Gizmos & Gadgets - March 2008


From the latest high wonder products to the simplest little bits and bobs and a few that are truly weird and wonderful. 4BR has been out shopping and testing out what's on offer this March.


Code: DWA9050
Price: £70.00 inc VAT

There are now so many treatments out there in the wacky world of alternative medicine that you could be forgiven into thinking that this fantastic little gizmo had been invented by some new age Californian hippy type. But no.

The ‘Vibrass’ is a new device to revive tired and bruised lips. Made in Austria and exclusively distributed in the UK by Denis Wick Products it comes with 2 AA batteries, a pouch and fittings for every type of mouthpiece.

According to its blurb, by massaging the lips using your own mouthpiece, blood flow is increased, the muscles are relaxed, and the recovery period greatly diminished.

According to Wolfgang Vladar, Horn, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra it delivers “A pleasant relaxed sensation both before and after playing - concerts, rehearsals and practice. Also helps to reduce warm-up time.”

As for Jon Sass, tuba player: “In planes, trains, or just waiting backstage it comes in handy when I want to stimulate or massage the chops. It's fun too. Keep it Groovin!”

It’s certainly different and it certainly beats you looking like Red Rum blowing through his bridle on warm down at Aintree racecourse as you try to get some blood flow in your chops after bending your front teeth backwards at the end of a particularly hard band practice.

It will also get you some intriguing looks from certain females too…

A winner all round then.

More Information: 

BrushBach 915 Mouthpiece Brush
Suitable for all Instruments 

Item SKU: 915
Price: £1.25 inc VAT

To misquote that great hymn sung at weddings: “All things green and mouldy, bacteria, dirt and all; All things nasty and infectious, the poor player made them all”

Dirty mouthpieces are not good for trying to make a great sound out of, or for personal hygiene for that matter – so make sure they are regularly cleaned.

This little brush may not give you a pearly smile or even make you a better player, but it will make sure your breath doesn’t stink like a navvy and that you can actually blow a bit of air down your expensive instrument without going as red in the face as an Irish pig farmer.

Regular cleaning tepid slightly soapy water will ensure that whatever has been in your mouth (and it doesn’t bear thinking about at times) won’t become a permanent fixture on the piece of metal you have to stick to your face twice a week at band practice.

If you are still not convinced into getting some then you may become the first player ever to catch e-coli from an old Kosicup cornet mouthpiece.

More Information:  

Fast oilAl Cass Fast 341 Valve Oil   

Item SKU: 341
Price: £4.17 inc VAT

Keeping on the hygiene theme this month – never ever be tempted to stick a valve in your gob in a vain attempt to provide personal lubrication if you are having a few problems with piston stickiness.

Not only will it mean that the valves in question will become as slow moving as a pension queue at your local post office, but it will most probably give you some sort of gastric problem too.

What you need to do is invest in valve oil!

It’s not expensive, it comes in funny colours so that you can’t mistake it for a small bottle of Red Bull energy drink and it actually works wonderfully well too.

A1 Cass Fast has been around donkey’s years now (metaphorically speaking of course – donkeys on Blackpool beach won’t walk faster if they drink the stuff) and it has been lubricating the parts spit and saliva can’t move better than a can of WD40.

Stick it in your case and potential valve problems will be a thing of the past – plus, you will find that you will become very popular in the band room from skinflints who want to cadge some for their instruments.

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BachBach 8311BV Valve Jacket for Trumpet/Cornet - Leather  

Item SKU: 8311BV
Price: £6.32 inc VAT

We all sweat – well perhaps all of us except the Queen, who glows radiantly of course, malingerers on Incapacity Benefit and those teenage boys who deplete the ozone layer by immersing themselves in Linx deodorant.

It is a bit of a problem of course for brass players as the odd sweaty palm caused by anxiety, stress and the thought of playing a part on stage that you haven’t done enough home practice on tends to be as caustic as a Joan Rivers one liner.

After a few years of stressful playing the casing of some peoples instruments have more holes in them than can be found in Tony Blair’s excuses for going to war in Iraq. 

What you and your instrument need is protection – and this where this handy (excuse the pun) little valve jacket from Vincent Bach comes in.

Put it around the valve block and the silver plate on your instrument will remain in pristine order for years to come. Simple, effective and for those with a penchant for that type of thing – with a sensuous feel of real leather close to the skin too.

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CimbassoKalison F Cimbasso
4 pistons front action
5th valve

Now then. If you are looking for something completely different to take up as either a hobby or even as a comedy item for your band’s next entertainment programme then what about one of these beauties?

The Cimbasso is the type of instrument that defies Charles Darwin’s brass band origin of the species mantra. 

This should have gone the same way as the serpent or the ophicleide as a dodo breed, but somehow it has hung on like a South American fruit bat and has become something of living brass player’s curiosity.

It do of course look as if it has been designed by either Heath Robinson or the Soviet Union Tractor Makers Collective, but it nevertheless remains a thing of intriguing beauty – a bit like the duck billed platypus.

Where and when it can be used is up to you, but it is surely one of the 101 things you should try and play before you die…   

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