Sympathy for the less fortunate

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by gzent, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,617
    7,966
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    Gzent,

    I can understand using one Bb horn for everything Bb-ish, maybe that is even OK when playing in the states. Here in Germany, we use much different sounding rotary Bb trumpets for "classical german" music, lightweight Bbs for lead and more "substantial" Bbs for a lot of other things. Each of the horns has its own "palette" of colors that perhaps overlap a bit. The people that book us demand this and who are we to disagree...........

    Many of the members and visitors here have a strong tendency to focus on hardware even if the playing opportunities really don't demand it. There of course are those that do not understand the "bigger" palette available with special instruments like your Harrelson. Even so, that bigger palette comes at a price and I am pretty much convinced that the naysayers mostly confuse the artistic with the economic........... It is easier to trash something than to accept the fact that you would have to save a bit longer before making the next step. Patience is not very high on the list of traits desirable these days. It is a mystery to me that players that have not spent months with an instrument become experts about all of the supposed things wrong with it. I pulled my 1974 Bach C out of the case after 2-3 years of not using it. It took more than a week for me to really get to know it again. I mean, this was my staple instrument for over 12 years! Whenever I read the "experts opinions" it becomes very quickly clear that I have no real interest in the drivel. BS is identifiable immediately. No discussion can be carried out.

    Each of the custom horns has specific features. If we ask 1 or 2 questions and get answers, we know if someone is an idiot or not. Copy and Paste generation beware!
     
  2. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    3,724
    758
    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Excellent post as usual. You should come around more! ;-)

    I appreciate what you are saying about rotary versus piston, makes sense.

    Like I said, I don't run in orchestra circles, so I don't appreciate what pressures are put on players to conform.

    I have seen in other settings, like big bands, theater pits and so where people have used different horns and I think they pretty
    much sound like themselves, regardless that they picked up their "lead" horn versus their "section" horn.

    I think mouthpiece depth can make a bigger change in timbre than switching trumpet model, unless you are comparing radically different
    horns, say with very different bells tapers. I wonder about people who believe an audience can hear the difference between a
    ML bore and a large bore, for instance, when fellow section members only hear the sound they are used to hearing from the guy next to them.
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,617
    7,966
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    Actually Gzent, the difference is not even so much with the timbre. The crispness and voice of articulation, the feeling of increasing energy during a crescendo, space between notes, at what volume brightness becomes an issue, even how chords sound are immediately noticed by the orchestra and audience as well. When I play my Monette, there are often comments about the trumpets sounding closer (the second tpt in the orchestra also plays Monette), when I play the rotary, the trumpet voice is more woven into the orchestral fabric. That is significant in Mahler and Bruckner, but a disadvantage for An American in Paris or Star Wars.

    When I play second or third in a big band, I can really appreciate the lead player not having a "thick" sounding horn..........

    The change of mouthpiece does change the timbre more but generally the things that I mentioned above are more characteristic of horns than mouthpieces.

    There are a lot of projects here in Germany where chameleon is important. Having a choice often makes the conductor very cooperative=invite for the next gig.

     
  4. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    3,724
    758
    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Well, what you are describing with your Monette I just summarize as "works better".

    I think crisper attacks, cleaner slurs, greater dynamic range, intonation, etc. all those things should be noticeably
    better when one spends the extra $ to play a "custom" horn like Monette or Harrelson, they are for me.

    One person asked if it really matter because they questioned whether at their skill level it is noticeable.
    Well, I would argue that yes, it is noticeable. If those properties I just mentioned are improved by stepping up
    to a horn that works better, why wouldn't you see the same improvement for someone who is not yet at a professional
    level?
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,617
    7,966
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    Hi Greg,

    I have researched this and my findings are not conclusive. My best horns show their stuff when the physical prerequisites (support, embouchure, technique) and the mental (musicality, link to the other musicians, groove) are present in adequate amounts. I often let my students play my horns during lessons. Seldom does it result in a better playthrough. Why? Easy! A higher playing level needs a higher level of connection with the instrument. That takes time - days, weeks, months, years. I do not believe in taking a horn out of the case and it being like pulling the cork out. Just like a good marriage is based on "knowing the dangers", a custom horn also need this level of contact. It is he who pulls the trigger. With the experience and familiarity, magic can happen.
     
  6. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    3,724
    758
    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Yeah, maybe that's true. Maybe you do need a certain level of proficiency before you can full use of a high end horn.
    Then again, wouldn't the improved intonation properties apply regardless of who is playing?
     
  7. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    3,751
    2,152
    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    Here's something to ponder. I learned to play on a wide-slotting horn. Then as now, my intonation in the ensemble is fabulous. I can play in tune with anyone, the out of tune trumpet player next to me excepted.

    I'll say this much... I didn't play a Bach and I didn't play a Getzen. But you'd be hard-pressed to make my horns play any better, because they'll play exactly where you tell them to... they won't force you into a certain slot.

    Some guys like a horn that does the intonation work for them. Me? I'd run that horn over with a truck until it's an ugly paperweight.

    All this to say that "improved intonation properties" are a matter of perspective.

    Note well: Rowuk has played my horns. :-)

    Tom
     
  8. simoncroft

    simoncroft New Friend

    24
    22
    Nov 21, 2013
    SE England
    I am amazed that no one has so far said anything on behalf of those of us who don't 'have to use' another instrument but get immense enjoyment from owning them. Many players would regard themselves as also collectors or conneseurs. Personally, I'll freely admit that I'm a 'gear slut'!

    Logically, a musical instrument can maybe reduced to 'a machine to make music on' and therefore if you have one good Bb that works for you, that's the only one you'll ever need until it's so worn out you need a replacement. Now, let's apply that logic to a car. How many of us have truly gone to a car dealership on the basis that our only automotive transport is no longer fit for purpose? (OK, as a young man, this used to happen to me a lot but let's move on...)

    It's the same with a watch. In the digital age, watches that keep precise time are worth so little, they sometimes give them away against another purchase. That 'free' watch will do everything you need, but if I offered you a Rolex, wouldn't you want it more?

    To be fair, I know that wasn't the main point you were making, but sometimes, "I had to buy it honey." ;-)
     
  9. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    3,751
    2,152
    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    Hell no. That's why I own Omega!

    (A Speedmaster Professional... only watch flight-qualified by NASA. They wear them OUTSIDE the suit.)

    Tom
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,617
    7,966
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    Actually, the custom horns are HARDER to play in tune when the chops are not up to snuff. The reason is that our brain does not only use pitch frequency for that "in tune" feeling, it also uses tone color. There is a mathematical relationship between the fundamental and the overtones that we can screw up by not playing centered on the pitch (very easy when we are tired or our pulse is too high). A custom horn has a wider palette of colors and that will fool the inexperienced.

    I think even the most accomplished has heard a recording of ourselves where the upper register was played sharp and we were convinced that the recording was wrong.............

    Yes, I have played 4 of Toms amazing Bueschers. I remember all 4 being special. One was very "conventional" in its slotting and another had really wide slots that let you also play with the sound in a way that VERY FEW other instruments do.
     

Share This Page