Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12
Like Tree3Likes
Trumpet Discussion Discuss That airy, smoky sound... in the General forums; Ok, I am NOT a great player. Let's start with that. I am "coming back" after being a very average ...
  1. #1
    New Friend jjmichael1967's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    That airy, smoky sound...

    Ok, I am NOT a great player. Let's start with that.
    I am "coming back" after being a very average player in high school. I have been playing for a few years after a few decades off. I have read all of the silly questions about what mouthpiece to use to hit the high notes etc. Practice practice practice. No question. My question might receive similar responses, but I have to ask.
    Think about the solo in the Etta James version of "My Funny Valentine" or any number of similar, beautiful smoky sounding trumpet solos. What is that? What I mean is that I think I have a relatively good tonal quality. I think I sound ok. I have tried a number of horns just to see what kind of sound I can get. There are times when my band covers things on which I need to punch through. I seem to be able to do that and other things relatively well. But that warm butter, smokey thing is just something that I would LOVE to hear flowing out of the end of my horn. I'm just interested in what others might be able to tell me.
    I have an old (LA) Olds Ambassador that sounds nice with a big, open mouthpiece. It's probably the closest that I come. I don't think my ability warrants spending the money to buy an old Committee or something along that line, but if somebody told me that I would notice a difference using another horn or mouthpiece, I would do what it took to make it happen. I would love to get to that sound or close, but I don't want to be stupid and spend money that won't help.
    Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Fortissimo User veery715's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Ithaca NY

    Re: That airy, smoky sound...

    The solo on Etta's Valentine is a flugelhorn - Ronnie Buttacavoli.

  3. #3
    Mezzo Forte User
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Re: That airy, smoky sound...

    Hi jj,
    You stated:
    "beautiful smoky sounding trumpet solos. What is that?"
    That's easy!! You must develop a good fat spectral sound and learn to maintain that sound at any volume.
    To get an "airy" sound I open the lips more.
    This is one of the things I'll do on soft songs where I allow the tone to disappear and while doing this, the "airy" sound takes over and all that's heard is air. However, someone said it's a flugelhorn that's playing on the song you wonder about. In that case, buy a flugel.
    Hope this helps
    tobylou8 likes this.

  4. #4
    Pianissimo User
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Re: That airy, smoky sound...

    What some guys do is drop the jaw and make the aperture as open as possible. Also, use just enough air to softly resonate the note. From there, experiment until you get the sound you want.

    It's the airy sound that Dr. Mark is talking about in the previous post.

    Check out Mark Kelly - he posts many videos of his playing on Facebook, and he's really got it down!

  5. #5
    Moderator Utimate User Vulgano Brother's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Parts Unknown

    Re: That airy, smoky sound...

    I relax the corners and cheeks. Not as good as Chet, but hey--he didn't have to play piccolo trumpet too.
    Wondra likes this.
    "A tool good enough to be so used and not too good"
    C.S. Lewis That Hideous Strength

  6. #6
    Piano User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Re: That airy, smoky sound...

    As the others have said, lay back and relax. Do not attack the horn or play loudly. It's almost a sloppy feel, something most trumpeters and teachers would not encourage. I've heard numerous players buy a flugel, and then blame the horn when their sound was still too bright. You can't get a smoky airy sound at a loud volume, just doesn't work. Your mindset has to be part of the equation.
    Duane Massey
    French Besson trumpet
    Lawler Flugehorn
    Piece of crap alto horn

  7. #7
    Fortissimo User
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Greenfield WI

    Re: That airy, smoky sound...

    Quote Originally Posted by Vulgano Brother View Post
    I relax the corners and cheeks. Not as good as Chet, but hey--he didn't have to play piccolo trumpet too.
    All you need is that mid-60s Aristocrat and you'll be fighting off the girls!

    Tom (cheeks very relaxed [don't ask])

    {well you could ask but I doubt you'd like the answer}
    tobylou8 likes this.

    Buescher Lightweight 400
    Other Buescher horns 1939--1955
    Al Cass 1-28 mouthpiece
    Humes and Berg mutes

  8. #8
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Re: That airy, smoky sound...

    We very often get questions like this and it is kind of like asking how do I find my dream girl/guy.

    You see, SOUND unlike through the stereo is something that WE create for the moment. The very finest players have committed body functions (chops/breathing/body use) to habit and essentially play directly from their creativity without "doing" anything consiously. Now how can that be condensed into a description for someone that does NOT have that level of routine? Well, it can't - which doesn't mean that you can't start working in that direction.

    The first thing that you have to get out of your head is that you can "imitate" someones "SOUND". It simply doesn't work. Our ears and brains have expectations that we cannot simply overcome. We have to work WITH them and create our own SOUND (which can also be dark and smokey).

    The second thing that you have to get out of your head is that what a microphone picks up can be available without amplification. The real "smokey" players massage the microphone, or play to very small crowds. The BIGGEST mistake is to buy a big mouthpiece because the tone gets darker. The problem with a new mouthpiece is that our brain almost always wins and if your brain gets signals from the ears that "YOUR SOUND" is not coming, it tells the chops to compensate. Endurance is gone, range is gone and the smokey sound is gone.

    My recipe is a bit different for those that have a course that they want to follow: get an image of WHO you would like to play smokey to. Hang a picture up in your practice room and play/practice to them in a VERY intimate way. Seriously backing off on the volume is a VERY good start. As time goes on, you will discover the ability to "wrap" your SOUND like expensive sweets and "present" those sounds as gifts. THIS is how we achieve this goal. If we have the dedication, we will be able some time in the future to play to images that we create in our head.

    It is helpful when you do NOT practice in very small rooms with hard walls/glass. The reflection of the trumpet sound back to your ears is very bright and we tend to start playing more diffuse.

    1) practice softly and intimately
    2) have an image of who you are playing to and why
    3) play dark and smokey tunes with a metronome - nothing worse than mush without rhythm
    4) play dark and smokey scales
    5) do not neglect articulation. Whispering "I love you" unintelligebly and in a voice not your own does not get the desired results!!!!!!!!!!

    That being said, I would also hang some pictures of people that you would NOT want to play smokey to. The consummate trumpeter needs it ALL!
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  9. #9
    Forte User
    Join Date
    May 2009
    The Netherlands

    Re: That airy, smoky sound...

    Five years ago I started playing the trumpet (sorry, I started with a cornet). Because I played slide-trombone for 20 years I decided to do it on my own. I quickly developed quite a beautiful airy jazz sound, got a lot of compliments.
    Then I heard a classical player who filled up a big hall with the most pure and big sound, all out of such a f***g rotary. I wanted that! I went to a teacher, he listened to my beautiful airy jazz sound and said: play the same without the air. Helas, end of part one. I had to start all over again, lost one year and a half.

  10. #10
    Pianissimo User
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Re: That airy, smoky sound...

    I'm going to try Rowuk's imagery approach - sounds like a nice way to access emotion as a guide.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. 'Airy' Sound
    By lenzo1 in forum Trumpet Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-24-2012, 07:52 PM
  2. Airy Sound Problems
    By TrumpetSaiyan777 in forum Trumpet Discussion
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 02-15-2012, 01:16 AM
  3. Airy sound
    By Newengland2012 in forum Trumpet Discussion
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 04-10-2011, 03:56 PM
  4. Airy Sound
    By SpiritDCI08 in forum Trumpet Discussion
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 04-21-2009, 12:03 PM
  5. airy sound
    By Decentplayer in forum Trumpet Discussion
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 05-11-2008, 12:03 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26