The daCarbo Unica is a Bb trumpet with a carbon fiber bell. Carbon fiber’s properties have been used in musical instrument making before, notably for basses and guitars. Alembic, Modulus Graphite, Rai... Click To Read More About This Product
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The daCarbo Unica is a Bb trumpet with a carbon fiber bell. Carbon fiber’s properties have been used in musical instrument making before, notably for basses and guitars. Alembic, Modulus Graphite, Rainsong, Martin and others have taken advantage of carbon fiber’s uniformity of density and response, as well as its nearly indestructible nature to fashion acoustic guitar tops, electric guitar necks and various other components of guitar building. Pioneering the use of carbon fiber in the manufacture of instruments traditionally rendered in brass, daCarbo has become a leading manufacturer of professional "brass" instruments.
The daCarbo brand has been in the marketplace for several years now, receiving praise from professional trumpet players the world over. Roy Hargrove, Claudio Ridoti and many other fine brass masters have embraced the daCarbo brand. The Unica is a popular model within the daCarbo line, as it features a carbon-fiber bell that starts at the second valve. Carbon fiber treatment all the way down the bell is too radical a departure for some players, and the Unica is a perfect solution for those players.
So the bell is obviously the first talking point of the Unica, but there is a lot of trumpet apart from the bell. The valves on the daCarbo are just amazing. Fast and smooth, with fast and quiet return, they are ideal for articulating difficult passages in any register. The daCarbo Unica supports a full and warm rounded tone across its entire range, and due to the effortless response it plays very directly. It is balanced, lightweight and offers the ideal resistance for most trumpeters.
The daCarbo Difference
It’s not just the materials, but the materials are a big part of what makes daCarbo horns special. Okay, buckle your seatbelts for a little bit of science, but take heart, we’ll get to the art a bit later.
Carbon fibers are composed almost entirely of elemental carbon. The carbon atoms are arranged in micro-crystals, aligned longitudinally with the fiber’s axis. This alignment makes the fibers more rigid than steel, despite being only a quarter to one-fifth the density.
In order to take advantage of these properties, the fibers must be contained in some kind of frame, which in this case is a polymer matrix that sets the fibers into place. A carbon component is not just light because the material itself has an excellent strength-to-weight ratio, but also because the fibers can be aligned so as to take account of precisely where the stress factors accumulate. This means that designers of carbon fiber products can use the minimum amount of material for the purpose.
daCarbo uses this freedom offered by fiber alignment and rigid design possibilities in building their instruments not to cut down on weight, but primarily to optimize the instrument’s vibration. The team at daCarbo has developed an injection technology to manufacture complex tube shapes from these carbon materials. Using this technology, daCarbo produces trumpet components characterized by perfect surface quality inside the tubes and out.
The process guarantees a durable, uncompromising finish, much more exact than could be achieved using traditional instrument-makers’ techniques. The process of studying the response of brass bells and leadpipes, precise examination of air flow and where exactly on the instrument most of the energy is transferred is a marriage of the art and science of instrument making. Each daCarbo instrument is built with painstakingly precise, hand-crafted detail by daCarbo’s makers with all of the love, care and passion that music inspires.
To what end all of this materials science and precise examination of the physics of airflow? By making wind instruments from carbon fiber compounds, daCarbo is able to suppress vibrations in the tube that waste energy. They stiffen the bore walls in selected spots and in certain directions (and sometimes even make them softer) according to the unwavering consistency of the way air moves through tubes.
The result is an enormous gain in freedom compared to traditional materials. A brilliant team of musicians, instrument-makers, engineers and acoustic designers have worked together to develop a trumpet that is remarkably easy to play, produces appreciably less embouchure fatigue, and yet produces a warm and rounded tone.
Some of the great things that daCarbo does are rooted in the things that daCarbo doesn’t do. Like dent. The daCarbo doesn’t. Strike the music stand with your handslide? Accidentally clink bells on a cramped bandstand? No problem. The daCarbo bells, slides and pipes cannot and will not dent.
Another thing daCarbo cannot and will not do is corrode. Carbon fiber is simply incapable of hosting the elements that cause the insides of brass tubes to corrode, so the carbon components of daCarbo instruments are completely corrosion-free. This means that the inner surfaces of your tube and bore always retain the same high quality without the pitting corrosion that is typical for brass instruments.
Warm Sound, Warm Feel
The carbon material feels warm to the touch because, unlike brass, it has very low heat conductivity and does not absorb heat from your hands. The air column in the instrument likewise remains almost at breath temperature regardless of the ambient temperature and regardless of the instrument’s temperature. This reduces the need to re-tune after you have been playing for a while, and also reduces condensation build-up inside the instrument. If you are frustrated with how quickly your instrument requires you to use your water key, this is another area of advantage for daCarbo.