Weekly Trumpet Tips 12/6/11

The Shadow

Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips!

Please always feel free to respond / comment on any of the tips listed in these weekly posts.  Your input may help clarify details for someone else!

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Here Are your Weekly Tips:

Tip #1 – Hocus Pocus?  Or Real Issues?

Over the years, I’ve come to not believe everything that horn and mouthpiece makers say that their gear will do for you, or that certain characteristics of “older” equipment is outdated and “we’ve found a solution.”  I believe that a great player makes any equipment sound great – and it becomes “player preference” as to mouthpiece brand, horn brand, bore size, mouthpiece dimensions, etc.  (although I do encourage people to try the smaller end of the mouthpiece scale).

One of these “issues” that I didn’t really think I believed was the whole mouthpiece gap thing… you know – the distance between the end of the mouthpiece and the actual lead pipe inside the receiver.  I have a buddy that built me a horn over the summer – and of course with any new horn, I got excited and wanted to play it quite a bit.  But – I was finding that my slotting was horrendous, my tuning was “okay” and that I was getting fatigued a lot faster than on my Austin Winds 470.  Austin Winds by the way, are great guys (shameless plug) and sell GREAT gear.

So one day I called up Doug at Austin Winds and showed him the horn… had him play it, and he said, “oh wow, the gap is off!”  Now Doug and I go way back to college together… but I was sure he was smoking something.  So, I measured the distance between the lead pipe and the end of the receiver with a paper clip and a sharpie.  Then measured the marks on the shank of the mouthpiece… turns out I was 1/16th of an inch short.  So, Doug lent me a shank (my mouthpiece is a screw rim) that takes away 1/16th of an inch from the gap… I was stunned!  The horn plays TOTALLY different (better) and I was amazed.

This wasn’t something that was particularly noticeable immediately, but rather over the course of an hour or more of playing lead, etc. I could tell a difference!

Tip #2 – Slide Grease Anyone?

As ridiculous as this may seem as a tip, I find that there is little else too annoying beyond sticky valves and stuck slides!!!  For years I had been using “Super Slick” on my slides as it was recommended to me by my favorite shop here in Austin.  The only problem I had with it was that I was having to grease my tuning slide every few days over the summer.  I don’t have spit valves (another hocus pocus thing I tried) and pull my tuning slide to empty water.  When it gets dry, it’s a pain to pull!!!

I was helping a young student the other day with his trombone – he never lubes his slide, but had some “Trombotine” in his case.  After seeing how well it worked on his slide, I decided to borrow a dab and try it on my tuning slide.  Holy Moly!!!  It’s REALLY great stuff!

I find it at the local music shop… it runs about $7.50 for a larger tube and will probably last for years!!!

Give it a shot – what the heck, right?

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

Walt Disney
1901-1966, Film Producer, Director, and Screenwriter

Have a GREAT week!