The Tone. The most sought after aspect.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by jerec576, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. jerec576

    jerec576 Pianissimo User

    Feb 12, 2009
    Miami, Fl
    Well, we know that certain Jazz Giants and players are fairly distinguisable by the sound and feel that play with, but what about the actual tone produced by the musician? Musicians like Gillespie, Faddis, Ferguson (of whom i despise looking up to) play with a very light feeling (and a bit raspy) tone whereas Davis, Hubbard, and Kenny Dorham played very dark, iconic sounding.. sounds. What makes this happen? How could that sound different? I know the stronger the chops and tighter you play the darker but how to emulate?

    Symphonic Players try to reach something that is (dark with a light feel?) and open and broad.

    Jazz Players play focused and dark (if in small groups) or light with a very projectable sound (Lead).

    How is this achieved? I am right now trying to achieve a darker sound that sports something along Freddie Hubbard's sound (as he is my icon). In some ways it could be gear, or technique.
  2. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    Gear aside, you need to hear in your head what you want to come out of your horn, and then try without too much analysis to reproduce it. Changes in aperture shape and size will produce a change in tone color. Variation in the air pressure / lip tightness equation will yield variation in tone color.

  3. horner

    horner Pianissimo User

    Jul 19, 2008
    London, England
    Are you saying Maynard and Dizzy didnt have strong chops? And why would you despise looking up too them? Just curious... :-?
  4. rhosch

    rhosch New Friend

    Feb 19, 2009
    Some players just have a certain characteristic to their sound... all of our chops are different. Give them a big mouthpiece on a heavy open horn and they may still sound on the bright side. Others on a lightweight with a peashooter might still be able to produce a fairly full warm sound.

    That being said, for any given player I think the mouthpiece has about as much impact on the tone as anything that is easily controllable. Embouchure may be able to cover as large a range of tones, but with much much practice and time. Don't take this out of context though... a mouthpiece isn't a cheat for proper chops development, it's just part of the package and must compliment the rest (you, the horn, the music, and the setting).

    Grab a Bach 1B and a Schilke 6A4A and play them back to back, and tell me if you sound like the same player. ;)
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I do not believe that sound is as important as many would like to believe.
    Sure we can work on our tone. Only in ensemble playing do we have to consider any established standards however. The jazz soloist or a player like Al Vizzutti can do just about anything that they want. A lighter or darker tone is of no consequence in that case. As a matter of fact, a bit of brilliance makes the experience often even more exciting!

    The only real chance for success in tone is to discover what is in your head and do that. Trying to play lighter or darker than that will only mess your creativity up.

    So now that I have declared tone to be secondary, what is most sought after? Ask any pro what goes south when amateurs come in: You will be universally told that it is RHYTHM. Beautiful tone and no timing makes a player USELESS.

    I personally would not spend ANY time on changing tone. Learn to play gracefully, elegantly, with a flame thrower or arrows - just do it with a groove and you too will discover what REALLY counts. Rhythm is the same as the pulse from your heart. Your tan can be as dark as the night, if your heartbeat is irregular, you are beautifully - SICK.
  6. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    Apr 30, 2004

    I do believe that is the best quote for this type of analogy I've ever heard.... Wow, good job Rowuk..

    I would also like to comment on the tone production. Though a good characteristic trumpet sound is desireable and much needed.... how many different sounds does a trumpet have? To be a working player in todays world, you must versatile and have a myriad of sounds that you are capable of producing. From a warm sound with a heavy edge to blend in the orchestra section, to a bright sound with a light edge to lead over the top of the big band. Tone production is not the end all. I agree with Rowuk, timing/rhythming and being able to sight read proficeintly are the key to good fundamentals which in turn make a good/solid player.

    If your tone is amazing but timing is not on par, you will not be called back.
    If your timing is amazing but your tone is not on par, you may have a chance at a call back.
    If your timing is golden and you sound is golden, you should be able to find work!

  7. jerec576

    jerec576 Pianissimo User

    Feb 12, 2009
    Miami, Fl
    Not Dizzy Gillespie. I love Dizzy's stylings and work and enjooy reading my transcriptions. I meant Maynard Ferguson whom from a musical aspect did not really add much to music in a sense of contributions and (In MY own terms, many may not agree) just ended up hyping up a bunch of adolescents of the internet generation.
  8. jerec576

    jerec576 Pianissimo User

    Feb 12, 2009
    Miami, Fl
    Actually have tried something along the lines of it. After doing such i think every player has a certain range (not what we can play but like our comfort range) that no matter what will always have a similar feel and sound, evertyhing else gets altered
  9. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    Well, as for Maynard, he was a monster. Pure and simple.

    As far as tone.....I think that it is, at least for serious jazz players, the most important aspect of their playing. The ultimate goal of an improviser is individual expression, and nowhere is that expression more evident than in a players individual sound. Listen to any of the major heavyweight jazz players and you can instantly identify them by their sound. You can also help to identify their playing by individual stylistic tendencies, their sense of rhythm, etc., but it's their tone that makes them instantly identifiable.

    How does one achieve this? Formulate the sound in your head, then always be aware of your tone, and how it relates to that sound in your head, during practice and performance. The first step is awareness. Then it's a matter of years of honing the sound through practice and experience.

  10. Snorglorf

    Snorglorf Pianissimo User

    Nov 13, 2008
    Maynard was the Eddie Van Halen of trumpet playing, imo.

    I'd rather just do all the things required to get a good tone and try to sound like myself rather than always trying to sound like Hubbard. Or, if I was trying to sound like anyone else, I'd try to sound like a mix of every great trumpet player I've ever heard. I want to develop my sound, not do a shabby job emulating someone else.

Share This Page