Re: Duct Tape on Bell Wall

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Posted by Klaus on August 01, 2002 at 13:10:04:

In Reply to: Duct Tape on Bell Wall posted by Dr. Phil Golson on July 31, 2002 at 22:26:50:

I have used fabric "bike-handle-type" tape on some of my instruments to get a more comfortable grip and to adapt ergonomics to my huge hands. But never on bells.

For many years I have been a fan of the so called one-piece-bells, that are a main sales point for Bach trumpets and trombones. The 2 instruments out my 48 brasses, that are confirmed one-piece-belled, the YEP 641 and the Bach 39, have not diminished my fanship. They can stand a fairly large amount of air without breaking up. My a bit more numerous plasma and pluzuma welded instruments seem to deliver further support.

This opinion of mine is the background for all of my 5 French horns having fixed bells (Wiener Hornmanufaktur, Alexander, Hoyer, 2*Conn).

However my late-in-life dive down in the tubafrequencyarea has had me doing a bit of rethinking.

The older 3 of my 4 brass basses have detachable bells. Badly necessitated just for reasons of transportation.

Do these 3 instruments (2*Conn, YM) display the disintegrated overtone patterns, that I associate with at least low and midmarket multiple-sheeted-bell instruments, even with the Besson Sovereign euphoniums I have tried up to around 1996?

To my surprise: No!

Which has had me remember a passage in a fairly authoritative horn-book by Morley-Pegge: some players maintain that the rings of their detachable bells actually help them controlling upper dynamic sounds.

Two of my brass basses are in the extremely heavy end of the weight scale anyway, the third is just well above average weight, so I can say nothing definitively. Yet I am fairly convinced, that the combined weight and stiffness of the brass attachment collars are contributing to the tonal stability of these instruments.

Let's be fair towards instrument designers:

Can any brass instrument be made sounding overblown?

Be sure it can!

The terrible truth is that there is strongly determinative factor at the players side if the mouthpiece rim.

When I taught brasses and recorders, two among several pedagogical strategies/tools were to play, what the student should strive for (hard enough by itself). And to mimic, what the student actually played, so that he/she could realise the dysfunctional aspects of his/hers technique. It was very illustrative to them to touch my mimickedly overly uptight or loose muscles in various facial, throat, chest, and abdominal areas (male teachers are at an advantage here), while I produced sounds similar to his/hers less desirable ones. (One of my bosses was a "pro" tenor singer. His wife went rotten, when I once mimicked his terrible throat vibrato. On my tenor recorder. She got the clue immediately without any verbal hints).


PS: There are several aspects to bells affecting sound. A few of them were debatted in the thread(-s) linked to below.

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