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Author Topic: Stearn's law of leadpipes  (Read 3467 times)
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« on: Aug 20, 2017, 12:49AM »

Well, not really... but I have noticed an unfortunate quality in a group of pipes I have been testing....

The better the feel and sound of a pipe, the more out of tune the harmonic series,
The worse the feel and sound of a pipe, the more in tune the harmonic series.

I am greedy.... I want feel, sound and a good harmonic series..... those pipes are rare birds indeed.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #1 on: Aug 20, 2017, 01:22AM »

I might not be at the same level as Mr.Stearn but I thought I'd throw in my observations too. I feel very similar to you Mr.Stearn but I thought I'd reword things a bit  Evil

What I've noticed is that...

The worse the feel and the more interesting a pipe sounds, the more out of tune the harmonic series,
The better the feel and the less interesting a pipe sounds, the more in tune the harmonic series.

These are my observations in my Shires trying vintage Holton and Bach pipes, Shires pipes, and BrassArk pipes. When I say worse feel I mean that there might be some rough spots in the blow and have some quirky notes. When I say better feel I mean the blow is very smooth and there are little to no quirky notes.
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« Reply #2 on: Aug 20, 2017, 04:00AM »

I might not be at the same level as Mr.Stearn but I thought I'd throw in my observations too. I feel very similar to you Mr.Stearn but I thought I'd reword things a bit  Evil

What I've noticed is that...

The worse the feel and the more interesting a pipe sounds, the more out of tune the harmonic series,
The better the feel and the less interesting a pipe sounds, the more in tune the harmonic series.

These are my observations in my Shires trying vintage Holton and Bach pipes, Shires pipes, and BrassArk pipes. When I say worse feel I mean that there might be some rough spots in the blow and have some quirky notes. When I say better feel I mean the blow is very smooth and there are little to no quirky notes.

Interesting is SUCH a good word..... and very much what we need when making music.
I generally (and there are exceptions) find that old pipes from classic trombones help less with tuning as they stand, but are less slotted than modern pipes, so you can fix things more easily at the face.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #3 on: Aug 20, 2017, 04:47AM »

If I could sum up my own experiences with pipes, this is probably as close as I could get to summation...

This may also explain why King 2Bs and 3Bs are so lauded despite having some of the quirkier harmonic series'. Everything I play on I'm looking to duplicate that feel.
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« Reply #4 on: Aug 20, 2017, 06:48AM »

My theory is that the tuning of the partials and the tuning of the sound of the overtone series when playing the fundamental and second partial notes is related. When those overtones line up perfectly the sound is dull and uninteresting. When they're too far out the sound is harsh and abrasive. Get it just right and you have to make adjustments at the slide as you change partials, but the sound is complex and glorious.
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« Reply #5 on: Aug 20, 2017, 07:16AM »

As someone who has never experimented with leadpipes - maybe surprising but I've pretty much always played horns with fixed leadpipes and messed around with backbores - what about the intonation can change with a leadpipe?
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« Reply #6 on: Aug 20, 2017, 07:47AM »

As someone who has never experimented with leadpipes - maybe surprising but I've pretty much always played horns with fixed leadpipes and messed around with backbores - what about the intonation can change with a leadpipe?

In short everything....
Just looking at Conns and Raths at the moment... wild line up with some pipes... others I can live with and some are boring and in tune... Gabe nailed it.
Also how far the pipe goes in changes things just as mouthpiece shank projection does.

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« Reply #7 on: Aug 20, 2017, 07:52AM »

My theory is that the tuning of the partials and the tuning of the sound of the overtone series when playing the fundamental and second partial notes is related. When those overtones line up perfectly the sound is dull and uninteresting. When they're too far out the sound is harsh and abrasive. Get it just right and you have to make adjustments at the slide as you change partials, but the sound is complex and glorious.

My theory is that the tuning of the partials and the tuning of the sound of the overtone series when playing the fundamental and second partial notes is related. When those overtones line up perfectly the sound is dull and uninteresting. When they're too far out the sound is harsh and abrasive. Get it just right and you have to make adjustments at the slide as you change partials, but the sound is complex and glorious.

Precisely. Thank you, Gabe.

The just intonation harmonic series is totally "out of tune" with the Western equal temperament system. Or you might say the reverse...the mathematically pure just intonation harmonic series is the correct one, and...as is the case with most of the rest of the modern world, for sure...it is the equal temperament system that is "out of tune." Out of tune with the natural world, anway.

No matter what's right or wrong, we trombonists must live at least to some degree in the equal temperament system, so the natural harmonic series of a brass instrument...less so the slide trombone and french horn, because the slide and hand in bell can tune to pretty much anything...must be "adjusted" so that the somewhat flatter and sharper partials are at least not horrendously out of tune with the equal temperament instruments with which we must play on pretty much a daily basis. Good brass designers tweak and fuss all over the horn until they find some set of compromises that work to "tune up" the horn without losing much of the resonance of a naturally tuned instrument.

I have said here many times that without a doubt the most "resonant" trombones that I have ever played long enough to really learn them...older Conns and Bachs particularly...were also he ones that needed the most slide movement to play "in tune." Some of the...the medium and large bore '30s TIS Conns, mostly...are so resonant that they no longer fit in with modern brass sections. I suspect...on meager playing time...that the same thing holds true with what are called "German" trombones. They only really blend in an older-style orchestra.

So...back to Blast.

He writes:

Quote
I have noticed an unfortunate quality in a group of pipes I have been testing....

The better the feel and sound of a pipe, the more out of tune the harmonic series,
The worse the feel and sound of a pipe, the more in tune the harmonic series.

I am greedy.... I want feel, sound and a good harmonic series..... those pipes are rare birds indeed.

"Those pipes" are ones that match the needs of a particular player/horn/m'pce system...a compromise between good sound and good pitch. That's why so many of us are so totally mystified by leadpipes. There is no formula that will work across the board. I am very sorry that Chuck McAlexander closed up his shop in NYC, because his set of copied leadpipes...he copied many of them without any regard for "correctness" other than matching their measurements as closely as possible to the ones that he pulled out of good playing horns...was a treasure trove. You'd go in looking for a leadpipe and there 20 or 30 wopuld be in the bore size you needed. If you asked Chuck what they were he'd say something like "It doesn't really mater where they came from. Just put them in you horn and try them. If you find one you like, use it."

That's about as "scientific" as the leadpipe thing gets, in my opinion.

Trial and error.

Oh!!!

Wait a minute!!!

Trial and error.

Isn't that the scientific method?

Nevermind...



S.
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« Reply #8 on: Aug 20, 2017, 08:18AM »

Trial and error.

Isn't that the scientific method?
It is a valid approach, but you have to have some sort of result/hypothesis in mind before you start, otherwise how do you know which trials are in error?  Good!
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« Reply #9 on: Aug 20, 2017, 08:30AM »

It is a valid approach, but you have to have some sort of result/hypothesis in mind before you start, otherwise how do you know which trials are in error?  Good!

Great sound, (relatively) good pitch, even blow through the registers, good flexibility without being unfocused.

S.
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« Reply #10 on: Aug 20, 2017, 09:31AM »

I remember reading many years ago a book on fugues, with a heavy emphasis on Bach and composers before Bach. I don't remember the author or the name of the book. One thing that stuck with me went something like this: the rules of a fugue are as arbitrary as the rules of an English box garden, the games of tennis or golf, or what is "good" according to French cuisine.

The rules for modern tempered scales, whether it's equal temperament, just intonation, or Pythagorean, are just as arbitrary. An octave should sound like this... a major third should should like this, except when it's the 7th of an augmented chord... perfect fourths sound like this except when... etc. Who says? Arbitrary rules based on a preference that have become "law" (I can't think of a better term; "accepted, unchallenged pratice" and "tradition" just don't have the right connotation) over time are still arbitrary. (Tevye: "Why? I don't know. It's a tradition!")

Of course, intonation and different systems of intonation is essential. Otherwise, we would forever sound like a first-year band. We need to recognize and agree on intonation.

I like what Chris and Gabe and Sam have written: there's a small range of resonant and interesting sounds between dull and uninteresting, and harsh and abrasive. Unfortunately, one of the costs of increased resonance and a captivating sound seems to be "perfect" intonation (whatever that is) when we have to comply with a set of arbitary rules, like intonation and scales.
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« Reply #11 on: Aug 20, 2017, 11:56AM »

This is so different from my experiences. Mr. Al Lube, my former teacher, told me a good trombone should play a good bugle call, in tune with itself, in the first 3 or four positions. This doesn't mean that it's in tune with an equal tempered tuner, but real music isn't played with one.

When changing lead pipes my experience is that it's frustrating to change lead pipes on trombones trying to fix intonation or tonal problems. Its amazing how little effect the leadpipe has on intonation. Provided the mouthpiece is a good match (a big if) I find it's best to pick the leadpipe for response (often confused with resistance, or slotting) and ease of playing. Does this leadpipe facilitate me in playing real music with my best sound?

I don't find it helpful to pick a leadpipe for sound or intonation. I pick the bell for sound, first of all!!! The bell and tuning slide should be a good match which gives (with most useable lead pipes) good sound and good intonation and then I fine tune it with leadpipe choice.

For example, with Shires large bore tenors: Pick the bell first (the  best one I have for sound is the Vintage New York) then the tuning slide (the X tuning slide gives me a good bugle call with just about any lead pipe or reasonable large bore mouthpiece) and then the leadpipe. All of the Shires leadpipes work, it's really no big deal, a #2 seems fine. A Bach leadpipe works just fine too,

On Bass I like the Shires BII bell better than the BI bell I have. This gives me my sound. Both the B and C tuning slides give a good bugle, but with a variety of leadpipes, the B tuning slide is tight down low, the C works for me better. Pick single or duo bore slide for breadth of tone (although the duo bore is also a little better down low and harder up high) But the Shires has a pretty big sound and I find the single bore is easier to play with a broad enough sound for general playing. It's also easier to blend with the tenor trombones. Then pick leadpipe for resistance, again most of the shires pipes work, a #2 is about right for me. A Bach 50 pipe works as do the Edwards pipes. I've tried other pipes too, GR pipes, minick and Herric pipes, conn pipes, Yamaha pipes. Non of these pipes alter the basic intonation of the bugle all that much.

So for me it's bell first for sound, match the tuning slide when you have a choice, if these give good sound and intonation, then leadpipe choice is not so hard. Fine tune the resistance for what's already a good bugle. Your results may be different, but this is what works for me.

I think we agonize over leadpipe pipes choices for two reasons-it's a lot easier to change than the rest of the horn, and sometimes we expect the leadpipe to change tendencies that are inherent in other parts of the instrument.
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« Reply #12 on: Aug 20, 2017, 12:15PM »

---snip---

 Unfortunately, one of the costs of increased resonance and a captivating sound seems to be "perfect" intonation (whatever that is) when we have to comply with a set of arbitrary rules, like intonation and scales.

i agree, with one exception.

There is one harmonic series that is not derived from "a set of arbitrary rules." It is the harmonic series that results from just intonation tuning. Almost the entire 8 pages of the introduction to my book is dedicated to this principle. (You can read it here if you wish to do so.) Without a thorough understanding...an aural understanding...of how this harmonic series sounds, all of our attempts at "tuning up" as we play in the various equal temperment situations (more or less "equal," as is plain to hear in different idioms and with different instrumentations) are like someone trying to find his way through a complicated maze that actually has a cogent structure. Once that original structure is learned, navigating the maze becomes much easier and much more efficient.

There are many ways to familiarize oneself with the equal temperment harmonic series, but the most visceral one...thus the one most applicable to making music on any instrument...is overtone singing. Once one learns how to do overtone singing really well...not a quick or easy task, but one well worth learning... suddenly all intonation variances have a home base, something solid and unchanging to which they can be related. It is still not a "mental" task, this pitch consciousness...it's all about making music, and if one's mind is messing around with theoretical stuff of any kind while p[laying, the music invariably suffers. But the repeated physically-based exposure to that home base ground one's pitch enormously. It's a lot like learning a complex martial art. Once one gets the various positionings down to the point of being reflexive, then one can react to all incoming attacks without much thought.

Just sayin'...there are many YouTube vids about learning how to sing overtones. I like the ones from Anna-Maria Hefele (She has a number of good, simple and approachable ones on YouTube), but since I already pretty much know what I am doing, I haven't spent much time searching through YouTube for good teaching guides for a number of years. Do a search if you are interested. The good ones are usually pretty easy to distinguish. (Beware the New Age hoaxes, please.) Hefele's clarity and power are quite amazing. We don't need to learn it at her level...she's a good singer out front...but but all we need to be able to do is to accurately isolate overtones above sung notes. I learned it from [url-0http://www.harmonicworld.com/]David Hykes[/url] in about 15 minutes. After that? Years of daily practice to learn how to get up to the 16th partial from singable notes where the 16th partial...that's four octaves above the fundamental...is within the range of my hearing.

Just sayin'...

S.
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« Reply #13 on: Aug 20, 2017, 12:43PM »

Great sound, (relatively) good pitch, even blow through the registers, good flexibility without being unfocused.

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« Reply #14 on: Aug 20, 2017, 12:57PM »

This is so different from my experiences. Mr. Al Lube, my former teacher, told me a good trombone should play a good bugle call, in tune with itself, in the first 3 or four positions. This doesn't mean that it's in tune with an equal tempered tuner, but real music isn't played with one.

When changing lead pipes my experience is that it's frustrating to change lead pipes on trombones trying to fix intonation or tonal problems. Its amazing how little effect the leadpipe has on intonation. Provided the mouthpiece is a good match (a big if) I find it's best to pick the leadpipe for response (often confused with resistance, or slotting) and ease of playing. Does this leadpipe facilitate me in playing real music with my best sound?

I don't find it helpful to pick a leadpipe for sound or intonation. I pick the bell for sound, first of all!!! The bell and tuning slide should be a good match which gives (with most useable lead pipes) good sound and good intonation and then I fine tune it with leadpipe choice.

For example, with Shires large bore tenors: Pick the bell first (the  best one I have for sound is the Vintage New York) then the tuning slide (the X tuning slide gives me a good bugle call with just about any lead pipe or reasonable large bore mouthpiece) and then the leadpipe. All of the Shires leadpipes work, it's really no big deal, a #2 seems fine. A Bach leadpipe works just fine too,

On Bass I like the Shires BII bell better than the BI bell I have. This gives me my sound. Both the B and C tuning slides give a good bugle, but with a variety of leadpipes, the B tuning slide is tight down low, the C works for me better. Pick single or duo bore slide for breadth of tone (although the duo bore is also a little better down low and harder up high) But the Shires has a pretty big sound and I find the single bore is easier to play with a broad enough sound for general playing. It's also easier to blend with the tenor trombones. Then pick leadpipe for resistance, again most of the shires pipes work, a #2 is about right for me. A Bach 50 pipe works as do the Edwards pipes. I've tried other pipes too, GR pipes, minick and Herric pipes, conn pipes, Yamaha pipes. Non of these pipes alter the basic intonation of the bugle all that much.

So for me it's bell first for sound, match the tuning slide when you have a choice, if these give good sound and intonation, then leadpipe choice is not so hard. Fine tune the resistance for what's already a good bugle. Your results may be different, but this is what works for me.

I think we agonize over leadpipe pipes choices for two reasons-it's a lot easier to change than the rest of the horn, and sometimes we expect the leadpipe to change tendencies that are inherent in other parts of the instrument.

I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with your view. A member of this forum who I greatly respect as a musician and one time instrument builder said to me that 'the further you get away from the face, the less impact changes have'. Over the years, I have found this to be a pretty astute observation. No way has my experience shown bells to be the most important piece of the jigsaw. Quite the opposite.
You say that you have tried leadpipes by Minick and Herrick.... really ? Made by them ? Not Kanstul 'copies' ? There is a Hell of a difference. Conn pipes ? New Conn pipes or Elkhart pipes ? Again, chalk and cheese. All Shires pipes the same ? Not on my face....
For me, even moving pipes in or out of the slide... the same pipe.... makes a considerable difference.
Funny how differently we see things....

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #15 on: Aug 20, 2017, 01:29PM »

To the pure intonation talk that is going on here:

I love just intonation. It sounds and feels amazing to play. I had started a project to teach perfect intonation through underlying, perfectly intoned chords.l, with a trombone melody played over them.

As soon as you change keys, or heaven forbid have the top parts change over a held bass root note, it's game over. Does the bass change to intone to the upper parts? Does the bass have to play in 12tet while the upper parts are free to play 5 limit?

The math becomes absolutely crazy. We play modern music, mostly. It needs 12TET. It sounds good to do 5 limit above the root, but the bass has to be 12TET. At least for what I was doing, I couldn't rectify how far away from A440 I got the more keys changed.

Leadpipes that sound good might bring us away from easy 12tet, but we play a tuning slide. Push the main tuning slide in and use your ear.
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« Reply #16 on: Aug 20, 2017, 11:02PM »

Chris Stearn asked, ďYou say that you have tried leadpipes by Minick and Herrick.... really ? Made by them ? Not Kanstul 'copies' ? There is a Hell of a difference. Conn pipes ? New Conn pipes or Elkhart pipes ?Ē
Yes, Mr. Stearn I have owned original examples of all of these, and more that you didnít ask about. But itís not a question of ďwhoís tried the most lead pipes.Ē That would miss the points I was trying to make. I will try to illustrate with a few examples. Of course, others will have had different experiences.
When I was younger, most of my work was with big bands. I had an Early Holton Tr180 which I thought worked well. For the last three decades, most of my playing has been orchestral, and Iíve gone the usual Bach, Edwards route. Now I play on a Shires. My regular shires setup works well in the orchestra. I can put a lighter, Conn like BI bell on it, B tuning slide, and it does brighten up. But Iíve never quite thought it was I wanted for commercial work. Iíve tried to go back to vintage Holtons, King Duo Gravis, Conn 73H, Holton Tr183, Kanstul 1662, Conn 62HI but wasnít really happy with any of them.
Then I picked up a Conn 62HG Greenhoe. Suddenly thereís the sound I want for big band. And I donít have to change lead pipes or mouthpiece to do it. The Conn 62HG retains its distinct sound and intonation with a good range of lead pipes.
Switching lead pipes between the Conn and the Shires doesnít have much effect.  The leadpipe that came with the Conn feels and plays like the couple of stock Bach 50 pipes I have. The Shires #2 is slightly more open, in either horn. But, hereís the point, putting in any of the pipes Iíve cared to try doesnít change the tone or intonation of either horn much. And no pipe will make the Conn sound like the Shires, or my Bach, Yamaha or Holton. And no leadpipe I have will make any of the other horns sound like the Conn.
I donít mean to imply that all lead pipes are created equal. I favor the Shires #2, others may favor more or less resistance or a different feel. As with mouthpieces, when players start using a new leadpipe they notice all the differences at first, but over time they adapt, and soon they sound like themselves again. Hopefully with some improvement.
Example #2
Shires small bore tenor with original tuning crook. This horn sounded great, but felt too open and the F, E, And E flat were all too sharp so it was not natural for me to play when Iím used to horns with other intonation tendencies. I tried all three of the shires pipes, the number one felt best, but didnít change the intonation. I tried Conn and Bach and some Kanstul repo pipes, none had any effect on the intonation.  A Doug Elliott mouthpiece, which is a little longer than most, helped a little. Some people swore by this horn and loved it. But I wasnít the only one who liked this horn but had trouble adjusting to it. Due to customer feedback, Shires developed two new tuning slides for the horn.  I bought a 1.5 tuning slide. Just put the new tuning slide on, and like magic, all the previous intonation problems simply vanished, and the horn played with better slotting, so I didnít have to use the #1 pipe, and switched to the #2. Regular mouthpieces now work with it just as well as the Elliott. None of these changes effected the tone much, and attempting to address these issues by changing the leadpipe was a failure because the problem was elsewhere.
Case 3#
Shires Large bore with original tuning slide. Itís well known that Shires large bore trombones were designed to get the high D in tune in 1st, and doing this meant that the F above the staff would be sharp in 1st. Many players are used to this, but Iím one of those who arenít, so Itís more work for me to adjust to such a horn. None of the lead pipes I had made much difference to the intonation. Long mouthpieces, such as older Schilkes, and Doug Elliotts helped a little. Then Shires came out with the X tuning slide, said to change intonation of the partials to be more like a Bach. I bought one and the new tuning slide works as advertised. Octave F, Es, And E flats are well in tune with each other and High D tends to be a little flat. Changing the lead pipe changed the resistance and feel, but had little effect on tone or intonation.
One further example
Older Conn 88Hs require a Remington taper shank on the mouthpiece. Many players never bothered to order a mouthpiece with the correct shank. Iíve noticed that when I play a vintage Conn with a typical Bach or other modern mouthpiece, they play really open, perhaps too open on some notes, and the F, E, and E flat above the staff can be very sharp. But put a mouthpiece with a Remington taper, or a long shank Schilke 51, then partial lineup becomes much more like other instruments, and the slotting seems better too.  Remington taper mouthpieces are a little longer than others. This demonstrates the commonly observed rule that thereís a certain distance that works best for the mouthpiece to go into the leadpipe. If the mouthpiece goes in too far (too small a shank) notes that tend to be sharp get sharper and the horn plays more open. If the mouthpiece doesnít go in far enough (too large a shank)  then the notes that play flat will tend to be to flat, and the horn will be too resistant. And thereís a point in the middle that seems to give good results and feels good too. The leadpipe and mouthpiece have to be part of a well matched system, no one part is most important.

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« Reply #17 on: Aug 21, 2017, 02:54AM »

Wonder if there is any useful for me to change my old Conn's to take different lead pipes?
Or maybe the Holton 180?

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« Reply #18 on: Aug 21, 2017, 03:39AM »

Chris Stearn asked, ďYou say that you have tried leadpipes by Minick and Herrick.... really ? Made by them ? Not Kanstul 'copies' ? There is a Hell of a difference. Conn pipes ? New Conn pipes or Elkhart pipes ?Ē
Yes, Mr. Stearn I have owned original examples of all of these, and more that you didnít ask about. But itís not a question of ďwhoís tried the most lead pipes.Ē That would miss the points I was trying to make. I will try to illustrate with a few examples. Of course, others will have had different experiences.
When I was younger, most of my work was with big bands. I had an Early Holton Tr180 which I thought worked well. For the last three decades, most of my playing has been orchestral, and Iíve gone the usual Bach, Edwards route. Now I play on a Shires. My regular shires setup works well in the orchestra. I can put a lighter, Conn like BI bell on it, B tuning slide, and it does brighten up. But Iíve never quite thought it was I wanted for commercial work. Iíve tried to go back to vintage Holtons, King Duo Gravis, Conn 73H, Holton Tr183, Kanstul 1662, Conn 62HI but wasnít really happy with any of them.
Then I picked up a Conn 62HG Greenhoe. Suddenly thereís the sound I want for big band. And I donít have to change lead pipes or mouthpiece to do it. The Conn 62HG retains its distinct sound and intonation with a good range of lead pipes.
Switching lead pipes between the Conn and the Shires doesnít have much effect.  The leadpipe that came with the Conn feels and plays like the couple of stock Bach 50 pipes I have. The Shires #2 is slightly more open, in either horn. But, hereís the point, putting in any of the pipes Iíve cared to try doesnít change the tone or intonation of either horn much. And no pipe will make the Conn sound like the Shires, or my Bach, Yamaha or Holton. And no leadpipe I have will make any of the other horns sound like the Conn.
I donít mean to imply that all lead pipes are created equal. I favor the Shires #2, others may favor more or less resistance or a different feel. As with mouthpieces, when players start using a new leadpipe they notice all the differences at first, but over time they adapt, and soon they sound like themselves again. Hopefully with some improvement.
Example #2
Shires small bore tenor with original tuning crook. This horn sounded great, but felt too open and the F, E, And E flat were all too sharp so it was not natural for me to play when Iím used to horns with other intonation tendencies. I tried all three of the shires pipes, the number one felt best, but didnít change the intonation. I tried Conn and Bach and some Kanstul repo pipes, none had any effect on the intonation.  A Doug Elliott mouthpiece, which is a little longer than most, helped a little. Some people swore by this horn and loved it. But I wasnít the only one who liked this horn but had trouble adjusting to it. Due to customer feedback, Shires developed two new tuning slides for the horn.  I bought a 1.5 tuning slide. Just put the new tuning slide on, and like magic, all the previous intonation problems simply vanished, and the horn played with better slotting, so I didnít have to use the #1 pipe, and switched to the #2. Regular mouthpieces now work with it just as well as the Elliott. None of these changes effected the tone much, and attempting to address these issues by changing the leadpipe was a failure because the problem was elsewhere.
Case 3#
Shires Large bore with original tuning slide. Itís well known that Shires large bore trombones were designed to get the high D in tune in 1st, and doing this meant that the F above the staff would be sharp in 1st. Many players are used to this, but Iím one of those who arenít, so Itís more work for me to adjust to such a horn. None of the lead pipes I had made much difference to the intonation. Long mouthpieces, such as older Schilkes, and Doug Elliotts helped a little. Then Shires came out with the X tuning slide, said to change intonation of the partials to be more like a Bach. I bought one and the new tuning slide works as advertised. Octave F, Es, And E flats are well in tune with each other and High D tends to be a little flat. Changing the lead pipe changed the resistance and feel, but had little effect on tone or intonation.
One further example
Older Conn 88Hs require a Remington taper shank on the mouthpiece. Many players never bothered to order a mouthpiece with the correct shank. Iíve noticed that when I play a vintage Conn with a typical Bach or other modern mouthpiece, they play really open, perhaps too open on some notes, and the F, E, and E flat above the staff can be very sharp. But put a mouthpiece with a Remington taper, or a long shank Schilke 51, then partial lineup becomes much more like other instruments, and the slotting seems better too.  Remington taper mouthpieces are a little longer than others. This demonstrates the commonly observed rule that thereís a certain distance that works best for the mouthpiece to go into the leadpipe. If the mouthpiece goes in too far (too small a shank) notes that tend to be sharp get sharper and the horn plays more open. If the mouthpiece doesnít go in far enough (too large a shank)  then the notes that play flat will tend to be to flat, and the horn will be too resistant. And thereís a point in the middle that seems to give good results and feels good too. The leadpipe and mouthpiece have to be part of a well matched system, no one part is most important.



The question about Herrick and Minick originals verses the Kanstul 'copies' was a genuine one.... so many people on this forum talk about  makers when they mean copies of that maker's product. For me all kanstul pipes play like variations of a Kanstul pipe, whatever they are called.
Most of what you are saying relates to more recent experience with Shires trombones, and I can understand where you are coming from.... I had two students last year that had Shires basses.... any attempt to fine-tune them with different leadpipes was futile. Mouthpieces had some effect, but those instruments play and sound a certain way and that's what it will be.
Other makes behave differently.... a friend in New York recently mentioned that he was having a job finding the right pipe for a Holton 185 he recently bought. I went through twenty-something pipes that I have here and found that they pretty much all behaved very differently in a Holton to how they worked in my other horns.... I sent him one that made the most sense in my 169..... I could not remember where that pipe came from... it was simply marked 'Holton'... perhaps they knew what they were doing ! Of course, it may work in my Holton but not in his !
Raths are pretty pipe sensitive, at least for me.... and I have a modern Conn that has been transformed by an original 70H pipe.... I say transformed... others might not notice a difference. All this stuff is relative.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #19 on: Aug 21, 2017, 09:11AM »

The question about Herrick and Minick originals verses the Kanstul 'copies' was a genuine one.... so many people on this forum talk about  makers when they mean copies of that maker's product. For me all kanstul pipes play like variations of a Kanstul pipe, whatever they are called.

My experience as well with the Kanstul pipes. Also when you ordered a pipe from Larry he would ask you what horn you played and what mouthpiece you used. A lead pipe made for a Holton wouldn't necessarily sound good in a Bach or vice versa. Makes a difference.

Most of what you are saying relates to more recent experience with Shires trombones, and I can understand where you are coming from.... I had two students last year that had Shires basses.... any attempt to fine-tune them with different leadpipes was futile. Mouthpieces had some effect, but those instruments play and sound a certain way and that's what it will be.

Also my experience with Shires bass trombones.

Other makes behave differently.... a friend in New York recently mentioned that he was having a job finding the right pipe for a Holton 185 he recently bought. I went through twenty-something pipes that I have here and found that they pretty much all behaved very differently in a Holton to how they worked in my other horns.... I sent him one that made the most sense in my 169..... I could not remember where that pipe came from... it was simply marked 'Holton'... perhaps they knew what they were doing ! Of course, it may work in my Holton but not in his !

For me Holtons change the most with pipe changes. My MV 50 copy from Noah Gladstone makes my 180 sound more Bach like. Most stock Holton pipes that I have tried have been bad pipes. I feel like the sound goes nowhere. I've had all of my pipes pulled and replaced with various brands. In one horn an older Shires 3 sounds good. In one a Minick pipe. In the other a Brasslab copy of a Jack Schatz original Minick pipe. Your milage may very.

Raths are pretty pipe sensitive, at least for me.... and I have a modern Conn that has been transformed by an original 70H pipe.... I say transformed... others might not notice a difference. All this stuff is relative.

Chris if that's the same setup that I tried back in March that Conn of yours is only 1 of 2 62Hs that I've been able to play that feels great and sounds great. The other was George Flynn's gold plated 62H.
Usually Conns and I do not agree.


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« Reply #20 on: Aug 21, 2017, 09:18AM »

With my limited amatuer experience of recently.putting a Rath bass together, they are "everything" sensitive. I could get some very big variations in feel (if not sound) from almost every part change.
From what I heard and felt, the slide plays a big part in how your Rath ends up. The pipe seemed to help fine tune the slide. The tuning slide had an effect on the feel, response and blow and the bell was more like a final tweak.
Thats how I felt when putting my Rath together.
The biggest changes for me were all before the bell.
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« Reply #21 on: Aug 21, 2017, 04:17PM »

Most of what you are saying relates to more recent experience with Shires trombones, and I can understand where you are coming from.... I had two students last year that had Shires basses.... any attempt to fine-tune them with different leadpipes was futile. Mouthpieces had some effect, but those instruments play and sound a certain way and that's what it will be.

As a long-time Shires player - who learned to play on a slightly unusual Bach with a Brasslab leadpipe and appreciates fine vintage bass trombones - I found that true as well...until I tried a Brass Ark MV50 on a whim. For me, the nature of the slot changed in a way I had been wanting for quite a while. It's both more efficient than the B2 I always came back to - meaning that notes start with less effort all over the horn - and more flexible, meaning that I feel like I can make the sound bigger or smaller without sacrificing the integrity of the core. People I trust listening tell me that the tone color is generally more interesting and personal. I'll take it. Steve has played it and liked it himself, as well.
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« Reply #22 on: Aug 22, 2017, 12:58AM »

I will have to remember that tip Gabe.
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« Reply #23 on: Aug 22, 2017, 06:46AM »

As a long-time Shires player - who learned to play on a slightly unusual Bach with a Brasslab leadpipe and appreciates fine vintage bass trombones - I found that true as well...until I tried a Brass Ark MV50 on a whim. For me, the nature of the slot changed in a way I had been wanting for quite a while. It's both more efficient than the B2 I always came back to - meaning that notes start with less effort all over the horn - and more flexible, meaning that I feel like I can make the sound bigger or smaller without sacrificing the integrity of the core. People I trust listening tell me that the tone color is generally more interesting and personal. I'll take it. Steve has played it and liked it himself, as well.

I've noticed that the Brass Ark leadpipes seem to be lighter than other pipes. The horn where I play my Brass Ark MV36 has a distinctively clearer, lighter sound (which might be attributed to any number of custom aspects of the horn). There might also be something else going on with a stiffening heat treat. I don't have massive leadpipe experience, but I've got some, and this Brass Ark pipe definitely distinguishes itself from other run of the mill pipes.

I can't really say if it's an "interesting" sound, as I find interest in just about anything. But the sound of this pipe is definitely clearer, lighter, maybe brighter.
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« Reply #24 on: Aug 22, 2017, 07:45PM »

carburetors vs fuel injection-seem to be a little bit of a comparison of how leadpipes of various "vintages"work in horns. How to best send your buzz into this unit is, for me, so far, a bit of a mystery. I play a Rath R9DST with Rotax. I fooled around early on with a few pipes, but for whatever reason(construction) my slide goes out of alignment when I removed the pipe. So I settled on a pipe and left in in after a tech aligned the slide. About a year ago, I bought a Holton 185 from a forum member. I've been fooling around with different pipes ever since to find one that works. Not an easy task. I know what you're thinking(I'm not trying to make it play like my Rath) Been around too long to go there. So far Kanstul and Brass Ark stuff is no good(there,I said it)Still searching......
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« Reply #25 on: Aug 22, 2017, 10:22PM »

hassein which brassark pipes have you tried? I found their pipes work pretty good in my TR185... some of their pipes for sure work better then others of theirs though!
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« Reply #26 on: Aug 23, 2017, 03:20AM »

The Schatz
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« Reply #27 on: Aug 23, 2017, 07:58AM »

The Schatz
The new Schatz pipe is fairly tight and might not be everyone's cup of tea or even work in every TR185. Personally I like the new style Schatz pipe in my TR185 and my Shires but that's just me.

If you're looking for a more standard Bach/Holton blow the BrassArk MV50B pipe plays VERY well and if you're looking for a more open blow his NY50B pipe plays fantastic! I have a friend who uses the NY50B in his TR180 and his horn plays amazing.

Maybe your TR185 did have a good stock leadpipe though... and it might be worth it just to keep using the stock leadpipe! Good!
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« Reply #28 on: Aug 23, 2017, 10:05AM »

Well, not really... but I have noticed an unfortunate quality in a group of pipes I have been testing....

The better the feel and sound of a pipe, the more out of tune the harmonic series,

Chris Stearn

That makes perfect sense to me.

When we play a note, the harmonic series sounding above it is a given.  But the partials on the horn are affected by the horn's construction.

So if the partials are different on a leadpipe, the upper frequencies of the note should get a different emphasis. 

If the partials and the harmonic series lines up really well, you probably get an even amplification; if you lip above or below the center of the pitch, I would think you'll get away from center and get duller. 

If the line up is not good, then lipping above or below should let you choose upper frequencies to amplify and add color. 

My theory, anyway.  I don't have any experience with leadpipes, nor probably the skill to hear the subtle differences you did.  I did play a 6H once that had amazing tone color to my ears, and some intonation quirks.  I would have bought it if I'd had the cash at the time.  I can deal with intonation, I have the tuning slide in my hand. 
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« Reply #29 on: Aug 23, 2017, 10:44AM »

Unfortunately I don't think I am clever enough to understand this. To me if something makes my instrument play out of tune then it doesn't sound good. Thats all there is to it really. No other quality Will redeem it if it doesn't play in tune.

I look to make the most even and resonant sound that I can across the range of the instrument and the different levels of dynamics. Usually if something is in tune it resonates better which for me, means a better sound (and usually the people playing next to me too!).
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« Reply #30 on: Aug 23, 2017, 10:48AM »

Unfortunately I don't think I am clever enough to understand this. To me if something makes my instrument play out of tune then it doesn't sound good.

But, what does out of tune mean on a trombone, where we adjust every position anyway?

If I play an Eb and an Ab in 3rd position, can I do it with zero adjustment (in tune partial), small adjustment, or large adjustment? 

I don't require there to be zero adjustment.  That note is going to be different depending on the chord or the other instruments anyway. 

Am I missing something? 
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« Reply #31 on: Aug 23, 2017, 10:56AM »

But, what does out of tune mean on a trombone, where we adjust every position anyway?

If I play an Eb and an Ab in 3rd position, can I do it with zero adjustment (in tune partial), small adjustment, or large adjustment? 

I don't require there to be zero adjustment.  That note is going to be different depending on the chord or the other instruments anyway. 

Am I missing something? 

Dunno. Maybe I am missing something. The original post said "the better the sound and feel, the more out of tune the harmonic series".
I adjust for each note accordingly, but within reason I would like it to be a predictable adjustment. Perhaps I I interpreted that quote wrong, but I would think if a professional player says something plays out of tune, it means that it is hard to either predict what adjustments need to be made, or that are notes that cannot be manipulated into correct pitch without sacrificing evenness of sound or tone quality in general.

Again, I am not sure but I think clarification is probably coming  :)
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« Reply #32 on: Aug 23, 2017, 11:02AM »

Unfortunately I don't think I am clever enough to understand this. To me if something makes my instrument play out of tune then it doesn't sound good. Thats all there is to it really. No other quality Will redeem it if it doesn't play in tune.

I look to make the most even and resonant sound that I can across the range of the instrument and the different levels of dynamics. Usually if something is in tune it resonates better which for me, means a better sound (and usually the people playing next to me too!).


Looking at your profile I am sure you can tell the difference. I bet your double is very slotted and unless your 70H has had a pipe change, that will be pretty loose in the slot. If you are a good musician you will find the old Conn easier to play in tune as you can blow it in tune. The slotted double you HAVE to adjust at the slide... and that is less instinctive.

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« Reply #33 on: Aug 23, 2017, 11:05AM »

Dunno. Maybe I am missing something. The original post said "the better the sound and feel, the more out of tune the harmonic series".
I adjust for each note accordingly, but within reason I would like it to be a predictable adjustment. Perhaps I I interpreted that quote wrong, but I would think if a professional player says something plays out of tune, it means that it is hard to either predict what adjustments need to be made, or that are notes that cannot be manipulated into correct pitch without sacrificing evenness of sound or tone quality in general.

Again, I am not sure but I think clarification is probably coming  :)

Clarification.... whilst I can correct the tuning of any pipe... in testing I try to just play in the centre of each harmonic and see where that leads.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #34 on: Aug 23, 2017, 11:14AM »

Looking at your profile I am sure you can tell the difference. I bet your double is very slotted and unless your 70H has had a pipe change, that will be pretty loose in the slot. If you are a good musician you will find the old Conn easier to play in tune as you can blow it in tune. The slotted double you HAVE to adjust at the slide... and that is less instinctive.

Chris Stearn

I would like to think that I am a good musician. Or at least well on the way to becoming one.
I can honestly say that I personally find my 70h harder to play in almost every way. It hasn't had a pipe change (that I am aware of). I play it usually when I am doing chamber music with less brass, or sometimes if my principle is playing alto, I find the sound I make on it in those scenarios is quite nice and it's fun to shake things up every now and again.

I definitely do not find that is plays any better in tune than my bach. It could be partly that I am more comfortable on my bach though I'm not sure. I don't find myself adjusting the slide on my bach any more than my conn though, and I don't think that I consistently play out of tune.
The comment about slotting is probably right.... I didn't bring my conn to America so I can't double check and I have never really thought about that quality between them much.
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« Reply #35 on: Aug 23, 2017, 11:46AM »

Clarification.... whilst I can correct the tuning of any pipe... in testing I try to just play in the centre of each harmonic and see where that leads.

Chris Stearn

Yeah I think that is clear. So that means you are saying the center of some notes are not in tune? I assume that means that you would have to sacrifice the quality or eveness of sound to manipulate the pitch to where it needs to be? My confusion was just In reading that it was a better sound even if it was more out of tune. I think I understand what you are saying now though.
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« Reply #36 on: Aug 23, 2017, 12:41PM »

Yeah I think that is clear. So that means you are saying the center of some notes are not in tune? I assume that means that you would have to sacrifice the quality or eveness of sound to manipulate the pitch to where it needs to be?

Or move the slide, and retain the quality, is how I understood him. 
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« Reply #37 on: Aug 23, 2017, 12:47PM »

Or move the slide, and retain the quality, is how I understood him. 

Yeah, that's how I interpret it.
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« Reply #38 on: Aug 23, 2017, 12:58PM »

The Holton 185 I have came without a leadpipe. Had there been one in it,I would have left it alone. I have a pile of pipes that I'm trying now. These boutique pipes are a bit pricey.
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« Reply #39 on: Aug 23, 2017, 02:01PM »

Or move the slide, and retain the quality, is how I understood him. 

Maybe. But that won't do you much good if the best point of resonance is at a place on the slide where it's not in tune.
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« Reply #40 on: Aug 23, 2017, 03:38PM »

The new Schatz pipe is fairly tight and might not be everyone's cup of tea or even work in every TR185. Personally I like the new style Schatz pipe in my TR185 and my Shires but that's just me.

If you're looking for a more standard Bach/Holton blow the BrassArk MV50B pipe plays VERY well and if you're looking for a more open blow his NY50B pipe plays fantastic! I have a friend who uses the NY50B in his TR180 and his horn plays amazing.

Maybe your TR185 did have a good stock leadpipe though... and it might be worth it just to keep using the stock leadpipe! Good!
Thanks-I'm an old guy(look at my profile)The Schatz pipe is nice in the middle and upper register,the low register feels very unfocused. No real pop on the trigger notes and pedal notes below Gflat don't lock. Thanks for the advice-
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« Reply #41 on: Aug 23, 2017, 05:32PM »

Maybe. But that won't do you much good if the best point of resonance is at a place on the slide where it's not in tune.

This doesn't make much sense. There's a best point of resonance for any given pitch, at 0c or 30c.
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« Reply #42 on: Aug 23, 2017, 06:25PM »

Mr. Deacon many of the stock Holton pipes are terrible. As someone who owns 3 TR 180s and have played numerous 185s I can tell you that all but one of the instruments I've played had useless stock pipes. So maybe not such a great idea to keep the original in most cases.  Good!
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« Reply #43 on: Aug 23, 2017, 06:39PM »

I thought about this for a while. Thinking back to the four Holtons I've owned and played none of them seemed funk to play in tune. Even the best one. Easy and predictable. And the other basses I've loved and mine now. maybe I need to look deeper but to me and people who listen and play with me my horns sound great and in tune.

Chris if you could elaborate. Is the out of tuneness linear? Is it always sharp or always flat on your favorite pipes? Different for different notes?
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« Reply #44 on: Aug 23, 2017, 06:49PM »

This doesn't make much sense. There's a best point of resonance for any given pitch, at 0c or 30c.

Ok. I guess I don't get it then.
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« Reply #45 on: Aug 23, 2017, 07:14PM »

Ok. I guess I don't get it then.

I think it's not clear, as well. I took this thread to mean:

The better the sound of a leadpipe, the less lined up (intonation / 12tet wise) the partials are. In other words, on tge better sounding pipes, the adjustments needed to play in tune are greater.

I think it could be inferred that these pipes might actually line up better in terms of pure harmonics than a pipe with partials that line up better 12tet wise.

I don't think that that was completely cleared up yet.
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« Reply #46 on: Aug 23, 2017, 07:38PM »

Ok. I guess I don't get it then.
You're thinking of a trombone like a trumpet. On a trumpet you want to adjust the least amount possible with your lips, so it's very desirable to have a trumpet where all the harmonics are in tune.

With a trombone we have a tuning slide in our hands so we dont need a instrument where the harmonics line up perfectly. Hence why a number of players in this tgread are saying having a good sound from a instrument is more desirable then having a horn where you have to adjust very little.
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« Reply #47 on: Aug 23, 2017, 10:43PM »

Chris, I'll bet you never imagined you'd have opened a can or worms like this.
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« Reply #48 on: Aug 23, 2017, 11:16PM »

Chris, I'll bet you never imagined you'd have opened a can or worms like this.

He probably didn't.... but that's half the fun of a forum like this isn't it? It would be boring if everyone agreed or completely understood.
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« Reply #49 on: Aug 23, 2017, 11:22PM »

You're thinking of a trombone like a trumpet. On a trumpet you want to adjust the least amount possible with your lips, so it's very desirable to have a trumpet where all the harmonics are in tune.

With a trombone we have a tuning slide in our hands so we dont need a instrument where the harmonics line up perfectly. Hence why a number of players in this tgread are saying having a good sound from a instrument is more desirable then having a horn where you have to adjust very little.

Yes I know what you are talking about, I was thinking of a different problem that I thought Chris Stearn was talking about but wasn't sure. I get the feeling it's probably too difficult to describe through written text though. At least for me.
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« Reply #50 on: Aug 23, 2017, 11:31PM »

Chris, I'll bet you never imagined you'd have opened a can or worms like this.

Oh, I did  :)
Let me put it another way....
If you play 20 different pipes in a trombone you will find that the tuning imperfections of that instrument, when put against a tuning meter, become apparent. Most pipes tend to go with those basic tuning characteristics but a few tend toward even greater pitch variation and a few others pull things toward the tuning meter. The pipes that are loose on pitch often sound the most interesting whilst the pipes that fix the tuning feel and sound less good.
Most of the better sounding pipes allow the player to adjust at the face without loss of quality and can therefore be made to play in tune... You just have to work at it. Even trombone players adjust at the face, not just with the slide.
That probably makes things even less clear... we shall see.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #51 on: Aug 23, 2017, 11:51PM »

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« Reply #52 on: Aug 24, 2017, 07:15AM »

I'll add my interpretation here, to help muddy the waters even more.  If I were to visualize the 'slot' for any particular note, there are a lot of different shapes that come to mind for different horns.  Some are crisp canyons that are deep.  Some are small troughs that are also straight sided.  Some are a sharp V, some a shallow V, some a U, and some a wide shallow u... and on and on...  The 'best sound' for any given shape is at the bottom and the middle.  If the slope is odd shaped, or very wide, I find that it can be difficult (or rather, just require more effort and attention) to sit in that perfect location.  However, the rewards for those type of shapes is a sound that is more interesting to me.  I'll bet it doesn't matter to anybody on the other side of the bell, but to me it is more pleasing.

This, in a nutshell, is why I have gravitated to older horns.  Sure, there are quirks to figure out, there are places where you have to move the slide when you really shouldn't have to at all, but the sound is fun.  I didn't mean to go this route, but on both my tenor and my bass, with modular pieces the new ones just seem to keep getting pushed out.  I'm sure that in many ways they were better than what I roll out now.  Heck, I often still play the Edwards slide and leadpipe as it is easier to play on some really tricky stuff, but I enjoy myself more when I use the other stuff.

Cheers,
Andy
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« Reply #53 on: Sep 05, 2017, 07:36AM »

Chris, I am going to disagree about how the front of the horn is more important than the back.  I find that most players have a point in the horn that is the #1 thing that makes the horn work for them...maybe the mpc, the leadpipe, slide crook (shape and bore size), neckpipe and valves, tuning slide, bell throat and bell flare.  I think the players input matches the reflection at those points and that returns to the players the information they need.

Many are very mouthpiece sensitive...but the rest is just a megaphone.  I think leadpipes are confusing because many people expect that to fix...everything.  When it doesn't the seach for the holy grail continues while the really wanted a different crook...or something.

Except for the PDQ Bach types, no one plays just a leadpipe.  The trombone is either a complex system that requires fine tuning, or a compact chromatic funnel. If you have messed with 20 leadpipes and not found the winner, it's probably something else.
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« Reply #54 on: Sep 05, 2017, 11:50PM »

Chris, I am going to disagree about how the front of the horn is more important than the back.  I find that most players have a point in the horn that is the #1 thing that makes the horn work for them...maybe the mpc, the leadpipe, slide crook (shape and bore size), neckpipe and valves, tuning slide, bell throat and bell flare.  I think the players input matches the reflection at those points and that returns to the players the information they need.

Many are very mouthpiece sensitive...but the rest is just a megaphone.  I think leadpipes are confusing because many people expect that to fix...everything.  When it doesn't the seach for the holy grail continues while the really wanted a different crook...or something.

Except for the PDQ Bach types, no one plays just a leadpipe.  The trombone is either a complex system that requires fine tuning, or a compact chromatic funnel. If you have messed with 20 leadpipes and not found the winner, it's probably something else.

Well John, I still feel that in the light of my own personal experience both for my own work and from helping students that the leadpipe can be the critical element in creating a whole playing system that optimises playing function in mating the mouthpiece with the rest of the instrument.
Try 20 pipes and not find a good one ? Yup.... easy to do. Does that mean that a really good pipe for that player, mouthpiece and instrument does not exist ? Of course not. Finding the ideal pipe is not an easy job, but I think it can be an important job.
None of this is of any more than minor importance compared to practise..... and should never be a practise substitute.
It does make a difference though..... as does any part of an instrument.... but the mouthpiece/leadpipe combination is the big one for me.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #55 on: Sep 06, 2017, 05:54AM »

I agree with both John and Chris (Ha!)

There are people out there that think the leadpipe will fix everything. An example:- I know a player who has 3 slides, all different in material in the tubes and crook. One of them plays well, and the other 2 play heavier and "slower". It's easy to see why, because the "heavier" slides "are" heavier. The "good" slide is yellow tube with nickel crook. Next in line is all yellow, followed by gold tube with yellow crook. The player wants the heavier slides to play the same as the good one, but the saying goes, "It is what it is". It would not matter what pipe is put in either of the other 2 slides, they will not play the same as the optimal one. (Ok, they may end up similar, but at what compromise?)

I actually think people get too "clingy" to mouthpieces. There are inherent sonic qualities to mouthpieces, but sometimes those qualities don't necessarily jive with the qualities inherent in a new instrument, or what is sought in performance. There are also players who will only play one type of bell construction/material, even though there may be other options that give them better results. "I like how this plays, but I want it to be different", is a commonly heard comment. Pre-conceived notions are rarely constructive.

M
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Matthew Walker
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