Soprano Eb cornet help!

Rbterrier

New Member
Hi,

I have played the trumpet for the last 45 years (albeit with a 25 year break at some point!). I have recently been given a sop Eb cornet and am really struggling with the upper register. I have tried 3 different mouthpieces with mixed results. My main problem is that I feel really ‘dry’ when I’m aiming for the upper register, to the point where just air seems to pass through the instrument with no actual note produced. Any help/tips/suggestions would be very much appreciated.
 

sop@55

Member
Hi,

I have played the trumpet for the last 45 years (albeit with a 25 year break at some point!). I have recently been given a sop Eb cornet and am really struggling with the upper register. I have tried 3 different mouthpieces with mixed results. My main problem is that I feel really ‘dry’ when I’m aiming for the upper register, to the point where just air seems to pass through the instrument with no actual note produced. Any help/tips/suggestions would be very much appreciated.
Hi, first of all have you had the required "frontal lobotomy" to join that exclusive club of over 50 year olds playing Eb Sop? accepting you have I have to ask if you have ever been a Bb Cornet player, rather than just (sic) a trumpet player? the difference is quite dramatic and understanding the different back pressure that exists (because of a conical rather than cylindrical bore) will help with the problem. it's about going back to basics and a small or shallow mouthpiece will not help. try Claude Gordon lessons 7,6 & 5 as warm up exercises for a month and see if this helps. It did for me at age 55! I also had success with the Warburton 5D cup and 7* backbore. (this also allowed me to switch between the Bb with the British Cornet cup and a 10* backbore that is as close to a Wick or Alliance as you can get - in my not so humble opinion. As you know there is no secret except Exercise; the right sort, not just playing tunes (unless slow melodies!). toot toot. G.
 

Rbterrier

New Member
Hi, first of all have you had the required "frontal lobotomy" to join that exclusive club of over 50 year olds playing Eb Sop? accepting you have I have to ask if you have ever been a Bb Cornet player, rather than just (sic) a trumpet player? the difference is quite dramatic and understanding the different back pressure that exists (because of a conical rather than cylindrical bore) will help with the problem. it's about going back to basics and a small or shallow mouthpiece will not help. try Claude Gordon lessons 7,6 & 5 as warm up exercises for a month and see if this helps. It did for me at age 55! I also had success with the Warburton 5D cup and 7* backbore. (this also allowed me to switch between the Bb with the British Cornet cup and a 10* backbore that is as close to a Wick or Alliance as you can get - in my not so humble opinion. As you know there is no secret except Exercise; the right sort, not just playing tunes (unless slow melodies!). toot toot. G.

Thank you. This is very helpful! I might be over 50 ;-) Only ever played the trumpet, never a cornet, so am attempting to go from trumpet straight to Eb sop. The whole mouthpiece thing is a bit of a mystery to me. I hit on one that suited me at the age of 10 and haven’t played anything else since. I’ve tried 3 different ones with the sop but don’t feel particularly comfortable with any. I think what I’m striving for is a top the same as my trumpet mouthpiece but would that even be suitable for the sop?
 

sop@55

Member
Thank you. This is very helpful! I might be over 50 ;-) Only ever played the trumpet, never a cornet, so am attempting to go from trumpet straight to Eb sop. The whole mouthpiece thing is a bit of a mystery to me. I hit on one that suited me at the age of 10 and haven’t played anything else since. I’ve tried 3 different ones with the sop but don’t feel particularly comfortable with any. I think what I’m striving for is a top the same as my trumpet mouthpiece but would that even be suitable for the sop?
The mouthpiece discussion is taboo. However, as a starting point what was the mp you played for 45 years?
 

Tom-King

Well-Known Member
Thank you. This is very helpful! I might be over 50 ;-) Only ever played the trumpet, never a cornet, so am attempting to go from trumpet straight to Eb sop. The whole mouthpiece thing is a bit of a mystery to me. I hit on one that suited me at the age of 10 and haven’t played anything else since. I’ve tried 3 different ones with the sop but don’t feel particularly comfortable with any. I think what I’m striving for is a top the same as my trumpet mouthpiece but would that even be suitable for the sop?

What mouthpieces have you tried on sop?

What do you use on trumpet?

Have you ever played piccolo trumpet? (Not a problem if not!).

What's your range like on Bb trumpet?

The more info, the easier it is to give pointers that may help :)
 

Rbterrier

New Member
What mouthpieces have you tried on sop?

What do you use on trumpet?

Have you ever played piccolo trumpet? (Not a problem if not!).

What's your range like on Bb trumpet?

The more info, the easier it is to give pointers that may help :)

Hi,

My trumpet mouthpiece lacks detail - the only marking it has is G2 and Made in England. My range on the trumpet is what I would call standard - I’m pretty secure up to a top C and can occasionally get to D/E if necessary but prefer not to!!

Mouthpieces I’ve tried on the sop are:

Denis Wick S - probably the most successful to date but very hit and miss on anything from G above the stave upwards

Alliance 3 Prestige - bought on a whim and can barely play a note with it!

Model 14-S J Marcinkiewicz - one that I’ve borrowed and is somewhere in the middle.

Never played a piccolo.

The whole backbore and top mouthpiece set up is a revelation to me. I’ve only ever had or seen single moulded mouthpieces.

Failing any earth shattering suggestions, I guess I’ll plough on with the Denis Wick but would love to find something which I find more comfortable and which improves consistency and endurance!
 

Tom-King

Well-Known Member
My range on the trumpet is what I would call standard - I’m pretty secure up to a top C and can occasionally get to D/E if necessary but prefer not to!
Okay so first things first (and somewhat bluntly as I'll write a book otherwise) - you will need to expect this to take time to build.

There are only really quite minor differences between many sop mouthpieces and the kind of cups you'd see used on trumpets - there's no extra support for range from this avenue and as such I would advise that you begin from the assumption that the upper limit of your range, in concert pitch, won't be much different on sop than it is on trumpet to begin with.

In short, your starting position on sop would be to expect G to be okay and A/B to need work to become comfortable rather than preferring not to.


Mouthpieces I’ve tried on the sop are:

Denis Wick S - probably the most successful to date but very hit and miss on anything from G above the stave upwards

Alliance 3 Prestige - bought on a whim and can barely play a note with it!

Model 14-S J Marcinkiewicz - one that I’ve borrowed and is somewhere in the middle.

I don't like the S, some players sound awesome on it, but I don't.

The alliance 3 is a Bb mouthpiece isn't it?

The Marcinkiewicz 14-S would probably be the one I'd prefer of the three - but that's me (I don't use one, but they're good mouthpieces and the S backbore being larger than standard helps for many players).

Never played a piccolo.

No problem, just a curiosity thing - for trumpet players coming to sop, treating it a bit like a picc as you find your feet can help somewhat, as not relevant let's leave that point alone.

The whole backbore and top mouthpiece set up is a revelation to me. I’ve only ever had or seen single moulded mouthpieces

I've been through a lot of different mouthpieces and two-piece top/backbore combinations... The backbore can really affect the blow and intonation spread (how sharp or flat it gets in the high register and the opposite in the low) quite profoundly.

In more normal times, going to a shop with a kit and playing with a few was a potential option... These days, you just have to buy a few on eBay/Facebook/etc when prices are reasonable and sell what doesn't work - if you're careful you'll be out of pocket for the cost of postage alone.


Failing any earth shattering suggestions, I guess I’ll plough on with the Denis Wick but would love to find something which I find more comfortable and which improves consistency and endurance

Comfort within reason is a good thing... As long as it's not driving excessive pressure (by which I mean enabling you to tolerate excessive pressure and thereby encouraging that) and as long as you can articulate cleanly, which is often less easy on wider rims and/or softer bites.

There's so many mouthpieces out there you could start with and every single one is a compromise in a whole bunch of ways...
Too shallow and high register endurance and projection are easier but usually at the expense of low volume security and warmth of tone, for example.
Unlike playing high trumpet lines where dynamic contrast is rarely as important or as marked its an easy choice, but soprano cornet is incredibly difficult because all the compromises in a mouthpiece come to a head for you.

You could spend a fortune trying different mouthpieces, but regardless you're going to need to practice a lot to get it working and then practice plenty to maintain it.

If nothing else, I'd recommend you get a copy of Charles Colin advanced lip flexibilities - don't bully yourself with it, it'll be a while before you can get too far into it, but the text foreward is gold and the exercises will really help connect registers and focus the embouchure - it's a gem and well regarded for good reason.

This is probably sacrilegious to some, but I think Claude Gordon's best book is one with no exercises in it - it's called "Brass playing is no harder than deep breathing", well worth a read as it's full of great pointers.
 

sop@55

Member
Obviously I meant above!!
And all I would add is; 1. DW S is designed for the job but I never got on with it. 2. Alliance 3..wow, I play an Alliance RM 3A on Principal Bb and it's demanding, but beautiful sound. useless for Sop unless you are one of the best!(and then they wouldn't) 3. have never tried the other one. I would suggest you stick with the DW and be happy with the top G for now. lots of excercises and slow melodies so it's a sweet round top G ( I assume you mean written, as in a Trumpet top C?). then maybe Charles Collins to expand range. Top G on a conical bore after 45 years on cylindrical bore is not to be ashamed of! Oh, just because it's pitched higher does not mean it plays higher. You will need to work up to top Bb but you will not help lose a competition if a Top C is written and you leave it out (unless you are at the finals)! over to Rbterrier.
 

sop@55

Member
And all I would add is; 1. DW S is designed for the job but I never got on with it. 2. Alliance 3..wow, I play an Alliance RM 3A on Principal Bb and it's demanding, but beautiful sound. useless for Sop unless you are one of the best!(and then they wouldn't) 3. have never tried the other one. I would suggest you stick with the DW and be happy with the top G for now. lots of excercises and slow melodies so it's a sweet round top G ( I assume you mean written, as in a Trumpet top C?). then maybe Charles Collins to expand range. Top G on a conical bore after 45 years on cylindrical bore is not to be ashamed of! Oh, just because it's pitched higher does not mean it plays higher. You will need to work up to top Bb but you will not help lose a competition if a Top C is written and you leave it out (unless you are at the finals)! over to Rbterrier.
Had not seen Rb's replies - my thoughts exactly.
 

Rbterrier

New Member
Thank you @Tom-King and @sop@55 for your very kind and helpful replies. I am perhaps expecting too much too soon. I will take all of your advice and carry on with the DW for now and I will definitely get my hands on the Charles Colin. Not saying I won’t be tempted if I see an alternative mp on eBay though :)
 

Vegasbound

Active Member
It’s a Schilke. It’s appears good quality and makes a nice sound but having no previous experience of the sop, I don’t know how it compares to others.
Schilke are fantastic instruments all hand built in the states, is it a beryllium bell?
 

fzr phil

New Member
thanks for reply, couldn't have known if it was an awful one or something old and battered.
i have a 6610T which i have rarely had a chance to play in a proper setting but i adore it.
My only advice would be something i would never do myself. Try and stick to one mp / instrument, back off the air power and never try and force the upper register. above G on the stave is the same as a Bb trumpet above high C afterall. the sop needs to be delicate and lyrical in the most part, unless the music dictates differently. and a cornet is completely different to trumpet.
best of luck, hope you stick with it.
phil
 

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