Playing a cold horn

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by fsteveb, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. fsteveb

    fsteveb New Friend

    Jul 11, 2012
    Atlanta, GA
    I've been playing off and on for over 30 years. I've done musicals and played in local groups when I can. I mostly play in church these days.
    I had an experience recently that got me thinking if I am right, or just not experienced. I was playing a Purcell Voluntary with the organ at church a while ago and it was a pretty cold day. The area where the organ is has a padded table for the handbells which I laid my horn on during the service. The before service practice was great, but the song wasn't until the near the end of the service, so the horn got pretty cold sitting on the table. I didn't have much of a chance to warm it up, so I played it as it was. I found that on the high notes I had a hard time locking in the pitch. The horn is a Bach Strad Model 37 which I've played for about 2 years. It is definitely a lot more flexible in the pitch than my other intermediate horns I've owned. So is a cold horn a lot harder to stay on pitch and not wobble to the other slots, or was it just that I don't practice enough?
  2. BrassBandMajor

    BrassBandMajor Fortissimo User

    Jan 13, 2015
    When the horns cold it tends to go out of tune, but I leave if its just a tiny bit because once you play the horn warms up by getting itself in tune. Before I play in performance on a cold day just keep the horn with you and keep blowing through it, it helps a lot.
  3. fels

    fels Piano User

    Jun 8, 2008
    Colorado Springs
    I find that merely holding the horn helps moderate the horn temp.
  4. Bochawa!!!

    Bochawa!!! Forte User

    Nov 4, 2007
    . . . is like suckling a witch's teet.
  5. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    On my Bachs, and most of my horns, if it is a cold and I cannot warm it up before playing then I need to pull the tuning slide in to be in tune, and work it out as it warms up and settles. Warming by blowing warm air through it is what I would normally do, with the pistons working, and a small black cloth on the floor to catch the condensate that will be considerable.

    And you are correct, the warmth of the metal does affect tuning.
  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Welcome to TM, fsteveb!

    I've played in some real cold churches, and either held my trumpet or kept it in my lap while waiting to play, occasionally blowing warm air through the instrument. If cold enough, I'll keep my coat and gloves on and remove the gloves only for the performance. If anyone complains I tend to get unashamedly confrontational in a passive-aggressive way.
  7. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    ".... passive-aggressive way." That's my favourite way tor get my point across too.
  8. larry tscharner

    larry tscharner Forte User

    Apr 30, 2010
    dubuque iowa
    All great advice above. One more thing that helps me to play from a cold start is to keep my mouthpiece with me the whole time, either in my hands, that are almost always warmer than my face, or in my pocket where body heat is plentiful. Slotting and being in tune has a lot to do with the lips and mouthpiece being set comfortably and when you cant warm the horn properly, at least the set will feel good and away you go. The rest falls into place shortly after...God willing. Best wishes.
  9. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Conversely, I've found my trumpet got squirrelly in extremely hot conditions whence I could feel my own perspiration roll down my back. I was to perform the opening Star Spangled Banner . Just 5 minutes under a damp towel remedied the trumpet and my performance went well. Yes, that day it was 125 F in the shade of our tent and I was wearing a wool kilt, socks and bonnet at a US Scottish Highland Game. FYI it was the DOD / Diplomatic rendition I played and that day a contingent of the US Marine Band from DC was on hand and certainly could have played it as well if not better. My trumpet then was just an Olds Ambassador that Ivan did his thing to, and the trumpet I mostly use as it is all I need.
  10. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    Yes. Common problem at churches- cold trumpet and chops that have been sitting idle for 30 minutes. I always put the horn in my lap about 5-7 minutes before playing. Put a right hand over the valves like you are holding it. That starts it warming up. Sometimes a mouthpiece in the hand helps too if it is really cold. If you can get by with it, put the mouthpiece to you lips and blow some air through it.

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