Heavy caps and intonation

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by gbshelbymi, Dec 26, 2015.

  1. gbshelbymi

    gbshelbymi Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 3, 2013
    Travelers Rest, SC
    I just got a set of used curry ccaps to fit my Kanstul flugelhorn. Initial tests showed an even nicer and smoother tone. However first ledger B-natural was quite flat. No other notes seemed to be affected. For example mid-staff B was fine. First space F# as well. All other valve combos fine. Does this make sense?
  2. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    On Flugel you can try just a long (like 2 inch) cap on the first or third to get a nice effect. Maybe put the normal cap on the 2nd and see if it helps.
    Don't get hung up on symmetry, go for the sound and intonation.

    Here's James Morrison:
  3. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    The only horn I've ever noticed a change in intonation with heavy caps is my Bach Strad C trumpet. I have 3 different weights of caps (stock, semi-heavy, and the Bach heavy), and the intonation on the "problem notes" gets increasingly better the heavier the caps. Not good enough to ditch the alternate fingerings, though. As an experiment, I borrowed some really heavy Curry caps, but they didn't push it to perfection. I found it's best to just use the stock caps and alternate fingerings, as that gives the best intonation.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    This is a BIG subject.

    My experience is that the intonation does not change as much as the "slot" which keeps us from adjusting. Bad weight distribution on a horn makes slots very problematic. Pimping a "light" horn only with heavy caps has never improved it in my experience. It is only different and it loses something significant originally intended by the artisan. If the valve caps are to help, often bracing must change and other parts must become heavier. This is often my experience with heavy mouthpieces on light horns too!

    The technical explanation for the slots changing through weight distribution is very controversial. There is too much BS out there and little really "hard" research. Maybe I will note some things later in this thread if there is enough interest.
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Rowuk beat me to the punch. It's been my experience that a mid-weight horn, such as a Bach Strad, can be improved with heavy valve caps, but that it's detrimental to a horn like a Schilke B model that was designed to be lightweight from the ground up.

    Adding weight in the form of heavy valve caps can make a horn slot harder, so you'll notice intonation quirks more because you won't be as able to lip the pitches. Most of us get used to a horn so we lip pitches naturally and instinctively to make up for intonation issues that all horns have - no trumpet has a perfectly in-tune scale. In any case, it isn't that your flugel developed an intonation issue as much as it now slots harder and therefore the pitches are harder to lip, so you notice it more.
  6. Churchman

    Churchman Mezzo Piano User

    Apr 26, 2012
    The Conn Vintage 1 provides a whole set of different caps. Any suggestions as to the best set-up, or is it purely personal?
  7. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    With a lot of horns, using a heavy cap on just the 3rd valve will add a bit more core to the sound and make the slotting a little tighter. In my experience, adding more heavy caps makes the slotting even tighter, but adds some dullness to the sound and makes the horn feel less responsive. In addition, the upper register seems to be a bit more taxing with weighted caps. Disclaimer - that's my experience on various Bach instruments...Bb trumpets, C trumpet, cornet. Generally, I don't care for heavy caps, but your mileage may vary.
  8. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    No instrument is perfectly in tune and, as others said, we typically lip notes in tune without thinking about it. That said, the Kanstul 1525 is the most in tune flugel I have ever played. My inclination would be to leave it as is. Let us know if you find a breakthrough, however.
  9. RRVancil

    RRVancil Piano User

    Sep 24, 2009
    Littleton, Colorado
    I was at Harrelson trumpets a few weeks ago. Tried a 3/4 inch trim kit on a Schilke B1 and it improved the slotting. Then tried the bottom caps on my S32 and noticed an improvement there also. But as we discussed it, the big difference is in front of the horn. So we took turns playing for one another and we all felt the same way. Personally I like them.
  10. iiipopes

    iiipopes Pianissimo User

    Aug 27, 2014
    Only one note is now flat on your flugel? That's better than 99% of all flugels above the staff. Try replacing the 2nd valve cap with the regular, not heavyweight cap. In my experience, too much added mass is not a good thing. As mass is added, vibration is damped. That can help center some notes. But adding too much mass can overdamp the overall resonance of the horn and affect intonation, just as a brace in the wrong place can interfere with an antinode and also cause intonation problems or stuffiness.

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