Cornets: Triggered main tuning slide

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by, Jun 22, 2005.


What do you think of the triggered main tuning slide on the Cornet?

  1. If I'd wanted a movable slide I'd have take up trombone

    20 vote(s)
  2. It is a useful innovation, which I could not do without now.

    6 vote(s)
  3. It is ok, I use it occasionally but wouldn't miss it.

    11 vote(s)
  1. Calling all cornettists, and whoever else may have something to say!

    As you may have read I'm helping Willson Instruments to develop their new cornet, which aims to rival the Prestige and Yamaha instruments. One of the main questions is; 'Should there be a main slide tuning trigger'? The prestige was of course the first to introduce this, but there are mixed opinions on it and I would like to hear what you think of this: A silly gimmick or a useful tool?

    It does of course have its advantages, and means that cornettists are now able to access a greater range of repetoire, such as the Pink Panther and The Acrobat. On a serious note, it allows greater scope for adjusting the tuning mechanically, and one day maybe a wild wacky way out modern composer might write a piece with glissandi cornet parts (wouldn't that be a nice effect?).

    However, the other side of the coin is that it has the potential to cause more tuning problems than it solves. More importantly from a marketing perspective it might tell people that this cornet has bad intonation and needs such a device to correct it. Incidentally, having tried the Willson prototype yesterday I can say that it has very good intonation but we are investigating the advantages of the device for other purposes.

    I'd like to know what people think, and what other things they look for in a cornet, eg sound, ease of blowing, quality of manufacture, asthetics etc.

    I'd particularly interested to hear from people playing on Prestige instruments, telling me what they think of the trigger and any other points.

    Thank you in advance!

  2. starperformer

    starperformer Member

    I recently bought a Maestro instead of a (comparable in many other ways) Prestige largely because of this point.

    It's a nice idea in theory, but the screw device to move the tuning slide (something I do an awful lot) is a complete disaster if you ever have cause to move your tuning slide. It takes ages and is fiddly. Another obvious limitation is that it only allows you to flatten notes - unless you enjoy holding the slide half-out for prolonged periods. Getting into the habit of using a slide to hit notes accurately is not something I plan on, and there is also the implication that the instruments or players of the instruments, have rubbish intonation, although after playing on one for a bit, that isn't really the case with that instrument.

    It is not a bad idea, but the Prestige has it all wrong. If there was a separate second main tuning slide (where a trumpet one normally is) a lot of the disadvantages listed above would be avoided.

    Quality of manufacture is absoutely crucial, and beyond that its just what you like to play on and what sounds good with the player's individual style. A lot of people quote ease of blowing as being important but I think this is a completely invalid, cliched, point coming from most, as a cornet is supposed to offer resistance. Something as easy to blow as a D trumpet does tend to sound just like one, and in fact some of the more successful models of recent years are anything but easy-blowing. In fact the number of options available is fairly important in my opinion - someone offering a decent cornet with less than XL bore would be a welcome additional choice nowadays, and the difference between silver plate and gold lacquer can be significant.

    Aesthetics tend to be fairly similar for all brand-new cornets - although those contrast valve caps look awful as far as I'm concerned.
  3. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    Are you gonna share your fee, if us tMP'ers help design this new wonder cornet?

    I'm no fan of the trigger, i think it's just one more gadget to confuse, Good musicians can blow any note in tune anyway!

  4. supersop_1

    supersop_1 Account Suspended

    u cant want to rival the prestige surely.Its the worst cornet i have ever played!!!!!!!!!
  5. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    Which finger would you use for this innovation?
    It sounds an interesting idea, but for it to be able to play something like the Acrobat it'd need to be able to extend the length of the tubing by the equivalent of valves 1 and 3 (I think, anyway, I'm not too hot on trombone stuff!) which is a fair old way!
    If you're keeping the conventional triggers on 1 and 3 as well it might take some getting used to (although I'm sure it'd come with practice).
    Another thought, it'd need to return to it's normal position pretty quickly, or it'd spoil the tuning on the next note, possibly.
    Wouldn't mind a try on one if it gets off the ground!
  6. jingleram

    jingleram Active Member

    Although i don't own one, I have played on a prestige euphonium fairly extensively, and i think the main disadvantage is that the main slide really does take some time to return to it's normal position if at all! This may just be restricted to euphoniums or even just that particular instrument, but i think it may apply to cornets too. I think it does help alot with a new instrument, getting used to the intonation of each instrument, but when you are used to the difference in intonation, you should be able to hear the distinction, and be able to adjust accordingly using your embouchoure. That may or may not be helpful!
  7. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    why not just give it a slide, you will have that many triggers on cornets soon it wont resemble brass instruments as we know them!!!!!!

    Sorry, not constructive but having played cornets with and without this gadget I say it SHOULD have the main tuning slide trigger. As long as it isnt cumbersome and awkward. Every little bit of enharmonic enhancement is only a good thing if it doesnt compromise the build quality.
  8. sudcornet

    sudcornet Member

    I've played a Prestige cornet for almost three years now and find it to be free-blowing with possibly the best valves of any instrument I've had (maybe I was lucky and got a good one!).

    I find the main-slide trigger useful in some areas:-

    High register.....useful as your lip tires. You can use alternative, "sharp", fingerings; then trigger it into tune.

    Low register....sometimes 3rd trigger only just 'ain't enough!

    When in unison with a particularly sharp horn section.....'nuff said!

    So, yes I do find it a useful "toy"....but not something I couldn't live without.

    If you're considering recommending it for the Willson, please ensure the build quality is better than the Prestige....I've had one of the glued joints give way twice....once just as I was going on to a concert stage.

  9. lottie4744

    lottie4744 Member

    I played on a prestige for a while- now on a maestro. Never really rated the prestige, except for the fact it's got a beautiful dark sound.
    In responce to the main slide trigger, it really depends on the player. A decent player who can hear when somethings out of tune whether sharp of flat could benefit having a main slide trigger to get the note right. Knowing several people who play a prestige they don't really know when the notes right and just "experiment" on the note with the trigger.
    Personally, I prefer using my ear and lipping it in, hense why I'm now on a Maestro. It's going to be hard to rival the new model maestro though, I've played on my cornet teachers and there absolutely gorgegous!
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2005
  10. Bryan_sop

    Bryan_sop Active Member

    Never played a prestige myself but I'm sure David Daws was using one when he did a concert with us earlier this year and he sounded pretty good on it!!
  11. jingleram

    jingleram Active Member

    He would sound good playing a 1800's rust-bucket!
  12. That was a joke Andy! You can't play the acrobat on a prestige but I've managed the pink panther!! I was just referring to the fact that it had a slide.

    So far it seems as if there is overwhelming dissaproval for the main trigger. There was a prototype version of the new Willson instrument with it on and the first thing that struck me is that it is a far superior design than on the Prestige, and it works better. Actually, everything in Switzerland is made better than it is here, even right down to the pavements, so the build quality shouldn't be an issue like it is with Besson nowadays.

    Is this just a case of having teething problems with a new cornet design or are people really not in favour of it having got used to it? I'm sure people thought 3rd slide triggers were radical at first but it'd be hard work without them now. Maybe the MTS could be an optional extra or something, with different versions of the same model?

    Obviously all cornets are different and everyone has their own preferences to how it plays. The idea is that the cornet is developed to my requirements in the hope that many people will find that it suits them too. I think thats the way most professional models are developed. For the record I prefer something quite easy to blow but with a pearly round sound.

    Keep the thoughts coming, its proving interesting and useful.


  13. jingleram

    jingleram Active Member

    Sorry if my post came across as completely nti-trigger! Having played only prestige euphoniums, I can't comment on cornets, but it is useful, as has been said to keep intonation perfectly 'in' with other sections, then it is good, the point i was making is it wasn't an essential bit of kit! I think if the design is better on the Willson, then go for it, it dosen't even need to be an optional extra, because if people buying willson cornets are so opposed to the idea of buying a non-trigger instrument, then they can just buy another model! No, I think the trigger is useful and not just a novelty, but its not a vital part of any instrument!
  14. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    I think that answers your question Nick, everyone must see it is an advantage as surely it is better to have it there and not use it than not have it there and want it!!! AS LONG AS IT WORKS!!!

    Have they / you considered manufacturing 2 models to rival both the prestige market and the maestro / sovereign / Smith Watkins market or is production cost too excessive?
  15. Incognito

    Incognito Member

    Devils advocate:

    Why is a main tuning slide trigger needed?
    Surely if you get the open notes in tune using the main slide its all down to intonation apart from the few compromise notes like D E and C# ?

    Sounds like you would only need main tuning slide adjustment if the instrument itself was badly designed or out of tune with itself.
    Therefore, such a device would only be of use on a bad cheapo cornet.

    I don't have a single instrument that would benefit from this device.
    I have a flugel that tends to go flatter in the upper register but I corrected this through moputhpice choice and its fine right through now.
  16. persins

    persins Member

    Fantastic point!!! I can only echo that. The main tuning slide trigger is a good gadget and there are obviously some advantages, but since most cornets already have the 3rd and 1st trigger, it does seem a bit redundant. Plus the point that it can only flatten notes means that the usefulness is diminished somewhat!!

    If you need to move your tuning slide around as often as a trombone's slide then perhaps you are playing the wrong instrument!
  17. persins

    persins Member

    Surely this issue is not solely a problem with the design but the need for regualr and effective instrument maintenance.

    Many people could complain about the speed of the current 1st and 3rd triggers if they didn't grease the slides for 6months. I'm not having a go at you personally since you have said that you were only testing euphs and didn;t actually own one! Surely the thread is about fundamental use and design rather than instrument maintenance?!!
  18. jingleram

    jingleram Active Member

    Of course, valid point, but it was like this from the start, seems to be a problem with the trigger system itself. Anyhoo, I was talking about euphoniums and it may have been a one off, just thought I'd get it in for something to think about.
  19. persins

    persins Member

    Yeah! Of course, that is what we're all here writing posts about!!! Still a well worthy post! I can't really comment on Euph's triggers as I've never played one with a trigger!
  20. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    In principle, I feel the main tuning slide trigger is a good idea. In practice, I fear it's a non starter. In my experience (he says, carefully), many cornet players in lower section bands (and perhaps even some higher up the scale) have never been shown what a first or third valve trigger does and consequently never use them. Hardly likely to encompass another trigger (except perhaps if said trigger is attached to a gun to shoot the damn thing.... :) ;))

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