Trumpet 3rd valve sharping
I'm a rank beginner with a B flat trumpet. Total playing time less than an hour. I'm getting some notes pretty consistently (and loving it). But I'm puzzled as to why pressing the third valve seems to be giving me a fifth above? I play F, press the third valve and get a B above. What am I doing wrong?
Newell Post last edited by
@_Mark_ Pressing the third valve (either alone or in combination with other valves) should lower the tone by a minor third, provided you don't change your lips. If the tone is going up, you are changing the embouchure (lips). Try following a systematic method such as the "Mitchell on Trumpet" series of books and get some coaching from a good teacher or experienced player.
@Newell-Post - spot on.
Mark, as you may have noticed, any particular fingering can produce multiple notes. That is why 3 valves on the trumpet (with 9 possible combinations) can produce 30 to 40 different notes.
Just taking the open trumpet (no valves pressed) we can play a pedal C (one wavelength in the horn), low C (2 wavelengths), G (3 wavelengths), 3rd space c(4 wavelengths), 4th space e (5 wavelengths), top of staff g (6 wavelengths), high Bb (7 wavelengths) and high c (8 wavelengths).
What is happening to you is that you are playing a „G“ (3 wavelengths) and because your embouchure is staying tense, the note does not go down, rather jumps to the Bb which is the next note possible with the first valve.
Open horn: Pedal C, C, G, c, e, g, Bb, high c
2nd valve: Pedal B, B, F#, b, d#, f#, a, high b
1st valve: Pedal Bb, Bb, F, Bb, d, f, Ab, high Bb
1+2 valve: Pedal A, A, E, a, c#, e, g, high a
2+3 valve: Pedal Ab, Ab, Eb, Ab, c, Eb, high Ab
1+3 valve: Pedal G, G, D, g, b, d, top of staff g
1+2+3 valve: Pedal F#, F#, C#, F#, a#, c#, e, top of staff f#.
Any of the good trumpet method books have tables where they show this list. It is one of the basics of learning a brass instrument. As our lips are the motor „generating“ the sound, we must invest on controlling tension of the embouchure to produce the desired tones at will. A six pack in our face is the worst approach. We must think more like surgeons - fine motor activity. Many repetitions are required (thousands) until we perfect a certain aspect.
Relax your embouchure and you will get the F instead of the Bb.
Relaxed long tones.
@ROWUK Thanks! That's what I needed to know. I've got several trumpet books coming in the mail. I think I've been a bit misled by some embouchure videos on youtube. I've got a clip-on tuner on the bell and i'm trying to hit and hold notes, but it's truly cacophonic to a laughable degree!
Play an open G Long Tone.
Play a G. then slur into an F just below it.
Play an F Long tone, into an E one step below
Same pattern down to D-C.
Play a G Long Tone.
Play a G slurred upwards to an A.
Same pattern up to a C.
Play Middle G down to F
G down to E:
G to D
G to C
Play Middle G to A
G to B
G to C
Use your ear.
Dr GO last edited by
J. Jericho last edited by
I'm a fan of the Rubank method. It leads you through the basics and beyond, constantly building upon what you learn as you go along, so success comes early and progressively, building both ability and confidence. It also introduces musicality right away, so you're not just playing notes and exercises; you're playing in a musical context.
I would say that the tuner is probably causing more damage to your playing than helping. Turn the tuner off and just relax into the biggest and best "sound" for each note. You will have plenty of time later to work on intonation but if you compromise your sound, it will be almost impossible to fix that later. We do NOT WANT TO FORCE OUR BODY TO DO THINGS THAT WE ARE NOT YET READY FOR! Beginners bending the notes to get them in tune just supports crappy breathing and twisting our face into shape.
_Mark_ last edited by _Mark_
@rowuk Thanks. I stopped. It was helpful for a while, though, because it showed me the wide range of instability around each note! By tensing and relaxing, I could get the pitch to slide up and down around each note by quite a way! Since then, I 've played with a drone.
@j-jericho Got it. It was one of the books I picked up. Thanks.
@kehaulani Thanks. I haven't got far with it, yet, but I fell into doing just this naturally. Much obliged. The instrument amazes me. It seems nearly impossible to control, at this stage. I played guitar for years, with its frets and nearly fixed & accurate pitches. The horn is a whole new world! But a long love of the trumpet sound is driving me to delve in.