Suggestion for instrument manufacturers

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by bardsandwarriors, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. As I play in 2 bands - and currently depping for a 3rd - I have to tune my main slide differently for each band. To achieve this, I have a little piece of cardboard with the distances marked on it. But it's a bit silly really, and I keep forgetting to use it :p

    How about designing a mechanism for marking the positions on the main tuning slide, so you can easily adjust it before each practice? :tup:tup
  2. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    I've already got one of those - I call it a 2B pencil! ;)
  3. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - I heard somewhere that using your ears is quite good for judging tuning and intonation! ;)
  4. Do you draw lines on the slide that pulls out? Doesn't the vaesline rub them out?

    I fancy something like a little plastic rail, with a series of clips along it, which you can slide into the correct positions. Wouldn't that be more hi tech than your 2B pencil? :wink:
  5. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    It may well be more high tech, but what happens if someone moves one of your sliding clips? You'll be stuffed! ;) Timps have movable sliders and it is a great lark for brass players to move all of those during the break in rehearsals! :(

    The 2B pencil isn't fool-proof, but it's great for when you need to empty water out of your slides and put it back in the same place quickly! No substitute for listening to hear if you are in tune and compensating accordingly though.
  6. You make a reasonable argument for the use of a pencil, DaveR. However, I would still like a little plastic or metal rail, to play with when I'm bored.
  7. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    Surely the solution is to persuade Band B that they are playing out of tune, then just leave the slide in the same position as for Band A.

    It is possible to make light markings on a slide with a hacksaw blade, but be careful not to slice through.

    On the offchance that you are actually asking this as a serious question (something tells me that there is a serious tongue in cheek nature), use your ears and adjust it yourself - amazingly, instruments don't stay in tune if the tuning slide doesn't move.
  8. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    That can't be true of the old instruments - you must have a fancy modern one that doesn't stay in tune. I know loads of people who tuned up their instrument 40 years ago when it was new out of the factory and haven't touched a tuning slide since! If they are sounding out of tune, it must be everyone else fiddling with their slides that is wrong because it was in tune in 1966. :rolleyes:
  9. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - heheheheheh! Pull the other one, it's got bells on it! :clap:
  10. I will try your hacksaw idea, but I'm worried about hacking through the tubing and leaving the pieces dangling precariously. What measures should I take to avoid this? I have been walking around my home carrying my hacksaw, looking for things to saw with it.

    Yours etc.
    Curious, of Kent
  11. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    Dear Curious,

    Placing your little finger inside the slide before hacksawing should ensure lots of fun at the local A & E

    Yours etc.
    Incredulous of Edinburgh

    You could, of course, lightly score the slide with a pin. Or listen, and move the slide accordingly.

    But I find it a bit odd that band's tuning should differ much - surely both bands have 'untuneable' tuned percussion (e.g. a glock) that is tuned to A=440? So the bands would need to tune the brass to 440 as well? (Isn't that why there's a standard :confused: )
  12. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    Actually, (taking my tongue out of my cheek for a minute!) most glocks are tuned to A442 - I've never understood why, and it makes the glock sound pretty yucky when you play it. You can get glocks tuned to A440, but they are seemingly quite rare.
  13. Two of the bands are very relaxed and informal about tuning. One has percussion only for concerts; another is a small chamber group with no percussion, which tunes to one of the troms. So I have 3 slide positions, which I keep forgetting to use and end up thinking "mm, that's not right" about 5 minutes into the practice. It would be better if I had a method going, to get it right every time before starting. (ok, my idea about the rail and sliders is a serious idea, but dave's pencil method is good aswell; I would hesitate to use a pin, as the exact tuning might change over time, like chinese whispers).
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2006
  14. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    The exact tuning WILL change over time. There are lots of factors that influence tuning, ambient temperature being one. During the summer months, when it's hot, the heat will usually sharpen the instruments (not all at the same rate), therefore slides must come out to compensate. Sticking a mute in will also affect the tuning, requiring adjustment to main tuning slide (or triggering or whatever) for the period the mute is in.
    I wouldn't bother with your plastic gizmo. In my experience, any instrument maker who will be bothered to take time out of their daily activity that makes them most cash (i.e. make instruments) will charge you quite a large fee for this one off job.

    If the bands are relaxed and informal about tuning, why not suggest that they change this policy?
  15. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    It wouldn't take much effort for the Manufacturers to put 'tuning' marks on the slides etc while making them. ;)

    When I foolishly tried to play Flugel for a contest, I had a foolproof method for adjustment. I marked the position on the edge of the Test music! Genius.
    And what fool designed the flugel so that you had to move the tuning slide to put it back in it's case?
  16. but the same time that would require a player to play the same each day and make the tuneing always the same, shame its not really like that in the real world
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2006
  17. The slide could be calibrated like a ruler.:tup
  18. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    Transform your band.

    The difference between two instruments being perfectly in-tune and sounding like one instrument and being out of tune and sounding eye-watering is only a few Hz.

    Why not get together with just one other player from your band (same instrument) and spend some time just playing long sustained unison notes with them. Then try simple intervals like fifths and octaves. It's an eye-opener to both play the same note then one person hop up a fifth or an octave. That's why you can't just set and forget your tuning slide. All the time you play you adjust all the time. There's constant feedback between your ears and what comes out your bell. Try and track the note they're playing. You could do sectionals where you split your band into pairs and everyone practise playing unisons and tracking like this. If everyone in your band is used to tracking everyone else the whole time then it will improve your band sound immensely.

    And after a while you only have to 'think' sharper or flatter and the pitch moves.

    I spend ages on intonation. It's a way of thinking - makes you a complete musician.

  19. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Why not just a quick 30 seconds tune up with the player next to you??
  20. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    What would be the point of that? No two players will play the same note the same way on the same instrument. That's why the manufacturers have put SLIDES on their instruments, so each player can adjust the instrument to suit the tuning to the ensemble that they are playing with.

    As with everything else with brass instruments (or any other musical instrument), the playing and listening skills required for dealing with intonation and tuning related issues can only be obtained by practice. Tuning and Intonation is not something that you "set up" before you play, it's something that you "react to and adjust" as you play.

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