Tone Quality

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Melloman, Jul 25, 2010.

  1. Dragon98987

    Dragon98987 Pianissimo User

    Apr 20, 2010
    I recently had some problems with my tone quality. My tone was really airy and anytime I tried to hold a note the pitch would go all over the place and I could not hold it steady. I don't know if you're having those kind of problems or not, but if you are try leadpipe buzzing.

    Pull out the tuning slide and use your mouthpiece to play on the leadpipe. The goal is to get the pitch to where it sounds the best (the least airy) and hold it there. After you achieve that and do it multiple times try slurring up to the next note which is around a 9th plus a half and try to steady the pitch up there. I've done that everyday for a week and my tone quality has greatly improved.
  2. Melloman

    Melloman New Friend

    Jul 24, 2010
    Wisconsin, USA
    thanks for all the info guys. I cant wait to start putting it all to use. Just to clarify my frustrations. I have been playing for 6.5 years and up until a year ago didn't know i was using too much pressure. In fact i was using all pressure to go higher and my range was limited along with various other symptoms. I hadn't really had very many lessons and so a fellow trumpet player told me there was something up with my embouchure. I then approached my director about it and so I have gotten mostly away from using pressure now but my tone still isn't good. So I really appreciate all of the help.
  3. Fishgun

    Fishgun Pianissimo User

    Sep 26, 2009
    Thank you for asking about tone (it's about all I have left). I returned to the horn not all that long ago. My speed and articulation were missing along with my range. But, my tone remained. I knew that practice would bring the missing components back but I was a little puzzled about why my tone did not diminish after a 25 year layoff. After much self analysis I realized that my embouchure was very relaxed. No mpc pressure, no forcing the air. I just used the air necessary to play the note. I could build the air pressure to increase the volume but I always consciously kept my embouchure relaxed and the air volume at just the amount necessary for the sound I needed. In short, I made sure that my lips were always doing their job (fully) without interference (from tension). This may sound a little simplistic but it works for me. I'm no great player but I love my tone and if you love something about your playing :)

    My reason for returning to playing was to help my 10 year old son who was just starting. I was showing him how relaxed I kept my lips and accidentally played my first pedal tone. That might not be a big deal if I wasn't using a Jet Tone MF3 (no cup whatsoever).

    In my high school days I too used tremendous pressure to gain the upper register. I was pushed by the band director to strain even harder. I refuse to allow my son to fall prey to that kind of misguided direction. Listen to rowuk and these other players. They will guide you well.

    Just had to tell you my story.

    [OK, I know it's coming. Why was I using a JT MF 3? All that mpc pressure in high school permanently deformed my upper lip. Two minutes of playing and my upper lip is the shape of the cup. I used the MF 3 for jazz in high school. Because of the convex cup I can use it now and have no problem with my upper lip. I really love the mpc. It is all I can play.]

    If anybody has a Jet Tone MF that they want to sell PLEASE pm me. :)
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2010
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Just a thought, but too little pressure is not necessarily a good thing either - you have to use some pressure to maintain compression and the seal of the lips to the mouthpiece - the trick is keeping it in balance and not using a lot of pressure all the time.

    I got into a real rut with my playing a few years back and I was in a place where I was really using a lot of pressure all the time. I attribute this to being a gradual thing that came about as a result of playing in an miked and amplified situation for almost all of my playing and not practicing enough. The end result was that in order to keep things going on the bandstand, I was using a lot of pressure, just to get a sound, and I was able to pull that off for a while. The problem arose when the amount of constant mouthpiece over-pressure started to cause issues with attacks, sound production, range, endurance, etc.

    My solution at that time was to take it back to the drawing board of basic sound production. For about two weeks, I practiced daily - shut in my windowless practice room in the basement in the dark. For the first day or so I played nothing but long tones on G in the staff - I'd play the note, really focusing on my breathing, the sound, and what I was feeling with my lips and the mouthpiece, and I'd start to try to reduce mouthpiece pressure. I'd consciously work at reducing mouthpiece pressure and at first, I'd barely reduce the mouthpiece pressure before it was break down into a double-buzz and fuzz out. It took about two weeks of focused practice in that manner to rectify the problem, and there were days I'd put the horn back in the case as frustrated as when I pulled it out and started playing. I started to see improvement after a few days and within the next week or so I had regained strength and focus to my chops that didn't require strong-arming the horn onto my face.

    It's still a struggle for me and something I have to keep in mind, but these days I take corrective measures long before it gets that bad.

    There are some people who also believe that after a lot of hard, loud playing, then a patient cool-down of low long tones before the horn goes back in the case is the way to prevent the build-up of excess mouthpiece pressure. I tend to agree with that - I used to do it in my early days as an Army Bandsman and it helped a lot, but it can also be rectified in the practice room as well.

    Yikes - sorry for the over-long post, but I felt it was important to explain what I had gone through with a decent level of detail.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2010
  5. High School Trumpet

    High School Trumpet New Friend

    Jul 15, 2010
    Well I am in high school...

    Maybe I need to ask more questions than answer them.
  6. jongorrie

    jongorrie Pianissimo User

    May 9, 2010
    Practise Clarke studies in a whisper as a warm down every day. This article might help you out:

    Brass playing tips: Clarkes Technical Studies and pp playing | Brass Musician | The online magazine for brass players

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