High note problems & Mouthpiece queries

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Justamirage, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    This is something I've experienced firsthand fairly recently - in fact, just a couple of hours ago.

    I mentioned in a thread I started in October that I had gotten a position teaching an extracurricular HS Jazz band at an area high school. For some reason, the jazz band has also been tasked with providing pep bands for the basketball games - basically, we can do some of the jazz band stuff, but we're also doing a lot of the marching band stuff. Since this isn't a "performance" per se, I play with the kids, usually supplementing the lead trumpet part, and I have found out just how taxing those charts can be.

    Granted, the purpose of pep band isn't to be musically excellent - it's to create energy and excitement, so we're pushing a bit of volume. All I know is that I've been a gigging player for a long time, and if it's taxing my chops, what is it doing to the HS kids? I was pretty spent by the end of halftime at the second game.
     
  2. Ljazztrm

    Ljazztrm Piano User

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    Yarp, that's some pretty sweet advice - Let me add an improvement to my original suggestion. Take the Clarke #1 and do each one alternating slurring and tonguing, and rest in between each as long as you play. So, like - 13tongued, rest about as long as it took to play, 12slurred, rest as long as you played, 14tongued, rest - etc. Just to get you on that chromatic movement and training the chops to have the most efficient movement. Having that rest in between each will only add to training the chops to function in the most efficient manner.

    I do all my playing on small diameter mouthpiece with various depths - some very shallow - I have always found the 6a4a to be great for cutting through, but I never could get a sound I like on it. I play mouthpieces based on the Marcinkiewicz Candoli which are smaller diameter than the 6a4a and one of them even has a little shallower cup..I get a much better sound on this than the 6a4a.. I've been working with the Vintage MF Pickett mouthpiece lately with very good results and that is right around the same diameter as the 6a4a but with a much better sound. That might be too extreme a design for you right now.. but, if you find you like a 6a4a diameter, which is .630 (think Warburton '7', Bach 12, GR 63, Curry 30, Al Cass 3X5, Monette BL3/BL5, Reeves 40, Most all of MF's pieces) then I would highly recommend the new re-issue of the Bill Chase jet-tone which is an accurate reproduction of the old model Bill played in the 70's. I know a few guys who do very well with this piece and make the same comments about this one and the 6a4a.. Very similar feel but better sound and even more comfort with the BC jet-tone.

    Best of luck to you! Lex
     
  3. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Yes, it's true that some pros obviously press their mouthpieces to their lips as they ascend ... we fail to point out that they have conditioned and hardened their lips over many years playing lower notes softly.

    Yes, I was lucky I suppose. I was never compelled to play a note higher than a C on the second line above the staff while marching in high school or college and then in both I had many first parts beyond my sophomore year in high school. IMO real music does not require the personal ostentatious ultra high notes on a normal Bb trumpet. Otherwise, I've yet to encounter any Bb trumpet part that requires a low F# on the 4th line of the bass clef and as often as I have tried, I've never been able to play it on center.

    My thinking is if a band director wants such ultra high notes in a marching band, provide 6 players with piccolo trumpets equipped with wireless transmission to off side amplifiers. This isn't likely to happen is it?
     
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Just because the horn sounds up an octave doesn't mean that it's easier to play high on a pic, never mind that it's totally not the right sound.
     
  5. Brasseria

    Brasseria Pianissimo User

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    Gmonady, sure, most people with a good upper register can play squeaks without a lot of pressure. But there is no way they can do it with power, accuracy or SOUND. If you don't use a healthy amount of pressure, you'll sound like crap. If you use too little pressure, (the amount is not the same for everyone) you can't develop consistency and accuracy, because you will be forced to bob the mouthpiece. Only enough pressure to make a seal is *not* the measure of correct pressure. The sound is and the playability is. If you sound bad, okay, you may be using too much pressure. And most beginners do because they haven't developed the embouchure musculature yet. But a player that is playing Double As is probably a good way in the right direction muscularly. Which leads me back to the conclusion that it's not pressure that is the problem. It's a rim mis-match or it's just fatigue from too much playing, which happens a lot sooner when you're playing in the high register.

    I'm a lurker over at trumpet herald and someone there actually raised a similar question about mouthpiece pressure because there was a quote in an article by Chris Gekker... Just took me 10 minutes to find it, but here's the quote:

    ~ Chris Gekker. [It was quoted here: http://www.tsmp.org/band/trumpet/wurtz_play_higher.html]

    The poster was raising the same questions about how that can be a responsible comment to make for a teacher, and that they were surprised to have seen it. And mentioned injuries to the Obic. Oris like you did. The general consensus was that embouchure damage doesn't happen from pressure, it happens from overuse. When the muscles fatigue, and you keep playing. When that's done regularly, the Obic Gets damaged because the Donut (a la Reinhardt) collapses and can't support the mouthpiece, and so the obic takes the full force of the sharp inner bit of the rim. This causes swelling, which causes the player to open the lips further, which requires more pressure to keep the lips together... and so on. But it all starts because of fatigue, not because of the pressure. If the embouchure is not fatigued, and is set up fine, then excess pressure doesn't happen because it just chokes the sound and

    So we come back to this conclusion:

    - Craig Swartz

    My point is not for him to go on a mouthpiece hunt, or to buy a Monette or any sort of specialty equipment. My advice is just not to play the Vizzutti specifically if it's causing cutting. Trust me, the rim on something like a Yamaha 14b4 is MUCH face friendlier and cup is more middle of the road. I am speaking from experience! I have a Vizzuti in the cupboard. My high register sounds loud and great... for about 5 minutes, and then I start to notice that the rim is causing problems. I can, however, play much much longer on a 14b4 without any problems.

    I still think the first step is a more 'mainstream' mouthpiece. I think the vizzutti is in bach 3 territory so that's why I'm suggesting to just pick something there that is not an extreme and get used to it. A Bach 3c or a yamaha 14b4 or a schilke 14b4 would all be perfectly good, and less specialised, designs than the Vizzutti. Like I said, even Allen doesn't play the Yamaha Vizzutti! ;)
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    It is pressure that promotes fatigue as a clamped off embouchure makes the muscles fight to do anything with the lips. It is like riding a bike with headwind - the pressure is holding you back and your legs have to fight much more. Experienced bikers have strategies for headwinds and hills. They are similar to the pro trumpeters strategies!

    I most certainly agree about the Vizzutti mouthpiece being "specialty". I do question the truth of a high G/A (below double C) but difficulties with the E below that.
     
  7. Justamirage

    Justamirage New Friend

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    Sorry I haven't been responding, been busy with college studies. Anyways, to answer your question I play on a OLDS NTR110.

    And I used to play on a Schilke 14a4a before switching the Vizzutti. Personally the size I feel is pretty correct for my mouth, and like you said it may be the rim. I love the mouthpiece and I think it fits me, but I think it's as you said the rim.
     
  8. Justamirage

    Justamirage New Friend

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    To add on that, it's a pretty worn horn. Been through multiple marching seasons and taken some hits.
     
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Unless you've got damage to the leadpipe, serious damage to the bell, or a crushed 2nd valve slide (common battering of a student model horn) then it's probably not because it's worn.

    My guess is that given that this is a student model horn, the note just doesn't want to slot, and that wouldn't be uncommon.

    Here's another question - are you hitting those notes, or playing them? There's definitely a difference.
     
  10. Justamirage

    Justamirage New Friend

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    I'm able to play up arpeggios up to those double notes, and have had to play up there in marching band. There's songs I've played that go from G above the staff to the G an octave below it, playing all in between. So I'd say I can play these notes, but there's the consistency that could be a problem for me. That just comes with the endurance however, and that's after a long performance.

    Most of the time those high notes in that area are just to be hit, and not "played" as I'm assuming you're thinking. Usually it's sitting out a measure and playing a Double A or G.
     

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