Finding the Gap

Discussion in 'Trumpet Repair and Modification' started by dylan1, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, you are missing something.

    Just about all of the "major" differences between trumpets are in the 1/100 to 1/1000 region. Bore size .458 is considered "medium large", .462 is large. A 7C Bach mouthpiece has an internal rim diameter of .652, a 1.5C is .660.

    If you take a look at the link that I mentioned, you see how even a bit of sloppy silver plate can make a difference.

    Everything makes a difference, very few know the real reasons and most just tend to believe myths. The biggest and most common issue in the horn is it not being clean. That can often be in tenths of an inch!

     
  2. limepickle

    limepickle Piano User

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    Rowuk,
    That's a good point, but my post was trying to
    get at something different. I've seen a lot
    of threads dedicated to receiver gaps that involve
    players fiddling a lot with changes to the
    gap, and one of the links on this thread even stated
    that a large gap can create a cap on your range or
    that a small gap can limit clarity in the upper register.
    On the other hand, no one suggests that just switching from
    a .458 bore to a .462 bore or a mildly sloppy silver plate job
    will affect your playing in the same way.

    Now, you and others have made it clear that you believe that the hooplah
    surrounding gap is exaggerated, and I'm inclined to agree with
    you. However, without a scientific consensus and even major products
    dedicated to gap size like Bob Reeves sleeve system, I wonder if there's more to it. I'd
    like to see someone chime who gives more weight to the impact of gap and
    give some more concrete reasons for believing that gap makes a bigger
    difference than other small variations in equipment.
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I can say out of experience with a wide variety of horns, that gap has never kept me from playing well. When I was playing a Bach 72* with a Bach 1c mouthpiece, I didn't even know about gap and won auditions, then I switched to a Schilke 18 mouthpiece and it was a bit loose in the receiver, so I just filed a bit off - no gap, my playing still didn't get better or worse. The same happened on my C trumpet. Then I switched to a Monette B2D/C2D, still didn't do anything to the gap and everything was still suitable for the pro playing that I still do today. I did take my Monette Ajna2 in for a tune up. Dave Monette was not happy with the gap, so he exchanged the mouthpiece. When I got the horn back, it was noticably better - was it the gap, well, considering that he had the horn for 3 hours or so, and the gap adjustment was switch the mouthpiece, I am sure that there is more difference in the 2hours and 59 minutes of work plus the new mouthpiece than the gap.

    Basically, we can believe anything that we want to. I have played horns with adjustable receivers and to be honest, in any reasonable position, I am sure that the mass of the adjustable receiver played a bigger factor.

    I often think about how good a player has to be for tweaks to really matter. If my playing is inconsistent, if my articulation is more by chance then by plan, if I don't prepare my scores before playing the first note, it is all academic. If you want to, just get it done. It is one thing less in your brain when you play (that is always good!). Record yourself before and then after 6 months again. Quantify what you believe to be the difference. I have and simply don't worry about it or criticize others that do need/want it.

    I notice the gap as changing the articulation more than the intonation/tone or blow. No gap is real "snappy", way too much gap is more like tonguing into cotton (well, brass cotton because the articulation did not change that much.......).

    When we change the gap, we do need to compensate with the tuning slide. If we are not blowing perfectly centered into the horn for exactly the same pitch and pitch center, there is more deviation there than anything the horn could generate.
     
  4. musicalmason

    musicalmason Forte User

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    Everything makes a difference if you think it does.

    I think there is something to gap, as I've spent some time experimenting. That said, I am yet to find a situation (barring the extremes like loose or leaky mouthpiece receivers or damaged ones where the gap is ridiculously large) where the difference is immense. I am yet to see a subtle gap change make a dud into a great horn or visa versa. It is just part of the puzzle.

    Rowuk makes a great point about cleanliness. I've had customers brings horns to me for minor dent removal or minor tweaks. Whenever I do dent work (except on bell flares) I do a cleaning first. It is nearly impossible to raise dents properly with a layer of crud in the way. Many of my customers comment about how much better the horn plays when they get it back. "Did that little dent on the bell curve make THAT big of a difference?"...."maybe, of it could have been all the crud I washed out of it"...I usually let them believe what they want, but IMO it was probably the cleaning that made the biggest difference in most situations.
     
  5. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

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    I'd like to sort of question when we started tinkering with thing like mouthpiece gap, perhaps when "geekery and gadgetry" became a thing with trumpet player. This in no way question trumpet visionaries without who this would still be Sho-Far master forum. I just wonder did Bix, Harry James, Satch, Andre, and [insert favourite older players here] bother with things like gap, heavy recievers, tone collars. Please don't take this as "these guys nevger bothered with things like that (maybe they did I'm not sure) so why should I" but I am curious as to when it began.
     
  6. musicalmason

    musicalmason Forte User

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    Ever since there has been a trumpet, there have been people trying to make a better trumpet. The old timers may not have been worried about gap per say, but they had their share of tweaks too.
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, there are plenty of pros that have their techs pay attention to stuff like this - not to "tweak" their performances, rather just remove a layer of concern allowing them to even more freely spread that creativity around. The ones that "advertise" the tweaks can be questioned as to motive......... It does not have to be commercial, but could be.........
     
  8. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

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    Thanks Gents It was an idle bit of curiosity not anything really important
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    If you really want to know, try this:

    Take your favorite mouthpiece and wrap one layer of scotch tape around the shank making sure that it does not overlap or wrinkle. At the end of the mouthpiece take a very sharp knife and cut the tape off flush. (do NOT use paper for the shim!)

    When you now insert the mouthpiece into the horn, twist a bit so it is firm, then try your horn out. Use octave slurs, long tones, lipslurs, strings of double tongue and triple tonguing on single notes. Do this in the various registers that you own.

    If your horn has not been turned to complete waste, you can now judge what gap means. This is the absolute worst possible case - gap is WAY out, the mouthpiece is no longer coupled to the receiver. If gap screws up intonation, you should have it, if it messes up articulation, you should have it, if it destroys upper register, no better way than this. I did say IF.

    Post your results, I will wait a for while before posting mine done with: a Bach 229HCL modified to a tuning bell version (with adjustable braces), a Monette Prana 3, a Selmer Radial 2° D/Eb trumpet, a 1938 Heckel rotary Bb trumpet
     

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