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Flugel intonation



 
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AlanK17
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2021 8:47 am    Post subject: Flugel intonation Reply with quote

I've been toying recently with getting a good flugelhorn and read an article on the web the other day in which it was claimed that flugels generically have worse tuning issues on certain notes than trumpets. I have only ever tried one flugel, for about 5 minutes 40+ years ago, so I have no knowledge on this subject. Is it true or nonsense? If true, are there any makes that would be considered less problematic in this regard?

Thanks in anticipation...
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Richard III
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2021 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Best intonation on a flugelhorn I've found was an Adams.
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2021 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an Adams A-1 and the intonation's fine. Never had a horn that was perfect, so a little humouring here and there is expected. FWIW, I have no more intonation problems with the Flugelhorn just because it's a Flugelhorn over a trumpet.

As a side comment, my Adams is an excellent MOR horn for a variety of uses but whose sound can be darkened with the use of an included mouthpiece-pipe receiver and a different mouthpiece. Unsolicited plug, Trent Austin (ACB) sells Adams.
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Goby
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2021 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flugelhorns have very short lead pipes, big mouthpieces relative to the pitch of the instrument, and usually tune at the leapdipe. The extra gap when the tuning bit is pulled out adds a larger diameter of tubing right before the valve block, which, according to Schilke's theory of intonation and nodal patterns, would change the intonation of notes with a node in that spot. Combine that with the fact that the mouthpieces have a much larger volume than a standard C-cup trumpet mouthpiece, and it's a recipe for unfamiliar intonation patterns. Adams is probably the best factory-built flugel on the market today, and the two adams flugels that I've owned had fantastic intonation and were incredibly easy to play.
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hibidogrulez
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2021 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having only ever played 1 flugelhorn, I cannot speak with much expertise, but isn't it true that flugelhorns generally slot wider as well (making embouchure intonation adjustments easier than on a trumpet)?
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shofarguy
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2021 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have not checked to see if the Kanstul website is still up or if it still has the flugelhorn treatise it once had, but it described how, in collaboration with Byron Autrey, Zig Kanstul solved the intonation issues that were, up until that time, inherent in the flugelhorn. The solution was in two basic areas which I learned from Zig and from Byron.

First is that Byron developed a mathematical model for what is called the "bell branch," that part that connects the valve block to the bell. Byron told me that the taper of this section is critical to the horn's intonation. The second and subsequent discovery was that the valve bore needed to be smaller than that of the typical Bb trumpet. What you see now is a range of bore dimensions between .413 - .423 or so.

There are still some issues that require compromise similar to trumpets, namely valve tubing lengths. I found that the three or four Kanstul models that I've played (including Besson) had very acceptable intonation that was often as good or better than their best Bb trumpets, which were all very good, as well. The Flip Oakes Wild Thing flugelhorn I play has what Flip calls "my valve lengths," which are different than Kanstul's. I find that my WT flugelhorn intonation is among the very best horns of any type.

I have also been told by someone who should know that Miel Adams was mentored in brass making by Zig Kanstul, so I expect his flugelhorn models to perform well, also.
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Subtropical and Subpar
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2021 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Best flugelhorn intonation I've come across in my limited experience is a friend's Klaus Martens flugel. Not sure of the exact model but I believe it is in their 152 model lineup. Couldn't have been more in tune if it was a new Steinway. Spectacular horn.

I have a Manchester Brass flugel, made by Carolbrass, and its intonation is pretty solid aside from the A in the staff, which is wildly sharp on 1-2 and wildly flat on 3. I should note that I got the horn fairly recently and have only had the opportunity to play it in a group setting a few times, so I'm still getting used to it. And my mouthpiece, an old Warburton 2FL I got from a friend, has just the tiniest bit of wiggle in the leadpipe despite it and the flugel both being Yamaha shanked, so perhaps a bit of a safari is in order.
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Rwwilson
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2021 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have only ever played my Benge with the 5 bell. Many people claim these are hard to play in tune but I have had no problems. I do find that it’s slots are wider than those of a trumpet.
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shofarguy
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2021 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rwwilson wrote:
I have only ever played my Benge with the 5 bell. Many people claim these are hard to play in tune but I have had no problems. I do find that it’s slots are wider than those of a trumpet.


I have experienced both kinds of Benge 5 flugelhorn, but the memories I have of the good ones come from my college days some 40 years ago. Back then, I was both a vocal performance and instrumental performance major. The stage band director bought two brand new Benge flugelhorn from the local dealer. I was the principle trumpet player at the time, so I got to unpack them both and play the one I chose.

I bought a 1-1/2CFL Bach mouthpiece and had no trouble with the intonation of either horn. These days I wonder if my ear was as developed as I remember, but I think so. I had already done a fair amount of work using drones to develop my sense of intervals and such, plus the vocal group I was in had a high reputation for excellence both in the LA scene and in Europe. We performed many accapella numbers and concerts.

Fast forward to the late 2000s and I was able to play a couple more Benge 5s. They were awful! By that time, I had purchased my Kanstul 1025, so I had a benchmark for comparison. The "Chicago" had so much better intonation, But the Benge sound is still king, IMO.
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zaferis
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2021 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I think Flugels are widely more out of tune with themselves than most trumpets. Trumpets are not perfect, Flugels are worse. And there seems to be a wider range of "out" with Flugels.

They tend to be a little more mouthpiece centric.. from rim size, cup shape and depth, and shank size (there are 3 common shanks shapes).

I see two issues passed matching with a good mouthpiece:
1. the instrument is a bit more wacky than trumpets
2. the tone of the Flugel is fluffy enough that many players don't hear the out of tune-ness.
"close enough for Flugel" tends to be a very popular approach - I know a number of locals that think their Flugel is OK... "think" being the key word.


I have, in the passed year or so, ended a long Flugel Safari. Adams, Van Laar, Eclipse, Getzen, and even the Yammy 631 (if the valves work) are very high on my list.. (played a large number of them over several years)
There are a number of big issues - bore size (they range from small to large), "straight thru" valve clusters vs. off-set (I find the straight-thru designs have more issues with valve combinations:1&2, 2&3, etc...) Bell size/material, and length of tubing prior to the valve block.

I've landed on an Adams Sonic - Adams design at a reasonable price for an awesome Flugel.
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AlanK17
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2021 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow. I didn't expect so much great feedback! Many thanks. Clearly I need to look at Adams...
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2021 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think there's great consensus that flugel intonation is a huge problem. In my experience, all horns have their issues to manage and I don't find the flugel any more problematic than the Bb. My suggestion would be to pick up one of the most widely used models, maybe a Yamaha 631 or 731, possibly used, and see what you think after a few months of acclimation.
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2021 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheiden wrote:
I don't think there's great consensus that flugel intonation is a huge problem.


Actually Charles, in my experience there actually is, (the consensus not fact), but I think it's become urban legend to the point of being overdone. The flugel just has some p;aying characteristics that many seem to be unaware of and, therefore, don't adjust to.

To add to that is the proliferation of some truly horrendous recordings having been made on flugel, especially with multiple horns, that push that narrative.
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2021 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kehaulani wrote:
cheiden wrote:
I don't think there's great consensus that flugel intonation is a huge problem.


Actually Charles, in my experience there actually is,...
You posted...
Quote:
I have no more intonation problems with the Flugelhorn just because it's a Flugelhorn over a trumpet
, which is what I posted. To my way of thinking intonation is always a concern, but if the flugel is not appreciably worse than the Bb then it's a familiar problem and many common horns are likely to fit the bill.[/quote]
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shofarguy
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2021 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheiden wrote:
kehaulani wrote:
cheiden wrote:
I don't think there's great consensus that flugel intonation is a huge problem.


Actually Charles, in my experience there actually is,...
You posted...
Quote:
I have no more intonation problems with the Flugelhorn just because it's a Flugelhorn over a trumpet
, which is what I posted. To my way of thinking intonation is always a concern, but if the flugel is not appreciably worse than the Bb then it's a familiar problem and many common horns are likely to fit the bill.
[/quote]

Kehaulani’s point is that there is a “consensus.” He asserts the reasons for that and calls it “urban legend.”
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trickg
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2021 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flugels, even the best of them, have some minor intonation quirks. Most decent flugels these days aren't really any worse than a typical trumpet IMO. Most come with a 3rd valve trigger, and I find that a judicious adjustment of the 1st valve slide can usually help too.

Buy with confidence - a great place to start if you want to keep to a budget but need something decent is an ACB Doubler from Austin Custom Brass. I have one I've been gigging for around 7 year or so - it gets the job done more than well enough.
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2021 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

shofarguy wrote:
Kehaulani’s point is that there is a “consensus.” He asserts the reasons for that and calls it “urban legend.”

Ah. Now I get it. Thx.
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Riojazz
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2021 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Be certain you have the right taper lead pipe for your flugelhorn, and that your mouthpiece is that taper. This can make a serious difference in the horn's inherent intonation.

Although it's not recommended because it's thinner, the Kanstul 1525 I play is more in tune with itself using the French taper leadpipe. I can do a direct comparison using a strobe tuner, and more notes are 'less out' with the French taper, with no note way out.
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trickg
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Riojazz wrote:
Be certain you have the right taper lead pipe for your flugelhorn, and that your mouthpiece is that taper. This can make a serious difference in the horn's inherent intonation.

Although it's not recommended because it's thinner, the Kanstul 1525 I play is more in tune with itself using the French taper leadpipe. I can do a direct comparison using a strobe tuner, and more notes are 'less out' with the French taper, with no note way out.

My Kanstul CCF 925 had a French taper leadpipe, but I always used a standard taper Schilke 16F mouthpiece with it. I have a couple of friends who make mouthpieces and always intended to have them turn it down to the correct taper, but never did - the intonation may have been a bit better if I had, but it was never terrible - certainly usable - I gigged it that way for a long time.
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