Blown out....Tired

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Spanky Rear, Oct 23, 2004.

  1. Spanky Rear

    Spanky Rear Member

    On occasion I have heard players observe that their instrument is "blown out or tired".What does this mean? Sceptically I have thought...hello...hello someone would like a new or different instrument,because often the instrument complained of is no great age. Is their any independent way to check if this state exists or is my scepticism well founded?
    By the way I should point out that some of the finest instruments I have played on have been very old.
  2. flugelgal

    flugelgal Active Member

    I've never heard of this at all!
  3. skweeky

    skweeky Member

    you know what they say: if you cant play it ;-)

    honestly try cleaning it, it might just be bunged up with gunge and snot and flem and all other horrible substances, and if that doesnt work then probabily you dont clean it often enough (inside) and this will eventually cause the inside to rust etc
  4. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    yeah... it's the instrument that makes me sound pants... honest...

    there's an old saying about bad workmen that could fit here quite well...
  5. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Blown out instruments

    A number of years ago before the advent of lottery money our band devised a "replacement schedule" for instruments based on age. Reliable sources apparently quoted that the general view point was that cornets would be blown out in 5 years and basses would take 10 years :-( Needless to say the this idea was promoted by a cornet player.

    There was no scientific information provided in support of the argument and no allowance for other variables e.g how often and how much the instrument was blown etc. Having set up this system we were then told by further authoritive sources that actually it was the other way round as basses are more likely to get dented and bashed more than cornets.

    There can be no question that new instruments always seem to play better than old instruments but that's usual because its been played by all and sundry by the time it gets handed on.

    I think the first bass I played was a single Eb bought by the band in 1930 and still being used in the 1980s, we also had some excellent cornets from the 1940s, one which was "blown-out" after 40 years but was replaced by an identical instrument from the same period which had sat in a cupboard for 35 years.
  6. jpbray

    jpbray Member

    I bathed my BBb at the weekend; warm water and good ol' fairy, a bottle brush from the brew shop for the valves and a good quality brush on a wire for inside, and then oiled and greased the valves and slides. Brilliant!!
  7. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    See the "Which Tooba?" thread - in 1989 I was offered a second hand EEb that had been with Brighus since the late 1970s (I wonder where they got the money from.....???). At the time I was told by the seller that it was a 'routine' to replace small brass at 5 years and large at 10 year intervals.

    I was warned off it by several people because it might be 'blown out' but 'phoned Jim Gourlay for advice and was soundly castigated for even considering the idea that a length of metal tubing would be altered at all by a few people puffing air through it.

    I bought the bass and have never regretted it.

    New instruments may sound different / better but that is likely to be due to changes in design rather than any actual change in the old instrument itself.
  8. ComputerBloke

    ComputerBloke Member

    I think that this is a term used to describe particularly trumpets that had been blasted to death.
    I don't know if there is any scientific evidence but I have heard of instances of jazz trumpeters who have blown their instrument so hard and loud for so long, the nature of the brass is changed and it becomes tinny and doesn't ring like it should..

    Anyone else?
  9. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I've heard as well that some form of chemical reaction does take place in the composition of brass over a period of time, especially when an instrument has been used. Will try and dig out some information about this.
  10. Phil Green

    Phil Green Supporting Member

    After some investigation and discussion with various engineers, chemists and instrument manufacturers, who all say that the nature of the brass itself won't change over time, Toby and I have come up with a theory that it's actually the fittings (branches, valve casings, springs, water keys etc) that get loose over a period of time and vibrate differently to how they did new. The additional (or lessening) vibration causes the instruments natural overtones to be lost and therefore the sound is different to how it was when the insrument was new.
    Also, big dents can affect tuning so it's only natural to think that they would also affect, or effect, the timbre?

    Not very scientific but it actually makes sense I think.
  11. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    Metal quality is certainly affected by corrosion induced by water vapor in the breath. This effect is slow and subtle, and usually takes the form of a roughening of the inside surface of the tubing. Even a small amount of roughening can affect the timbre. This is the same as the corrosion that occurs inside a brass fitting in a water pipe. A tube with a smaller diameter (like a cornet) will be affected before a larger tube (like a tuba). Same for dents - a change in the geometry of the tube will affect the timbre by changing the overtones, with the percentage decrease in the diameter of the tube determining the exact effect.

    I'm not sure that fittings getting loose is a general problem (although I'm sure that it does happen to some extent). A bigger problem is the wear on the valve bodies and inside of the casings.

    Regular cleaning is a must to prevent both internal corrosion and valve wear.
  12. amgray

    amgray Member

    I used to have a Conn 8H which was previously owned by David Want when he was principal at the Halle. That instrument WAS blown out, the sound didn't 'ring' no matter who was playing it.
    A friend of mine has an 88H that was previously Dudley Brights - that is also blown out.

    Whatever the reason, it is a real phenomenon.
    Maybe the skeptics can tell me why a new trombone invariably needs to be played for a few months to 'bed-in' the sound and open up the top register? Dennis Wick discusses possible reasons in his book 'Trombone Technique'.