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Thread: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

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    Default big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    Is the smaller bell more focused, the larger more spread?

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    Distinguished Resident Buescher Bigot and 2014 Forum Contributor maddenma's Avatar
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    Default Re: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    The smaller bell is smaller. The larger bell is larger. At that end of the horn, it doesn't much matter what you do to it. A baritone gets a little stuffy on low Bb with a foot stuck in it to get a low A, but other than that pretty much sounds the same.

    It's a frill. That said, I like 'em large.
    1926 Buescher True Tone Series III Gold Plated Soprano -- Morgan Vintage 6
    1936 Buescher Custom Built Bare Brass Baritone -- Strathon 8
    1938 Buescher Aristocrat "Custom Built" Silver Plated Baritone -- Strathon 8
    1939 Buescher Aristocrat Silver Plated Series I Alto -- Ishimori Woodstone 7, TW Durga 8
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    Default Re: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    I'm sure there will be someone who has a whole story about this question and truly believes it. But in my experience, it matters not . . . and I've owned (still do) them both ways. The only difference in my experience is that a larger bell may not fit in certain cases. DAVE
    Dave

  4. #4

    Default Re: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    Thank you, answers my question.

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    Distinguished Resident Buescher Bigot and 2014 Forum Contributor maddenma's Avatar
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    Default Re: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    Larger bell helps for clip-on mics though.
    1926 Buescher True Tone Series III Gold Plated Soprano -- Morgan Vintage 6
    1936 Buescher Custom Built Bare Brass Baritone -- Strathon 8
    1938 Buescher Aristocrat "Custom Built" Silver Plated Baritone -- Strathon 8
    1939 Buescher Aristocrat Silver Plated Series I Alto -- Ishimori Woodstone 7, TW Durga 8
    1949 Buescher Aristocrat "Big B" Lacquer Alto -- Ishimori Woodstone 7
    1949 Buescher Aristocrat Gold Plated "Big B" Tenor -- TW Durga 8

    2000-something Yamaha YTS-475 (backup tenor)



    Nothing works so well in gathering information as a display of ignorance. I've been learning a lot lately.


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    Distinguished SOTW Technician Stephen Howard's Avatar
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    Default Re: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    I did some play-testing Bauhaus-Walstein's M2 series horns recently - the silver gold models and and studio models. Both horns are identical save for the size of the bell, which is larger on the silver gold.
    I found a little difference between the two (and I tried a number) - the silver gold seemed more exubertant and a bit 'shouty, the studio more introverted.
    However, people listening were hard put to tell the difference.

    Some time later I was fortunate enough to spend time with the legendary Bobby Wellins while he made the same test - and he selected a Studio model for exactly the same reason as me, and to be honest I could hear the difference when he blew the horns.

    That said, I wouldn't recommend you rush out and buy a big-belled horn if you wanted a spread sound as I don't believe it's a guarantee that you'll get it from that particular feature, and if you did it wouldn't be by much.

    Regards,
    Stephen Howard
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    Distinguished SOTW member, musician, technician & columnist clarnibass's Avatar
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    Default Re: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Howard View Post
    I did some play-testing Bauhaus-Walstein's M2 series horns recently - the silver gold models and and studio models. Both horns are identical save for the size of the bell, which is larger on the silver gold.
    I found a little difference between the two (and I tried a number) - the silver gold seemed more exubertant and a bit 'shouty, the studio more introverted.
    However, people listening were hard put to tell the difference.
    I can't find a link to the "studio" version of the M2. I assume you are talking about the lacquer models vs. the silver/gold models? If that's the case, then other than size of the bell there was another difference... the finish!
    So you can't really say it was the size of the bell!

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    Distinguished SOTW Technician Stephen Howard's Avatar
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    Default Re: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    Aaaaaaghghghghghghggggggghhhhh!!!
    Stephen Howard
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    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
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    Default Re: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    very funny guys! I have had a certain experience with saxophones made in both normal and large bell (lip) and the difference is none....... to my ears.
    Of course this is, yet again, one thing that makers do to please some buyers ( and convince them to buy their products rather than the competition) who are convinced that this makes some difference and it only does it to the weight adding a few more grams ( and a few more bobs to the price) to a saxophone that is already heavier that it probably needs being.

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    Default Re: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    What specific horn and make are you talking about?

    For example, my small bell '38 series I Buescher Aristocrat tenor sounds more focused, and laser like, than my '55 script engraved Aristocrat tenor, which in comparison is more spread sounding.

    The '55, of course, has the slightly larger bell flare with the slight bend higher up in the bell.

    The necks though, are not exactly the same, and may cause the difference, rather than the bell.
    Who knows for sure?
    My wife, whose ears I trust, said that my sound is much fuller, richer, more powerful and resonant on this set up.
    ... but really folks... my wife said, " It sounds like a saxophone ".

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    Default Re: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    Well I've been told that it's really the bore of a horn and neck design that makes real tonal differences between horns. That the flare of the bell has little to do with it. To me that made moe sense compared to the other explanations I was reading at the time,... especially the one about the size of the bell flare. I could be wrong!

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    Distinguished SOTW Member Dr G's Avatar
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    Default Re: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    Quote Originally Posted by ericpd View Post
    Well I've been told...
    By whom? Let's get some facts in the discussion. Please cite your sources.
    Go for The Tone,

    g



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    Default Re: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    There is some confusion of terminology here. If we define the bell as the whole part of the horn above the bow joint, then we are including at least part of the bore of the horn, and that will affect the sound to some extent, since the wave does travel beyond the first open tone hole, the extent depending on the frequency. If we are instead talking only about the flare at the end of the upturned bore, where the straight cone suddenly opens up, then that is a somewhat different story. That is an impedance-matching device, and is there only to make the last few bell notes match the others in tonal quality. So a larger flare at the end will only really affect the tonal quality of the last few notes.

  14. #14

    Default Re: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    The size of the bells clearly make a difference in sound, as this video illustrates:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jPGg...eature=related


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    Default Re: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    Quote Originally Posted by kymarto View Post
    There is some confusion of terminology here. If we define the bell as the whole part of the horn above the bow joint, then we are including at least part of the bore of the horn, and that will affect the sound to some extent, since the wave does travel beyond the first open tone hole, the extent depending on the frequency. If we are instead talking only about the flare at the end of the upturned bore, where the straight cone suddenly opens up, then that is a somewhat different story. That is an impedance-matching device, and is there only to make the last few bell notes match the others in tonal quality. So a larger flare at the end will only really affect the tonal quality of the last few notes.
    Thank you for this insightful and useful perspective. Some things really do make a difference, despite what the "Nothing Matters" contingent would have us believe.

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    Distinguished SOTW Technician Stephen Howard's Avatar
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    Default Re: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Buck Laughlin View Post
    Thank you for this insightful and useful perspective. Some things really do make a difference, despite what the "Nothing Matters" contingent would have us believe.
    Yes, the bore - which is what most people who understand such things have been saying all along.
    The bore is mother, the bore is father...anything else is cheese.

    Regards,
    Stephen Howard
    www.shwoodwind.co.uk
    - Woodwind instrument repairs & period restorations
    Author, Haynes Saxophone Manual, Haynes Clarinet Manual

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    The most prolific Distinguished SOTW poster, Forum Contributor 2014 gary's Avatar
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    Default Re: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Howard View Post
    Yes, the bore - which is what most people who understand such things have been saying all along.
    The bore is mother, the bore is father...anything else is cheese.
    Cheese is a bore. Unless you cut it. And then it becomes the center of attention. Until the room clears. Then there's no one left at all to bore.
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    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    Quote Originally Posted by kymarto View Post
    If we are instead talking only about the flare at the end of the upturned bore, where the straight cone suddenly opens up, then that is a somewhat different story. That is an impedance-matching device, and is there only to make the last few bell notes match the others in tonal quality.
    I'm glad you clarified this, I was about to post saying that I thought the bell flare only affected the very bottom note (Ooops, I almost said "bell end") Makes me wonder why all the main woodwinds have the fare, except the flute.

    What would happen if a flute had the flare, or if a saxophone had no flare.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member Dr G's Avatar
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    Default Re: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Thomas View Post
    Makes me wonder why all the main woodwinds have the fare, except the flute.
    No love for bassoon?
    Go for The Tone,

    g



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  20. #20

    Default Re: big bell vs small bell - what's the diff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Howard View Post
    Yes, the bore - which is what most people who understand such things have been saying all along.
    The bore is mother, the bore is father...anything else is cheese.

    Regards,
    Could anyone please elaborate on this ? OK, the bore dimension influences what ? Tone ? Focus ?

    Also, I have one Bb tenor saxophone with a bell flare of 5 1/4" and another Bb tenor with a flare of 6 1/2". Where the bottom of the body tube on both of these horns meets the band that unites body tube and bow the dimension is the same.....2.4" I expected to find there would be some slight difference in the bore to account for the very different bell flares. Should I be measuring at another location to find some difference between these two instruments ? A confused alley cat.

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