38 y/o comeback trumpet player seeking advice

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Bnk183, Nov 15, 2013.

  1. Bnk183

    Bnk183 New Friend

    Nov 9, 2013
    Good Evening, and thank you for letting me join your group.

    I'm a 38 y/o that hasn't played in 25 years. I've been wanting to start back up for the last two years and I'm now finally getting to it. I only played for 4 years (I was an average player in symphony and jazz band). I can still read some sheet music and remember most of valve finger positions. Now that my kids are in school all day (I'm a fireman, so I get a lot of time off during week, lots of time to practice), I want to pursue playing again. I signed up for lessons beginning next week, now I'm looking for a horn (I know, kinda did that backwards). So my question is two fold:

    I know I can start off with a student horn, however, I do have money in the budget for a pro horn. Was shown a real nice Cannonball 725 at the music store where I'm going to take lessons. Is that too much horn too soon? I don't want to be "that" guy that shells out 2 grand and can't even carry a tune. However, I am pretty set on pursuing this passion. Or should I just settle on a student horn and work my way to a pro horn down the road?

    Second question: My goal in all of this is 5 years or so down the road I would like to put some jazz background music in and just be able to jam to it. Maybe even do some small open mic gig somewhere. Is that feasible? I know it takes a lot of work and is going to be slow go in the beginning. I'm just looking for some of you out there to share your experiences as a comeback player.

  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Welcome to TM, Brian!

    I certainly hope your time getting back into the trumpet and here at TM will be enjoyable for you. As for the Cannonball, I'm not sure if I trust the Resonance Stone idea, even though I've certainly practiced my share of trumpet voodoo over the years. What I would suggest would be to start out with a rental trumpet, nothing fancy, while you get some of the cobwebs out of your playing. Then it would be a good time to try out some higher end trumpets (including the Cannonball) and let the best one find you.

    I'm pretty sure it will take you less than five years to be jamming along with the greats!
  3. wlindseypoole

    wlindseypoole New Friend

    Jun 14, 2013
    Tallahassee, FL
    Hey Brian, and Welcome!, I'm still pretty new to TM here as well, but you will get a lot of help and good advice here. Here's my 2 cents worth. Like you I'm also a comeback player. Here's how my tale plays out......

    I'm 48 years old. I was in band from 6th grade til I graduated from high school over 30 years ago. Even though my dream was to go to college and study music, I went straight into the workforce instead, but I kept a trumpet for over 20 years before I ended up selling my last one to buy my son a new trombone about 9 years ago. I hadnt had one since until recently. I hurt my back last year and had to stop working. So while fighting with the SSA to try to get some type of disability, I decided that now would be the perfect time to pursue my dream of going to college and majoring in Music Education. I dont have a lot of money since my wife is having to cover the bills, but she wholeheartedly is standing behind me. She didnt have the money to get me a horn, so my brother was able to get me an old King 600 student horn. I couldnt thank him more, as it gives me something to practice on, but I will have to wait til I've actually started college in January to get one appropriate for the college level bands I will be in. But thats ok, because it gives me time to get my lips and wind built up. I will be, however, finding me that one appropiate horn when I get my financial aid disbursement. The point of this is, I just wanted to let you know you're not alone as a combacker LOL.

    Seriously though, from one combacker to another, my advice is, if you have it in your budget, go ahead and find you a good quality used semi-pro or pro horn. That way you get used to it as you get back into the "swing" of it, and wont shell out now then have to worry about shelling out again a little later because you want better feel and sound. If its the Cannonball is a decent price. And if this truly is a "passion" to you, you'll fine that pretty soon you'll be carrying tunes again with your horn like carrying water in a bottle. That Cannonball sounds like an excellent choice, but you may want to ask them about maybe a 30 day trade in if you decide its just not quite the right horn for you. You could always come back once you've practiced a bit, and try others to see if you like them any better.

    Now my advice on the other..... it would depend on when you feel proficient enough as to trying open mikes or whatnot. If it were me, when I was ready, I would try to find maybe a couple of local jazz ensembles and see if maybe you could join one of them. maybe one's that play at local festivals and such, maybe an occasional special gathering (weddings and such?)

    Well, I think thats more like 5 cents worth. The first 2 were free, so you owe me three for the rest.....JK! ROFL

    Take care, Welcome once again, and GOOD LUCK on your comeback!!

  4. afp

    afp Pianissimo User

    Oct 9, 2013
    Roseburg, OR
    I was a 41 year old Comebacker 12.5 years ago. My trumpet playing had become very messed up in High School. I switched to French horn and was a music major on Horn for a year, then quit all together for the next 20 years.

    Two years I to my trumpet comeback I was playing in a well orchestrated praise band. I was a mediocre player then. I didn't have any place to play 4-6 years into my comeback. At seven years into my comeback I started playing in a community jazz band. Eight years into my comeback I started playing lead in that jazz band though it was way over my head. Ten years into my comeback I was keeping up with the lead book, and he band was playing charts that required a High G. I still play lead in that jazz band. For the last five years I have also played in local full score Broadway musicals.

    Early in my comeback I started taking lessons from great teachers. I was local to Pops McLaughlin for years two to four of my comeback. At seven years I stated taking lessons from a local pro, a real deal West Coast pro with 25+ years of pro playing as well as a masters in jazz composition. He moved close to my little town and became a High School Band Director. The five years I have been taking lessons from him have allowed me to significantly improve. If I went back to that first praise band they would not believe my improvement.

    While a good teacher is important, the magic ingredient in all this is practice. I strive to practice two hours a night, and when I started doing that I started making huge progress. I work full time in a corporate job, and those that have done that know the long hours that are often required. So I come home tired and grumpy, but I still make myself practice.

    Knowing what I know now, I could have been playing jazz solos about two years into my comeback. I have focused much more on lead than improv, but it doesn't need to take as long as I took.

    Find a good teacher. Find a basic horn. You can find many decent horns for under $1000--the $3,000 to $4,000 horn will come later. Don't even consider one until you have developed enough to know what kind of equipment you play best. Don't let anyone force you into equipment that doesn't fit. Many will try to convince you haven't really developed until you play a bigger MP. That approach is what ruined me 37 years ago. I play with a big dark sound on a small MP. Maybe you will too, or maybe you'll be one of those players who can scream on a big MP--everyone is a little different.

    Oh yeah, make a committment to practice consistently. Start out at 30 minutes a day 5-6 days a week and smartly work up from there.
  5. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    Me too...

    I am in mid-late 40's, and when I was 45yo got a bee in my bonnet to start playing again after a 19yr layoff. I was a music major in college, but completely undisciplined and never consistently practice. I took 1-2 years off a couple times between 18-28years old. I ended up in a major music school where I wasn't the only high note guy they ever had and was advised by the headhoncho that I was never going to play in a lunch-time lab band (instead of a dinner time one like I was) unless I learned how to play the trumpet. High and loud is awesome, but eventually you gotta get better or move on.

    I moved on.

    When I started playing again it was NOT with the goal of reclaiming my former glory and getting my old chops back. I didn't want them. If strength and endurance came back after 20 years off that would be awesome, but I "been there & done that"... and wanted to see if I really could have been a player of I would have done the fundamental work I never did back then. Arban, Clarke, Irons, Colin, Charlier, & Scales.

    It took me 2 months of daily practicing at home before I went out and joined a summer community concert band. I actually joined FOUR of them and played 4 nights a week for months 3-4-5 of my comeback. About month 6-8 I started to feel strong again, and now after 2-1/2 years I am breaking new ground.

    I don't think you need to go blow $2000 on a new horn. Save that as a reward for reaching a milestone... Go get a nice Olds Ambassador. Should cost about $150-300 for a really nice one in great shape. Beat up ones are $100. For about $500-700 you can get a 1950's Olds Super that will be "super". Between $700-1500 you can find used yamaha 6xxx, maybe even an 8xxx.

    Right now, and for the next 6-18 months YOU are the weakest link. Get anything and just practice. (anything BUT one of the Chinese craptacular horns) When you have put in the time and are playing better THEN go reward yourself with something shiny.

    I played 2 months on a 1967 Conn Director with a stuck mouthpiece. Then I flipped horns until I had a bankroll and found a great Yamaha 6345HG that I really liked. I played that for a year while I hunted down a great lead horn, which for me is the Kanstul 1601. For you it may be something else.

    For now a $100 Ambassador... and lots of Arban, Clarke, Scales, Flexibilities, and long tones would be my prescription.
  6. A.N.A. Mendez

    A.N.A. Mendez Utimate User

    Oct 25, 2005
    Sunny Ca.
    Being in my late to middle earlys as well, having some similar experiences I have some advice. If you start to enjoy your comeback, and if you have any $$, DO NOT look on ebay at shiny brass and silver tubular devices. Back away from the computer....... Be satisfied with whatever horn you have.

    Oh sure, you will think you can control yourself, just this one, or hey, always wondered what that one sounded like, or HEY! There's one just like I had in school! Looks in good shape! And I remember the case, just like my old one! OOO a left handed gerwistamener just like Morty had! Always wanted one of those too!
    Consider yourself warned......[​IMG]
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Brian welcome to TM. As for trumpet selections, I like ANA Mendez's advice. AS for the fesability of playing jazz back up in 5 years, yes it is. Read some of our posts here on methods for jazz improvisation. Basically, get yourself a Jazz series books (I use the Modern Jazz Trumpet), play background when listening to jazz stations. You have a reasonable goal to achieve this in 5 years if you use the methods posted on other threads.
  8. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

    Jun 22, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Welcome to TM! This place is crawling with comebackers. You should feel right at home. I suggest you find a good a good used trumpet of your own as you begin. You will feel more completely invested in your new interest. Give yourself time to soak up some trumpet lore and figure out what you want before laying out big cash. An Olds Ambassador is almost a mantra here on TM for beginners, and much more experienced players too, but there are many others that work very well. Getzen and Kanstul 700s come immediately to mind.

    I started my comeback, after nearly 40 years away from the trumpet, on a beat-up 1950 Blessing Standard. I learned a lot with that ugly old trumpet. It worked just fine. A mouthpiece may be a bigger deal for you than a trumpet; it is that essential intensely personal interface between you and the shiny gob of plumbing that captures our interest. Common sizes based upon the Bach sizing nomenclature are 3C, 5C, and 7C. Be forewarned that mouthpieces become deep waters for trumpeters quickly. The array of choice and nuance can be bewildering; and it constantly changes!

    Good luck and be sure to enjoy the ride!

  9. Harky

    Harky Pianissimo User

    Feb 22, 2013
    Lancaster, PA
    Welcome - this is the place for you to be! Some of the very best players and teachers monitor and contribute to this site regularly. For the most part everyone here is very well behaved and have the player's interest at heart. The professional and semi pro players in this forum really know what they are talking about. You may also consider checking out on the internet Greg Spence's Mystery to Mastery FREE videos on playing... they are an excellent reminder about what to do and NOT do regardless of your playing level. This is a great time in your life to begin again only better informed!

    You OP was on equipment - your question is a can of worms as everyone has an opinion and if they knew so much about the 'best' horn why do they all have so many of them? :-? I wish I had followed my own advice which is buy used and pay no more than half price for the full value of a horn until I'm ready to take the 'new horn' plunge. Most folks will tell you to 'play before you buy' which is excellent advice if you can do that. Patience is not an asset frequently found in trumpet players so that advice often falls on deaf ears; HOWEVER if you must take the plunge there are many, many horns of excellent pro quality that will last you a lifetime and will not hurt you now regardless of your level. I could list them right now but that would be a bad thing to do. PM me for my personal experience. MORE SO its the mouthpieces that will get you all turned around. I will say however that it would be reasonable to stay with traditional, middle of the road mpc setups such as rim sizes (in Bach measurements) between the 7's down to 3's and cup depths B through D from any mpc vendor. There are a few mpc comparison charts that will give you equivalent mpc's for various manufacturers. Don't overlook the equipment section of this site as you can pick up almost any mpc for a fraction of the cost of a new one. That's just a thought. Welcome back to playing, you will have a ball!
  10. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    I must second Jim on this one. I played mainly orchestral when I was younger and know I will get my best tone on a large cup. But while I'm rebuilding the strength of my embouchure, I practise pretty well exclusively on a 3C general purpose piece which allows me to put in a few hours balanced practice per day without overstraining at the top of the stave.

    IMHO the quality of the actual instrument is of less importance until your embouchure settles. A more open blowing pro instrument might work against you until you develop the air support necessary to feed the monster.

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