It has been a while since I posted on here. Last semester was extremely busy for me and this got put on the back burner for a while. This semester, I’m going to try and post more frequently because I have lots of things to say.
That said, over winter break, I had some work done to my horn. I play on an older Edwards T-350. Because of this, it had the original tube bracing that connects the valve section and bell. I had this converted to the newer edge bracing style. I took it to Merlin Grady in Waterloo and he created the part for it. To make the part, he cut out a plate from a piece of horn tubing. He then used the Shires disconnection part because he likes their design better than that of the Edwards part. The result looks like this:
I think it looks pretty good as it is unique. There probably isn’t anyone else who has an Edwards horn with a Shires bell disconnection. I also agree with Merlin that the Shires part is designed better than the Edwards part. The Edwards disconnections on my horn tend to work their way loose over time, so I have to frequently tighten them. Also, if you tighten them too much, they are hard to loosen because they are 75% smooth. The ridges are also not deep enough to get a good grip. The Shires part, on the other hand, has stayed tight and is very easy to tighten and loosen because it has deep grooves.
As for the playability, the upgrade has greatly improved many aspects of my playing. The response improved immediately. I can articulate easier and it is easier to start my sound instantly than it was before. My tone also improved. With this disconnection, the bell it completely free, other than the two braces that every horn (straight horns included) has. This allows the bell to resonate and vibrate more freely. My sound has definitely become more open and resonant. I have also noticed that it is easier to play at louder levels without the sound breaking. This is most likely due to the bell being free from the valve tubes. On top of it, when I sound better, I want to practice more, which also increases my level of playing.
For anyone with an older horn without this style of disconnect, I would suggest considering the upgrade. It has been a great success for me and I would recommend it to anyone.