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Past versus present


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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2024 2:17 pm    Post subject: Past versus present Reply with quote

I usually steer clear of Horn A vs. Horn B discussions, but I had an experience recently that taught me (I think) something.

I got the idea to have Ewan Divitt make trick inlays for my Olds Super buttons, so I got the horn out of the archive and put it together to play it. I used it for maybe a month, and then went back to my Edwards. From the first passage I played on the Edwards, I remember thinking: "Wow, this is so easy to play!"

Keep in mind, my Olds is completely rebuilt, refitted valves, the whole nine, it's tricked out to the max. It has one of the most even scales of any trumpet I've played and a great tone quality. But despite the valves being the best they could be, the mechanism just isn't as good as the Edwards.

And there were other aspects of the Edwards that were better as well, ease of getting around on the horn, ergonomics, (wide wrap, good for arthritic old pros) etc. It seems to me that makers HAVE learned quite a bit about trumpet manufacture in the 65 years that separates these two instruments.

What do you think?
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Halflip
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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2024 9:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Past versus present Reply with quote

I think that makers HAVE learned quite a bit about trumpet manufacture in the 65 years that separates those two instruments.

Some of it may have to do with modern manufacturing technologies (digital machining, new tube bending techniques, etc.) permitting design choices that were previously impossible, or at the very least economically unfeasible. Another part of it may involve new types of scientific equipment enabling research that made it possible to zero in on beneficial design changes.

I'll bet Brett Getzen could speak to what made it possible to manufacture a horn with the easy playing qualities of the X-13 at this point in time (without giving away any trade secrets, of course).
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2024 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A while back I talked to my teacher about this and he simply said „there is a reason most pros play modern horns“. I really enjoy playing vintage horns but at the end of the day I sold all my vintage horns again except the Conn and the Buescher. The Conn definitely is a keeper but I am not sure about the Buescher. I like it and it’s a really cool horn but ultimately I always take the Schmidt, the Bach, or the Conn to a gig. I just know they will work. So yes, there has probably been more progress in trumpet building than what is visible from the outside of the instrument.
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Rhondo
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2024 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Easier to play with any current brand? Easier for any level player?

Aren’t Bachs essentially the same instrument thet were 50 years ago?
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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2024 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rhondo wrote:
Easier to play with any current brand? Easier for any level player?

Aren’t Bachs essentially the same instrument thet were 50 years ago?


Even Bach has evolved over time, he was an experimenter like all makers. I'm restoring one now from 70+ years ago and tweaking it to come up to our standards today. Since it started out as a good player I have my hopes.
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Rhondo
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2024 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It has one of the most even scales of any trumpet I’ve played and a great tone quality.


Could that be reproduced exactly and also be as easy to play as the Edwards?

I shoot with digital cameras because they make certain things easier in many ways compared to film cameras, but I still shoot with film as well because it has a certain tone quality (better dynamic range) and character that no digital camera can yet reproduce.
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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2024 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, Edwards has done that and more with the X-13.

Your analogy about photography; isn't the difference in the technology almost complete, whereas instrument makers are still using brass to make trumpets?
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Rhondo
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2024 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yourbrass wrote:
Your analogy about photography; isn't the difference in the technology almost complete, whereas instrument makers are still using brass to make trumpets?


Well, yes and no. It’s close enough such that a photograph from a digital file viewed on a computer screen is often very difficult to differentiate from one from film. The film though is scanned digitally in that case. I’m not 100% sure, but I doubt any digital print can replicate a silver print produced in a traditional wet darkroom. Digital sensors can produce far better resolution, and get close on dynamic range.

If you go back to something like Atget’s printed-out process, I don’t think prints like that can be touched from a digital process. I’d be genuinely interested if it could be demonstrated.
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OldSchoolEuph
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2024 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rhondo wrote:
Aren’t Bachs essentially the same instrument thet were 50 years ago?

Not really. 1974 would be the tail end of the Early Elkhart Bachs with the "new type E" valves and their original 2-piece casings, the 1965 switch to heavier bells now being reversed, brass guides, being among the more obvious features. But also the bell fabrication process including the working and annealing patterns for bells were completely different than today. There was far greater variability due to a more manual fabrication process, and for lacquered horns, the heavy, high frequency damping, nitro-cellulose lacquer was still in use.

Different feel, different response, different sound.
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Dayton
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2024 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Edwards X-13 is a sweet horn. It compares well with the best from any era. I agree with you about horns like the X-13. It's not as obvious to me the extent to which trumpets in larger-scale production, like the Yamaha 8335 (for example), are better than the horns of yesterday or just different.

I only have two "vintage" trumpets, a 1920s King Liberty and a 1940s French Besson Meha. Both were fully restored to great playing condition. Given a choice between them and the 8335 (nice horn, but hardly a favorite of mine), I'd take the 8335 in a heartbeat. Better valve action, better articulation, etc. But two vintage horns makes for a really small sample size to draw conclusions from.
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HERMOKIWI
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2024 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are no "miracle" trumpets and the trumpet isn't complete without the mouthpiece. There are a lot of trumpets and a lot of mouthpieces. When you add the player you have a virtually infinite number and magnitude of variables.

So, one player can pick up a particular horn and it might be perfect for that player, the best the player has ever played. The next player can play the same horn and it might not work particularly well for that player. It all just depends on too many variables.

Wayne Bergeron was at my house and he picked up my 1930 Conn 58B and played a few scales. It sounded like the horns designed in the 1920's (the 58B was designed in 1928). Then he picked up my 1933 King Silvertone, played a few scales and said "This plays like a modern horn."

It's clear that there have been lots of technological advances in trumpet making since 1933. However, whether and to what extent those advances have created a better ultimate result is not so clear. Most players sound essentially the same on a modern instrument as they sound on a vintage instrument. Their technical results are also essentially the same. There may be differences in the mechanics of the horns but the differences those mechanics make in the ultimate result tend to be negligible if discernable at all, and the difference might not be a positive difference for a particular player.

I have some horns that, for me, are easier to play and slot better than other horns in my collection. Others have come over and played the same horns and have had a much different impression.

In terms of mechanics/design, the trumpet is a pretty simple instrument. The science of it is well known and follows predictable patterns. All designs are compromises in some way. There will never be a universally perfect acoustic trumpet because there are so many settings and so many different types of music for which a trumpet is played.

So, going back to the OP's post, the most important thing that separates your Olds from your Edwards is the design of the trumpet, not advances in trumpet manufacturing. Olds could have made a duplicate of your Edwards 65 years ago. The materials and ability to produce such a horn were all present. Olds just chose to build what they built at the time. Apparently the Edwards works better for you. For certain players the Olds will probably work better for them than the Edwards. It all depends on the individual variables.

As I said at the beginning, there are no "miracle" trumpets. That's the case even though we all keep searching for one. There are just better horns for us than other horns depending on our individual variables. That being said, as our experience evolves and we introduce more variables we may decide that those "better horns for us" aren't better after all.

The trumpet is a fickle instrument. It's an interesting journey.
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adagiotrumpet
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2024 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is quite an interesting topic. When I graduated high school in the early seventies, I considered studying some form of engineering with the hope of pursuing a career involving trumpet design. I made an appointment with a rather well known trumpet expert, who because they are still on the scene and giving lectures, will remain anonymous. I was discouraged in heading in that direction since in their words, (and I am paraphrasing since this was quite a while ago), the trumpet had been developed as far as it can go.

Clearly, that has not been the case.
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Halflip
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2024 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HERMOKIWI wrote:
So, going back to the OP's post, the most important thing that separates your Olds from your Edwards is the design of the trumpet, not advances in trumpet manufacturing. Olds could have made a duplicate of your Edwards 65 years ago.

Are you so sure about this? Even if the materials and ability to produce such a horn were all present, would it have been economically feasible for Olds to do so given the manufacturing processes of the era?

As I said in my first post to this thread, it would be great for someone like Brett Getzen to weigh in with his thoughts on why the X-13 came to market when it did, and whether a manufacturer of 70-90 years ago would have been able to produce it (and if yes, why didn't they).

HERMOKIWI wrote:
Apparently the Edwards works better for you. For certain players the Olds will probably work better for them than the Edwards.

You make it sound like the odds on this are more or less even. I'm not so sure that's true. If you sift through the many posts on the X-13 to be found in threads on TH, you will find an inordinately high number of players who, upon first trying the horn, say something like, "OMG, is this thing easy to play!"

HERMOKIWI wrote:
As I said at the beginning, there are no "miracle" trumpets.

I don't think any post in this thread claims to have found a "miracle" trumpet, nor focuses on the quest for one.

The topic of "past versus present" has been addressed before; the following thread provides some interesting thoughts:

https://www.trumpetherald.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=143755
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stuartissimo
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2024 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brassnose wrote:
A while back I talked to my teacher about this and he simply said „there is a reason most pros play modern horns“.

Did they also disclose what the reason was though?

Not trying to be difficult, but I feel that sometimes, viewing professional players as ‘the next step up from amateur level’ is somewhat simplified. Where the amateur player may be seeking for an edge to get the most out of their playing experience (be it technical, musical or fun), the professional player may have other requirements. If your livelyhood depends on your ability to produce a consistent result, then reliability may be more important than sound (especially if you play at the level that you can make anything sound more than good enough). A pro might prefer an instrument that plays well enough but is also easy to repair or replace; i.e. a common modern trumpet over some rare exotic vintage that would be impossible to replace if lost (and only sounds 1% better). Different players with different requirements and goals.

As an amateur player, my primary motivation to play is getting a good feeling from playing; my current instruments (which are vintage) are better at that for me than modern instruments, even if the latter play better.
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Halflip
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2024 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stuartissimo wrote:
If your livelyhood depends on your ability to produce a consistent result, then reliability may be more important than sound (especially if you play at the level that you can make anything sound more than good enough). A pro might prefer an instrument that plays well enough but is also easy to repair or replace; i.e. a common modern trumpet over some rare exotic vintage that would be impossible to replace if lost (and only sounds 1% better). Different players with different requirements and goals.

As an amateur player, my primary motivation to play is getting a good feeling from playing; my current instruments (which are vintage) are better at that for me than modern instruments, even if the latter play better.

As I have come to observe, different people acting under different circumstances will make choices based on different value propositions, and one value proposition is no more nor less correct than another.

However, in the case of professional musicians, instrument reliability may not be the most sought after characteristic. I can visualize symphony trumpet players, with the need to win auditions and fend off challenges to their chairs in order to preserve their livelihood, being willing to pay thousands extra to get a horn that plays as little as 1-2% better (this contrasts with those who say that if a horn costs 100% more, it had better play 100% better!).
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Manuel de los Campos
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2024 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stuartissimo wrote:


As an amateur player, my primary motivation to play is getting a good feeling from playing; my current instruments (which are vintage) are better at that for me than modern instruments, even if the latter play better.


I think the goal, of both amateur players and professionals, is to get to the end of the line with the best possible fitting sound. My experience is that this works best with a modern built instrument, not necessarily a new one, it can also be a trumpet built in the 70s.
I don't see or feel much difference in construction and playability between trumpets that are about 50 years old and those of new ones. Older instruments, on the other hand, can react very differently: for example, a Getzen Super Deluxe -the top model at the time- plays (and sounds!) really different than a Getzen 900 Eterna, its successor. The Eterna is still all-round usable, the Super Deluxe is just a nice instrument for an exotic setting
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2024 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stuartissimo, in return to your question: I haven’t talked to all the pros my teacher knows So my answer is something of an extrapolation. What I got from the discussion, however, is quite similar to the post above comparing a vintage trumpet vs. a Yamaha: the valves are more reliable, most of the time intonation is better, there is less worry about issues with the instrument, you can often get replacement parts easily (unless you play a real boutique brand), and so on.

Another thing that came up in said discussion is about presence and work vs. being heard in a large ensemble. We specifically talked about playing in large groups and at least the vintage horns my teacher plays don’t seem (for him) to have the same presence as a modern horn, meaning that he has to work more on e.g. a Radial than on his current horn, a Taylor.

Yes I know that there are vintage trumpets that can be very present, but for him it is what it is.

For me, I just think I have found the horns that work for me, see signature (minus possibly the Buescher, not sure yet). As an amateur of course I need as much support form the horn as I can, but this is what works for me.
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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2024 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the thoughtful responses.

I'm thinking the valve mechanism on the Olds is the number one thing that Edwards (and others) have improved on. I've played the Olds on some gigs and blending, soloing, etc. aren't a problem - it's right on the money. But sitting at home practicing Charlier, Bitsch, etc., the Edwards just works more "fluidly" for lack of a better word. If I'm playing right (always a question!) the stuff just comes out of the horn more easily.
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Rhondo
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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2024 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edwards doesn’t appear to be at ITG.
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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2024 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, and I don't see Getzen either. I hope that's an error and they will be there.
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