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

New Denis Wick Paxman Mouthpieces Now in Stock!

by Administrator 16. January 2014 16:37

Denis Wick Paxman French Horn mouthpieces

Denis Wick and Paxman have collaborated to produce a set of revolutionary new French horn mouthpieces.

Tim Jones, a friend of Denis Wick, Principal Horn of the London Symphony Orchestra and Director of renowned horn makers Paxman, worked with Denis on the trial of these remarkably different mouthpieces. Initially Tim thought the shape would not work, but was immediately hooked after he tried it!

These new mouthpieces use a radically different outer shape to the well-established internal shapes developed over the years by Denis Wick and Paxman. The result, an unusual outer shaped mouthpiece with the endorsement of Paxman giving great credibility.

The range covers a broad spectrum of sizes from 16.55mm to 18mm stemming from the Denis Wick 5N, 6N, 7N, and Paxman 3B and 4B internal dimensions, whilst also using some traditional cups for the smallest sizes, giving a total of 7 models that will join the similar Heritage range of mouthpieces for trombone, cornet and tenor (alto) horn.

While the look of the mouthpiece is a big departure from the traditional ‘funnel’ shape of other mouthpieces, the internal sizes and rim profiles are completely conventional, giving an immediate, easy response (particularly in the high register), providing smooth legato playing with a really beautiful just-heard overtone structure to the sound.

In a world where to stand out from the crowd is sometimes not easy, we very much feel that the benefits of this design make it worthwhile to dare to be different!

To find out more, or arrange a trial, please contact our brass department, by calling 01823 282386 (option 1), or email

Click here to buy

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New Products

Diamonds in the rough: A stash of second hand brass beauties

by Administrator 4. September 2013 10:49

We have recently acquired a range of professional level brass instruments including some rare and highly sought after models. All in great condition, the collection makes up an interesting assortment. Some models are so
rare that, despite the 50+ years combined experience of some of our staff, they have never been seen before in the store. Of particular note is the still sought after Olds Recording Bb Trumpet with its offset middle valve and 3rd valve trigger. Considered by many to be the top pro model through the 1960s – 80s, it is rare to see a silver plated version in the flesh. Also available is the prestigious Paxman 25L French Horn, the horn of choice for many professional London orchestral players. The instrument which retails new for over £8,000 is fantastic value at £4850. A full list of all the instruments is available in the list below.

Bb Cornets
·         Yamaha Maestro YCR6335 SP LB (CS655281) - £750

Eb Soprano Cornets
·         Besson 926GS Sovereign SP (CS655284) - £600

Bb Trumpets
·         Stomvi Elite 330ML SP (CS655334) - £950
·         Yamaha YTR8310Z lac (CS655329) - £999
·         Bach Strad 180ML37S (CS655271) - £1550
·         Olds Recording SP (1952) (CS655276) - £1650

‘D/Eb’ Trumpets
·         Yamaha TR961 Twin bell (CS655298) - £1750

‘C’ Trumpets
·         Schilke C1L SP Tuning Bell (CS655278) - £1700

Bb/A Piccolo Trumpets
·         Benge Bb/A SP (CS655279) - £800
·         Kanstul 1520 Bb/A/G SP (CS655282) - £1800
·         Schilke P5-4 Butler Geyer Bb/A SP (CS655277) - £2300

·         Courtois 155RV (CS655283) - £1800

French Horn
·         Paxman 25L (CS655261) - £4850

·         King 3B MB (CS655235) - £1250

For further information about any of these or to arrange a time to come and trial these instruments please contact Steve Herbert or Tommy Allen on 01823 282386 (menu option 1).

For further news and to keep up to date with our latest products, news and events why not like us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at 

Lovely weather, fancy a cornet?

by Administrator 6. August 2013 15:38

The John Packer Ltd Brass Department were busy this weekend receiving  various used instruments to add to their growing range of secondhand stock. Amongst them are 5 professional level Bb cornets which are now ready for sale at fantastic prices.

Smith - Watkins K2 Bb cornet in silver plate for £1450 including a flight case. This professional level large bore cornet with 1st and 3rd triggers was handbuilt by the famous Smith - Watkins company near York in the UK. The cornet is in good condition and plays very freely over the entire range, there are a few small dents around the bell area near the valve block which are too small to show up on photographs. The serial number is #709. For further details on this wonderful cornet please quote CS655245

Yamaha Maestro YCR6335S Bb cornet in silver plate for £750 including the original hard case, 3 mutes and a mouthpiece. This is a fine example of the popular large bore Maestro cornet from Yamaha, this instrument is in a very good condition and would suit a player going up through the grades and beyond grade VIII. For more information please quote CS655246

B&S Challenger II Bb pro level cornet with gold brass bell and leapipe, 1st and 3rd triggers in a very good condition. This cornet would suit any good player looking for a professional instrument with a lovely mellow tone. Hard case and mouthpiece included in the sale, asking price £775. Ref CS655250

Besson 927 Sovereign Bb cornet in silver plate for £850 including a hard case. This is the medium large bore professional level Sovereign cornet with 1st and 3rd triggers which is highly sought after. This instrument would suit a player looking for a professional instrument with the famous 'Besson' brand name. There a few small dinks in the bell section and some scratches on the valve block, although these are purely cosmetic and will not affect the playing of such a fine instrument. For further details on this instrument please quote CS655247

Bach Strad 184 Bb silver plated cornet for £750 including a hard case and mouthpiece. This is a professional medium large bore cornet made by Vincent Bach and would suit a player looking for an instrument to take them up through the grades and beyond. There are some areas of pitting and wear to the silver plating where the instrument has been held by previous player. These cornets do not appear very often on the secondhand market so be quick to take advantage of this rare opportunity. Please quote CS655248 for further information.

If you are interested in finding out more about any of the cornets above or any other instrument, please contact us on 01823 282386 (option 1) or email Steve Herbert, Brass manager at

To keep up to date with exciting John Packer news, events and competitions why not like us on Facebook at, follow us on Twitter at or read our blog at  

Garrath Beckwith reviews the JP233 Rath "a real winner of an instrument"

by Administrator 17. June 2013 11:25

"I was absolutely delighted to be asked to write a review for the latest instrument produced by Taunton based music-meisters John Packer Ltd. I have in my educational capacity bought a vast array of the JP instrument range for my students at beginner and more advanced level.

There are many different Bass Trombones on the market today with many different combinations and options available to suit every individual need. In this day and age where there is a tendency to veer towards large equipment and gadgetry it is reassuring to see that a companies like Michael Rath and John Packer create a single Bb/F Bass Trombone set-up that works so effectively – in the JP233RATH Bass Trombone they have created a real winner of an instrument."

Quality of Build:
Craftsmanship is something that we come to expect of the JP instrument range and the JP233RATH does not disappoint! I have bought a variety of instruments from the highly successful collaborations between top British instrument manufacturers and John Packers. My first job was to check all the joints that hold the bell section together as this is sometimes an area for improvement. I was massively impressed as they were all neatly finished with excellent high quality (80:20) lacquer work. The quality of the slide is what we come to expect from a Michael Rath designed product – a smooth action with a quality response. The slide width is perfect for both amateur and professional players – great ergonomics that give a comfortable feel when holding the instrument. The weight of the trombone is well balanced, this is aided by a removable counterweight. The instrument is entirely made of dark yellow brass and the finish is immaculate. Overall: Many student / mid-level Bass Trombones feel light and flimsy the JP233RATH goes against this stigma with a real feel of quality. I consider the build quality of the JP233RATH to be fantastic.

Valve and Wrap:
The JP233RATH has a standard traditional style Bb/F rotor married with the more modern open wrap which allows a free blowing valve section with just the right amount of resistance required in a single valve Bb/F bass trombone. The valve has an adjustable trigger lever which caters perfectly for younger players and the valve itself has a lightening quick reliable mechanism, very similar to the popular Rotax valve offered on Michael Rath professional model Bass Trombones. I spent quite a lot of time working on the lower valve register and the ease of blowing really is quite superb. The traditional style valve gives a focused, even core of sound throughout the entire low register.

The instrument adopts a Michael Rath designed fixed leadpipe that displays terrific flexibility throughout the whole register of the instrument. Flexibilities work smoothly and effectively in each slide position and each and every note slots into place with ease: the high register is effortless as is the low valve and extreme pedal register work very well providing a true sounding instrument with just the right amount of resistance required in the middle and high range.

Quality of Sound:
Personally I think the sound this instrument produces is fantastic: focused and warm with a little bite when required - just as it should be. I played a variety of exercises, solos, studies and excerpts at various dynamic ranges and the sound holds well throughout: the instrument does not burst in the louder extremes and it holds a nice focused sound at the more delicate dynamic levels. The fixed leadpipe allows for clear projection and intonation at different dynamics using a variety of different styles of articulation.

Intonation is a very individual matter with trombones – many different instruments have their individual little ‘quirks’ and playing characteristics. I tested the JP233RATH against two other brands of professional level Bass Trombones I use regularly and the JP233RATH compared favourably in comparison to both of the other market leaders. The balance within a trombone section was also easy to manage and the adjustments of certain partials I would make naturally all worked and the overtones speak clearly with the JP233RATH.

Value for Money:
This Bass Trombone offers fantastic value for money and is an excellent addition to the market for a mid-level / single valve Bass Trombone. The JP233RATH is a serious alternative for the higher level performer who requires a lighter sounding or a single valve Bass Trombone for chamber music. If I had received one of these instruments as my first ever serious Bass Trombone I would have been over the moon!

"I heartily recommend JP233RATH and applaud John Packer and Michael Rath for providing trombonists with yet another excellent trombone in the JP / Rath range of instruments. Roll on the next one!"

- Garrath Beckwith, Bass Trombone, Grimethrope Colliery Band

For more information about Garrath, visit:

A Piccolo Headjoint that Hits New Heights!

by Administrator 18. February 2013 10:14

AS any keen instrumentalist knows the headjoint or mouthpiece of their chosen instrument is key for ease of playing and producing a good tone.

At the John Packer HQ in Taunton, we've been working on a specific piccolo headjoint - an area often sadly overlooked. The JP214 piccolo headjoint is a development of the Schwedler design and finds counterparts in Hammig, Reiner, Pearl and Yamaha etc.

The ‘high wave’ design aids easy articulation and gives great stability at the top of the range even in quieter passages. The ebonite material imbues the sound with a warmth and depth and negates the shrillness found in so many piccolo’s. This has been specifically designed to work well as a financially accessible upgrade for the YPC32 piccolo which it will lift to new performance levels. It can be purchased either with the instrument (at a discount) or as a separate item.


Selling price £199 inc vat

Selling price as an add on to the purchase of a YPC32 £160 inc vat


Click here to buy.

If you would like to try the headjoint on approval, please contact the shop on 01823 282386 (option 1), or email


JP214 Piccolo headjoint

Yamaha Calls Change on Selected Student Instruments

by Administrator 8. March 2012 11:44

YAMAHA have just launched some new models/variations on some of their student lines. This is part of a review of their position in the market place, so some instruments have been discontinued while others have revised specifications. We're all going to have to learn some new model numbers as, for example, old favourites like the 275 saxes and 250 clarinets are now the 280 and 255. Groups affected are all in student/step up areas of trumpets, cornets, clarinets and alto/tenor saxes. We've new models in stock. Keep reading to find out about all the changes.



The Yamaha YTR1335 & 2335 trumpets have been replaced by the YTR2330 trumpet. This instrument features new caps and buttons on the valves, Monel alloy pistons, an adjustable 3rd ring, thumb hook, 3rd slide water key and yellow brass two piece bell. It also comes in a lightweight gig style case.

There now is a YTR3335 trumpet, with many shared features of the 2230, along with a brace and reversed tuning slide. It comes in a lightweight hard case, two carry handles and an external pocket for music.

The YTR4335G has become the YTR4335GII It has a fixed 3rd ring unlike the earlier student models, which helps the tone of the instrument. The case is also upgraded from the 3335 model and includes an additional shoulder strap.



The YCR2330III has a new round shaped leadpipe which makes the instrument much more free-blowing and easier to produce a good sound for students. It also now has an adjustable 3rd ring which wasn't found on the previous incarnation of this model. It is supplied in a standard cornet case.

The 4000 series cornet has also undergone the same treatment as the 2000 series. This model already had monel alloy pistons and as with the 4000 series trumpet, has a fixed ring. The case is also slightly upgraded.

Yamaha's Soprano cornet - the YCR2610S has also been upgraded.



Both the alto and tenor saxophone has changed model numbers from the 275 to the 280. The standard spec on this model includes things like a gold lacquered body and keys, high F#. Changes include a new neck receiver which makes the crook more stable. The low B-C# connection has been mechanically improved which has a positive effect on the tone. The case remains the same as previous.

The 475 models have moved to 480 models in alto and tenor. They feature new octave keys - which are now compatible to take Custom necks - easily upgraded. The engraving on the bell is also new.



One final instrument that has been reviewed is the JP250 - now the YCL255S. Still made from ABS resin there are two major changes. The thumbrest is now bigger and stronger (and still adjustable) and the bell is now lightweight making it easier to hold and play. It also comes with a newly designed case.

Five Good Reasons to Have a JP152 'C' Trumpet

by Administrator 2. February 2012 09:28

A 'C' trumpet is not the standard trumpet that a person would ordinarily begin on. It is more usual to begin on a Bb trumpet, or even cornet (also in Bb). Despite this it can be quite advantageous to own a 'C' and here are five reasons why!:

  1. No transposing! If you're reading music in church it's much easier to play
  2. No need to work out! A 'C' trumpet is lighter than a Bb trumpet - so you can play for even longer!
  3. Be heard! The 'C' trumpet is commonly used in orchestras for its bright sound which cuts through better than a Bb trumpet
  4. Great for teaching! The trumpet is ideal for teachers in classroom situations, so they can play piano, flute, violin etc. parts
  5. They're not expensive! You can own one now at this great sales, JP152 lacquer £267.12 inc. VAT & JP152 silver £279.84 inc. VAT.

Find out more, or buy now by clicking this link!


Four New Saxes Raise The JP Bar

by Administrator 23. January 2012 14:59

JP Rosestone alto saxophone

OVER our years of saxophone production we've seen just how many budding musicians have started on our JP041s who are now happily advancing onto more advanced saxes. We're always looking at ways we can improve our instruments and uncover new musical areas. We like to feel that we are part of a musican's life from the tentative B-A-G, to a much higher level of musicianship. Understanding our players has helped us understand our instruments; what players want from the instruments and - just as importantly - how much they want to spend.

As a woodwind musician, John Packer has taken a personal interest in bringing a new class of instruments into the market. The 2 series offer a level of performance that would normally only be found in 'step up' or middle range instruments, yet still priced to fit into the student market. Despite their modest price, the 2-series instruments have a performace capability which has impressed a number of well known professional players in the UK who now use them in their day to day work at the highest level.

2012 sees four new saxophones onto the scene, each a perfect specimen for the advancing player heading to the upper grades.

The JP243 Soprano saxophone and JP245 Alto saxophone are both all new designs. Specific features include the following:

•    High grade 80:20 brass   
•    Underslung 8ve mechanism           
•    Floating plate design for little finger (LH) cluster   
•    Full ribbed construction               
•    ‘Abalone’ pearls                   
•    Italian leather pads               
•    Blue steel springs               
•    Double spine on B & C               
•    Resonator pads                   
•    Adjustable thumb rest               
•    Adjustable back stops               
•    G#/Bb & F/F# independent adjustment       
•    Lyre box                   
•    Mechanism includes: High F#, Front F, High G (on soprano model only

The JP243 soprano saxophone also features a straight neck.

The glorious new Rosestone saxophones (alto pictured left) are an even higher example of JP manufacturing. The alto (£1495) and tenor saxophone models are designed to slot comfortably into the upper student/semi-professional performance area.

This instrument exhibits a very high standard of workmanship and a matching level of excitement for the player. It looks gorgeous in its gold lacquer finish and is capable of both great power and subtlety. It also has a superb tuning scale. This is a multi-faceted instrument and is ready to support players in whatever musical environment they find themselves

The comprehensive package includes Selmer C* mouthpiece, Rovner (Dark) ligature and essential cleaning materials all in a high quality lightweight case.


All new mouthpiece from Vandoren

by Administrator 11. October 2011 15:21

THE new CL4 and CL5 mouthpieces and M/O ligature are the very latest mouthpieces and ligature set from Vandoren.

The craftsmen at Vandoren have created a revolutionary new clarinet mouthpiece. Completely redesigned inside and out, the MASTERS line produces a perfect balance of richness, stability and projection. Built without compromise, for those who play without compromise, the Masters mouthpiece is a work of art for creating works of art. The new MASTERS mouthpieces feature a specific bore, a new chamber as well as a new exterior design.
Two models have been developed with facings specific to this series: CL4 and CL5.
They are very easy blowing and have exceptional sound and tuning characteristics.

The CL4 is characterized by a very radiant, clear sound and exceptional intonation. It allows precise, easy blowing and flawless articulation.

The CL5 is characterized by a round, full sound, exceptional intonation and perfect homogeneity and projection.

The MASTERS mouthpieces require specific ligatures; they can only be used with series M/O metal ligature or with flexible ligatures, like Leather or Klassik Vandoren ligatures.This new ligature from Vandoren combines the lightweight construction of the Masters ligature with the highly efficient tightening of the OPTIMUM ligature.

These mouthpieces come with the M/O ligature.This new ligature from Vandoren combines the lightweight construction of the Masters ligature with the highly efficient tightening of the OPTIMUM ligature. It is quick and easy to use with the symmetrical tightening with a unique double-track screw mechanism from the Optimum ligature.

The M/O gives you the optimum vibration of the reed and crisp articulation.

Ligature available in:
Black finish
Pewter finish
Silver plated
Gold plated

Until the end of October 2011, you can save 10% when ordering this online with the code: OctP10


Click here for the CL4 mouthpiece

Click here for the CL5 mouthpiece

Rath Trombone Day

by Administrator 11. May 2011 15:46

TO mark the launch of three new Rath products, John Packer Ltd will be hosting a special Rath Trombones open day at the shop in Taunton on June 4th.

Rath Trombones are respected in every conceivable musical genre requiring a trombone. Their new products include Rotax valve sections, bronze leadpipes and Rath alto trombones. This is a wonderful opportunity to see why Rath trombones have become a benchmark across the globe.

John Packer Ltd is very proud to be the only official stockist of Rath trombones in the UK other than Michael Rath himself.

Customers will be welcome to drop in between 10am and 4pm on June 4th to sample the new trombone innovations and try the instruments. Chris Beaumont - from Michael Rath - and our own specialist - Steve Herbert - will be on hand to assist with trials and to answer any questions.

Please tell any friends or pupils that you think may be interested.

For more information, or to make a booking, please contact Steve; or call 01823 282386.