Trumpet Marine-£350

The trumpet marine is a fascinating instrument. The main playing string is bowed close to the nut, whilst at the other end, the string is supported on an unstable bridge, producing a buzzing sound much like the trompette string on a hurdy-gurdy. Different pitches are produced by lightly touching the string, producing harmonics.

The loud, buzzing quality to the sound and the fact that one can only play the notes of the harmonic series explain it’s nominal relationship to the trumpet.

This one came as part of a pair, both with a half length string that can be played as a drone. It has a label inside in beautifully calligraphed blackletter, which seems to read ‘Johnathan Margerison, Salford 1976’.

It is a very finely made instrument, the triangular body made from fine-grained spruce, with the head and soundhole elaborately carved.

There were two hairline cracks to the top, one of which is at the join with another side so is stable on its own, the other, near the bridge, I have reinforced with a cleat inside. There are also ebony strips to indicate the finger positions, one or two of which are missing. I could make some replacements at extra cost if desired.

It didn’t have a bridge when it arrived so I have had great fun experimenting with various designs to produce the desired effect. I seem to have hit on one that works as it is now happily buzzing away. It is currently tuned to G with gut strings, other gauges of strings could be used to produce different pitches however.

No bow or case, I’ve used various violin, cello and viol bows with it and they all work well.

Overall length: 116CM, scale length: 96CM


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