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Taylor Phat Boy Flugel Horn
The Taylor Phat Boy Flugel Horn is a truly individual design by Andy Taylor. With its unique shape and smooth sound the Phat Boy could be the ultimate flugel!
This latest version (2011 onwards) features a redesign to the valve block which is now slightly narrower with the valves closer together than before, making it more comfortable to hold. Little thing maybe, but significant when you have to play for periods of time. The biggest change is on the inside. The bore size through the valve section has now been increased a little. This makes for a gentler transition from the leadpipe size to the bell branch opening. This gives a smoother, even easier blow and as a bonus, the intonation has also improved a bit as well. This can’t be a bad thing for a flugelhorn that was already regarded as one of the best in this field anyway! And finally, the third valve slide trigger assembly now has Uniball fittings.
TAYLOR ‘PHAT BOY’
FLUGELHORN REVIEW (Bryan Corbett)
Upon opening the package that contained the instrument for review, the first thing that hits you when you see the new Taylor flugel is ‘wow’, what a horny looking horn!’
The bright orange bell section sparkling, then wrapping the bell section into a golden mat like orange, with a beautifully unique curved bow. The flugel oozes quality in both looks and build. You realise from the minute you pick it up that you are holding a piece of top quality engineering.
To me the real test is what is produced when blown. If you see my own horns then you would realise that I don’t go for the pretty shinny finish. Blowing on an equivalent to a 1 1/2c flugel mouthpiece and just focusing on a few long notes, the immediate sound quality of the instrument comes across. Every note seems in tune to my ears, no real adjustment in blowing needed to produce low ‘D’ or liping in on middle ‘D&E’ notes. The 3rd valve trigger is largely unemployed.
The notes seem to centre easily and the horn blows freely. It really gives you the confidence of striking a beautiful clean, centred note each time. Still in your mind is the feeling you are holding something a bit unique and special. The different shape of this flugel gives a slightly unfamiliar feel to that of a conventional flugel. The weight seems about average, (no problem for those of you who have a problem with the weight of Taylor’s heavyweight trumpets). The fast, precise stainless steel valves move beautifully and confidently as you glide up a down the instrument. You are not only aware of the ease of blowing, but also the warm, mat like sound that you are producing.
The horn speaks magnificently. The warmth and fat richness in the sound is very noticeable, (to me how a flugel should sound), and at low volume produces an essence of air in the velvet sound. You always feel that the ‘Phat Boy’ will take whatever you can give it, even when you try and give the sound a real ‘wrasp’, the instrument consumes the air-flow to produce a large, rich fat sound.
For the jazzer the instrument not only offers its sound, it’s slightly different feel is brought into your playing, creating different line blowing and textures. It all feels fresh and you are still aware that you are holding a unique hand built horn.
The only real problem I encountered with the Phat Boy was the positioning of the right hand thumb. It cannot wrap around the valve block like on a more conventional instrument due to the shaping of the bell flare. However, after a couple of days with the horn my thumb found its own position and holding it didn’t present a problem.
For me, the Taylor ‘Phat Boy’ gives you a high end flugel horn of quality manufacture, and where it stands out from the crowd is it gives you something personal, something slightly different and unique. If you’re in the hunt for a new flugelhorn give it go. It will stick in your memory for sure!