Bach Strad Intonation Problems

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Madstrad48, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. Madstrad48

    Madstrad48 New Friend

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    Jan 24, 2009
    First of all, I'm new here so greetings to you all. I've been reading posts for quite a while and have been greatly assisted by many of your thoughts and suggestions...even as I have been encouraged by the frustrations of others (knowing I'm not alone!)...and that leads me to my first question:

    I have a '75 vintage, Bb Silver Strad 37. As is typical, low C# and D are seriously sharp. I can't easily lip them into tune and the mechanics of using first and third slides tends to jar my embouchure and ruin my tone quality. Any suggestions for how to improve intonation on my horn? Would a trigger help me? Any other mechanical change that could be done? If not, are there any tricks to using slides more effectively? I tried a Yamaha horn and the angle of the thumb saddle/finger ring was much more ergonomic...perhaps I need to have mine re-positioned?

    This intonation problem is driving me whacky.:bash: I can't afford a new horn right now. Thanks for any help!
     
  2. loudog

    loudog Piano User

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    Grand Island, NE
    Be sure that your slides move freely enough so that using them does NOT jar your embouchure...it takes practice. I recommend slow Clarke studies using those notes. Also long tones on them will help as well.

    If you have very large or small hands, you could look into getting the ring and thumbhook repositioned so to be more comfortable for your use.

    Another thought might be your left hand position itself. Can you describe how you are holding the horn?

    Any trumpet is going to have a sharp low D and C#, they're just built that way into the trumpet with the ratios of the valve slides. You just have to learn how to use them.

    Louie
     
  3. Madstrad48

    Madstrad48 New Friend

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    Jan 24, 2009
    Thanks, Louie. It is helpful to know what I need to do...keep working at using those slides. They move freely once they are "broken free" from closed position. For some reason the edge of the slide sticks to the edge of the tubing - some sort of friction there. I use oil on the slides instead of grease.

    My hands are average size. I hold weight of horn with left hand...I have my thumb in the saddle and middle finger in the ring; index finger wraps the valves (must come off when I use the slide...maybe this is where the jarring comes in) and the remaining two are extended along third slide. (Right hand: thumb set in first/second valve ridge, fingers on keys, pinky is free).

    I appreciate your insights! Paul
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    The only real solution is to get the slides moving. Only having 3 valves is a BIG comprimise. 4 are really needed.

    You can get a really good slide grease at the drugstore. It is called anhydrous lanolin. That and a drop of synthetic valve oil and if they are mechanically sound and aligned, they should move VERY freely. If not, then a tech needs to check the alignment.
     
  5. Madstrad48

    Madstrad48 New Friend

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    Jan 24, 2009
    Thanks, Rowuk! I'll pick up some of that anhydrous lanolin...I'm using the synthetic oil right now. I appreciate the tip. I'll keep working on it.
     
  6. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    It might be the way you're holding the trumpet. If you are gripping it hard it will make it hard to move the slides.

    I don't like a trigger because I can't move both slides at the same time.
     
  7. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

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    Interestingly, it is my perception that the Bach Strads of that time really do have more of an intonation problem for those notes than other horns. My 74 Strad is a great player, but requires 3rd and some 1st slide to get close to correct intonation. On some other horns, I can lip it much better than on the Strad. I also own a Kanstul 1537 -Ziggys clone of the 37 Strad. It does NOT have the extreme intonation issue. DOn't know what he did differently, but I can tell a difference.
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    a couple of comments. Those tones are out of tune based on the mathematics of sound. EVERY trumpet has this problem. Some may appear to have less. That has mopst likely to do with the efficiency. A less efficient horn does not "slot" as well and lets us bend the notes more easily. Another "source" of tuning slots is the throat of the mouthpiece. Drilling it out reduces the slotting making it easier to "bend" bad notes at the sacrifice of making the good notes less secure.
     
  9. Madstrad48

    Madstrad48 New Friend

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    Jan 24, 2009
    Thanks for all the helpful replies. A few more issues have been raised:

    Another thread brought up an additional intonation problem that I have encountered. When I have my horn tuned to 440 (my tuning slide is out a good inch and a half) my high-staff D and E are flat. When my tuning slide is in, the intonation is much better; even acceptable. What are people doing to correct these notes? It is much more difficult to lip up than down...at least for me.

    Rowuk, thanks for the info. regarding efficiency. I'll have to study the physics of horn efficiency....don't know much about how this works. My initial impression is that I wouldn't want to reduce the efficiency and slotting of my horn or mouthpieces. I already feel this horn lacks some efficiency as it is very difficult to locate certain notes in higher range. (I am assuming this is a slotting issue but it may be my embouchure.)

    You also mentioned that ALL trumpets have intonation problems on low C# and D. Are there any trumpets that are passable - i.e., even though a bit out of tune, it is not really noticable or easily corrected with minimal embouchure adjustment?

    This leads to the suggestion of a tunable bell. What impact would this have of these two areas of poor intonation (low and high). What sort of investment is required to fit a Strad with one? Is it a fairly staightforward job or does it require exceptional skill; i.e., should I mail horn to a true specialist? When I'm ready to buy a horn, how many of you would recommend a tunable bell? Any naysayers?

    Thanks for any additional thoughts.
     
  10. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

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    It is possible your strad has an internal blockage (solder blob) causing it to be sharp. Also, sources of horn sharpness are bad valve alignment and mouthpiece issues.

    Have you tried different mouthpieces to see if the sharpness is alleviated?

    It may be you are blowing the horn sharp. You can try doing lots of very quiet long tones and general very soft playing to see if you aren't producing sharpness due to tightness of your setup/air. You can also try using a tuner with the tuning slide set at about 1/2 inch and see if you can blow the horn down into tune. It is not uncommon to play on the high side of the pitch centers.

    Cleaning your slides thoroughly and adding o-rings to the setup may eliminate the sticking closed. Also, play lots of low Clarke and work your slides a lot. This may reveal a grip issue. You can also try a different finger in the 3rd slide. I use the middle finger too, but my 4th and pinky are around the bottom of the third valve. Also try a more relaxed grip with your left palm arched away from the valve body -see Jeanne Pocius' book Trumpeting By Nature for this.
     

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