Who's moved top A?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by bandoboyo, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. bandoboyo

    bandoboyo New Member


    Been doing a lot of blowing of late and someone seems to have moved top A.

    I'm a cornet player using a 928 Soverign and a 4RW mouthpiece. I've always found top A a mucky and temporamental little git but just wondered if someone sensible out there knows why he's harder than notes either side to pin down.

    Monsieur Arban has prescribed a course of Exercises on the Diminshed Seventh as a cure and provided a stern talking to and told me to stand in the corner until I get a grip but other advice would be appreciated.
  2. _si

    _si Member

    my advice would be try playing it on 3rd valve, its easier to keep in tune and easy to hit too i think.
  3. tpcornet12

    tpcornet12 Member

    I always use 3rd valve for top A as mentioned above. Also, try How Brass Players Do It by John Ridgeon (I think) to practice alongside your Arban. You might find yourself using 2nd valve for a A every now and again which is a rather strange experience :-?
  4. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    I nearly always use 2nd A - for ME it's the most secure and best in tune. Try the options and see what orks for you.
  5. TrumpetTom

    TrumpetTom Member

    It could be somthing to do with the centre of the point where you turn from mid register to high register or somthing like that :p you just gotta strengthen it by doing what the exercise books tell ya.
  6. Brian

    Brian Member

    Since I moved from Euphonium to Bass trom, I stopped doing top A's, if there is an occasional one that pops up, thats where I breathe :):) Baton twirling is even easier..lol
  7. bandoboyo

    bandoboyo New Member

    Best advice yet, my baton has no trouble finding it either!
  8. tubadaz

    tubadaz Member

    Likewise, my Glockenspiel or Xylophone sticks have absolutely no problems in finding top A. The person wielding them, on the other hand... :oops:

    (Who *NEVER* has to play a top A on Timps. Ever!!) :-D
  9. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    Sod of a note on about any instrument (bus conductors/shed builders excepted) and in my band the position on the slide moves a good couple of inches depending on the layout of the chord and who else is playing the same pitch.

    I used to have issues cracking the note through the middle; Arban's advice sounds good, harden-up, rub some dirt in the wound and keep blowing the snot out of the note until it is your... female dog.

    Diminished 7ths works well because it is unusual on the ear, a certain legendary euphonium player keeps his high register in check by playing 'random' studies that make zero musical sense, I think this would work well with the A. Come at it from different positions, below and above, big leaps and small. Write it out and make it awkward!

    Also try this - a smooth, in tune, unbroken slur on the following notes and valves - let me know if it helps and I'll try to explain the logic behind it! Works a treat on a trom and my missus uses it to build her consistency on high notes too on the flugel. Keep lots of air going right through.

    F (1 & 3 valves)
    F# (2 & 3)
    G (1 & 2) A bit flat from here
    G# (1) - yes (1)
    A (2)
    Bb (open)

    G (1 & 3)
    G# (2 & 3)
    A (1 & 2)
    Bb (1)
    B (2)
    C (open)
  10. bandoboyo

    bandoboyo New Member

    Cheers it's 10:30 pm here in Wales best that I try that tomorrow I think, but I'll give it a go.
  11. kronk

    kronk New Member

    I too play a 928. Great question because top A is difficult. Top B, C and D ok with me, but A is a b***h.
    And G# for that matter! Take comfort, its not you or your sovereign. It's physics at play.
    Forget the comments about different fingerings until you are happy with your mouthpiece. I struggled for a while with a denis wick 4b and a change to a wider diameter 3b has made top A nailed more often than not.

    If mouthpiece is red herring try licentious use of 1st slide trigger, the sovereign has one so use it! I use it for top F on the stave which is also sharp.
  12. Bryan_sop

    Bryan_sop Active Member

    Top A... are you talking the one in the ledger line above the stave or the a above?
  13. Bryan_sop

    Bryan_sop Active Member

    if you can't get the one one on one ledger line, get a teacher! Can't say fairer than that!
  14. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    You don't think it is better to try some different practise techniques before messing with equipment you're otherwise happy with? Not sure I'd change mouthpiece just because A isn't clean.
  15. kronk

    kronk New Member

    My post came across very dismissive, for which I apologise. I can just empathise so much with this issue I reckon my excitement ran away with me!! After months of frustration of trying alternative fingerings and wanting to throw my Sov in the bin - the overnight solution for me was a thirty quid gob-iron! There is of course no substitute for diligent practice and technique and I didnt mean to imply otherwise.
  16. Daisy Duck

    Daisy Duck Member

    Top A is notorious as being an evil little thing. One of my friends plays lead trumpet in big bands. He thinks nothing of screaming out ridiculous high notes that only dogs can hear. But he HATES the A just above the stave and finds it very splittable. Other players have the same issue. Crispian Steele Perkins suggests using 3rd valve. I like the idea someone suggested above of doing studies that approach A from all different intervals.
  17. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    Don't worry, I sounded evil too!
  18. worzel

    worzel Member

    My theory is that g# and a (and c# above) are so splittable because they are the highest notes that are usually played on more than one valve (which tends to make notes sharp and in need of lipping down) and yet have rather close neighbouring harmonics, which are easy to slip onto if your lipping a note down.

    How flat is your A on 1st valve? Maybe lipping that up might be more reliable than lipping 1 and 2 down.
  19. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    It varies from instrument to instrument..
    on Sov cornet, OK, Maestro's (I've played), very splitty, ok on my courtois, never had trouble when play testing Eclipse Cornet or Smith Watkins, or Stomvi Titan cornets.

    I would suggest practicing lip flexibilities such as those in John Rigdeon's book where playing these notes with alternative fingerings is part of the exercise.
    You get used to hearing these notes, and how they relate to each other in their respective harmonic series.
    Also, you build up chops and breath support, which helps makes things easier...
    Good luck..
  20. Coverhead

    Coverhead Member

    Very flat I should imagine, an Ab in fact! ;)
    I always find that using the 3rd valve for top A is a lot more secure than 1/2 on my Strad and my Sov cornets. But I guess it varies from player to player as well as instrument.