Beginner Issue (I don't even know what to call it)

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Persinji, Aug 30, 2014.

  1. Persinji

    Persinji New Friend

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    Aug 29, 2014
    I've tried searching around, but this doesn't seem to be a common issue. I asked my trumpet friend, and he said that he's never really heard of anything like this. I understand that there's only so much you can do without hearing me in person, but I'm hoping there's at least something I can do about it. So, here I go.

    I just started recently, but from the very first day I noticed something. Whatever I was playing (no valves of course) wasn't C. It wasn't G either. In fact, every time I blew a tone on the trumpet (open), it seemed to be giving different notes every time. So I checked the tones with a Bb clarinet, and I ended up with Eb, F, C#, Ab, and possibly a few others. I believe I got a very washed out C once, and never again. So, in an attempt to solve this, I played an in-tune C from my Bb clarinet, kept that image in my head and played on the trumpet. It would not stay at C for longer than two seconds, and would try to jump to C# or higher. It actually feels like I'm playing on an extended mouthpiece rather than a trumpet since:

    1. Pressing valves doesn't actually do anything for me. I can adjust my embrouchure and bring the note up whether the valves are pressed or not.
    2. A TON of pitch bending. I know that you don't get steady tones for a while, especially since i'm just starting out, but I'm talking about being able to bend up a fifth and more. I should probably repeat that this is all open.
    3. The loudest that comes out is a p or mp.........
    4. The sound is coming off more as a slightly louder and deeper mouthpiece buzz (like a duck)

    Does anybody know what the problem seems to be? I don't think I'm playing pedal tones............if it helps, I'm not puffing my cheeks, I'm keeping the edges of my embrouchure tight, and I can buzz tunes and an octave on my mouthpiece. My issue is when my mouthpiece is put together with the trumpet......
     
  2. Newell Post

    Newell Post Piano User

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    There might be something wrong with the horn. This isn't normal, even for a beginner. Have it checked by someone. Is one of the pistons maybe in backwards? Some brands of trumpet allow you to put them in backwards by mistake after oiling. (Or is the wrong piston in the wrong casing?)
     
  3. Persinji

    Persinji New Friend

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    Aug 29, 2014
    Well, I did insert valve oil first thing before playing, so I might've unknowingly put it in the wrong way. Is there any way to check?

    My band director played a few notes on it (first valve pressed) before he gave it to me to make sure it worked, and it sounded fine, so I don't think there's anything severely wrong with the trumpet itself.
     
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    There will be a number on each valve. Sometimes they are hidden under corks and such.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014
  5. Newell Post

    Newell Post Piano User

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    The piston number is stamped on the upper part. The numbers should all face the same way. On Bach, the stamped numbers should all face backward. On some other brands they should all face forward.
     
  6. Persinji

    Persinji New Friend

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    Aug 29, 2014
    Okay, the pistons were indeed put in the wrong way, so I went and tried facing them towards the bell, right side, left side, and towards the mouthpiece......the numbers are without a doubt supposed to be facing the mouthpiece, since any other way gives me a blocked path. However........I'm still getting different notes every time I play an open tone. I get Eb and C# the most frequently.
     
  7. Dviglis

    Dviglis Mezzo Piano User

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    Are you actually breathing into the horn or just buzzing. Try making what we call an "aperture", which is an opening in the lips to allow air to travel through. Try to imagine blowing on hot soup, that should give you about the right opening for your aperture, or another way is to tighten the corners of your lips and blow just enough to make a small opening right in the center of your embouchure. Simply blowing with a proper aperture should create a proper buzz.
     
  8. Persinji

    Persinji New Friend

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    Aug 29, 2014
    I tried what you suggested, it didn't seem to feel any different from what I was already doing (and I got an F). I'm pushing through as much air as I can, and it's still......not that loud. I suppose I'll have to see my band director or stop by the music store and ask if everything is alright with either the trumpet or my embrouchure or set-up or whatever else could possibly be wrong.
     
  9. larry tscharner

    larry tscharner Forte User

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    So, what happens when you try to play softly? I dont know, but are you trying too hard and going the wrong way in your attempt to get volume and the right pitch? Your instructor said the horn is ok after trying a couple of notes with a valve pressed? Is there anyone who can actually play the thing and give you a definite answer about the horn. I gotta think that I still suspect the instrument from what you described. Is the water key (spit valve, for you vulgar people) seal tight? Could the spring be not working or the cork broken or missing? An air leak can cause funny things to happen.
    If you can bend the pitch as much as you say you do, You will be a terrible trumpet player....or maybe the best jazz player ever! Best wishes.
     
  10. Persinji

    Persinji New Friend

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    Aug 29, 2014
    The water key works fine, as far as I'm concerned. It keeps the water in, and when I press it and shake my trumpet around a little the spit comes out. No leaks or dents. I usually keep at a relatively comfortable volume, but when I do try to play louder it doesn't get louder, which I thought was sort of weird since.....it's a trumpet. I can't help but think that I'm just like, playing maybe higher pedal tones (I know, that makes no sense.....) or something, since everything that's happening with my instrument and sound does not sound like a trumpet. In the lower notes actually, it SLIGHTLY resembles a trumpet.....kind of. But when I try to go higher, in which the only method of doing that for me at the moment is lipping it up, it sounds more like a dying duck.

    Should I just stay away from my trumpet until I figure out what's going on to prevent really bad habits? Or is it safe enough to practice long tones?
     

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