Hi everyone. I’ve looked around a lot at other sites, and I understand this is not a gear site, but I need to ask a gear question.
I gave up playing a few years ago. I sold my beautiful Edwards trumpet and Bach 70s flugelhorn, but since finding Greg’s lessons, I’ve found a different way of playing.
So I’ve been wanting to find a beautiful horn since spending every day with a trumpet seems to warrant it.
My heroes all have a darker sound – Roy Hargrove, early Marsalis, Dave Douglas, Miles, Chet… I want a dark sound. I know maybe a Martin, but they are pretty hard to find in Australia, and very expensive…
What I can’t work out is whether a bigger sound means a bigger bore… Whether efficiency is simply dependent on the horn or the player, whether a medium bore means I can blow more gently and get a better sound…
And in general – am I an idiot for thinking about a second hand vintage instrument? Is it smarter to buy a ‘more efficient’ modern instrument like a Bobby Shew model or an Ingram?
I know. So many questions 🙁 … but since I believe people here aren’t aiming to over blow but play relaxed and open, I’m wondering what bearing (if any) that has on my choice of an instrument.
Personally I have always found the mouthpiece has more effect on the sound than the instrument. Of course the largest factor is yourself and your mental sound concept, but after that the mouthpiece has a bigger impact on the sound and the actually instrument itself less so. The instrument simply needs to feel comfortable to hold and play and have a feeling of notes slotting in place where you expect them to. If your sound concept is on the darker side then try a mouthpiece that helps match that sound. A few suggestions would be Curry TC cup (in whatever diameter you play) or if you can find one, the Bach straight numbered mouthpieces, ie. “Bach 3” (not 3C just 3) That’s what Chris Botti plays on (and yes, he also plays a Martin Committee)
The Bobby Shew horn is extremely versatile and very mouthpiece sensitive meaning it can be dark or bright depending on the mouthpiece and the player’s approach and sound concept.
Hope that’s helps.
Simple answer, plays what feels good and gives you the sound in your head, you might need to try a bunch of different horns/mouthpieces to find it.
Also, I realise I probably didn’t answer the question about bore sizes and ease of playing but that is such a personal thing it almost can’t be answered. Smaller bore horns are more efficient if you can play them (correctly) and if the sound matches what you want but in the big picture, the grand scale of trumpet playing this is such a small factor.
To put some numbers onto it to attempt to illustrate a point;
Factors of trumpet playing is made up of:
The players sound concept and technique – 90%
The mouthpiece – 8%
The horn 2%
I’m sure many will disagree with my numbers, that’s fine, they really don’t matter, the point I’m trying to make is where to put your focus and keep in mind the big picture.
Just move some air through a metal pipe and make some good sounds that make you and the people around you hearing them, happy. I’ll leave it there because its getting late and I’m rambling.
Hope you found some value in this.
Hey Alistair –
Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply.It’s given me lots to think about. I guess the main takeaway is to find a horn that plays smoothly and technically well, and then to match it with mouthpiece and playing style.
It feels like there should be some scientific way to assess these things though – like greg is trying to do with Windworks – to bring a more rigorous approach… I hear so many different things. For instance, the trumpet salesman espouses the free-blowing qualities of reverse lead pipes, but when he doesn’t have an alternative model with reverse lead pipe, he says it’s not important…
Small bore, large bore… open blow, more resistance. I’d still like to know what is my goal and how will that interface with the instrument. If I’m trying to make less effort, will that be best assisted / realised with a more open horn? Or more ‘efficient’ horn…
I need a trumpet myth buster. The views of various horn players are pretty confusing.
Thanks for the lead on the Bach 3 and Curry TC. I reckon they are both not such expensive options to try out.
And I’ll keep practicing. 🙂