Bad sound?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by madmattm, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. madmattm

    madmattm New Friend

    Jun 13, 2009
    How can I improve my sound and tone? I can hear a 'airy'/wispy kind of sound like air is escaping from my lips and also out of the bell. What can i do to improve this? There are no faults with the instrument or Bach 3C mouthpiece.

    Thanks :-)
  2. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Hi madmattm,
    A airy sound is usually attributed to too much mouthpiece pressure. If you type in Mouthpiece Pressure Assessment, It'll give you instructions on how to assess yourself and what to do if it is excessive mouthpiece pressure.
    Also, if mouthpiece pressure is an issue, The Mouthpiece Pressure Adapter (while expensive approx. $150.00) its well worth the price to learn how much pressure a person uses to play.
    The other big factor that can possibly cause the airy sound is poor breathing and air support.
    Two ways to address poor breathing are as follows:
    1) read circle of breath (real easy, real helpful and and easy to understand)
    2)a)imagine (yes imagine) a hole in the small of your back about the size of a tennis ball. When you inhale imagine the air coming in through the hole. This will cause the belly around the belt buckle to expand out. Often trumpet players will only fill up the top portion which is often indicated by the shoulders going up dramatically when a breath is taken.
    b)When you play, imagine the sound growing oout from your body like its getting fat. Not loud, but fat and vibrant.
    c)when you play, imagine you are playing to the person in the back of the room.
    Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2010
  3. mchs3d

    mchs3d Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 30, 2005
    Provo, UT
    It is important to listen to great trumpet players. Your mind provides the sound concept.
  4. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Soft long tones, lip slurs,and practicing everything else softly, using as little pressure as possible, with plenty of rest in between each exercise,rule of thumb, rest as long as you play.Make sure you use proper breath support,and breathing techniques.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2010
  5. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    You have already had the best answer from Al Innella. I can only add that you find a good private teacher and do what they tell you.
  6. ExtraTeeth

    ExtraTeeth Pianissimo User

    Nov 13, 2008
    Perth, Western Australia
    You really need a teacher to address this problem.
    However, the fix in my case was:-
    1. Increase the space between the teeth.
    2. Bring the corners of the mouth forward slightly.
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I agree, but I'm curious - is it just your sound? How is your articulation? Can you single tongue in the staff quickly and crisply? If not, that's something else you could do to bring focus to your chops, which will in turn improve your sound.

    Getting a teacher sometimes is a good bet, but often the problem will correct itself with bulk time on the horn doing basic, fundamental building blocks of trumpet playing - soft, low long tones and a fair amount of basic articulation studies, all in the staff.
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    We improve by practicing more and making a bigger deal out of music. There is no "better sound by the numbers". Some of us have a bright tone that is not noticed because of the elegant playing style. others have a big symphonic sound that sounds dull because there is no definition in the playing attitude.

    "Better sound" is achieved by unleashing YOUR potential, accepting and optimizing your personal sound and developing the musical intelligence to convince the skeptics. The first step is breath support, the second is more time on the horn and the third is playing with players better than you.
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    The common reaction to air in the sound is to reduce the amount of air used.


    Use more air, sound scary, and the air in your sound will go away.
  10. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    There's a bit more to it than that. If the chops aren't focused, it won't matter how much air you use, the sound will still be airy and diffuse.

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