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Heavy Trim, bottom caps, and mouthpiece booster questions

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Joined: 09 Apr 2023
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2024 6:08 pm    Post subject: Heavy Trim, bottom caps, and mouthpiece booster questions Reply with quote

Hey y'all, wanted to crowd source some knowlegde on the affects and experience you've had with heavy trim, heavy bottom caps, and mouthpiece boosters.

I'm playing a Jupiter XO 1602-LTR with the C shaped tuning slide and the standard weight bottom caps and I wanted to know what affect if any you've experienced. Tuning, Feedback, Projection, Tone, Aesthetics?

Additionally I've seen people using the KGU trim kits and boosters and I've been wanting to try them on my Bb and flugel but the prices are pretty steep for experimentations sake. Wondering the same things as above(tuning etc)

Any information would be greatly appreciated!

Bb: Jupiter XO 1602 LTR w/ Bach 1.5c
Flugel: Yamaha YFH-8310ZIIS
Picc: Benge USA #5
Hector Torres
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2024 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple random observations on adding weight.

My Bach has a Bach heavy cap on 3. To me this makes the slots just a smidge tighter. Any other combination (or heavy caps on 1,2, and 3) tighten up the horn too much. Been playing like this for about 10 years now and see no need to change.

My flugel has B&S heavy caps on all three valves. I find it nicer that way - the slots are better.

Played Monette for about 5 years before switching to AR. Only liked the LT blank, anything heavier didn’t add to the sound or anything, just (again) tightened up the horn and made it harder to play. Would be interesting to try out the XLT blank.

Besides Monette I have experimented with GR and Frate pieces (their regular weight models) and one recurring thing that I find is that a mouthpiece that is slightly top heavy around the rim and the cup helps me lock in the notes better.

The lightweight ARs are lighter and much more agile; the Frate and GRs are around 10 g heavier than the ARs and to me this seems to make a difference. So if I need agility or „bite“ I use my AR on the Bach or Conn and if I need a more legit behavior with very precise slots I use the Frate on my Schmidt rotary.

My Bach has a heavy gold brass bell and that warms up the sound and tightens the focus without becoming obnoxious. Not your average commercial horn but it does orchestral and commercial really well.

Generally I have found that a heavy instrument needs to be designed to be heavy. Just adding mass is pretty pointless; the KGU stuff seems way over the top to me — I’d suspect you’d get a completely different horn (and based on my experience I’d presume it will be harder to play than the original). Too much mass on a horn that’s not designed that way probably won’t work out.

That’s my „heavy“ contribution
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Andy Cooper
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2024 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Brassnose - want a heavy horn, buy a horn that is designed that way.

I've had only one success with adding massive weight - to a King .458 student cornet. Mouthpiece weight, Ccaps, harmonic stabilizers etc. Turned the cornet into a super horn - in the practice room. I tried to play it in a concert band and the lack of feedback made it impossible to use. Maybe a "tone reflector" would have fixed the problem.

I sometimes add a little weight to a mouthpiece or a washer in the 3rd valve bottom cap but that's about it. Now distribution of the bottom valve cap weight is a different story. In the mid 50's, Conn used bottom valve caps that extended above the casing threads. It changed the feel a good bit.

The Denis Wick Tone collar might be worth experimenting with along with the Bach Tone ring (if it will fit your trumpet). Subtle addition of weights seems to be more useful.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2024 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just adding heavy accessories to try and bulk-up a horn is unlikely to produce good results. As was stated above, better to buy a heavy horn from the start.

That being said, targeted placement of mass can have significant effects, such as reshaping the spectral distribution map, or adding inertia to an unstable partial, or adding mass to a mouthpiece or receiver to dampen high frequencies, etc. But these are relatively small masses precisely placed for a purpose, not just adding mass.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2024 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simple inexpensive tests can be done by using a rubber o-ring (or dime, washer, etc.) in the bottom valve caps - try various locations.

I use o-rings and think they have a good effect.

My related belief is that valve alignment is the 'forgotten' opportunity for improving sound quality. Again, a simple test is to play all the various valve combinations and carefully listen if any produce a noticeably less desired 'tone quality' - hopefully all combinations sound good, but if any are really less good then an alignment might help.
Most Important Note ? - the next one !
KNOW (see) what the next note is BEFORE you have to play it.
PLAY the next note 'on time' and 'in rhythm'.
Oh ya, watch the conductor - they set what is 'on time'.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2024 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven’t experimented with mouthpiece weights, so I can’t comment on that part.

As far as trim kits, I typically experience greater horn stability in exchange for resonance when adding weight. A lot of times adding a full, heavy trim kit can be too extreme and have negative effects on the sound and playability.

If you want to have added note stability without sacrificing much of the horn’s resonance, try adding weight only to the 3rd valve bottom cap. For whatever reason that area seems to handle the extra weight the best.

On my horn, I’ve found that standard, lightweight trim feels loose and vibrant. I can feel and hear more higher frequencies in my tone.

A medium weight trim gives me just the right amount of extra note stability and cuts down a bit of the harshness in my upper register. This feels almost the same as having a heavy bottom cap on the 3rd valve only. The medium kit is maybe a tiny bit more stable, versus one heavy bottom cap which keeps the horn more resonant.

The heavy trim kit makes the horn feel tighter and super locked in, but the tone will be noticeably less resonant and warmer, which could be a good thing depending on what kind of sound you’re going for.
Thane Performing Artist
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2024 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only horn I really tried this with was my Bach. The heavy bottom caps on the market 10 years ago are not what they are today - there are many more options now. The Bach kit deadened the sound, to my ears, a little too much. The slots were tighter, but I didn’t use them for that purpose - I wanted a darker tone.

I found the same with mouthpiece boosters (and, basically, megatone/heavy mouthpieces). The additional mark here, for me, was that I didn’t find them more efficient, I found them harder to play. I was working too much for very little gain.

I’ve also tried the bell ring attachment.

These all had their effects, but none I particularly enjoyed. And, I found that after a day or two, I went back to sounding like me, regardless.

That said, once I made the switch to primarily Stomvi trumpets, I’ve found the maxi clappers to be phenomenal additions. They’re not very heavy, but the dynamic range is improved, projection is better, and the harmonics are stronger. Changing out the plastic valve guides for the dynasound guides shored up the slotting for minuscule effort.

So, for whatever my opinion is worth, for the horns I’ve played I don’t find heavy kits/additions particularly useful. They work great for others, if recorded video is to be believed. Most trumpeters I know don’t use them. I don’t know that anyone cares what your horn looks like outside of high school, honestly. Though I’ve had a few questions about the maxi clappers, because they do look odd, the audience will care about how you sound.

Do what makes sounding great, for you, the easiest it can be. If it’s something that can be assisted with practice, skip the gizmo.
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F.E. Olds Nut
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2024 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 1602-LTR is an excellent lightweight horn designed to play the way it came out of the factory. If you want to change the playing characteristics, I would recommend getting a different trumpet instead of adding extra weight.
Del Quadro "The Mother"
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Dale Proctor
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2024 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought a set of Bach heavy caps years ago and have tried them on all 3 of my Strads - a ML 43 bell Bb, a ML 239 bell C, and a L 184G bell Bb cornet. The heavy caps currently reside in their little plastic case, because I don’t like what they do to the horns. All 3 caps seem to deaden the sound a little and increase the slotting (which is already fine without the caps), while making playing in the upper register more work, which I surely don’t need. One cap on just the 3rd valve does pretty much the same thing, but to a lesser degree.

I do like mouthpieces with a bit more weight toward the cup, at least how they sound from my end of the horn. The tone has a bit more substance and seems to have better stability and projection. I don’t really care for “heavyweight” mouthpieces and mouthpiece tone boosters, though.

What I’ve found that works for me are Ivan Hunter’s resonance enhancers. They are two simple stiff rubber inserts that press between the valve balusters. The horn has a bit more body to the sound with no loss of upper register ease.
"Brass bands are all very well in their place - outdoors and several miles away ." - Sir Thomas Beecham
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2024 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mouthpiece booster, so far, have worked for me only on certain mouthpieces when played in conjunction with certain horns. I know people who stay away from mouthpiece boosters because it radically changes the way their mouthpiece feels and react when it’s on the face.

For valve caps, a set of Frate light onyx trim kit works well with my Bach 190S37 but it absolutely killed the ring in my sound when I tried them on my Bach R180S37.

If you’re really keen to add weight, I have found it useful to progressively add weights onto the trumpet rather than going to the extreme and changing to a whole set of heavy trim kits etc. You will realize that there is a Goldilocks distribution of weight and once you passed this Goldilocks zone, you’d have yourself a “dead” sound.

But if adding all these accessories is for the sake of accessorizing and for the “bling” factor, then that's a different topic..
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