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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Resistance vs Free Blowing in the General forums; As I mentioned in another thread I am currently attempting a "comeback" after about 3 years away from serious playing, ...
  1. #1
    Mezzo Piano User trumpetguy27's Avatar
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    May 2008

    Resistance vs Free Blowing

    As I mentioned in another thread I am currently attempting a "comeback" after about 3 years away from serious playing, due to having brain surgery 2 1/2 years ago.

    I'm starting to get some chops back but I am also starting to feel some discomfort in the back of my head (where I had the surgery) as I start to push the volume and range. To me, it feels like a lot of this is coming from resistance in my horn/ mouthpiece whatever.

    I know that there is always going to be SOME amount of resistance, and I also know that there are a lot of things I can try to address as far as a more relaxed approach and not overblowing etc. but I have been wondering if a less resistant, more free blowing horn would help me along the way.

    A good friend who happens to be an excellent brass repair tech and trombone player and I have been talking about this all lately and it's his feeling that more less there is no such thing as a more or less resistant horn because no matter what the smallest point is always at the throat of the mouthpiece and anything after that really doesn't matter. Logically, I see his point... but you always see comments about how "free blowing" a horn is and I really FEEL like there was a big difference back when I was playing an old .470 bore Besson Meha.

    What do you all think? Are there differences in the resistance of horns or is all the "back pressure" from the mouthpiece throat and things we create with our technique?

    Does anybody have any feelings as to whether switching to a horn that people classify as "Very free blowing" (like a Callet Jazz that I have been looking at) MIGHT be helpful to me?

    I'm not looking for a super horn that is going to magically fix all of my problems. I know that it doesn't exist, and that most of the changes are going to have to come from ME and not equipment, but at the same time I want to have equipment that is going to help me along the way.

    I hope this all makes sense and I look forward to all of your thoughts!

  2. #2
    Utimate User turtlejimmy's Avatar
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    Jun 2010

    Re: Resistance vs Free Blowing

    There are differences in horns. The amount of resistance vs. free blowing is a design concept when they build them. Different mouthpieces have an effect too. No matter what mouthpieces you put on them, the Severinsen is more open and free blowing than the Connstellation 38b. I think your friend is oversimplifying it, OR trombone is different (I doubt that).

    Even so, I would also consider how relaxed and easy, and free of excess pressure your embousure (and your playing) is. I'm guessing that less pressure in your mouth will translate to less pressure felt in parts of your head.

    I certainly hear what you're saying. Overblowing when there's a mute in the horn (causing more resistance) can give me a headache.

    Trumpets are for extroverts - Lee Morgan

  3. #3
    Fortissimo User
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    Dec 2010
    Lloyd Harbor NY.

    Re: Resistance vs Free Blowing

    Well, here we go again with my self-taught observations, albeit they're a tad stale by now.

    While the mouthpiece throat indeed seems to dictate the amount of air passing thru, the pressure of the air seems to me the deciding factor along with {for want of the correct taxonomy} the flexibility with which one can center notes and the range from high to low, like ascending and descending a ladder, with some horns I have to climb with my embouchure a much greater distance to go from below to above the staff, with others there is much less flexibility needed. How's that for an analogy.

  4. #4
    Forte User
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    May 2009
    The Netherlands

    Re: Resistance vs Free Blowing

    In the case of the OP, the physical problems should direct me to a flugelhorn. But there are trumpets, built with a very low resistance. Mostly LB instruments with a large open bell. Eventually a reversed slide and/of tuningbell-system. Like my Selmer B700 Tb, plays a little bit in the way a flugel plays but with still more power available. The wanted resistance must then be regulated with the backbore (and throat).

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

    Re: Resistance vs Free Blowing

    Using the same mouthpiece on other player's trumpets I've experienced some that wanted to suck me in, some that were too tight and some that were "just right." Just like Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
    "A tool good enough to be so used and not too good"
    C.S. Lewis That Hideous Strength

  6. #6
    Forte User Bob Grier's Avatar
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    May 2007
    Greensboro, NC

    Re: Resistance vs Free Blowing

    If your friend is right than why do different horns "feel" different when played with the same mpc. Huh? Of course the way a horn blows makes a difference. Bore size, leadpipe and bell taper. The mpc backbore after the throat. How well a horn is put together, how much wear there is in the valves and slides. It all makes a difference in how a horn blows.

    As far as your head hurting, see your doctor right away. Even if you are blowing too much air or too hard, which can be fixed, see the doctor.
    Last edited by Bob Grier; 08-09-2011 at 02:10 PM.
    Bob Grier, An Old Pro
    Web Cam trumpet & jazz improvisation lessons

  7. #7
    Pianissimo User PatMurphy's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    Cherry Hill NJ

    Re: Resistance vs Free Blowing

    I play a Callet Jazz. It is a bit more free blowing than the Selmer I had and I play the same 3D Bach in both

    If you are anywhere near me, you are welcome to give it a try
    Pat Murphy
    Cherry Hill NJ
    Trumpet Bach Stradivarius Model 72/Monette B-2
    Flugel Bach Stradivarius Model 183/ Bach 3C
    Cornet Martin Committee/ Bach 3B

  8. #8
    Fortissimo User coolerdave's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    San Pedro

    Re: Resistance vs Free Blowing

    When Robin (Rowuk) you will understand how the resistence is generated... read "How a trumpet works".. it's in the top 5 threads in this category. You should also check the gap of your mouthpece with the receiver .. it can affect the "feel" of your horn alot.
    If you can sound Taps please take a few minutes and check out this site.
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  9. #9
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: Resistance vs Free Blowing

    Actually the blow has more to do with the player than the horn.

    The relaxed "exhale" through the horn, gives us plenty of output and very little additional backpressure. If we want the horn to be free blowing, we are trading efficiency for that and have to pump more into the horn to get the same output.

    My first and foremost recommendation is to get the body use together allowing for a less invasive method of playing letting the horn do more of the work. If you were my student, we would have already been looking at this!

    I would not buy a new horn or mouthpiece for the time being. I consider a certain amount of resistance to be a friend once we understand it.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  10. #10
    Forte User Chuck Cox's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    Cary NC

    Re: Resistance vs Free Blowing

    I have had pain playing after a pulled wisdom tooth....a ( excuse me ) hemorrhoid.....a migraine when I try to play. We just build up a lot of pressure and don't notice it until we have a weakened area of our body. I would still play after brain surgery myself...cause I ain't quittin for nutin. However, I would experiment with different methods of blowing with reduced pressure and still have decent range and sound volume. Maybe purse your lips instead of stretching them and pressing too hard on your lips. Play shorter phrases so that you don't keep a lot of air built up. Oh well, those are some of the things I would try. Good luck.
    Chuck Cox
    1949 Martin Committee Deluxe
    Schilke 13a4a ( 80% )
    Bach 7C ( 15% )
    Bach 5V ( 5% )

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