leadpipes and free blowing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by graysono, Feb 3, 2007.

  1. graysono

    graysono Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi All,
    Perhaps this has been dealt with extensively before and I just haven't found it, but I'd like to know about reversed lead pipes and free blowing. Supposedly reversing the lead pipe makes the horn blow more freely? Is this so a player can use a smaller bore instrument (Yamaha 8310Z; Conn Connstellations; etc) and make them sound bigger? Why not just a bigger bore? Or a deeper cupped and larger back bored moutpiece? Are these naive questions? Getting ready to go out on the market again and I want a trumpet that will do the jazz thing as well as project in a swing band.

    graysono:-)
     
  2. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Yee HAW!
    You have to test them for yourself. It's generally accepted that bore alone does not equate to "free blowing", nor does "reverse leadpipe", or anything else. Reverse lead pipe means that the lead pipe can be a bit longer before coming up against it's first "step change" in diameter... that which occurs at the very end of the tuning slide tubing. This can aid with intonation on some notes.

    "Free blowing" simply means that the horn will accept a vibration and very efficiently feed that vibration back into the air column so as to cause the player to not have to "work so hard' to maintain the vibration. Many things including bell flare, brass alloy, thickness, bracing, venturi, lead pipe taper... all go into the characteristics that ultimately determine how the horn will feel on YOUR chops with YOUR mouthpiece.

    Go out and test, test, and test some more to find the magic horn that works best for you.
     
  3. graysono

    graysono Mezzo Forte User

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    Thanks Tootsall. The more I read the more I see the multiplicity of variables involved (mpc, bore, materials, bracing, bell size,player, etc) and the need as you say to test, test, test. Hard to do the latter in a small state such as Utah, but I do travel and I will do so. Thanks again.
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    A reversed leadpipe causes another change that makes us think that the horn is "freer blowing". The bell brace has to be attached much further back on the bell. This lets the bell "ring" more, radiating more energy from the outside of the bell. Our ears pick this sound up and that fools us into thinking that the horn "responds" better. In this case less energy reaches our audiences. A heavier or more braced horn will put more energy into the room and the acoustics determine what we believe.
    We can get the same effect on with a conventional leadpipe if we move the brace back or remove it entirely. Moving the brace will change other response factors of your horn!!!!!!!!!!!
    To prove this theory, take your horn to church and play a little. If the room sounds good, you get the impression that your horn responds well. Go outdoors and play exactly the same pieces. The exact same horn will be much "stuffier". The difference - you don't hear yourself as well.

    If you carefully picked your present horn, it is good enough until you have the time and possibility to figure out the next step. Take your time! Mistakes are not always cheap!
     
  5. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    I think what Rowuk says is right, it may not be so much the reverse leadpipe but the different bracing the makes the horn "feel" easier to play. The same thing with tunable bell horns also.

    When more energy makes it from the mouthpiece to the valve block the horn resonates more freely (actually, the air column does). Different bracing techniques can be used to limit the amount of 'loss' that the air column experiences along the way to the valve block.

    The loss can be from vibration leaving the leadpipe and moving toward the bell or vice versa. The most effecient leadpipe would have no bracing at all, but obviously would be impractical.

    I have experimented with bracing myself. My current every day Bb trumpet has a leadpipe sleeve and brace system that isolates the leadpipe and I can attest that it does make a big difference compared to normal bracing.

    It is like someone put a turbo on it, so to speak! :cool:

    GZ
     
  6. graysono

    graysono Mezzo Forte User

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    Jan 22, 2007
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    Gentlemen:
    Great points about bracing. I am currently trumpetless, hence the post. But over my playing life there has been a Martin Committee (50s), Mt V Bach Strad (60s--), and finally a Schilke B6. The first and third. of course, were more lightly braced, and as you say, sounded more live (bright?) than the Bach. (The Committee pulled apart at the braces!) I liked them better, too, but that may only be because I was acoustically "fooled" as pointed out above. But I also felt--all other things equal--that the Committee and the Schilke were more "responsive" to me. Their brightness is what is leading me to think again about a lightweight. I appreciate all the advice.
    graysono
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Don't take the "fooled" part too seriously. It is just a question of what you hear vs what your audience hears. Because we cannot separate our eyes, ears, lips, lungs and brains, we have to accept the whole package as it is. I find it useful see the bigger picture.

    Sometimes we work harder than necessary because certain aspects of playing or construction are not clear. I have spent a lot of time researching this stuff and see how misled the search for the holy grail can be!

    If you learn to relax with a heavier, well braced horn, you work less hard than with a light instrument. More of the energy reaches those listening. If the lighter sound is your preference, go for it. You now know why!

    The most efficient leadpipe (but not necessarily the best sounding) would be infinitely braced in my opinion so that it would not be free to radiate any energy from its outside surface.
     
  8. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    Well, it would need to be so heavily constructed that the air column was unable to make the wall of the leadpipe vibrate at all. My sleeves do approximately that without adding much mass to the horn.
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Sleeves are actually a "coaxial" construction. The energy that gets through the leadpipe has to overcome the "capacitance" of the air and then get through the sleeve. The energy is still not available to be radiated out of the bell and therefore does not increase efficiency. Spada in Switzerland uses sleeves on his high-end leadpipes. Excellent response!
     
  10. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    In the pure case, correct, any sleeve of limited thickness will not reject vibration as well as a very thick solid one. However, as in the case of accoustical insulation in speaker design, you can insulate the pipe so well that any remaining losses are inconsequential when compared to other losses in the path of the air column.

    Its analagous to electrical transmission line theory: if you keep perfecting a low-loss transmission line then at some point the gain is outweighed by the cost.
     

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