Upstream or Downstream?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by hiveharbinger, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. RobertSlotte

    RobertSlotte Pianissimo User

    Jul 7, 2008
    Sounds just like me when I was strugling in the Conservatory here in Finland.
    After so many years of frustration and failures (talking about the embouchure here :) )
    I began searcing for answers. (I played with the horn angling down at that time, a really nice sound but range to about a weak D over high C and EXTREAMELY bad enduranse )

    To make a VERY loong story short: I found out that my embouchure functions 100 times better keeping the horn upwards.,,,and after som more time I found out that I really should keep the horn upwards all the time!! that meaning the upper register was almost in place but It was now the low register that I would have to work on to get right. After working some time with that everything was getting rapidly better and better. And now everything is GREAT!! :) It took more than 10 years of my life however due to my downstream teachers who just did not know anything about that and really come to think of it had me work AGAINST my best embouchure.

    now: Im NOT!!! saying this is the case for you guys you MUST understand that I am only pointing out what hapend to me.

    Thats whay I also REALLY REALLY dislikes Rowuks statement: Quote"HH,
    the key to high chops is not up or downtream, it is reducing pressure on the face and increasing air pressure. You will have to sacrifice some of that "beautiful" sound to optimize the high chop experience." Quote end.

    becouse it could VERY WELL be "the key" If you like me "where ment" to play like that.

    I will not discuss this further in an open forum becouse of the somewhat "closed mind attitude" that flourish on this forum. so if you lik you can PM me.
  2. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    People play up or down stream because of the way the bottom teeth line up with the top teeth. people are born with an over bite or under bite. Some people have neither and their teeth line up even. It has no effect on range. The Bobby Shew mpc you have is a good lead mpc. Do you play it all the time or do you have a regular C cup mpc to practice on? You should be playing on a C cup for all other playing, practicing. You should be able to play just as high as on the lead mpc. If you're using the shallow mpc to "give "you the high notes, you probably are not playing correctly. A shaloow mpc just gives you a brigther sound so you will be heard better with less effort. Find a GOOD trumpet teacher to show you how to develop your lips properly to increase your tone, stamina, range and technique.

    Bob G
  3. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit

    Can you please explain why someone/anyone should practice on a C cup mouthpiece?

    Some people are not suited for the C cup mouthpiece.

    Some people can and do spend their entire careers on a non C cup mouthpiece, either smaller or bigger.

    Why would I/he practice on a C cup mouthpiece if my/his playing is to be on something else?

    I agree, find a good teacher and go from there, but don't change things around yet.

  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    do not mess with your embouchure. 99 times out of 100 you are wasting your time and adding to frustration.

    Get a real routine. A real trumpet player wants it all. Make sure that your routine covers lower, upper and mid range! Don't forget that MUSIC is the reason that we play, not some elusive high notes! Upper register is only sensible when we can put it to musical use. That takes time.
  5. screamingmorris

    screamingmorris Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 4, 2007
    I agree.

    Besides, exactly what would constitute a "C cup mouthpiece"?

    A Bach 7C or a Bach 3C or a Bach 8C?
    They are 3 completely different cup depths, with the Bach 3C being approximately equal to a Bach 7E.

    And if you go to another company like Curry, they have a different standard for what constitutes a "C cup".
    Curry mouthpieces tend to be shallower than those of other companies, so don't make the mistake of thinking that "M" really is "Medium" depth like I made the mistake of thinking.

    If you try a Conn 7C or 7C from some other company, there is a good chance that it will be significantly shallower than the Bach 7C, from my experience.

    Then the cup shape and throat size and backbore size and shape must be factored in, because they significantly affect the sound and feel of the the mouthpiece, so much so that they can counter the choice of a shallower or deeper cup.
    For example, have trouble getting those high notes with a semi-deep bowl-shaped cup?
    Try a semi-deep V-shaped cup.
    Or want to eliminate some of that brilliance of a semi-shallow cup?
    Open the throat and the backbore.

    But a most critical factor that a player should consider:
    How much the individual player's lips protrude into the cup.
    An upstream player's lower lip will often protrude into the cup farther than a downstream player's upper lip will protrude into the cup.
    So an upstream player using a Bach 7C might sound like a downstream player using a Bach 7E.

    - Morris
  6. horner

    horner Pianissimo User

    Jul 19, 2008
    London, England
    Just a quick question here, but what is an Upstream or a Downstream and how do you know which one you have?

    Sorry if its obvious and im being thick.
  7. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    As others have said it doesn`t matter if you play upstream or downstream as long as your comfortable with your setup. If you can , find a teacher who can not only play but can also teach how to play in the high register , you don`t have to sacrifice tone for range , if you are your doing something wrong. Work on breath support its usually the key for unlocking the upper register.
  8. RobertSlotte

    RobertSlotte Pianissimo User

    Jul 7, 2008


    In this clip the upstream/downstream is discussed:

    YouTube - The Brass Embouchure and Air Stream Direction
  9. Dany

    Dany New Friend

    Jan 4, 2009
    harbinger....u sing with Canadian BrasS?.:-)
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I do not understand the fuss! There are enough things to play below high C.

    I do understand that it can be frustrating when you want to achieve something and even although you are CONVINCED that you are working in the right direction, nothing improves. It is proof that getting qualified outside help is critical to limiting time wasted. DIY Embouchure just does not make sense most of the time.

    if I understood your post, you are now pointing your horn more upward. Do you have an overbite (top teeth in front of the bottom), are your teeth above one another or do you have an underbite (bottom teeth in front of the top) when PLAYING. Your avatar shows the trumpet approximately straight out which would be theoretically optimal when the top and bottom teeth are lined up. It does unfortunately show your head not above the spine however and that can lead to serious tension in the back muscles! tension =bad!

    Pointing your horn up does not mean that you have to add pressure to the upper lip.

    The bottom line is that even although there are things that one can do to change the embouchure, it is generally russian roulette.

    The players that I work with universally need breathing help and to change their playing attitude. They try to force the issue instead of figuring out where they really are and applying small corrections.

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