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FN Wilson
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Location: Astoria, Oregon

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2002 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I once took a small lesson where a guy said if you were a downstreamer then v cup mouthpeices would be more effecient. Any truth to this?

Dustin
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BeboppinFool
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2002 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2002-10-13 04:12, FN Wilson wrote:
I once took a small lesson where a guy said if you were a downstreamer then v cup mouthpeices would be more effecient. Any truth to this?

This sounds like speculation and theory . . . I don't see how it could be based in fact.

[ I'm speculating that it's speculation! How do you like that? ]

As a IIIB downstream, Doc tried his best to steer me toward the smallest mouthpiece with the flattest rim I could possibly play. I went with a Schilke 13A4A for awhile, then played Doc's #2 ABS mouthpiece. As more of a small group jazz player, I was leaning toward less of a laser beam sound and more toward a rich, resonant sound at the time, and was actually achieving that on the smaller mouthpieces.

I remember Doc telling me that I had as much use for a huge mouthpiece as my grandmother, and that if anybody could get away with playing a huge mouthpiece, it would be an upstream player.

So after 14 years of playing valve trombone/bass trumpet as an upstream player (that's how Doc typed me on bass trumpet in 1981 or '82), when I came back to trumpet I could barely play on a Bach 1C because it now felt so tiny. I played a Bach 1B for a couple years, and was even playing lead on it, knowing the whole time that Doc would be rolling over in his grave.

Back to your question . . . I have no idea why any teacher would make a statement like that. The more I think about it, the more I believe that he was talking out of his exhaust pipe. All a V-cup is going to do to any player is make you sound more like a French Horn player . . . so why play a trumpet in the first place?

Rich
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hairy james
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Joined: 25 Aug 2002
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2002 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rich!

You are on fire dude! Looks like I'm not needed here any more!
As a guy who has spent thousands of dollars on mouthpieces I can tell you from experience that unless the V-cup is extremely shallow ( like Maynard's old Jet-Tone, or Rodger Ingram's special high note mouthpiece, the tripple zero) a V-cup will just darken your sound, and take the "highs" out of it. But hey, Rich already said that. See what I mean!

Doc believed that if you where going to be a commercial player that you should use the smallest mouthpiece that you could comfortably play on.

He said that a good commercial sound should be about 60 to 70% brillance and about 30 to 40% resonance. But that in the classical field those numbers should be reversed. He always said regarding sound ; "The punishment should fit the crime."

Chris
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walter
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Joined: 15 Nov 2001
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2002 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rich & Chris- Thanks for your insights and for your recollections about what Doc said. When I studied with Doc, I remember starting with one of his brass mouthpieces [terrible taste, and I don't remember the size, but probably about a 7C] then using a #4 plastic mouthpiece. I liked the sound of them at the time ... but then I was a big fan of Roger Voisin in the Boston Symphony. Voisin's sound was VERY bright and piercing.

I remember Doc advising that I should use the smallest mouthpiece that would allow me to get a loud enough sound. He also said that if I could get a double C on a small mouthpiece, I could get it on a bucket too.

At the time, I don't remember him giving advise on resonance [I like the word "core". Do you use the word that way?] versus brilliance [i.e. sizzle, flash, sheen, overtones?] Maybe I was too undeveloped for these concepts at the time, so I'm glad to hear your report of what Doc had to say.

Much of my playing has been orchestral, and I was first drawn to big 'pieces in order to stay on top of loud brass sections. Brass sections have gotten progressively louder during my lifetime ... the Chicago Symphony effect, I think. I soon found myself using a Bach 1, even when playing J.S. Bach parts. Doc was right: mouthpiece size doesn't seriously compromise range. Endurance is another matter; big equipment requires more air support, and that can be tiring.

Fortunately, I kept going back to Reinhardt exercises to develop endurance, to stay in shape, or to return from a hiatus away from the trumpet. My life has twisted and turned in many directions, and although I've spent as much as 6 months away from the horn at various times, Docs influence [or what I remember of it] has always served me well in climbing back up the mountain of regaining skills. May Doc occupy an honored place in heaven; or if he's in hell, may he have many cigars to comfort him. He was a big cigar smoker, for those of you who don't know.

Another thing I like about big mouthpieces [cup, throat, backbore, etc.] is that I can get a better orchestral sound on them than on smaller 'pieces. I know that my idea of "orchestral sound" is personal, and that many players like a crisper sound than what I go for; but having a sound that doesn't "open up"/"break apart" until playing really loudly allows me to move more freely around in different situations. I can play 2nd to other players, even when playing loudly, without dominating them; and I can ride on top of a brass section without sounding like I'm forcing the tone or screaming out loud.

I recently heard someone who uses an embouchure technique [whose advocates are sometimes sensitive to criticism] that seems to result in a very "commercial" sound. He was playing in an orchestral setting ... OK, it was a "pops" style orchestra. I felt that his timbre, which remained constant as he played various passages, limited his ability to shape the music in different directions.

It's interesting to me that trumpeter's in both small jazz groups and large orchestras often go for a similar sound: one with more core and less edge than I hear in other styles/venues of playing. Of course, this isn't 100% true, and there are some players who seem to work towards way too fundamental a sound ... like blowing into a bottle.

Well, I'm rambling now. What sounds do you people go for? How do you work towards it?
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PC
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2002 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Walter,

I'm also decidedly in love with big mouthpiece sound (playing a 1 1/2 B with drilled out cup, 22 throat and 24 backbore, it is almost complete raw brass by now) as it is the only sound I like in symphonic orchestra setting. I also used prior to that a Bach 1 and 1X. As you state, range-wise there is no difference between the mouthpieces I own (all the way to a small jet-tone I used for playing weddings), but if I am going to stay above the staff and need a brighter sound, it would kill me using the 1.5 B. I used to use it on natural trumpet but have now gone to a smaller baroque piece with great results, once you get past the first practices.

Can you share with us what type of endurance building exercises you use or if there is any underlying principle with DSR to specifically work on endurance (other methods use or prohibit long tones, tone bends, etc. what did DSR have you do as a specific big mouthpiece consumer)?

Did DSR specifically assign mouthpiece sizes to individual students or should you be able to play on anything once your lips are functioning as they should (only recently, since lip buzzing and starting sound with firm closed lips am I able to get away with very small sizes)?

Cheers,
Pierre.

[ This Message was edited by: PC on 2002-10-15 02:34 ]

[ This Message was edited by: PC on 2002-10-15 02:35 ]
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walter
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2002 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Pierre- While I studied with Doc I think that I always used his mouthpieces. He would match a particular mouthpiece to a particular trumpet by having me try out quite a few 'pieces ... probably a minimum of 12 mouthpieces. I went through a similar process with Phyllis Stork when I visited the Stork factory on my honeymoon. My wife bought a Stork 'piece for me as a wedding gift.

While with Reinhardt, I never used a particularly large mouthpiece. The biggest I used was his #6 plastic mouthpiece. Reinhardt told me that many players would use a larger plastic 'piece than one made of metal.

My conversion to large mouthpieces came subsequently to studying with Doc, but I remembered his injunction to use the smallest mouthpiece that would give the volume of tone required. I've probably moved away from Doc's advice, and therefore, please don't associate what I do with what Doc would have advised.

I don't think that Doc recommended particular exercises for endurance, but I found that both my range and endurance increased as I practiced his exercises. However, I noticed that the particular exercise that helped me more than any other single exercise was his Spiderweb Routine.

I eventually studied anatomy & physiology in a pursuit to become a chiropractor. While I was actively practicing chiropractic, I worked with many athletes and dancers, and I became interested in exercise physiology. I was strongly influenced by Dr. Fred Hattfield, a world champion weight lifter with a doctorate in exercise physiology. He, in turn, was strongly influenced by techniques developed in Soviet countries that helped them to develop great performances from their athletes. With the breakdown of the Soviet Union, much research was available to the rest of the world ... a world in which scientific study of exercise physiology was already developing.

I envisioned the possibility that much of what I'd learned from Hattfield's work, plus other things that I'd learned from studying experimental & learning psychology [in which I have my undergraduate degree] could be applied to brass playing. I am by no means talented at handling the tasks needed to put all of these ideas into practice; but I've slowly developed ways to take the knowledge of others and use this knowledge to pump up my own meager skills. Just think of what someone with talent and strong incentive could do!

As an example of modifications to Doc's routines [something that I've also done with the great master, Herbert L. Clarke]: Doc had me hold out the long tones in the Spiderweb 2 times, each for as long as I could hold them [then, about 15 seconds]. Hattfield, as an exercise physiologist, distinguishes between metabolic pathways that emphasize either anaerobic or aerobic energy production. Anaerobic pathways encourage the development of fast-twitch, white muscle fibers ... those which are used for short-term, very powerful muscle contraction. Aerobic pathways encourage the development of slow-twitch, red muscle fibers ... those which are used for long-lasting, but "weaker" muscle contraction. [NB: it's a little more complex than what I've written.]

Anaerobic pathways are short lasting, and if exercise activity lasts for longer periods, then aerobic energy production takes over; this will result in emphasis of slow-twitch, red fiber development. Unfortunately, as far as I currently know, this impedes fast-twitch, white fiber development. Again, this is oversimplification.

The practical application for this knowledge, particularly regarding the Spiderweb Routine, is that a player would be well to know how long to play the sustained [long] tones. In other words, how long is "long". What emphasizes range and what emphasizes endurance? Fortunately, the effects of emphasizing either one has some positive effect on the other. Your own experience with any type of exercise should confirm this.

Distinct anaerobic pathways diminish quickly. One drops off significantly within 6 - 10 seconds; another in about 30 seconds; and another is quickly taken over by aerobic energy production after ca. 90 seconds. Applying this information to particular exercises &/or to practicing techniques can optimize your practice time. A weightlifter can get more benefits from 20 minutes of wisely working out than he/she can from hours of inappropriate, time wasting putzing around.

Doc Reinhardt's approaches were really state-of-the-art. I have no doubt that this is because he approached his work with objectivity, honesty, and much hard work.

One last thing: Doc always emphasize the music over the technique ... at least with me. Once, I played a solo section from an upcoming concert that I was to play. When I played it, it sat on the floor dying an ugly death. Doc said that I should take up the tuba! Ouch! Later that week, I heard the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra while it was touring my area. The trumpeter played with very beautiful expression. I imitated his style, and all of a sudden, my phrasing of the solo I was to play sounded gorgeous. Doc always told me to listen, both to myself and to others. Technique simply opens the door to expression. If there's no ability to express, who cares how long or how high a trumpeter can play.

walter

[ This Message was edited by: walter on 2002-10-15 13:25 ]
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PC
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2002 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Walter for your reply!

I think that Doc was correct in advising to use the smallest piece that would give you the volume of tone you are after. This ties in well with my abandoning the Bach 1, as I get a good enough (indistinguishable) tone with the 1.5B.

Do you imply that trumpet-wise long practice or intense practice yield good results both on range and endurance?

What was Doc's take on practice sesions - how long? In small instalments or one big session? Favour loud or soft playing?
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