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Trumpet Discussion Discuss My chops are gone...???? in the General forums; Hey everyone. I started to warm up for Jazz playthroughs the other day. And I'm a pretty good player in ...
  1. #1
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    Aug 2010

    My chops are gone...????

    Hey everyone.

    I started to warm up for Jazz playthroughs the other day. And I'm a pretty good player in the upper register. On a good day, I can belt up above the ledger lines for quite a while

    So I began my usual warmup routine: long tones, slurs, etc. After a good while of warming up, I started off on ballads and gradually worked my way up.

    I was playing some Gordon Goodwin pieces for the upcoming Jazz tryouts. When I went to attack my higher register, I simply fizzled out.

    I hadn't played that long... so I tried a few more slow songs to warm up on.

    And I still couldn't reach my usual range.

    I just recently got a new mouthpiece, Bach 3C Megatone, to replace the mouthpiece that became beaten up after five or so years of use. The same size, same type.

    I'm wondering why my tone's fizzling... Is it the mouthpiece, or could it be something else?

    What's your opinion?

  2. #2
    Pianissimo User jim trpt1's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
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    Re: My chops are gone...????

    It would be my guess that the mouth pieces are not quite the same, particularly if the 1 you were playing on is substantially older. Go back and try the old mpc again, it may be all that is wrong or perhaps you just need to take a break from the high stuff.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2009
    Clarksburg, WV

    Re: My chops are gone...????

    Two variables seem to exist:
    1) Different mouthpiece
    2)Played excessively long
    Go back to the old mouthpiece and ease up on the playing a little.

  4. #4
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    Nov 2007
    Fayetteville, AR

    Re: My chops are gone...????

    Just because the Bachs are labeled the same means nothing. They are notorious for inconsistency. I agree switch back and take it easy for a few days. If you have a solid range that you've built correctly you should be ok unless there is some other outlying cause you haven't found yet.
    Andy Sites
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  5. #5
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: My chops are gone...????

    It is just you. It is not the mouthpiece, trumpet or atmospheric pressure.

    If YOU have a good daily routine that emphasizes the important things like body use and breathing, your playing stabilizes and hardware becomes a non issue.

    I suspect that you have not given us an accurate picture of your playing. Probably because you have never taken a good inventory yourself.

    My opinion is that one day is a warning shot. You can post for support on excuses or look in the mirror and see the truth.

    My advice is to improve your daily routine. Then you only post something like this after years of success and then a week of tragedy.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  6. #6
    Utimate User trickg's Avatar
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    Oct 2003

    Re: My chops are gone...????

    I agree with Rowuk with the exception that I believe the mouthpiece switch certainly didn't help matters, especially if you went from a standard weight mouthpiece to a megatone. A standard Bach mouthpiece is sufficiently different in how it blows and feels that if you are still developing your chops you are probably going to try to force things to feel and blow the same, which is why you fizzled out.

    Go back to the old beat up mouthpiece and stick with it, and don't change mouthpiece again until your chops are more developed.
    Patrick Gleason

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  7. #7
    Mezzo Forte User bigtiny's Avatar
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    Aug 2005

    Re: My chops are gone...????'s probably not the mouthpiece itself causing the problem, though it may be helping to expose an underlying problem.

    Here are a few things I would try:

    -make sure you're not warming up too much. This may sound funny, but I remember reading an interview with the trombone player from Chicago who was experiencing exactly what you've described. He was taking a lesson with Phil Wilson trying to get at it. Phil suggested he might be spending too much time with the warmup. According to Pankow (the trombonist) shortening his warmup seemed to cure the problem. Dont' get me a wrong, I'm not advocating not warming up, but you might consider how much time and energy you're spending there.

    -practice some slow lip slurs and long tones and concentrate on your breathing (the whole mechanism from bottom to top) and make sure you're breathing properly. Sometimes we start slowly 'cheating' on the breathing thing and eventually we get into the habit of not breathing properly and not even realizing it. Going back to these exercises and REALLY concentrating on analyzing the breathing thing should point out any problems in this area. Playing is about breath not chops.

    I suspsect that one of these might be helpful...


  8. #8
    Utimate User kingtrumpet's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    New York State USA

    Re: My chops are gone...????

    aside from the mouthpiece -- I experienced the same problem this past week --when I bumped my 3hr practices to 4 hr +. I played well on some high stuff for too much of the 4hr. practice (it was going real well) -- then 2 or 3 days I was like a whole octave below --- go figure!!!! I rested just 1 day, and a half octave is back. I will play softly a few days -- it always comes back better when you are doing all the right practice steps. Careful, focused, repetetive, INTELLIGENT practice --- don't overdue if you can help yourself -- oh -- yes DISCIPLINE ---now if I only practiced what I preach.

  9. #9
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    May 2010

    Re: My chops are gone...????

    It may be the first signs of focal dystonia - a much under-diagnosed and complex neuro-musculor condition with a root, funniliy enough, in the emotions or sub-conscious. I won't go deeply in to it here (as it would become a veeeeeery long post!) Suffice to say that it may be adviseable to rest, and be wary of your emotional state every time you pick up, play, or even think about the instrument. If the problem continues, feel free to contact me, as I have had some success in diagnosing and curing this condition. All the best!

  10. #10
    Forte User Al Innella's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Levittown , NY

    Re: My chops are gone...????

    The Bach Megatone has a larger throat/bore than the standard Bach, this coupled with the added weight/mass will affect the way a mouthpiece sounds and blows. If you're trying to sound like your standard 3C on the Megatone it's not going to happen.This will only cause you to work harder and lose endurance. If you like the way the standard 3C plays,I think it might be best to go back.

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