Tone! Help!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Blazing Asian, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. Blazing Asian

    Blazing Asian Pianissimo User

    Nov 10, 2006
    So, I have never been much of a really loud trumpet player however, I realize that I need to kick up my dynamics when I play a solo. However, to put to simply as my teacher said it, I sound wimpy and weak. How can I get a better and nice full tone? I don't know if it has to do with putting a bigger gust air behind the horn, my mouthpiece or horn, or just me (I am pretty wimpy in my weight).

    Thank You:dontknow:
  2. Jude

    Jude Piano User

    Dec 2, 2007
    Hi - I asked a similiar question recently and got all kinds of responses. So that people don't have to retype everything, you could look at the Newbie tone thread.

    Since there was so much material I copied it out and organized it a bit - this is basically just a list of key words, to help you focus on where you think you might want to focus your attention and questions:


    If you're going to make a mistake make it a good loud one!

    use a good OVERYLY strong attack,

    Relax. Play some of your time just for fun.

    concentrate on sound

    Forget the tuner and just concentrate on making a round, full sound with your buzz.
    It is not just your lips and air that need training - your ears also need it.

    Go back to the bathroom and practice there for 15 minutes, doing long tones and Clarke exercises at low volume. Focus on hearing a good tone and you will. Play into a corner of your other room(s) to help you hear feedback of the sound coming out the bell.

    More long tones. Forget exercises with fingering and do lots of long, slow tones. Listen!
    It is not just your lips and air that need training - your ears also need it.

    listen to recordings


    air, support, and air flow
    enough air
    Good steady air is very important.
    Check your posture.


    Try some lip bends to bend the note down a half step then back up to pitch, many times this will help you center your tone as well as relax your embouchure

    Start off on low C, and try your best to get a solid tone. Buzz: C, D, E, F, G, F, G, F, G, F, E, D, C. Then go on to B: B, C#, D#, E, F#, E, F#, E, F#, E, D#, C#, B, etc. down to F#. Then play the second line G. Try to play a glissando slowly up to G above the staff from the second line G, and then slowly back down all the way to pedal C. Use a piano or keyboard (if you have it) to check your pitch.

    by trying to push my range higher, the notes below start to sound better.

    Work with just the mouthpiece

    More long tones. Forget exercises with fingering and do lots of long, slow tones. Listen!


    If you can try some different instruments and see if you still sound bad.

    Also: from the Nick Drozdoff lessons (the warm-up): a long, ppppppp chromatic scale - it teaches the lips to vibrate in response to very little air, so when you use more you get a better response.

  3. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    one litte bit of warning, an overly strong attack may lead to the beginning of the note being heavily accented (obviously) but this can end up being detrimental to overall sound. One thing to try is to think about the vowel of the note (if you use ta, think about the a, not the beginning over the note)
    the bigger and rounder your vowel sound, the bigger, broader, better, (and dare i say badder:D) your sound
  4. oj

    oj Pianissimo User

    Sep 9, 2005
  5. commakozzi

    commakozzi Pianissimo User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    Tone and volume are two big issues I'm dealing with right now, and I have a few things I'm doing to address them:

    1. during your tone production (long tones, etc.) and flexibilities practice using breath attacks (this will help to get your air coordinated with your tongue, and it helps to keep the aperture set). Tonguing hard is a good way to fix things as long as you're careful, but it can also help to spread your aperture and lead to bad playing. Also, do this part of your day at pppp!!! This will help you! Trust me!!! It seems counter-intuitive, but just trust me.

    2. Now, you're problem is playing out or playing at higher volumes right? Don't worry too much about breathing, but do try to take in deep, relaxed breaths before you play. Just keep doing that and I believe that breathing will fix itself. My next suggestion is to do an exercise that I came up with a few weeks ago to help fix my buzz problem and I call it "The Buzz Fixer". Don't laugh!!! You're going to start off on low C and do not use a metronome... use your ears, because this exercise is all about tone production and volume (both loud and very soft). Play two half note low Cs with a good strong sound and then a whole note F with a very good strong orchestral fortissimo and hold the note out and decrescendo down to where you just physically can't hold the note any longer. So this is theoretically: V-V-I and do this up through your range until the tone starts to split. For example, my tone starts suffering at pppp on E-E-A (this is A above the staff), but I'm able to fix it and continue on to G-G-C. Take breaks often during this exercise!!! I'm assuming I'll continue doing this until my tone does not split at high F or higher (who knows). Ooops, I forgot to mention that you should not be using a lot of pressure to hold these notes at pppp. If you are, then that's where you need to stop.... that's your limit for now. It will improve over time!

    3. Listen to your body, but practice hard!!! You need to span the range of dynamics everyday if you can (pppp to ffff), but you'll know when you need to take a break. Think about doing a really hard day and then a light day, but play everyday! For example, my hard day is about 4.5 hours long. My soft day is only 1.5 hours long and it just includes the basic "housekeeping".... long tones, articulation, flexibilities, etc.
  6. Eeviac

    Eeviac Piano User

    Think about Chet Baker, weedy little guy, great tone.
  7. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
  8. Eeviac

    Eeviac Piano User

    Just go for that Round, Pear-Shaped Sound.
  9. BradHarrison

    BradHarrison Pianissimo User

    Oct 31, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Intelligent practice over time will develop a rich and versatile tone. Equipment plays a small role as well. You won't develop very well if you're playing a sub-par instrument or terribly mismatched mouthpiece. But, time with the horn on your face as well as listening to great trumpet sounds(so you know what to go for) are what are really important.

    If you're concerned about playing louder, practice playing louder! Do crescendo-diminuendo exercises on long tones. Play long tones starting at ppp, building to fff, and going back to ppp. Do a whole scale of this and don't be afraid to push your bubble. The best way to expand your dynamic bubble is to go outside of it(in the practice room!)

    Also, keep in mind that a rich, centered, and in-tune tone is going to PROJECT better than a harsh, out-of-tune tone that's just loud.
  10. commakozzi

    commakozzi Pianissimo User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    I appreciate that you think it sounds too simplistic, but that's how I approach it and it works for me... maybe it wouldn't for everyone, I don't know. I feel like my breathing naturally adjusts to whatever it is I'm playing. If I have two short notes, I don't bother breathing in a LOT of air, but I concentrate always on taking in air in a relaxed manner. I HAVE to!!! If I don't, and I try to think about everything I get TOO focused on breathing and I forget about playing. The times that I take the most air in are during my long tone sessions (and of course long passages in music), and I still focus more on taking in a relaxed breath.... not necessarily MORE breath. The only time during the day that I actually think about breathing is during my breathing exercises. Hey, if I'm wrong I'm sorry, but this is my approach for now and it really seems to be working for me.

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