Generating power

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Thirteen Ball, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    OK, this has bugged me for a long time.

    How do you generate power, without compromising quality?

    I've got decent tuning, a not too bad sound, and I've never really had too many major problems with note production (Though of course, it can always be better) and I've never had problems with control playing quietly.

    But whenever I try and push my double-forte and stretch my dynamic at the top, I find myself splitting and bursting every note. I could get a fair dynamic on Eb, but now I'm on BB I just can't control it.

    It's really starting to hamper my playing because I can't generate anywhere near they dynamic I need to balance up without completely compromising the quality.

    Anyone any tips for how to improve this?

    Edit: Yes, after 4 years, 4 months and nearly 1500 posts, 13 has FINALLY got a new avatar!
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2008
  2. MarkGillatt

    MarkGillatt Member

    I hit it harder ;-)
  3. Chunky

    Chunky Active Member

    Andi, been pondering this one myself so have been practising all the time using a practice mute. Already feeling the benefits when playing in rehearsals. (Mind you the neighbours appreciate the mute too!)
  4. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Cheers Chunky. I usually warm up with a mute in, just to get my lungs working.

    I only really decided to do something about it having spent saturday at a concert night with Tony "Tuba" Whittingham from Hepworth blowing in my ear... and making more noise on his own than the remaining three of us put together!

    Decided I REALLY had to do something about it then....
  5. Chunky

    Chunky Active Member

    No worries mate. Just keep practising with the mute and only take it out for rehearsals engagements etc. The resistance really works!
  6. MartinT

    MartinT Member

    Could be a case of finding the right mouthpiece. What did you use on Eb, and what are you using now?
  7. Cantonian

    Cantonian Active Member

    I would agree with all of the above but I always stress (as a sort of visualisation) that as the mouthpiece end of the instrument is much thinner than the bell end, air should be pushed through the instrument to fill every part of it rather than blowing a jet of air through the middle. i.e pushed rather than forced.

    Most people can blow loud but the best players blow big!
  8. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Our bass player recently changed to a Roger Webster Alliance mouthpiece. The increase in volume was immediate! (let's hope the trombones never buy any!)
  9. Tubby

    Tubby Member

    Plenty of air, loads of support and practise is what's needed, once you do that you will see the difference trust me.
  10. towse1972

    towse1972 Active Member

    bigger mouthpiece
  11. brassbandmaestro

    brassbandmaestro Active Member

    Roger Webster Alliance. whats the price. currently Ive a Denis Wick 3L, which i bought recenlty but dont think its thew right one for me really.
  12. Super Ph

    Super Ph Member

    it might seem obvious, but doing some home practice wouldn't go amiss.
  13. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    And always concentrate on making the best sound you can, if the quality goes inch back the volume a touch,and just keep trying to increase it by tiny amounts. But quality is far better than quantity in my book. Practice is the answer.
    One to one lessons with a really good teacher would help.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2008
  14. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I have found that actually using my asthma inhalers instead of leaving them in the box helps.
  15. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    Can I borrow one Mike? A little extra power would definately come in handy :D
  16. sudcornet

    sudcornet Member


    Get that belly forward.

    Practice huge breaths and very long, low notes, very quiet.
    Have control of the breath and the big sounds will follow.
    Keeping the upper body "open" through diaphragmatic breathing helps the sound. If the upper body is constricted by breathing with just chest expansion the sound can be thin and harsh as you get louder.

    Works for me.

  17. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Thanks for the advice everyone.

    I know loads of air is a good way to generate a big sound - perhaps I wasn't clear about it in my early post.

    I'm not sure that air is my problem. The problem is when I try to stick more air down the instrument, my note producion goes completely and the note doesn;t have any proper sound to it - so I don't know whether it's breathing or embouchoure that's the main issue.

    In answer to the question about mouthpieces, I was on a Vincent Bach 24AW on Eb bass, which I found to be too narrow for BB work, so after trying a Dennis Wick 1XL which I didn;t get on with, and a Bach 18 which was better but still not right, I'm now on a Perantucci PT50+.
  18. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    There's really only one meaningful answer that can be given over the internet - get yourself a lesson with a pro. For the price of a new mouthpiece, they'll look at what you're doing, and tell you the solution.
  19. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

  20. sudcornet

    sudcornet Member

    what they said