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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Darkening tone in the General forums; I am a high school junior and his year I was made second chair in my schools wind ensemble (the ...
  1. #1
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    Oct 2012

    Darkening tone

    I am a high school junior and his year I was made second chair in my schools wind ensemble (the schools premier concert band. My problem is I have a very bright tone and I have difficulty blending with the section. Any advice on how to fix this? I dont think its my mouthpiece (I use a 1 1/2 c) or my horn (Bach strad 43)

  2. #2
    Forte User DaTrump's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    Re: Darkening tone

    The Strad 43, to me, is a little on the bright side. There are many variables that lead to tone, cup intrusion, level of compression, lip shape. Without changing your equipment, the most can suggest is to listen to players with a dark tone that you like and try to mimic it while doing long tones. As I've worked on changing my tone, I read something about Chris Botti (or some other trumpet player) imagining your tone as a surface of water, trying to keep the water calm, without ripples. Imagine it smooth and mirror-like.

    Chris Botti - Over the Rainbow (2012) - YouTube This is one of the videos I used when trying to find the tone I wanted.
    Recursion likes this.
    "There are two sides to a trumpeter's personality: there is the one that lives only to lay waste to the woodwinds and strings, leaving them lying blue and lifeless along the swath of destruction that is a trumpeter's fury; then there's the dark side...." --Michael Stewart

  3. #3
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    Re: Darkening tone

    I'll second what the DaTrump has said and further say to back off the level of your playing when you practice vis if the music reads ff play f, even mf or p. Emanating another is OK until you develop your own sound.

  4. #4
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    Re: Darkening tone

    You can change the shape of your mouth cavity to affect the tone. If you say "eeeee" while you play, you'll get a bright sound. Try "aaaaaa" or "ooooo" for a different tone.

    Recursion likes this.

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  5. #5
    Forte User acarcido's Avatar
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    Re: Darkening tone

    Quote Originally Posted by VetPsychWars View Post
    You can change the shape of your mouth cavity to affect the tone. If you say "eeeee" while you play, you'll get a bright sound. Try "aaaaaa" or "ooooo" for a different tone.

    Yes, Tom has a good point with the lipping aspect of your lips on the mouthpiece. You will notince this when playing long steady tones and changing your lip as you play to mimic the pronounciation on the letter 'eeeee', 'oooooo', 'aaahhh' or 'uuuuuuu / you'.

    The Strad 43*(light wieght) or the 43 (no star = standard) are fairly bright playing horns by design. It was made and designed to be a lead horn and stand out over a section. Normally, a trumpet player develops a natural ability to play and sound distinctly unique. Sort of like a signature sound or a thumb print. No matter what equipment changes you make. You will make it sound to your signature or distinct sound. The playing dynamics are what you need to work on such as what Tom (VetPsychWars) mentioned. Then, you will be able to better feel the real playing characteristics of your horn of choice. Good luck and let us know how you progress.

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  6. #6
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    Re: Darkening tone

    I have this problem too, I usually just try to image my teeth being a finger width apart.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2005

    Re: Darkening tone

    tom & art make a lot of sense. for years I had a bright tone that sounded thin, I switched horns and mouth pieces to darken my tone and it would work for a couple of days or maybe even a week but then "my sound" would come back. had a good friend [excellent techer and tech] work with me and had me do long tones [middle of the staff G] for 20 minutes a day and after about a month my sound got fuller. what really helped the most is when I lost a crown on a lower molar and got a partial plate, now I have the sound I was looking for. good luck on develoing the sound that you want. --- you have to hear the sound in your head that you want to play.
    Chuck Cox and acarcido like this.
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  8. #8
    Mezzo Piano User Darten's Avatar
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    Re: Darkening tone

    Another thing about trying to sound like Chris is pretty simple, play for 35+ years... then you may sound like him.
    J. Jericho likes this.
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  9. #9
    Piano User chenzo's Avatar
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    Jul 2008

    Re: Darkening tone

    Blending in with others........I would say listen to others when playing.
    It might just be your approach to the music.( playing the wrong style)
    It is amazing what happens to ones tone when we step back a touch and listen to the sound around us.
    Playing a little sharp might also might be the the reason why you think that you are to bright.
    When playing with your section ensure that you are in tune and playing in balance with others. (volume wise). Once the section is playing in tune and have the correct balance I would think that playing to bright would not be an issue... especially a junior high school band.
    May the Trumpet Gods smile upon us all

  10. #10
    Pianissimo User Shofarguy's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
    East of Phoenix Arizona

    Re: Darkening tone

    There are a few things that make one's tone bright. Well, "bright" usually isn't the correct word to describe the tone. "Strident" is one. "Thin" or "harsh" might be appropriate, too. Yes, the Bach 43 has a bell that accentuates the higher notes and overtones, but certainly can be blended into a section, from what I've heard of it.

    What I did to fill out my tone (which is different that just an absence of brilliance in your tone) was to stop stretching my lips across my teeth and begin to move my lip tissues toward the center of the mouthpiece as though I were softly blowing a candle flame. Playing as softly as possible with this embouchure setting began the process of enriching my tone.

    It took about two weeks to eliminate the stretching thing and establish the "pucker" approach, but this continues as an ongoing development and maturation of my tone and technique. Also, I had to accept a certain sound from my horn and skull in order to produce the best tone. It does NOT sound like Chris Botti from my vantage point. Actually, the richest fullest tone sounds more like Doc Severensen or Arturo Sandoval from behind the bell. In fact, it sounds very reedy and buzzy, which is exactly the sort of thing I always thought was bad. If it happens in front of the bell, then it IS a bad thing, but that's not how it works, usually.


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