Question about "blow"? Uh, not that kind!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by RonD, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. trumpetguy27

    trumpetguy27 Mezzo Piano User

    564
    174
    May 30, 2008
    Maryland
    I agree with some of what you're saying Rowuk but I have done enough horn building and experimentation to know that gap most definitely does play a role in the blow of a horn... without a doubt. I've recently been doing a lot of experimenting with the Harrelson adjustable gap receiver on my Adams A5 and can sit in the same spot in my studio and play the exact same lick with nothing changed but the gap and there is most certainly a difference. I wish there was a way to quantify this but I am absolutely confident in my statement. Before the AGR I wouldn't have been so sure and never understood how much of a role gap plays here but with it things become very evident.
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,612
    7,957
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    Then we will have to agree to disagree. The gap is important on some horns and insignificant with many others. Except for information from a couple of specialists I only read the copy/paste myths over and over again. I know what the gap does on my Monette Prana 3 and my other horns, I don't experiment at all. For the horns where it is applicable, I let the right technicians do their magic. There is no "night and day", there is no significant help for a comeback player without a very stable embouchure. With certain horns there is no effect whatsoever. The differences are not in the blow.

    I wish that I could sit in the same spot in my studio and play 10 tones one after another with the consistency that it would take to "prove" that the supposed gap adjustment didn't have more to do with how tightly the mouthpiece was inserted into the receiver or how tightly I was holding the horn - or a different standing wave pattern in the practice room due to the bell being 6" somewhere else.. If you want proof, put on some in ear headphones and play some white or pink noise loud enough that you can only "barely" hear the trumpet. The change your gap and weep. You will feel NO DIFFERENCE! Experimenting needs controls. The power of suggestion is too powerful.

    If I really thought that gap was that "touchy", I would set it to one side of the supposed truth, insert the mouthpiece and leave it like that for a month (with the mouthpiece inserted) and take notes. Then I would let my tech change it and not tell me what he did. I would play it with no changes for another month and take notes. Then I would have the tech change it again and run with it for another month - taking notes. At the end of 90 days, I would have an honest view. We are creatures of habit. If something IS significant, then our body compensates to return to equilibrium. That is why uncontrolled messing around is insignificant. Sorry. My recommendation remains clearly on making an investment with the player. Improved body use is not subjective and benefits far more pieces of our lives than gap. When everything else is together, there are many small things to improve consistency. Here is where thoughts about gap, how tightly the mouthpiece is inserted, the tension of the spitvalve springs, valve bottom caps and a bunch of other stuff belong.

    For the record, the speed of sound changes with the density, temperature and humidity of the air (especially in the horn). That makes comparing horns tough - even inside of one hour.

    The hot shower is a serious benefit!

     
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    6,792
    3,558
    Oct 26, 2003
    Baltimore/DC
    I thought I'd jump in with a thought or two about this particular aspect of hardware vs playing and how a horn feels and responds.

    I'm a big believer that the gap can play a pretty big role in how a horn can play and respond for a player because I've experienced it firsthand myself, but I believe that there is some truth that lies somewhere in between the two schools of thought.

    Looking at this from a hardware perspective, I've recently switched mouthpieces after many years of playing the same one. I wound up with a Warburton 4SVW with a KT backbore. I thought that this setup felt pretty tight so I contacted Warburton and after consulting with Ken Titmus, he hooked me up with a couple of different other backbores to try, one of which was a KT-D - internally the same dimensions as the KT, but designed to fit further into the receiver than the standard KT. The difference between how these two backbores play, feel and respond is night and day. While the KT feels a bit tight, it's still focused. Some might call it stuffy, but I've always felt that a decent amount of resistance can actually be a good thing. The KT-D does not focus as well, nor am I as accurate on it. I believe I'm experienced enough and a good enough player that I can truly tell the difference, and it's not just in my head. Keep in mind that these are internally the same - drilled out using CNC lathes that are accurate to better than 1/1000th of an inch.

    HOWEVER.....

    I think that given a bit of time to adapt to the other backbore, I could very well find that it may be the better of the two in the end. The reason I believe that is because I believe that hardware is always going to be a compromise, no matter how good it is, and now matter how well fitted to us we believe it to be. As a result, any deficiency in the hardware, as long as it isn't too drastic, can be overcome with work behind the horn. That's why every time you switch mouthpieces or horns, there is invariably a honeymoon phase, followed by a period of time where it's not working so well, which is eventually followed by the same satisfaction one has during the honeymoon phase.

    The bottom line is that you have to put in the time, and perceived stuffiness may simply be due to the player not putting in enough time.
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,612
    7,957
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    [​IMG]
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,612
    7,957
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    Don't anyone get the idea from the picture above that Botox can improve the embouchure by increasing lip size to match the mouthpiece................
     

Share This Page