New would be cornet player

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Douglas Sewell, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Douglas Sewell

    Douglas Sewell New Member

    Hello all. Reaching age 77 in April and have always had an interest in musical instruments.
    Looking to buy a used cornet for my sins and currently practising "buzzing" on a 7C mouthpiece.
    Good days and bad days is my usual story and as I live in an isolated part of Scotland I have to be self taught through the wonderful internet. As at my age I am a denture wearer my embouchure is affected and I am usually better at buzzing with no teeth. Heaven knows what folks round here think when I walk the tracks buzzing away in my style but hey it is enjoyable and my breathing gets better. Not much cash but any ideas as to where I could get an old playable or repairable cornet (good with my hands) from? Can't wait to go off in the hills playing a good march and terrifying the sheep and rabbits, not to forgett the odd deer. Great forum by the way.
    Suzi Q likes this.
  2. Douglas Sewell

    Douglas Sewell New Member

    Thanks for the trophy on my first message. What encouragement to get cracking.
  3. julian

    julian Active Member

    Good luck with your hunt for a cornet - enjoy making music and don't worry about the sheep and rabbits!
    As for the breathing, many people benefit from playing wind instruments, especially those suffering from asthma or similar conditions.
  4. Douglas Sewell

    Douglas Sewell New Member

    Thanks Julian. I am imagining standing on top the nearest high ground and playing "Over the hill to Skye" and the "Last Post " at the Commando monument in their ww2 training ground.A way To go yet!

  5. Repman

    Repman New Member

    Welcome, i seem to recall a post somewhere from a slightly mature gent who gave up in his 60s owing to dentures, but then found a new dentist when he was in his 70s who said he just needed the right denture, and he did. wish i could find it but worth some research. Best of luck!
  6. Repman

    Repman New Member

    Found it, from oldbiker - "Hi Ger, I played till I was 57 when I lost my top teeth. At 76 a new dentist told me he could make me a denture that would allow me to play again so I re-joined my old band and returned to playing Bb at first and then went back onto sop. I am now 89 and still playing regularly.
    Like you It was a bit hard at first although I now find top B's and C's that used to be easy, are not reliable I am fairly safe on A's and perhaps when I reach 90 they will get easier. LOL Keep going and enjoy."
  7. Douglas Sewell

    Douglas Sewell New Member

    No sympathy from my dentist and no others within 150 miles. Persevering with empty guns and can manage quite a bit and certainly from C to C with some cracking. Lip placement on mouthpiece I find is important, but wondering whether a larger mouthpiece would help. Using a 7C but I'll perhaps send for something that is wider on my lips, say a 3C. Maybe make a wooden one on my lathe?
  8. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the forum and good luck with your playing. I’m pleased to say that playing in your late seventies isn’t unusual at all and I know a few players who are in there mid eighties and still going strong - you don’t stop playing when you get old, you get old when you stop playing.

    I use eBay to buy and sell instruments and you might find something on pre-loved too. If you are on face book then I believe that there is a second hand instrument market there, someone else might supply more details. Normally a band would supply an instrument to its members, on the off chance that there is a group not too far away have a look at this map : Brass Bands Map - Brass Band Results . That aside it is really helpful to play with other musicians, if that is at all possible, so seek out what you can even if they aren’t all brass players.

    I’m not a Cornet player and don’t know your budget so can’t be that useful recommending a brand or model. Other people will likely think differently but IMHO Yamaha instruments are hard to beat, Jupiter’s work and are good value, the Besson student models are fine too. One of my friends has a B&H Regent II Cornet (an older student line instrument) and I thought it a great player.

    The internet can be a great teaching aid. I found the Teach yourself Cornet books a great help, I think that there’s two books in that series and the original versions are sometimes for sale on eBay. If you just want tunes to play then the Winners Series books published by BrassWind are great.

    Good luck and all the best,
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  9. Douglas Sewell

    Douglas Sewell New Member

    Just found an old Rudall Carter & Co cornet for sale for £25. Year appears about 1945 or so. Paying p&p on top so looking forward to getting it here. All brass and needs a polish but everything works. Cannot go wrong at price. Better half not too happy so will have to practice at end of base with a old sock in the bell.
    Thanks for your interest.

    Suzi Q likes this.
  10. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately you can go wrong there. Some older instruments were made to play at a slightly higher pitch than is used today, virtually all of them where converted to ‘modern pitch’ by adding addition tubing to them but that still leaves a few that weren’t. For £25 you don’t get much and what you do get will likely be badly worn, some repair work and servicing will help but don’t expect too much. Sorry if that’s not encouraging and I hope that my predictions don’t prove to be the case.
  11. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Re. wooden mouthpieces; you may find the links below helpful, Douglas. I've just checked both websites, and both are still in business:-


    The Perfect Wood Trumpet Mouthpieces

    Jeu Naturel is in France, and the Perfect Wood in Canada, so the costs of shipping and import duties from Canada have to be allowed for. If you'd like a player's impressions, Mesmerist has one from Jeu Naturel, and is very taken with it; here's the link to her posts on the subject:

    Hope this helps, and best regards,


    PS - re. the point made by Julian, above, regarding playing wind instruments being good for breathing problems; a couple of years back, I had a quad heart by-pass operation. Afterwards, the physios stressed the importance of regular deep breathing exercises to help with recovery, and I discussed my playing baritone with them. Once I'd explained that vigorous use of the diaphragm is essential, both physios said they could hardly imagine anything more helpful, and strongly advised me to get back into playing as soon as possible, and to keep playing as long as I was physically able to do so.

    One of the physios said to me that I was the first patient she could recall who actually knew how to breathe using the diaphragm, and, in fact she said she usually has to tell patients where it is and what it's for! She also said (as did my GP) that she would be advising post heart-op patients to actually take up playing to help with their recovery!
  12. Douglas Sewell

    Douglas Sewell New Member

    Thanks all for your valuable advice. No cornet yet but getting plenty of practise on 7c mouthpiece. Funny how it is that I can play the whole of the French National Anthem quite well hitting every note but my Last Post and Reveille (especially) result in difficulties with notes. Mouthpiece placement with dentures works best with more over the bottom lip than the top which is a reverse of other advice I have seen. Working on diaphragm breathing.
  13. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Mouthpiece placement is a personal thing regardless - we all have different lips (and teeth) and the mouthpiece position varies by player... if you're able to buzz some little tunes on the mouthpiece already then that's an excellent start, and the odds are wherever you're putting the mouthpiece for that is probably a good place to start - this is definitely not something to worry about (especially in the early days), let it go where it wants and work on the breathing and on sound production.

    Best of luck :)
    Jack E and Suzi Q like this.
  14. Queeg2000

    Queeg2000 Member

    Firstly good luck with self teaching the cornet. From someone who has taught kids to play, trying to learn from YouTube videos is going to be a big task. Maybe you could find someone to help out via Skype?

    It's going to be really tough without someone to point out your mistakes, you could invent a whole new way of playing, but I wish you good luck.

    A 7c mouthpiece is what is normally used for kids and comes with an entry level cornet. You might be better with a 3c which is more common for older players (personally I find a 3c a real lip killer, though my range is improved using a 3c)

    Experience with youth and junior bands has shown that the cheap Odyssey and Sonata cornets used by a lot of training bands are quite acceptable quality and good value. You're not going to be playing one for Black Dyke, but perfectly adequate for learning. You can pick these up for about £100 or less, and often come with accessories too. If you have a bigger budget, a used Jupiter or Yamaha is a better cornet.

    You would certainly benefit from a tuner, though remember most tuners are in concert pitch, so your C natural will register a Bb (or A#)

    Is a beginner, pitch is the biggest problem you face and without anyone to pick up on errors, a tuner will be a help. Similarly, a metronome. Fortunately, mobile phone apps are available for free to fulfill both these duties, though there's nothing quite like the clicking of a traditional metronome.
  15. Douglas Sewell

    Douglas Sewell New Member

    Thank you all for the priceless advice. Cornet has a John Ridgeon 3M mouthpiece although I also have a sonata 4C. Managing up to high G and C but after playing these notes two or three times I find I can no longer play them again and just make a noise like a bagpipe (perhaps I take up playing the pipes?). Down to embouchure and plenty practise I think. Just bought a cheap Chinese 7C mp. Unbelievable rubbish. Smaller in cup diameter and rim than my better quality 7C trumpet mp with which I practice my buzzing. Perhaps a better quality 7C should have been my choice. Falling into the mouthpiece fever trap before I can even play a good range of notes. Very naughty. However any recommendations would be appreciated.
    Thanks again

  16. Queeg2000

    Queeg2000 Member

    I've found the Gewa mouthpieces to be great value for money. Apparently a copy of the Bach and designed by an ex Bach employee. I've seen nothing but good reviews of them, some comparing them as a Bach but better made.

    I previously purchased them via ebay from Crackerjack music in Cornwall, but they seem to have stopped trading. The Gewa mouthpieces are available on Amazon and eBay still, for about £20.

    Cheap Chinese mouthpieces are a waste of brass.
  17. Douglas Sewell

    Douglas Sewell New Member

    Just bought a Gewa 7C mouthpiece and what a difference. Playing Last Post, Reveille and Charlie Reveille easily now , that is until I visited dentist today. Result - Scale and polish and 4 fillings. Dentures fit better, but now unable to hit high C and G. Tuning cornet with slides helps a little but cannot reach these notes with any certainty.
    It is like starting again so very dissappointed. Persevere seems to be the name of the game again.
    Jack E likes this.

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