Taps on a real bugle (as per my post on Facebook)

  • You all know that I am active with the Shriners and a Past Master of a Masonic lodge, right? I play 2nd chair trumpet with the "Million Dollar Band" and also cornet (flugelhorn part) with the Sauerkrauts (aka the German band) here in Richmond, VA at the ACCA Shrine Center. During our quarterly business meetings, the band plays a number or two, along with the National Anthem, when the color guard presents the flag. Anyway, during the meeting when the "Grand Poobah's" are all giving their speeches, presentations, etc... I always get called on to play "Taps" during the memorial section of the meeting, which is why I decided to buy a real bugle instead of playing it on trumpet or cornet.

    ---------- My amusing post that I wrote on Facebook on Friday -----------
    I forgot to mention about last night, over at the ACCA Shrine during rehearsal with The Sauerkrauts (aka the Shriners German Band)... John Conover (Tuba) was busy attending a meeting in the other room, so we all setup on the stage for rehearsal. Anyway, to my surprise, John came out to chat with us after the meeting was over, and looked at me and said, "You played 'Taps' this past Tuesday at the main business meeting, right?" I told him, "Yes, and I brought along my real bugle too". Well, to my surprise John said, "Uh... They were talking about you". {Me - surprised look, pointing to myself like, "Who? Me?} John continued, "They said you did an excellent job too. Just so you know, and keep this as a reminder... You are, now, and forever, will be the ACCA Shriners official bugler!" 😀

    Anyway.... Does anyone else think it is more appropriate to play "Taps" on a real bugle, live in person standing at attention, rather than have someone hit the Play button on a CD?

  • @ButchA ,
    Every Veteran deserves a real live Taps ( BAA ) Tom Day.
    I play on both, Kanstul G Bugle & Cornet.

  • When I joined Bugles Across America, I used my Getzen M2003 Field Trumpet, usually with the Bb tuning slide, sometimes with the G slide. Since selling it, I've used a regular valve trumpet instead, usually open, sometimes with the third valve depressed.

    Live Taps beats something like this:

    One of the police departments in my area will consider nothing other than electronic Taps, as they feel that no mistakes can be made by a recording. 👎

  • @J-Jericho said in Taps on a real bugle (as per my post on Facebook):

    When I joined Bugles Across America, I used my Getzen M2003 Field Trumpet, usually with the Bb tuning slide, sometimes with the G slide. Since selling it, I've used a regular valve trumpet instead, usually open, sometimes with the third valve depressed.

    Live Taps beats something like this:

    One of the police departments in my area will consider nothing other than electronic Taps, as they feel that no mistakes can be made by a recording. 👎

    That's disgusting.

  • This is so wrong on so many levels... 😞

  • @Tobylou8 ,
    Nothing sounds as bad as the digital thing.
    Even if the real Bugler makes a little blunder it beats the digital.
    Usually the only person aware of the blunder is the Bugler.
    I can't count the people that have thanked me.

  • Qualified Repair Techs

    The recording in an electronics bugle can make mistakes and does - I’ve heard plenty of Honor Guards complain about them playing scratchy, sound dying away as batteries die, and even playing twice without pressing the button. I also had a few people tell me how wonderful I sounded even though they “knew it was fake” during my time in the Navy, and I had to tell them that I actually just played for real......
    As far as bugle vs trumpet, it’s up to you. Most military bands use trumpets. Most bugles are not built as well as my trumpets, so I feel no need for a bugle. I have gotten hired to play Taps a lot since I retired, and no one ever complains. Play it on the horn you play best on - no one cares as long as you sound beautiful!

  • @flugelgirl

    I’ve never seen a British Military Band use anything other than a bugle, to play The Last Post. I find it harder to play it on a bugle though, so always use my cornet.

  • Trumpet or bugle - it doesn't have to be a "bugle" - by default, if you aren't pushing valves on a trumpet it functions as a bugle, so it's not inherently "better" for it to be a real bugle. However, as long as the person doing the bugling doesn't suck, it's ALWAYS better for it to be a real person rather than the digital bugle. Even if the bugler chips a note along the way, at least you've got a real person there performing rather than someone just holding a button on a device that has been known to malfunction.

  • Qualified Repair Techs

    @Rapier232 Note I said “most”. I am American, but have worked with European, Canadian, and South American Military bands. Out of all those, only a Royal British Marine used a bugle. I’ve seen occasional use by US Army or Marines, but it depends on the unit whether they are supplied by the band or the member was using their own.

  • Regarding the necessity of the real bugler to be qualified to do it, I'd like to recount a funeral I attended once where the real bugling was utterly terrible. The deceased had been a longtime member of a senior Drum & Bugle Corps comprised mostly of older members - guys who in their youths had done well with it, and they just continued on, doing mostly stage shows and exhibitions standing and playing in place.

    The two guys who were to play "Taps" were old drum corps friends of the deceased, and they played their version of "Echo Taps." It was some of the worst, most Godawful playing I think I've heard. It was airy, diffuse, splatted, chanked and splee-ah'd playing with undefined attacks....just terrible.

    To make matters worse, the way they'd decided to play Echo Taps was to have one guy play through the whole thing from one hallway in the building (this was an indoor memorial service) and then the other guy played the whole thing from another hallway.

    I get it that they were trying to honor their friend, but I was slightly offended that I wasn't asked to do it - I was in my first stint as a National Guard bandsman, having recently come off of a 10-year stint as an active duty trumpet player, and the family of the deceased knew this about me. Then again, I don't suppose they knew until the first notes that the rendition of Taps was going to be terrible.

    So in this case, what's worse? Is it worse to have a clean rendition done on an electronic bugle, or is it worse to have it played horribly by a real player? (Or two)

  • Don't be this guy:

  • @J-Jericho
    That's what I'm saying - is it worse to use the electronic bugle (when it's working correctly - one never knows when it's going to crap out) or is it worse to have a rendition like that? Clearly he didn't have the chops to properly play it so he clammed notes repeatedly, which is on top of him playing incorrect rhythms.

  • @trickg,
    I accepted a Mission from BAA a few years ago, it was a Gravesite event.
    I arrived an hour early and passed the time with the Military guys.
    They were relieved that they did not have to use their supplied digital thing.
    When the funeral arrived the director saw I was there and came running
    to tell me that the nephew was going to sound Taps for his uncle.
    Well, I waited under the tree to watch and listen, the nephew was a little guy about maybe 10 yrs. and did a fairly good job of it with just a few glitches
    nobody heard but himself, I couldn't see but I bet there wasn't a dry eye
    His Uncle would have been proud.

  • I've been to a few funerals where Taps was sounded on an electronic bugle. It sounded pretty good to me, but a good live rendition is always better. I have a Kanstul field trumpet (which most people call a bugle) that I use when sounding Taps. It is a well made instrument, much better than those "US Regulation" ones the military and Boy Scouts used back in the day.

  • Instead of creating a new thread about playing "Taps" on my Bugle, I'll continue with this thread that I originally posted about...

    Last week Tuesday over at the ACCA Shriners Center, we had our quarterly business meeting. The band plays the National Anthem, one or two numbers, and then I get called on to play "Taps".

    My buddy Roger (Euphonium) took this (not the best quality / camera phone) photo of me in action. Allow me to explain why I do what I do, as it might look a little odd to some....

    I am standing at attention, cradling my Fez in my left hand.
    I am in the middle of playing "Taps".
    My horn is up sort of like the marching band phrase "bells to the box", so I'm not directly blasting people straight on.
    Lastly and extremely personal, my eyes are closed, as in my opinion, "Taps" is very very moving, and it comes straight from my soul...


  • I personally feel that sounding (not playing) Taps is a tremendous honor, I never quite understood this till about eight or nine years ago. Let me back up a lot and tell you a story. Back in my hometown of Sidney, OH we always had a Memorial Day Parade and the high school band always marched. When we got to the cemetery one of the band members would sound taps and then another standing way off would sound the echo, always very moving. My junior year I was supposed to be the echo, when it came time I could not get a note out of my horn. I was so ashamed and so embarrased as I had performed many solo works since 7th grade. Needless to say I never tried again as I was just too emotional. Fast forward about 45 years and a gentleman we went to church with passed away and his wife and daughtrs asked me to sound Taps for him, I reluctantly said yes ( I play my trumpet a lot in church). I struggled with the idea of doing this till the funeral but I made it thru just fine even though each time I do this I still get a large lump in my throat. I will say that is one of the best things I have ever done. The little town we lived near has an active American Legion Honor Guard to salute veterans at their funerals and everyone without fail has expressed how much it meant to them to have live Taps. It has given great satisfaction to me also as it humbles me to honor their service. I have now done this more times than I care to remember and on numerous occasions people have tried to pay for this but I say no as it is the least I can do.

    Bugle or trumpet doesn't matter if you let your heart do the playing.

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