Re: Duct Tape on Bell Wall

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Posted by Bob Brewer on August 03, 2002 at 14:50:42:

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

Hi Phil,

When I was playing a Mirafone CC 185-5U at graduate school, a friend of mine and I experimented with different things on the bell to add mass and cut down on the vibrations that came from that enormously long and thin walled bell. I even spoke with a guy that used an old iron skillet, cut the bottom out and the handle off, and then soldered it inside the bell. I didn't like putting things inside my bell so I opted for placing things on the outside.

In all the stuff we tried, others could notice a definite difference when we played behind a screen with the same instrument. We also noticed that the added mass tended to give mirafones in particular (I assume because of that enormously long, thin-walled bell), a little more centered tone, a little more volume before they "fracked" and a little more stability above the staff. Duct tape works whether on the inside or outside of the bell, but I had better luck with a leather belt that I wrapped around the bell twice and fastened with velcro (about half way up) and later wrapped a flexible magnet in black gabberdine fastened with velcro. (Mr. Keene didn't like my leather belt, especially after I told him I was going for that "Willie Nelson look" when he asked about it.)

We were not the only ones to experiment with adding mass to bells. For a short time, Mienl Weston marketed a BBb tuba with a detachable ring made of laquered brass and lined with cork that did exactly the same thing. We tried to buy just the ring but they wouldn't sell it without the tuba.

I had forgotten about this. Thanks.

Bob Brewer
Fort Collins, CO

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