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Why would two examples of the same model play differently?


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mm55
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

shofarguy wrote:
Come on.

Come on. There is a great deal to understand about machining and assembly tolerances that can be understood, and give insight into how apparently "identical" instruments can be so different. That can be understood quite well, without first understanding how materials vary.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is deeper than materials and it is deeper than tolerances and it is deeper than fit and finish.

A trumpet is made by taking a sheet of brass and cutting it to shape. Let us assume that the brass sheet is exactly the same as every other brass sheet used for this purpose, although it isnt. And then let us assume that the cutting to shape is identical in every dimension to every other cut sheet although it isnt.

As soon as the sheet is folded and struck by the 2000 hammer blows needed to dress it to shape huge variance is introduced. As the hammer blows are struck differences in thickness start happening. And then in order to not tear the sheet as it is worked it must be annealed to soften it.

This annealing followed by hammering followed by annealing followed by hammering causes infinite tiny variations in thickness hardness and resonant behavior in the material.

Bach themselves state that the variations of thickness and hardness contribute to the Bach secret sauce. Yamaha state that the way they anneal the brass contributes to the unique Yamaha sound.

In two bells on identical instruments on an assembly line in Bach or Yamaha or any other manufacturers shop, infinite variability exists in wall thickness hardness and resonant behavior.

It could be argued with justification that every bell made has 2000 differences from every other bell that has ever been made.

I am surprised quite frankly how similar they sound given the immense challenges of manufacture.
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Fransam44
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wish I knew. I have two Canadian Brass horns that are identical in all but serial number and one played great until I took out the bell and the second has been unequal to the task. I had always considered myself an average trumpet player who would not be able to tell the difference. I hope this is a sign that I have made it into the "good" from the "average". Moved on to my B$S Challenger II and like it.
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shofarguy
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The causes aren't one thing and not another, they all contribute. Material differences matter. Working differences matter. Assembly differences matter. It all matters.

I have sat in a practice room with a bin full of "identical" slides to fit my 1976 Benge 5X, trying to find a set of .468" slides that worked well together. Changing between just two identical first valves slides made very a noticeable difference. Finding a trio of slides that worked together resulted in a fine playing and sounding horn. Mis-matching resulted in a trumpet that sounded and felt "confused."
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Yamahaguy
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going with the human factor...especially with handmade instruments!
I've played computer machined 'identical' mouthpieces that were far from the same..
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trickg
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bflatman wrote:
It is deeper than materials and it is deeper than tolerances and it is deeper than fit and finish.

A trumpet is made by taking a sheet of brass and cutting it to shape. Let us assume that the brass sheet is exactly the same as every other brass sheet used for this purpose, although it isnt. And then let us assume that the cutting to shape is identical in every dimension to every other cut sheet although it isnt.

As soon as the sheet is folded and struck by the 2000 hammer blows needed to dress it to shape huge variance is introduced. As the hammer blows are struck differences in thickness start happening. And then in order to not tear the sheet as it is worked it must be annealed to soften it.

This annealing followed by hammering followed by annealing followed by hammering causes infinite tiny variations in thickness hardness and resonant behavior in the material.

Bach themselves state that the variations of thickness and hardness contribute to the Bach secret sauce. Yamaha state that the way they anneal the brass contributes to the unique Yamaha sound.

In two bells on identical instruments on an assembly line in Bach or Yamaha or any other manufacturers shop, infinite variability exists in wall thickness hardness and resonant behavior.

It could be argued with justification that every bell made has 2000 differences from every other bell that has ever been made.

I am surprised quite frankly how similar they sound given the immense challenges of manufacture.

How does this apply to Schilke bells that are electrolytically formed?
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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shofarguy wrote:
The causes aren't one thing and not another, they all contribute. Material differences matter. Working differences matter. Assembly differences matter. It all matters.

I have sat in a practice room with a bin full of "identical" slides to fit my 1976 Benge 5X, trying to find a set of .468" slides that worked well together. Changing between just two identical first valves slides made very a noticeable difference. Finding a trio of slides that worked together resulted in a fine playing and sounding horn. Mis-matching resulted in a trumpet that sounded and felt "confused."


This is what I do now to make a horn better - go through different tuning crooks until I find the magic. Can't be measured or fathomed - the "X-factor."
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HERMOKIWI
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Granted that two "identical" horns are never purely 100% identical, on what consistent objective basis is one unit of a horn defined as "great" while another unit of the same horn is defined as "not so great"?

Is this just a matter of personal preference where one person's "great" example is another person's "not so great" example and vice versa?

I'm reminded of the riddle: What do you get when two trumpet players evaluate the same horn? (Answer: Three opinions). Where in the evaluation process does objective criteria stop and opinion begin?

What a player wants in a trumpet can be highly personal. It seems that an "improvement" to one player could be a "detriment" to another player. For example, I've read that Rafael Mendez preferred "loose" valves. "Loose" valves would be considered a manufacturing defect or a symptom of a needed valve rebuild by some players. So it would seem that a horn Mendez would have considered "great" would have been considered "not so great" by some players.

It seems to me that there is a lot of effort made to "tweak" horns but "tweaking" does not necessarily result in changes which are defined by all players as "improvements." Manufacturing differences might result in playing differences but whether those playing differences make a horn "good" or "bad" seems to be based more on widely varying opinion and less on consistent objective criteria. It seems more appropriate to say "I like this one better than that other one" than to say "this one is good and that other one is bad."

At the end of the day a great player will sound great on any quality horn in good working condition. Is the effort to classify a horn as "bad" just an excuse to blame the horn for the player's own shortcomings?
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Yamahaguy
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HERMOKIWI wrote:
Is this just a matter of personal preference where one person's "great" example is another person's "not so great" example and vice versa?
Absolutely! I've done plenty of gigs where another guy in the section wants to try my horn. After playing many high quality trumpets, there are some that just don't work for me...and most of the time the other players don't like mine (good!)

Is this to say they are 'bad?'- of course not, but I'm also a big believer in matching mp/bb to horn (more on this later).

Quote:
Is the effort to classify a horn as "bad" just an excuse to blame the horn for the player's own shortcomings?
Another good question, Herm...my first reaction was yes! (It's always the equipment right?)

Then again, I was thinking is the ability to quickly adjust to any instrument an advanced skill that can be learned? Perhaps...

But no! If given enough time/practice and really 'get used' to a horn, I think the make (to an extent) doesn't matter.

However, I also believe there is something Zen about it...we all gravitate to
one or more manufacturers rather than others. Something just FEELS right!
And this is why we sound our best on the certain horns we choose.
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shofarguy
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HERMOKIWI wrote:
Granted that two "identical" horns are never purely 100% identical, on what consistent objective basis is one unit of a horn defined as "great" while another unit of the same horn is defined as "not so great"?

Is this just a matter of personal preference where one person's "great" example is another person's "not so great" example and vice versa?

I'm reminded of the riddle: What do you get when two trumpet players evaluate the same horn? (Answer: Three opinions). Where in the evaluation process does objective criteria stop and opinion begin?

What a player wants in a trumpet can be highly personal. It seems that an "improvement" to one player could be a "detriment" to another player. For example, I've read that Rafael Mendez preferred "loose" valves. "Loose" valves would be considered a manufacturing defect or a symptom of a needed valve rebuild by some players. So it would seem that a horn Mendez would have considered "great" would have been considered "not so great" by some players.

It seems to me that there is a lot of effort made to "tweak" horns but "tweaking" does not necessarily result in changes which are defined by all players as "improvements." Manufacturing differences might result in playing differences but whether those playing differences make a horn "good" or "bad" seems to be based more on widely varying opinion and less on consistent objective criteria. It seems more appropriate to say "I like this one better than that other one" than to say "this one is good and that other one is bad."

At the end of the day a great player will sound great on any quality horn in good working condition. Is the effort to classify a horn as "bad" just an excuse to blame the horn for the player's own shortcomings?


In some ways, I agree, but having spent time in a few shops testing parts, horns and mouthpieces I find there are a some things that make one horn play better (no matter who is playing it) and another miss the mark.


The first is internal stress. I've seen this in individual parts and in an assembly. What stress does is hinder the horns ability to land notes with ease. The horn wants to "skate" off the chosen note or plays that note with a different timbre that sounds strained. The scale is not consistent or predictable in sound, response or even intonation.

The second is mismatched parts. I had the chance to hang with Harry Kim at a practice room in Hollywood with my friend a few years ago. He had his Benge CG and my friend had the CG his grandfather had given him and Zig Kanstul had restored. Harry spent maybe an hour comparing these two trumpets. At one point, he switched tuning slides. Everyone that was in that room could hear that both trumpets were not playing as good as they did with their own slides. It was obvious.

The third is less quantifiable and less believable, but still true. Somehow, when slide crooks are formed, a direction of flow is established. The part will play better in one position compared to how it plays when flipped end-for-end. How can this be?? I don't know, but I've experienced it in probably 3 out of 4 horns I've tried. Flipping just the 2nd valve slide can make a very noticeable difference how the horn responds. I've often wondered if there are a lot of horns out there that would play much better if the tuning slide crook were flipped. Byron Autrey was the first person to have alerted me to this phenomenon.

Then, there's off target valve ports. Especially in older horns made before CNC machines, certain valve sets didn't turn out well and too many of the ports in the pistons didn't match up with those in the valve casings. This kind of obstruction can make a horn play out of tune and with inconsistent timbre across its scale.
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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Hermokiwi:
Sure, it's a subjective opinion, and different players like different types of blow, tone quality, etc., but some trumpets play better than others, that I know for sure. When you've played hundreds of them, you find some that do stand out. It might even not be a sound I like, but the response is immediate with a good instrument.
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HERMOKIWI
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

shofarguy wrote:
In some ways, I agree, but having spent time in a few shops testing parts, horns and mouthpieces I find there are a some things that make one horn play better (no matter who is playing it) and another miss the mark.

The first is internal stress. I've seen this in individual parts and in an assembly. What stress does is hinder the horns ability to land notes with ease. The horn wants to "skate" off the chosen note or plays that note with a different timbre that sounds strained. The scale is not consistent or predictable in sound, response or even intonation.

The second is mismatched parts. I had the chance to hang with Harry Kim at a practice room in Hollywood with my friend a few years ago. He had his Benge CG and my friend had the CG his grandfather had given him and Zig Kanstul had restored. Harry spent maybe an hour comparing these two trumpets. At one point, he switched tuning slides. Everyone that was in that room could hear that both trumpets were not playing as good as they did with their own slides. It was obvious.

The third is less quantifiable and less believable, but still true. Somehow, when slide crooks are formed, a direction of flow is established. The part will play better in one position compared to how it plays when flipped end-for-end. How can this be?? I don't know, but I've experienced it in probably 3 out of 4 horns I've tried. Flipping just the 2nd valve slide can make a very noticeable difference how the horn responds. I've often wondered if there are a lot of horns out there that would play much better if the tuning slide crook were flipped. Byron Autrey was the first person to have alerted me to this phenomenon.

Then, there's off target valve ports. Especially in older horns made before CNC machines, certain valve sets didn't turn out well and too many of the ports in the pistons didn't match up with those in the valve casings. This kind of obstruction can make a horn play out of tune and with inconsistent timbre across its scale.


I have a few questions about internal stress: (1) How does one objectively determine if there is excessive internal stress within a particular horn? (2) How does one objectively determine exactly where excessive internal stress exists within a particular horn? (3) What is the objective standard of measurement for internal stress and at what point is internal stress deemed "excessive"? (4) How do you know that excessive internal stress causes the symptoms you list and that these symptoms are not being caused in whole or in part by other factors including, but not limited to, player deficiencies?

Regarding mismatched parts: Is a "mismatched part" a part which was included on a particular example of a horn in error or is a mismatched part a part included on every example of the horn that is a poor design for the horn? The OP's question relates to different units of a horn which are intended by the manufacturer to be identical in materials, parts and design. If a part is a poor design for a horn but is included on every unit then the "mismatch" would affect every unit and would theoretically compromise performance in a similar manner on each unit. How, instead, would the mismatched part compromise one unit more than another?

Regarding flipping slides over: (1) Is there any documented scientific and objective proof of this? (2) Assuming there is documented scientific and objective proof, what is the standard of measurement in terms of cause and effect and what is the measured frequency with which this occurs?

Regarding alignment of valve ports: Any change to the alignment of the ports changes something about the way a horn plays. That being said, what is the objective standard of measurement of misalignment which creates the symptoms you've listed for each and every player? There is no guarantee that a particular player will consider a valve alignment to improve his or her horn, that the changes created by the valve alignment will be necessarily be regarded as favorable by the particular player. Mendez liked comparatively leaky valves. Others would find leaky valves to be a deficiency.

I have over 50 horns in my collection. They were purchased at random. They all play great when I'm playing great. They all play poorly when I'm playing poorly. Maybe I'm not a very discerning player. Maybe they are all "bad" horns but, to me, there's nothing wrong with any of them that can't be improved by being a better player. A great player would sound great on any of them.

I think too much effort is directed to blaming the horn for deficiencies in skill.
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shofarguy
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HERMOKIWI,

You cited your own horns as being fine horns, but require scientific measurement from me. That seems like a double standard.

The term "mis-matched," as I used it isn't about putting the wrong part on a horn. It is about putting parts together that don't cooperate well together. This is what makes Scodwell-built horns unique. Tony takes the time to choose from a bin of parts a collection that is complimentary and gives a settled feel and unified sound to the instrument. I've done a similar thing myself with NOS Benge parts. Some valve slides contributed to a certain unified sound, while others brought a different timbre that didn't fit with the whole. The example I cited above was about two trumpets of the same make, model and vintage. Each played well, but suffered when their slides were exchanged. Harry played them both and responded negatively, but the three of us who were there could hear his struggle to play accurately and articulately with each trumpet. I don't know why, but it was so.

On stress: I was interested in trying a #1 J-slide for my original Wild Thing. I was at Flip's shop when he took one out of his stock bin and set about reaming the top and bottom tube joints (as he does with every horn or part he sells) to size them to .470". One of the tubes was undersized enough that his ream got stuck in the slide. He wrestled with it with a fair amount of twisting force before he got it off. I took the slide home and began to use it. I could not play A above the staff with that slide. It wouldn't play it for me. Later, Flip gave me another identical slide for my birthday which plays wonderfully in every WT trumpet I've tried with it.

I another instance, I had a UMI 3X+ for a time to clean and polish it. The lead pipe was out of line with the slide enough that one had to deflect it to get the slide into the receiver. The horn felt stiff in its response, as a result. Other horns that have had similar misalignments also had a stiff feel. When that alignment was restored, the horn felt more relaxed and responsive.

It's fine with me if you feel your collection of horns all play well. I'm not writing in those terms. I'm writing about how "identical" horns can end up feeling and playing differently and how some are better instruments than others.

Btw, I still have yet to meet any scientific measuring instrument that is capable of discerning more than one or two aspects of anything. None have the broad capability to identify minuscule, complex differences in a natural context the way a trained human ear, eye or finger can.
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lipshurt
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

here are the main reasons variation:

1) where the leadpipe is cut on the mandrel, which varies quite a bit pipe to pipe, and is mitigated somewhat by setting the venturi size after final assembly.

2) stress on parts, which is happens in the soldering/assembly process. This is why swapping tuning slides changes things drastically. The tuning slide is soldered along with the whole horn. Same with the other slides. They are soldered while being held by the other parts. The degree of alignment determines how much and where the stresses are. After assembly the slides need to get worked in, which mitigates misalignments.

3) stresses at bracing points. Typically the horn is held in a jig which sets up good alignment of the tubes. The jig has to hoold the horn pretty tight, and at the brace points there can be a LOT of stress. Especially with a "Z" brace. If the main braces are a 3 piece, the brace floats into and unstressed state of equilibrium. If you have a "dog"horn that just does not play that good, try heating the main solder points. You will hear some pretty loud popping sounds. You might even see a Z brace pop off far enough to slip a pencil between the parts. In the valve cluster the stresses get mitigated by the silver soldering process which is also an annealing process. (gets red hot and then cools)

4) the way your mouthpiece fits into the receiver. A tiny variation in the receiver is huge. If the receiver is moved to "set the gap" the geometry is whacked inside. The receiver need to but up to the pipe. Moving it makes for two gaps and it might work but it's a crapshoot at best. This is true for horns like bach and yamaha where the receiver butts up to the pipe. I cant off the top of my head think of a setup where the receiver does NOT butt up, but it might possible to set something like that up. Not conn, not blackburn, not benge, not selmer, not king, etc.

Things like raw material variation, bell hammering and spinning, "all pieces of metal are different" etc, make nowhere NEAR as much dif as the other stuff.
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HERMOKIWI
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marty Reisman was a three time U.S. singles champion in table tennis and won over twenty national and international championships in his career. He authored a book entitled "The Money Player: The Confessions of America's Greatest Table Tennis Champion and Hustler." I read the book decades ago but still remember Reisman's description of (as I recall) five time world champion Victor Barna (who Reisman played many times). He said that before a match Barna would inspect maybe 100 or more table tennis balls before he found one "worthy of him" that he would agree to play with. Apparently Barna saw and could discern differences in table tennis balls, or at least he thought he could, in spite of the fact that there's hardly a more uniform and mundane product than a table tennis ball.

We hear commentary here on TH about how someone tried a quantity of the same model horn and some were great, some were OK and some were bad. That's not an objective pronouncement. Without consistent quantitative and objective standards compared to quantitative and objective measurements it's just someone's opinion, sort of like Victor Barna liking one table tennis ball better than another based on some subjective observation or subjective feeling.

Contrary to shofarguy's assertion, I never said that all the horns in my collection are great horns. I said that how "great" they are from day to day depends on how "great" I'm playing at that particular moment (which means that none of them can be automatically classified as "great" - I don't know if they're "great" horns or not - they all are capable of playing most of the notes Mozart used - does that make them "great"??? - beats me).

Since they were purchased at random then statistically there must be some "good" horns and some "bad" horns and horns in between so I would fully expect different players to have widely differing opinions on how "great" or "not great" or "downright bad" any of my horns are. That being said, they all seem OK to me, at least when I'm playing well.

A "bad" horn to one person may be a "good" horn to another person just as a "bad" table tennis ball to Victor Barna may be a "good" table tennis ball to other players. Absent a clear, unequivocal and unambiguous defect all players would notice and agree on there is a lot of subjective space in which to evaluate the quality of a horn.

I'm of the "just pick it up and play it" school. I'm not into gadgets, gimmicks or complex analysis. I've never played a trumpet in good working order that I didn't think was OK. As I said in my previous post, maybe I'm not discerning enough. For those who can discern differences by such things as flipping slides, that's quite amazing and more power to them. I just can't imagine driving myself crazy analyzing things like this but I understand others do this as a matter of course. That's why I've said for years that psychiatrists owe a debt of gratitude to trumpet players (and, apparently, some table tennis players) for keeping them in business.
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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"We hear commentary here on TH about how someone tried a quantity of the same model horn and some were great, some were OK and some were bad. That's not an objective pronouncement."

True, but if you play well enough, there are differences to be discerned. I'm not making any commentary on anyone's ability to play, but I HAVE spent a lot of time playing lots of trumpets. I have some customers (people who make their living playing) who notice differences in the way horns play that are beyond my abilities to detect. That's just an observed effect, but it's real in my experience.
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LittleRusty
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lionel,

Do you a lot of the horns that come through your shop? For anyone who hasnít visited the shop always has a bunch of used horns on sale.

Russ
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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LittleRusty wrote:
Lionel,

Do you a lot of the horns that come through your shop? For anyone who hasnít visited the shop always has a bunch of used horns on sale.

Russ


I 'm guessing that you're asking that I play the horns that come through the shop? Sometimes, yes. There are also lots of repair jobs, all of which I play test after repair. There are also personal experiments, which can be quite time-consuming, as a standard has to be met, i.e., I have to be able to play it on a gig!

Yeah, lots of horns, always.
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