LynnFlex Trumpet Mouthpiece
|Lynn Nicholson grew up in Chicago, where he attended the American Conservatory of Music shortly after high school. While there, he studied with Charles Geyer and George Bean. He later studied with Cat Anderson, Bud Brisbois and Bill Adam.
Bill Chase hired Lynn in 1973 after hearing him play with a rehearsal band in Chicago. During that time, a Holton executive heard Lynn's talent and arranged a dinner for him with Maynard Ferguson. In 1974, Lynn joined Maynard’s band at the age of twenty-one.
Lynn quickly tired of road life, and in 1975 moved to Los Angeles where he began playing with Toshiko Akiyoshi and various rehearsal bands. He played with the Buddy Rich Big Band for a few months, and then began playing lead trumpet with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band in 1976, subbing for Al Porcino. He moved to second trumpet upon Al's return, and later left the band to move to Las Vegas in pursuit of a larger salary.
While playing lead trumpet at the Dunes in 1977, Lynn damaged the vibrating surface of his chops. He played through the damage for the next decade, after which his lip finally healed. From 1977 to 1992, Lynn played nearly every act and show in Las Vegas.
In 1992, work became so sporadic that he began pursuing another career as a Steadicam operator in the film and television industries. In 2005, he received a BSC Technical Achievement Award for his invention of the Alien Revolution Camera Stabilizer.
Lynn resumed his playing a few years ago, but just for fun. It was then that he realized how much he loved playing high notes, and soon after began sharing this love through teaching.
LynnFlex Mouthpiece Development - K.O.
I met Lynn many years ago when he was playing in Las Vegas. I sat in the loft of a few of the shows and heard Lynn and John Madrid play the most amazing lead trumpet I'd ever heard in my life. I was flattered that, many years later, Lynn asked me if I would work with him on developing a mouthpiece suited to his style of playing.
We started with some pieces I had already developed for other players and moved on from there. Lynn puts a lot of energy into his set-up and it was a challenge to come up with a balance between a wide open bore/backbore that gave Lynn the "feel" he desires and is still efficient enough to support the registers that he plays in.
Lynn is very analytical and extremely open minded. This allowed me the flexibility to make some mouthpieces that, although similar to what he had prior success on, were also quite a departure from the normal "lead mouthpiece."
Thanks Lynn for a great ride!
LynnFlex Mouthpiece Development - Lynn
I first met KO briefly many years ago when he was working with Bob Reeves. Years later, we met again through a mutual friend. This time, though, we had a chance to talk trumpet, and it became apparent that KO was very knowledgeable on the subject. We discussed horns and mouthpieces, and KO mentioned that he made a special version of Maynard's tiny v-cup from the 50s similar to what I was already playing. KO made a couple of these for me, and I found them to be excellent, with a better balanced sound than what I was currently playing.
For years, I've been discussing the perfect mouthpiece with my dear friend/student Dave Kness. Said piece would have the rim of Maynard's v-cup from the 50s and a shallow version of Chase's cup from the 70s. It would provide a little more room for the chops than Maynard's tiny v-cup, but play in a similar way. More players would be able to play it as their primary piece, but it would also sound very much like the v-cup. It would be the best of both worlds. Coincidentally, around the time of this second meeting with KO, Dave had this much-discussed piece custom made. It turned out to be the loudest piece I had ever played, and that's saying a lot, but it still wasn't perfect. One thing led to another, and pretty soon KO and I were developing an advanced version of this custom piece, soon to be called the Lynn Flex.
Working with KO is a pleasure. He watches and listens carefully to the way I play, and modifies the piece accordingly. He does not function from a place of ego/voodoo, but instead from a good balance of science and intuition. He is eager to try new iterations that incorporate new ideas, even if said ideas are not conventional. We have both learned a lot, and many times, thanks to open minds, our conclusions are different or even opposed to what was originally thought. As a consequence, the Lynn Flex has evolved quickly/effectively as the loudest, best sounding, and easiest mouthpiece I've ever played.
Briefly, the Lynn Flex is the same short length as my original Maynard v-cup from the 50s. KO has come up with an explosive C4 back bore that is absolutely amazing! In my opinion, this is the fast spreading back bore that Maynard always wanted. Wish he was here to try it. It is very open and perfect for high notes. The Lynn Flex gets a brilliant sound, while having substantial under tones. If you are a relaxed player, it soars easily with very little effort, taking your air efficiently, while providing unlimited range/endurance potential. What more can I say? The Lynn Flex is an extraordinary piece for commercial players interested in achieving the highest levels of performance, and KO has done a wonderful job of making it a reality...