Mass = HOOEY?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Blind Bruce, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. Blind Bruce

    Blind Bruce Pianissimo User

    Apr 17, 2009
    Winnipeg Canada
    I have been seeing more and more sales pitches extolling the "virtues" of more mass in mouthpieces, leadpipes, even valve caps. If any of this were true, why not make brass instruments out of cast iron pipe (properly sizes of course) and be done with it?ROFL
    We could provide stands for use in orchestras but I do see a problem with marching bands.:lol:
  2. Dave Mickley

    Dave Mickley Forte User

    Nov 11, 2005
    I may be full of beans but I think part of that is marketing. I used to play in a clown band that performed outside most of the time. the lead player switched to a Bach m.p. that was the heavy one. she thought it helped her project better but in truth it after she switched I covered her up with the 3rd part. The owner had me switch to the 1st part to help her out and when I would switch back to 3rd the melody disapeared. I do think the when it is engineered right heavy mass in the lead pipes and such help the sound but in her case it it deadened the sound. Jason has done extensive studies and experiments and his equipment is more efficient so I don't think a blanket statement can be made.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2009
  3. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    Well...the cast iron analogy is a bit extreme...there can be more-less mass within a general bracket where an instrument can function based on the physics involved.

    Look, the question is, does mass affect the playing characteristics of a horn -- probably. I think Monette has built a whole business on the concept. Does this mean that more mass makes a 'better' horn, or one that a particular player will like more? I doubt it. Personally, I can't play heavy horns, even if they're good instruments. They just don't work for the way that I play. But I'm not everybody....=:-)

  4. Mamba21500

    Mamba21500 Piano User

    Feb 26, 2009
    I believe there is a company that makes horns with steel, I just can't remember the name...

    Heavy horns project better, but are not suitable for solo work or screaming, they don't have the sizzle.
  5. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    The Bach Megatone mouthpiece also has a larger throat. So maybe it was the added mass or the larger throat (or both?) that gave your friend problems.

    Nick Drozdoff wrote an article on how more mass changes the way a trumpet plays (What About Heavy Horns?).
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2009
  6. MFfan

    MFfan Fortissimo User

    Sep 13, 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    I had a megatone at one time, definitely louder, too much so for my concert band to fit in. A semi-megatone Jet tone Merien C is the same way, to a lesser extent. I have been using a set of heavy Bach caps on my 609 and like the sound. Differences are hard to quantify.
    I guess" Hooey" is in the ear of the beholder.:lol:
  7. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    I visited a guy who had a couple of Harrelson horns. They played differently than mine do. Better? Hell if I know, I'm just a dumb comeback player. I want to learn to play the horns I have.

  8. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    Mass can make an instrument play differently. Better or worse depends on if that mass makes and horn/mpc/player combo work together better or not. Most often, a horn not designed for added mass won't get better by adding it, but it can sometimes help. My schilke Eb is a better playing horn (in terms of pitch, mostly) with heavy valve caps. On some others, the difference is negligible at best.
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    The Hooey is the discussion of mass as something related to quality. Mass per se has NOTHING to do with quality or any specific playing quality.

    Instrument designes have many variable to play with. There are designs that benefit from mass properly placed. No one has ever been able to show me that after market weights help anything. They talk about it, but when I go into the concert hall and listen, generally the instrument in its original state has the most flexibility and color. I have done experiments with mass (even taking the valve caps from my old Monette Ajna and putting them on my Prana3). I am convinced that the instruments become unbalanced. perceived slotting is traded for REAL worse intonation, projection is traded for a stiffer blow, endurance goes down because the instrument no longer does what it was designed for.

    Pimp my Horn is cool because of the optics and the sublimal belief that we can improve for little investment something that real knowledgable engineers and designers require a lifetime for.

    Different yes, better no. We (including me) are MASTERS of self deception. The sooner that goes through our thick skulls, the sooner we concentrate on music and not hardware.

    A heavy trumpet needs to be designed that way. There needs to be synergy between the player, mouthpiece and horn. I have horns in both worlds (designed that way). I need them both.
  10. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    My experience is that anything I can do to reduce tension anywhere in my body is a plus for my playing.

    Most modern horns I have played are bell heavy and cause tension in wrist and forearm to hold then in playing position, adding weight to mouthpiece of appropriate amount to balance horn seems to make the horn float in the hand and make playing easier.

    Thoughts Rowak?

    Regards, Stuart

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