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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningPractice Room(Moderator: blast) [Help]Extremely flat in low register
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ImpeccableWaffle
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« on: Jan 08, 2018, 06:50PM »

Hi, I'm a sophmore euphonium player who is having EXTREME difficulty getting my low register in tune. In our competition piece for band, we are required to play low notes, which is hard for me to get in tune. I'm so flat my tuner is registering the notes as a half step below. Music ranges from C to low F and I need to be able to get the notes at least SOMEWHAT in tune.  I play on a King 2280, and my main tuning slide is pushed all the way in, while I still play flat. Does anyone have any recommendations on what to do?
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #1 on: Jan 08, 2018, 07:04PM »

What mouthpiece are you using, and how far does it go into the receiver?
Do you play other instruments or is this horn all you play?
Have other players tried this horn to see if it's the same problem for them?
Have you tried other horns to see if it's you or the horn?
What low notes specifically are you talking about?
How does it play above that range?

It's either you, or the horn.   Maybe it has a leak.  Maybe the valves are worn.  Maybe the mouthpiece doesn't fit correctly.
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ImpeccableWaffle
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« Reply #2 on: Jan 08, 2018, 07:22PM »

What mouthpiece are you using, and how far does it go into the receiver?

My mouthpiece simply says "Marcellus". It came with the horn. It is relatively larger than some of the other unused euphonium mouthpieces at my school as far as the shank's diameter.

Do you play other instruments or is this horn all you play?

This is the only horn I play.

Have other players tried this horn to see if it's the same problem for them?

No, but I will ask my friend (who has the same horn) to try it out. His low register is also slightly flat on his as well.

Have you tried other horns to see if it's you or the horn?

I'll be trying that tomorrow.

What low notes specifically are you talking about?

A flat, f, g.

How does it play above that range?

Generally in tune. middle f is about 10 cents sharp. middle d is about 15 cents flat. High f is about 25 cents sharp, high b flat is in tune.

It's either you, or the horn.   Maybe it has a leak.  Maybe the valves are worn.  Maybe the mouthpiece doesn't fit correctly.

The horn was bought 1 year ago. Not owned my myself because it is a school horn. The spit leaks sometimes onto my shorts randomly, although I don't know where from and I don't believe from an actual spit valve!
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BGuttman
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« Reply #3 on: Jan 08, 2018, 07:42PM »

I have the Conn 19I which is the same horn with a different name on the bell.

First, the 3rd valve tuning slide is on a spring.  It's intended as a sort of intonation adjusting device.  I find the 3rd valve slide must be pulled at least 1/2 inch for the thing to be in tune.  If the spring is too much of a bother, have your BD remove the spring from the valve (it hooks onto a button on the tuning slide and will jump back into a guard tube) and leave the slide out the 1/2 inch (that's what I did).

Second, you should be using the 4th valve instead of 1-3.  Tune the 4th valve so it is in tune on F.  Make 3 a little flat to 1-2 so that 2-3 is more in tune (otherwise it's quite sharp, but certainly less than 1/2 step).  I use the lower crook to tune the 4th valve.  It should come out quite far -- maybe over 2 inches.  I use the upward facing crook for draining the valve.

There are 3 water keys: the main one on the tuning slide (which I find is nearly useless), one on the 1st valve tuning slide (I use this one the most), and one on the 3rd valve tuning slide.  I find that when I drain the main water key I get stuff on the bottom bow of the horn and all over my pants.  Wear dark if you are worried about appearances, or put a towel on your lap.  I also have to pull the 2nd valve tuning slide to drain moisture all the time.

The Marcellus is about a 5G in size.  I found a bass trombone mouthpiece worked best for me (but I'm a bass trombone player).  Then again, if you are finding the horn flat I'd hesitate to try something bigger.

Good luck.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #4 on: Jan 08, 2018, 07:52PM »

How long have you used this mouthpiece?

Before you came to use this mouthpiece, what mouthpiece did you use?

And how in tune is the middle Ab and G?
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« Reply #5 on: Jan 08, 2018, 08:06PM »

The one important question you didn't answer is:  How far does the mouthpiece go into the receiver?

The Marcellus is a large shank mouthpiece, maybe with a slightly nonstandard taper because it was made for Benge trombones that were not always exactly standard.  (I know that mouthpiece, I was studying with Marcellus at the time those were made)

The euphonium you're playing may have a receiver that doesn't match the mouthpiece's shank correctly.  I suspect that's the real problem.  Plus something is leaking, so you may have two different causes.

How far does the mouthpiece shank go into the receiver?
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ImpeccableWaffle
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« Reply #6 on: Jan 08, 2018, 08:34PM »

Unfortunately I won't be allowed to modify the horn in any way. I have already tuned how you said to do, minus 3rd valve which was already flat for me. I do use 4 instead of 2 and 3. 2nd valve is very slightly pulled out and 4th valve is about an inch. I do get the main valve emptying water onto the actual horn, but that isn't the source of the leak unfortunately. Thank you for the help though!

I've used this mouthpiece for a year and a couple months. I never switch my mouthpieces because it is the only one that fits the horn lol. Before this mouthpiece I used a 6 1/2 AL. Middle a flat is slightly flat which I lip in tune and g is in tune for me.

The mouthpiece goes in 1.25 inches into the receiver. My bad for the missed question.

Thank you all for your help.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #7 on: Jan 08, 2018, 09:27PM »

I hope you understand the fingerings with 4 valves:

F or Bb  no valves
E or A 2nd valve
Eb or Ab  b 1st valve
D or G    1st and 2nd valves
Db or Gb b 2nd and 3rd valves
C or F 4th valve
B or E 2nd and 4th valves
Eb b 1st and 4th valves
8va basso: 3rd and 4th valves
8va basso: all valves

There's really no good combination for low Db.  I think that's what the 3rd valve spring was supposed to help.

If you already know this, please forgive me.  I'm just trying to make sure all the bases are covered.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #8 on: Jan 08, 2018, 10:29PM »

Low Db should be almost perfect with 1 3 4. Low D should be 2 3 4.
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« Reply #9 on: Jan 09, 2018, 12:02AM »

I hope you understand the fingerings with 4 valves:

F or Bb  no valves
E or A 2nd valve
Eb or Ab  b 1st valve
D or G    1st and 2nd valves
Db or Gb b 2nd and 3rd valves
C or F 4th valve
B or E 2nd and 4th valves
Eb b 1st and 4th valves
8va basso: 3rd and 4th valves
8va basso: all valves

There's really no good combination for low Db.  I think that's what the 3rd valve spring was supposed to help.

If you already know this, please forgive me.  I'm just trying to make sure all the bases are covered.
One thing that might confuse the issue with what you've shown here BGuttman is that in some instances(at least in my experience), Euphonium parts are written in Treble Clef, certainly in Brass Band settings. Hopefully ImpeccableWaffle(Fantastic name btw!) knows both.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #10 on: Jan 09, 2018, 06:16AM »

His original post indicated bass clef.  American Euph players learn in Bass Clef.  I've actually met many who can't read treble (even though I can).
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #11 on: Jan 09, 2018, 12:39PM »

His original post indicated bass clef.  American Euph players learn in Bass Clef.  I've actually met many who can't read treble (even though I can).
That's a question I've had for a while, but never had the opportunity to ask.
In our Australian Brass Bands, apart from the Bass Trom part, everything else is written in Treble Clef. Only other instrument that would have Bass Clef would be the percussion sections Xylophone/Glock etc.
All of us trom players can read both Treble and Bass clefs, and it's pretty rare for us to come across Tenor Clef, and I haven't seen Alto yet.
Seems unusual that it changes depending on your regional location.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #12 on: Jan 09, 2018, 12:48PM »

It changes depending on what type of music you play.

Brass Bands have traditionally been transposed treble.

Jazz Bands generally use bass clef, even if the lead trombone part needs 6 or 7 ledger lines.

Concert bands have traditionally been bass (at least since World War II).  British music will sometimes use tenor clef.

Symphony orchestra music generally uses bass, tenor, and alto clef. 

Some Strauss music (Richard) uses a transposed bass clef for the Tenor Tuba part.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #13 on: Jan 09, 2018, 01:07PM »

Every American wind ensemble I've played with provided euph parts in both bass and treble.  If there were two of us I played whatever the other person didn't.  Even back then my vision required not sharing a stand. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #14 on: Jan 19, 2018, 09:26AM »

The offstage trombone parts for Pines of Rome are in Bb transposed bass clef. It's because they technically are a bass buccina part.

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« Reply #15 on: Jan 19, 2018, 10:37AM »

I've used this mouthpiece for a year and a couple months. I never switch my mouthpieces because it is the only one that fits the horn lol. Before this mouthpiece I used a 6 1/2 AL. Middle a flat is slightly flat which I lip in tune and g is in tune for me.

The mouthpiece goes in 1.25 inches into the receiver. My bad for the missed question.

As a euphoniumist, I'm going to echo Doug Elliott's take: there's a mismatch between the shank and the receiver. Yes, the Marcellus fits INTO the receiver, but it doesn't FIT the receiver. (FWIW, from the factory, 2280s come with a large shank 6 1/2AL.) From your comment about the Marcellus shank being slightly larger than the shanks on your school's other mouthpieces, I suspect they're small shank, which is why they don't fit the 2280. Get ahold of a large shank mpc (first choice) or a small-to-large shank adapter and see if the tuning improves.

On the issue of tuning, King used to (and maybe still does) include a brochure with the 2280 that suggested a number of different tunings for the 4th valve register.

Fourth valve in F:  You play this just like any other non-compensating euphonium with the fourth valve tuned so C and F are in tune.  The low Eb 1-2-4 will be off, but the other notes, especially low Db and C, can be right on by throwing the third slide trigger (T).

F   4
E   2-4  or 1-2-3T
Eb 1-2-4   it's a bit flat
D   2-3-4
Db 1-3-4T
C   1-2-3-4T
B    (not playable)
 
Fourth valve in flat F: lower fourth slide pulled about 3".

F   1-3T
E   1-2-3T
Eb 1-4
D   1-2-4
Db 2-3-4T  or  1-3-4
C   1-3-4T+  or  1-2-3-4
B    1-2-3-4 (lip down)

There are a few drawbacks to this setup. The main one is avoiding the use of the fourth valve by itself, since it's no longer in tune with anything. The other is that you'll need to use the trigger. For all 1-3 and 1-2-3 notes you'll need to pull the trigger, as the third slide can't be left out a bit longer to compensate.  The last drawback is that some of the patterns become awkward in the low range, e.g.:

Eb 1-4
F   1-3
G   1-2 (3)
Eb 1-4
D   1-2-4
Eb 1-4
F   1-3
D   1-2-4
Eb 1-4

Fourth valve in E: swap the two F slide crooks (long on top and short on bottom) and insert them all the way.

F   1-3T
E   4
Eb 2-4
D  1-4
Db 1-2-4  or 3-4(T)
C   1-3-4
B   1-2-3-4T

One drawback to this E setup is the long slide pull. If you have the long fourth slide on the bottom pulled out, it may fall out.  If you reverse the slides so the long pull is on top, you can no longer set the horn down on its bell: the slide sticks out above the bell.  Forget this and you have a big dent in your fourth slide crook. Another, larger, drawback is the completely different fingering pattern in the low range. It can be learned in short order, and it matches some bass trombone in E positions, but it's not a natural pattern.

Fourth valve in Eb: swap the fourth slides (long on top, short on bottom) and pull them to their extremes.

F   1-3T
E   1-2-3T
Eb 4
D   2-4
Db 1-2-4
C   2-3-4
B   1-2-3-4

As with the 4th valve in E, it's a different fingering pattern than the standard pattern, and you can't longer set the horn down on its bell due to the long 4th valve slide sticking above the bell.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #16 on: Jan 19, 2018, 11:07AM »

As the owner of a Conn 19I (King 2280 with a different name) bought new, mine came with a large shank Marcellus mouthpiece.  I didn't like how it played.  I replaced it with a Warburton 3B/3 (2 piece) setup.  Much better.

I'm a little confused about your "E valve".  Is there some kind of stop that prevents you from putting the large slide all the way in?
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #17 on: Jan 19, 2018, 11:33AM »

I actually think it sounds more like a major leak or worn valves.
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