Two unrelated questions about mouthpiece plate stripping (?) and horn shopping...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by RB-R37297, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. RB-R37297

    RB-R37297 Pianissimo User

    Mar 12, 2009
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    I figured I'd save some space and deal with two problems/questions in one thread.

    During rehearsal today, I noticed my mouthpiece was looking pretty tarnished, so I cleaned off the tarnish tonight. However, I noticed at the very end of the shank that the mouthpiece looks almost rusted - there's a thin line of rosy-bronze discoloration at the end. It doesn't look or feel like anything's caked on, so I'm wondering - is the receiver somehow stripping the silver plate from the piece? I pulled out my old Getzen 7C that I used with the same horn before this one, and it has the same line, but thicker and more pronounced. What's going on here? I'm pretty ticked - this Bach 3C's only about 5 months old.

    Also, it dawned on me the other day that if I do manage to convince my parents to take me trumpet shopping for a pro model around Christmastime, I know I should try to look at all the horns in my price range, but what should I be listening for when I try out new horns? What are things that I should feel for when I'm testing these horns? What are some good things to play to test the horn? Etc. I've never actually tested a horn before; I've just been handed the rental I've been playing on for 5+ years. So any tips on that front?

    Thanks in advance for both of these questions.
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Normal wear. If it is hidden inside (or almost hidden) the receiver it is a non-issue. If raw brass starts touching our lips, then some folk have problems with allergies. Don't sweat it.

    First of all, the right horn will find you if you test wisely.

    My favorite way of testing horns is a literal blindfold test. Bring someone whose ears you trust to the shop, put on a blindfold or close your eyes (cheaper, easier, and not as romantic,) and have a pile of trumpets before you. Let your friend pass you the trumpets one by one and test Nr. 1 against Nr. 2. Test for intonation, sound and response. Put the winner in the "winner" pile, and start a scrap heap with the loser. Proceed through the pile until nothing is left but winners and losers. Test winner Nr. 1 against winner Nr. 2, and repeat the procedure. Continue until you have a clear winner, then open your eyes.

    This approach prevents any bias based on brand name, price, or how shiny the horn is. After picking the "winner" do some research as to the reputation of the instrument maker. If their horns are famous for burning through valves in a couple of years it might be a bad choice regardless of how well it blows. Check out the price--if the best horn costs $3000 more than the second best, ask yourself if it really plays $3000 better--there might be (might have been) a car in your future!

    This way you can be an informed consumer, and by going through all this trouble in picking out the best horn for you, you'll find parents a bit more willing to fork out the dough for your horn.

    Have fun!
  3. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    VB's suggestion is a good one. But, just a couple of points of clarification... First, don't literally put the horns in a "pile". The store owner frowns greatly on having expensive trumpets piled up on the floor. Second, when you judge the sound - with your eyes closed - ask your friend to concur on the judgment. The sound that you hear will not necessarily be what someone on the other end of the trumpet hears. But, if there is a difference in opinion about a particular trumpet, be sure to discuss that difference so you can understand the difference between what you hear and what your friend hears.

    Remember, give yourself a lot of time. This process is going to take awhile and the process is sort of like having your eyes tested - "Is that better, worse or about the same"? Also, you may come back a second time and find that a particular horn sounds different than when you started. Your lips and your ears will both adapt somewhat during this process. So, this can be a marathon - but a very fun marathon.
  4. Fishgun

    Fishgun Pianissimo User

    Sep 26, 2009
    Or do like ComebackKid and collect a dozen plus :) He has quite a collection listed there.

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