I would like to better Understand Leadpipe Science

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by lovevixen555, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. lovevixen555

    lovevixen555 Banned

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    That is to say I would like to understand how leadpipes are chosen for an instrument? Their must be some mathmatical formula that would haelp one get close to the ideal taper,begining and ending bore etc.....I have searched and no such luck. Their seems to be a lot of opinions on which leadpipes sound best but nothing objective to quantify the opinions. Recently I decided to look into some leadpipes for some trumpets I own. One of them has factory OEM parts still available but the other two do not. Now I can play the OEM guesing game and try different leadpipes from one of the OEM's hopeing that something they make today will fit and sound right. The other one is a complete no-go since the company is no longer in business.

    Now here is where a lot ofmy questions come in!!! Some places that repair brass instruments tell me "no problem they make leadpipes and are sure one of their exhisting leadpipes can be made to fit!" Well that is great but how do they know it will sound decent? Then some places tell me "Just get a Universal one from Allied Supply trim to fit and will fit most trumpets!" again how is this possable when so many people make a huge stink about the leadpipe needing to match the bell for good sound quality???? Then one company wants to send me "6" different leadpipes to play test on my trumpet. After selecting the best one I would then send back the other 5 haveing already paid the price for one leadpipe.

    So how can anyone use a universal and be good to go? How does an OEM chose one leadpipe out of so many possabilities since the leadpipe will respond differently to each person? What part does the reciever play in this mess??? It would seem to me that the space between the mouth piece and the leadpipe and the space between the leadpipe and the tuneing slide would play a huge role in all of this as well? How do those trumpets with interchangeable leappipes or bells make a tight seal? The ones I have seen online do not appear to use o-rings or anyting like that? What about material I understand how critical material can be for the bell but for the leadpipe I would imagine that instead of a material's resnate charteristics that corresion resistance would be a biger issue?

    Thanks guys and gals... I am really trying to understand this because it almost sounds like voodoo when you listen to some people talk about but their must be some science behind it?!?!?
     
  2. Brass crusader

    Brass crusader Mezzo Piano User

    Leadpipes are a science, and probably fo involve some voodoo.:-) They may be cut short or lengthened to have a horn play better in tune, I know that the Piczuks are actually stepped for each note, resulting in fantastic slotting/centering. Other leadpipes are simply set up with different recievers, widths, bracing, configurations, etc.
    I'm sorry I can't help too much, but leadpipes are quite complex, and I'm sure some of the professional techs here can help out.
     
  3. godchaser

    godchaser Banned

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    Here's some help from Robin, l.v. He put this thread together a while back.


    What does the leadpipe do?

    To examine this facet of the trumpet, it is useful to look back to the time when trumpets did not have leadpipes - when they were natural trumpets.

    The trumpet differed from the horn in that it was made of cylindrical tubing from the mouthpiece to the beginning of the bell. This changed the overtone structure and made the tone much more brilliant than the conically bored horn. The basic problem with the trumpet was the poor intonation of the octaves. There were several bell and mouthpiece designs to counterbalance this, but it remained problematic. I am sure that the trumpets lack of virtuoso presence in classical music was due to these intonation issues as well as the inability to play chromatically. The horn with its inherent better intonation, softer tone and the ability to play chromatics by stuffing ones hand in the bell, made it more suitable for the emerging classical style.

    After the invention of the valve, it was possible to make the trumpet shorter, increasing the playing accuracy, but increasing the intonation issues. The mouthpieces during the baroque period were considerably longer than modern mouthpieces and the backbore was an opportunity to bring the octaves closer into tune without having to lip up or down or use excessively large mouthpieces. I believe Stöltzel with his valves was one of the first to implement a stepped bore leadpipe and we see with the invention of the cornet a far superior intonation that makes a method like Arban even possible. Trumpets of that day were surely not capable of effortlessly presenting things like the Carnival of Venice!

    While the development in Germany clearly kept the cylindrical bore trumpet in place, the development of the piston valved instruments in France tried to emulate the success of the cornet in trumpet design. The modern piston trumpet form as we know it today with its long leadpipe was born. Making the trumpet much more conical in nature improved the intonation dramatically, but it also changed the sound from the regal, brassy cylindrical instrument with different sounds in the low medium and high register to a rounder, more evenly toned instrument. This sound was not accepted in Germany and to this day, rotary instruments are designed with a completely different concept.

    But back to the leadpipe: this tapered tube has more control over the intonation of a trumpet than any other part. It also controls the resistance one feels when playing. There are no set rules governing the taper or proportions and there is no general agreement as to what is best. For many manufacturers, this is the only part that they can call there own invention. Bells are bought from one manufacturer, the valves from another and braces from a third, still the end product resembles no other sonically. I believe that manufacturing tolerances in leadpipe construction are the major cause of intonation issues in mass produced professional trumpets.



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  4. lovevixen555

    lovevixen555 Banned

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    Wow! So far so good I am likeing this!!! Keep it comeing everyone! Knoldge is the root of power! I need to learn as much as I can so I can teach my son all the stuff I did not learn in school. It will also help me with my Franken Horn creation!!! Do not worry though she will be a thing of beauty when I am done with her!!!LOL She will also sound at least as good as she did when knew and hopefuly 10X better then that!
     
  5. trumpet_man

    trumpet_man Piano User

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    How long has your son played the trumpet?
     
  6. lovevixen555

    lovevixen555 Banned

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    Well he just started this school year. He is 10 years old. I did not starrt the trumpet until I was 12 but I played guitar,percussion, some piano, wooden flutes and recorders etc.....starting at around 4 or 5 and working my way up. I started trumpet in 6th grade and had been held back one year because I did not speak English very well so that is why I started so late playing the trumpet.

    While I think I had good band teacher's we never covered the science of sound or how our instruments worked etc..... We never covered really advanced techniques in class we would get maybe a 5 minute demonstration and then where told to read the book and that was it....So I learn a lot each time I come here. A lot of stuff I had to learn on my own I think I could have been even better had I actualy been taught with a more rigid protocal.
     
  7. Bill McCloskey

    Bill McCloskey Piano User

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    I believe there is an organization for trumpet builiders that goes into the "science" of building a trumpet but I believe it is only available to people who make trumpets for a living. I don't know if there is a trade union or association you need to join, but I'm sure someone here knows. I'm also pretty sure that no builder is going to releasing any "trade secrets" here on a public forum. I would imagine the "secret" behind the science of leadpipes is proprietary information for a lot of manufactures.
     
  8. godchaser

    godchaser Banned

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    Seems like there is a Gearhead Forum Robin recommended to me, in line of my similar questioning l.v. I don't recall the site, off hand -possibly Robin does. I envy your ambitions. I abandoned my own: primarily, for the sedentary time needed to do it right. That, and our progressive manufacturing capabilities will soon, far outreach my interests of building and selling fine horns at exceedingly low prices.



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  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    The science of leadpipes is not for the garage. Check out the Smith-Watkins website.

    Smith Watkins then click on technical papers.

    Mr. Smith has defined the science AND the method to measure. It is not science if it is not repeatable. I feel he is VERY close to the scientific truth, even although I have never had the opportunity to play his horns.

    I would assume that Yamaha and Schilke (reference companies as far as I am concerned) also use advanced methods to insure consistency. I just haven't found any public documentation.

    To be honest, I think the biggest changes are due to placement of the braces. Here the hobbyist can change the blow, intonation and sound plus/minus 33% or so.

    Another good source for the technicalities is: Welcome at the pages of the IWK (Institute of Musical Acoustics)

    Click on research. You then find a lot of info gathered in a professional repeatable manner. There are also measuring systems for sale that would aid the artisan by reducing trial and error!
     
  10. lovevixen555

    lovevixen555 Banned

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    rowuk, Thanks very much I even found a great site about Schilikes and Benge that goes in to a lot of detail. I saved it in my favorites. It is mostly about Benge but since he worked with Schilikes and their relationship had a big influence on him it talks a bit about him as well. If relavant in a future post I will post it since History makes for good reading.

    I am guessing that each company that has an R&D department probably comes to much the same end. I also suspect that it is probably the most guarded secret of their horn design process. Hence the reason for so little published material on it. The alternative of course would be trial and error and that just seems silly for a big company today to waste time on something as arcane as trial and error in the age of the super coumputer! You would think they would be able to get to at the very least say 90% of the way to the sound they desire based on science alone with only 10% remaining error that would require trail and error and hand tuneing to get it exactly as you wanted.

    I also suspect their is an ideal comprimise that will work for 90% of players on 90% of trumpets hence the reson so many trumpets have lead pipes that are so close to identical when you take into account the difference in length and recievers design and make them all the same. In the four trumpets I have measured the differences in measurments once you make them the same length are in .001 rangeand when you can not account for the thickness of the lacquer that alone can make a huge difference. Same thing with where the bell enters the trumpet's valve case. The OD is so darn close on the 4 trumpets I have that a pice of emery cloth could easly make all 4 bells interchange. When you get to the rest of the trumpet though all bets are off all the tubeing diameters are different as is the spaceing and the radis of the bends etc...... So some things are almost the same while other area's are radicly differnt.
     

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