Intonation Issues

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ALWilts, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. ALWilts

    ALWilts New Friend

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    Hi guys

    I've been noticing some intonation issues on my Bach Omega..

    When I play a low D to a G it sounds fine.. When I go up to the D from the G it's flat enough pour syrup on it and eat it as a pancake! As I'm becoming a bit stronger up there and utillising it more it's become more and more apparent..

    I don't remember having a problem as a kid (playing the same horn after a few years away).

    Any ideas?
     
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry, but I could use more information. Which D, which G? What fingerings? Did you have stewed tomatoes and sawdust sausages for breakfast? OK, the breakfast question doesn't have anything to do with your intonation difficulties. Fingerings and register, however, may have lots to do with your intonation difficulties.
     
  3. ALWilts

    ALWilts New Friend

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    Breakfast usually consists of porridge with jam, a pint of gin and an apple.. I did have my reservations about the apple!

    I'm talking about a low D (xox) and a 4th line D (xoo).. The G in between I use as a reference, as I was playing along to Quintessence when it was most noticeable!

    Does that make a bit more sense?
     
  4. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    The original Quintessence? Now there's a blast from the past!

    It depends how long the manufacturer has cut the first slide. If it's been tuned to give exactly an equal tempered tone drop from open, then first valve D is going to be around 17 cents flat in a few common keys. Particularly noticeable against an open G where the flat dominant is woeful.

    If the slide was cut shorter to match open G, then you get a whole bunch of other problems such as a very sharp F natural. Trumpet design has some pretty serious compromises to make in this area.

    Where it matters, I'll often play that D 1-3.
     
  5. ALWilts

    ALWilts New Friend

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    That's the one, in my non trumpet playing years it's one of the jazz tracks that stuck with me throughout!

    I'm really surprised that don't remember having these problems when I used to play. I know it probably wouldn't have mattered as much to me, but I thought I would have remembered my teacher, or my musical family saying something..

    You are right with the 1-3 fingering thought, it's a darn sight sharper than playing it on 1.. around 20 cents actually!
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Considering the thousands of Bb trumpet players that do not have this problem (well actually they do but....) I think the issue is something else.

    Generally Bb trumpets are not so "resonant" that there is difficulty lipping the notes where they need to be. There are mouthpieces however that promote more efficient playing and with them, other sins become more apparent. Have you switched mouthpieces?

    A second VERY common issue is believing an electronic tuner. Intonation is always relative to the interval and harmony.

    Now to what you have posted: you mention fingering 1+3 (XOX) but do not mention using the valve slides. Regardless of the construction of the horn, 1+3 is significantly too sharp regardless of what note that we play. If you don't use the slides, then your open G could be too sharp, something not uncommon. This would screw up your reference.

    What to check: is the horn and mouthpiece clean? Are the valve felts so compressed that valves do not line up? Does the spit key leak? How does the G compare to the low C and third space C. Are any of the braces broken?

    Before going crazy, get someone that plays far better than you do to try your horn out - don't mention the specific issues, just ask them what they think of the intonation of the horn in general.
     
  7. richtom

    richtom Forte User

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    In 1967, when I was 16, I got a brand new Burbank Benge 5X. No one told me the D, Eb, and E in the staff were "flat" on a Benge. (My teacher at that time, Frank Lisanti, as a young man worked for Elden Benge in the 40s. He never mentioned any tuning issues. He said "always listen"). I did just that and played them in tune. If you don't hear the pitch well, it will be out of tune, no matter what note you are playing.
    Using 1 -3 on the 4th line D sounds lousy - it is not meant to be played with that combination.
    As Rowuk said, make sure the horn is not messed up.

    Here are hints from the master, Bud Herseth.

    When a note sounds beautiful, it is in tune(and vice versa)
    Approach on the lines of good sound and intonation will come there too. The ear will do all the work if you let it.
    D, E, and E flat - let them float up to where they belong.
    Don't think, just play beautifully. Your ear will tell you, and do all the work for you if you allow it to. Don't try to place notes, but let them go where they want.

    Rich T.
     
  8. ALWilts

    ALWilts New Friend

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    Thanks for the input guys. This is where I am with it now -

    I agree with you on the digital tuners Rowuk, however I noticed the problem by ear, then referred to the tuner after. The first valve felt is extremely worn, to the point it's almost only half the size of the second and third.

    As for the slides, and this is the point that you're probably going to give up on me and slam your laptop lid in disgust (assuming you are using a laptop), the third valve slide has seized. As I'm only just starting up again and I know my horn needs a good clean up, I was going to get it serviced when I started playing it live. After reading your posts and then doing a little research, I've found that the third valve slide is used to flatten the low C# and D.

    So, the low C# and D are a little sharp for starters. But when I play a 3rd space C and go up chromatically, the C# and D still sound flat. Could this be a problem caused by my felts...

    ... Or is it all in my head? Seriously, I don't know anymore. Here's a little clip, have a listen for yourself..

    http://soundcloud.com/alwilts/intonation/s-WYKA7
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Al,
    it could be (and probably is) many things. First course of action is to let someone that plays very well try the horn out. No need to get concerned about the unknown. A good cleaning, renewing felts and freeing up the slides is easy and cheap enough. Get someone to look at the horn.

    I am sure that you are not that far off. Without the adjustable slides, your references are off and the higher you go, the harder it is for weak chops to compensate. Try tuning the horn a bit higher and force yourself to relax on the lower notes.
     
  10. richtom

    richtom Forte User

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    Post is deleted
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2015

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