Leonardo Soto Signature Series
I have had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Leonardo “The Leonard” Soto since 1999. We both studied with Timothy Adams at Carnegie Mellon University while he was Principal Timpanist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Adams studied with Mr. Cloyd Duff.
In 2013 I was starting to experiment with Viennese style flannel mallets on carbon fiber and the QT(Quick Taper) 1.0 shafts were born. I was happy with the results but the Euro style of playing was in neither my nor Leo’s background.
I sent a pair of the QT shafts to Leo while he was principal timpanist with the Charlotte Symphony. He was immediately interested and began using them with cores that are more popular in the US. A few years later in 2015 the QT version 2.0 design emerged after discovering that vibration reducing material could be baked into the carbon fiber layup. This enhanced the design even further and we added a bit more weight to the shafts to help the sticks compete with a modern symphony orchestra.
Leo was named principal timpanist of the Houston Symphony in 2017. At this time my business had reached a point where I could commit to it full-time and I knew I wanted Leo to endorse this line of sticks that we co-created slowly over a period of years.
We’re both super excited to have QT version 3.0 bearing his name and we couldn’t be more proud. The 3.0 shafts feature ringed shafts that enhance the grip. They also utilize the “dark matter” anti-vibration material that softens the feel but allows the stiffness of the carbon fiber to help produce consistent blows to the timpani head.
Below are Leo’s descriptions and suggested use for each mallet model.
LS 3.1. This is an extremely hard leather mallet that and is ideal on the QT shafts. I personally started to use this core to replace wood mallets when composers call for it. I have found that it gives nearly identical attack but produces a much warmer and bigger sound.
LS 3.2. This is a large felt core wrapped with an extremely durable synthetic material. I have used this stick in the Houston Symphony for Prokofiev Symphony number #1 last mvt, Troyte from Elgar’s Enigma Variation, Beethoven Symphony #7 and Mahler Symphony #7. I also have used it in auditions for all types of articulate passages and it has worked really well. It’s not that kind of “in your face” hard sound but it’s very clear and tonal.
LS 3.3 This is a medium small felt core wrapped with American felt soft side out. It can be used as an articulate sound or a round sound depending on how you manipulate your touch. This size core has been traditionally used on shorter wooden shafts. The QT carbon fiber shaft makes it far more versatile and allows the player to manipulate the stick with much more dexterity.
LS 3.4. “The Chilean Sensation”. I am Chilean and the stick is a sensation so, you do the math! This is a general type of stick, it’s a bigger version of the 3.3 which means it has the same character but produces a bigger sound. I have recommended that for some audition situations it is better to stay away from wood core sticks and this is a good replacement of any type of wood core stick. It uses a dense German felt with the soft side out.
LS 3.5 These are medium sized felt cores wrapped with German felt. They are great for passages that have rolls followed by articulated notes such as Strauss’s Death and Transfiguration or even Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony. What makes our version of this stick different is that the liner felt that goes under the German felt is actually sewn around the core and not glued. It does take a lot more work to get this sticks perfect and even, but this is the level of detail that makes Luft Mallets a step...no, several steps above other makers.
LS 3.6 This mallet features a cork and rubber conglomerate(NOT rubberized cork). It can produce a lot of sound! It uses a bigger core but is wrapped tightly so it also provides good articulation. It is a perfect “in between” stick.
LS 3.7 This features a large felt core with lots of German felt and sewn liner felt. This particulate stick is one of the sticks I struggled the most with trying to manipulate on short wood shafts. With this version it makes it so much easier to roll and even play single big notes such as the end of Stravinsky’s Firebird (ballet or suite) or bass pizzicato like sound such as Bartok Concerto for Orchestra. The sewn liner felt makes for a much more pure sound.
LS 3.8 has a large wooden core and is wrapped as a ball stick. Excellent for large single notes, loud and soft, as well as huge decrescendo rolls.
Thank you for your interest and we look forward to seeing these out in the world!