Courtois Bells Adapt to Individual Player

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Goodgig
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Courtois Bells Adapt to Individual Player

Post by Goodgig » Sun Jul 29, 2018 5:51 am

I was looking at the Courtois website and it says that their handmade bells adapt over time to the individual player. I’m assuming they are referring to some type of acoustic change. How does that work?
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BGuttman
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Re: Courtois Bells Adapt to Individual Player

Post by BGuttman » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:35 am

It's not just Courtois. All bells adapt to their owners. It's probably a 2 way street. First, you adapt your playing to get the bell to make the sounds you want to hear. Secondly, the continued playing sets up some kind of "work hardening" of the bell; probably due to the typical standing waves you make.

I actually experienced this after a fashion. I had a bad accident with my Yamaha 682G that required a bell transplant. At the time I had a friend working for Steve Shires and he was my "middle man" to get Steve to put on a new bell. This was in the days when you paid for a Shires trombone and waited 2 years for it. My friend's intervention got me a new bell in 6 months. It was a 1G, which was as close as Steve could make to the Yamaha bell (and he didn't have the myriad options available now). When I got the horn it really played "raw". I was disappointed. But I persisted in practicing and working in the new bell. Suddenly, after about 6 months, there was a dramatic transformation. Now the bell sounds better than the Yamaha gold bell it replaced. I'm convinced it was a combination of me adapting to the bell and the bell "adapting" to me.

Still, I've yet to see a bell that corrects for bad technique.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
Goodgig
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Re: Courtois Bells Adapt to Individual Player

Post by Goodgig » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:49 am

Bruce, Thanks for the great story! I've heard of this sort of thing happen with guitars and violins, but not with brass instruments.
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JohnL
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Re: Courtois Bells Adapt to Individual Player

Post by JohnL » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:23 am

Instruments change a bit over time, but adapting to the individual player? Seems like a stretch to me.
Kbiggs
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Re: Courtois Bells Adapt to Individual Player

Post by Kbiggs » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:53 am

Sam Burtis on the old TTF told a similar story in reverse. He had an old horn (I believe it was a 6H) that he thought was a beautiful playing instrument—nuance, finesse, beautiful sound, etc. He sold it to a fellow who played in a very different style from Sam—very hard, forceful IIRC. Years later, he played the horn and was very disappointed—the horn had lost all its nuance, finesse, beautiful sound, etc., and was very harsh sounding.

I dunno. Maybe it’s all perception. It does seem a bit of a stretch to use a naturally occuring phenomenon as a marketing/advertising scheme, though.
I have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.
—Mark Twain (attributed)
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