Tuning Triggers

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by GeordieSop, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. GeordieSop

    GeordieSop Member

    Tuning Triggers.... do people actually think these are beneficial?

    I only ask the question becuase i've been wanting a new cornet for a couple of years now and the only differences i can see is the tuning trigger.

    I currently play on a besson 928 and have no problems with at all and was seeing if it would actualy be beneficial to just have a custom tuning trigger added onto it?

    any thoughts?
  2. worzel

    worzel Member

    Are you aware of yourself lipping down the low Ds and C#s?
  3. GeordieSop

    GeordieSop Member

    yes actually, however it's mainly for my higher register being a bit sharp occasionally
  4. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Couldn`t function without mine. I use it all the time. I have been thinking of having a 1st valve tuning trigger fitted.
  5. When I was playing trumpet on the circus bands, I had a first valve trigger, and a third valve slide. It sure helped.
  6. worzel

    worzel Member

    I only ever used the 3rd valve trigger for low D and C# on my Sovereign 928, but then I didn't really have an upper range anyway, hence the move to horn :)
  7. Getzonica

    Getzonica Active Member

    One of my teacher tells me that you don't actually need them and that listening to others in a band situation will help you play them in tune.

    I have a first valve trigger on my cornet but I don't use it very much.
  8. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Then I'd say your music tacher is making a broad assumption that players are able to do something about it with their lips/embouchure. One might be a good player, but that doesn't mean that one is able to address that area well by adjusting ones embouchure.
  9. Getzonica

    Getzonica Active Member

    I understand what you're saying. I admit that i've never had a cornet with more than 1 trigger so I just don't tend to use it.

    My teacher keeps telling me how he knew someone who never got people to tune up (even if it was a group of children) because he said that you only need to listen to the people around you and you will adjust without tuning up. I think it does work up to a point - if you listen to everyone else you can sometime mannage to play in tune without triggers or even tunning up. This person believed you didn't need triggers (or 4th valves).

    He says a good way to work out how in tune you are is to play C major and then C# major.
  10. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    As a Bass player who for a good period had a sort of enforced move to something smaller, ie. a cornet; I had to lean on the trigger as much as I lean on crutches!

    Being so used to a 4th valve and a few variations on fingering gining problem free note production on pretty much most of an E flat tuba without so much as twiching a lip muscle; then on moving to the bottom of the cornet range (and of course that's where I started out, in the subterranean depths of playing 3rd!) it was PAINFULLY out of tune! It would have required a whole lot longer before I was lipping anything in or out of tune that much, to be of any use to ANY band! The AMOUNT of trigger needed always did amaze me though, being used to compensating instruments and 4th valves, it had never crossed my mind just how much the slides need to move to get a tuneful E flat or C sharp/D flat!!!

    As it was (because I was used to the 4th valve action) the 3rd valve slide & triggers on instruments became instantly second nature, and the only problems were being in tune with the other players who wouldn't know what a trigger was if it had beat them senseless!

    I now consider myself blessed as I am among those few Bass players who have experienced first hand just what it was like to be among the 4th section Band intonation problems, rather than just listening to them from the back of the band! :p

    PLEASE make sure your junior players know what these devices are for, we all know great players can work miracles with or without triggers, but at the rough end of the band, it's cruel to everyone with an ear to let them honk away so far out of tune - it's like listening to an original instruments/tuning Baroque Horn Concert! ;-)

    Only one problem the triggers produced for me... after reaching the heady height of Rep Cornet, I soon developed carpel tunnel syndrome - holding and operating the triggers no doubt helped that develop. The weight of a cornet coupled with the stress of moving the triggers at the same time just wreaked havoc with me - and I had to move on to ANYTHING without a left hand trigger, as the pain & numbness was too much! 4th valve operation on a big heavy tuba for decades was no problem, and still causes no problem; yet the weight of a cornet with a finger or two in a ring, or on a trigger (I was using both regularly on trumpet and a couple of cornets) and not much over a couple of years was all it took to wreck it!
  11. trombone-john

    trombone-john Member

    Don't 928s already have triggers?
  12. GeordieSop

    GeordieSop Member

    yes they do trombone-john however only 1st and 3rd triggers, i'm looking to remove the 1st trigger and move it (amend it) onto the main tuning slide
  13. Getzonica

    Getzonica Active Member

    I don't think you'll need one on the main tuning slide.
  14. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    Throwing my oar in, I'm friends with a wonderful lady in Australia (in her late 70s) who is principal cornet of a 3rd section band.

    She was born in Yorkshire and moved out when she was 14, a year after winning the slow melody at the open at belle vue and playing a solo under some top band of the time led by Harry Mortimer. She has a fantastic medal and an autograph book that would be a brass historian's dream.

    Not long after I met her the band she plays with gifted her a brand new Xeno, complete with triggers. She took one look and asked if they could be removed, but then realising it was more comfortable for her fingers decided to leave them in!

    Needless to say her tuning and intonation, even in her late 70s, is rarely short of stunning and no triggers have ever been used.

    Triggers are a useful tool but no substitute for control of airflow and embouchure. I know too many players who just jam down their third valve trigger on a low D and then proclaim 'it is in tune'.
  15. GeordieSop

    GeordieSop Member

    hi nethers, it's mainly for the upper register to be honest. My low notes are pretty much in tune all the time. it's just on the odd occasion that they are out... if i've been playing to much. the main problem is the tuning on the high notes sometimes sharp compared to the rest of the cornets and flat compared to soprano
  16. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    By all means buy a triggered instrument (you're not forced to use them!) I'm sure you're bright enough to use it to improve your playing rather than as a crutch to patch-up flawed technique.

    Also, you might want to skim through this on a slightly related topic: http://www.themouthpiece.com/vb/showthread.php?t=39088
  17. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Au contraire... There is a sound argument for having a single trigger on the main tuning slide rather than one on the 1st and one on the 3rd - because the airstream always passes through the main slide whereas it is not guaranteed to always pass through any valve slides. What do you do if your high G is sharp? Play it on 1+3 and trigger it? Lip it? Much better to be able to trigger the main slide... People resist the idea because it's not how it's done now on cornets, but it has clear advantages. One disadvantage is that you can't just leave it down between C#s, but if this is a problem, it could be combined with a third valve trigger.

    With respect to the words of your teacher as reported by you, hmm... The more valves you put down, the sharper you get. By the time you've got an untriggered 1+2+3 down for low C#, you're over a quarter-tone sharp (with respect to equal temperament). Yes, you can bend this down, but your tone quality will suffer, and extreme bending is extremely awkward to do within fast passages, which will end up being fast and out of tune... Much better to learn to use the trigger with the necessary precision - recommending otherwise smacks of being a Luddite...
    I must say that this is reminding me of a number of trombone players out there who take a pride in never using a thumb valve, instead playing all of their 6th and 7th position notes painfully sharp. It's a tool, it's there to help you - learn to use it properly!

    It sounds like your teacher has a bee in their bonnet about their own narrow take on how to play in tune, and is not very open-minded to other approaches... Are they skilled? Are you misinterpreting what they said?
  18. Kjata

    Kjata Member

    I have a prestige and love the main tuning trigger! My G's and B's are very sharp so with that I don't have to lip around too much, also when you get tired, certain notes change so the main trigger is incredibly useful!
    I would recommend them to anyone! ;)
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2009
  19. 007ish

    007ish Member

    I pose the question. If the more experienced of us who allow the blame to lie with the conductor for all tuning issues, but play instruments with seized tuning slides, inactive triggers and are ignorant of, or choose to ignore any tuning options available to us as players, are we not expecting the man in the middle to walk on water?
    In my opinion, it is surely part of our role as a player to know how all aspects of our instrument work. Too many players rely entirely on their conductor to spoon feed information on tuning and intonation, allowing their own tuning aid, their ears, to become redundant. Things like tuning slides, be they main, valve or part of a trigger mechanism, are an integral part of the instrument we play. I believe we as players have a much bigger responsibility to learn how to use these correctly, so enabling us to play in tune and with good intonation. Other tuning tools such as lipping of notes up and down and alternate fingering or slide positions are well within most players learning capability and should also be considered a basic requirement in the players’ tool box. In these days of internet resource and cheap electronic tuning aids these things can be easily self taught at home (shock horror). Every instrument is different and we should know our own instrument’s requirement regarding playing and tuning issues. What joy this would give any conductor.
    Conductors are rarely our personal tutors, usually only having time to offer generalisations on tuning and intonation as they take us through a rehearsal. Saying that, extra time can be given to individual needs during sectional rehearsals.
    I obviously have to accept that some players have never, nor will ever received basic guidance on tuning or intonation; some may have a Conductor that believes for example, that triggers are unnecessary ornamentation (why do manufactures invest all that money in development?) but is it insulting to suggest that we take steps to learn for ourselves? I do not want to give the impression that Conductors can walk away from their responsibilities for guiding and informing players regarding this evergreen issue but I obviously feel if we as players were to take more ownership of this part of our playing, along with a good sound and right notes, then overall we would all sound so much better for it in a very short space of time. IMO
  20. Despot

    Despot Member

    Tuning trigger - bit like the remote control for your TV - sure you could live without it, but why would you want to if you had the choice?

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