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

Keep Your Lips in Check this Holiday

by Administrator 23. March 2012 09:58

JP159 pocket trumpet

THE summer is fast approaching and the holiday season is just around the corner, your thoughts drift off to those lazy days sat in the sun on the beach, but then a horrible realisation hits you... my cornet is too big to take on holiday how will I keep my lip in?

Do not despair! Us clever clogs at John Packer Ltd have the answer with this specially designed pocket trumpet called a JP159. Essentially it is a Bb trumpet which is wrapped up extremely small measuring only 230mm in length which can be stowed away in your luggage without taking up valuable clothes space.

The JP159 comes in a range of wonderful colours to match your summer outfit: red, blue, green black, silver or lacquer for only £146.28 inc. VAT which includes a mouthpiece and an easy to carry case.

For more information call Steve on 01823 282386 or email

Sold? Buy NOW!


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The Yamaha YTR1335 & 2335 trumpets have been replaced by the YTR2330 trumpet.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.

The Howarth S2 oboe - a brief history!

by Administrator 6. March 2012 14:59

The Howarth S2 oboe was made from 1948 – when T Howarth started manufacturing oboes - up until the mid 1990s. This thumbplate model was extremely popular when the ‘norm’ for oboes was open-hole construction; its decline owing to improvements and general acceptance of the covered hole. These days learners and manufacturers favour the covered hole system – certainly many find it easier to play. Despite this, there is an argument that those who learn on an open hole instrument develop a better hand technique.

There still is a place for this beloved oboe. It was exceptionally well made. The African Blackwood out of which the instruments were made was seasoned for many years before being shaped to very precise design specifications. All the instrument keys were handmade and fitted to the instrument by hand - some oboe keys were even made of solid silver! The instrument was tested and tuned, with final adjustments made by Howarth’s highly skilled craftsmen.

While no longer made, it remains a professional standard oboe. Most importantly it is still capable of producing a traditional English sound.

In recent years professionals have favoured heavier instruments like the S5 model and above. The thicker body produces a darker sound, but it also makes the oboe a bigger instrument to play – quite physically tiring for the amateur player!

Howarth’s oboe construction has inevitably evolved over the years, the S2 has a thinner body than modern oboes, but it presents a manageable and easy blow. So there are many advantages to the S2 in the current market.

Because the new market now favours covered hole you can find yourself an exceptional Howarth S2, for a very good price. It competes well with modern wooden student instruments; it is made to a much higher specification. It is light, durable and as it has less keywork maintenance is simpler and it is easier to play for longer periods.

Howarth S2 on client sale

John Packer Ltd currently has three Howarth S2 oboes available for sale.  All of which have been serviced by our experienced workshop. Please click here to view the double reed department. To arrange a trial, please call 01823 282386 option 1.


This oboe is only £950 and has been fully repadded by our workshop!

West of England Regional Brass Band Championships in Torquay

by Administrator 5. March 2012 13:06

John Packer Ltd will be at the Torquay Riviera International Conference Centre this Saturday & Sunday (March 10&11) with a tradestand at the West Of England Regional Brass Band Championships.

Brass manager Steve will have a selection of new & secondhand instruments for customer to try out plus loads of accessories, along with some very special deals for the weekend.

Steve will also be booking appointments for trombone players to test out the Rath range of pro instruments.

Visit the stand also to purchase tickets for our fabulous Brass Band Workshop on 14th May.

For more details about the brass band workshop in May, or to request specific items to be taken to the weekend’s show, please call steve on 01823 282386 or email