John Packer Blog

Welcome to the John Packer blog. Here we’ll keep you updated on all the latest happenings at John Packer Ltd, all the latest music news, musical instruments and competitions.

Month List

Grade 8 Challenge - Blog No. 2 - A Visit to Denis Wick to Pick the Perfect Mouthpieces

by Administrator 28. February 2013 09:37

As mentioned in my 1st blog, the instruments that I will be using for this event have all been kindly supplied by John Packer Musical Instruments and I am using their top of the range “3 series” brand of John Packer Instruments. Now having experimented and played around with the instruments for a few weeks, I am beginning to realise the difficulties that I will encounter in attempting these Grade 8 exams. The foremost of which being choosing mouthpieces that I believe will provide me with the endurance, intonation and tone required to be successful in my grade 8 examinations.

On the 18th of February, I visited the Denis Wick factory in Poole after being kindly invited by Denis himself [pictured below]. I was welcomed by Brian Miller who gave me the full tour of the factory where it was fascinating to see how components such as the mouthpieces and mutes are actually made and the processes involved. I was also given the opportunity to try out mouthpieces and choose the best ones for the job.

After much testing, playing and annoying the staff that were trying to work at the time in the factory, these are the Denis Wick mouthpieces that I have paired with the John Packer instruments and reasons why I chose them:

Brian Miller

Denis Wick Factory

Trumpet: JP351LT(SW) Classic 1.5C /Ultra 1.5CH Cup depth and diameter felt very comfortable on both mouthpieces. They are different shapes and designs and I could not decide on which provided me with the best tone quality on the day so was kindly allowed to take both.

Tenor Horn: JP372 Sterling Classic 1A A deep and large diameter cup which allowed for a very sweet tone but somehow still felt more comfortable on my higher and lower range than the smaller and shallower mouthpieces I tried.

Trombone: JP332 Rath (Large Bore) Classic 4ABL This mouthpiece and instrument combination just worked so well. Even when compared to the similar 4AL mouthpiece, this one seemed a vast improvement in the power I could put through the instrument and tone that was sounding out.

Euphonium: JP374 Sterling Ultra SM3U A superb and warm tone was achieved in this pairing, perhaps a larger diameter mouthpiece than some might expect, but a personal strength in my playing is upper range and this mouthpiece allowed me to squeeze out even more warmth of sound without compromising range.

Bass Trombone: JP232 Heritage 0AL A powerful, yet controllable and open sound could be achieved through this set up. The mouthpiece is very large but somehow felt comfortable and not the ‘bucket’ feel of other bass trombone mouthpieces that I have played on.

Tuba: JP377 EEb Sterling Heritage 3XL In this combination, I thought I was looking for the impossible in a mouthpiece that would allow me comfortable low range pedals (an area I have found difficult in Tuba playing) whilst maintaining a good mid-range tone and keeping a reasonable upper tuba range. This mouthpiece ticked all of the boxes when used in conjunction with the instrument. I played lower than I have ever played and somehow maintained tone and upper range.

Russell Lock at the Denis Wick factory

If all that was not enough, I also left the factory with a practice mute for the Trumpet and some of Denis Wicks new valve oil, all of which kindly given with no charge in order to aid the fundraising for Cancer Research UK.

You can now donate to the charity directly by visiting my webpage at
You can also donate from your mobile phone by texting: GRAD88 and the amount you wish to donate (e.g £5) to 70070.
100% of the money raised will go to Cancer Research UK. Your support is very much appreciated.

Thank you,
Russell Lock
(Supported by John Packer LTD, Denis Wick Mouthpieces and Trinity College London)

All of the above Mouthpieces are available from John Packer Ltd. Call 01823 282 386 Option 1 to speak to Steve in our Brass Department.

Six Grade 8's in One Day?

by Administrator 1. February 2013 10:24

Charity Event Blog – Getting Started

So I have decided to take 6 Grade 8 exams in one day in order to raise money for Cancer Research UK. The Instruments that I have decided to do this event on are; Trumpet, Tenor Horn, Euphonium, Trombone, Bass Trombone and Tuba. Now whilst I am a first study Trombone player, I have previously never taken a Grade 8 exam before (in fact the last exam I took was my Grade 7 on the Euphonium which I took 9 years ago before I had even begun playing the Trombone). Before this year, I had also never played Tuba, Trumpet or Tenor Horn before. So the challenges I will be facing include learning to adapt my embouchure to play new instruments, refreshing my valve technique and learning 18 pieces of music to a Grade 8 standard in a matter of months (I will play pieces that I have never played before, even on Trombone!!!).

In the Beginning:
In November last year (2012) on a long coach journey home from Cardiff, I’m sat thinking to myself “why have you never done your Trombone Grade 8?” after all I have completed a Music Performance Degree on the Trombone so I’ve needed to play above that standard anyway.
Then I’m thinking about a charity event I did during my degree, a concert where I raised over £500 for charity even though it was just a small, low key event. I wanted to do something bigger, raise more money for charity and advertise to a larger group of people. So in bringing the two thoughts together, I came up with this event.

Bringing it to Life:
Days went by as I thought about how I could actually make this event happen. Many problems came immediately to mind, the largest of which being the overall cost of the event:
·    In order to make this event happen I needed instruments: in fact I needed a Trumpet, Tenor Horn, Euphonium, Bass Trombone and a Tuba which I could not personally afford and that I was not willing to take money from the charity in order to buy as the accumulated cost would be thousands of pounds and I want 100% of money raised to go to the charity. On top of that I would also need to buy mouthpieces that I could use to get the job done.
·    There would also be the cost of all the music that I need. The original music is essential as you can not take an exam with photocopies (copyright) and the cost of 18 pieces of music will again be hundreds of pounds.
·    The actual price of taking Grade 8 exams, though reasonable in order to gain an internationally recognised qualification, adds up to hundreds of pounds when you are taking 6 of them at once.
·    A Pianist or Pianists will be required in order to accompany my pieces. These Pianists need to be very good and will have to give up their time in order to practice/rehearse. Traditionally Piano players like to eat and so they tend to charge a fee for their services.

I quickly realised that this event would be a no go if I had no support for this event from the large companies that are successful and running in these different areas of the industry. So I firstly researched the British based companies that were manufacturing the full range of Brass instruments and also the examining bodies that offer Grade 8 exams on the instruments that I specified. I expected that these would be the most expensive aspects for the event and the two things that could either bolt the event in to action or stop the event dead.

I contacted the examining body Trinity Guildhall first of all. I wanted to find out whether it was even possible to take 6 Grade 8 exams in one day and as to whether there was any possibility of support from the company. They assured me that I was mad but that the event was perfectly possible in theory. They also said that they would like to support the event and are currently working on finding out to what extent they are able to support the event.

Russell Lock with his JP Musical Instruments

I then contacted an instrument manufacturer whose instruments I had encountered whilst teaching, but had researched and found out that they not only produced student level instruments, but they also produced professional quality instruments in collaboration with some of the UK’s top Brass instrument designers. The company was John Packer Musical Instruments and they got back to me inviting me to their store in Somerset on the 5th January 2013 in order to discuss the event and the possibility of endorsing their highest level “3 series” brass instruments.
On the 5th January I travelled to the John Packer store and was stunned at the amount of Brass and wind instruments on display there. The staff were professional and welcoming and we sat talking not only about the instruments, but also about possible marketing strategies for the event for almost an hour and a half. I found the discussion very useful and not only were the company willing to provide me with all of the instruments that I required, they also expressed a keen interest in helping me with the advertising and raising as much money as possible for the Cancer Research UK.
It was at this point that I knew the event would go ahead and I can not thank the entire John Packer Company enough for the time and resources that they have provided for me in order for this event to take place.

Alongside contacting John Packer Musical Instruments, I also contacted a large brass accessory manufacturing company called Denis Wick named after and created by the legendary trombonist of the same name. I contacted them in regards to obtaining the mouthpieces and other accessories that I may require in order for this event to go ahead. I was then contacted by Denis Wick himself who said that the company would be willing to support the event for the charity and invited me to visit their factory in Dorset in order to test mouthpieces to the instruments and decide which mouthpieces would suit me the best and then take those away to use for the event. I will therefore be travelling to the factory on the 18th February 2013 in order to do this. My thanks go out to Denis Wick and those working with him for their time and support.

I am currently in the process of contacting sheet music distributors in order to see if they are able to support the event and will contact the local music college when I have music in order to try to find some Pianists willing to support Cancer Research UK and accompany me in this charity event.

My thanks go out to all of the people and companies that have given both their time and resources in order to support me and this event. Without you this event could not take place. Thank you.

Russell Lock

Supporting the event:
Cancer Research UK have aided me in the advertising for this event and by providing me with a variety of ways in order to fundraise for this event:
You can now donate to the charity directly by visiting my webpage at
You can also donate from your mobile phone by texting: GRAD88 and the amount you wish to donate (e.g £5) to 70070.
100% of the money raised will go to Cancer Research UK.

Christmas Winners 2012 Now Revealed

by Administrator 8. January 2013 12:14

FOLLOWING an abundance of worthy entries we're delighted to announce the winner and runner's up of our 2012 Christmas Giveaway. In December we asked schools and teachers to nominate young music students that were deserving of a new instrument for Christmas. After much debate the list was whittled down to four candidates with the top prize - a JP277 tuba - being awarded to Bradley Robertson in Surrey. Bradley was nominated by his teacher Lewis Gibbs from Sutton Music Service for his commitment to music and local orchestras; occasionally arriving on a scooter with his tuba!

Kieran Davies, a promising young clarinetist from South Wales was awarded a JP221. He has made remarkable progress since beginning in September. His teacher Mrs Rowberry - who has been teaching for more than 20 years - said he had obvious natural talent and would go far.

Runner's up prizes of £75 in music gift vouchers were awarded to Joszef Kereszteny-Lewis from Cheshire who plays clarinet, and flautist Tharneshan Nandakumar from South Croydon.

PHOTO: Bradley Robertson with his JP277 Tuba.

PHOTO: Kieran Davies with his JP221 clarinet alongside his teacher Mrs Rowberry.

Upgrade your JP musical instrument and save up to 20%!

by Administrator 18. April 2012 12:39


What is the JP+ Scheme? 

THE JP+ Scheme allows you to upgrade your JP instrument to a higher spec JP model (within the same musical family) and receive a discount of up to 20%.

Why Upgrade?

SO you've got off the marks and are progressing through the grades - well done! Our JP instruments are designed to support the progress of a player, so by upgrading you'll be allowing yourself to reach new potential.

Who Can Upgrade?

ANY school or individual owner of a JP Musical Instrument can upgrade. They can even keep their old instrument. Proof of purchase is required.

What Saving Can Be Made?

THE JP+ Scheme allows you to upgrade any JP model and save as follows:

10% off a JP 1 Series instrument
15% off a JP 2 Series instrument
20% off a JP 3 Series instrument

If you're at a state school you can still purchase it via the Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme and save the VAT! For more information on the AIPS click here

How Do You Do the JP+?

IT'S easy! Call us on 01823 282386. We'll need to know what instrument you want to upgrade, and details of your current JP instrument. You can then buy your new JP instrument!

Where Can You Do The JP+?

ALL UK retailers of JP Musical Instruments are participating in the scheme.

Terms & Conditions:

Must be same instrument type. You cannot upgrade a flute for a trumpet! Offer only applies to John Packer Musical Instruments. You can keep your own instrument, although you may be able to part exchange it (subject to condition etc.). You must present us with proof of purchase/ownership, including the model and serial number. You can only use your instrument to upgrade once. This scheme cannot be used in conjunction with any other special offer or promotion. We reserve the right to close the offer at any time without notice or obligation.

Speak to one of our sales staff to arrange your upgrade. Call 01823 282386.

Patricola Musical Instruments - a brief history!

by Administrator 28. February 2012 15:24

PATRICOLA began manufacturing woodwind instruments in 1976, founded by experienced makers Franceso, Pietro and Biagino Patricola in Castelnuovo Scrivia, Italy. This village has had a history of instrument manufacture since World War II.

Since their founding, Patricola has forged an excellent reputation worldwide for their quality instruments. The company has expanded and now includes the next generation of Patricolas!The company designs and manufactures all of their instruments. Each is made with the same care and workmanship – with the greatest part of the work done by hand, and wood naturally seasoned for more than ten years. Because of this attention to detail, Patricola instruments are not mass produced and have established a strong cult following.

In our clearance sale we have a CL2 & CL5 clarinets and an Evoluxione oboe. All are professional standard instruments and provide a sizeable saving! If you’d like to know more about them, please click on the links or call the shop on 01823 282386 option 1.


PHOTO: Sara, Francesco, Pietro, Biagino, Salvatore, Angelo, Davide, and Claudio. (Sara and Davide are the only two members not from the Patricola Family).

A sale with a difference...

by Administrator 1. February 2012 14:45

There may be a special deal just for you in our fabulous Spring sale...

We can often beat advertised prices, so if you're after a new instrument, or an accessory, call us on 01823 282386 to speak to a specialist and get our best price.

If you're quick you can even bag a bigger bargain in our clearance department! We've a fantastic selection of ex-display instruments. Never pre-owned, these instruments offer a substantial saving to their new counterparts. And once they're gone - they're gone!


Code Product QTY  Old Price Discount Price  

101832c Yamaha YTR9335NYS  1 £2,987 £2,539 SOLD
e402125 Schilke S32 1 £2,125 £1,699  
102097c Yamaha YTR8335LA 1 £2,074 £1,739 SOLD
100980c Yamaha YTR8335RUK 1 £1,895 £1,610 SOLD
E402166 Schagerl TR610L 1 £650 £499 SOLD

E400893 Schilke P5-4 (no case) 1 £2,326 £1,849 SOLD

102098c Yamaha YFH813G Custom  1 £1,870 £1,499 SOLD

100167c Yamaha Maestro YEP642SUK 1 £4,215 £3,569 SOLD
E400153 Besson Sovereign 967 1 £4,355 £3,699 SOLD

102173c Schagerl Troja Bb/F large bore 1 £1,290 £999 SOLD


100204c Jupiter 593GL 1 £2,266 £1,799  SOLD
100658c Yanagisawa B901 1 £4,470 £3,500 SOLD

100958c Yanagisawa T902 1 £2,940 £2,350  SOLD
102016c SECRET SAX! call for details
1 £2,275 £1,795 SOLD

102057c SECRET SAX! call for details
1 £2,135 £1,695 SOLD
102071c SECRET SAX!call for details
1 £1,486 £1,295  SOLD
102168c T James SR  2 £1,299 £999 SOLD

100387c Yamaha YCL CX 2 £1,503 £1,350 SOLD
100258c Buffet Vintage  1 £2,793 £2,599  SOLD
100260c Buffet Festival 1 £2,793 £2,499 SOLD
100250c Buffet RC 1 £1,965 £1,795 SOLD
101121c Buffet Tosca 1 £3,767 £3,400 SOLD
102128c Yamaha E1  3 £258 £230 SOLD
E400040 Jupiter JCL631 6 £499 RRP £250 SOLD
101419c Patricola CL5 1 £999 £832 REDUCED FURTHER!
101337c Patricola CL2S 1 £999 £832 REDUCED FURTHER!

101459 Patricola S6 Evoluxione 1 £4,825 £2,995 SOLD
101072 Fossati J40TP 1 £2,346 £1,999 SOLD
E400064 Portland OB1 5 £918 £734  
100579c Howarth S45 1 £3,800 £3,295 SOLD

101788 Schreiber 5010 1 £3,500 £2,750 SOLD

101349c Miyazawa PB202REOG 2 £2,750 £1,895 ONE LEFT!
101676c Miyazawa PB102E 1 £2,195 £1,595 SOLD
101677c Miyazawa PB102RE 1 £2,195 £1,675 SOLD
102036c Powell Sonare 1 £650 £599 SOLD
102136c Miyazawa PB602RE 1 £4,325 £3,598 SOLD
102127c Yamaha YFLE1C 6 £390 £359 NOT MANY LEFT!
100634c TJ Privilege 6 £549 £449 SOME SOLD
100627 Mateki 021RE 1 £2,500 £1,995 SOLD
E402077 Pearl PFB30FBE bass flute
1 £2,885 £2,250  SOLD
E401678 Pearl 795RBE Coda 1 £2,822 £2,325  SOLD

100989c Yamaha YPC81R 1 £2,175 £1,849  SOLD



Full PDF of instruments available by clicking this link: CLEARANCE SALE 2012.pdf (136.00 kb)

Along with these instruments there are also some superb discounts on accessories, some up to 35% off the shop price. Discounts are only available on products while they are in stock - so shop now to avoid disappointment!

Brass Maintenance Hints & Tips

by Administrator 26. July 2011 16:09

If you're a bit rusty in the fine art of brass maintenance - never fear! Packer's resident expert on brass cleaning and maintenance - Steve Herbert - will be hosting three workhops on Saturday, July 30th to demonstrate the essential skills.

If you're a beginner, parent of a player, or become a little lackadaisical and need to refresh your memory this is just for you!

Demos take place at 10.30am, 1pm & 3pm. Feel free to bring your own instrument. No appointment necessary!

A repair that sends our repairers round the bend!

by Administrator 4. July 2011 15:11

THE repair shop at Packer's has seen all sorts of instruments over the years that have been through a variety of misdemenours; been sat on, taken into the bath, mauled by animals! Some repairs are a quick fix and others a conundrum that they can't always be solved without stripping the instrument back down and re-building it.

Happily this doesn't form the majority of our working day; however, there are some very common repairs that come in most weeks which can be easily avoided!

Keys on instruments are easily bent. Bends are caused by too much pressure being placed on the keys. This can also cause the regulation of the keys to come out of adjustment - the keys don't shut properly making the instrument harder to play. Repairs like this are easily avoided and can be costly.

Quite simply by making sure that any cork joints on the instrument are adequaltey greased is enough to help prevent this from happening. We sell a variety of cork greases, lipstick style, liquid, and pots. All easily applied and easy to store.

Of course, something this easy also has a flip side - too much grease is a very bad thing and with excessive build up can create a seal between the joints making it difficult to put the instrument together and be a harbourer of dust and grit which you don't want getting into the mechanisms of your finely tuned instrument.

To prevent grease build-up every week use a piece of kitchen roll to remove all grease on the cork joints and then re-apply. Easy Peasy!

Who is the real John Packer Ltd?

by Administrator 3. May 2011 11:33

FOR almost 10 years John Packer Ltd has been busily developing and expanding a JP range of woodwind and brass products. This has been very successful and the range now extends to over 100 different models with more in the pipeline.

Inevitably, all this activity and our pride in what we have been doing has meant that our promotional efforts have become dominated by the JP product brand. It has occurred to us that maybe we have created the impression that things have changed here at John Packer's.

Let us reassure you that (with the exception of our own range) nothing has changed. We still carry a huge breadth of stock from student to professional including all the latest models from a broad range of manufacturers. Even where we have our own products, we still carry all the usual alternatives from other makers because we know that all players are different and you need a real choice!

The latest additions to our stock include: the exciting intermediate range of Schagerl trumpets, the new Neo euphonium and YPC62R piccolo from Yamaha, Fossati oboes, Azumi flutes, Trevor James Signature saxophones, Michael Rath handmade trombones, not to mention an abundance of new accessories; Stock mouthpieces, Aizen saxophone mouthpieces, Voros bassoon reeds and Kernow oboe reeds.

Bottom line? We are everything that we used to be and a little more besides!

That includes: Adler, Altus, Azumi, Besson, Buffet, Bach, Conn Holton, Howarth, James, Jupiter, King, Leblanc, Mateki, Miyazawa, Muramatsu, Patricola, Paxman, Pearl, Powell, Rath, Sankyo, Schagerl, Schreiber, Schilke, Selmer, Smith-Watkins, Stomvi, Yanagisawa, Yamaha and more! All in stock, all ready to try in the shop (or on approval), all can be checked/set up by our workshop, all with the personal specialised service that helped to give us our reputation.

JP Instruments Hit Oxford Street!

by Administrator 24. January 2011 11:02

A LARGE range of JP brass instruments are currently dressing a window of the world famous Selfridge & Co.

The Oxford Street store - voted the best department store in the world and affectionately known as Selfridges - chose JP instruments for their latest art installation. Selfridges is renowned for imaginative window dressing.

More than 50 brass instruments, from trumpets, French horns, trombones and tubas feature in the window. The display demonstrates how with the ever advancing technology, an orchestra can be encompassed in the size of an iPod.

An interesting thought - however, you can't beat live music!

Visitors to the store can see the display until the end of March.

To see more pictures of the display click here