Myth or Fact

Discussion in 'Trumpet Repair and Modification' started by SteveRicks, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    Getting ready to head to the music shop later this week, I was looking over my horns to see if any had picked up any dinks that I might want to have removed. Luckily, none need any work (which is amazing with a high schooler in the house who also plays them). I remember in the 60s, getting a small dink in my Olds Special. I took it to the shop and the repair guy suggested not removing it, because he said doing so would harden the metal and change the playing characteristics. Had it removed anyway. I also heard that is is best not to remove dinks from a few band directors and others who were considered knowledgeable. 40 50 years later, I haven't heard any such comments or concerns about dent removal -including using one of the best repair places in the south. So, was it fact or fiction that tyical dent removal changes the playing characteristics of the horn beyond what they were originally (I realize if a dent is obstructing airflow it might have an impact)?

    If this turns out to be a myth, we ought to get us a thread going about current myths related to trumpets. I have some chemistry background and my wife is a master's level RD (dietician). It is amazing at all of the myths that exist today around nutrition and diets. FIgure trumpet playing likely has some too.
  2. Satchmo Brecker

    Satchmo Brecker Piano User

    Jul 19, 2010
    Very interesting. Could also have been true in the past but no longer now, with better materials being used.
  3. jengstrom

    jengstrom Pianissimo User

    Oct 17, 2009
    Rochester, NY
    Metallurgy isn't my specialty, but here's my understanding:

    Bending and re-bending metal can work harden it. Work hardening changes the cell structure, making it brittle. In the case of brass instruments, this (according to theory) affects the resonance of the horn. It can also create stresses in places you don't want stresses (like joints) that can affect resonance too. This is why some people say if the horn still plays OK, leave it alone.

    At some point, a dent can be so big it affects air flow. Or, the restriction caused by a dent can be at a nodal point, affecting intonation or tone on one or more notes. At that point, you need to weigh the pros and cons to decide whether to fix it or not. It's a judgement call.

    In general, I would not hesitate to have small dents fixed, especially if they are away from a joint or if they are in a slide. Have you ever dropped the dump slide on one of your Bachs? I'd get that kind of dent fixed.

    Ultimately, only you can decide what to do. We've all heard stories about mashed up horns that were fixed and played as well as they ever did, and vice versa. A good tech with a whole lot more repair experience than I have could make a recommendation.

  4. Darten

    Darten Mezzo Piano User

    Dec 21, 2009
    New York City
    Trumpet myth #2: The more expensive the horn, the better you sound.
  5. A.N.A. Mendez

    A.N.A. Mendez Utimate User

    Oct 25, 2005
    Sunny Ca.
    #3 Red spots in lacquer are always red rot.
    #4 The Olds Mendez is just an Ambassador with triggers.
    #5 The Olds company made crappy stuff in the 1970s
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Brass does get brittle when it is worked. The ding (one sweep of a mute or music stand) and removing it (a couple of sweeps of the tech to get it out) is not enough to change the hardness appreciably. Brass can be reheated to make it soft again and I suspect that any good tech will reheat if necessary. I would say that this one is more myth than fact. On some horns, a bit of hardness could improve things........
  7. larry tscharner

    larry tscharner Forte User

    Apr 30, 2010
    dubuque iowa
    I would have to work the mettal a lot more than just taking a dent out to change its hardness. Also remember that the dent itself is affecting the sound to some small degree and restoring the tube to roundness will eliminate that abnormality. We are mostly talking miniscule amounts here, but a beautiful horn is a work of art when at rest, and a heavenly being when played....even by me. Unless the dents give it character I say why wouldnt you want to make your horn as nice as possible? Best wishes.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2011
  8. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Also, remember that the brass has already been work hardened in many places, particularly the bell, during manufacturing.
    Unless it is a Monette, it has been buffed too.

    I say fix the dents and forget the myths.
  9. larry tscharner

    larry tscharner Forte User

    Apr 30, 2010
    dubuque iowa
    #6 Todays trumpets are not as good as vintage horns. There was some sort of magic wand used to make trumpets in the 50s and 60s.
  10. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    Yes, I always go with fixing the dent, however just wondered if there was anything to the myth. the more I think about it- have you seen the horns (of which I have a few) advertised as "hand hammered bell?" If that isn't working the metal, then I don't know what is.

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