For Terell Stafford, it was the sound. Particularly, Chuck Mangione’s sunny, eminently hummable 1977 megahit “Feels So Good.” For Claudio Roditi, it was the image—namely, a magazine cover photo of Art Farmer grasping an unfamiliar instrument. But whatever the reason for wanting to play the flugelhorn, there are a few key pieces of advice these masters have for any trumpeter interested in doubling on the horn.
Both agree that, first and foremost, players need to remember that the flugelhorn is not a trumpet, regardless of the similarities. With its wider bore and deeper, conical mouthpiece, it offers less resistance, making it easier to play—in theory. Trumpeters will still find much to get used to. “There is a physical challenge to flugelhorn, but not nearly the physical challenge that trumpet possesses,” says Stafford, the acclaimed trumpeter, flugelhornist and educator whose most recent album is last year’s Lee Morgan tribute Brotherlee Love (Capri). “It requires good technique because it’s easy to blow airballs on it, especially coming from the trumpet. You need to find that sweet spot on the flugelhorn to make it resonate and not overblow it, yet not back off so much that you start missing notes.”