Trumpet won't play a low "D" correctly

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by sunflowergirlntx, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. sunflowergirlntx

    sunflowergirlntx New Friend

    Aug 29, 2008
    Hi, greatings from Texas..

    My son just started band, and I bought him a used BFlat trumpet made by Holton. Almost every time that he plays a low "D", (first and third fingering) the note just does not flow out right. I used to play a trumpet years ago and I tried it out myself, and low and behold, at least 3/4 of the time the "D" does not come out right. It just kind of has a sqawk sound. That isn't exactly it. I really just can't describe it.

    Tonight he was practicing, and he got real down about it and wigged out saying that he "wasn't any good." He wants me to buy him a new trumpet, but I can't just now. He just had his first "play off" and he made 3rd chair out of 12 trumpets total, which I think is marvelous! And he actually did it even though the "D" sqawked during his performance. So now he is going on and on about "not being any good". Tears were actually shed. I don't want him to get into that mindset this early in the game. He is just beginning and is showing awesome signs of being as good as I was in high school......(LOL, :play: I had to throw that one in for the fun of it)......but seriously he is begging me to buy him a brand new trumpet but with Christmas on the horizon, I just don't see that happening.

    So anyway...can anyone think of a reason this could be happening?
    Any suggestion would be highly appreciated!
    Blessings, Sunny
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    like with any other type of problem solving (a good lesson for your son too), figuring out what is wrong can be approached from many sides. My method is to figure out what works.

    Have your son play individual notes without using any valves, then with ONLY the first, only the second and only the third. Does that work (my suspicion is that the third valve alone causes the problem)? If they all work alone, then we move on to combinations:
    first and second, second and third, first and third, all 3. Not just the low notes, but the other tones possible with each valve combination. By now, a pattern should develop.

    In any case, I suspect that one of the spit valve corks is not sealing (probably the one on the 3rd valve slide), or there is some damage to the horn or a valve.
  3. MFfan

    MFfan Fortissimo User

    Sep 13, 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    Rowuk's way should narrow down the problem area. I have the idea that the 3rd valve, if acting up and down the range, the piston might be out of alignment so the ports won't match up with the tubing correctly. Possibly the valve guide might be bad and the piston twists when used. As Rowuk says, the spit valve on the 3rd slide may be leaking. Wrap a piece heavy tape around the pad area and that would seal well enough so you can tell if that is the problem. Hopefully it is something that needs just a simple adjustment.:-)
  4. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Have a repairman check the horn, if its simple and cheap fix it, then you will know if the trumpet is worth keeping or not, good luck
  5. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    Good suggestions. Along the same lines as Rowuk's suggestion, play the G in the middle of the staff with it's traditional open fingering. Now play the G with 1 and 3. Same problem as with the D?

    For the water keys (assuming they are the traditional lever/spring and not Amado type keys) get some duct tape and tear off a piece large enough to cover the hole underneath the water key. Open the water key (spit valve) and put the duct tape across the hole, then close the valve. This will hopefully ensure that the hole is closed. Try playing the horn. If the problem goes away (and because yours is intermittent you should play for a while this way) then you appear to have a leaky spit valve. If the problem persists and YOU'RE SURE you got the water hole covered well, then it's problem something more serious.

  6. sunflowergirlntx

    sunflowergirlntx New Friend

    Aug 29, 2008
    :grouphug:Thank you all so much for taking the time to answer my question! I will definitely check everything you suggested out. Blessings to all of you! Sunny
  7. screamingmorris

    screamingmorris Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 4, 2007
    There are many possible explanations.

    Try a different brand or model of mouthpiece.
    I used to have a terrible problem using a Bach mouthpiece on a Conn Director trumpet.
    I had trouble playing a 4th line D; it sounded terrible.
    But only when I used that one mouthpiece with that one trumpet.

    The other people who have already responded have also provided good possible explanations.
    Have a music shop technician play that note and see if he recognizes the cause.
    A 2 minute consultation on the problem should be free.

    - Morris
  8. Bruin

    Bruin Pianissimo User

    Mar 21, 2008
    Hey, Dave. I was thinking the same thing. I've been tweaking my valves on my Ambassador again to try to eliminate slow rebound altogether. I think I may have thrown off the valve alignment a bit -- now lower notes are much more difficult to play.

    Next decision: PVA (precision valve alignment) costing up to $175 at Bob Reeves for my $200 Olds, or have someone do an "eye ball"/play-test alignment? (don't know how much the latter costs)

  9. MFfan

    MFfan Fortissimo User

    Sep 13, 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    Hi Herb, sometimes, me included, gets to messing around with too much tweaking on whatever and cause more problems.:-) I did my own on the Besson, with kind , detailed instructions on how by Charmaine Slatten. It took quite a while making sure the pistons were aligning properly. Change felts, springs, etc. Never would completely line up until I stretched the springs. Now it plays beautifully and the plastic guides are hold in place for the time being. Have you replaced those parts with a rebuild kit, don't recall. It isn't really rocket science. I recently sold my Ambassador, but still have the Reynolds, which is similar, but pleasingly different, a real "sleeper". Barring damages, the factory parts should have a decent alignment when installed, but some adjustments could be necessary. Sure wouldn't put that kind of money in myself ,even as nice as yours is, without trying everything else first. :dontknow:
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2008
  10. oohhh yeah

    oohhh yeah Pianissimo User

    Nov 23, 2008
    B.C. Canada
    well, i've never like the low D. in my opinion its the worst note ever. you have to hit it right on, theres very little room for error with this note, if your embouchure is just off a little then this note will come our sour. so it may be you kid's fault i'm suggesting

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