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

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

  1. amzi

    amzi Forte User

    Feb 18, 2010
    Northern California
    I've tried a convertible years ago--decided to not buy it. I've owned a few "C" trumpets in my life including a "C" Blessing that wasn't terribly expensive and played well enough. Anyway, it isn't that I can't transpose and I do it quite frequently, but I'd rather not transpose from keys of A and E--E doesn't occur very often but a lot of Contemporary Christian Music is written in A. It's also nice to be playing a C when the pianist looks at a piece of music that modulates into F# and she announces that she's playing it in F.
  2. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I have an old Conn 22B with the Bb/A key change rotor. It does very nicely in both Bb and A.

    Many years ago, my main playing gig was a local semi-pro symphony orchestra. I had a really nice, new Bach C trumpet, but had a so-so Bb that I didn't use much. I discovered that I could buy a set of 4 slides from Bach that would convert my C to a Bb, and bought a set. That way, I'd have a good Bb for the price of a slide set. Well, it didn't work out too well, as the Bb version of my C was pretty squirrely, intonation-wise. I eventually sold the slide set after I bought a used Bach Bb trumpet. I think that adding a really long tuning slide to the short C mouthpipe was the main cause that the slide conversion didn't work too well.
  3. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Put your foot down, and tell the pianist if s/he wants to play that way, that they'll be playing the music themselves, because you wont look potentially like a fool by the audience when you play it as written.
  4. duderubble

    duderubble Piano User

    Oct 21, 2011
    Could the tuning slide be after the valve block and would that help the intonation problems? I know on the older baritone/euphs the ones with the tuning slides after the valves usually do better with intonation than those with the slide before the valves. In fact many (if not most) other brass instruments regularly put the tuning slide after the valves--or in the case of the trombone, after the handslide. I know the tuning bells were already mentioned, but even those you don't normally see in Bb/C. Interesting.
  5. ChopsGone

    ChopsGone Forte User

    Jan 26, 2009
    Northern California
    C's being able to be switched to play in Bb seem to be common among French trumpets of a few decades back. Some provided only a single H-shaped tuning slide extension, others added (usually) first and third slides of greater length for Bb use. I'll admit to owning a few such horns (Aubertin, Selmer Radial, Courtois 216L (which provides alternate tuning and third slides instead of an extension), and I believe there's another around here somewhere). But I've always heard that the Bb configuration wasn't as satisfactory as a dedicated Bb horn - possibly due to the bell difference? In any event, I've never even tried any of those horns in Bb. Maybe that's one reason for their scarcity these days. If I were playing in situations where rapidly changing between Bb and C were required, I might try one of these, but transposing is probably quicker and surer.

    The Bb/A switch is a lot more common, or used to be. Some horns used longer slide tubing and no added parts, some changed mouthpipes, some had rotary quick-change valves, some used discrete slide sets for each tuning. And they were pretty successful - lots of my older horns do the Bb/A switch very nicely. One old cornet has all the plumbing pieces to allow it to play in HP or LP, and within each convention, in Bb, A, or C - and the darned thing actually works pretty well. It's not that quick to change, but it does work.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  6. duderubble

    duderubble Piano User

    Oct 21, 2011
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
  8. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    I have a Bb/C trumpet which works well in both keys - though not perfect. It is a Sterling trumpet marketed through Selmer London. I bought this one from OldLou here on TM. It is a really nice horn.

    I agree with ChopsGone it was popular last century - mine is around 1960's.
  9. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    My first real trumpet - apart from a Chinese Comet - was a convertible Bach Strad B/C. Did not work properly in either key; did lend it to a pro who desperately needed a C while his own was at refurbishment. He got the hooter stolen... and his insurance paid for a Bach Strad rotary C... and a Ganter G7, because they figured I had lost two instruments...
  10. Juarez-MA

    Juarez-MA Pianissimo User

    Mar 14, 2012
    Right. And to add to this, F trumpets usually were made as combination F/G trumpets but they are so small anyway that they are practically piccolo trumpets.

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