Needs some information on Stiff Chops!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Branson, May 17, 2013.

  1. Branson

    Branson Piano User

    Jan 16, 2011
    I am compiling information on a common problem for most of us: “Stiff Chops”.

    I have two questions-

    1. Do you have a problem with stiff chops?
    2. Do you regularly “cool down” after practicing?

    Thanks for your help
  2. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    Stiff chops is a problem I think everyone of us experiences at some time... either because of too much practice or because of lack of it! I usually avoid it by doing a low tone cool down after playing, and the wife then continues with a long dose of kissing - it really works, and there are other partner-based lip and tongue exercises that really work for trumpet as well ;-) Just experiment!
  3. DaTrump

    DaTrump Forte User

    Oct 21, 2011
    Huntsville, Texas
    I used to have a huge issue with stiff chops, it was due that I was too active in switching partials, especially in slurs. Within twenty minutes of playing, I would be absolutely tired out and my chops would be super stiff. What helped me was to take a more passive, efficient approach to play. What I did was breath attacks in a slur style pattern (open, 2nd valve, 1st valve so on etc.). Notice how close those notes actually are? The difference between Low C and High C is not nearly as large as we think, however we tend to flatten out Low C and raise up High C, spreading out the partials and making us work harder. The less work YOU, the player, has to do, the better. Now, if you find yourself with stiff chops, do some low/pedal register Clarke 2 and you should feel them loosen up.
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I believe almost all of us have experienced stiff chops after heavy days. For me, the warm down doesn't involve stretching muscles, but rather getting blood to them. I'll flutter my lips ala Bobby Shew, or play a g below the staff and sing a g just a tad bit sharp or flat and let the resulting beats massage the lips. I find Carmex makes for a good chemical warm down, as well as aspirin and beer.
  5. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    I've found that stiff chops can be delayed with a certain Bavarian mixed drink they call "Spezi": Add one part orange juice to four parts Cola. That will keep your lips in shape during long gigs - at least, itn worked for mine. And if you are playing Austrian weddings with a swing band, you know what long gigs are... one day, we started off at 4 pm, and were still at it next morning at 8 am... had a post-wedding breakfast at 9 and then came home like Wile E. Coyote after a meeting with the Roadrunner...

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