Friday, May 9, 2014

Resistance questions on a trumpet forum.

James Hatfield asks, "What size mouthpiece throat pairs best with a resistant horn?"

 GR: Finding the right match is frustrating, it can make your head hurt, make you doubt yourself, the walls seem to be coming in on you in the practice room, it feels like you are in a fight with your trumpet (all components included), it sucks energy, time and money. Some players want a solution. They find a set-up, stick to it, and try to keep consistent. Others love to try different things, play around, acquiring new and old equipment as a hobby. For this group of people they seem to like constant change. That change will cause them to spend money to correct the match, get frustrated, or devise a system such as the playing tests and start making mouthpieces.

 "Who's going to seize this opportunity and when?" There is a lot of technology and acoustic research going on.

 About 20 years ago GR was messing around with a high speed camera and fiber optic camera @ 8000 fps. The mouthpiece was machined for the camera and a mini microphone. While watching the lip oscillate, and the sound wave set up, sound spectrum and pitch change led him to using the device to measure cup volume in the dynamic state, pressure, etc. GR has made a ton of acoustical test equipment over the past 20 years and worked with leading physicists. Watching the lips in the dynamic vs static makes a big difference. Similar to the way the medical profession goes into the body to check out the heart. Anything you come up with will be perfect until you hang a human on the end of it. Most humans are not consistent enough to be as accurate as a machine, therefore, each day we are different depending on sleep, hydration, etc. We age, get tired, have demands that change, and it all makes a difference. An organized approach is the key to solving issues.

 Tweaking? How many nights did you look down where you empty your water key and see brass shavings or dust? About 40 years ago GR played a gig with a top call older trumpet player. He started the show each week with a brand new Bach 11EW. His sandpaper, drills, and scraper were always working and at the end of the week he would toss the mouthpiece away. The next week it started all over again, Bach mouthpieces were about $7.50 back then. GR has never taken a drill, reamer, or any other tool to open a mouthpiece throat in the past 15 years. He just writes a new program so the mouthpiece is designed as one entity.

 razeontherock “Now that I've found it I'm skittish about changing anything, even though I know my gap is way off.”

 GR: Why do you say your gap is way off? It might not be the gap. If the system is working you will be vibrant and accurate. If not, don’t assume it’s the gap. In general, people focus on the throat hole, the gap, or mouthpiece. They especially seem to focus on anything they can physically alter using tools in their garage.

 Bri: I call this “The Local Hero Syndrome”. The Local Hero is the self-proclaimed expert who plays in his local concert or big band and is constantly altering mouthpieces. I know. I used to be one! GR has over 20 parameters for the mouthpiece not to mention the gap, leadpipe, horn, and bell. 

Remember this is a system that allows for the mouthpiece (Helmholtz resonator), gap or no gap, leadpipe, cylindrical tubing, and bell to set up a pressure or standing wave. Intonation, slotting, overtones series has to do with acoustics of an air column. Other areas are affected by fluid dynamics.
If we had the perfect trumpet and the perfect mouthpiece would everybody like it? No, you might get 1 in 10 that like the set up depending on how much thought was put into the design (if designed for middle of the road vs a specialist). If you took players that fit in the middle of the bell curve statically with the amount of cup volume being close after the lip engagement it would work for about 60 to 70%, just might need a different rim or alpha angle to allow the lip to vibrate freely all else being the same. Like the GR, Blue, Red, and Yellow mpc test kit. One will work best. That is GR Rule #1.

 GordonH Wrote: “I have often thought about measuring the input resistance on different set ups and working out which is my optimum. There must be as there has to be the right pressure on each side of the lip to allow it to vibrate freely. Too much back pressure and it won't move.”

 GR: Gordon, you are close there must be a drop in pressure for the pressure wave to set up. The Fluid Dynamics are like a shuttle valve that is set into vibration. Now add the acoustics and trumpet air column and it gets complicated. That is not the tough part. Hang a human on the end that is constantly changing and you have no way to quantify.

 We do playing tests and troubleshoot the entire system. Don’t believe us; ask Wayne Bergeron, Jon Lewis, Dan Fornero, Chris Still, Chuck Lazarus, Carl Fischer, Jens Lindemann, Rashawn Ross, Yaure Muniz what the process is like.

 We apologize for leaving players out. We don’t have room to list them all! You can do the homework and derive your own conclusions.

1 comment:

  1. Really great information here because resistance for the blow is what every player is dealing with and there are so many ways to deal with it. There are far too many variables, likes and dislikes in the resistance of a trumpet and a mouthpiece. Put the two together and then you are also looking for a match between the two. I would like to see trumpet lead pipes and receivers made so that there was no gap. Monette works on this approach with a one piece mouth piece and lead pipe. Now some players like the resistance in the front end of the horn whilst others like the resistance at the bell tail and trumpet makers design trumpets this way because it works for some players but it does not for others. I am a believer that most trumpets are good except for the really bad ones and finding a trumpet and a mouth piece to match is a compromise of trial error for most players. Most trumpet and mouth piece makers make a good product and when a player who picks up a horn using his or her regular mouthpiece they will be fighting or accepting the match of the two and this does not always relate to how good the trumpet is. In other words most players will blame the horn because the mouthpiece does not match the trumpet. If your mouthpiece does match the horn and the blow you are going to discard the horn. Not always because it is a bad horn but simply because it does not work for you and your mouthpiece. Now if you had the exact same mouthpiece with a different blow because of the size of the throat and or backbore only this could change the whole feel of the blow with the horn.
    What many trumpet players do though is stick to one mouthpiece and expect it to work on every trumpet. Sorry but many players will discard many a good trumpet with this theory and chase their tail for years looking for a suitable trumpet rig. Once you find a mouthpiece with cup, rim and depth that you like and it fits you like a fine pair of shoes, then stick to it. But if you should want to try another trumpet that has a different feel and blow be prepared to adjust the backend or underpart of the mouthpiece to match the trumpet and make it work to you blow. This way of thinking is not new not new. Vincent Bach and many trumpet and mouthpiece makers used this approach way back in the thirties. If you bought a mouthpiece directly from Vincent Bach personally he would adjust the throat of the mouthpiece on the spot to match the blow of the trumpet. Hence the #27 drill was a pilot hole to be enlarged when necessary.