Wessex Baritone Horn - any opinions?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Jack E, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Righto, Claire - what sadist invented computers, anyway . . . :rolleyes: . . . we never had these problems with steam engines and clockwork motors!

    And best regards,

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  2. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    Jack – great news. I’m a great believer that bonding with an instrument is important – and whilst I appreciate the comments around compensating and non-compensating instruments, ultimately many people can play perfectly well in tune without. Others never reach a level where it becomes an issue. I guess the only additional comment is that if the instrument you ultimately buy is non-compensating you MAY want to upgrade it in the future if you need it – but if you fit well enough with the instrument that you can cope without then its not an issue

    The other potential question is around bore and metal thickness – it could be the Regent has a smaller bore and is slightly thinner (not researched this, but TBH would make sense as the Regent was – as pointed out – an intermediate student level instrument – and would also help make it potentially easier to blow. I guess the other question is whether there are similar instruments out there with similar bore size etc that are compensating if that’s the way you want to go. I cant help you with that one, but Im sure there are plenty on this board with knowledge that might help

    Lastly (for now) also wanted to say how good the thread – and others of late – has been. Yes, theres been disagreement at times but generally its been good natured and without the degenerative name calling that marred TMP in the past. I agree with 2T that there is too much other stuff to do in life without the nastiness that used to be on here.
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  3. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    Just further to my last comment - 2T noted you quoted me directly before - like you, no offence intended and whilst I noted you as "outnumbered" everyone is ultimately entitled to say what they think. Likewise people can respond to that how they wish - but I'll stand by the comment that compared to a year or so ago this is now a place of debate, not the childishness we have seen in the past

    Anyway, nuff said on this - I look forward to hearing future updates on how Jack is getting on :)
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  4. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    I couldn't agree more about the importance of "bonding with an instrument".

    I couldnt disagree more about intonation - if one is noticeably better (on a tuner and/or playing duets with a player whose intonation is trusted) then it'll be the easier one to play and easier to reach a satisfying level on (because assuming ears are good enough to hear poor intonation, which most people's are, then the less manipulation is required the less frustration is encountered).

    If the intonation is bad in a way that's noticeable then it's not a case of reaching a "level where it becomes an isue" because it's already an issue - it's an issue because an instrument that's inherently out of tune requires lipping which (putting aside the damage to resonance) requires extra effort and harms endurance, in short it's harder to play which is a handicap in any players hands, regardless of their present capabilities.

    Generally the metal thickness is the other way around - student instruments tend to be thicker, because they're expected to be abused and therefore built thicker to make them less prone to damage.
    Thinner metal is generally a little more resonant, notes speak more quickly, but potentially projects a little less directly (but that's simplifying).

    Not all pro models are made with thin metal, but the vast majority of student ones are designed thicker for durability.

    Bore size is only one factor and honestly not that big a deal - you can make huge differences to the blow resistance by changing the leadpipe taper/profile (especially in certain spots), to the point that bore size is little more than a number on the spec sheet, it's a part of the whole but by itself it doesn't tell you very much at all.
    (I don't want to prattle on too much about this for fear of becoming a bit of a bore (pun intended), and because it might drag things off topic which I don't want to do - all I'll say is when we were prototyping the Eclipse Sop's we worked with several leadpipes, several tuning pipes and several bells and the results ranged between so open they were almost unwieldy to bordering on too tight to play, all with exactly the same boresize)
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
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  5. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Completely agree - everyone is entitled to say what they think and it's very useful that they do - especially when there are back and forth dialogues on the topic.

    It doesn't necessarily matter whether information offered is wrong, or is a minority opinion - there will always be people reading who hold views on both sides of the debate, so both sides are speaking not only to each other but to lurkers in both camps.

    Indeed - let's not drag this topic too far off on a tangent, there's lots of great information and discussion on this thread.
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  6. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Claire says that her committee is happy for me to discuss the Regent with my MD before making my mind up - particularly in view of the fact that, firstly, the Regent is not a compensated instrument; and secondly, that my band's MD is a stickler for accurate intonation! But there is one point in particular which struck me about the Regent when I tried it out; how accurate your embouchure has to be.

    Recently, I came across a reference to the 'slottedness' of certain combinations of instrument and mouthpiece, and asked what that was all about. The way it was explained was that some instruments are quite forgiving on the accuracy of your embouchure, and as long as you get reasonably close, you'll get a note out of it - but it may be a bit off pitch; and this was what the poster meant by an 'open slot', or 'loose slot'. Other instruments are, in comparison, much more demanding, in that you have to get your embouchure spot on, or all that comes out is a raspy "Blerrrhh!", or a "Fufff!" - and these instruments are said to have a tight slot.

    When I tried out the Regent, it was immediately obvious that it was a tightly slotted job (or, at least, it was in combination with the mouthpiece I'd taken along). But the upside was that, if I did get the embouchure correct, I not only got a nice, clear note, but also found my pitch was very consistent when I was playing a string of the same notes.

    Thinking about this characteristic, it made me think of some of the horses I've ridden in riding schools which were prized by their owners as first class 'teaching horses'; in other words, the sort of horses who wouldn't let you get away with giving them sloppy signals with your reins or legs, but would only make the move you'd asked them for when you got the signals spot on - and then they'd do them to perfection for you! Such horses are not easy to ride, and they may not be capable of top class performance in any sphere, but they really bring on your riding skills.

    It strikes me that the Regent, which was built as B & H's student range, works on the same lines, in that its 'tight slotted' playing characteristics really push a learner into developing good awareness and control of their embouchure, by being that demanding on accuracy, and by giving them clear feedback on how well (or badly) they're doing. In other words, the brass equivalent of 'a good teaching horse'!

    Plenty to mull over, there, but I'll keep you posted as to what I do in the end, and why.

    With best regards,

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  7. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    An excellent description of what tight and loose slotting are and how it feels - if I wanted to be a pedant, I'd say it's not entirely accurate to put everything down to embouchure (there's more to it than that) there are other factors at play with your tongue/airspeed and so forth.

    The point about getting a nice clear tone and consistent pitch on the same note is excellent, and it's the strength of a tighter slotting instrument (really we're talking about instrument-mouthpiece combo just as much as we are instruments that would be tight with most mouthpieces)... as long as that slot is in the right place (and you're accurate enough to hit it consistently).
    If the slot isn't quite in the right place, then you'll find yourself with something of a battle to lip it into tune - and to play in tune up and down the range, you'll have to perform some gymnastics.

    Another great story parallel.

    In this story, a tight slotting instrument with questionable intonation would be like good teaching horse with a limp - you'd have to do everything right, but it'd never quite feel right even if it was obviously obeying exactly as you instructed.
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  8. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Thanks again, Tom; and I'll take on board what you say about the effect of tongue position and airspeed on pitch accuracy. Something else to experiment with on the Regent.

    I must say, I've learnt an enormous amount from this thread - and I really appreciate the time and trouble that so many members have taken in sharing their experience and knowledge.

    With best regards,

  9. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    It would seem to me there might be some value in re-reading the recent thread referenced below around posts 17 and 18 as it relates at that point to types of instrument, slotting characteristics and the match of players' skills to instruments.

    Response 24 (there) by MoominDave is also one to see too. In his comment Dave mentions Rath Trombones and I can add to that with regard to their student range built in partnership with JP. Many years ago I had a ‘toot’ on both the JPRath 230 and 231 models, my overriding memory of them was that they sounded just fine, required no particular thought to play (a bit like an automatic car) and that because they played so easily I could turn my (now free) attention to the finer points of the music. The JPRath 231 has had a lot of positive comments made about it by more than able players, yet it’s a student instrument and a lot less expensive than a ‘proper’ Rath.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  10. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Regarding slottedness of an instrument, we can get a visual feel for this. Those that research such questions have an experimental procedure that determines the "input impedance" of the tube as a function of pitch (basically, how easily the instrument responds to lip input at a given frequency of embouchure buzz).

    Here's a random plot that I found online:
    This is for an 18th century natural trumpet, which is not the best example (Google didn't find much), but it shows things that are intuitive to us:
    1) There are strong peaks of responsiveness close to integer multiples of the fundamental frequency (i.e. pedal note). These are each of the available harmonics on the tube. No valves on a natural trumpet - compare to not putting any valves down on your instrument.
    2) Between these there are deep troughs. These are the pitches between the harmonics where the instrument doesn't resonate. Try playing e.g. lower E on open - you won't get very far.
    3) It tends to be easier to lip down than up in the normal register - the slope up to a peak is gentler than the slope down the other side in the normal register.
    4) As you progress into the super register, all bets are off - the instrument ceases to resonate in any easily anticipated fashion.
    5) And, regarding "slottedness" - compare the width of the peaks. A narrow peak is a tight slot, a wide peak a loose one. But also don't forget that this is a linear x-axis when frequency is a log-type quantity, so comparing between harmonics in this one plot may not say exactly what it looks like.
    6) The troughs (unresponsive registers) are deepest in the lowest registers.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
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  11. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    The Yamaha 4xxx series of cornets and trumpets are quite exceptional for the price range. Although classed as "Intermediate" instruments, they are much better than the description suggests, and I don't think your colleague is that unusual. I've played the 4335 cornets myself, and would quite happily use them in an upper section band. I've heard of pro trumpet players who keep a 4xxx series trumpet as a "backup"/spare instrument in case they ever find themselves faced with a damaged/broken instrument on the eve of a gig. You can still pick them up new for around £600 ...
  12. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    So what did I decide in the end?

    I discussed it with my MD, who agreed that - at some point - I could reach the limitations of what I can do with a Regent. He went on to say, though, that a Regent is a well made instrument which would serve me well for a good while, and that if and when I need something better, he thought I'd be able to sell it or trade it in with a dealer with no problems.

    I went back to Stockport last night for another try with two different mouthpieces - an Alliance B6 and a Wick 6BS - and decided to go for it. Second impressions were the same as the first; that it's a delight to play!

    And my thanks to all who took the time and trouble to share their thoughts and experience with me - I really do appreciate it.


    PS - I can't help but compare this major undertaking with how simple it was to buy my car, five years back;
    "An Astra, with a 1.6 engine, auto transmission, no rust, only 67,000 on the clock and a new MoT? Yep - that'll do."

    And it has! But, to me, a car is just a self-propelling armchair in a box, with a roomy toolbox on the back - so it hardly calls for any soul-searching. I once saw a web page where people put down their opinions on cars that they owned. One of the questions posed by the somewhat pretentious webmaster was "What does this car say about you?"

    One reviewer said in reply "It doesn't say anything - I don't think it can talk!" :D
  13. GER

    GER Active Member

    Best wishes Jack, hope it gives you many years of faultless service
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  14. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Thank you, GER - and best regards,

  15. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Dave - I found this post of yours so interesting that I did a bit of digging on the 'net, and came up with a gem of a site belonging to the University of New South Wales. I do, however, think the whole subject deserves a thread of its own, so I've started one. Just to whet your appetite, it includes acoustic impedance v. frequency charts for a Bb trumpet, and a Bb bass trombone! :)

    With best regards,

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  16. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Plenty to read there! I'll have a wander through it in my own time, thanks.

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