Not every instrument sounds the same. Take "Tricky"the trumpet from Thomas Inderbinen I bought last year. I waited with great anticipation to receive this beautiful work of art of which their are only two in the world.
This instrument is a brilliant timbral innovation; an enormous bell, not typical of a trumpet, unique and unusual plating and a completely different sonority that I have ever experienced. Four valves, quarter tone...time to practice. It's very humbling. Thomas makes one of a kind instruments: completely experimental in every facet of his methodical thought process...His name for the trumpet is "Tricky".
I find myself, as a composer, seeking instruments that possess a specific timbre; whether it be the snare drums of Ronn Dunnett, the OctaBass Flute from Eva Kingman or the unique trumpets from Inderbinen and Zimbauer.
I hear these instruments played and immediately realize they posses a quality that is not captured in a traditional trumpet, flute or snare drum.
I have begun to write works which specify instruments based on their manufacturers and while I recognize this may be a limitation, in certain ways, I also know that once you hear these instruments as a composer, you can understand the distinctive characteristics that they possess.
It's compelling and has put me on a path to identify those incredible craftsman who can redefine the fundamental characteristics of traditional instruments.