What influences the timbre of the trumpet the most?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Kujo20, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. hahkeystah

    hahkeystah Piano User

    Jan 12, 2011
    Charlottesville, VA
    This is coming from someone used to playing larger instruments, but i think that means that each variable is going to have more of an effect, since there is more metal, more tubing etc, more space for one differerance to take effect. i think that changing the weight and material of the leadpipe is going to change the responsiveness and feel of the horn more than a change somewhere else on the horn. changing the bell changes how the sound develops as it exits the bell, thus how the audience hears it, and since it's changing how the air vibrates at the end of the tube, possibly back pressure. i personally prefer bells that have a relatively shallow flare, that sharpens towards the end. for a trumpet say, a shallow flare with a 5" bell. because it feels to me like its not changing much until the end of the tube where it explodes outwards. again, just a feeling. i prefer larger bores simply because of how they feel to me. they feel more forgiving, and open. i don't have a particular position on valves, as long as they're quiet, smooth, and quick ;-)
  2. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    Everything else being equal (player & mouthpiece) and not discussing different materials, the bell taper makes the biggest difference. Next comes the mouthpipe, and then bracing.
  3. Kujo20

    Kujo20 Forte User

    Sep 29, 2010
    Hey Dale, can you explain a little more in depth? I'm interested in hearing why you say these three things and the order you put them in....especially the bell taper.

    Robert: Thanks again for the input!

  4. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    Well, think flugelhorn as an extreme example of a large bell taper - big and fat. That alone gives it a unique sound quality, which is then enhanced by the deep mouthpiece normally used. A trumpet with a larger or more rapid bell taper will have these same sound characteristics, though not as pronounced as a flugel - a mellow, rich sound that spreads and doesn't carry too well, favoring the lower frequencies. The old pea-shooter trumpets from the 1930's are at the other extreme, a small, narrow bell taper that terminates with a smaller bell flare. These tend to favor the higher frequencies and are very bright-sounding instruments (sometimes even nasal sounding), and will usually project very well.

    Mouthpipe taper will produce similar, but less dramatic results, and is really dependent on interaction with the bell style. Bracing location and the number of braces can enhance or subdue the tendencies of a given bell/mouthpipe combination. Generalities, I know, and this information is probably worth what you paid for it...
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
    Kujo20 likes this.
  5. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    My Getzen 900H is very bright and powerful. The bell brace is much further down the bell than any typical horn. My newly acquired Blessing Super Artist is not as bright but has a more robust sound. It is heavier and has a triangular thick bell bead. Man what a horn!!
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006

    Timbre is affected by your ability to shape sound. That only works when your breathing, chops and musical taste are in sync.

    Forget all of this equipment stuff. If your tone is thin due to too little or the wrong type of practice, you only have shades of obnoxious. If you have your stuff together, then the hardware finds you.

    If ones playing is rough, that will come through with even the darkest sounding of horns.

    By the way, this is covered in the thread "How a trumpet works which is sticky and at the top of the general trumpet forum.
  7. Kujo20

    Kujo20 Forte User

    Sep 29, 2010
    Hey Rowuk, I was sure you would show up before too long!

    I read a lot of the stuff in "How a trumpet works", I'm just looking for personal experiences/opinions that players have and what they think affects the natural sound of a given trumpet. I know that the player is THE main influence in sound....I've even seen some people make a euphonium sound bad (not an easy feat).

    Correct me if I'm wrong.... but I believe when a good, rounded player plays different horns, we can all agree that they can sound different. Some horns simply sound/play different. And what I'm looking for, is....what influences that difference (the most)?

    Thanks for all the posts. My goal with this thread was to learn more on this topic and so far it's working!

  8. kcmt01

    kcmt01 Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 25, 2009
    Polson, MT
    What influences the sound the most? The adjustment of the nut behind the mouthpiece.
    turtlejimmy likes this.
  9. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010

    btw, Rowuk's right ...

  10. hichez

    hichez Pianissimo User

    Jul 13, 2009

    At the end of the day a trumpet is a trumpet. Therefore it should sound like a trumpet.

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