Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Dizzybug, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. Dizzybug

    Dizzybug New Friend

    Jul 15, 2011
    So I've been reading everwhere online on tuning using the slides and I still am not getting the right sounds i know my umbechure has a lot to do with it, but can anyone tell me how they personally tune their horn? Do you tune to the g in g? Do you tune the 1st slide with Bb f or d or a? 3rd? 2nd?
  2. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    I tune to the middle C --3rd space in the staff. I use the main slide after the lead pipe to tune it --- and I have a tuning meter --- a KORG I think, and they can be picked up for $20-$30 bucks.
    Usually when you tune in on that C -- get the embouchure "feel" --- then most other notes will come in tune (3rd valve slide needed "on the fly" for like the low C#, or low F# where you need 1,2,3 valves -- etc.)
  3. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
  4. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    You tune the horn to concert Bb or C on a Bb trumpet. From there on you need to use your ears to keep everything else in tune. Listen for the same quality of sound or tone for all other pitches and you will be more successful.
  5. keehun

    keehun Piano User

    Feb 4, 2010
    It's my first time trying to explain this. If I'm wrong about anything, please let me know so I can fix my inaccuracies!

    I would also would hope that you always keep your ears "open" (which means... be aware of the sounds that you're hearing) and adjust. At first, you may only know when the intonation is off.

    However, I believe that in all of us, there is an innate subconscious which knows what we are aurally perceiving. We just have to bring it beyond that metaconscious and lift it into our higher conscious so that we can discern the pitches and the adjustments we need to make. There is a reason why everyone could do this:
    ‪World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale‬‏ - YouTube

    Anyways. Just be aware of what you're hearing and go get a tuner so you can associate the tuner's analysis with the subconscious. If you persist at it, you will develop the aural skills needed to stay in tune, over time.

    I'm assuming you're trying to tune in an ensemble setting. Always listen for the fundamentals (the low sounds, such as the tuba, or the bari sax, or the string double bass). Lock into what they're playing (one would hope that they're using a tuner and is perfectly and stable in pitch). Now check various pitches in the overtone series of the fundamental.


    Ok. Let me explain what the overtones are (in simple terms). Have you ever listened to a tuner's generated pitch? (A=440 drone). That annoying sound is accurate in pitch, but... as you could tell it's really not what your instrument or voice sounds like. That's because instruments and voices generate what's called the overtones. The pitch you hear is the fundamental, and overtones are created. A notated series is below:

    So essentially, you're playing all those pitches. Some are louder than others, of course (and that's why different trumpet players sound different!)

    Ok back to the Tubas.

    When the tubas play that low note (as it can be seen on the graphic as #1) play the middle-staff C (number 8) on your trumpet. Make sure that's locked in tight. It should seamlessly go away and just add strength and richness to the sound (you're reinforcing that tuba's overtone). You want that locked in. Then verify that your low C is in tune. It should. If not... Then depending on the music, tune to whichever is closer to most of the notes.

    Long term, you should figure out playing through your entire range with ease so intonation is not such a challenge.

    I also recommend you get this tuner: Korg TM-40. It can simultaneously function as a metronome and a tuner so it is very helpful in your practice sessions.

    So in short recap: tune to the middle-staff C. Check the low below staff C. If you want more security, check the 2nd line G. Listen for that ethereal perfect 5th interval that just lights up...

    We won't get in to equal and pure temperament tuning for today... :)

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011
    coolerdave likes this.
  6. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    You should also make sure you instrument is clean inside and in working order. A leaking water key cork can really run havic with you. If you have any doubts have your director, teacher, or someone who knows how to play well check it out. Your mouthpice also needs to be clean and hopefully does not have any dents.
    Being aware of your intonation is a very good thing for any musician... good question.

    JNINWI Piano User

    Apr 26, 2011
    The first thing I do is after bringing the horn up to “Running Temperature” and a good warm-up of my body, I start on the “G” in the staff, holding the G and bending as far above and below centre as possible and finally settling on “MY” centre of the G, it has to be comfortable and no “Lipping” I do this a couple of times to really settle in on the centre of the note. Once I have that I go to the C below and then 3rd space C to feel those centres and make sure they are in tune with my relaxed G. If they are THEN I get out my tuner and tune to all 3 of those notes. What this does for me is remove intonation problems and adds endurance because I’m now not having to fight the horn to “Lip” one way or the other and playing the horn in it’s own centres, which is a relaxing way to play for me. :-)
  8. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    It makes me laugh in a couple community bands I play in... the people addicted to digital tuners and/or iphone tuner apps... After they are "in tune" then they play horribly OUT of tune all night and never listen to the people around them. God help us if there is a unison low D... some guys throw too much slide and are way flat. Some guys are playing on some relic and the slides don't move, or it is missing the slide ring. The guy next to me wears earplugs and can't hear anything at all. Even if you wanted to you couldn't find the pitch. If you are right and everyone else in your section is wrong does it matter??

    Tuning isn't something you do once... it is a lifelong adventure

    Regarding tuning certain notes on your horn:

    -good advice to warm up and get loose... then lip G & C up & down to fin your pitch center. Once you are playing in the centers then tune those.
    -you will have to sit down with a tuner, or a good ear and listen to how your horn plays. HOW sharp is your low D and low C#? Where is your A (in and above) How about in-the-staff D's? Each horn can vary, and each leadpipe/mouthpiece combo can vary even on the same horn (gap/taper different)

    The best defense is to really learn some solfege/ear training. Learn what intervals sound like.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
  9. Rapier

    Rapier Forte User

    Jul 18, 2011
    And don't forget to 'tune' each valve, as described by Mr Arban.
  10. Dizzybug

    Dizzybug New Friend

    Jul 15, 2011
    Explain tuning each valve, i get the kicking out on the low notes, but what about setting the other valves, like the 2nd or 1st, aside from the lead pupe or slide valve. What notes should i play to adjust 1 and 2?

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