Reversed Leadpipe

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by jazz9, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. jazz9

    jazz9 Piano User

    Dec 5, 2007
    Chilhowie, VA
    OK, I promise this is the last thread for me today! About the reversed leadpipe, what exactly does it do? I'm thinking about getting it for my Strad when I get it because I want the factory to make me a "fresh" instrument so I won't get the demo that everyone has played at the store. Is it worth it, does it cost extra, and what does it do? Thanks
  2. Decentplayer

    Decentplayer Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 11, 2008
    I played a Yamaha Xeno with a reversed lead. The concept is for better air flow. I tried a Bach Strad first and then the Xeno. The xeno blew the strad away, as far as it being easier to reach the high notes. That's just my opinion. I'm sure more will come, & stomp on my opinion. Try playing some trumpets in a store if you can that has a reversed leadpipe and see if you feel any difference. This way you can make your own decision.
  3. jazz9

    jazz9 Piano User

    Dec 5, 2007
    Chilhowie, VA
    Well, I played a couple other standard Xeno's, but I don't know how to get a hold of reversed leadpipe horns where I live. As far as likeability, the Strad blew away the Xenos for me, but that's just my opinion. Thanks though.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    The reversed leadpipe actually does almost NOTHING. What changes the sound and response is the bell brace and perhaps the bracing on the tuning slide.

    There is a myth about airflow which, when you consider the relatively small quantity of air going through the horn, becomes essentially insignificant!

    When you move the bell brace back, the bell is more free to vibrate, more free to pass energy through the bell which decreases the amount of energy reaching the audience, but increases the feedback to the player. The player thinks that the horn is more responsive, until they try and fill up a room. They then discover that that was easier with the non-reversed pipe.

    Where could a horn with a reversed pipe be interesting? For anyone not needing to blow walls down, anyone using a microphone, or in a studio setting where you do not have to project and fill a huge acoustic space.

    Now forget everything that I just said, because there are tons of other factors in building trumpets that can compensate. If everything else were identical, what I said would be true. Trumpet manufacturers have a lot of tricks up their sleeves, so forget the specs and theoretical characteristics and just try out a bunch of horns without prejudice and you will get the real scoop!
  5. ozboy

    ozboy Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 17, 2007
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2008
  6. gglassmeyer

    gglassmeyer Piano User

    Apr 28, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
    The idea of getting a "fresh" horn isn't such a great plan. I would never want to buy a horn without playing it first. Horns by the same manufacturer with the same specs on paper can have different character/personalities. You really have to play a bunch and choose what you like. On the plus side, Bach horns are well made and you likely wouldn't be disappointed.
  7. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE
    Robin is exactly on the mark.

    There is always a trade-off and in the case of reversed lead pipes it's the structural changes that make the biggest difference. There are some reversed lead pipe set ups that solve the problem, Bob Malone's conversion for instance, but these are primarily aimed at being able to put a fully functional, full length lead pipe on a C trumpet to aid in intonation while maintaining the stability of the bracing pattern.



    PS I have a Bach C with a reversed lead pipe and it's a lovely trumpet that plays very well in tune for a Bach C. However, it's not the right tool for blowing the walls down doing Mahler in a full size orchestra and it isn't used for that.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2008
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I think that maybe my post might not be in the correct perspective. Naturally, any changes to a leadpipe will do "something". Reversing it does "practically" nothing though.

    Why? the length and geometry of the tuning slide does not "change" What happens is that we have a conical part, then the tuning part which both stay the same length and shape in both cases. The small step caused by the tuning slide not being pushed all the way in moves about 2" away from the mouthpiece on the reversed configuration. The proportions of tapered to cylindrical do not change one bit AND the effect of that step MAY change the response of one or two notes whose nodes happen to occur at those steps.
    Many years ago, I experimented with my Bach C trumpet (229H large bore). We moved the bell brace back first. BIG difference! The horn seemed to play more responsively BUT did not have the projection OR dynamic range (it produced a lot more edge at lower volumes).
    We then reversed the tuning slide, being careful to not create any solder blobs in the horn. Essentially NO tonal or blow difference.

    Granted, this is not incredibly scientific, but makes my point. Small changes to the cylindrical parts of the horn do NOT make a big difference. Moving braces can make or break the design! A comparison of the two technologies is only valid when we use the exact same leadpipe and slides.

    Brekelfuw bought a cheap horn and modified it in another thread. He also turned it into a reversed pipe model using EXACTLY THE SAME PARTS. The outer sleeve of the tuning area was moved to the slide and the inner part was soldered to the leadpipe. Essentially NO change in bore or taper except for that small step.

    Eclipse and other companies with tuning bell models avoid this discussion by ELIMINATING the step entirely between the mouthpiece and valve block. The step gets moved between the valves and bell where it is acoustically less significant. This is a real design improvement in my opinion. A disadvantage is not having a solid fixed brace going to the front of the bell.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2008
  9. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

    Nov 16, 2005
    Vidin, Bulgaria

    I do have a Bach Spada with reverse leadpipe and don't have any problems with filling up the room....Well, I guess that Rene has more tricks under his sleeves then a simple reverse leadpipe...It does sound fancy though ROFL
  10. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    In my limited experience on trumpets/cornets I find little or no difference by making a horn with a reverse leadpipe. This concept has been used in production of high quality trumpets and cornets since just after the turn of the century,( 1910 ), or so. My first personal experience was with the Holton Clarke Model cornet, which was and is a fine horn but, with very poor projection. My old boss, A.J.'Bill' Johnson who was the owner and cheif designer for York Band Instruments scoffed at the idea and if I didn't know better, I would think that Rowuk was quoting old 'Bill'. By the way, 'Bill' designed some of the finest cup mouthpiece brass musical instruments ever made in the U.S.. I should know, I own several of his finest designs. Under 'Bill', the York Band Instrument Co. designed and made such as the 1920's era York 'Monster' tuba, still used by the Chicago Symphony and has been the design basis for the finest tubas currently manufactured al over the world by many makers. I would class my York Perfec-tone cornet and my York Airflow as two of the top five long cornets ever made, anywhere, and I am comparing them to my King Super 20 Master Model, my Reynolds Professional, and my Conn Concert Grand. I gave away an Olds Recording Model cornet and several other fine cornets to keep what I have.

    Last edited: Mar 28, 2008

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