My Trumpet seems to fail, and it is a Bach Strad

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by faulken, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. faulken

    faulken Pianissimo User

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    I recently started playing again after 16 years. I would up shifting to cornet due to the group i am playing with is a British Brass Band.

    Now that I have been playing a while and started playing various horns, I notice some seem to center better than others. I have a run that I am practicing that goes from Bb, C, D, C Bb, C, D ,C, Bb, C, D, C, Bb, A, Ab. all sixteenth notes middle staff. I find that on most of the horns I have played it flows very easy and is responsive. and I can kinda just blow though it and it sounds good. Now I pulled out my Bach strad, and play the same run, and behold I it seems to not center the D and I experience a flub note that really doesn't hit. I experienced this also on a older 60's Holton Super Collegiate, just didn't want to hit certain first valve notes well.



    The principle in my Brass band tried the horn and told me something in the valve(s) just is off or a design issue or just a bad horn.


    If my memory serves me, I had a similar issue with my 91 Bach Strad. I am not sure if something like this is a mouthpiece issue gong from cornet to trumpet. I am using a V cup versus bowl cup.


    So the question is, is this a horn issue, or a problem between player and horn from cornet to trumpet issue, and I just need to play it more?
     
  2. gbshelbymi

    gbshelbymi Mezzo Piano User

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    Valve alignment issue?
     
  3. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

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    Going from cornet to trumpet always is a readjustment of listening expectations. That said, you should not experience difficulties with single notes on the trumpet. Perhaps one of the valves of your Strad is misaligned - try screwing every valve tightly, and see whether there's any play (that's a peculiarity to some Strads - valves working looks). If that does not help, get the advice of an experienced brass tech - one recommended by several different individuals!
     
  4. faulken

    faulken Pianissimo User

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    I looked down the first slide. Things look to be aligned well. The top finger button and top are screwed properly. I will bring to my shop and ask. It never hurts to have a second opinion.

    The funny thing is that when I was playing in the 90's, I cannot say for certain I ever shook down a horn/ horns to figure things out or actually knew what to look for in my horn. When I bought this replacement Strad, I played it for tone and really didn't do much technical or running or ornaments.

    I have heard stories that players go to the Bach factory and try many horns and don't pick any out due to some craftsman / quality issues.


    Interestingly enough, I don't experience the issue on my rotary horn trumpet.
     
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    One word - gap.

    To explain that in a bit more detail, it's likely that the gap between the end of your mouthpiece and the leadpipe venturi is too large, causing a centering/focus issue. The reason I say this is due to something told to me by a friend of mine who makes custom mouthpieces. This guy has been at it for decades and has seen and measured all manner of horns, mouthpieces, receivers, etc. He has a theory about the Bach Strad receiver and why it's typically too tight, which causes a gap issue.

    His theory is that when you stop to look at the largest demographic of people playing on and buying new Strads, by and large it's the aspiring HS player. How many band directors out there tell a parent who is looking to upgrade their kid's horn to go out and buy a Bach Stradivarius? Lots and lots of them. To follow through with that, when the HS kid, who is typically not an experienced player, goes to play-test a new horn, they typically over-blow. When the gap in the receiver is too big, it makes the horn feel really big and open when it's played that way, and it helps music dealers to sell a lot of Bach Strads. And then the problems kick in. A developed player who practices a lot can overcome it to a degree because 1.) they have the chops for it, and 2.) they adjust to the horn a fair amount, but it leaves things frustrating for a lot of other people.

    I wouldn't have believed it, but he took my mouthpiece and turned it down to adjust and correct the gap on the Strad I was playing at the time, and BOOM! The whole thing changed - playing was immediately easier, my accuracy was greatly improved, my endurance improved, my articulation cleaned up, and the horn just popped going through runs. If I hadn't experienced it, I wouldn't have believed it. I'm typically skeptical of a lot of the hype that goes into various products or adjustments, but I'm a big believer that the gap relationship in the receiver is a critical element to whether or not a horn will perform well, all other things being equal.

    There are ways to work with that. You can get an aftermarket receiver replacement/upgrade, you can have a brass tech do an adjustment on your receiver, you can have your mouthpiece turned down, or you can either obtain a mouthpiece cut for sleeves, or send your mouthpiece to have it cut for sleeves and then get a series of sleeves to help you dial in the correct gap for you.

    Or, you can dump the Strad and get a horn that won't have those issues.
     
  6. faulken

    faulken Pianissimo User

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    @ Trickg. That is an interesting issue. I think the Strad has the #25 receiver or leadpipe. I use standard Bach mouthpieces. If I understand what your are saying well enough is the angle of the mouthpiece shank is to sharp therefore when it is in the receiver, you get a space between the end of the mouthpiece shank and the receiver (the Gap).

    If that is a problem, then that is a QC issue of Bach. They need to design stuff that fits well together.
     
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    To the contrary, the theory isn't that it's a QC issue, but rather that Bach designed it that way on purpose to help maintain sales in the HS demographic. You will always have a gap in the receiver - the end of the mouthpiece should never actually touch the leadpipe venturi in the receiver (although Renold Schilke once believed it should be that way, which was subsequently corrected) but rather it's the amount of gap that's important. Too much or too little and you wind up with issues like stuffiness, intonation issues, lack of focus or center, poor accuracy due to ineffective slotting, etc.

    If you have a professional brass tech in your area, take it to them and have it checked to see if that might be the issue.

    if you want to know a bit more about it, there is some good information on the Bob Reeves website, and there are some other resources you'll fin online if you Google it.
     
  8. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

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    I don't think the mouthpiece and the receiver have different tapers - so I do not believe Patrick is saying the taper of the mouthpiece is changed; rather the outside diameter of the mouthpiece is reduced so that it inserts further into the receiver to reduce the gap. (Alternatively, if the gap was too small then the end of the mouthpiece could be trimmed a little to increase the gap.)

    --bumblebee
     
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    That's pretty much exactly what I'm saying, although it's not exactly a stretch to say that Bach might have had a QC issue or two over the years, and particularly in the late 80s through the mid 90s.
     
  10. faulken

    faulken Pianissimo User

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    So distance gap. ok. I think on some older horns there is issue on taper gap and distance gap. the question then becomes what is the appropriate gap for the horn? is that trial and error?
     

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