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One-piece vs. two-piece bells


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qcm
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2007 9:50 pm    Post subject: One-piece vs. two-piece bells Reply with quote

Well, I've been meaning to ask this question for awhile, because I've always been fascinated by the fabrication of upper brasswinds.

It seems like the vast majority of manufacturers who make professional quality trumpets and cornets, advertise that their horns have one-piece bells and that's it's more labor intensive but yields superior results... you get the picture.

But does it yield superior results or REALLY make that much of a difference?

I became even more interested in this subject when I recently received my new Getzen Eterna cornet, which has a two-piece bell. It plays and sounds great, and quite honestly, I wouldn't care if the horn was made of plastic as long as it sounded this good.

I've also been told, and I don't know if this is true, that Mt. Vernon Bach Strads, the "holy grail" of collectible trumpets, had two-piece bells. Also, I believe today's Besson Sovereign cornet and trumpets made by Eclipse, obviously not inexpensive instruments, also have two-piece bells. Which begs the question, why even bother to manufacture two-piece bells unless, it really does NOT make a difference in the tonal quality of the instrument?

I'm just playing devil's advocate here, but I really am curious about your own playing experiences and what if any your preference is.

Thanks!

-Dave
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camelbrass
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2007 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dave,

Eclipse doesn't make the new Bessons but makes their own line that have two piece bells as far as I'm aware. I also believe that Bach Strads have always had one piece bells...the placing of the seam has changed over time but not the bell's construction. The confusion may lie in the fact that some of the lesser Bach models had 2 piece bells.

I'm with you on the effect though. I've played instruments with one piece bells and instruments with 2 piece bells and a good horn is a good horn. I really don't care if it has 100 pieces.

Regards,


Trevor
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dschwab
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2007 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Last edited by dschwab on Wed Mar 03, 2021 5:35 am; edited 1 time in total
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Maarten van Weverwijk
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2007 11:33 pm    Post subject: Re: One-piece vs. two-piece bells Reply with quote

qcm wrote:
.....the vast majority of manufacturers who make professional quality trumpets and cornets, advertise that their horns have one-piece bells.....I recently received my new Getzen Eterna cornet, which has a two-piece bell. It plays and sounds great.....


Dave,

FWIW, I often use an Eterna Cornet in my orchestra and simply love it! The new Custom 3000-line has a one piece bell, but I doubt whether it would be much better than the "older" two piece bell designs. Right now I wouldn't change my Eterna Cornet for anything.
I also find Eterna Cornets incredibly cheap, considering the super playing qualities of the instruments. IMHO anything that comes close, costs at least twice as much.

If Eclipse and Monette are using two piece bells, then they can't be that bad.

Best wishes,
Maarten.
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Robert Rowe
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 3:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have several Martin (not "Maarten" ) Committees. They are legendary horns, with two-piece bells, including the Handcrafts.

However, I have an original ("stock", unaltered) 1946 large-bore (#3) Deluxe, with a one-piece bell.

I am not aware of any other Committees with one-piece bells (?) ... probably rare.

FWIW -- the two-piece belled Committees sound bettter (IMHO) ... and I have played, and owned, a couple dozen.

Yr fthfl Srvnt,
Robt
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qcm
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 7:37 am    Post subject: Re: One-piece vs. two-piece bells Reply with quote

Maarten van Weverwijk wrote:

If Eclipse and Monette are using two piece bells, then they can't be that bad.


An EXCELLENT point Maarten!!

Thanks!

-Dave
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dr_trumpet
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I own a number of instruments, some with one piece bells (including a Bach Strad, a Conn Vintage One, a Yamaha C trumpet, and a number of other fine makes), and some with two piece bells (three Monettes, a Yamaha student horn with a red brass bell flare and a yellow brass bell tubing, and a Getzen Eterna Bb cornet), and the playing characteristics of each horn differs far more by the maker and the design characteristics than it does the one or two piece bell.

For those who have been to the Monette shop, do you remember seeing the bell flare used for a door stop at the front door. First time I saw that, I nearly died of incredulous shock...a $5000 Monette trumpet bell flare for a door stop. Dave laughed a long time about that...

Al
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trumpetchops
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think it makes a difference. If I worked in marketing for Monette I would advertise that we had two piece bells and if I worked at Bach I would brag about the one piece bell.
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StevenPSparks
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A seam, whether longitudenal (sp?) like a 1 pc, or circumferential like a 2 pc, appears to dampen the overall resonance of the bell (according to masters that I've listened to), but whether it's one or the other does not "seem" to make a difference in the sound of the hundreds of horns that I've played. Now, I do think that (vintage) Bach and now the Yamaha Chicago, both 1 pc models, are at least somewhat superior by putting the seam along the inside of the bell, where the braces attaching are already going to dampen the sound anyway, as opposed to the bottom, effectively having dampening measures at two positions around the bell, instead of just one. But, this is probably splitting hairs.....
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Wheeler
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm still amazed that in this day and age that more makers aren't drawing out bells from a seamless tube, or electroplating material onto a mandrel ala Schilke. Seems like the most consistent results could be accomplished this way...

It would be very hard to quantify the difference in one and two piece bells without testing dozens of each type, built on exactly the same mandrel, and using the same valve cluster and leadpipe for each bell. A waste of resources, for sure.
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Paul.Trumpet
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guys, exactly which Getzen eterna cornet do you think is so good, what bore is it? 782 Eterna II or the Eterna 800 ? I'm just confused over which instrument you are actually endorsing.

Also - onto trumpet bells - the important thing is how the vibrations travel down the bell material and its exact shape/thickness. If you compared two bells of identical shape, material and thickness but one had a long seam and the other a round one, then surely it occurs to you that the only thing different is how its joined together.

Modern 2-piece bells are often welded together by a very high quality process and the weld is near invisible - so no distortions or change in thickness. No need for annealing etc

The bell is your main amplifier of tone and it resonates as you play it.
The bell adds colour to your sound. Vincent Bach is rumoured to have tried a lead bell (thats Pb, not a lightweight bell) and got a near clean sine wave from the output.

So that's the scientific answer. Personally I'd feel ripped off is someone tried to sell me a very expensive trumpet without a one piece bell. But the difference can be very small if the material shape, thickness and quality is well controlled. How they roll the bell rim is ALSO very important, as are the mounting points and even the solder used can make a small but detectable difference. There is often more scrap making one piece bells - although I doubt Yamaha have many anymore.

You have to assume the manufacturer decided that for the selling price they've designed the best compromise and the only important fact is do you like playing it and does your audience like hearing it.

Musicians are unlikely to appreciate the technical details of the welding (brazing or soldering) processes used on their trumpet - I have never heard two players discuss this before. Nor the solder used. etc

Go look at the 8310Z - Yamaha claim the new lead (Pb) free solder has improved the sound a little. Can you imagine every player wanting their horn re-assembled with modern lead free solder because it might play "better"?

I like to see the ripples from the hand hammering myself......
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qcm
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul.Trumpet wrote:
Personally I'd feel ripped off is someone tried to sell me a very expensive trumpet without a one piece bell.


Hi Paul.Trumpet,

Well, as Maarten noted above, both Eclipse and Monette use 2 piece bells - and those are pretty expensive trumpets.

As to my new Getzen, it's a Getzen Eterna Model 800, silverplated and with a .460 bore. A very nice horn. And an absolute steal at the price that I bought it for.

I'm amazed that they can sell them for that price.

-Dave
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dr_trumpet
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wheeler wrote:
I'm still amazed that in this day and age that more makers aren't drawing out bells from a seamless tube, or electroplating material onto a mandrel ala Schilke. Seems like the most consistent results could be accomplished this way...

It would be very hard to quantify the difference in one and two piece bells without testing dozens of each type, built on exactly the same mandrel, and using the same valve cluster and leadpipe for each bell. A waste of resources, for sure.


I think that manufacturers make the horns that fit their needs and desires.

Monette makes slides differently than anyone else. They are tapered...assembled in two halves instead of drawn from one piece of brass tubing. That way, he also has more control over the gauge and the thickness of the brass in tubing, which he believes (as do many) makes a significant difference in trumpets.

Others make one piece bells. Olds made a two piece bell for at least the Studio. The nickel flare of that horn changed its tone. I believe I have owned other Olds horns that have had two piece bells as well, and yet the trumpet was well made, played well, and was a good instrument.

Bach makes one piece bells, but the way the bell is put together is different from others. My Conn Vintage One also has a one piece bell, and plays very well also.

But, Bach made bells out of as many as four pieces of brass during WW II, as brass was being rationed towards the war effort. After the war, Bach advertised the seemless bell as an advantage. Others joined in quickly. But, it is? To quote a person on TPIN, where's the double blind test?

My conclusion? One piece bells were a marketing ploy that may or may not make a horn play better. I say play the horn; if it plays well, who cares if it is a one, two, three, or more piece bell?

It's still the nut behind the mouthpiece that makes the monkey dance...
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Getzen
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave, if you would feel better about it, you could always send me a check for the difference in what the 800 cost and what you think it should cost. I would be cool with that.

As for the two piece vs. one piece debate, it is up in the air. There is a difference in the playing characteristics of each. It may be a small difference, but it is there. Just like the difference between a .460 bore horn and a .459 bore. The real point is that it is a personal thing. Some may prefer the play of a two piece and others that of a one piece. As with anything else it is up to the individual.

I know that on our end, the two piece design is much more time consuming to build and, therefore, must more expensive.

As for the seamless bells, we use them too. In fact, our student trumpets and cornets have bells formed from a single tube like those described previously. The design was originally created to be a less expensive alternative to one piece, sheet bells. Unfortunately, the accoustics of the seamless tubing bell didn't equal that of the sheet bells. They did however create a bell with exceptional strength making them ideal for student instruments.

Brett Getzen
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dr_trumpet
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Getzen wrote:
Dave, if you would feel better about it, you could always send me a check for the difference in what the 800 cost and what you think it should cost. I would be cool with that.

As for the two piece vs. one piece debate, it is up in the air. There is a difference in the playing characteristics of each. It may be a small difference, but it is there. Just like the difference between a .460 bore horn and a .459 bore. The real point is that it is a personal thing. Some may prefer the play of a two piece and others that of a one piece. As with anything else it is up to the individual.

I know that on our end, the two piece design is much more time consuming to build and, therefore, must more expensive.

As for the seamless bells, we use them too. In fact, our student trumpets and cornets have bells formed from a single tube like those described previously. The design was originally created to be a less expensive alternative to one piece, sheet bells. Unfortunately, the accoustics of the seamless tubing bell didn't equal that of the sheet bells. They did however create a bell with exceptional strength making them ideal for student instruments.

Brett Getzen


Brent,

You can have my Eterna cornet back when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. Until then, make them any way you want; they work!

Interesting facts on the different bellmaking techniques. Thank you for sharing them with us.

Dr. Albert Lilly
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qcm
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Getzen wrote:
Dave, if you would feel better about it, you could always send me a check for the difference in what the 800 cost and what you think it should cost. I would be cool with that.


LOL!

Well Brett, being as my beloved L. A. Benge 3X trumpet is pretty much worn out from all the playing I've done on it, it's probably time for me to invest in a new Bb trumpet.

And since I've saved so much money on my Eterna cornet, I've been eyeing that new Mike Vax trumpet that a certain company makes....

You guys make great products - and deserve many, many accolades.

Keep up the GREAT work!

-Dave
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brianj
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul.Trumpet wrote:
Guys, exactly which Getzen eterna cornet do you think is so good, what bore is it? 782 Eterna II or the Eterna 800 ? I'm just confused over which instrument you are actually endorsing.


Hi Paul

I haven't played an 800 I haven't liked. Also the little 800 series C cornet is a terrific hooter. My brother just bought one from Rosehill for 350 BRAND NEW!! It was old stock but never played or sold - you don't find many over here and you wont use it everyday but at 350 it was a steal.

all the best

Brian Jones
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

qcm wrote:
As to my new Getzen, it's a Getzen Eterna Model 800, silverplated and with a .460 bore. A very nice horn. And an absolute steal at the price that I bought it for.

I'm amazed that they can sell them for that price.


Pretty much the same story with my 3850 Cornet I bought a bit ago Dave. I thought I had heard the price wrong.
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Maarten van Weverwijk
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul.Trumpet wrote:
Guys, exactly which Getzen eterna cornet do you think is so good.....782 Eterna II or the Eterna 800 ? I'm just confused over which instrument you are actually endorsing.


Paul, just for the record:
Mine is an Eterna 810 C-cornet and I also regularly borrow an old Eterna 800 Bb which I much prefer to play than my own YCR-6335 Yamaha.

MvW.
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James Becker
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The defining purpose of this argument comes down to whether a one or two piece bell achieves the sonic goals of the instrument maker.

You will get no argument from me that the Getzen cornets are very good. All you need do is look at all the great artists that play on them. So if corntists are pleased with the sound of a two piece bell then the goal has been achieved.

Some of the most respected trombone makers in the industry, namely King, Getzen, Conn, Edwards and Shires have two piece bells and are very well recieved by top players.

However when it comes to Bb and C trumpets, Bach is the "gold standard" that everyone else in the industry must compete. You'll have a harder time finding a trumpet with a two piece bell that will sound anything like a one piece "hand hammered" bell of a Bach. I believe this is why you find one piece bells on Getzen and Edwards top model trumpets, and why Yamaha went to great lengths to replicate the bell making methods of the Chicago Symphony Bach C trumpets.

There certainly is nothing wrong with two piece bell trumpets. So long as the maker delivers an instrument that helps the player achieve his or her musical goals, they have done their job.

For more information on bell flairs spun from a disc vs. single seam "hand hammered" bells, go to this link from our website: http://www.osmun.com/prod/Schmid/Schmidbell.htm

I hope this is helpful.

Jim Becker
Brass Repair Specialist
Osmun Music Inc.
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