Believe it or Not!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Dale Proctor, Sep 12, 2009.

  1. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    I've been playing a Bach Strad 184G large bore cornet for a number of years now. It's a great little horn, but the top line F has always been extremely sharp. Since it has a trigger on the 1st valve slide, I've just gotten into the habit or throwing it out about a half inch to bring the note down. It happens with any mouthpiece, BTW - various size Bachs, Wick, Stork, etc.

    Well, last Friday, I put an old Mt. Vernon main water key on it, to match the MV water key I had installed on the 3rd valve slide a number of months ago (I bought an old MV cornet leadpipe on eBay about a year ago for parts - that's where I got the two water keys). Now, for the 3rd slide, the tech obviously installed the whole works, but for the main key, I just switched out the lever, copper-colored spring, and brass screw (the modern screw is nickel), and put a black neoprene "cork" on to match the 3rd valve one.

    Anyway, I played it a little to make sure the key wasn't leaking, and I thought, "that F sure sounded more in tune". I played a little more, and then took out the tuner and checked it - the F was practically in tune, just barely sharp on the meter. I've played it in two rehearsals this week and no trigger is needed! What happened???

    I first thought that I had possibly corrected a leak, even though the old key seemed to seal fine with no leaky feel or water drips. The original spring was much stronger than the old MV one I put on, too. To test the theory, I tried playing the F with the water key slightly to fully open; no difference in tuning (little difference in tone, either).

    So, what do y'all think caused it? Mt. Vernon magic? Weaker spring? Brass screw? Different water key? Brain aneurysm? I'm pleasantly surprised, but have no explanation for the change.
     
  2. smcmlln

    smcmlln New Friend

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    My one thought that maybe the brass screw changed the frequency of the horn. more weight to make vibrate, pulling down the pitch
     
  3. azhiba

    azhiba New Friend

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    Well, it can't be a brain aneurysm (-: (-: (-:
     
  4. ChaseFan

    ChaseFan Banned

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    Was the previous cork seal so indented by the sharp edge of the spit valve opening that the old cork actually inserted into the spit valve opening and filled the spit valve chamber,
    whereas the new neoprene seal is so new and hard that it is riding on the top edge of the opening without filling the spit valve chamber?
    If so, then you presently have a slightly larger resonating space inside the spit valve chamber than you used to have.
    Stuff a small amount of something such as gum or rubber into the spit valve chamber and then close the spit valve over it to see if the sharp pitch returns.

    Dean
     
  5. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

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    The attributes of the stuff you added (the water key and its parts) is causing the horn to behave differently and thus, play more in tune.

    I posted a response to a note a few weeks ago talking about a custom horn that Jim Becker at Osmun built for me. One day he called and asked me down to the shop, where we spent three hours moving the braces around on the horn before he soldered them into place. I'm talking about the main braces, but also the little ones squeezed in between the tuning slide and the third valve slide...anyway, I couldn't BELIEVE how much the horn changed in its playing characteristics just by moving one (or more) of these braces. One little piece of brass moved 1/4 of an inch 'in' could totally change the sound of the horn!

    Anyway, I suspect that's what is happening here....

    bigtiny
     
  6. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

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    Well I am going to be a different response from what you have heard. Do you suppose that you have adjusted your playing just enough to bring the F into tune. Maybe after enough time you have ingrained the true pitch in your ear and are producing it from that. Yes, it is true when you change something on the horn you never know what else will change. Instead of questioning it why not accept it since it's more in tune and go on?
     
  7. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    The corks are about the same - just different colors. It has always played the F very sharp, and did it at the brass band rehearsal 2 weeks ago as usual (I play and practice the cornet every week, so I'm really familiar with this instrument). The first scale or two I played after replacing the water key made it obvious that the F was suddenly in tune, something totally unexpected. Now, if I had been trying to make a mod to alter the tuning, some lip/mind games might have happened, but I switched the keys out for looks only.
     
  8. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

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    Just a thought - return to your original set-up - one component at a time - and see if you can identify the point at which things change. You now know how to solve the problem you've had, it might be interesting to solve the why of it too. :dontknow:


    .
     
  9. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    Maybe a good idea, but I'm afraid to mess with it...:lol:
     
  10. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

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    Perhaps so - but where is the sense of scientific endeavour?

    On the other hand, perhaps you're right - the maintenance engineer in me says "if it ain't broke don't fix it" ;-).
     

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