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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Newbie - Need to blow hard for good tone in the General forums; Hello all trumpet masters, I just rented a Holton T602P student trumpet. I'm returning to the trumpet after 35+ years ...
  1. #1
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    Jun 2008

    Newbie - Need to blow hard for good tone

    Hello all trumpet masters,

    I just rented a Holton T602P student trumpet. I'm returning to the trumpet after 35+ years (actually, I played a cornet). It has some issues, I believe, but because I'm a newbie I can't be sure if it's me or the instrument. It does have a very hard to move main tuning slide, which is not a huge issue. But what is bothering me is it seems that I have to blow really hard and play really loud to get a decent tone. I rented a Yamaha student (not sure of model now) last year and only played it for a few weeks, but I remember being able to play more softly, yet still have a relatively decent tone (considering my "beginner" status).

    My related questions are:

    * Is the inability to play soft me as a newbie or could it also be the trumpet?

    * I've read conflicting reports on using vaseline to grease the slide - is that OK?

    Additional questions:

    * Would you recommend playing on a student rental for 6 months or more before looking into buying a trumpet?

    * And the really stupid question: I plan on playing with an amateur concert band starting in September. I never realized that there were different trumpet keys before - do I need to get a C trumpet or is the Bflat just fine (I only thought there was Bflat)

    * What about a cornet? Yes or no?

    Thanks for any and all advice!


  2. #2
    Forte User bagmangood's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Bostonish & San Francisco

    Re: Newbie - Need to blow hard for good tone

    I would second the scrounging ebay option, I've never done it for a horn, but whatever you get will probably be better and (if your local store is anything like mine) cheaper than a rental
    Bb: Courtois 305 "Elite", Holton Al Hirt Special (~1966), Benge 3x with Upturned bell (1973)
    C: Bach C180-239 (Akwright conversion),
    Cornet: Conn Wonder (1900)
    Picc: Selmer Paris, ~1971

  3. #3
    Fortissimo User veery715's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Ithaca NY

    Re: Newbie - Need to blow hard for good tone

    Depending on the cornet, you might have a somewhat easier time with the hard/soft sound and blowing issue. If you buy used there are lots of Olds Ambassador (and others) cornets too, and cornets are a bit less in demand overall than the trumpets.
    Nothing wrong with renting, and you might be able to rent something other than the Holton just to try it.
    Six months of rental will cost $150-200, which would get you a used horn. But you have recourse with a rental, if there's a problem, and a used horn is always chancy unless you buy it in person and can play and examine it.
    Nothing is more contagious or tenacious than music. Once you are exposed it gets inside you and you can never get rid of it. It is also non-discriminating. It can be Ride of the Valkyries, In a Gadda da Vida, the Jeopardy 15 second thinking tune, your most disliked commercial jingle - it doesn't matter. Once triggered, off you go, like it or not.

  4. #4
    Forte User Richard Oliver's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    Casper, WY

    Re: Newbie - Need to blow hard for good tone

    Welcome Wendy! Good advice already came your way. So, hi, and welcome.

    Dylan, love your succinctness: "Cornets are fun. If you want one, get one."

    You're right!!

  5. #5
    New Friend carteru93's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Sudbury, Ontario Canada

    Re: Newbie - Need to blow hard for good tone

    As a fellow relative newbie, I find that playing soft involves the same group of muscles and a similar embouchure, which is a small aperture. I have been working on my upper range lately, and Nick Drozdoff recommends to improve your high range, practise normal range with playing softly to make your aperture smaller. This supports my thinking that playing softly involves the same group of muscles used to play high. So where am I going with this? I took a couple month break from trumpet recently and when I came back I noticed my upper register chops were in need of a tune up, so I ASSUME that playing softly after a long hiatus would just involve practise playing softly with a smaller aperture and it will come.

    I hope this makes sense

  6. #6
    Fortissimo User MFfan's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan

    Re: Newbie - Need to blow hard for good tone

    Hi Wendy, The others have given good advice. If you can find any of the cornet types that I have, in good shape, they would be fun to play. I got my Ambassador off local Craigslist seller, the Holton off ebay and the Roth off None of them cost more than $50 each.
    As others have said , there are many decent Ambassador trumpets on ebay but you have to read the ads carefully, also the pictures and ask questions of the seller. What I usually ask is the conditon of the valves and whether any of the slides are stuck or not. Major dented horns are questionalble. There are many student Holtons, King, Getzens, etc out there for reasonble prices.

    Craigslist may be an option. At least you can try out the horn first. If you have pawn shops in your area, they may be worth checking out. There has been a very lenghty thread going on "pawn shop prizes" which are out there, but no luck for me.
    Dave Rafferty
    Spartan for Life
    ???? Barrington trumpet
    1968 Besson 2-20 trumpet
    1960's B & H Embassy trumpet
    1967 Conn Connquest cornet
    ???? Devillier (stencil) Trumpet German?
    ???? Besson 609
    1957 Besson 8-10 Trumpet
    Portage Senior Center Dance Band
    Kalamazoo Checkers Swing Band

  7. #7
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    Jun 2008

    Re: Newbie - Need to blow hard for good tone

    Thank you all for your responses - very helpful!

    Thanks, Schwab, for you answers to the multiple questions and initiating the Olds Ambassador discussion and a thumbs-up on the cornet. I'm starting to lean toward getting a cornet and have been looking for Olds Ambassador cornets. And thanks for the OK on vaseline - I've been using it on the main tuning slide and it's getting a little better.

    Thanks to MFfan, veery715, and bagmangood for the chorus of responses on both the Olds Amabassador trail and the scouting around for used. You've all given me good ideas. My rental isn't bad - I only paid $20 + tax for the first 3 months, and then $20 monthly after that, so it gives me 3 months to shop for a find!

    And, thanks carteru93, for the high range-soft playing embouchure tip. I started experimenting and I think I see what you're saying. I think I loosen my embouchure too much in trying to relax and get good air flow. When I focused on the corners of my mouth it seemed to help.

    Thanks, too, to Richard Oliver...After your help and welcomes, I feel like I'm part of "the club".

    I'm glad I asked about the cornet - I think I will end up doing that.

    If anyone sees a good deal around, let me know



  8. #8
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    Jun 2008

    Re: Update on "Newbie-Need to blow hard for good tone"

    After suggestions to look around EBay for an Olds Ambassador, I did. I bid and won this cornet last night:

    Olds Ambassador Cornet W/ Case - eBay (item 250258289337 end time Jun-18-08 19:10:55 PDT)

    Be gentle with me and tell me I made a wise choice and didn't spend too much.



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