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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningBeginners and Returning Trombonists(Moderator: bhcordova) Comparing trombone playing to trumpet playing
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HeyPauly
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« on: Nov 19, 2011, 03:06PM »

Hi all,

I am learning trombone and trumpet at the same time (I must be a glutton for punishment), it seems that it may be easier to get a full range on the trombone than it is on the trumpet. Is this the case?
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David Gross
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« Reply #1 on: Nov 19, 2011, 09:13PM »

The main differences between the two is that with valves you have to lip some notes into tune but on trombone you are supposed to tune with the slide. That means you play trombone with a relaxed embouchure but you play trumpet with tension. Also, trombone music can have written pedal notes (common for bass trombone, rarely for tenor) but I don't know of any trumpet music that gets that low. Some jazz players can get up into the high trumpet range on trombone (not me :cry:), so the answer to your question might depend on what range you mean.
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dershem

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« Reply #2 on: Nov 19, 2011, 09:49PM »

My main instrument is trumpet, and yes, it takes a lot more 'chops' to play trumpet for any length of time than it does to play trombone.

A lot of this is because the notes are higher, which requires stronger embouchure muscles, and developing and maintain high chops takes more time and effort.

But it can pay off.  :)
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griffinben

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« Reply #3 on: Nov 19, 2011, 11:59PM »

Quote
My main instrument is trumpet, and yes, it takes a lot more 'chops' to play trumpet for any length of time than it does to play trombone.

A lot of this is because the notes are higher, which requires stronger embouchure muscles, and developing and maintain high chops takes more time and effort.

But it can pay off.  :)
The main differences between the two is that with valves you have to lip some notes into tune but on trombone you are supposed to tune with the slide. That means you play trombone with a relaxed embouchure but you play trumpet with tension. Also, trombone music can have written pedal notes (common for bass trombone, rarely for tenor) but I don't know of any trumpet music that gets that low. Some jazz players can get up into the high trumpet range on trombone (not me :cry:), so the answer to your question might depend on what range you mean.


Having played both trumpet and trombone professionally, I don't find either of the above statements to be entirely true.

Yes, there are the valves vs. the slide...and that does come with the need to adjust pitch with the lips more often on trumpet.  But the real issue is the balance of air and chops.

Trumpet requires a more focused embouchure than trombone...higher range, smaller aperture...but I don't think its requires MORE strength, just a different strength.  Think about it, how can lead players play all night, right along with trombone players?  How can we continue to play long gigs together without trumpet players falling down on the job?  If it is really more strength, then every trumpet player would look like their face was radically muscle bound every time the played.

It's really about finding the right balance of air and chop.  Specifically, on trumpet, the focus of the air in the oral cavity and manipulating it with the right kind of aperture.  These changes occur in a very small rim and cup (compared to trombone) so the focus changes are usually very minute, which requires greater balance and control.

For you, the trombone might present a more natural feel in both your facial structure and the way you breathe.  I know that the trombone always felt much more comfortable on my face than the trumpet did. 

I would work on air and chop focus on trumpet, and being aware of the difference of that air and aperture on both horns.  Its a tough double, but can be done with diligent work.  I wish you luck. 
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HeyPauly
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« Reply #4 on: Nov 20, 2011, 10:01AM »

Thanks for the replies everyone. Griffenben I think you have hit the nail on the head with what I am experiencing. The trombone feels natural on my lips while the trumpet is more of a struggle, especially if I miss a day or two. I'm debating given the time I have to practice whether I should drop trumpet for now and focus on trombone.
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griffinben

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« Reply #5 on: Nov 20, 2011, 11:50AM »

Thanks for the replies everyone. Griffenben I think you have hit the nail on the head with what I am experiencing. The trombone feels natural on my lips while the trumpet is more of a struggle, especially if I miss a day or two. I'm debating given the time I have to practice whether I should drop trumpet for now and focus on trombone.

I know that's why I eventually gave it up.  I spent time concentrating on trombone and went back to it and it was like I had lost almost everything.  I put the trumpet and flugel up on ebay and that was that.

If you do want to spend the time figuring it out (I don't know what your short or long term goals are), I would spend some time finding the right equipment on trumpet for you.  Chances are, you'll prefer something larger overall (unless you are really good at focusing your air).  A trumpet mouthpiece equivalent to a Bach 3C or larger might will probably help.  Something with a well defined inner rim (i.e. clear bite) too.  Get thee to a music store and play everything they have and use what works.  Or a trumpet player friend...most of them have lots of mouthpieces too.

Either way, I wish you luck.
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dershem

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« Reply #6 on: Nov 20, 2011, 09:54PM »

Trumpet requires a more focused embouchure than trombone...higher range, smaller aperture...but I don't think its requires MORE strength, just a different strength.  Think about it, how can lead players play all night, right along with trombone players?  How can we continue to play long gigs together without trumpet players falling down on the job?  If it is really more strength, then every trumpet player would look like their face was radically muscle bound every time the played.

You've never seen trumpet players with that weird thing on their lip?  it is very common in many of the bands I have played with.

Lead trumpet players play all night without wearing out by constant practice.  I have played with some heavyweight bands on trumpet, and even the great players get tired.  I have had conversations with Wayne Bergeron, Arturo Sandoval, Bobby Shew, Mic Gillette and many others on the subject, and ALL of them get tired.  We play through the night because that's the job.

But I can lay off any horn at all for 2 weeks and still play a 3 hours trombone gig without getting tired, where I can barely play above the staff on trumpet.

And that's after decades of getting a more balanced and efficient embouchure.

Trombone is like walking.  Trumpet is like running.  And playing lead is like sprinting.  And this is from someone who has made a living at all of them.  And it's why I don't play lead any more.  :)
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griffinben

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« Reply #7 on: Nov 21, 2011, 02:10AM »

You've never seen trumpet players with that weird thing on their lip?  it is very common in many of the bands I have played with.

Lead trumpet players play all night without wearing out by constant practice.  I have played with some heavyweight bands on trumpet, and even the great players get tired.  I have had conversations with Wayne Bergeron, Arturo Sandoval, Bobby Shew, Mic Gillette and many others on the subject, and ALL of them get tired.  We play through the night because that's the job.

But I can lay off any horn at all for 2 weeks and still play a 3 hours trombone gig without getting tired, where I can barely play above the staff on trumpet.

And that's after decades of getting a more balanced and efficient embouchure.

Trombone is like walking.  Trumpet is like running.  And playing lead is like sprinting.  And this is from someone who has made a living at all of them.  And it's why I don't play lead any more.  :)

I've seen trombone players with weird things on their lips.  It happens to some.  I have light marks myself.

No one is saying that anyone doesn't get tired, everyone does, just that if it's THAT much of a difference in strength, then one couldn't make it through an hour, let alone four of lead playing.  Based on my own conversations with great lead players with great endurance (Roger Ingram, Rob Slowick, Dave Trigg, Dan Urness...) they all talk about air and/or embouchure focus.  Not a single one has ever mentioned strength.  I find that very telling.

To whit, I know a young player that is a MONSTER lead player.  He's an engineer, practices rarely.  Picks up the horn and eats it up.  Dubba C's?  No problem.  He says the same thing, he learned to focus his air the right way in high school, and BOOM, there he is.

I do think some of this is also natural pre-disposition to play certain instruments.  Our facial structures do favor certain embouchure types.  While you and I certainly favor the trombone after a couple of weeks of playing, I know trumpet players that can barely get a sound out of a trombone.  C'est la vie!

I hope didn't think that I was saying that there doesn't have to be strength, there does.  But I think it's gymnast strength vs. body builder strength.  The ability to control one's own body very precisely vs. lifting massive weight.  I'd like to think the different instruments as more of a balancing act than different forms of running.  It gets more precise the higher you go up the range.

I think this is what I meant to point out.  In my experience, it seems dangerous to think of strength alone when playing any brass instrument.  Yes, we have to exercise our muscles, but we also have to remain lithe.  I also notice a difference when players seem to be thinking strong vs. thinking balanced and focused.  I was trying to tailor my responses to the original poster as a goal in his own future practice in balancing the two instruments.

Best,
Ben
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timothy42b
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« Reply #8 on: Nov 21, 2011, 04:25AM »

it seems that it may be easier to get a full range on the trombone than it is on the trumpet.

That's an interesting question.  What should we consider the full range on trombone?

Same as trumpet but one octave lower? 

If so, should all of us have double Bb, like all trumpet players should have a double C?  When I was in high school, none of us had more than a high Bb, and I'm not sure we knew the next octave could be played.  I think times have changed though. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #9 on: Nov 21, 2011, 04:40PM »

I think what Ben is saying makes a whole lot of sense.Brass playing,any brass instrument has much to do with how we balance and focus our air and chops(embouchure). I think the first thing is for a doubler to begin to analyze and understand the differences in intensity,more versus less in terms of air/chop balance.I personally think some people just naturally Get it so to speak,while others like myself have to work a little more diligently to find these balances.This is not just about being able to play on these instruments either.I have to really be careful of my airstream on trumpet.I if I play with what I think it should be airstream and chopwise, I get a very piercing,unmusical tone.If I use my brain and alter my approach, I can sound pretty decent with chops up to around high E to High G above high C.Now for the rub as far as I'm concerned for me.I also top out on trombone at about those same notes.Coincidence, I don't think so.I think the way I approach playing that my buzz,from years of playing has learned how to adjust to all the different mouthpieces.Not that I want to play gigs on all of them,but I'm pretty comfortable on all the trombones,trumpet,baritone,and in a pinch some tuba.There are people in this forum who do far more doubling than I personally would care to attempt.Hopefully they will chime in too.
Bob
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