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

I brought my Chicago C trumpet to the guys at Stomvi to look at, since it was a trumpet that I hated. I was ready to sell it and purchase a new one. After having a chat with a few of the guys, they aligned my valves, and now I am happy to say that it is my most favorite trumpet in my bag. The alignment fixed all the errors in the horn that had been haunting me. Now I can relax and make great music!

Sean Gehricke, USA

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

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

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

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

After years of playing the same mouthpiece and trying all kinds of brands I finally found a new mouthpiece that was worth making a change. The Stomvi Flex 4G VR and 5G VR have a focus of sound and ease of playing unmatched by any mouthpiece I have ever tried. The 4G is ideal for playing 2nd trombone in an orchestra. Stomvi's VR cup design makes the low range easy and powerful and provides a clear and responsive high range. Anyone looking for a new trombone mouthpiece must give Stomvi's VR Flex line a try.

Jason Stromquist, Omaha Symphony, 2nd Trombone, Nebraska

I have decided your are not just an artesian who creates horns and mouthpieces, you are a dealer (as in pusher) who services the neurotic/addictive needs of trumpet players. Your cunning plan is to just keep improving everything until all the trumpet players are in the poor house! You will be the only trumpet player left, and hence in high demand. Very clever in deed!

Thanks for the wonderful creation of the S13A VR Flex Mouthpiece. The mouthpiece plays great in the upper and lower range! What a rare thing that is. I am getting the best G ever.

Rob Williams, Lead trumpet - San Luis Valley Big Band, Alamosa, Colorado

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

Over the past two years, I have hosted two trumpet symposiums here at the university where I teach. We were very fortunate to have K.O. here as a clinician and consultant for both of our events. During each of his consultations with students and professionals in attendance he was able to make a tremendous difference from a variety of angles. In every session, the FLEX mouthpieces were by far a better sound than the current mouthpieces played. There was an answer for every issue or question, and in every instance substantial improvements were made. I watched this occur over a dozen times with similar results across the board.

After two consultations for myself, I’ve moved to the FLEX mouthpieces from other celebrated brands simply because they provide consistently better results and offer a greater spectrum of flexibility from a sound and articulation aspect. I am eagerly awaiting a piccolo, cornet and flugel version (fingers crossed)!

Max Matzen, Lubbock, Texas
www.depts.ttu.edu/music/Faculty/MaxMatzen.asp
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

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,

It's absolutely wonderful!! Everything I was hoping for. The brushed lacquer finish is stunning. It looks so cool. I can't believe how in tune this horn is and how easy the air blows through. It plays with little effort. The sound rings out of the large bell at any volume - soft or loud.
The VRII slots so well on every note - like hitting the keys on a piano, the notes are just there! The way it projects with the large bell is amazing, and the sound from behind is astounding compared to my old horn.
The VRII combined with your Flex mouthpiece makes me feel the most confident I have ever felt while playing. Most importantly it makes playing fun, a whole lot of fun!

Mark Morel, USA

Thank you very much for putting your skills and many years of experience
into the development of this Stomvi-USA S3 Bb trumpet!

At first my interest was captured by my dear friend Jim Manley and of course
by the one and only Lynn Nicholson.
Hearing a great trumpet sound is one, but you still need to play this
instrument yourself to find out what it's all about. Luckily for me there's
a Stomvi dealer very close to where I live and they just started to add the
Stomvi-USA horns to their collection. As soon as I found out I took a trip for a test play.
Well… I still remember I couldn't think of any other word than 'incredible!', without exaggerating.
I just couldn't let it go! Unfortunately they only had one in stock so in consultation I agreed to
wait 'just' two more weeks to give fellow trumpet players a chance to play test it too.
Those have been two very long weeks, let me tell you! Anyway as soon as the stock of S3 horns
grew I got to compare them and find the best one for me. It was very nice to see they're build in
very close quality compared to one another! As a matter of fact, I just found out they're sold out already,
awaiting new stock.

With my dad being a classical and principal solo trumpet player, I've played quite some brands
and trumpets the past 30 years. I've played real expensive ones and some of those overweight ones.
Too many to name them and I don't think it's of added value to do so.
Needles to say I was more than surprised to discover this greatly priced Stomvi-USA S3 horn
outperformed them all (based on my personal requirements that is).
To me this was hard evidence that great quality and eye for the smallest details can surpass a
'highly' priced and/or 'fancy' looking horn.

Long story short, here's what comes to my mind while playing the Stomvi S3:
- Extremely versatile horn (from a great warm/velvet sound to an extremely loud shout chorus)
- Ease of playing/slotting the notes (no need to 'work' some notes anymore)
- Balanced feeling of air resistance
- Very well in tune
- High build quality and extreme eye for details! Just pulling the 2nd valve tube and taking a look
inside while pressing that valve makes you smile instantly… no nobs, no sharp edges…
just as smooth as it can get (and should be).
Using your Flex mouthpiece with your coupler system makes the entire picture complete for me.
Just for fun I took my old horn after I played a few difficult licks on my Stomvi S3… well…ah…
I'll stick to my S3... that's for sure! Life's good now! Thanks again and please keep up the great work.

Edo Masseurs, The Netherlands

"I can't say enough thanks for the game changing mouthpiece. It is really
cool getting compliments from the best of the best trumpet players here on
the east coast! Guys that I look up to giving me compliments on my playing
like Greg Gisbert, Glenn Drewes, and of course my main gig, Dave Stahl!
That means a great deal considering the great players they are and all the
legendary artists they have played with over the years. I can not praise
you enough on the Stomvi Flex mouthpiece!"

Freelance Trumpet
Lead Trumpet and Manager for Dave Stahl

Craig Kenney, Dallastown, PA

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 recently attended the Stomvi USA / Brass Spa seminar at the ITG Conference in Harrisburg, PA. I learned more about the trumpet and mouthpiece at this seminar than I had in several years of trying to educate myself. There was more real world information (stuff I can really apply) presented than at any clinic I've ever seen.

Thanks!

Jeff Helgesen, Freelance, Illinois

Now that my "honeymoon phase" is over with my new Flex VR mouthpiece; I thought I would share my thoughts with you regarding it. To be very honest with you; when I first saw your Flex VR mouthpieces at this year's NAMM Show, it certainly was not love at first sight. After using "tone intensifiers" and &ldquo mega" heavy mouthpieces I thought... "These look like boring traditional mouthpieces so I doubt if they could create any magic for me". Well, after a few blows, I was wrong! The sound was perfectly rich without being dull. I validated this by also listening to raw (no effects) recordings of myself in order to better understand the sound from the other side of the bell. I then found that even though it had a nice full color to its core sound and warm tone, I did not have to sacrifice playability and response in the higher register. When I played it (along with many other well known branded mouthpieces) during a blind test with my overly honest Wife, she responded... &ldquo That one makes you sound like a professional! &rdquo On a separate note, your expertise and customer service is truly amazing! I remember after you asked me several questions (while fitting me with one of your mouthpieces) it was the FIRST mouthpiece you recommended that fit me the best and the one I purchased! Even though I played several more of them, I kept coming back to that first one! Your straight forward, patience, and respectful approach with me showed your true commitment to ALL Trumpet players (not just professionals) and your passion for the optimization of the ever elusive "equipment plus player" equation. In closing, I would like to say that I am 100% confident that your great Flex VR mouthpiece has finally ended my (25)+ year "mouthpiece safari." If someone welded it onto the receiver of my horn, I wouldn't be the least concerned! Thank You & Congratulations on designing and manufacturing what I strongly believe is the best mouthpiece I have ever played!

Dan O'Donnell,

The horn just gets better the more I play it, and I have actually increased my practical range a step and a half (this is after learning how to play the horn, I initially didn't find it really gave me much of a range boost). Couldn't be happier with it. I tell anyone who will listen about it.
Again, love the horn. It has changed my life. The compliments I get on a weekly basis from my band mates and audience alike are worth the investment alone!

Joe Vivian,

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

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

The new VRII Bb is an excellent trumpet. I have used it with my commercial mouthpiece for a variety of performances as 1st trumpet for Dionne Warwick, Marilyn McCoo and Broadway programs and it feels and sounds great. In contrast, I've used it for the Prelude to Carmen brass quintet and for the Arutunian Concerto with my "legit" mouthpiece and it fits beautifully in that setting as well. It is wonderfully smooth without feeling "slippery" and the ease of producing the sound is amazing.

Congratulations on making such a great trumpet.

Calvin Price, Principal Trumpet, San Diego Symphony/LA Film Recording Artist, California

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,

My first experience with Stomvi was during a consultation with K.O. Skinsnes regarding valve alignment. It never occurred to me how important alignment was and Mr. Skinsnes explained why my horn was having the trouble that it was. I asked him question after question and he was eager to respond to every single one. After my consultation, I asked him about trying out a few mouthpieces and, yet again, my mind was blown with all of the intricacies of the mouthpiece and how important things like “the gap” are. K.O. set me up with a 3D VR Flex mouthpiece and it has changed every aspect of my playing! My low register speaks and my high notes float. My flexibility is better and the centering of pitch happens much more naturally; not to mention that my tone production has significantly improved. About a month after our original meeting, I asked Mr. Skinsnes if I could send him my Bb trumpet for a valve alignment and luckily he was able to get the job done before ITG! The process between me shipping it off and the shipment back took only two weeks and honestly with the job he did I would have waited 2 years. It’s a completely different horn! My previous tuning problems have completely gone out the window and my slotting is so much easier. I also got my valve pads changed from felt pads to K.O.’s unique valve pads and they are phenomenal! My valve speed is faster and the response all around is phenomenal. Between the mouthpiece and the horn, my personal experience with the folks at Stomvi USA (especially K.O. Skinsnes) was superb! If you want the BEST work done on your horn for an affordable price, there is no better place to go to than the people at Stomvi. I would recommend them to any trumpet player out there. My experience has been great and I look forward to doing more business with K.O. and the folks at Stomvi USA in the future. THANK YOU!

Edsel Rivera-Rios Senior, Music Education, Texas Tech University

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