Resistance In Horns

Is there a tactic for these high note artists? Like a common resistance source?

There MUST be resistance somewhere in the system inorder for the notes to come out. However; there are several different ways to do that. The biggest problem I see everyday is that so many people mismatch their embouchure/mouthpiece/trumpet. They may even take a lesson here and there. But they jump from one end of the spectrum to the other. I get email from people who studied a closed aperture embouchure and try to use what they heard at a Shew clinic. Or some who study an open aperture embouchure and try something that Callet says. Again these people are mismatching techniques that CAN’T work together. If you are determined to be an open aperture player you need to work that approach and no other. If you opt for a closed setting don’t ask spread aperture players how they play.

If you are working on a new embouchure play it and only it for a year. I get people coming here who have changed 3-4 times in a year.

With this in mind I’ll talk about setups.

If you play a very spread setting then you require a great deal of extra resistance. That means a small bore horn and a shallow tight mouthpiece. Since we are talking about LEAD playing then Bill Chase is the leading example here. He matched his embouchure with his mouthpiece and his trumpet. The Schilke 6A4a worked for him. Most people can’t play a decent scale on it.

If you are the other extreme then you create all of your resistance with your chops. That means that you need an open large bore horn and a bigger mouthpiece. On this forum we have players that fit this model. Maynard, Flip, Dennis, and Me. All of us play mouthpieces bigger than a Bach 1 and Wild Thing trumpets.

These groups are on opposite ends of the spectrum. The vast majority of trumpet players 90% are somewhere inbetween.

These inbetween players create some but not all of the resistance they need. They can benefit from some added resistance in equipment. There are several ways to do this.

The first is with the mouthpiece. You can affect resistance by changing either the throat or backbore or both. This CAN affect intonation. It CAN affect your control of dynamics. It CAN affect the length of the phrase that you can play. Air moves through a big throat faster than a small one. The mouthpiece change while the cheapest is also the most difficult one to master.

The horn is another place where resistance can change. If you keep your stock mouthpiece and go to a horn with less resistance you may find this helps.

That is why there are so many bore sizes. You can take your old mouthpiece to a store and try out several horns.

There is even a way to make a horn with variable resistance.

Flip uses tuning slides with chokes in them to make his Wild Thing Trumpets have several different levels of resistance. I can change the tuning slide and play. I don’t need to warmup again or adjust to the horn. I like this approach better than the Adjustable gap receiver.

The AGR not only changes the resistance but also the overall response of the horn. When you dial in a new gap you have to find the center of the horn again. There are many places where it just doesn’t ever play well.

There will NEVER be 1 best mouthpiece or 1 best trumpet (for everybody) because we all play differently. The best we can do is to keep an open mind and try out every horn we come across.


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