I recently purchased a light weight VRII trumpet and S13A VR flex mouthpiece w/4.5 coupler and am totally shocked by the nearly automatic improvement of every technique. As I'm exploring what the horn/mouthpiece can do, it continues to amaze me with each improvisation. The air flow is incredibly smooth, with a clear beautiful tone, from a delicate ppp to full throttle; THIS HORN IS ALIVE!
Many thanks to Forrest for the top notch consultation/customer service. Never have I enjoyed a horn or mthpce more.

Phil Quidort, Cleveland, Ohio

I am a Band Director in the area, and a now-and-then trumpet player as well, and I have to admit that I've never heard a presentation like that given by K.O. and Jim Manley before. During college, I had the pleasure of studying with both Vincent Cichowicz and Luther Didrickson at Northwestern and, although they were wonderful teachers, I simply was not enough of a player to really take advantage of what they had to say. Subsequent years, plenty of practice, and serious reflection on what they professed have helped.

I'm a "now-and-then player" but, I have tried to incorporate some of what you guys mentioned and have done so with GREAT success. Thanks very much again for your generosity in coming here; and, please accept my most sincere best wishes for continued success in your work.

Joseph H. Ferraro, Chicago, Illinois

My new S13A mouthpiece is fantastic! Very efficient and easy to play, but with great core and a full range of overtones in the sound. The day after I got my mouthpiece I had a rehearsal and the sax player commented how good I sounded. &ldquo New mouthpiece &rdquo I told her! It works very well with my Stomvi Elite Trumpet, a great instrument for any style of playing, from classical to lead.
Frank Abrahamson, freelance
formerly with: Maynard Ferguson
Wayne Newton, Branson MO shows

Wow! I can’t remember when I have actually been excited about a mouthpiece!

Flex mouthpieces are highly efficient, very easy to play with rich overtones, bigger sound, better attacks, great intonation and focus with a fantastic upper register, all with less effort!

If you really want to improve your playing…Flex Mouthpieces will help you get the results you're striving for.

Thanks K.O. for all of your help and especially for making such a great mouthpiece!

All the best,
Scott Wiltfang
Calicchio DT s1s/3M
Calicchio 1s/2rM
Yamaha 6310Z Flugelhorn
Jean Baptiste VT480B Bb Valve Trombone
Flex JM VR mouthpiece

Scott Wiltfang, Freelance, Chicago, Illinois

You helped me pick out a trumpet mouthpiece at ITG. I purchased a Flex 10 1/2F VR Vs with a #5 Flex coupler. I was traveling for about two weeks using my old "road" horn, but I've had just over two weeks to use the mouthpiece with my usual horn, a LeBlanc Arturo Sandoval model. I have to say I just LOVE it. Its general ease of playing, tone quality, and ease in the upper register are unlike any mouthpiece I have used to date.

Thanks so much.

By the way, feel free to use my e-mail. It's the only one like it I've ever written.

Thanks again!

George VanDoren, Freelance, Pennsylvania

The new Flex 1.5C Vs gives me more core and guts to my sound without losing the brilliance I need. I also do not need to open up the throat to get that big sound I want, so it remains very efficient. It is extremely responsive (I also do not feel that I need 'forever' to warm up... It just works really well really quickly). I have gotten a lot of compliments on the tone. The response, control, and intonation all enable me to play more easily. This mouthpiece makes it more intuitive for me to achieve the sound I have in my imagination when I play.

Karl Sievers, DMA Professor, Chair of Brasses, School of Music, University of Oklahoma Principal Trumpet, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Oklahoma

I received my repaired Raptor today and am VERY satisfied! It looks brand new! I appreciate you making things right, and I respect an honest merchant who stands by his company's product.

Marc Koblick, USA

I've owned an S3 for several months. I first played one at a conference and even competing with the 10 other people in the room playing horns, it was amazing. My first impression was how easy it was to play. Over the next couple of months, I played an S3 on a couple different occasions, but always in a "group" setting. Finally I got to play one in a practice room, by myself. I bought it shortly thereafter. All that to say it wasn't a "whimsical" purchase. I am not a pro. I'm an old guy comeback player. I don't trade horns just to buy/try them. This is likely the last horn I will ever buy.

I see hear a lot of phrases in discussions, but I don't know what many of them mean, like bright or focus or core or heavy. I had heard the phrase "it speaks right away" (about many different horns) and never knew what that meant until I played the S3. I now know what it means. It's almost as if the horn plays itself. I think about a note and it's there.

It's the most internally in-tune horn I've ever played, for me. I have not played many (most of my life on a Bach Strad) but I had some "pitch issues" with my previous horn, for which I will take full responsibility. It was a great horn that I just didn't know how to control. I also have a 70's Benge which is a nice horn, but it has some of the normal pitch issues. There are many times with the S3 when I land on a note and there is NO doubt in my mind that I'm in dead centre of the pitch. The rest of the time I'm confident, but at these times there's some feedback I get that is SO amazing and comfortable. And relaxing. That being said, I can bend pitches in the staff a third or fourth down. So it CAN be bent.

I also have a Stomvi flex mouthpiece (I got that first, to play with my previous horn) and the pair is unbeatable. My brother also plays (he's better than I am) and when he heard me on this setup, he said it's the best sound he's ever heard me produce on any trumpet/mpc ever. And he's been listening to me for 45 years.

It's very even to play, all through my range (which isn't double X, but it gets me where I need to be.) And it's EASY. That's another phrase which I probably can't articulate the way others can, but the topline F to C above are easier to play than I've ever experienced. The F feels like a 3rd line Bb. This might be the way everyone else experiences things, and the way it SHOULD have felt on any horn for me, but it hasn't been.

KO has been very helpful in my quest. I heard him give a talk at that first conference, and the science just made sense. So I jumped in with both feet on the mpc and then the S3. But science aside, it sounds good, it's in tune, and it's easy. QED.

Bottom line: I love the S3. Best horn I've ever owned for me. It's definitely worth a look and a play, even if it's not ultimately the horn for you.

David Grace, Chicago, Illinois

It's easy for me to talk about my two V-Raptors because they are simply the best horns I have every played! And that comes from playing for the past 50 years. I have a silver light weight, and a gold heavy weight horn. They are amazing horns, each in their own right. I use the silver horn the most, as I play lead in the San Luis Valley Big Band, in Alamosa, Colorado. Alamosa is a small community with a big band. An unusual situation to say the least. The love of big band jazz is the glue that keeps the band together. For a non-professional band made up of &ldquo jazz addicts &rdquo with day jobs, we are still able to play Basie, Kenton, Herman, and Maynard charts. The lead parts are demanding! The V-Raptor makes it possible for me to play the lead with power and edge. I actually sound better now than I did when I was in my twenties playing in Los Angeles.

Like many players, I have run the gamut with horns. I've played nearly all the major brands. When I tried the V-Raptor about two years ago, I was blown away (pun intended). I had purchased a Yamaha, Bobby Shew model, and was very pleased with it. Then I discovered the V-Raptor and compared the two. Much to my surprise the Raptor was more responsive, more centered, and added about a third of an octave to my range! That was all it took. I bought the two horns and I am telling everybody I know about the horn.

Thanks for making such great horns!

Rob Williams, Colorado
www.psych-k.com

My new S13A mouthpiece is fantastic! Very efficient and easy to play, but with great core and a full range of overtones in the sound. The day after I got my mouthpiece I had a rehearsal and the sax player commented how good I sounded. "New mouthpiece" I told her! It works very well with my Stomvi Elite Trumpet, a great instrument for any style of playing, from classical to lead.

Frank Abrahamson, freelance, formerly with: Maynard Ferguson,
Wayne Newton, Branson MO shows,

When I first tried some of K.O.s prototype Flex mouthpieces I was so knocked out by them I gave him my spare mouthpiece and told him if you can put your VR twist on what I already have, DO IT!
We discussed what I would want. We knew the rim and cup style I needed and he nailed it the first time!
Everyone I have played this mouthpiece for has picked it out in a blind fold test. My custom Flex mouthpiece has more core and vibrancy to the sound, better projection, better intonation, and a more even scale in every register of the horn. I am getting more sound, with less effort!
I have not tinkered with mouthpieces in years. This time I'm glad I did!



Michael Manthey, Freelance, Maynard Ferguson BBN Band, California

WOW! You nailed it on the head with this one. I used it for a recording yesterday and had the most comfortable deal I can ever remember. I'm really looking forward to this next week as I have a lot of recording and a few gigs to play.
Thanks so much for your attention and patience. This has to be the most comfortable well responding piece I've ever had in my life.
This piece rocks!

Jon Trimble, Freelance, Branson, Missouri

I visited the shop with a hope that K.O. could come up with some advice for a more efficient setup for lead trumpet playing. My current setup felt like lots of work.
Long story made short. I came out with a new Stomvi USA Bb Trumpet and matching new mouthpieces with couplers.

I've fallen in love with my Stomvi, outperforming my $4000.00 custom handmade horn. It is beautifully made, build quailty is the best I've seen.
With the Flex 3C and #3 Flex Coupler it is a soft jazz horn. Change it to the super efficient S14A VR with J6 backbore and #4 coupler and I have a killer lead sound for big band and salsa.

The flex mouthpiece cups have a unique design with a very nice sound. The designs have some undercut, this is good for me since I use some lip engagement.
The coupler system helps me add some additional gap which I need to make the most efficient setup.

I now use my Stomvi for everything, and I don't look back.

Thank you K.O.!

Rune Aleksandersen, freelance trumpet player, Norway

My Flex trombone mouthpiece made me feel young again!

Cecil Benjamin, AF band, retired, USA

The V~Raptor is the greatest horn I have played in my life. Where ever I go, it is always turning heads!

Ian Smith, Nantucket, Massachusetts

Hey KO- regarding the 12f vr vs.

I could hear the darker sound qualities on this new one right away even though the rim is as small as it is.

Depending on how I push it, the sound is able to be whatever the job calls for. I used it to play a gentle, full sound for taps at a military ceremony, a compact warm sound for small group jazz, and it nails the lead parts with accuracy and full, powerful tone.

I believe the psychology of being free from the usual compensations, endurance and response limitations is going to cause some to feel like a "fish-out-of-water. "You may need to develop an adjustment procedure/profile on your web site to help people cope with the realization that much of what they were taught about mouthpieces is wrong.

Tim Keleher, Freelance trumpet player, Philadelphia/New Jersey

I have been working with K.O. since 1996. I respect his knowledge and expertise on the art of making trumpet mouthpieces. I have been playing the 3F VR for commercial and 3C VR for legit playing since April and am loving the sound I am getting with these mouthpieces. They add a unique dimension to my sound that other mouthpieces could not produce. Kudos to K.O. and his hard work!

Chris Hammiel, USAF Heartland of America Band

I was up at Thompson Music in NE. I did purchase your Flex mouthpiece. I bought your S14A VR and it is fantastic. He was out of your raptor trumpets a couple weeks ago. I'm just a part time player but really enjoy the mp. Thompson Music was very helpful with your products. I get so much color from this piece, improved articulation, and lastly it is very easy to speak at all dynamics.

Warren Lopicka, Liberty, Missouri

The mouthpieces I have been using for the past few years were custom made by K.O. and they are the best sounding pieces I have ever owned. As for the VRII - it is the best sounding, most in tune, easiest horn I have ever played!
On my gigs, other players are always telling me what great ears I must have to play that in tune - I tell them it's my horn!
I recently finished a new CD. This is the first one I used my VR2 on and the engineer even commented on the rich sound and fullness all over the range of the horn, in addition to the great intonation.
I have never played a trumpet that made my jobs easier than my VR2 does. K.O.'s knowledge of how the trumpet works is an amazing study that has lead to him and several colleagues building what I believe to be the best playing trumpet ever made - my VR2.

Jim Manley, USA
I purchased one of your brushed lacquer VRIIs this summer. My first impression taking it our of the box was that it is a beautiful horn to look at. Then I played it. That first time I couldn't put it down, the sound, the ease of working through the entire horn, I just kept moving from etude to etude wondering what kind of player I might be now if I would have had this horn before! The sound is amazing! I love the depth and color it provides. I have never had the prettiest sound, but the color I can get out of the VRII is dark and thick. My wife heard me that first day and immediately told me I had made the right decision in purchasing it.

I have a jazz quartet and after we played our first song, the guitar player just stared at me and said,"New horn, huh?". The ease of playing it totally opened up a new level of my improvisation. He heard me play things I had never attempted before.

I also love the horn's versatility. You can easily go from playing in a small combo with a beautiful sound, to screaming lead in a show with a sound that rips like a lead player's should. Before I would always have to change horns in order to do that.

My first gig with the horn in the Wind Symphony I play in is coming at the beginning of next month and I can't wait to see what kind of comments I get on it and my playing.

I have always stressed to my students and tried myself to play with what I call "effortlessness". I have always struggled to really achieve it that though. With this VRII however, I am playing better, cleaner and more efficiently that ever before, My goal of playing with real &ldquo effortlessness &rdquo might actually happen!

The horn has really given me a confidence I have not had since I was a kid and didn't know any better. I thank you for building me such a great horn.

Jeff Stevens, Texas

After several weeks of pondering and second guessing on my part, and absolutely no second guessing on K.O.'s part, I finally purchased a mouthpiece. I began using my new S14 immediately and I haven't looked back. I don't even think about trying to do things, or hit notes, or "this is gonna be REALLLLY hard," and now I can concentrate on musicality. At the end of a gig I still feel that way. The phrase "I don't think I've got enough chops left" hasn't crossed my mind since I started using this marvelous feat of engineering. The only way it could be better is if it were free.

Ben Foss, US Navy Band, Japan

When I first tried some of K.O.s prototype Flex mouthpieces I was so knocked out by them I gave him my spare mouthpiece and told him if you can put your VR twist on what I already have, DO IT!

We discussed what I would want. We knew the rim and cup style I needed and he nailed it the first time!

Everyone I have played this mouthpiece for has picked it out in a blind fold test. My custom Flex mouthpiece has more core and vibrancy to the sound, better projection, better intonation, and a more even scale in every register of the horn. I am getting more sound, with less effort!

I have not tinkered with mouthpieces in years. This time I'm glad I did!



Michael Manthey, Freelance, Maynard Ferguson BBN Band, California

I’m finally getting back to you on the piece you sent me. I wanted to take some time to evaluate this piece because, in the past, I’ve had some pieces feel great for a few days and then they don’t seem to work as well as expected. However, that’s not the case with the flex you sent. I could tell there was a bigger core to the sound throughout my range and notes consistently felt more secure in slotting. I had a little problem slotting the high A for a while but with some tongue position adjustment and opening the chops, it’s no longer a problem. I tried the 4, 4.5 and 5 couplers with my Schilke S32 and I think the 5 feels the best with this horn. However, the 4.5 works best on my Jupiter 1600i. In short, I’m very happy with this piece. It appears to me that the cup/throat design features really help connect notes and make for a more efficient mouthpiece and easier playing experience.

Bob Mioduszewski, Bel Air, Maryland

The first day I did an A-B-C comparison between my Bach Strad, the Shew 8310z and Raptor 2, I wasn't convinced that either was better than what I was currently playing (a Bach, playing exclusively commercial, rock, lead). I was able to take the Shew out of the running early due to personal preference. That's until I took the Raptor with me on a few gigs over the weekend. Friday night's gig had me and the sax player I gig with saying &ldquo well, I don't think it's better than your Bach, but keep playing it this weekend before you make up your mind.&ldquo It must have been those 2 days that really flipped the switch for me in how the Raptor needs to be played vs the Bach. Keywords are &ldquo free and easy.&ldquo I took a relaxed approach, and the thing lit up for me. This contrast became more evident as I played on the Raptor more. The Raptor allows me to play relaxed and just blow the horn, while I felt my Bach needed me to push more air and exercise my chops more to get the same results. The Raptor can be pushed and can take air, but it doesn't need it to sound brilliant. By Sunday, after my third gig with the Raptor, and some more comparison playing at the house just to make sure, it was time to convince the wife to get on board with freeing up some funds for the last trumpet purchase I'll ever need to make. I experimented at home with other mouthpieces, and this horn can be colored to fit any gig I need to play. I couldn't be happier with my new horn. I am going to be experimenting with the different slide and valve cap combinations just to see how versatile the horn is over the coming days.

KO and his team have done a fantastic job putting this horn together. I am not a professional by any means, but I do play a lot, and I am grateful that this horn exists and that I am proud owner.

Thanks to KO, and also to Mike Thompson and Jim Manley for answering any question I had about the horn during the decision process.

Joe Vivian,
www.hillbillyhorns.com, www.theaccentsband.com, www.facebook.com/TommyVandtheWorks

As you know, I have a Conn Vintage One. The caps, when matched to the correct valve (which you did for me), dramatically increased the roundness and overtones throughout the entire lower, middle, and upper registers. This gave the horn a much bigger and better sound, especially for my purposes of playing in church. The caps were especially helpful in allowing me to have a consistent and large sound in the middle register, creating what I call the “orchestral” sound. By that I mean a fuller, darker, and deeper sound than one would utilize for playing non‑orchestral music. Range is not my goal, but I did notice that as I approached somewhat higher notes, E and F above High C for example, it seemed as if I got less back-up in my throat and that it was easier to use a smaller amount of air to create a better sound. This is really all the range I want or need and it allows me to play up to those notes with a similar sound as G on the staff, which is what the church groups that I play with want.

Dale Bode,

To all aspiring Gabriels the Holy Grail is the ultimate mouthpiece--and each "new" iteration commands attention--As a third chair concert band player(disclosure) I had found the "perfect" rim(for me) in the Parduba James model but the large bite forced me to underplay for blending--The new Stomvi Flex design skillfully married to the Parduba rim is the long sought "Pearl of Great Price" that lets me blow away with a more centered pitch; and a great resonant and harmonious sound, with less air--Eureka!

Luther True, Rockwood, Tennessee