Why don't we see more Bb/C convertible trumpets?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by duderubble, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. duderubble

    duderubble Piano User

    Oct 21, 2011
    I've seen a few old Bach Strads on ebay with two sets of slides. Seems like it wouldn't be that difficult and could be useful for, say, people who would like to play at church and have a non transposing instrument.

    There are a fair number of Bb/A vintage horns but they normally just switch a valve, which I would think would be a problem with intonation ( I assume you pull the slides out a bit for A). But I would think that Bb/C would be far more desirable.
  2. LH123

    LH123 Piano User

    May 14, 2010
    For Bb/A you do have to pull out all the valve slides. Usually, combination instruments will play well in one of the two keys. The other will be a compromise.
  3. entrancing1

    entrancing1 Mezzo Piano User

    Feb 16, 2010
    Buffalo, NY
    It is only a half step from Bb to A from Bb to C it is 1 full step and would therefore be harder to accommodate well on one horn.
  4. Pete Anderson

    Pete Anderson Pianissimo User

    Feb 27, 2008
    I think this is the issue. What's the market for a Bb/C horn?

    In general, who plays on C trumpets? Orchestra people. Pros and serious students/amateurs will likely already own a Bb and want a dedicated C trumpet. Less serious students/amateurs will just play on Bb.

    I guess "people who like to play at church but can't transpose" is probably not a huge market, so no one has created a horn to fill that need?

    Actually this is probably the real reason....

  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    In most (not not all) cases, the C has a different bell than the Bb. In any case, they do have different length leadpipes, and by inserting a longer tuning slide the general proportions of leadpipe to overall length gets skewed. Generally, these instruments play better in C than Bb. The success of the Schilke Eb/D or F/G combinations is a result of length being added after the valve block.
  6. duderubble

    duderubble Piano User

    Oct 21, 2011
    That makes sense, i guess. I didn't think about how where in the tubing length the valve block is situated affects the overall success.
  7. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 14, 2010
    Just learn your Bb in concert C. No one can afford special transposing horns anyway, and there aren't any used ones, because the trumpet market isn't big enough to support instruments in other keys.
  8. Bauerbear

    Bauerbear Mezzo Piano User

    Jul 11, 2012
    Winter Park, FL
    My 11a cornet plays well in both C and Bb. It can play in A but I haven't taken the time to set the tuning rod and check to see the range of notes are in tune in A. Of course, I haven't played any Russian composer music lately, at least one in A.;-)
  9. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    My Bbs play C also because I learned to sight transpose. Methinks those that can't are just lazy, because it is so easy.

    Too, I believe this is a hindrance to manufacturing a convertible
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  10. Churchman

    Churchman Mezzo Piano User

    Apr 26, 2012
    my 1920's Bb/A has both a 'switch' and a second slide for the change-over.

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