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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Open-blowing vs efficiency in the General forums; Hi Rowuk... In the recent thread about backbores, I was intrigued with your comment about how free-blowing horns are actually ...
  1. #1
    Pianissimo User
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    Aug 2009

    Open-blowing vs efficiency

    Hi Rowuk...

    In the recent thread about backbores, I was intrigued with your comment about how free-blowing horns are actually less efficient. I like the feel of a free-blowing horn compared to those that are less so, but have never made a deliberate effort to somehow assess the horn's output versus what I'm putting into it, nor what it sounds like 'out in front' as compared to how it feels while I'm playing it. Could you please expand a bit on your comment?

  2. #2
    Utimate User trickg's Avatar
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    Oct 2003

    Re: Open-blowing vs efficiency

    I know I'm not Rowuk, but I've always felt that resistance is your friend, not your enemy, although too much resistance gives you a horn that is stuffy and feels closed off. I think that balanced resistance is key.

    I once tried a Schilke X4 on a gig and thought I was going to fall into the horn - it was just taking everything I tried to give it and it wanted more. Not the horn for me - I put it back in the case and pulled out the Strad I was using at the time.

    As for the sound, to me the sound itself has little to do with how open or free blowing the horn feels.
    Patrick Gleason

    "What we do in life echoes in eternity"
    "At my signal, unleash hell."
    - Maximus Decimus Meridius

  3. #3
    Piano User guyclark's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    Los Gatos, CA

    Re: Open-blowing vs efficiency

    HI, guys!

    I recently got an X4 with a copper bell from a neighbor (!). So far, it feels quite nice to me. I think that I may still prefer my Yamaha rotary Bb (YTR-935) but I think I'll be able to use the X4 for a long time to come!

    It doesn't respond as well with my usual extra deep mouthpiece (that I've described in many previous postings), but works fine with a custom GR mouthpiece (roughly Schilke 22 rim, deep >trumpet< cup (rather than deep flugelhorn type cup) something like a #22 throat rather than the 18 or 19 I have in my usual 'piece.

    My wife likes what she hears coming out of the bell, too.


  4. #4
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: Open-blowing vs efficiency

    A very good test for how much free blowing is too much is to play some long, loud phrases and see if you get through.

    In the orchestra we are playing "An American in Paris" and there is a lick at the end that is very loud and at my breathing limit on the Monette and Bach with my mouthpieces. If the horn was any "free-er", I would simply not be able to play the phrase in one piece. The same goes for Petroushka, Star Wars and many other pieces in the literature.

    What we call free blowing is actually "leakage" of our air and does not relate to better tone, range or endurance. If the horn were 100% efficient, almost no air would pass.

    We should buy the horn that gives us the desired results. Sometimes our "feelings" are secondary.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  5. #5
    Mezzo Forte User
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    Jan 2005

    Re: Open-blowing vs efficiency

    I think how an individual's chops, tongue and breathing work affects the perception of open or restrictive. The same horn and mouthpiece can seen too open or too stuffy to different people. When the gear is in sync with our playing, it should feel balanced...neither too open nor too closed. At least that's how it feels to me.

  6. #6
    Forte User Al Innella's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Levittown , NY

    Re: Open-blowing vs efficiency

    Pedal C pretty much summed it up, a horn should be open enough so it doesn't feel restrictive,but it should still have enough resistance to give you control and endurance. Physical makeup, and mouthpiece size[rim,cup,throat,and back bore] is what determines the different makes,models and bore sizes that each individual chooses.

  7. #7
    Pianissimo User
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    Feb 2010
    Western, NY

    Re: Open-blowing vs efficiency

    Yes, excessive volume in a mouthpiece can be very inefficient for many, when one cannot get the air speed to play all the notes well,high and low. An efficient set up is important and very individualized. Like Jens said "somewhere between 3c and 7c" and all the incarnations between are where most will find their efficiency.

  8. #8
    Forte User larry tscharner's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    dubuque iowa

    Re: Open-blowing vs efficiency

    Mouthpiece and horn makers love our search for the optimum combination, its great for sales. Whats confusing to me is whether a new horn or mpc should jump out at you as the right one or should you make a change for a desired effect and "grow" into the new equipment. I believe you should feel comfortable with a mouthpiece or trumpet from the start, but time will tell if it is a good move. Play test over as long a time as possible to get over the honeymoon period. When emotions get involved it gets muddy as to what you should do. Balance is the key as stated above. Whats important is that in your mind you are satisfied with the sound and feel of free blowing and yet there is enough resistance to allow you to be able to get the job done. I've gone as much free-blowing as I feel I can stand and grow into. I love the sound and it makes playing more fun for me. Hope you can settle on an idea of whats best for you and be confident you have the right setup. Its hard to know for sure isnt it? Best wishes, Larry
    Larry tscharner!
    M J Klashen The Yankee 1923
    Concertone, Czech made, pre war
    Olds Ambassador Cornet 1955

    Olds Super Trumpet 1966
    Yamaha 8335 Xeno 2008
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  9. #9
    Pianissimo User
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    May 2010

    Re: Open-blowing vs efficiency

    I play a horn free-blowing enough to drive most trumpet players crazy, but I'm a French horn player by trade. Those horns are almost resistance-free (notice I said almost) and the added resistance of a lot of the horns I tried was actually stopping me from playing.

    I've found what plays as the perfect combo for me, but I doubt if I offered my horn and mouthpiece to someone they would want it for very long. But, I stay in tune and I have no slotting problems whatsoever. I just have to work back up my range from college.

    Everyone's different.

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