Bore Size



  • I noticed on TromboneChat.com that a lot of attention is given to bore size. I'm not convinced that it matters as much as they say. How (and how much) does bore size affect things like endurance, volume, and timbre, for instance? And does bore size matter more with a trombone than it does with a trumpet?



  • @J-Jericho There are small bore and large bore playing instruments, but there are also other compensating physical things in the design that may mediate the bore size. I think they can be different but the end result of a bore plus all other factors may compensate so that you don't feel the difference on some horns.


  • Qualified Repair Techs Credentialed Professional

    There are 3 quite different trombones.
    Small bore tenor (Jazz lead horn) bore around 0.490
    Symphony Tenor bore around 0.547" (there are also some models at 0.525")
    Bass trombone bore around 0.462"
    Excluding Bass trombone, the bore sizes vary by up to 12%.

    I have heard that Steven Turre wanted people to refer to these instruments as "Tenor Trombone", "Baritone Trombone" and "Bass Trombone".

    Trumpet bore sizes vary by only up to 2% with the most common ML (0.459")and L (0.462") being 0.6% different. So there is not the same level of difference with trumpet models as there is with trombone.


  • Qualified Repair Techs

    Trombone bells also vary tons from one brand/model to another - not nearly as standard as in the trumpet world. I’ve been making my own bucket mutes for a while, and have found that I can make one universal size that will fit just about any trumpet. I’ve just started designing one for trombone, and am working on patterns for two sizes that will fit any bell, but it’s an awful lot harder! My trombone friends may have to wait a bit longer for their mutes.



  • @J-Jericho said in Bore Size:

    How (and how much) does bore size affect things like endurance, volume, and timbre, for instance?


    Bore size (as it pertains to trumpet) is a topic that can raise an eyebrow or two. I had a discussion about this very topic not long ago. Something to ponder; when a person starts on a new horn, there's a period of acclimation and it can "feel" like it requires a lot of air. But once a person gets use to it, endurance and volume should be the same as on a medium or small bore horn. Timbre is more of a personal thing in my opinion. Timbre being the character or quality of a musical sound or voice as distinct from its pitch and intensity. When bore size is discussed, most people (guys especially) think it takes a ton of air to fill up a big bore horn (at least that was my thinking at one time). This is a fallacy.
    The horn is already full of air so it doesn't need filled. The idea of muscling and shoving a ton of air through the horn to hit that DHC is a testosterone filled lie.
    When you watch Maynard go through his antics before he plays a G above high C, its all an act. Wayne Bergeron who played with Maynard, even says in a video that all that stuff that Maynard did was a show. Maynard could play the same without all the dramatics but we the audience (myself included) loved it!
    This testosterone approach is why girls are kicking ass as trumpet players. They don't approach the trumpet as if they are acoustically hunting elephants. They bring a sensitivity and grace that many guys just can't wrap their heads around.



  • @flugelgirl Is it the size and proportion of the bell to the rest of the tubing that makes equipment choice more important to trombonists than to trumpeters, given that smaller bell diameters have a reputation (deserved or not) of projecting more, while larger bell diameters have an equally deserved/undeserved reputation of providing more feedback to the player?



  • Size matters? LOL!


  • Qualified Repair Techs

    @J-Jericho good question - not really sure, but safe to say that bell flare and throat size do make a difference in the way a horn plays on any brass instrument.



  • @J-Jericho
    Concerning endurance, anecdotally, when I compared my ML Mt, Vernon Bach Stradivarius, pre-blueprinting with my Wild Thing (0.470), I had more endurance on my Wild Thing. I have not formally compared them head to head since Blueprinting but the endurance factor now seems similar. The main interventions with the blueprinting were a valve alignment and a chemical cleaning. Again this is purely anecdotal.



  • @SSmith1226
    Generally my endurance is the same as long as I remember to inhale and exhale in a relaxed manner and respect that different horns are different animals and need to be approached as such.



  • @Dr-Mark "different horns are different animals."

    Most horns are my friends, not animals.



  • @Vulgano-Brother said in Bore Size:

    Most horns are my friends, not animals.


    All of my horns are my best friends and my most honest and trusted friends have been my dogs. Vulgano, you need a puppy!



  • @Dr-Mark said in Bore Size:

    @Vulgano-Brother said in Bore Size:

    Most horns are my friends, not animals.


    All of my horns are my best friends...

    Telling me nothing I didn't already know about you Dr. Mark... you are are just a horny kind of guy!👅



  • @Dr-Mark said in Bore Size:

    @Vulgano-Brother said in Bore Size:

    Most horns are my friends, not animals.


    All of my horns are my best friends and my most honest and trusted friends have been my dogs. Vulgano, you need a puppy!

    My horn's a piece of metal.

    When I got assigned to the Pentagon my boss, who had worked there for seven years previously, asked me:
    " When you get to Washington, want a friend?"
    Thinking I had a contact, better yet a bit of pliable pulchritude, I said. "Yes!"
    "Get a dog!" he retorted, LOL.


  • Qualified Repair Techs Credentialed Professional

    My Friend the Trumpet cover 1602203.jpeg



  • @Trumpetsplus said in Bore Size:

    My Friend the Trumpet cover 1602203.jpeg

    Haha, good one, Ivan! I am a proud owner of one of these books. Thanks! I also STILL love your mouthpiece. It’s not going anywhere.


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