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Thread: What affects tone production?

  1. #1

    What affects tone production?

    Greetings,

    I recently read in another post on this forum (can't remember which post) that the better players will produce a sound with a similar tone (darkness, warmness, etc.) regardless of the equipment they are playing on. I found this surprising but perhaps it is true.

    So Dave, I happen to really like your sound (speaking again of the warmness and darkness), and is a sound that I would like to replicate in my playing. So if I hand you my YEP-642S and SM4X m/p, can you produce a similar tone as you get from your Adams and 4AL?

    Thanks.

    JP

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    My theory is we have a sound in our head and up to a point we repeat that sound no matter the horn. We compensate for the differences in the horns to get that sound.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Anderson, Indiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSchott View Post
    My theory is we have a sound in our head and up to a point we repeat that sound no matter the horn. We compensate for the differences in the horns to get that sound.
    I think that Michael may be on to something. While in college many years ago, I wanted to become better on trombone so took lessons for a while. My trombone teacher knew that I was primarily a euphonium player and told me that I was making my trombone sound too much like a euphonium. Of course, that's the sound I loved and and the sound that I had in my head.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by JP View Post
    So Dave, I happen to really like your sound (speaking again of the warmness and darkness), and is a sound that I would like to replicate in my playing. So if I hand you my YEP-642S and SM4X m/p, can you produce a similar tone as you get from your Adams and 4AL?
    Well...............yes and no. I have tried this very thing every time I test a horn.

    Let's separate "tone" from "sound" for a minute. I'll use "sound" to mean the personalized sound you hear when I play. It includes color, shape, vibrato, attacks, and probably some other stuff. And I'll use "tone" to mean what one might call tone color, which might mostly include balance of overtones.

    The horn I use will certainly affect the tone side. Even with my 4AL and using only Adams horns, if I go from a .50 yellow brass E1 to a .70 red brass E3, you would absolutely hear a difference in tone color. I've played a student's 641S and liked the tone, but it was different from my Adams. That same student tested my original loaner E1SS against his 641 and bought the E1 from Adams. His tone is nice a rich/dark, and did not change much from horn to horn. But the "sound" side changed quite a bit, with clearer notes and much more consistency as he moved from note to note (even before he was familiar with playing the Adams). But if you knew his playing, you'd recognize it on either horn.

    I do have a sound and tone in my head, and I choose the horn that makes it easiest for me to produce it. I changed from an E1SS to an E3SS last year, and the difference in tone could be heard when I needed to project.

    As I think I have said this way before, if Brian Bowman and I swapped horns we would both sound a little different, but each of us could be recognized by anyone familiar with our playing. We'd probably both be working harder than usual to play the way we want.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    Even with my 4AL and using only Adams horns, if I go from a .50 yellow brass E1 to a .70 red brass E3, you would absolutely hear a difference in tone color.
    Thanks to all for your responses.

    Dave, per your definitions I'd say it is tone color that I'm speaking of here. To my ear I hear your tone color to be dark/rich. So is it possible to obtain a dark/rich tone color from a 642S with any m/p?

  6. In my experience the 642s is a bit of a brighter sounding instrument, and is fashioned in more of an “Americanized” way. If you’re looking for a dark warm sound that’s prominent in a British setting, instruments manufactured by the likes of Besson and Sterling are traditional choices. I play a Sterling Virtuoso with a SM3X mouthpiece, and I find that combo to be a better choice for me in order to produce the typicla British sound that’s known for being warm and dark. However...I have consciously worked on developing that sound for years, and it does take the proper embouchure, oral cavity shape, tongue placement, and breath support to produce that sound.

  7. #7
    I think you will get a little warmer tone from a 642S with the original SM3, rather than from the SM3X. For a truly warm 642, you need a 642 Neo.

  8. #8
    I do believe the equipment you use does affect the sound, but I think an equally important factor is tension. By tension, I mean tension in the player. Being able to relax at all volume levels and no matter the note, high or low, allows the sound you are capable of producing to improve. We all have hear that trumpet player squeak out that high C or similar note and then declare they can play it. Well, what has that player accomplished, he/she can make the trumpet sound like a kazoo. You can just feel and hear the tension in the sound. That, to me, is not playing an instrument. Good to great players can make almost anything sound good because they can relax and let the sound flow through the instrument. (aka the Jacobs, wind and song style).

  9. Quote Originally Posted by opus37 View Post
    Good to great players can make almost anything sound good because they can relax and let the sound flow through the instrument. (aka the Jacobs, wind and song style).
    Agreed, and it's a byproduct of lots and lots of practice.

  10. #10
    Thanks to all! Sounds like if I want to change my tone color significantly that I need a change of equipment.

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