Bach Strad Intonation Problems

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

  1. RichJ

    RichJ Piano User

    Jan 16, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    A top notch brass shop could chem clean your horn, fix the slides and check out the horn and the mouthpiece gap and make recommendations after play testing the horn. Osmun Brass in Mass. is very good, just as an example and you could ship the horn to them.
  2. jongorrie

    jongorrie Pianissimo User

    May 9, 2010
    How is the intonation on the rest of the horn? How far out do you have your main tuning slide? It may be worthwhile experimenting with having the main slide out a few millimetres more than you usually do, and checking the intonation on the rest of the horn. This slight adjustment may help (although it is hard to say without actually seeing and hearing you play).
  3. brian moon

    brian moon Forte User

    Anhydrous lanolin works well but it will freeze. Cold weather can be a problem with it. Of course you should never leave your horn in the car for long in cold weather anyway. Sounds like it should help to have the ring and saddle moved. Trigger is easier but it really isn't that difficult to get used to using the standard ring and saddle.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  4. graysono

    graysono Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 22, 2007
    Hyde Park, Utah
    Check out the Schilke Loyalist site on the advantages of the tunable bell trumpet. Some data there do suggest they play better in tune than non-tunable bell trumpets and suggest the physics reasons for that. I have a Schilke B6L and it is a fine horn--perhaps the best I have ever played on. But it too plays sharp on the C# and D. Rowuk is right (as usual), the rest of it is us and our embouchures and our mpcs. I play on a Curry 1.25ZM. It has a very relaxed throat (ie second cup) which I love for the lower resistance, but I have to watch my intonation much more because of that. So, as has been said above, some of it is the horn, but the rest is us.
  5. stevesf

    stevesf Piano User

    Jun 23, 2010
    San Francisco Bay Area
    As mentioned in this thread all trumpets are typically sharp on low C# and D. Tunable bell will not remedy that problem. As far as slides sticking when fully closed a trip to your local hardware store and picking up some small rubber O rings should do the trick and is a cheap fix. My first and third valve slides move with the ease of a trombone slide. I just prefer that for myself. I use a combo of slide grease with a few drops of valve oil to get that sort of viscosity. Making sure your horn is properly aligned is also important.
    You can also try cleaning your slides with toothpaste. I know it sounds weird but toothpaste is a mild abrasive and will not effect tolerances. Just make sure you rinse off and lubercate slides properly after you have finished cleaning slides.
    With practice using your tuning slides will become second nature.
    As far as trigger vs. thumb/finger hooks is just a matter of personal preference. I am comfortable using hooks and allows me to fine tune better. Others may choose trigger.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  6. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    The 3rd slide sticking from the closed position is a common problem. Often it's caused by corrosion at that point in the slide. It doesn't take much to cause the slide to hang when you try to throw it out. This will cause the horn too move and disturb the embouchure. In addition to the other suggestions and good repair shop can fix this. Have then check the vavle alignment. While the rubber bumpers in the top valve caps almost never wear out, the valve stem felts shoud be replaced at least once a year. More often if you play a lot (hours) every day.
  7. Madstrad48

    Madstrad48 New Friend

    Jan 24, 2009
    I'm tremendously grateful for your excellent suggestions. You have given me a great deal to check into. The O-rings is quite innovative and may do the trick to relieve the friction at the joints of my tuning slides. I'm guessing they have very thin ones that won't impact intonation. I'll definitely try this out as I am the anhydrous lanolin (thanks for letting me know it can freeze!). I do not believe my felts have ever been replaced so this is definitely something I'll take care of right away! Also, valve alignment. How is that done? Is it something a trumpeter can do him/herself?

    I'll check out the tunable bell more...thanks for the link, Graysono.

    I am thinking that angling my 3rd valve finger ring a bit might really help. I might also try wrapping it. When I hold the horn my finger is to the inside of the ring towards the third valve. When I go to push the slide out, my finger travels a quarter inch or so before hitting the other side of the ring. This causes a slight jarring of the trumpet which adds to the problem. Has anyone else encountered this? I'm thinking of wrapping the ring with a small piece of rubber tubing cut lengthwise. I'll let you know how it works.

    Regarding your questions on my general playing: all is in tune but for the typical out-of-tuners. As I said, when my tuning slide is set to 440 (on my horn extended about an inch and a quarter), my upper staff D and E are quite flat...I don't know what to do about this. Right now I'm directing and able to tune ensembles a bit sharp to my horn but I won't always be able to do this.

    I'm playing a 3C Bach mouthpiece. I've been playing with using small strips of tinfoil to adjust insertion depth. Haven't found any real noticable impact on intonation yet. By the way, I hear a good deal about both Curry and Laskey mouthpieces. Any suggestions? I'd like to try something in the 3C range that might have a bit less of a bite on the rim.

    Thanks again for all the great and most helpful replies!
  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    If need be, you can finger the d and e in the staff 13 and 12. You will probably notice that all your 12 combinations are a bit sharp, and 23 quite a bit flat.

    The Curry 3C mouthpieces are based on the Mt. Vernon models and have quite a sharp bite to them. You might try a cheap Bach 3C clone, and for fun, file down the end of the shank until the popping frequency when you pop the mouthpiece against your palm is the same for the cup and the backbore; then have the mouthpiece shank turned on a lathe using a Morse taper to match the Bach specs. I did this with an old Mt. Vernon 7B and it is scary good!

    Have fun!
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Flat highest notes are most often messed up chops not hardware.

    There is a lot about the physics of the trumpet at the top of this section of the forum in the post "how a trumpet works".

    I do advocate a tuning bell, but am not convinced that the most common way of doing this is the best. I have been working on this for several years now and am on to something that I will not "give away". You don't need a tuning bell to get a reasonably in tune horn. You need to practice more tunes where you have the freedom to LISTEN while playing.

    If you play before you pay, there is almost always success. The best in tune horns that I have played were Schilkes and Yamahas, but none of the name brand Bb horns really have any serious issues.

    Standard horns are so good these days that you really do not have to worry about the hardware until you are so good that it doesn't matter anyway!

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