Phat Boy Update 2011

Phat Boy 2011An early issue that was noted by the testers was the hand position. This was remedied on later production models by introducing a slight bend to the end of the leadpipe as it enters the valve block. This has made a big difference to holding the horn and made it much more comfortable to play for long periods. It also had the added benefit of lowering the hands in relation to the lips. Why is this worthy of a mention? Because on a conventionally laid out flugel the hands are held very high, which in turn makes the arms get tired quite quickly and you find yourself trying to look ‘over’ the top of the instrument. The redesign to the leadpipe area on the Phat Boy largely corrects this. The other plus point is it keeps the bell facing forward towards the audience (or microphone) and not facing downward toward the floor as many regular flugelhorns end up!

A more recent (from 2011) improvement is a redesign to the valve block. Now it’s slightly narrower with the valves closer together than before, making it more comfortable to hold. Little thing maybe, but significant when you have to play for periods of time. The biggest change is on the inside. The bore size through the valve section has now been increased a little. This makes for a gentler transition from the leadpipe size to the bell branch opening. This makes for smoother, even easier blow and as a bonus, the intonation has also improved a bit as well. This can’t be a bad thing for a flugelhorn that was already regarded as one of the best in this field anyway! And finally, the third valve slide trigger assembly now has Uniball fittings. A welcome addition I think.

The fabulous all new Taylor ‘Phat Boy’ Flugel. New Phatter bell taper. New sublime sexy shape. Heavy gauge all copper bell and branch. In all this adds up to an extremely sensuous sounding horn.

You don’t have to believe the sales pitch. Let the reviews speak for themselves. Two examples were used for test reviews to ‘Brass Herald’ magazine. These are the full reviews (not the abridged versions that were published). Read these and see if you are ready for the Taylor ‘Phat Boy’ Flugelhorn.’

Darren English
Darren English playing his Taylor Phat Boy flugelhorn

Phatboy Flugel
Custom Phat Boy - Click to Enlarge
Phatboy Flugel Phatboy Flugel Phatboy Flugel
Phat Boy Flugel:
You can click on the two left hand pictures and the bottom right one to get an enlarged view of each picture.

Taylor ‘Phat Boy’ Review
by Davie Howes.

Not so long ago I was earning a living playing my trumpet in the four corners of the world, but never with Maynard (trumpet joke!) These days I support the family working as a professional arranger, but the trumpet/flugel remains my first love. I was delighted to be asked to try out the latest offering from Taylor Trumpets.

My first impression of the ‘Phat Boy’ on taking it out of the bag was, what a sexy looking horn. Even the wife said ‘that’s really pretty’. My regular Flugel is a Yamaha, bit old and beat up, so this was going to be an interesting comparison. I used the mouthpiece supplied with it as I guess this was intended to be a match.

Custom Phat Boy - Click to Enlarge

The Phat Boy lives up to its name, it is a ‘Fat’ sounding horn. It’s almost impossible to get this horn ‘not’ to sound like a flugel. It refuses to ever sound like a trumpet at any volume. It’s a totally different feel from my Yamaha. I found I needed to relax a bit more in the bottom register to get the best from it. This is a radical instrument and as expected it took a while to adjust. Once I got the feel for it though I began warming to it. Copper horns do have a slightly woolly response and the Phat Boy is no exception, but the trade off is a distinct richness in the sound quality.

The left hand position is no different from a regular flugel, though I imagine some people might find the right hand position takes a little getting used to. I have long fingers, so to me it was not uncomfortable. I found I had no real problems with the intonation, often a worry with flugel horns. It pays to take the time to get used to any flugel, but I would give this one the thumbs up.

I made some test recordings alongside my Yamaha, same piece, same mic, same flat eq settings. From this it was apparent that the Phat Boy likes the microphone. The tone on a flat/dry setting was great ‘straight out of the bag’. This saves a lot of time in the recording process and must make the live engineers job so much easier.

Taylor Instruments are expensive but they are hand made and of exceptional build quality, great valves and they are certainly good looking horns. Only someone ready to shell out this amount of cash can decide if its really worth the money. If I didn’t have to feed the kids I would give it serious consideration. Joking aside, it is a very nice piece of kit. And I did sell my soul to buy a Taylor Chicago Trumpet 3 years ago.


Upon opening the package that contained the instrument for review, the first thing that hits you when you see the new Taylor flugel is ‘wow’, what a horny looking horn!'

The bright orange bell section sparkling, then wrapping the bell section into a golden mat like orange, with a beautifully unique curved bow. The flugel oozes quality in both looks and build. You realise from the minute you pick it up that you are holding a piece of top quality engineering.

To me the real test is what is produced when blown. If you see my own horns then you would realise that I don’t go for the pretty shinny finish. Blowing on an equivalent to a 1 1/2c flugel mouthpiece and just focusing on a few long notes, the immediate sound quality of the instrument comes across. Every note seems in tune to my ears, no real adjustment in blowing needed to produce low ‘D’ or liping in on middle ‘D&E’ notes. The 3rd valve trigger is largely unemployed.

The notes seem to centre easily and the horn blows freely. It really gives you the confidence of striking a beautiful clean, centred note each time. Still in your mind is the feeling you are holding something a bit unique and special. The different shape of this flugel gives a slightly unfamiliar feel to that of a conventional flugel. The weight seems about average, (no problem for those of you who have a problem with the weight of Taylor’s heavyweight trumpets). The fast, precise stainless steel valves move beautifully and confidently as you glide up a down the instrument. You are not only aware of the ease of blowing, but also the warm, mat like sound that you are producing.

The horn speaks magnificently. The warmth and fat richness in the sound is very noticeable, (to me how a flugel should sound), and at low volume produces an essence of air in the velvet sound. You always feel that the ‘Phat Boy’ will take whatever you can give it, even when you try and give the sound a real ‘wrasp’, the instrument consumes the air-flow to produce a large, rich fat sound.

For the jazzer the instrument not only offers its sound, it’s slightly different feel is brought into your playing, creating different line blowing and textures. It all feels fresh and you are still aware that you are holding a unique hand built horn.

The only real problem I encountered with the ‘Phat Boy’ was the positioning of the right hand thumb. It cannot wrap around the valve block like on a more conventional instrument due to the shaping of the bell flare. However, after a couple of days with the horn my thumb found its own position and holding it didn’t present a problem.

For me, the Taylor ‘Phat Boy’ gives you a high end flugel horn of quality manufacture, and where it stands out from the crowd is it gives you something personal, something slightly different and unique. If you’re in the hunt for a new flugelhorn give it go. It will stick in your memory for sure!

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