Why I Chose Edwards

March 13th, 2003 by Joshua Brown

The following was written by Leonard Candelaria

I have played Edwards Gen II trumpets (Bb, C, E/Eb/D) and Gen X trumpets (Bb and C) for more than three years and I have had direct input to their design for the past five years. I have been an Edwards Performing Artist for three years, having been a clinician for Bach for 12 years previously and Yamaha before that. I enjoy playing my Edwards trumpets. I receive many compliments from other professional players on my sound and artistry — as much or more so than before I switched to Edwards. I feel my accuracy and consistency are much improved with enhanced sound quality and good intonation. Other Edwards players report that they perceive similar results on Edwards trumpets.

Christan and LeondardThe construction and the workmanship of Edwards trumpets are outstanding. The valves, made by parent company Getzen, are superb and are generally regarded as the smoothest in the industry. The modular design of the Gen II and Gen X trumpets allows the player to evaluate different individual components (bells, leadpipes, and valve groups of both bore sizes, .460 and .462 inches) without changing the entire instrument. This helps eliminate much of the confusion players encounter when trying to assess the subtle differences in playing qualities between components and makes it truly possible for one to custom fit a trumpet to their particular needs.

Leadpipes

The integral interchangeable leadpipe design (the actual leadpipe is inserted into an external sleeve) permits a quick and easy means to change leadpipe blowing characteristics while retaining the same bell and valve group. This concept is adapted from older German manufacturers of rotary trumpets. The difference is that the Edwards leadpipes are intended to be removable/ interchangeable and the German-style leadpipes are generally soldered in place once the player selects the leadpipe of preference. With the Edwards concept, since the rest of the horn remains unchanged (bell, valve group, tuning crook shape), one therefore can evaluate more sensitively the differences between various leadpipe models and more sensitively adjust sound and blowing characteristics without the obvious inconsistencies inherent in changing from one fixed pre-assembled instrument to another.

My recommended leadpipe for B-flat trumpet is the D-4 – similar in blowing feel to the Bach 43. The D-3 has a smooth blowing, slightly more resistant feel similar to Bach 25. The D-5 is quite open and free blowing. BD1 and A2 leadpipes blow with slightly more resistance and are perhaps better suited to commercial playing in which one may want to conserve energy while producing a well-focused sound with extra projection.

The C-trumpet leadpipes that I recommend are the D-5, D-4 and F-4 in that order of my preference. The D-5 C leadpipe is more open and seems to balance well the different resistance of the C trumpet compared to the more open blowing B-flat. The intonation of both the D-5 and D-4 leadpipes is quite excellent. Many players find the F-4 leadpipe to be an excellent choice because of it’s slightly less brilliant sound while retaining a free-blowing feel with good intonation.

Bells

Edwards trumpet bells are available in yellow brass, red brass (bronze) and sterling silver. Bells are also available in pure copper in a seamless (model J) version. B-flat bell configurations come in the K model (similar to Bach 37) and M model (similar to Bach 72). Bell thickness is standard in #22 gauge (the same as Bach). Sterling silver bells are standard in a standard heavier thickness –gauge, #21. Bb and C Bells are also available in #20 gauge (heavy) and #23 (light). C bells come in the C2 (similar to Bach 229) and C3 (similar to Bach 239). Bells can be heat treated (HT) at the bell crook or annealed in which case the entire bell is cooked at high heat.

I play both K-21 in bronze and K-21 in sterling silver on my Gen II B-flat trumpets and I play the M-22 bell in yellow brass on my Gen X B-flat. I play a C2 -20 bell in bronze on my Gen II C trumpets and the C2-21 bell on my Gen X C trumpets.

Bore Size & Tuning Crooks

I perform on both .460 (medium large) and .462 (large) bore size instruments in the Gen II B-flat trumpet design. I play the .460 bore on the Gen X B-flat and the .462 bore in both Gen II and Gen X C trumpets. My previous Bach instruments were: B-flat (.459, 72 bell, 25 leadpipe); and C (.462, 229 and 256 bells, 25A leadpipes)

Many players mistakenly assume that a large bore instrument will produce a bigger, darker tone quality. In reality, a large bore instrument will tend to produce a “louder” sound with the inherent increase in the brilliance of the sound that is a natural immutable function of the increased volume. While some players might detect a slight difference in the feel of the “blow” between .460 and .462. bore trumpet valve sets, different bell shapes, weights and materials, and different leadpipes can generally effect more perceptible differences.

Edwards provides tuning crooks in square, semi-round and round designs for both B-flat and C Gen II trumpets only. Semi-round tuning crooks offer a slightly freer “blow” and tend to provide slightly less resistance in articulation than do the standard square crooks. The round tuning crooks offer an extremely open feel but with some compromise in intonation. Some players find that a .462 tuning crook on a .460 valve set provides a perceptively more open and free “blow” while still retaining excellent intonation and response.

Instrument Weight

Both Gen II and Gen X designs are slightly heavier than standard weight of instruments offered by other manufacturers. The Gen X is about a pound heavier on average. The difference in weight between Edwards Gen II trumpets and those manufactured by other makers is variable according to the bell weight one chooses and which of the three available valve cap weights are selected.

Although the Gen X resembles other custom trumpets that feature a satin 24K gold finish, apart from the added heavy metal plates in the bell crook and tuning crook and the ovate tuning slide, the Gen X instrument is like the Gen II in nearly all other design respects with the exception of the ovate tuning crook configuration. It is important to note that the Gen X is not nearly as heavy as some other similar appearing instruments. Its increased weight does darken the sound somewhat and this is something that many players think they want. The Gen X achieves this effect while still retaining the basic characteristic sound of the trumpet — rich, resonant, brilliant – without producing the airy, dull, lifeless sound that excessively heavy trumpets tend to produce.

Intonation

I find the intonation is quite good on Edwards instruments. Of course, the single most critical component in every instance is the ability and skill of the player. Because of the laws of nature, as dictated by the physics of acoustical science, it is a fallacy, despite the absurd claims of some custom manufacturers, that the common and characteristic intonational tendencies inherent in trumpet design can be completely obviated by manipulating design features of brass instruments or of mouthpieces.

It is true, however, that the match between a specific mouthpiece (backbore, throat size, and cup volume) and a specific instrument is important. Mouthpiece selection, therefore, is critical to achieving the best possible intonation and playing efficiency on any one trumpet, regardless of the manufacturer. This is a critical aspect that many players ignore, especially when changing from B-flat to C trumpet or from the either of the larger trumpets to E-flat and piccolo instruments.

As is the case with different bell and leadpipe designs, significant differences in intonation and tone quality are evident not only when changing component features in the trumpet design but when changing design features in the mouthpiece (cup depth, cup shape, throat size, backbore configuration). One must experiment to find the right combination of mouthpiece and horn compo-nents if one is to achieve the best possible intonation.

Edwards Mouthpieces

Edwards mouthpieces are crafted by special arrangement with Mark Curry and conform to the Bach standard of sizing. Some models (1H, 1CH, 1JC) are models copied from mouthpieces reputedly used by certain well-known players. 1H is similar to a Bach 1 but with a slightly deeper cup. 1CH is similar to a Bach 1C or 1 1/4 C, and 1JC is slightly narrower than the standard Bach 1C. Other mouthpiece sizes are available. The gold plating on all Edwards mouthpieces is of excellent quality. Edwards mouthpieces are very consistent in their sizing with little evidence of the inconsistent variations one can find in other mouthpieces of purportedly the same size that are manufactured by other well-known companies. Some Edwards mouthpieces are available with cup volume reductions (99%, 98%, etc.) The cup-volume options offered by Edwards mouthpieces affect response and intonation but require some experimentation, some money and time, and an informed idea of what one is trying to achieve if they are to prove practical to pursue.

Plating

Regardless of one’s personal opinion, it is important to recognize that there is considerable disagreement among scientists, and between scientists and musicians, regarding the effects of the various materials and finishes on brass instrument sound quality. It is true that silver plating is much more durable than lacquered brass finishes and is perhaps the wisest choice from the standpoint of long term durability versus initial cost. Many players who have experienced corrosion problems with lacquered or silver finishes find that gold plating offers the greatest durability.

Edwards Generation II instruments are available in raw brass, lacquered brass, silver plated or bright 24K gold plated finishes. Gen X trumpets are available in brushed 24K gold finish only. The quality of the plating on all Edwards trumpets is exceptional. The difference in appearance between the bright gold plate (polished) of the Gen II trumpets and the brushed gold finish of the Gen X is purely cosmetic. Differences in sound quality and response between Gen II and Gen X models are due to other design factors.

Conclusion

Music is mostly an art and only partially a science, therefore much of what one must deal with when selecting an instrument is based on less tangible factors such as the player’s sensitivity and perception of feel (feed-back), sound impression (aural) and sound imagery (conceptual), and the consistency or inconsistency in the individual player’s physical approach. No instrument can compensate for the differences between players or for inconsistencies within an individual player, however, Edwards has provided players with a means of selecting and evaluating the various individual components of ones custom instrument while retaining some sameness or consistency in other components. This greatly reduces much of the confusion players encounter when selecting an instrument.

Once one finds an Edwards set-up (bell design and weight, leadpipe, and bore size) that seems to work best for that individual player or playing circumstance, one is advised to not try to constantly change bells or leadpipes in an attempt to accommodate different musical applications – symphonic music, chamber music, lead playing, jazz playing and solo playing. To be constantly changing bells and leadpipes for every playing situation is confusing and foolish. It is wisest to stick with one basic set-up that allows the player to enjoy the greatest flexibility and versatility in their music making. Another possible approach is to select two set-ups (bell and leadpipe) that are so distinctly different in sound and blowing qualities that it is musically worth the effort and expense of changing components for special musical situations.

Gen II prices are competitive with all major professional bands. Gen X pricing runs around $3,500 but is less than other similar heavy custom trumpets. Many players who cannot afford the heaviest (in both price and weight) custom trumpets that are now en vogue find the Edwards Gen X to be an excellent choice of trumpet at a reasonable price.

Try Edwards trumpets. You’ll love playing them!

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