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Morrison Digital Trumpet restoration

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Morrison Digital Trumpet restoration

Postby BJG145 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:29 pm

Some time around 2005, Australian jazz trumpeter James Morrison collaborated with an electronics designer called Steve Marshall on a MIDI controller called the Morrison Digital Trumpet.

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They were discontinued long ago however, and have become very rare. I've been looking out for one for years, and only seen a couple come up for sale, for two or three thousand quid, like this one on Reverb last year.

So I was pretty excited when a random eBay search turned up an affordable one listed under "Jewellery and Watches" last December, The seller didn't initially know anything about it, turning down an offer of £250 but suggesting £350.

While I was making up my mind, he suddenly found himself bombarded with offers and messages from people helpfully telling him how scarce it was ( :madas:) and ramped it up to £500. But we eventually met somewhere in the middle, and I was delighted to finally get my hands on the thing.

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There was one catch, however, which I was aware of, which is that the trumpet plugs into a power/MIDI adapter with a special connector and cable, and these were missing.

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I had no idea how complicated the electronics for it were, or what it did exactly, and the chances of finding one for sale were zero.

I tried contacting James Morrison but no luck there (with 24K fans on Facebook he was probably too busy taking selfies), and I couldn't find any current contact details for Steve. So I joined up with a wind controller forum to ask around, and a helpful Australian owner sent over some photos of the inside.

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I sent these to a synth repair specialist to see if they might be able to make one, but naturally they said they'd need a circuit diagram.

Fortunately, my Australian contact turned out to be an electronics engineer himself, and generously offered to study the thing and draw one up for me...

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The repair specialist felt they could work with this. Result!

But even better, I had an email from Down Under a couple of days ago to say that he'd managed to get in touch with the original designer, who had unearthed a spare circuit board for this adapter in a store cupboard, and it would be duly tested and mailed over. :D

Can't wait to get this thing working...
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Re: Morrison Digital Trumpet restoration

Postby blinddrew » Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:47 pm

Result! :)
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Re: Morrison Digital Trumpet restoration

Postby Folderol » Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:15 pm

Excellent! :bouncy:
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Re: Morrison Digital Trumpet restoration

Postby Agharta » Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:31 pm

Jim would have been proud of you and this isn't the end I imagine?
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Re: Morrison Digital Trumpet restoration

Postby BJG145 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:12 pm

...listening now. ;)
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Re: Morrison Digital Trumpet restoration

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:39 am

There ARE some nice helpful musicians out there in the world - sounds good BJG145! :thumbup:


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Re: Morrison Digital Trumpet restoration

Postby BJG145 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 1:41 pm

...MIDI adapter circuit has now been connected up and tested in Australia - looking good...

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Check out all the buttons on this thing. Gotta love instruments with lots of buttons.

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Re: Morrison Digital Trumpet restoration

Postby BJG145 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 2:34 pm

...just opened a parcel from Australia...and the MDT lives. Happy now. :D

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Re: Morrison Digital Trumpet restoration

Postby Wonks » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:16 pm

Nice! :thumbup:
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Re: Morrison Digital Trumpet restoration

Postby The Elf » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:27 pm

Love these quirky instruments. I have my fingers crossed for you!
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Re: Morrison Digital Trumpet restoration

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:45 pm

That's a great story - I'm glad it worked out!
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Re: Morrison Digital Trumpet restoration

Postby BJG145 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:08 pm

....now hooked up to the VL70m and working nicely...

https://soundcloud.com/qchord/mdt/s-2hKDe

Although it's pressure-sensitive, the pressure is only used for expression (MIDI breath pressure), not to control pitch like the embouchure on a real trumpet. The right-hand valves follow the pattern of half an octave on a trumpet, while the left-hand buttons raise the pitch through half-octaves. It's a bit strange, but it's based on the classic "Steiner EVI" fingering which I'm familiar with from an Akai 4000S, so I'm getting used to it.

(I love it!)
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Re: Morrison Digital Trumpet restoration

Postby Folderol » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:20 pm

Good to see :)
I suppose we won't see you for a while now :lol:
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Re: Morrison Digital Trumpet restoration

Postby blinddrew » Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:51 pm

Nice little riff demo. Is the trumpet producing the sound or is it providing the midi to a vsti?
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