Will switching horns help long run?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by TrumpetMonk, Aug 28, 2009.

  1. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Well, the original question was whether the this particular student trumpet would hold this particular student back vis-a-vis the progress he would make on his Bach. Since none of us can answer that question definitively, we need to generalize for an answer to have any meaning. So, my attempt to make a general answer, by synthesizing the relevant points that everyone else has added here, is that in this case, if the OP continues to practice and play on his Bach, his progress will come there. Whether or not he progresses on the Blessing is sort of secondary. Unless it is just beaten up ("solder all over it") and totally out of tune, it is not likely to hurt his development so playing it while marching should have no negative effects.

    Other than that, the issues of design, construction, and playability of a student horn vs a "pro" horn (not counting TSO's) have been, and continue to be, debated in other threads on this forum and it doesn't seem that anybody's opinion on that has been swayed even after all of the words that have been written about it... And, I still challenge anyone on this forum to tell me whether my 50 year-old Selmer Invicta is a student, intermediate, or pro horn, either by looking at it, playing it, or listening to it be played by a professional player.
  2. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    You "could" play the Haydn on that horn -- I'm not saying you couldn't, because that student model can play every note your other horns can play. But you *don't* play the Haydn on that Yamaha student trumpet and there must be a reason you don't. Tone quality? Intonation? Ease?

    You admitted to buying a new trumpet -- even though you admit that your Bach is still a good horn. Why did you buy a new trumpet if the magic isn't partly in the instrument?

    Yes, the magic is mostly in the player, but if it were all in the player you'd be playing all your professional gigs on an Olds Ambassador, and since you're not, there must be a reason. And that reason is part of the answer to the original question. If a horn didn't hold any of us back, Vincent Bach would never have spent his entire life trying to create better trumpets. Same goes for all the great trumpet makers of the past, present and future.

    Yes, some people look for the horn to provide the entire magic, to be the single answer to playing better, and they are very wrong to think so.

    But it is some of the magic or you'd still be playing the trumpet you started on in 5th grade.:-)
  3. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    I won't rise to that challenge because often the difference between student, intermediate and pro models is marketing and pricing. But from a practical point of view, the differences are of the care and craft that go into the making and assembling of the different levels of horns. Instrument makers don't put new employees (unless the employee is coming from a different company) on their professional production lines -- they start on the student lines where mistakes aren't as expensive and can still be packaged and sold.

    Whether anybody is held back by any particular instrument has far less to do with any labeling of student, intermediate or pro level and has far more to do with how that person plays. When I was the repairman at a music store many years ago we handled Bachs and Benges, and I loved playing on the Benges and could play with a beautiful tone, nice range and it felt comfortable. Whenever I tried the Bachs out (all Strad models by the way since they hadn't cheapened the name by applying it to the Bundy and Signet line of instruments) I had to work a lot harder, I couldn't play as high, I couldn't play with nearly as nice a tone. So if I had been bought one and tried to play it, I would have been held back by it. If I had bought a Benge I would have been able to keep on my growth path from where I was.

    So I find that it is much more a matter of design philosophy which can have a person not play well (i.e. be held back) by one make/model and that same person can move right on along and play beautifully and effortlessly on a different make/model.

    Pricing/marketing labels aren't the important issues -- the design of the instruments is the issue.
  4. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    This thread is not about why I play the instruments I do, it is about a young player switching horns. I say that a well made student horn will do the job for him. Just playing on a pro horn will not make the young player play at a higher level of performance.
    It is not about me!
  5. Ed Kennedy

    Ed Kennedy Forte User

    Nov 18, 2006
    Student horns are often made with a tighter leadpipe with a smaller venturi to accomodate the student who hasn't yet learned breath support. Have your local repair person check the venturi on the Blessing. If it's under .346", have it opened up. You can go a little at a time until the resistance is close to the Bach. You could also get another mouthpiece and open the throat one drill size at a time.
  6. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    TrumpetMonk, if you work hard and practice diligently on the strad, take the same mouthpiece with you for use on the field with your Blessing, you will manage just fine. There is more than just playing to think about when you are marching: focusing on playing the chart, putting your feet in the right place and remembering where that is, watching out for others who might move in the wrong direction (with or w/o a flagpole), even memorizing the music, which is commonly done in marching bands - should keep you busy enough to take your mind off horn issues. Keep the Blessing well oiled and clean, and it will serve you on the field just fine.

    If you neglect the strad and don't practice the student repertory which you have been working on, marching band will become a social event and your music will suffer.

    Those who tell you the Blessing is too restrictive aren't the one playing it. You play it. Stop thinking so much and just do it. When marching season is over your strad will welcome your full attention and you'll be happy to spend even more time with it.
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I agree with Wilmer.

    The problem is less the horn than what we THINK that we are hearing. I would venture to say that a Blessing will give the player more feedback (it is built lighter than the Bach) and make life easier on the field. The Bach will perhaps project better, but that is of no significance as the player will not be able to hear that.

    As far as the argument goes, most of you are comparing apples and oranges. Without having both horns in your hands, you are assuming that some student accurately described what is happening. I think that is a pretty naive assumption.

    My take:
    1) all horns are stuffier outdoors than indoors because there is less feedback to the player. That means that the player has to develop an "autopilot" sense when playing in that environment.
    2) Many times a stuffier high register is not the horn, rather the player trying to FORCE the issue. A trumpet with an efficient high range will have more resistance which we may or may not notice depending on bell thickness and brace placement.

    We are creatures of habit. The best way to overcome any issue is to attack it head on. During marching season, move your daily practice outdoors - on the Blessing. Play softly and get used to the response. Increase the time that you practice to cover the additional work that this type of playing creates for your face! During concert season, move your practice indoors with the Bach. Play softly and get used to the response.

    I played marching band for many years and NEVER damaged an instrument. I am confused by the premise that marching band=trouble.

    I forgot my trumpet and mouthpiece for a concert once a couple of years ago. All I could find was a beat up Bb student horn and a no-name 7C. I played the concert (Mendelssohn Hebrides Overture and Stravinsky Pulcinella) on that horn. What really hurt was the comments after the gig about how good I sounded.......................)

    For average students (lets say with less than 60 minutes personal practice per day and no teacher) it is 100% the player and 0% hardware. It is possible that the CONFIDENCE in knowing that you have a pro horn in your hands will let you play better. That is psychological not physical however.

    I have a buddy with a Yamaha 2xxx student horn. We play quite a bit together and I would not rate his sound as worse due to the fact that I could have bought 20 of his horns for the price of mine................
  8. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

    Nov 16, 2005
    Vidin, Bulgaria
    That's hurts when you spend 15 000$ or more on a Prana horn :twisted:
  9. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I used the Strad for the big competition and a cute little blond girl put a dent in it with her flag. I did end up marrying her but that's a different story.
  10. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    I think the horn can have an impact, but really only in the extremes. Most horns are pretty well made (note the word most as opposed to all!).

    I have four Bb trumpets: a custom Wayne Tanabe horn, a Chicago Brassworks model GSC (also by Wayne) a Benge MLP and a California Lignt model Bb from NYTC designed by Felix.

    All horns play great, but when I push them to extremes (very loud or very soft - very high or very low) I notice differences. Time and time again my Cali light has proved to be the most flexible and versatile horn of the bunch. There is a difference. Now, I'm not sure I wold say the other three horns would hold me back, but they do make certain things harder to do. I attribute this to subtle differences that could range from the mouthpiece receiver gap to tubing tapers to the weight of the horn, etc.

    So yes, the horn does impact things, IMHO.


    TrumpetMonk likes this.

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