The sound and design of a flugelhorn are immediately intriguing for any advanced trumpeter. Noted for its rich, lush, mellow sound, the flugelhorn provides the perfect contrast to the more directional focused brilliance of a trumpet.
Like the standard Bb trumpet, the flugelhorn is also in the key of Bb and uses the same fingering system which makes it immediately accessible. The design of a trumpet is cylindrical versus the larger more conical build of a flugelhorn. The mouthpieces also differ. The flugelhorn mouthpiece has a larger ‘V’ shaped cup which greatly influences the sound color. Also called a ‘flugel’, it is often used in commercial settings as an alternative to the trumpet or as a solo instrument.
Do you need a Flugelhorn? That all depends on if you have ways to plug this unique different sound into any of the groups you play with. There are many opportunities in jazz, pop, or worship settings if you need a dark lyrical sound for a ballad or need to match the harmonic color of another section like horn or trombone.
What about a Blessing Flugelhorn? Blessing has offered a competitive flugelhorn option for a serious player at any level for over 50 years. The BFH1541RT is our current model and based on its predecessor, the B154 model. Both feature French style vertical valve slide configuration and are designed on trumpet valve block chassis. The 1541 has a more gradual conical design a on a medium large .459” bore valve section. This provides the warm characteristic sound of a flugel with the feel and resistance of a trumpet. It is more familiar to a player new to the flugel. The instrument tends to play with more stability with greater security at the bottom and top of the range where a smaller bore instrument is harder to control. This is particularly ideal for a student player or someone that does not play a lot of flugel and desires a sense of continuity when moving back and forth between two different colors.
Flugelhorns have the reputation for having intonation issues. The more traditional small designs sound wonderful but can be hard to play. The instrument is flexible enough to move the pitch as needed. The BFH1541RT does come with an 3rd valve slide trigger to help lower the low C#/D as needed. Using a proper mouthpiece designed to fit your flugelhorn is also important for both sound and intonation. Blessing offers several flugel mouthpiece sizes that match the instrument well depending on a player’s preferences.
Bottom line. A flugelhorn is fun to play with a fantastic fluffy sound! It can allow a player to really sing. It is a great additional voice to add to your arsenal of colors for many performance opportunities.