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Flugel characterists and bore size?



 
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Dan H
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:57 pm    Post subject: Flugel characterists and bore size? Reply with quote

For those of you who have played on a larger bore flugel and a smaller bore flugel, what are your opinions on the sound and playing characteristcs inherent to each?

I have played on a "medium bore" Yamaha 731 for 20 years and have never had an opportunity to really try anything else (and maybe not a need). I have always been very happy with the 731. However, having been reading all the flugel discussion of late I am wanting to try other horns and see what they offer- what I may be missing. Unfortunately, there are no dealers around here who stock flugels to try.

What are your thoughts on small bore compared to large bore flugels?

Do you find you prefer to match a large bore trumpet to a larger bore flugel? Smaller bore trumpet to smaller bore flugel? Does that matter at all? Personal preference?

Thanks for any helpful insight.

Dan
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Robert Rowe
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I play several Fleugelhorns.

Many different bore-sizes ... I don't really concern myself with bore-size.

And ... YES different mouthpieces apply to different horns; ... as far as getting the sound I want.

The "classic" Fleugel sound, I can get with a vintage F. Besson (Paris), with a 'no-name' mouthpiece that came with the horn.

The most enigmatic Fleugel I have, is the notorious Martin Fleugelhorn, which most players dismiss as not even being a Fleugel.

I have had a 'love-hate' relationship with this horn. Have spent years experimenting with different mouthpieces. I think (?) I'm there, now.


BTW -- The F. Besson is a .413" (I think?). The Martin is a .468" bore.



Robert
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Last edited by Robert Rowe on Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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tom turner
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Horn makers design horns that will play as well as possible, no matter what the bore is. Thus, a fluglehorn made to work ok with a trumpet valve body CAN be made. On the other hand, through the years we've arrived at certain wraps that seem to have nearly universal acceptance as the epitome of design for our various musical instruments.

For fluglehorns, this means the original wraps developed by the French Besson company and by the French Couesnon company many years ago. The wraps look nearly identical and the bores worked out best by being "small" (.415-.420 or so). What that bore size? Only because that worked best! Why a bigger bore on a trumpet? For the same reason!

Now this doesn't mean one can't make a "small bore" trumpet or a "large bore" fluglehorn. Many are made this way, and many folks like 'em. It is the SUM of all the design parts and concepts, not the bore alone, that determines how a horn plays.

The 631/731 flugles are spin offs of the F. Besson/Couesnon wraps, albiet with a little larger bore. If you are happy with your horn, don't worry about it.

I will warn you though . . . playing some of the finer small bore flugles today can open your eyes to what a flugle can be. The Flip Oakes Wild Thing and the Kanstul 1525 come immediately to mind.

BTW, rare are the mom and pop companies today that will stock flugles for folks to A vs. B. It is expensive to keep stock on hand that isn't in super-high demand. PLUS . . . so many people want to try 'em at their local mom and pop and then buy 'em at discount somewhere else. Trumpet players are our worst enemies in the downfall of the local music store business.
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Robert Rowe
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BTW -- My Trumpet "main-squeeze" is a Martin Large-Bore, at .468".

... And, my favorite Fleug is the Martin, in the same .468" bore.

So, YES, I seem to favor the same ... going from Trumpet to Fleugel.



Robert
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royjohn
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:38 pm    Post subject: Flugel characteristics and bore size? Reply with quote

Hi Dan,

I have three flugels, a small bore Elkhardt (0.420") which is a Couesnon stencil, a large bore Getzen four valve Eterna (0.460") and an Olds Super Star that is somewhere in the middle (0.438"). I like all three. The Elkhardt has what I would call a light, mellow sound, while the Getzen is big, dark and almost trombone-like. The Olds is somewhere in between, maybe more like the Elkhardt than the Getzen. I play all three with a Stork 1.5FL that is large and deep. Maybe some experimentation would tell you whether there is another flugel that you would like better than what you have.
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Trumpets: 1928 Holton Llewellyn Model, 1957 Holton 51LB, 2010 Custom C by Bill Jones, 2011 Custom D/Eb by Bill Jones
Flugels: 1975 Olds Superstar, 1970's Elkhardt, 1970's Getzen 4 valve
Cornet: 1970's Yamaha YCR-233S . . . and others . . .
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Turkle
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I play a Yamaha 231 flugel, which is a .445 bore. Everyone I've given it to to play has remarked that it plays better than theirs - it's won out over 1525s, Shews, etc. Ha! Not bad for a $500 total investment.

It's had a valve rebuild, alignment, and had the 1st and 3rd slides modified to be tunable.

Maybe this one is a diamond in the rough but man is it a great instrument. I wouldn't trade it for any other. So easy to play and a great sound. It's not too "fluffy," and has an attitude about it.

I personally find small bore flugels quite stuffy, and I just don't like the ultra-fluffy sound a lot of those small-bore flugels give ya. 1525 especially. If that's your thing, then power to you, and a lot of people sound REALLY great on 'em, but I like the smaller-belled, more open flugels better. They 'cut through' a band a bit better, and I find their sound more malleable. To each their own. (I've spent extensive time playing friends' 1525, 6310, a Benge, a Bach, a NYTC copper flugel, and others, and still prefer mine).

I play the medium-bore 8310z trumpet and have no trouble at all doubling to the .445 flugel.
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bilboinsa
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like Tom's points about the parts & whole thing. Mr. Schilke said much the same thing in discussing the various bore sizes that his horns used---it is almost a byproduct of the design, and not a design aspect to improve "flow" through the horn.

I may have an overly simplistic view about bore sizes. First, and let's be real, we are sometimes speaking about hundredths or even thousandths of an inch when some players are saying they prefer one over the other. When you know that the opening in the mouthpiece is substantially smaller than any bore of the instrument, then I don't see how such a quasi-microscopic difference in a diameter of a tube--through which a compressible gas is fed (at a VERY slow rate and in very small volume, I might add) can actually be felt by the player. There may be a measurable difference is the sonic "fingerprint" of the horn--I don't know if that can actually be measured, but somewhere there is probably a 4000K Sonic Spectrum Analysis machine that can do it.

I would really like to see a double-blind study to determine the level of perception of different bore sizes....
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shofarguy
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flugelhorn are very sensitive instruments, meaning that the design is critical and its parameters are small. It is also sensitive in the extreme to mouthpiece changes. For instance, I would agree with Turkle above that my first flugelhorn (a small bore Kanstul Chicago 1025) was a bit stuffy. It was better than some other comparable horns, but I still felt like I had to hold my breath to play it properly. But when I changed from the stock mouthpiece with a #18 bore to a Flip Oakes WT mouthpiece with a #13 bore, My flugelhorn transformed into an easy, playable instrument with much better response and tone.

On the other hand, I have played probably 4 different Benge 5X flugelhorn over the years. They got their best sound by using a much more trumpet-like Bach 1-1/2CFL. Why the drastic difference? The Benge is a .460" bore and the bell is enormous! Zig has been reported as saying, concerning the 5X, "That bell was just to d*#@ big!"

Byron Autrey was enlisted in the 1980s by Zig to refine the Benge designs and solve the intonation problems. When I was talking regularly to Byron a couple of years ago, he told me that he discovered a mathematical formula, or rather a dimensional map for the bell branch. Along the overall length of the horn, certain diameters have to occur in certain places. If they are wrong, the horn plays out of tune with itself. If they are right, the horn plays well. So, I suspect that the branch determines the range of bore size and the extent of bell taper that can be used and still get a good result.

This, I believe, is why modern Flugelhorn stay within a fairly narrow set of design parameters. At this time, "American" style horns use a slightly larger bell, and maybe bore, than the classic French style horns, but there are no large bore horns being designed today, from what I can tell.

Brian
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Tony Scodwell
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:53 am    Post subject: Flugels and bores Reply with quote

Freddie Hubbard sounded amazing on his Getzen with its .460 bore. Art Farmer was equally amazing with a .413 bore Besson. Maybe it is the player afterall. I lean towards the French style configuration with a smaller bore and have always felt a flugel deserves to be played like a separate instrument apart from the trumpet. Some really good trumpet players feel the need to "attack" the flugel in the same manner as they approach the trumpet and might like the larger bore flugels better. In practice [like picking it up cold and playing unisons with a cold flute] the smaller bore flugels do have the edge for me. The post that referred to the branch dimensions needing to be correct is spot on. I have also had the pleasure of Byron's company many times and have traded our experiences with this design feature. You have no idea how critical this was in finalizing the tuning branch on my own Scodwell USA flugels and utilizing the "French" style valves is what I feel constitutes the better flugelhorn design. Yes, it's very easy to make a flugel with horizontal trumpet valves that plays well [after Yamaha introduced their student flugel I put the first Getzen Capri with similar valves together in the early sixties] but similarities to fine champagne occur in that the degrees of improvement come in small increments with perhaps the price charged not seeming to relate. It's very nice to have such a wide variety of flugel choices available to suit our needs though.
Tony Scodwell
Scodwell USA Trumpets and Flugelhorns available only from Washington Music Center, call Lee Walkowich at 301.946.8808
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Jumel
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan,
I'll share my experience in going from owning my first Flugelhorn (a .460 Getzen 700-series they're not manufacturing now) to the restored small bore Couesnon I own.

This thread already has a lot of great data posted by guys with huge experience, so I'll stick to what I went through over the course of a year to find the sound I had in my head all along. Yes, I found the two bore size flugels sounded and responded a little different. ...and the larger bore projected better, suits its own purpose.

The Getzen was a beautifully built horn, and the blow was incredibly easy due to its overall design and I presume the larger bore. It was very easy to switch back-forth between trumpet and flugel. Like others mentioned, I liked playing it best with a Bach mouthpiece as it was very flexible and it still had a really big, dark sound. intonation was better with a deeper, larger bore mouthpiece though. That big, dark sound wasn't what I had in my head though... after spending a year playing all the flugels I could find I sold it and bought what I wanted. I was living in Virginia at the time and had the opportunity to go to stores like Washington Music Center who has an extensive stock in new/used and what a difference the play testing makes! I also had the chance to go to the Kanstul factory in California while on vacation, every Flugel I tried there was superb, the Signature model was amazing, but I preferred the smaller Chicago style... again, for personal reasons. I went eventually with the Couesnon just because I found I prefer the lighter, more airey sound of the french flugels in the style of the Couesnon. Many others were close to that with better mechanical qualities out of the box.

What Brian said about the mouthpiece selection is so true. On my small bore Couesnon I can play a Bach mouthpiece (I have a GR leadpipe which accepts Bach taper), but the Bach gets some edge with a lot of air and starts to feel very restrictive. The Curry FL suited my playing style and the sound I wanted much better. I haven't tried the Flip Oakes mouthpiece yet, but I did for C trumpet and what I'll say is I've never seen someone with such great customer service. Nobody calls you over a mouthpiece order, but Flip did.

Not sure you'll find those other options more appealing than the Yamaha you've got, but play testing is free! Regards, Mel

I forgot to comment on one of your questions so will add this - I have a Large bore C trumpet, ML and Med bore trumpets, large bore cornet, and small bore Flugel. It matter not, I switch back-forth based on need and it doesn't hinder my performance (reference the design statements Tom made). What I do find is an issue is if I try to use my sweet sounding Med bore 38-Strad in an orchestra setting where I push it too far for volume, then my endurance (and volume) suffer.


Last edited by Jumel on Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:11 am; edited 2 times in total
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connicalman
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bilboinsa wrote:
I really like Tom's points about the parts & whole thing. Mr. Schilke said much the same thing in discussing the various bore sizes that his horns used---it is almost a byproduct of the design, and not a design aspect to improve "flow" through the horn.

I may have an overly simplistic view about bore sizes. First, and let's be real, we are sometimes speaking about hundredths or even thousandths of an inch when some players are saying they prefer one over the other. When you know that the opening in the mouthpiece is substantially smaller than any bore of the instrument, then I don't see how such a quasi-microscopic difference in a diameter of a tube--through which a compressible gas is fed (at a VERY slow rate and in very small volume, I might add) can actually be felt by the player. There may be a measurable difference is the sonic "fingerprint" of the horn--I don't know if that can actually be measured, but somewhere there is probably a 4000K Sonic Spectrum Analysis machine that can do it.

I would really like to see a double-blind study to determine the level of perception of different bore sizes....


I'm with you on this, and can't be sure I'm feeling any difference with the same mpc on different horns. But change the flow by changing the mpc, and all bets are off. Or, if you will, the game is afoot. So I put in bold the points most relevant to my response, and would add that the volume rate of flow through a mpc/horn set-up does indeed affect the resonance. To wit, the Wick 4B that made my Jupiter 520 open up was very easy on my chops, but put it in the Connie 28A and I was soon toast.
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