Perfection out of the imperfect

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by rowuk, Sep 23, 2007.

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I read a magazine in german a while back and the editorial was so enlightening that I wanted to paraphrase it for you. My thanks to a DIY editor for building speakers, Mr. Timmermanns for the idea!

    We are accustomed that electronic parts can be built very close to a theoretical ideal. How they work can be discovered in any textbook. Microprocessors add 1+1 and always get 2. The same is true of compressors for air pressure, frequency generators for test tones and amplification for volume. They can be precisely measured , quantified and stored for future reference. What you put in, comes reliably out of the other side, time after time!
    Take any 2 instruments, though and try to measure or simulate them and you see very large variances in performance - perhaps neither comes close to any preconceived ideal.
    Developments in parts and machines are always towards a defined goal that is absolute. If we need 1000Hz, 10 or 15% more or less will just not suffice!

    Building musical instruments does not work like this as the materials, the construction, even the expectations of the customer base cannot be 100% predefined. The goal of building a "best trumpet" is therefore "dead" before we even start!

    An artisan, or even a large manufacturer has a very complex situation, where perfection cannot be described, where the materials and construction tolerances also do not help and where the customer can change their mind during the development process.

    We still have artisans that are able to create instruments that satisfy their customers. If Art or merely sympathetic understanding is necessary, is insignificant. It is a fact that building quality instruments is far more than the process of technical development. Those handful of artisans are truely something special - with solutions closer to perfect than any scientist could describe.

    My deepest respect to all of you that are willing to take on those odds! We sure do not make life "easy" for you!

    Any of you have examples of that "extra mile"?
     
  2. godchaser

    godchaser Banned

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    Great post Robin- and great question, much thanks.


    Hats off to builders. I've spoken to two of'em myself, that obviously got it goin' on.


    Cheers



    C
     
  3. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

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    Robin,

    Though you are perfectly right as often what come to consideration is not only how an instrument is built, but also what kind of player ma I...or you are.
    But still, I believe that we can have a relatively precise ideas what instrument is best for such and such kind of playing (orchestral, solo, lead, ensemble etc) played by such and such person. This does not mean that X instrument is perfect for player X for situation X as none of the variables is perfect, but probably as prefect as it can get...

    I would say that what really makes our instrument safari somewhat difficult is the brass retail busines: rarely (if ever) you can find most of the instruments you would like to test in the same places...
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2007
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Nick,
    I have come to the realisation that testing trumpets in a store tell us essentially NOTHING except if an instrument is defective. Only after living with it for a while do I have a chance on recognizing the synergies. Only then do I know if it projects into a hall, or prints well through a microphone, if it slots in a way that augments my playing, if I can even hear myself.
    I think most of us have an idea what we want, but talk ourselves into believing what we see or subjectively think is what we hear.
    That is the reason why Bach and Bach copies are saleable. No challenge to the senses!
    The artisans giving us alternatives are taking a big chance! That is my point!
     
  5. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

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    I am really happy (as many other players including you) that they take the risk. I am not sure how risky is to run a brass artisan business, but I am quite happy that they do take the chance...As some of them seem to be quite successful I guess that taking the chance pays back :wave: :bravo:

    May be some trumpet craftsmen on this site will be willing to share their experience? Felix? Leigh? anyone else? Recently I read the story of Andy Taylor's company which I found very informative and very interesting...
     
  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Two of my favorite makers, Tony Scodwell and Mark Curry actually play test their products, Tony to tweak the bracing for each of his horns, and Mark for his backbores. Dave Monette play tests his instruments as well (although I don't think he's quite in the same class as Tony as a player). These guys are good machinists to be true, but trumpet players first, and I feel that this makes a huge difference. Feathered hats off to these guys!
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2007

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