I Think ≠ It Is

Wednesday, May 6, 2020 11:31 AM

A recent note from a concerned parent:

Please forgive my naive questions, what about xxxx for trumpets, I read people trying different xxxx for their trumpets. You have any thoughts on this?

My reply:

Thank you for your question, better to have admitted naivety than have an empty checkbook! Yes there are many different options available for trumpets;, lead pipes, bells, special valves, water keys. These are normally offered as an option when new - like cars having automatic or manual gearboxes. But as in the car comparison, it is a very big deal to change an existing setup, it is not just the different component, it is how it fits and affects the whole instrument.

A lot of people think a lot of things about brass instruments;  brainwashing and self-delusion is rampant! Think of these examples:

I want a stronger water key spring so I need one with more coils.

Wrong! A fewer number of coils make a spring stronger; a straight piece of wire (no coils) is stronger than one with one coil.

My trumpet has too much resistance, there must be a blockage.

Probably wrong. If the trumpet is hard to play there is likely some leakage exactly where the sound wave wants to have high pressure (pressure antinode). The pressure wants to escape, therefore the player has to work harder to maintain the resonance. In this case I would check for leaky water key or joints, or worn valves.

Remember; there is no computer model that will predict what will happen if you change xxxx.

Data is empirical = knowledge comes from experimentation.

“I think” does not equal “It is”.

As a player/instrument designer and builder/teacher/writer my specialty is to talk about these things, to bring peace to playing situations and to encourage a better relationship between player and instrument. This is best done in person and it is why we have such a comfortable setting here - my workshop/factory and the large music room. It is also why we started the not for profit foundation “The Recreational Musician” dba “Trumpet4Fun.

Arm yourself with reputable equipment and concentrate on playing music.