Note/pitch centring issues

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by TomThornton, Dec 16, 2015.

  1. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I'm guessing something wrong mechanically with the Bb (or its mouthpiece). Could be leaky spit valves, foreign objects or whatever. Try swapping instruments with a friend to find out if it is the trumpet or not.

    As for exercises, long tones are good, as are lip slurs, and the magic bubble concept can help.

    Time for one of the more esoteric Vulgano Brother observations. When we play a note, the air column inside the instrument has defined and mathematically predictable areas of high pressure and no pressure. In physics these are known as nodes and anti-nodes. The higher the tone, the more of these nodes instide the instrument. With a horn of sufficient light weight, we can play a long tone we can gently run a finger around the leadpipe and/or bell and feel some of the vibrations. Change to a different harmonic and that place will move.

    Now for the esoteric part. Playing a long tone, we can shift our awareness to inside the trumpet, and imagine/feel a point of resistance somewhere inside the horn. I call these "magic bubbles." To slur up, we can "blow" this magic bubble further away, backing off will allow the magic bubble to return to its place closer to the mouthpiece.

    Our body will memorize the feel of these notes and nodes much more quickly than the cognitive control of several variables can. Remember that the embouchure is (or should be, in the Zen Vulgano philosophy) formed in part by the note that it is playing.

    Experiment a bit, and have fun!
  2. rufflicks

    rufflicks Pianissimo User

    Dec 9, 2009
    Nor Cal
    Well did the problem start up after you got your horn back from being cleaned???

    I would pull it apart and check it very carefully if this is the case. You can always ask to play a friends and see if the problem is repeatable. If you have the same issue on the friends horn then… well its probably you. If not… then it very well could be the horn.

    Did it get new valve pads??? Did it have a precision Valve alignment before it went to the shop??? It could be a valve alignment issue. I would do self diagnostics and horn diagnostics. It is like tracking down an electrical problem… you got to find the actual cause of the issue and not assume you just blew a fuse.
  3. TomThornton

    TomThornton New Friend

    Oct 30, 2015
    London, UK
    Whoa VB, that's some pretty great stuff! I shall consider it carefully evey time I play a long tone. Rufflicks, the problem had been present before the clean, and has been around over the past month or two. My Bb was not aligned, just cleaned and then I oiled and greased when it came back. I'll probably end up having a go on my friend's xeno at today's christmas gig so I shall see how that goes :) rowuk, yesterday I went through the exercise you suggested, and the biggest problems are Ab, A, Bb and B above the staff. Everything else worked well and centred correctly.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Then I would check your spit key for leakage. On many trumpets it would affect everything around A/Bb above the staff.

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