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Brass Trumpet Incentive

Discussion in 'Other Instruments & Players' started by Sweet Dreamer, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. Sweet Dreamer

    Sweet Dreamer Senior Member

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    Ok, I got out my trumpet after not having played it for several months. I never really learned to play it. I was in the process of trying to learn and eventually gave up. :)))

    But now I'm getting it back out again for a second shot at it.

    This is my trumpet. It's a "pocket trumpet" and I know that I've already stacked the deck against myself by purchasing a pocket trumpet versus a standard size trumpet. But it's what I have, so it's either learn to play this or forget it.

    PT.jpg

    I'm currently using John O'neal's Jazz Method for Trumpet book. I'm currently working on "Home Bass" and "Samba for Maya". These are obviously very early pieces in the book.

    I've worked through the previous lessons before and I am able to blow all of the notes for required for these pieces. Just the same, I quickly fatigue in terms of embouchure and in terms of air too. This horn seems to be far more demanding that the sax.

    Anyway, I just thought I'd toss this out there for any potential encouragement, support, or advice.

    I've only just now got a handle on the A note. So my note "repertoire" at this point starting at middle C is, C, D, E, F and A. That's it so far. :)))

    Although I imagine I can hit the sharps and flats of those as well.

    I feel good that I still have control over these notes because when I first started I couldn't even do this. So I feel like I now have at least 5 notes under some degree of control (and probably their sharps and flats). The next lesson in the Jazz method book teaches Bb and C. I'm managing to blow the Bb note already. But I'm still finding the higher C to be very difficult to reach and control yet.

    I am quite patient though. So for now, I'm just working on practicing "Home Bass" and "Samba for Maya", right now. I do practice the exercises for learning Bb and C for the next section (chapter 4 in my book), but I'm currently I'm not there yet.
     
  2. Sweet Dreamer

    Sweet Dreamer Senior Member

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    I have some more questions too, should a trumpet player stop by. ;}

    I just devised a bit of a practice schedule. The following graphic shows the notes I can play with some confidence (those marked with red in the top line of the staff). I can't really do the Bb yet or the high C note. I'm looking forward to working on those.

    color.GIF

    Below the graphic of the trumpet notes I've listed the triads of the C Major scale. I'm practicing those too. I have them listed in various orders in red, blue, and green. I did that simply because I can't play them all in their natural order using only the notes I can currently play. So I play them in whatever order is required using notes that I can play.

    The part of the note chart marked in pink (from the low F# up to G# are notes I can play but they don't sound real great. Although the low G is starting to sound a bit better now that I've been jumping to it using these triad exercises.

    Another exercise I do is to simply play the scale as far as I can both chromatically and as whole notes, up and down as far as I can go.

    I'm finding that when I do the triad arpeggios I can almost pop off that High B and C note, but I'm still not quite there yet. I think when I put this trumpet away I was just starting to blow the high C note.

    At this point I can't imagine going clear up the scale as far as is written on this chart. If I ever make it up to the G on the top of the staff I will consider that to be a miracle.

    Right now I'm wondering if I'm even going to get capture this C note. :mrcool

    ~~~ QUESTION ~~~~

    In the meantime I have a question about mouthpieces.

    This trumpet came with a 7C which I guess is a standard starting mouthpiece. I felt that it was too small so I ordered a 3C. I do feel more comfortable with the 3C which is supposedly a tad bit larger in some way, but it's sure hard to actually see any difference between these mouthpieces.

    This may sound strange but I was expecting a much larger mouthpiece. I was kind of hoping for a mouthpiece like might be found on a trombone or tuba. :)))

    What's the largest mouthpiece I can buy for a trumpet?

    I just feel like I'm fighting with these mouthpieces. They just feel like they are way too small for me. I'd really like to try something with a larger diameter cup.
     
  3. kevgermany

    kevgermany Landrover Nut Cafe Moderator

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    Cue Mr Mapfumo... Enters stage right....
     
  4. Sweet Dreamer

    Sweet Dreamer Senior Member

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    I've been flipping through this Jazz Method book looking at some of the photos of these trumpet players. None of these guys look like they are enjoying playing this instrument.

    I mean seriously, they look they are on in total agony trying to blow raspberries in these tiny little mouthpieces. :)))

    Does this guy look like he's having fun?

    CliffordBrown.gif

    Looks to me like he's working real hard to blow a note.

    I might be too lazy to play this instrument. :)))
     
  5. kevgermany

    kevgermany Landrover Nut Cafe Moderator

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    It's all about image - with a trumpet if you don't look as if you're putting everything you have into getting the best out of the trumpet:

    1 - the instument's too easy and not worthy of being played for Jazz
    2 - you're not a serious musician cos you're not trying had enough...

    Sax players are different - most go for the laid back/cool approach, complete with hat... And they show skill by blowing a storm, while making it look easy - cos they're so good.

    As in all cases of image related performances, exceptions apply and merely serve to prove the rule.
     
  6. old git

    old git Tremendous Bore

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    Oi! Kev!
    It's not paranoia but stop picking on me or the boys will enjoy a German holiday.

    Your problem Sweetie, is you picked the wrong brasswind to play. Flügelhorn, valve trombone and tenor or baritone horn are the IN instruments.
     
  7. kevgermany

    kevgermany Landrover Nut Cafe Moderator

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    lol, Biergartens open at Easter. How about meeting in one for a good chinwag ove a Mass or two? I'll ask Mrs Kevgermany very nicely to drive us there.
     
  8. VirusKiller

    VirusKiller Member

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    I think I'll stick with hat-less sax counter-culture.
     
  9. O.C.V.

    O.C.V. Member

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    Hi, Sweetdreamer,
    Try playing a long note on G (second line) then, without tonguing, tighten the embouchure and slur up to C and back to G. Long steady notes all the time. When you feel ready go G C E and down. Keep at it gradually widening the range of harmonics and using different valve combinations. These exercises are utterly boring but do wonders for strengthening the embouchure. Charles Colin's book of Lip Flexibilities is full of these exercises, taking you up into Maynard Ferguson areas. Slow, long notes and aiming for clean slurs without using the tongue will do the job if you can stand the boredom.
    Best wishes
    O.C.V.
     
  10. TomMapfumo

    TomMapfumo Well-Known Member

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    Hi SD!

    Well done on giving the trumpet another go. Yes, it is tougher than playing the sax, but does involve less complicated fingering and is a much lighter instrument. The book you use is excellent as far as it goes, not covering too much in terms of exercises to help develop your embouchure or range. I have been playing for a few years and my range goes from low F# to top C (C3), an octave above what you are trying for, which does take a while to develop, so don't rush.

    2 exercises that will help -

    1. Long notes. Start at C - play as long as you can (say 4 x 4 beats). Then play D. Then C again. Then E and so on up to A. Have a go at one up and one down (up to B, down to B).
    2. Flexies. Down-Up-Down C-G-C (x8), then B-F#-B, then Bb-F-Bb, then A-E-A As your embouchure develops try to go up one higher on any of these, but otherwise just gradually develop your range. Once your embouchure is solid your range will become easier and easier. Make sure that you are practising low notes as they will help in higher note production - try and master down to A below bottom C if you can.

    Regarding mouthpieces - do look up a trumpet mouthpiece chart. I found the Bach 7C and 3C both quite small at 16.20mm and 16.30mm respectively. I play mouthpieces at 17.30mm plus (Bach stop at 17mm). I prefer Curry/Schilke/Stork mouthpieces - do have a look at their websites - I think you could safely aim at a 17mm size, such as a Schilke 14/15 or Curry 1.25 - Mouthpiece Express is a good online service. Bach 7C are commonly recommended and are probably OK for beginners in their early teens, but way too small for adults. Generally you should find that your range will increase more easily on the right size mouthpiece - which is likely to be bigger than you have played up til now. Personally I'd leave Bach well alone - very inconsistent, and overpriced.

    Hope this helps
    Kind regards
    Tom

    BTW the largest trumpet mouthpiece is the Schilke 24 at 18.29mm and the smallest trombone mouthpiece is the Schilke 40B at 22.51mm - so a bit of a difference!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2011
  11. Sweet Dreamer

    Sweet Dreamer Senior Member

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    Tom and O.C.V.,

    Thanks for the exercise suggestions. I'll definitely be trying these. I have no problem with doing mundane exercises if they will help develop embouchure. I live in a very rural area with no close neighbors, so I can blow exercises between raking leaves and doing yard work. Plus I have the sax, if I want to take a break and play some actual music.

    I only just got this trumpet out last night, and already this morning I seem to feel more comfortable with it. Last night I was having difficulty blowing long smooth notes without getting the "motorboat putting" effect. But already this morning I seem to have better control sustaining smooth notes.

    At one time I had the "C" that I'm working toward now. So I should be able to get it 'back' relatively quickly. I have read that trumpet embouchure needs to be practiced continually as it is one of the quickest embouchures to "deteriorate" if not kept up. So if I can get to point where I'm actually playing this instrument I guess I had better keep playing it with some consistency.
     
  12. TomMapfumo

    TomMapfumo Well-Known Member

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    Spot on with embouchure deterioration. As someone once said "miss a day, and your teacher will notice; miss two days and you will notice; miss three days and everyone will notice....!"

    Try and practice for 20 mins a day on exercises at least. Also if you are playing both sax and trumpet then do play trumpet first. If you play sax first (where you are stretching your mouth around a mouthpiece) it is hard to play the trumpet for a good while after (where you need an embouchure which involves tightening your lips).

    Kind regards
    Tom
     
  13. Sweet Dreamer

    Sweet Dreamer Senior Member

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    Yes, the sax and trumpet are radically different. I even find that after playing the trumpet, it's hard to go right back to the sax again. But then that might have simply been because I was tired too.
     
  14. Andrew Sanders

    Andrew Sanders Northern Commissioner for Caslm

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    At least with the sax you don't get that bird's bottom look to your top lip.
    Think seriously SD do you really want to look like Humphrey Littleton. You may never get a sideways glance from a beautiful woman again
     
  15. TomMapfumo

    TomMapfumo Well-Known Member

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    A trumpet embouchure is much more satisfying to women than a sax embouchure.........:shocked: :w00t: ;}

    Other way around for men..........!
     
  16. Andrew Sanders

    Andrew Sanders Northern Commissioner for Caslm

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    My mind's boggling again Tom. Could you perhaps send some diagrams?
     
  17. Sweet Dreamer

    Sweet Dreamer Senior Member

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    Well, that's certainly not going to be a major change in my current life's experience. :)))
     
  18. Sweet Dreamer

    Sweet Dreamer Senior Member

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    More Stuff

    Today I was working on organizing my practice plans and so far I've come up with the following. This is just for me to discover a bit about this instrument and start to get a handle on the embouchure.

    First I did the triplet arpeggios. I created my own lesson plans and graphics on the computer. But as I was doing it I had the trumpet in hand and was practicing each arpeggio as I created the graphic. I'm using a sheet music program also to aid with the graphics as well as being able to hear what I'm attempting to play. Anyway here's the practice sheet I came up with. I'm still learning the notes and fingerings. The notes in red in this graphic are notes that I'm still having difficulty with. Although I did blow a truly beautiful C note tonight. Unbelievable! The problem was that I couldn't blow it a second time to save my soul. But I'm sure it will come with these exercises.

    Note that the timing is not carved in stone. I just drew everything as quarter notes, but I play them as longer notes, and also in various patterns (i.e. both up and down the arpeggios). I just drew these up for reference on what notes I'm actually dealing with.

    arpeggios.jpg

    Then I went on to start working on scales. These are just whole note scales for now. And again I play them up and down, and will eventually improvise with them with proper backing tracking tracks. Part of the reason I wrote this up was to get an overview of where I'm at with being able to improvise. So far I have two "full" scales (albeit in only one octave), but I will soon have the second two scales also as soon as I conquer the B and C notes.

    Trumpet Scales.jpg

    This John O'neal Jazz method book is good, but by creating these extra lesson plans I can jam and improvise with more stuff based on what I can already do. ;}

    So I'm looking forward to creating some simple backing tracks using the keyboard or guitar, in the proper keys and then see if I can start improvising over those using these limited scales.

    This is going to be fun. I'm glad I got this little sucker out again. I think I'm ready to get into this now.
     
  19. jeremyjuicewah

    jeremyjuicewah Member

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    I too dabble with a trumpet. I got it off e bay for twenty quid and have read reviews that slate it as being a truly horrible instrument. It is Lark which I think is Chinese, but so is my sax and thats fine. Lots of snobbery on some of these sites. But, I can only play it in the factory on Saturday mornings when no one is around. The dogs and cats dont mind the sax but when I tried the trumpet they let me know how they felt and I saw them later that evening huddled together in the corner making plans for me. Seriously, I dont think I can progress with a short session every week. So anyone want to buy a trumpet? Its a Lark, of oriental ancestry and a truly remarkable horn and normally sells for about two hundred nicker but you can have it for, er, twenty.
     
  20. kevgermany

    kevgermany Landrover Nut Cafe Moderator

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    Please advertise sales in the yard sale forum, and be sure to follow the rules, they'e there for everyone's benefit. :welldone
     
  21. jeremyjuicewah

    jeremyjuicewah Member

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    I'm a hoarder

    Just a joke, its not gettin sold
     
  22. Justin Chune

    Justin Chune Senior Member

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    I know the feelling, I'm a hoarder as well.

    Jim.
     
  23. Sweet Dreamer

    Sweet Dreamer Senior Member

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    Trumpet Blues Scales

    I'm a hoarder too. That's why I still have mine. :)))

    I just made up another graphic as I was figuring out the blues scales for the trumpet. I don't know how correct these are but they seem to be working. I always try to do things in terms of concert pitch. It helps me when it comes time to improv ovet what everyone else is playing.

    Here's my latest graphic. I'm actually progressing at a fairly rapid rate here. I still can't hit notes much higher than the A above middle C, but I'm progressing in terms of getting a better handle on the notes I can already play. Making up these blue scales helped.

    The blues notes on in blue, and the red notes are notes that I'm personally not able to hit yet. At least not with any real control or consistency.

    F & G Blues scales.jpg

    The note groups I have marked "Play as Riffs" is just some personal notation to remind myself to play those note groups using blues riff that I know well. Obviously there are many other groups that could be played as riffs as well. But this is helping me to get the ball rolling. Getting used to these riff fingering patterns takes time too. Before too long I should be able to start playing some simple blues in F and G. (or G and A depending on how you want to look at it)
     
  24. TomMapfumo

    TomMapfumo Well-Known Member

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    Stick with it - all sounds very good. Some notes are going to be hard to get until you have a clear sense of the note you are about to play. Some because the intonation may not be sufficiently accurate. Do get a new mouthpiece as soon as you can - could make the world of difference. I remember when I acquired a Bach 1 1/2 C mouthpiece how much easier note production was compared to a 7C - at least 4 semi-tones better either way.

    Kind regards
    Tom
     
  25. Sweet Dreamer

    Sweet Dreamer Senior Member

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    Thanks Tom. I'll look into a new mouthpiece ASAP. It's going to need to be mail order though so I won't be able to try it out first.

    I've been practicing quite a bit and well-pleased with my rapid progress. I'm still having problems with A#, B, and C. But I'm hitting them every once in a while (especially when I fresh). I hit the most perfect sustained C last night right out of the blue. It even seemed to be "easy". It was music to the ears. Perfect intonation and everything. I sustained it for as long as I could and enjoyed the experience. But when I tried to start it again from scratch I couldn't get hit it again. I must be trying too hard. When I did hit it I wasn't really trying it just kind of surprised me, and just happened on its own.

    I'm hitting the B and A# more often but they too are far from dependable. But I'm sure they'll come along in due time. I'm pretty good up to the natural A. Although I sometimes still have trouble with that one as well.

    Going in the other direction, things break down below middle C too. I have difficulty with the low G, A, and A#. I can always hit them, but the trouble there often has to do with "false starts". I have trouble getting them started. They seem to require a fairly loose embouchure, compared with middle C and up. It's almost like a whole different world below middle C.

    I notice the finger is different for the low G too. The higher octave G's are just an open horn like the C's . But the low G uses 1-3 like a D note. So it's a whole different beast from the higher octave G's.

    Right now my lips are SORE! I might be practicing too much for my own good.

    I better go back to the sax for a while.
     
  26. Sweet Dreamer

    Sweet Dreamer Senior Member

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    Bingo!

    Tom,

    I was trying some of those "flexies" Exercises you suggested. I wrote up a couple different versions. It helps me to have sheet music to look at, because I'm still learning fingerings so visually seeing the notes in front of my eyes helps me to remember fingering automatically from sight-reading.

    Anyway, I made up the following exercises based on your suggestions. Although these aren't exactly flexies, they change fingerings too. Just the same, it's based on the same principle of jumping up and down between various notes.

    The last one I wrote up works very well for helping to to reach that high C note. Coming at it using this approach I was able to hit it consistently. So now I'll be able to get a handle on it. I can start practicing it for longer durations now that I found a way to actually "reach" it.

    So thanks for suggesting those exercises. They definitely helped. :welldone

    Here's the actual exercises I just now wrote up:

    201 arpeggios.GIF

    I know these aren't exactly what you had described as "flexies". You were talking about jumping up and down between notes of the same fingerings. But none-the-less I got the idea for this execise from what you had suggested. And it's working!
     
  27. Sweet Dreamer

    Sweet Dreamer Senior Member

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    Returning to the mouthpiece size discussion:

    I've been searching on the Internet for mouthpieces and they are quiet expensive. Ouch!

    I was looking at the Schilke 14a4, but they want like $41 plus $5 shipping.

    In my travels through cyberspace I found a used Schilke 18b4 for only $25 + $5 shipping.

    The 14a4 is about 17mm, whilst the 18b4 is 17.5mm.

    I wish I could try these things out before buying.

    I hate to spend $50 and wish I had gotten the bigger one.

    And I hate to spend $30 and wish I hadn't gotten one so big. :)))

    So I'm kind of in limbo here, not sure what to do.

    I hate to spend a lot of money on the wrong thing.
     
  28. jeremyjuicewah

    jeremyjuicewah Member

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    That is very interesting stuff from Tom. I had no idea that mouthpiece was so important. Why would I? The trumpet was a whim, I actually thought it would be sort of easy to play. Last Saturday I had the clear note sound, once or twice on middle C, and it did impress me. I will pay more attention to mouthpiece info and if I think I stand a chance of cracking the thing I will change it. Thanks for the info.
     
  29. jeremyjuicewah

    jeremyjuicewah Member

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    Thinking about it, when I get a decent mouthpiece I will need to get a decent trumpet to fix onto it. My teacher, who plays most wind instruments commented that it would take three months to "get my lip in". But for fishing around for a few true notes, which is where I am just now, does it matter that much that I havent got the rippling lip?
     
  30. TomMapfumo

    TomMapfumo Well-Known Member

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    Hi SD!

    Lots of good progress, and your enthusiasm is infectious. My own progress may be helpful here. I started out with a Schilke 12, then moved to a 15, which I played for an extended period (17.12). Since then I have eventually gone up to a Schilke 17/Curry 1HTC at just under 17.38mm. I have some larger mouthpieces but this is my best size. Like you I am reliant on online purchases. I think that a 1.5C size is going to be a safe choice in Curry/Bach, or a Schilke 15. It will be a sufficient step up and a medium sized cup is best at this stage in order to get both high and low notes. A shallower cup, like the 14A4a is poor on low notes and can produce a thin sound. The Schilke 18 is likely to be too large, and can affect endurance quite significantly. As you practice and develop your embouchure you may outgrow a mouthpiece. The reality is that I can play my Schilke 15 quite happily now, but do appreciate a slightly wider cup to produce my best sounds. I mostly use the Curry 1HTC mouthpiece which produces the best sound according to my teacher.

    Hi JJW!

    If you are ever looking at a new trumpet I would recommend the John Packer/Smith Watkins range - well developed (I tried the JP251/SW with Antique finish and it stood up well against my pro horns at under £350). Also Stomvi in Spain are an excellent trumpet from student level upwards. Yes, it can take a while to have an awesome embouchure but we all start somewhere, and it is best just to have a basic range to start, and take time developing it. Generally most tutor books start either notes CDE or EFG, and add one up/down. If you can get CDEFG, then anything beyond that is a bonus - just don't rush it.

    Kind regards
    Tom
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 24, 2011
  31. jeremyjuicewah

    jeremyjuicewah Member

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    hammer effect

    Thank you Tom. I took the Lark out today and stopped in a layby to blow through it a while. I got a good high C and found that I have better consistency with a fair bit of top lip inside the mouthpiece. I cant run to a new trumpet at the moment but I think this one will tell me whether or not to carry on and if so I will get something better. Its always tasted a bit oily and on inspecting the mouthpiece today I found it carries a good many hammer marks. I think the mouthpiece must have been stuck in through misuse and its been oiled and walloped. The dims you quote for varying mouthpieces, is it just the diameter of the hole through it or is it the shape of it too?
    Best wishes
    Mike
     
  32. TomMapfumo

    TomMapfumo Well-Known Member

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    Hi Mike!

    The figure I quote is for the Inner Diameter of the cup only - cups can differ in depth and profile ("V" shape or "C" shape) and in the bore of the tube that fits in the trumpet. Ideally a mouthpiece should be big enough for your lips to fit inside a little without any leakage.
    A medium cup is best for high and low notes. shallower can mean higher notes and brighter sound, and deeper cup usually means a darker sound (which I prefer personally) and better low notes.

    Hi SD!

    If cost is an issue try the MadMax 1.5C which is on ebay.com for about $15 - a direct copy of the Bach 1.5C but made of polycarbonate.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  33. jeremyjuicewah

    jeremyjuicewah Member

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    good thread

    Cheers Tom, and Sweet Dreamer. I did not think I would be getting enthusiastic about the trumpet again but I will give it a go.
    Mike
     
  34. Sweet Dreamer

    Sweet Dreamer Senior Member

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    Oh dear. Now I'm having an affect on the course of someone else's life.

    That's always a scary notion.

    I'm hope it doesn't interfere with other plans that you may have had. ;}
     
  35. jeremyjuicewah

    jeremyjuicewah Member

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    I suppose it does really. Practice time is limited and I try to play the guitar everyday and if I dont practice sax every day too I feel like a fool at my lesson and that I am wasting my time. But its a nice problem to have. And as I said, I dare not play the trumpet in the house so its just something I can do in pauses when driving or on Sat at work. What I wish is that I had started all this forty or even fifty years ago. Its a bit of a drag somtimes to feel youre on the downward slope and working against the clock when for all those good optimistic years I did not work really diligently at anything at all. Still, that's what has made me the man I am. That and beer.
     
  36. TomMapfumo

    TomMapfumo Well-Known Member

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    You could always get a mute - they work exceeedingly well on trumpet........!
     
  37. jeremyjuicewah

    jeremyjuicewah Member

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    That is a very good idea Tom. I think everyone in our house would support that move. In fact, they might insert one in me if they catch on to it.
     
  38. Sweet Dreamer

    Sweet Dreamer Senior Member

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    I feel the same way. So many wasted years. Sounds like a great title for a blues song. :mrcool
     
  39. Sweet Dreamer

    Sweet Dreamer Senior Member

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    Wow!

    Mouthpiece size makes a BIG difference!

    I actually ordered that used 18a4 Schilke mouthpiece and it came today. It's going to take some time to get used to this larger size, but it already feels much better and I can hit the high C that I was having trouble with before
    a lot easier now.

    I think you're right Tom. I may have gone a tad bit too big with this 18, which is 17.5 mm versus the 17 mm for the 15.

    Still this is better than what I was using, but I think you're right, the 15 would probably be optimal. I'll be keeping my eyes open this summer as I cruise through various music stores to see if I can pick up a used 15 for a reasonable price.

    In the meantime this is much better than the smaller 7C and 3C mouthpieces that I was using. I felt like I couldn't really get enough of my lips "inside" the mouthpiece to produce a good vibrating embouchure. Now I can get plenty of lip in there and it makes it much easier.

    But you're right, the #15 is probably the optimal.

    That's ok, I got this 18 for a reasonable price and it'll do for now. So this is cool for the time being. It's better than trying to fight with those smaller mouthpieces I had.

     
  40. Sweet Dreamer

    Sweet Dreamer Senior Member

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    UPDATE:

    Ok, I haven't had this mouthpiece very long at all. It just came today. But already it's wonderful!

    I think I'll actually be able to PLAY this instrument now.

    I'm already looking at trying to shoot for the D and E notes above the C.

    I also don't think this #18 is going to be too big at all. The more I play it the more natural it's starting to feel.

    It definitely doesn't feel "too big", and it's a vast improvement over those smaller ones I was trying to play with before.

    I can get "into" playing this trumpet now.
     

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