Tunable bell?

Discussion in 'Horns' started by EricMGB1974, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. EricMGB1974

    EricMGB1974 Pianissimo User

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    Nov 12, 2009
    Elmira, NY
    This may seem like a dumb question, but what exactly is the benefit of a tunable bell? If I understand the concept right isn't it just about reducing turbulence in the leadpipe? Wouldn't a reverse leadpipe also do this without the need to weaken the bracing on the bell, making the trumpet more fragile? If anyone has firsthand experience with the differences before & after on a converted horn I would love to hear it. Thanks.

    Eric
     
  2. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

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    Eric,
    I am not a tech, but tunable bell is mostly about extending the tube after, instead before the valve cluster. The main benefit is better intonation. As you may see, I play spada-bach trumpets which are basically conversions of bach trumpets by adding tuning bell, changing the leadpipe and the tuning slide, tweaking the valves if necessary. The result is that you still get a VB trumpet, but undoubtedly better in many ways.
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I am not sure that all horns benefit from tunable bells. All of the Bachs that I have played seem to though.

    It changes the proportion of pipe before and after the bell which changes the distribution of bore and nodes in the instrument. Another big difference is what happens to the braces on those horns. I am working on something in this direction now and should have some results by the end of the month.
     
  4. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    One of schilke's outputs on it (interesting read)
    Tunable Bell Trumpets

    I had my C trumpet converted to a tunable bell, and I found in improved intonation and was overall easier to play.
    However, the sound is not quite as "dense" (at least from my end) as a traditionally set-up trumpet
     
  5. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

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    I have a tunable bell Schilke and don't use the tunable bell. I find the way I hear the horn is drastically different when I have the bell tuned compared to when I use the MTS.
    Maybe now that I am a better player than I was when I purchased the horn I could get used the feel, but it works great using the MTS to tune, so why change?
     
  6. Indian

    Indian Piano User

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    Jul 30, 2006
    South East
    Interesting article, Thanks Much for sharing. In the article he mentions that tunable bells are a recent development. I wonder how the aticles interpretaions of the graphs would relate to the early Conn 80A series of cornets which had a tuning slide as well as a tunable bell?

    This is subjective, but it seems to me that the tunable bell permits extending the length of the conical tubing of the bell changing the tone as well as the tuning of the horn.

    I have always wondered about this on the 80A cornets. I love them and have several.
     
  7. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

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    I remember there was some vintage trumpets with a bell crook tuning quite similar to what Eclipse trumpet are famous for. It may have been a Conn, but I don't remember - I have seen once probably on Ebay. Tunable bells are not exactly a novelty, but the rail system for attaching them to the trumpet is quite probably a Schilke's invention.
     
  8. Indian

    Indian Piano User

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    I am sure you are right but there are different ways to do it. The 80A method is below, a picture is worth a thousand words.

    The Conn Loyalist

    The tone changes from brighter to darker depending on how the "hour glass" tuning slide is adjusted. The thumb wheel is the adjustment mechanism.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2010
  9. beautgrainger147

    beautgrainger147 Pianissimo User

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    the 80A.. adjusting the hour glass tuning slide, having it all the way in makes it brighter but (all with the conn 4 mp) also gives it some edge - able to hear it cutting through a rock/ folk band. Having the slide extended softens the sound and makes it a bit darker (or I'd be inclined to say it better allows a deeper mouthpiece to give that affect), in a way it's like being able to select between a lazer and a spray guy with a wide spread. I have noticed it's not quite as easy to play with the slide quite far out.
     
  10. Indian

    Indian Piano User

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    I agree, that is what I have observed as well. My question is if using the tunable bell to change tone and the leadpipe using slide to tune will provide better overall intonation than a horn that uses a tunable bell for tuning only. I personally think it may. The 80As are very versatile as far as tone, they slot well but also permit lipping if wanted. The old timers may not have known the science of things but they could design and build wonderful horns.
     

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