Good Design...

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by BrianT, Oct 31, 2007.

  1. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    I thought it might be good to make a list of the things that delight/frustrate us about the instruments we play; you know, the things that tell you someone has really thought hard about how the instrument goes together.

    Don't want this to be just a list of expensive brands - although we might see a trend with certain brands showing more thoughtful design than others.

    Let's start with waterkeys - I really like the fact that on the Schilke sop and on an old Getzen trumpet I had years ago (with those brilliant press-button Amado waterkeys) you could open both waterkeys simultaneously with one hand and empty the water out really quickly.

    Not so keen on the screw clamp on the Schilke tuning leadpipe. It sticks out proud of the rest of the instrument. I wondered why they don't do a lever clamp - a small version of the quick-release clamp you get on a bicycle saddle post...
     
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  3. On most euphoniums, older and newer, my right thumb is always hurt by the little 'nobbly bits' on the small first valve slide (round the back, right where your right thumb goes). Why can't that bit just be flat?! If you need to get it out, which is very very very rare, then you can just put a hanky through it to pull it out.
     
  4. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Another vote for the Amado keys. They're much much better than the leaky lever type ones, and as you say it's possible to open two at once.

    Also the valves on my flugel are great, fast and reliable, if a little clanky due to the metal guides - though I'd sooner have those than plastic guides which have let me down more than once in the past. Proof (if it were needed) that there is no substitute for machining things properly, then building it right - Kanstul hand finish their valves and it shows.

    Gripes - flugel 3rd valve triggers! I've yet to play a flugel with a trigger mechanism that works properly or fits in the hand nicely. My Kanstul has a short lever just below where the bell exits the 3rd valve. With my long-fingered hands I have to operate it with my little finger which isn't that strong and rest my 3rd finger on the top of the lever - not comfortable if I'm playing for a long time. I can reach with my third finger, but then I tend to trap my middle finger between the lever and the 3rd valve slide. The strad I used to play had a longer lever which I could reach quite comfortably with middle 3rd and little fingers, but I needed three fingers to operate it because those nice people at Selmer had fitted it with the World's Stongest Spring! Even though it had the Worlds Strongest Spring, the trigger didn't always return fully because the mechanism went over-centre - a schoolboy error! I've also played flugels by Cortois and Conn and neither had triggers that really felt comfortable - though the Conn was about the best.
     
  5. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    Another bit of thoughtful design: I remember seeing Conn trumpets which had a slot machined in their valve cap bottoms. Logic was that if they stuck you could put a coin in the slot and then turn the cap easily. (Though I'm wary of components that tempt you to do them up using a tool - as it's a certainty you'll need to undo them quickly using just your fingers when you don't have access to the tool you tightened them with...)

    I realised too that lots (most!) of the careful design that goes into brass instruments is pretty much at the microscopic level, and not at all obvious - like the choice of bore sizes or brass alloys...
     
  6. Baritonedeaf

    Baritonedeaf Member

    My New Besson Sovereign Baritone could do with an extra water key on the 3rd valve and another on the pipe that carries on from the tuning slide - I am forever flipping it bell down to empty gallons of water out of it!

    The pipe that goes behind the valves is in a perfect position to rest the hand on and support the total weight of the instrument, so that is a well thought out part of the instrument.
     

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