RESPONSE RATING: 9 out of 10

Wonderful valves. The Lawler utilizes a Getzen valve block. They feel very responsive…very springy… and seem to be getting better and better as I “wear them in”. This is a huge relief…because sometimes I tend to press down a little off-center (other less forgiving horns have punished me dearly for this!).
VALVE RATING: 9 out of 10

1st and 3rd Valve Slides: Excellent. Very free movement.
Grip Comfort: Very good feel in the hands. The third valve ring seems a tiny bit closer to the valve block than on my Bach Strad. I haven’t yet figured out if the ring finger or middle finger feels better in the Lawler’s third valve ring. The ring finger provides more slide extension, but things are a tad more crowded that way. The middle finger doesn’t throw the slide out quite as far, but gives a little more comfort and strength.
Weight: Seems a little lighter than my Sovereign…maybe just an ounce or two. Just a guess, though.
Mouthpiece Receiver: My Wick 4 sinks much deeper into the Lawler’s mouthpiece receiver than in the Sovereign. In the Sov only about one-fourth inch of mouthpiece shank goes in. With the Lawler it’s about one-half inch. But it grips the mouthpiece just fine…so I’m not worried.
Mute Fit: The fit of my straight and cup mutes into the Lawler bell is very similar to my Sovereign. No cork adjustments should be necessary.
Water Keys: I need to practice a little more with the Amado water keys…it seems I need to empty them a little more often. Not a problem…I just have to work on it some….maybe blow the water a little more gently or something. For those who prefer traditional water keys, they are also an available option.
General Build: A lot of care is evident in the details of this horn. The bell is beautifully shaped…the slide alignment is excellent…the bracing and solder points clean and solid. There are just no stones unturned.

This is the only horn that gets a Homer Simpson drool out of me every time I set eyes on it. The brush lacquer is almost hypnotic. The look is quiet, but irresistibly inviting. Maybe it’s just a placebo effect…but I think the “antique” look of the horn somehow makes it a little bit easier to get a darker, old-school type of sound.
APPEARANCE RATING: 9.75 out of 10

There is definitely something sixth-sense about this horn. It just seems to want to sing. Unfortunately it also makes me want to play folk songs and ballads loooong into the night (if only I had the chops!)…and the next morning makes me want to call in sick to work just to play a little more (d@mn day jobs…they always get in the way!!).

I have only tested a very few of the various cornet brands on the market…but I’ve tried to listen to as many makes and players as possible. I’m now a firm believer that the Lawler deserves a place alongside the Sovereign, Prestige, Smith-Watkins, and other fine horns at the very top of the heap. The Lawler cornet is a beautiful sounding instrument. I only hope I can one day do it justice.

Cheers! :guiness :D :D

About the Reviewer: Amateur cornetist. Not affiliated with this manufacturer or any other. Began trumpet in 1972 and cornet in 1995. Eats grits.

Disclaimer: Your mileage (or kilometerage) may vary.

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