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.

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JP332O RATH Bb/F Trombone review - Nick Hudson

by Administrator 2. July 2015 16:07

Once again a JP Instrument is the recipient of a glowing review, and this time it's the turn of the JP332O Rath open wrap Bb/F Trombone!

Highly-esteemed brass band Trombonist Nick Hudson recently took the JP332O Rath for a thorough test drive and was obviously impressed with what he saw: 

"Over recent years John Packer Musical Instruments have become synonymous with the manufacture of quality, free blowing, cost effective brass instruments, mainly aimed at the beginner/young student market. Our academies here in Abu Dhabi have previously purchased trumpets, french horns, euphoniums, trombones and alto trombones all from the Packer range and have been extremely satisfied with the quality and durability of the full range of instruments.

Over the last three weeks I have been fortunate (due to the assistance of the extremely efficient and knowledgeable staff at John Packer) to get my hands on a new JP332O RATH and give it a good test drive.

I have categorized my thoughts into three sections; technical specs, build quality and the all important playability tests.

Technical Specs

The JP332O RATH is a .547 large bore trombone. It has an 8 1/2 inch bell, closed wrap plug design with a nifty adjustable thumb pull to change the 'throw distance' of the valve. It comes with a Michael Rath designed and manufactured lead pipe which, as I'll mention later, has some considerable effect on the overall response of the instrument. The slide is made of a high grade 80:20 brass which, put simply, works very well indeed. The open wrap F design, valve and adjustable thumb lever ensure a quick and free blowing valve section. The hand grip is reminiscent of the 8H and maybe the newer Yamaha models but in itself provides a comfortable contact point for a well balanced instrument.

These specs obviously mean that JP Instruments have upped their game and are moving into the advanced level student/pro player marketplace.

One of the areas where certain manufacturers try to keep costs low is in the manufacture of the case. Sometimes cases just feel like afterthoughts, thrown together poorly and to a poor standard. Not so with the JP332O RATH. The supplied JPro case is not a hard shell case but provides ample protection for the instrument. If I am perfectly honest the durability of cases provided with earlier student model Packer instruments wasn't the best and, whilst I fully realize the JP332O RATH is aimed at a different marketplace, it is good to see that lessons have been learned and a fine, sturdy, practical case is now provided. It provides room for your usual mouthpiece, cream, metronome, bottle opener and all the gear players carry around, as well as a useful A4 size music folder on the outside. It also comes with sturdy straps for ease of transportation.

One small but effective addition to the case is both the slide and bell section come with 'felt like' drawstring bags. These not only protect the instrument but ensure that any moisture is soaked away from the brass once put back in the case. In addition to this another drawstring bag is included, full of slide cream, tuning slide grease, mist applier and care tips. All this is a huge improvement on previous efforts and reflects the obvious attention to detail that has been put into this instrument.

Build Quality

This is where I have to sing some serious praises. Whilst this instrument is manufactured in China, the quality of finish is exceptional. Yes, we have all had reservations about anything imported from China over the years but it now seems, in this particular case, that any doubts are well and truly unfounded. The soldering, finish and lacquering are all an extremely high standard. After scouring the model forwarded to me I can honestly say that I cannot find fault with any aspect of the manufacturing process. As to the durability of lacquering and soldering? Who knows, but I do wish to reiterate my initial impressions and say this really is first class trombone manufacturing.


Way back when I used to assist on the Yamaha Exhibition stand I used to get incredibly frustrated at players who picked an instrument off the stand, played a few notes, screwed their noses up and left. For me you cannot give an accurate account of an instruments response and tonal qualities without spending some time with it. Over the last three weeks I have played this instrument every day, and for most of each day in my practice, teaching sessions and rehearsals. It is only now that I feel I can give honest, accurate opinions.

The open instrument is extremely free-blowing, the Michael Rath leadpipe assists in ensuring the response, at both ends of an extreme dynamic range, is clear and immediate. The JP332O RATH has secure partials throughout the range with no insecure 'bogey' notes. As with every new instrument you have to get used to certain intonation changes, some more excessive than others with the JP332O RATH.

Throughout the trial period I have used a Bach 5G I have used since I was 13 (!) and I can confidently say that the JP332O RATH sings with a rich, full sound at extreme fortissimos. This is a personal preference, but I like the 'feel' of the instrument ringing/vibrating when it's played, Elkhart Conn players will know what I'm talking about here, and I do get this feeling when the JP332O RATH is played, in tune, throughout the louder dynamic range. The sound is also pure and response immediate at the quieter dynamics.


I have to be honest again here and say that I was somewhat skeptical about the JP332O RATH when it arrived. I knew nothing about the instrument, the cost, the target market and knowing it was manufactured in China I had the usual misconceptions as described above. However, having lived with it for three weeks I can say (and before you say it, I'm not getting a years supply of tuning slide grease for this review!) that I have been completely bowled over by this instrument. And I am saving the most surprising news until last. The current VAT inclusive price is 925 UK. Let me repeat that, 925 UK. We have here an instrument which compares very favorably to todays Conn's and Bach's for a mere fraction of the price. I would have no hesitation using this instrument in any solo engagement, ensemble recital or recording. The collaboration between Mick Rath and John Packer has raised professional trombone manufacture to a new level... at an extremely affordable price. What's not to like?

Nick Hudson"


Find out more about the JP332 O Rath Bb/F Trombone

The all new JP221 Clarinet Receives Glowing Review from Music Teacher Magazine

by Administrator 16. April 2015 14:19


It’s official – The JP221 Bb clarinet is a great student instrument and is quite capable of competing with much more expensive student instruments!

"For readers who are wondering why I can’t offer any negatives, the reason is that there aren’t really any." Music Teacher Review – April 2015.

Christopher Walkers, Head of Qualifications (Music) at Trinity College London, who reviewed the clarinet, goes on to mention:

  • Good tone
  • Good tuning
  • Good build quality
  • Good package
  • Good looks

Here's the full review: 

"Buying a student clarinet has changed a lot over the last couple of decades. Once it was a familiar choice between Buffet, Yamaha, Jupiter and a handful others, but recent years have seen an influx of mass-produced instruments from China. The first of these were no match for the established models, relying solely on the fact that they were shockingly cheap. However, as the years passed, manufacturers slowly started producing instruments that could give the leading brands a run for their money. 

I have no idea whether the JP221 is manufactured in China, but it fits this general storyline nevertheless. A few years ago I reviewed an early version of the JP221 for MT; it was cheap and promising but also somewhat flawed. Now, Taunton-based wind and brass specialist John Packer Ltd have worked carefully with their manufacturer (who I would guess is based in China) to develop a new version of the JP221 – not really recognisable as related to the earlier model, and much improved for it. 

Anyone who has been handling student clarinets for more than a few years will tell you that production values in this category have generally gone up, and the JP221 is no exception. This instrument gives an impression of quality, from the smart black case with detachable rucksack straps to the smooth wood-effect body and shiny silver-plated keys. Additionally, the design of the JP221 gives a pleasing feeling of individuality – not bad at this price point. 

To play, the JP221 lives up to its exterior. The instrument I was sent had been superbly set up and was convincingly airtight – not always a given with student clarinets. The intonation was secure and the tone was full and even, giving little suggestion that this is plastic clarinet. The mouthpiece supplied was ample for the job, and the instrument also responded well with my own mouthpiece. 

For readers who are wondering why I can’t offer any negatives, the reason is that there aren’t really any. For nearly £100 less than the market-leading Buffet B12, this instrument should definitely be among those you try before you buy."

Find out more about the JP221 Clarinet

Buy the JP221 with a Vandoren M30 mouthpiece for only £388.99

New John Packer Bass range receives high praise

by Administrator 10. December 2013 14:10


FROM £699.60 (JP077) TO £4,490.60 (JP378)

Wilfred Driscoll recently
came down to review our own ‘JP’ range of basses, instruments that cater for the complete beginner right through to the professional player and are competitively priced compared to the established makes.

Student Instruments:
Wilfred started with our entry-level instruments, the JP077 mark II Eb and the JP078 Bb bass and said:

These instruments have three valves, and have the tuning slide in the leadpipe for ease of use. Both instruments feel solidly built with plenty of protection to avoid dents in the vital areas and a good thickness of brass. The sound they produced was a lot bigger than you would expect from an instrument of their size and they were very easy to play in all ranges. They are well designed for smaller players, with the distances between the hand-hold and the valves close enough for small hands, and, while they are well built, they are light enough for children to handle, making them a good choice for schools and music services. They come with a mouthpiece that is a little bigger than the average beginner mouthpiece. I think this is a great idea as it opens out the sound and makes the lower range better, as well as keeping the number of mouthpiece changes necessary as the player progresses to a minimum. The B
b instrument has a cunningly designed third valve slide that loops back on itself to protect the slide from any accidental damage. They both come in a semi-hard case – providing lightness and protection – while the wheels and storage pockets are very handy too.”

Wilfred then moved on to the JP277 intermediate EEb Bass continuing to compliment the range saying:

“This full-sized four-valve instrument with 19 inch bell comes with the compensating system – extra slides that make the low notes in tune – allowing the full chromatic scale to be achieved in the pedal register. Pedal notes are achieved with ease and without having to force the air through the instrument with all the valves down. This instrument has a low-level leadpipe allowing not-so-tall players to reach it without having to stretch up to it. I liked the ease of access to the third-valve compensating slide around the back of the instrument. In a neat design, two knobs on the side of the slide allow better grip – a great idea, as this slide often gets stuck from lack of use. All these instruments have brass valve guides, which are more durable than their plastic counterparts.”

The Professional Series:
John Packer Ltd has teamed up with Paul Riggett of Sterling Musical Instruments, one of the leading British makers, to come up with its professional instruments. The JP377 Sterling EEb has the higher style leadpipe that Wilfred found more comfortable, due to the fact that it is curved around the bell a little more, meaning that you don’t have to hold the instrument so ‘straight on’. Wilfred went on to compliment the JP377 Sterling saying:

“The sound is big and round while still retaining control over clarity and articulation, especially in the higher register. The instrument felt at home in both the lighter and heavier orchestral repertoire and is an excellent all-rounder. Packer’s most recent addition to their range is the JP378 BB
b bass. I was astonished by how good this instrument is! The British brass band style BBb bass has always been an unwieldy beast: every instrument seems to have different characteristics, it is usually very hard work to achieve a good round sound, and, personally, I feel very tired after playing one even for a short time. This instrument is totally different. All the handholds are in just the right place, the fourth valve is within easy reach, as is as the leadpipe, and there are no worries about it falling off the chair. I felt that I could play this instrument all day. It produces a fantastic sound with a good solid core and it is in tune all the way up the scale. It is very clear to see that the John Packer makers, along with Paul Riggett of Sterling musical instruments, have spent a great deal of time dealing with the traditional problems of these instruments and have come up with fantastic solutions. Anyone looking to buy a bass should take a serious look at this range as the quality and price are very hard to beat.”

For further information on any of the JP bass range or to request an instrument on approval, please contact Steve Herbert, Brass Manager on 01823 282386 (menu option 1) or email

This review was first published in the December 2013 edition of Music Teacher Magazine.


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Ewan Easton put the JP tuba range through its paces.

by Administrator 1. August 2013 12:33

Grenville Moore from John Packer Ltd recently met up with Ewan Easton from the Halle to review the John Packer range of tubas.

Ewan’s review started with the JP077 mini Eb Tuba which is John Packer’s entry level  instrument and designed with the young player in mind. Ewan commented that “the instrument feels solid and should last, having said that it is not too heavy.” With a list price of £583 (ex VAT)  the JP077 represents a “Superb introduction to the Tuba family and fantastic value for money.” Ewan commented that the instrument was also pleasingly responsive at the extremes of dynamic range.

Having moved on to the JP078 mini Bb Tuba, within seconds Ewan commented on the excellent playing response. He described the intonation as “very effective for an entry level tuba.”  and singled out for particular praise the valves. He liked the curved design which makes such a difference to small hands and described the action as “light and responsive.” “Everything works well on this instrument. The valves are precise, the slides fit well, there is excellent protection for vulnerable areas of pipework and the instrument is robust without being heavy.” Ewan also described the case as being  “the sort that a young person would find cool.”  “I am really impressed with this instrument and the value for money is outstanding.” The JP078 is available for £784 (Ex Vat)

Next on the list was the JP277 EEb, the first level of full sized compensating instruments. “This is a staggering tuba for the money (£1961 Ex vat). The full orchestral range is easily available on this instrument and the timbre throughout all ranges matches very well.”  This was the updated JP277 and Ewan was full of praise for the new developments. The right hand position is now much better with a much smaller reach, the new valves are efficient and much quieter in operation. “I thought the finish was good on the older model but this is beautiful.” Ewan's final comment; “This tuba will see any player to grade VIII. I would have loved to have one as a student.”

The greatest praise of the day was reserved for the JP377 Sterling EEb. “99% of players could not out perform this instrument.” Ewan praised the build quality, high quality valves with a good hand position, the responsiveness, and the pedal range. “Everything works on this instrument. It has a full range with a singing quality. The notes are easy to centre, it’s easy to play. The effective compensating system aids excellent tuning.” Grenville added that “listening to Ewan take the instrument through many of his favourite orchestral passages was a rare pleasure.” “There was a double thrill of having a private recital coupled with the fact that he was playing on an instrument that your company had produced and of which you were very proud.” Ewan was flabbergasted to hear the price. “£3392 ex vat, is incredible value.”

That left us with only the JP378 Sterling BBb. “Rolls-Royce valves” was the immediate comment.  “This will take one hell of a player to find its limits.” Ewan’s house seemed to rattle as he took the instrument through its paces, finding extremes of range at the bottom. “What a sound!” “This instrument also looks wonderful. The finish is excellent and it appears very robust. The well-fitting slides suggest good engineering. The value for money is simply unbeatable.”

All of the tubas mentioned above are available from the John Packer website at For more specialist queries or to try one out today call the John Packer Ltd team on 01823 282386 or email them 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 triumph of engineering!" the JP374 Sterling gets reviewed

by Administrator 7. June 2013 13:53

JP374 Sterling Euphonium reviewed
by Mike Howley, Solo Euphonium with the Desford Colliery Band, formerly Solo Euphonium with Brighouse & Rastrick and Yorkshire Building Society (YBS)

Staff at John Packer Ltd recently caught up with Mike Howley of the Desford Colliery Band who had been trying out their JP374 Sterling, a collaboration between brass design luminary Paul Riggett (formerly of Boosey & Hawkes) and themselves.

On discussing the instrument with Grenville Moore, Mike had the following to say about his experiences playing the JP374 Sterling.

“A triumph of engineering! How can such quality be so affordable? I have been using the euphonium as a soloist and in brass band and it is at home in both environments. The tone is true at the extremes of pitch and throughout the dynamic range.

The Euphonium is all about sound. With the JP Sterling Euphonium I can create the very personal sound which is in my heart, in my soul.

That's simply not possible on many of the much more expensive brands.”

The JP374 Sterling is available now from £1908 from

If you are interested in finding out more about our JP374 Sterling Euphonium, please visit our website or email Steve, our brass manager at

For further news and to keep up to date with John Packer why not like them on Facebook at or follow them on twitter at

‘The new JP/Rath trombones: ‘unsurpassed value for money’ says RAF reviewer

by Administrator 18. February 2013 12:52

It’s not often you get more than you bargained for.

Jonathan Pippen (solo trombonist – RAF Central Band) reviews the JP231Rath Bb trombone and the JP332Rath Bb/F trombone and discovers that you can get quality performance without the quality price tag. These instruments are ideal for aspiring players from student to semi pro and beyond. Their price means that they are accessible whether the player is a student in education or a player in a training band. Each one carries the indelible fingerprint of the effort that Michael Rath has put into this collaboration.

The article below is reproduced by kind courtesy of Brass Band World monthly magazine.

‘The new JP/Rath trombones: ‘unsurpassed value for money’

Brass Band World magazine gave trombonist, Jonathan Pippen, the JP332 and 231 Rath trombones to road-test and he was bowled over by the unrivalled quality to price ratio.
"These new offerings from John Packer, designed by British trombone guru, Michael Rath, promise much in the way of quality to price ratio. It's been my task over the last week or so to put the trombones through their paces, to provide you with an impartial review of their performance.

For your perspective, these are student trombones, but with a build and playing quality intended to take you further into your playing career than an instrument from another manufacturer perhaps would.
Both instruments are presented in a hard case with cloth cover incorporating handle and shoulder straps. The bustle of the school bus won’t be a worry here and the case is sturdy enough to place in any aircraft hold. The only down side is that, for the instruments to fit in these cases, you have to push the main tuning slide in. An oversight on an instrument marketed towards young players, but one that is easily remedied.

The JP231 Rath is a .525" medium large bore trombone, which is exactly the sort of instrument most players will start on and most teachers will recommend. The first impression when taking it out of the case is that the slide feels substantial. Heavy even. This trombone is a straight Bb model with 8-inch bell. It has a warm sound, more akin to a large bore instrument, but production feels easy. It’s well balanced and comfortable to hold and, like the slide, the bell section also feels weighty and the metal of the bell is pretty thick. The intonation is sound and the positions fall where ‘A Tune a Day’ says they should. No problems to report here.

It's worth stating here that the slide action is one of the finest I've ever felt on an instrument straight out of the packet and, with a little lubrication, is at least as good as I'm used to on my professional instrument. The slide action on the .547" bore JP332 Rath is exactly the same, so no fluke there. The slides are simply superb.

The 300 series instruments offer the option of an F attachment on either the medium or large bore instruments in the JP Rath range. The trombone I tested is the large bore JP 332, which has a closed wrap F section and standard rotary valve with specialist Rath cap. It’s also supplied with a counterweight on the tuning slide that helps to balance the trombone when the slide is extended past the 8.5-inch bell. As a large bore Bb/F instrument, this trombone finds itself up against stiff competition from all quarters of the industry. It's slap bang in the middle of Conn 88h and Bach 42 territory, and I have to say that even in this company it’s no slouch at all. The playing characteristic is full and mellow, and the heavy bell centres the sound. Production feels easy through the registers; the trigger functions well and has a fast action that helps with production of the low Ds, and Cs. The valve cap, which is a little heavier than a standard one, also helps to centre the notes on the F side.

The smaller of the two instruments (JP231 Rath) would be perfect for a beginner and it would not be out of place in the hands of a professional as a spare or emergency trombone while working in the big band or pop industry. The build quality is far in excess of its £432 price tag, which is one of the most competitive in the business.

The larger instrument raises more questions regarding its place in the world of beginner / intermediate instruments. In honesty, I think the weight and added expense of the F attachment will impede its use as an instrument for a seven-ten-year-old beginner, but its quality of build and playing characteristics are those of an instrument that would cost far over the £826 rrp. For the money, this is without doubt one of the finest instruments on the market.

These trombones succeed in offering a money-quality ratio that, to my knowledge, no other manufacturer has achieved. As a ‘starter instrument’, I would have no hesitation in recommending these trombones and encouraging the use of the straight variety. I would suggest that young or smaller beginners should avoid the Bb/F model simply because of weight, but once secondary school age is reached this ceases to be an issue. The Bb/F trombone will be a useful addition to any music service or school music cupboard because, to all intents and purposes, it will do the job of a professional instrument and, of course, functions as a bass trombone for a youth band or orchestra. These are solid functional trombones and, in my opinion, offer unsurpassed value for money."

JP332Rath trombone


JP245 Continues to Push Boundaries says New Review

by Administrator 1. October 2012 13:39

Our JP245 alto saxophone has just received its second rave review, this time from CASS magazine!

The following review went to press in the Autumn edition of CASS 2012. Review by William Upton

"Saxophones such as John Packer’s middle of the range JP245 alto are pushing the likes of Selmer, Yamaha and Yanigasawa to justify the extra expense at the top end of the market.

From the moment one picks up the JP245 it is clear that it is a quality instrument, banishing the expectation previously endemic among lower budget saxophones of lazily designed key work. The bottom left hand cluster is fluid and light and the palm keys and top F spatula are in the right places for navigating this awkward area of the instrument. The transition from the standard range to the altissimo is smooth and the extended register is a pleasure to play. Indeed, the entire range of the horn is well balanced and, saxophone snobbery aside, should not make you feel out of place in any style of music. The use of blue steel springs, Italian leather pads and metal resonators indicate a high attention to detail. The mother of pearl inlays and tastefully minimal engraving on the bell and upper body add a touch of sophistication. Most importantly, the tuning on these instruments is good, excepting the usual saxophonic minefield at the bottom of the range where they have clearly made an effort to correct the ubiquitous sharp low Bb. The zippered case is compact and light with a large front pocket, a well thought out backpack facility and a shoulder strap.

The availability of reliable information on saxophone construction means that customers are more knowledgeable, demanding more from manufacturers, and the only major element separating this horn from those at the top of the range is malleability of timbre; the sound is thick and rich but lacking in pliancy – not a bad starting point for anyone looking to upgrade their instrument. Perhaps its highest endorsement is that professional players have been happy to take these instruments on tour in preference to submitting their precious Mark VIs to the rigours of the road. Packers have also lent me a Soprano which shows similar qualities and would be a good buy for the discerning player who is not bothered by brand snobbery. With their regular attendance at Trade Fairs and their lovely shop in Somerset this company are certainly committed to the British sax and clarinet scene."

To see a video of the JP245 in action, to read more about it, or purchase, click here!

PHOTO: The JP245 alto saxophone.

JP261D Rath French Horn gets BSO Approval

by Administrator 23. July 2012 14:37

MODESTY is always a laudable virtue, but sometimes it is good to blow your own trumpet. Even better if someone else blows it for you!

Robert Harris

Robert Harris, French horn with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, recently road-tested the JP261D Rath French horn with detachable bell.

We developed the JP261Rath french horn with Michael Rath, and it is an ideal horn in terms of price and performance for anyone heading for the higher grades and a considerable way beyond. It features a fully adjustable F/Bb thumb lever making it suitable for even the smallest hands and it is easily reversible for those who prefer the horn to be in Bb rather than F. It is also available  without a detachable bell, the JP261Rath.

This is what Robert had to say:
"I have great pleasure in recommending the JP261D Rath double F/Bb French horn as a fantastic instrument for the intermediate level horn player (grade 4-7). It is a remarkably free blowing instrument and the example I played had an excellent top register. It has mechanical valves. so no strings to repair, and is robustly manufactured. The detachable bell model comes with a very user friendly backpack case all at an extremely competitive price. Perfect for taking to school or youth orchestra. Definitely worth thinking about if you are looking for a first double horn."

JP261 Rath French HornThis is a great French horn. And you can buy it by clicking here

JP351SW Trumpet Receives Thumbs UP from NYJO and Royal College Prof.

by Administrator 17. January 2012 14:37

We're delighted to have received this review from Mark Armstrong about our JP351SW LT trumpet. Mark is Musical Director at NYJO and Jazz professor at the Royal College of Music. 

"I was recently asked by the chaps at John Packer's if I would review one of their recent introductions to the market - the JP351SWLT trumpet. Having both tried and been impressed by some of their earlier instruments I was keen to see what they had conjured up now. This interest was further enhanced by the fact that this instrument is a movement into new higher market areas for the Packer team and this means that you are battling with tougher opposition. Firstly the model number - 'SW' shows that, once again, Richard Smith (of Smith-Watkins) has been involved both in the overall design and, specifically, the all important lead pipe.  The 'LT' refers to the fact that the bell is very lightweight which, combined with the nickel silver reverse leadpipe, is an interesting combination on a large bore instrument.   

"On first sight I was impressed by the build quality - lovely construction and the slides and valves all moved sweetly and positively. Not only are Packers collaborating with the best designers in the West they are also using western grades of materials and, it seems, the best technology to ensure good construction quality. This instrument is over £1000 less than my own trumpet, but the build quality appeared to be equal.  It's impressive even when you open the case and look at it.  

"That's the cosmetics dealt with, but how does it all combine as a working tool for a musician? I tested this trumpet both at home and 'in the field'. My initial tests made me feel so confident in the instrument’s capability that it has now been heard by many people who have been to see Chicago in the West End. The sound is pleasingly warm and centred even at extreme dynamics and its overall characteristics make it ideal for jazz, big band or showmusic etc. Capable of power or subtlety with equal ease.   

"Frankly, at this price, this instrument is amazing value. Packer's intention in bringing higher quality & performance to the market place at accessible prices has certainly been achieved. I have been happy to use it professionally and will be using it again on Boxing day when I take NYJO to the Today [BBC Radio 4] programme.  This trumpet is without doubt capable of professional performance, but priced to be accessible to players doing the higher ABRSM grade exams. Great combination!"

See this wonderful trumpet by clicking here!

JP351SW LT trumpet