Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by robbie, Oct 10, 2005.

  1. robbie

    robbie New Friend

    Sep 23, 2005
    hi all,

    whats the best way to improve intonation.when i play with a tuner i'm generally with in a couple of cents in tune until i get to high c, then it goes sharp.i cant seem to lip it down enough without cracking the note.its very frustrating.i've been playing with a wedding band recently and this is where its been highlighted.the keyboard player is really bursting my chops over this.i've no problem reaching the notes i need(g above high c) its just the intonation.i bought a little korg clip on tuner hoping to use on the gig to improve the tuning at least to keep me around 440,but the keyboard player said that it made the tuning even worse .i'm at my wits end,not knowing which way to turn,with my confidence shattered.any advise or suggestions would be very much appreciated.
  2. jcstites

    jcstites Mezzo Forte User

    Jun 1, 2005
    Tallahassee, FL

    If you can hear(and sing) it in tune, you can play it in tune.

    Clip on tuners or a tuner on the stand are the worst possible ways to improve tuning.

    If its better in tune, take it down the octave, it will sound so much better.
  3. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    Ditto that. 100%.

  4. Alex Yates

    Alex Yates Forte User

    Aug 11, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    As far as the tuner making it worse when you played with the piano, it probably means the piano/keyboard is tuned to something else. Did you check what the keyboard was tuned to? Does the band tune to a tuner or the keyboard? Were you in tune on everything else and just not that note?

    To work this out, play scales slowly and in tune trying to hit the sweet spot on each note - don't be afraid to experiment a bit with bending the pitches to truly find the center - anticipatory climbing in pitch as you go up and no sagging as you go down. Begin with middle 'g' and slowly play an octave scale up and down paying very close attention to staying in present time and listening to each note slotting as well as the notes being tuned in relation to each other. Then play scales using the same pattern beginning on Ab, A, etc. climbing chromatically until C. Do the same on the 'c' scale, making sure you are not adding any tension as you ascend. If you do this a few times, I think you will find your "sweet spot" high C.

    There is a small chance that you have a "break" on your horn where the C is or on the mouthpiece. I know I have a break on my mouthpiece on the high concert C.....meaning it is a bit squirrely and wants to shoot up to the next harmonic. This just means you have to try a little harder keeping your aperature focused to make it work.

    Good luck and don't be so discouraged. There is an easy solution to your problem with a little isolated practice. ;-)
  5. mike ansberry

    mike ansberry Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Clarksville, Tennessee, U
    Like they said, sing. I like the term audiate. Sing inside your brain what you are playing on the horn.

    For years I could sit and listen to players and think, he's sharp or she's flat with ease, but when I played myself, I sometimes struggled. I'd be worried about the pitch and thinking too much. I'd sometimes invert what I was hearing. This got really band the first year I played in the shows at Opryland. I was a little nervous, and one of the guys gave me a hard time about it. The harder I tried, the worse it got. I took a tuner into the pit. It was a mistake. You have to focus on what you hear, not what the machine is saying. Tuners are good for practice, but not the gig. Then I had a couple of lessons with Richard Steffen. He got me audiating. It was like an epiphany. So much easier, and intonation was locking in.

    As far as the keyboard player goes, tell him what he can do with it. (unless he's the leader) Somebody who picks at you for being sharp in the extreme range is an idiot.
  6. cornetguy

    cornetguy Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 12, 2005
    Saint Paul, MN
    I second the above about the tuner. In fact, I cant practice too long with the tuner before I am ready to throw the d---ed thing in the wall.

    I have been using the CD's with the Thompson Buzzing book and there are also ones avalible for Stamp, and it (has accompiment for studies) It seems to help lock pitch into 440. In any case If I cant buzz with a cd or keyboard I dont. I read someplace (forgot where) about Stamp's insistance about playing in tune with equal temprament. Also have been encouraging beginners to play with the CD's that come with the beginer books so they can hear the pitches and (subconciously) start to play in tune without talking about it.
  7. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003
    I also like the buzzing basics, but I use different exercises along with it now.
    The only tuner I will use is the strobotuner, but I use it sparingly, I will just set it to the root of what ever key I am in.
  8. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    How about the old standard of buzzing along with a keyboard? I like that, it's fun and good for your ears.

  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    The first thing I would do is break a couple of fingers on the keyboard player's right hand, and then bust his chops every time he flubs a line.

    Kidding, although I'm sure that in your situation, the thought would cross my mind. Unless he's perfect, it seems that he's spending far too much time worrying about what you are doing and not enough time worrying about his own act.

    Another suggestion, and keep in mind it's only a suggestion, is to look at the equipment you are using. I say this from experience playing in the same kind of band you are playing with. For about 8 years I played a LB Bach Strad with a 25 bell, and for the rock band and Latin band stuff, I used a Schilke 14A4a - I ALWAYS had some intonation issues with that mouthpiece starting at about A under high C and up. I also have a Korg CA30 tuner with a bell clip, and I used that A LOT on the gig, out of necessity.

    Chances are, it isn't you, and your equipment setup wants to resonate sharp.

    My "solution" to the problem came about by accident. I stumbled into a good deal on a great used Schilke B6, and I stopped using a Schilke 14A4a - I still use a Schilke mouthpiece, but it's a 14A4 and has the more open 'c' backbore. After I settled into this equipment setup, my intonation issues became almost non-existant. I still take the tuner to the gig, but I rarely use it - mainly when I pick up my cold flugelhorn for the occasional ballads. On the Schilke, as long as tuning C is on and my chops aren't worn out, I really don't have to monitor it like I used to. I did for a bit, but after a while, it got to the point where I was spot checking less and less, simply because I didn't have to. This doesn't mean that I don't still check my main intonation from time to time, but I don't go so sharp on Bs and Cs anymore. This trumpet is the most "dead-on" trumpet I have ever owned.

    Again, just a thought - what equipment are you using?
  10. robbie

    robbie New Friend

    Sep 23, 2005
    hi trickg,
    i'm using a calicchio 1s7 large bore with a warburton 5sv and 3 backbore.the mouthpiece would be similar to a schilke 13a but the 3 backbore is quite tight.

    i'd like to thank you all for your advise,and yes i have been tempted to drop a speaker on the piano players right hand.


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