New Horn Intonation Issues - Advice?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trickg, Apr 23, 2005.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    I picked up a Schilke B6 a week ago and while I really like the way this trumpet plays and responds, in a nutshell, I was alarmed at how bad my intonation with this trumpet was when I had it in the studio on Thursday evening. (There were some times where my intonation was right on, and then other times where my intonation was really out - much moreso than my last few studio sessions with my Bach.)

    Without trying to over-analyze the situation, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the reason that I am having intonation issues is because of two main factors:

    1.) The trumpet new and it is not my "usual" trumpet - I have played the same LB Strad with roughly the same mouthpieces for roughly 8 years.

    2.) Not only is this trumpet new, but it is a different brand with some different design concepts, thus, intonation throughout the horn is going to be different than what I am used to.

    I have played Bach Strads almost exclusively since around 1986 and all of a sudden I find myself on a Schilke. I think that the problems that I am having with intonation with the Schilke are probably due to the fact that Strads tend to have several intonation quirks (flat Ds and Es above middle C, just to name a couple) and I am so used to compensating for that, that because of that, I am actually lipping the Schilke out of tune.

    Thoughts? Suggestions on how to get through this transition phase?

    I figure if I just keep practicing, playing with an ensemble, and listening, eventually I will find the efficiency in the horn, and if it has any intonation quirks, I will learn to adjust to the horn, but it is my understanding that the intonation on a Schilke is actually supposed to be better than a Bach.

    Anyway, if anyone has any other suggestions, please, send them my way.
     
  2. bigaggietrumpet

    bigaggietrumpet Mezzo Forte User

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    I'd say you're probably right about over compensating from the Bach. Something that I would try would be to take a tuner and a friend. Have the friend watch the tuner with a notepad. Play the full range that you have, from the low F# to at least high C. As you play, focus on hitting the pitch center (read the Monette website for a good explanation), making the note sound as resonant as possible. Have the friend write down what notes are out of tune and how they're out of tune. Gives you a pretty good idea of how to compensate for that horn.
     
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    When I gig, I have a tuner with a clip-on bell pickup (although I can't find mine at the moment - I'll have to use my son's) and that is going to be critical the next few gigs to figure out where this horn is playing.

    Like I said though, I like the way that this horn plays, but the setup - the step bore design used by Renold Schilke for the B6 and adopted by Yamaha for the Z horn - is way different than my Strad which is .462. This Schilke is .450, expanding to whatever their ML is (.460?) at various places, so the blow is a bit tighter (more efficient?) and unlike my Bach. I have found that I tend to try to overblow this trumpet, but if I just ease back and let the horn work, it will.

    Thanks for the advice. Keep it coming! :-)
     
  4. djm6701

    djm6701 Pianissimo User

    I think that one's body/muscle memory adjusts to the particular horn, including where the pitches are. One week on the horn is not enough time for that to happen. Work with a tuner and give things a couple more weeks to adjust to the new equipment.
     
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Yeah, I think you are right, and that's what I figured, and I was sorely tempted to do the studio stuff on the Bach. Thank the Lord for auto-tune! :oops:

    I have a friend that had some of the same kinds of issues when he went from his ML Strad to a Z horn. At first he said that the horn was so tight that he didn't like it, and he had some intonation issues. But, within about a month of gigging Latin Band on it, he was blowing the walls down and got to where he really liked the horn. I think that he still has it and uses it as his primary horn for gigging.
     
  6. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    Patrick,

    I agree with big aggie - you will get a better measurement of the intonation if you play the notes where they feel right and let someone else measure the pitch. To make it even better you might consider plugging one ear so that you don't adjust the pitch to where it should be by ear, but center it by feel.
    See if the the 'flat' notes on the Bach really are sharp on the Schilke - but don't look at the tuner until you have the whole range of numbers collected.

    Secondly, maybe another week is needed to settle in the horn.

    Third, maybe a smaller bore horn just isn't for you. Didn't you mention you had a large bore/72 and had it modified to play more open? If you already have a custom fit then why settle for a factory made horn?

    My 2c

    Greg
     
  7. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Consider this a third vote for you just shutting your eyes, playing in the center, and having someone annotate the results. Do it with both horns.

    It would be neat to have a visual device w/ a microphone attached that displayed a graph (or colors or something like that) that showed when you were in the optimal tone center AND also told you where your pitch was. So, the screen would turn bright red when you were in the optimal tone center and a line would hit the center of the screen when you were in the perfect pitch center.

    I remember Jacobs had devices that showed each thing but not at the same time on the same device.

    ML
     
  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous Forte User

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    Here's my advice: don't buy a horn that plays out of tune. I'm sure that Schilke makes great Bb's, but I've never found one that plays in tune other than X3 which was pretty good. On the other hand, I haven't found a Yamaha that I don't like, though I like some much more than the others.

    Just my opinion!
     
  9. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    He's already bought the horn and trying to figure out the best way to it go.

    ML
     
  10. music matters

    music matters Pianissimo User

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    Hi Patrick,

    I think that been aware of it and listening and finding the centre of each note and knowing the horn better (so more time on it) will probably sort this out.

    I have a Schilke B1 and an Eclipse flugel and with a tuner they are pretty much spot on. However I played my Flugel in an Orchestra (substituting for French Horn!) and in the first rehearsal my intonation was dreadful and all over the place but by the second one it was much better and in the concert it was fine as I had become accostumed to how it plays compared to my Schilke. My point is I think a tuner as all very well but there is nothing like playing in an ensemble and listening to play in tune.

    I am sure that Manny will have better advice on finding the centres of notes but one thing I do as part of my warm up is breath attack C on the bottom of the staff for 4 slow beats and then slur up to the next harmonic (G) for 4 beats and then down to C for 4 beats just concentrating on producing as beautiful sound as possible finding the centre of the note with least resistence. I then rest and then repeat this starting a semitone lower all on second valve and go through the seven combinations until I am starting on low Gb. It seems to set me up really well for the days playing.

    Schilkes are known for great intonation generally so I am imagining that as you get more used to your new instrument the problem will be sorted out.

    Good luck,

    Graham.
     

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