Bell material thickness (gauge)

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Trumpet Dreamer, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. Trumpet Dreamer

    Trumpet Dreamer Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2010
    Jazz Town, USA
    Does anyone have an opinion on the properties of bell thickness, that is lightweight (thin), medium-weight, or heavyweight?

    Does a lightweight bell have better resonance? Does a mid weight or a heavyweight bell sound darker (richer)?

    Are there any advantages to one type vs. another?
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    My opinion is that it is only significant in the context of the total instrument. There is no direct connection between weight and anything. It depends on what the artisan does with it. If I compare Andy Taylors, Jason Harrelsons or Dave Monettes heavy horns, the results are all over the map. There is no common denominator.

    I have often posted that this type of question is like asking if blondes or brunettes make better girlfriends or if a BMI of 18 or 30 makes for better boyfriends. Those that say yes to one or the other normally get what they deserve.
  3. Scatmanblues

    Scatmanblues Pianissimo User

    Jul 19, 2010
    West Texas
    I admire your curiosity, but don't you think its getting a little ridiculous at this point?

    You want a new horn. Good. You want to make sure you get a horn that fits you. Good. You want to identify what variables contribute to that. Good. You do that in only one way -PLAY THE DARN HORNS!

    The problem comes when you keep pushing for some absolute answer to all these questions as if the single biggest determining factor in fit (YOU) doesn't matter. The reality is, as has been said countless times already, that all of these characteristics interact with YOU in a way that is unique. The actual bore size, or bell material, or pitch of the ping alone count for NOTHING in determining how well a horn works FOR YOU. What counts is how the total package of all of those things together interact with your face, your breathing patterns, your habits, and the sound you have in your head.

    If there really was one best answer to all these questions, we'd all be playing the same horns. Definitely at the pro level you'd see widespread uniformity in equipment design if all these variables had one "best" value.

    For an example of that, look at swimming. Every really serious competitor uses the exact same swimsuit because in that case the specific design parameters actually DO contribute to the final product -a faster swim- and there is currently ONE best product to get it.

    Now contrast that to baseball gloves. There are as many design variants in baseball gloves as there are trumpet designs. Why? The effectiveness of any given glove is largely determined by the player, and the differences in glove design are tweaks to best fit each individual style. That said, the differences in performance as a direct result of the glove are pretty small. Give a pro second baseman a quality-made glove and his quality of play will be high. The difference in set-ups may only show itself on a handful of plays a year. Also like trumpets, there are different gloves for different jobs (catcher's mitt, infield glove, outfield glove), so it is worth knowing the purpose of the your equipment when picking a type of design to buy. But differences in pocket design, finger length, leather thickness and source, etc. are minuscule next to the skills of the player putting the glove on. And do you know how baseball players decide which glove is "right" for them? By playing catch with them. There is simply no other way to know...

    It's somewhat counter-intuitive, but I would assert that the more variants there are in any given dimension of a product, the LESS that dimension really matters to how well that thing works.

    All that is a long way to say that trying to trying to pin down in advance or in a definitive way how things like bore size and bell thickness will impact how a horn works FOR YOU in the absence of playing them is a fool's errand. You'll learn the answers to the questions you have in a meaningful way when you stop typing words and start trying horns.


Share This Page