AGR Revolution! - part I
I've been experimenting with Mouthpiece Gap and Venturi variations for many years to better understand the benefits of fine tuning these parameters of the modern trumpet. It has been a dream of mine for nearly twenty years to create a way to adjust gap and venturi on the fly while retaining high standing wave efficiency. I cannot believe so many years have passed developing this one component. Regardless of my snail-like pace, I have never been more excited to introduce an innovation to the world of brass players.
Some of you are reading this wondering how in the world mouthpiece gap, venturi and those brass items in the photo could possibly affect the playability of a trumpet, trombone, french horn, etc. You may be skeptical of the entire concept which is perfectly understandable considering the lack of information available on this subject. But I'm here to reassure you that you are not wasting your time here. In fact, you could be on to the greatest single improvement to your playing available anywhere today, at the dawn of the year 2014.
I suspect that much of the knowledge I have gained on the subject of brass instrument acoustics was already known to many of the craftsmen building trumpets before World War II. I personally believe that WWII was the end of an era in brass instrument manufacturing that may never again be rivaled in terms of the number of men and women plying their trade as experts in this field. Today's custom trumpet market is very different and in many ways much more exciting. But far too many supposed experts in my field today know very little when compared to the forward thinking innovators at Conn, Selmer, Olds, Bach, Holton, King, Martin and many other iconic manufacturers prior to WWII. When they left their workbenches in a joint effort to win the war, their knowledge, wisdom, patience, virtue, heart and soul left with them. There were of course many fine instruments built after this period, but after careful measuring, testing, playing and observing post WWII manufacturing from the finest companies, I believe this was in fact the end of the first golden age of brass instrument design and manufacturing.
With that said, we are now witness to a second golden age with more innovators, entrepreneurs and performers taking chances to explore new sounds than every in history. Combining numerous emerging technologies in electronic sound engineering, recording, metallurgy, manufacturing, measurement and testing with real world musical performance in literally all genres, we are poised to experience what future generations will read about in history books. I believe we are at this very moment reinventing brass instruments and what will emerge from the next twenty years will in many ways determine live brass acoustic/electronic performance for the next fifty or more years. The next few years are as pivotal to trumpet as Les Paul's innovations were to the guitar. Today is the most exciting time to play a brass instrument and I have a feeling we'll finally give the electric guitar a serious run for the money!
So what's all this about AGR? The Adjustable Gap Receiver combines three simple concepts into one new component of the brass instrument. These are Efficiency, Regulated Air Flow and Consistent Impedance. There have been other receivers produced by various manufacturers that did in fact change the distance from the end of the mouthpiece to the beginning of the leadpipe. However, these designs failed to address all three factors of the mouthpiece receiver affecting playability.
When I design a solution to a real world problem, my intent is to solve the ENTIRE problem, not just one piece of the puzzle. I suspect previous attempts by other builders fell short due to a lack of knowledge and understanding. This is likely a result of the corporate structure in which these manufacturers operate as the designer/engineer, machinist, assembly-man and musician are all different people who perhaps met once in person. It is possible that the people responsible for new innovations have never had a conversation face to face in the same room.
This is where I have the advantage. Considering I play trumpet every spare moment between designing, machining, assembling, testing and measuring trumpets, I not only have a more comprehensive view of the problem, but I can bring life to a new idea in a matter of hours and test it myself.
1/7/2014 02:46:41 pm
Jason, I could write a book here. Enough to say, I finally met someone ( YOU ), that is as passionate about the "mechanics" of the trumpet as I am. This is not a panacea for years of practice and study. It is logical to deal with the physical relationships of a trumpet in an effort to :optimize" the limitations that all trumpets have. I have installed the AGR on one of my horns. Its been 4 months now, and I can say without reservation; this retro fit seems to me a no brain-er for any trumpet. The efficiency gained along with the ability to change the venturi in seconds, AND adjust the gap is revolutionary. Bravo!!!
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Inventor, Musician, Educator and Founder of Harrelson Trumpets, Trumpet Momentum and Harrelson Momentum.