Understanding SWE Mod Kits
I answer questions regarding SWE Mod Kits every day. I will be updating our website soon to include more information on the science behind Standing Wave Efficiency. Put simply, SWE Mod Kits reduce energy loss in the instrument, thus increasing efficiency. This translates to playing with less effort, improved attacks, flexibility, slotting, endurance and dynamics.
It is important to understand that SWE Mod Kits only increase efficiency of the existing instrument. They do not darken or brighten the tone, but rather the SWE Kit preserves more of the potential overtone series based on the tapers of the mouthpiece, leadpipe and bell. You will hear more of the overtone series meaning more lows, mids and highs.
How does a Mod Kit affect flexibility and slotting?
Many trumpet players claim that heavy bottom caps increase slotting and reduce flexibility. This myth has been dis-proven many times and the subjectivity of the individual player is usually the misunderstood variable.
Adding heavy bottom caps results in improved flexibility and slotting. Yet many players feel the exact opposite until they become acclimated to listening to the projected sound in the room. Most trumpet players are accustomed to hearing their sound from behind the bell as production trumpets lose a great deal of energy within the mouthpiece, tubing and valve casings. When adding a SWE Mod Kit or SWE 5MM Modular Mouthpiece, the sound will project more from the end of the bell to the audience and less from the tubing. Until the player learns to listen to the projected bell sound, it will seem that there is less sound, which in turn will affect perceived flexibility and slotting.
How quickly will you acclimate to a SWE Mod Kit?
Acclimation varies by player, but usually requires no more than a few sessions of playing softer and listening to your sound in a new place. Focus on the sound reflecting back to you from in front of the bell in various performing spaces. It is helpful to play softer than normal in a resonant room that reflects sound rather than soaking it up. Acclimation will be difficult in practice rooms with padding or spaces filled with soft fabric and materials such as carpet and curtains.
Which size Mod Kit is right for your playing needs?
The following chart will give you an idea of what to expect from each variation of SWE Bottom Cap weight. Keep in mind that these are just a few of the options we produce and our overall goal is to increase efficiency while reducing weight. Future SWE Mod Kits will evolve with a integral cell structure that is far superior in terms of efficiency compared to current designs while being considerably lighter in weight.
More information on SWE Mod Kits
Over the last nineteen years, I have done controlled experiments in the lab and in the real world testing Standing Wave Efficiency with various Mod Kit weights, materials, densities and cell structures. In a future blog entry, I will share those results along with screen shots of various spectrum analysis results and full ultrasound video. Until then, here are links to more information. Leave a comment if you have a specific SWE Mod kit question and I'll respond.
SWE Mod Kit Q&A page
SWE Mod Kit Photos
The following photos show a small sampling of various SWE Bottom Cap designs I have created. For over ten years, I made most of my SWE Mod Kit parts manually on a standard 2-axis manual lathe. Today, I program and machine everything on high precision CNC machinery. My 6-axis lathe doubles as a milling machine allowing me to turn or mill every side of any part increasing precision, quality, productivity and creativity while shortening the wait time for my customers.
3/27/2015 09:27:49 am
I'm thinking of putting on 1/2 inch bottom caps on my model 1503 Kanstul and would like to know:
Mark, we do offer trim for EVERY make and model of trumpet on the market... this is a link to the 1/2" bottom caps: http://www.harrelsontrumpets.com/product_p/swebc12classic.htm
5/14/2016 03:55:47 am
Hi , Interesting to read about the SWE research . About bottom valve caps . How do I go about getting SWE bottom caps to suit vintage trumpets ?
5/16/2016 06:19:28 pm
Hi , another question folks . Is it possible that SWE improvement might be more noticeable to the player of a large bore trumpet given that such an instrument has a greater requirement for ' breath energy ' ?
6/7/2016 09:16:57 am
This is completely opposite to conventional wisdom, but I have gained ease of playing (my primary goal due to (age and non professional demands)results from Delrin bottom caps. When I replace them with the stock bottom caps, it feels as though I am playing with a cup or straight mute. I don't know what the sound effects are, but like I say, that is not my main priority.
9/27/2018 08:21:03 pm
Valve caps good for cornets?
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Inventor, Musician, Educator and Founder of Harrelson Trumpets, Trumpet Momentum and Harrelson Momentum.