Trumpet Discussion Discuss The Relevance of Bore Size (or not) in the General forums; This may sound like a bit of a ramble (it is Saturday afternoon after all) but it's something I've been ...
Mezzo Forte User
The Relevance of Bore Size (or not)
This may sound like a bit of a ramble (it is Saturday afternoon after all) but it's something I've been pondering.
I recently switched back from large bore trumpets to medium large bores and after some acclimatisation I've noticed that all sorts of aspects of my playing have improved..particularly my control. Now I'm an ex-tuba player and have no trouble filling just about any trumpet so I didn't make the change because of that. I'm actually finding that the resistance is making me adjust my approach and, as a consequence, have more control.
I can't help but think that lots of players are prematurely attracted to large bore trumpets before they've cemented strong fundamentals. A large bore is intoxicating...big sound, very open..but is it good if you're not ready for it? Bob Odneal also made a point on TH about soft practice and points out the large number of higher, louder players..is some of the problem the need to fill big trumpets with underdeveloped chops?
Welcome back! - I certainly think that a ML bore such as your Bach is easier for us mortals to handle than your Taylor Chicago, therefore giving us more control etc. Interestingly when I went to the #3bb on my Schilke I lost too much resistence, and it became too open for me to handle efficiently.
I personally think that it's to do with efficiency of breath control that matters. A better player than myself can control their air flow better so can fill a Large bore horn efficiently, rather than having to blow more to fill the horn.
On another note -my new Eclipse MR is great - the bell is larger in diameter than my Schilke B1 though the taper is slightly less open! You can have a blast on it once the Big Band finally gets itself together and rehearses! The blow is very similar to my Schilke B1 so is fairly open but I can use my old GR 3M mouthpiece which is a perfect match for me.
Mezzo Forte User
Keep that Eclipse away from me..I emphatically do not want to play it....because if I do I'll want one. Not interested..no sir..not now..not ever..never!!!
I like to think of cause and effect using extremes and taking things to an nth degree in both directions. It lends a bit of logic to a situation. Large bore horns are a challenge if you think about the way you would have to blow just to stay even. Everything you do correctly has to be expanded to keep up with the horn/mouthpiece combination.
A smaller bore horn can be played with less effort because there's a degree of resistance that's logical if you think about reducing the diameter of something you're blowing through. Most people get a brighter sound on these because you have to push past a point of resistance to obtain a louder sound. Most people are more player than small horns are horns. Player "wins" and sound brightens and sizzles. It's easier to control something when you back off and the smaller horn lets you back off.
As a result, most orchestral players don't want that much sizzle in the sound so they go for larger bore horns where the wind moves slower. If you're a relaxed player and can haul in a lot of air and let it go easily you'll adapt to the larger bore horns pretty easily. Most folks bear down and the large horns don't work well, so, a medium horn works better or a smaller one.
Bottom line: one's playing approach is the determining factor as to how a bore/mouthpiece combo works for that person. It's very individual.
Large bore to med. bore
I have had both extra large and all the way down to medium bore horns. Some of the largest had no slots above the staff and no resistance. This sounds very attractive at first until you blow your face through the horn. I have tried out some med. bores that were extremly tight. My Schilke B6-L is very free blowing and it is a medium bore. I have found that some X large horns that feel sloted. Bore size is only 1 part of how a horn plays. The resistance factor can be balanced in the lead pipe or elsewhere.
Mezzo Forte User
Manny and Bob,
Thanks for the insight. It really reinforces what I guess we already instinctively know: that the real issue here is that player/mouthpiece/horn balance is critical in being able to play what's put in front of you and that generalisations (such as bore size) have very little meaning.
I guess that context is also important in that equation as well as how developed the player him(her)self is. Good sound is the primary objective (depending on context-orchestral,jazz, big band) and efficiency and being relaxed seems to be a key.
As a coda to the discussion (on my part, anyway) I just had a coincidental experience that made me write back.
When I went to Dave's to do that filming for the website we did something that fun and it has turned out to be very instructive apropos of your post. He sent me a DVD of the session and I just now happened to give it a listen/watch. While I know absolutely nothing about bore sizes when it comes to his horns, we all know that they come in a variety of weights. Well, he had me play 5 horns one right the other and filmed it. They were, (all C's) 2000LT, STC 1 Prana, Prana 1, Prana 3, and Ajna 2 Prana. So, clearly, they got heavier. I played a lick form Bartok's concerto for orchestra. What was fascinating was since I didn't change my style of playing from horn to horn, the tonguing, to me, sounded a bit more brittle than I like to sound at first. As I went to the heavier horns, I sounded less brittle and the sound became warmer and fuller until it was virtually all gone with the last instrument. It was as though an exchange happened with each heavier weight horn.
Dave says that his plans are to include more of that session we did in the near future but I think he's fried with the amount of work it took Tom Rainey and him to do for that collage. I hope that clip gets included because it really makes the point in a way that we've been discussing here. Again, I don't know what to attribute the changes to, hornwise, other than weight. It's a lot more than just weight, obviously, something most folks don't realize. Call it a pinch of fairy dust, gourd rattling... I don't much care but, as you said at the end of that last post, physical approach matters a great deal to what kind of sound comes out of the end of a horn. It truly is worth the safaris we take to find the horn that matches all the parts of physiology and musicality we put into playing.
I'd love to hear that clip, Manny! What a great example of the product line.
Mezzo Forte User
Sounds like an interesting excercise.
It's also interesting that you considered the attack on the lighter weight Monette's to be brittle whereas the heavier weights were 'just right' (to quote the 3 bears). I actually prefer heavier weight trumpets but in my limited experience most players I come across consider regular weight trumpets to have neutral attacks and heavier trumpets are invariably described as dull. However, these trumpets were not Monettes and therein may lie the difference.
I also look forward to hearing those clips and hope they are put up. The original one is a sound worth aspiring to.
Firstly - great meeting you when you were over here, shame we couldn't get together for a few more beers - it would have been good to hear you play something as well as have a good chat.
No, to bore size - For my money, bore size is basically irrelevant - it is the combination of bore size, leadpipe, bell, mouthpiece and player that makes the difference. You can make a large bore instrument sound stuffy with a specific choice of mouthpiece, likewise you can make a medium large bore feel large.
Choosing an instrument based purely on the bore size is not something I would ever recommend. It is a matter of working out what combination works for you.
The only Bach I have played and immediately though "yes" was a large bore. But it has only happened with one specific large bore Bach - when I tried a similar one (allegedly the same) it didn't work as well, for me.
I have tried just about every model of Eclipse that exists and, as yet, I have preferred the ML bore instruments. It is purely down to personal preference. The Lareg bore rimless bell model is an absolute monster. The ML equivalent (prototype currently at the factory ) is a monster that is capable of being tamed - can be aggressive should you so wish, but felt more manageable on a day to day basis.
At least, that is my thought - others will think differently.
When I am choosing an instrument, the last thing I will ever ask about is the bore size - what matters is whether an instrument works - I don't care what the bore size is, as long as it works.
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