Strange buzzing sound when playing quietly

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Nuh Bell, Dec 28, 2017.

  1. Nuh Bell

    Nuh Bell Member

    Can anyone help? A player in our band (sop) has developed a strange buzzing sound when he plays high and quietly. He is a brilliant player, but this is starting to significantly reduce his confidence. He split his lip in the summer, and this might be related. Has anyone else ever had this, and do you have any tips for removing the buzz, which is an octave lower than the note being played? Thank you in advance.
  2. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Definitely the player and not the instrument?
  3. Nuh Bell

    Nuh Bell Member

    Yes, I'm pretty sure it isn't the instrument.
  4. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    This has happened to me in the past (although I appreciate my symptoms may have been different as it's difficult to say from a description). The 2 things that helped were ensuring my lips were wet and that the corners of my mouth were tight and not leaking air.
  5. Nuh Bell

    Nuh Bell Member

    Thank you. I will pass this on.
  6. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    This is good general advice - most players play better with moist lips (not wet to the point you're skating, but not dry).

    Corners firm, but not tense, is also something that makes most play better... Sometimes thinking about firming up can lead to tension - doing strength building exercises (lip flexibilities, pencil exercise, etc) can lead you to needing to think less about things like this (in the same way that you're less likely to put your back out lifting something if you're stronger to begin with).
    But! Overworking is bad - you have to work within your capabilities, if you overwork you'll just wind up never getting back to fresh, come to rely on bad habits and things can get worse rather than better... Build up, don't break down

    I only experienced this very, very briefly on an "off" day and it didn't reappear the next day.
    Nuh Bell likes this.
  7. pbirch

    pbirch Active Member

    This is one of those things for which an Internet forum is really of little help. Advice is quite general and usually not from anyone truly qualified to help. Your friend needs to get face to face professional advice-and bear in mind that the fee will be worth it
  8. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    I disagree. If a suggestion offered here works, why part with money just to be told the same from an expert (especially bearing in mind that there are several experts on this forum)?
    There are far more important things to spend money on and it would need to be a last resort for me to pay for someone to POSSIBLY help. There's every liklihood the expert will 'research' the solution online.
  9. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    There's truth in both your and PBirch's posts.

    The generic advice is often given for a reason - it might help, but it certainly won't do any harm...
    Lots of players don't do lessons for one reason or another (money, pride, etc) - if someone won't/can't take lessons, then suggesting things that might help is better than them getting no help at all.

    PBirch is correct that a serious teacher (this rules out an awful lot) can see the student, detect the problem and help to fix it directly... And much more quickly than self-instruction and internet advice would.

    Just my 2p
    4th Cornet likes this.
  10. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    I totally agree with this. My objection to PBirch's post is that it seemed to suggest that unless you can afford expert advice, you might as well accept and live with the problem.
  11. Mello

    Mello Active Member

    Just a suggestion: having come across this a number of times. Whilst folk say tighten up the corner the lips , not many say how.
    A little tip that has worked is to get a little strip of thin card ( Cig packet thickness). tear of a small section and fold to make a doubled up piece , about an inch and a half long and 1/4 inch wide. and fold it in the middle - into a U or V shape . Place the U end into the corner of the lip. Do the same thing again for the other side of the mouth , so you end up with two open ended sections sticking out of each corner of your lips.
    Then form your embouchure and place your M/piece ( in instrument ) onto your chops and begin to play as normal - with the lip corners holding the paper strips in place. Start fairly quietly and mid range to begin.

    So you are actually playing at the same time as holding the folded cards in the corners of your lips. Playing mid to low register is recommended as a starting point cos the lips are slack ( comparative to high register ) but the lip corners have to grip the cards.
    The card strips will try to open your lip corners , so you have to tighten them to resist. That will help in most cases of slack chops. Sounds daft but its a serious subject .
    Obviously don't make the strips too wide ....else your embouchure cannot form properly . Don't use paper as when it gets wet it is useless . I don't smoke so used any card that had a shiny side box , such as ta paracetamol box, or toothpaste box etc. As long as it is thin card , and strong enough to 'spring ' when doubled into the U or V shape. .
    Worth a try .....and use in moderation ....Good luck .
    Only a suggestion , in good faith .
  12. pbirch

    pbirch Active Member

    That is not what I said. We cannot really diagnose the problem from a second hand report and I am sure the you cannot assure the player that the solution to your previous problem will sort out his. we don't know how he split his lip, whether there is significant muscle or dental damage that is contributing to his issue, hence my suggestion of seeking professional advice. I certainly object to your suggestion that I suggested one should live with problem if you can't afford expert advice, again which is not what I said, and I am the last person to say how anyone else should spend their money, but I did say it would be worth it, and maybe there is a case for the band helping with the cost
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  13. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    I interpreted your comment to mean that you thought there is no point seeking ideas from an internet forum or other similar means. I'm now clear from your response that I misunderstood your point. My apologies.
    Slider1 likes this.
  14. pbirch

    pbirch Active Member

    No need for apologies, I am sure that we all feel great sympathy for such a player and want to do the best for him. My suggestion is based on the fact that I have no experience of this problem and that it is what I would do if it was me
    Slider1 likes this.
  15. AMbrass1

    AMbrass1 New Member

    Are you sure it's not the instrument? Spring touching the side of the valve can buzz. Best to see if it happens with all valves down thus springs compressed. If the buzzing remains then likely not the instrument. The only other thought, I assume the screws have been checked and tightened on the water key and don't forget the lyre screw.
  16. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    Suggest he has his instrument checked over by a good tech to make sure that all is ok with it...then if problem persists then imho he would be well advised to have a lesson with a good pro trumpet player..... This will serve two things, first find an answer to the issue and secondly help bolster confidence and allow the player concerned to get back to the high standard you say he has played at.
  17. David Broad

    David Broad Member

    Surely the first thing to check is the instrument by substitution, borrow another sop, just drop in your local dealer and try one, or any cornet really. If t still buzzes it is a player thing. If not check the original instrument because it could be a sprung tube/ failed solder joint, if you can't see anything wrong but the fault does not occur when playing for instance a new Sop then trade the old one in and get another. Its not one of those old Sovereign Sops with the up in the air tuning slide is it? They are a buzz waiting to happen if the slide comes a bit loose.
    I had a similar buzz issue, more an overtone than a buzz, when I had tooth work done and insufficient gap was left between my front teeth, it resolved itself when the offending tooth broke off

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