Gary Grant puts much more stock in the player rather than the equipment. After all, the best horn in the hands of a bad player is still going to sound bad, and even the lowest quality student model can manage to sound exceptional in the hands of a professional. However, Grant still has many preferred choices of gear, and that's what we're going to look at here.
The main trumpet used by Gary is the Bach Stradivarious (Model 43). This horn is quite popular with the experts. "I've tried other horns", says Grant, "but I always lean back to the Bach. It's always worked for me and I like the sound of it". Depending on what the situation calls for, Grant uses three different flugelhorns – Kanstul, Couesnon, and Yamaha. For years, he has also performed on a Bob Reeves mouthpiece (Bob Reeves is a well-known L.A horn technician).
“I don’t experiment with different horns too much. I believe it’s more in the player than it is the horn. Of course, sometimes I play other people’s horns and I think, ‘Man, that plays really nice!’, and you want to get wrapped up in that, you know? Whenever you play a new horn, there’s a honeymoon period of about a week or ten days until the real characteristics of the horn settle in for you. You can’t always trust your original reaction to a horn.”
Grant has an extraordinary stockpile of mutes – "I've got them all, I can't even tell you all their names!"- and he tries to own numerous versions and models of the same type. Humes & Berg, the Vacchiano Straight mute, and the classic Harmon mute are all favorites of Grants, for he tends to prefer the older, stone-lined models. Grant will switch between his mutes depending on the situation, or what other musicians in a section are performing on, to ensure that the sound matches well.
Al Cass Valve oils are a popular choice amongst trumpet professionals, including Gary.
“One thing I’m into more than the gear choice, is keeping the gear I do play in good condition. It should stay clean and functional at all times. Make sure there are no leaks, wipe it down when you’re done playing, empty the spit valves, and don’t let the gunk build up in it. This is all crucial.”
For an even greater picture of what Gary Grant has done, check out his website at www.garygrantmusic.comYou can also order his music through the site, and don’t forget to download his "Studio Musician's Manual" while you're there.