Return player question - intonation

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Return player question - intonation

Post by callbr549 »

I am starting to play tuba again after 40 years. I played in high school and was not bad (qualified for all-state band once). I have been practicing for a couple of months now, working through a book my high school band director assigned “Total Range” plus an Intermediate Method book. This was all to get ready to play with a community band in the town I moved to recently. I’m keeping up with the band OK now, except my intonation is a constant struggle - very sharp in lower ranges, a bit flat in higher ranges. I’m playing a Yamaha YBB-103 3/4 tuba (a long story how I ended up with that). I know now that is not a great instrument. My question is, how much of the intonation problem is horn related (an excuse to upgrade) versus me just not being very good anymore (more practice?).
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Re: Return player question - intonation

Post by Beyond16 »

I am a beginning tuba player with a YBB-104. From what I remember reading, the only thing better than a YBB-104 is a YBB-103 (because of front facing valves). That is, comparing it to other 3 valve tubas its size and weight, the YBB-103 probably ranks pretty well. As far as intonation, I don't notice anything unusual, beyond the limitations of 3 valve instruments on certain low notes. On the other hand, my ears are shot I think.
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Re: Return player question - intonation

Post by Ann Reid »

I’m also an “OLD Newbie” and having come from the Dark Side (woodwinds) I’m shocked at how much difference mouthpieces can make. I played on the same mouthpieces on alto and bass clarinets for 10 years and never switched off, but now I have a little arsenal of mouthpieces for euphoniums.

If you want to upgrade and you can shop with someone who will be honest with you and help you, go ahead and upgrade. I’m learning that even with a few missteps, that’s part of the fun of returning to playing when you’re old.

ALSO, don’t hesitate to look for a good teacher who is NOT TOO EASY ON YOU. That’s ALSO part of the fun. KEEP AT IT!!!!!
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Re: Return player question - intonation

Post by JohnD »

very sharp in lower ranges, a bit flat in higher ranges
Sounds familiar. Mouthpiece.

"The biggest cause of intonation problems is the backbore. Too small will make your upper register flat and your lower register sharp. The opposite goes for a backbore that is too big." From: Trumpet Herald

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Re: Return player question - intonation

Post by iiipopes »

What is the OP using for his mouthpiece currently? Until we know that, we don't know if it is the mouthpiece, or if some personal help is needed, for example, to get the jaw down and the mouth cavity as large as consistent with good embouchure, including lowering the back of the tongue, to try to get the pitch down, and likewise, to get proper breath support to center the upper register. Also, a horn that has leaks or obstructions or worn valves will give the same symptoms.

There's a lot more going on here than just mouthpiece.

Oh, and I was out for about 20 years before coming back to tuba playing myself about a dozen years ago myself.
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Re: Return player question - intonation

Post by Charlie C Chowder »

I have and Eb tuba that played very flat. They found a small plastic toy lodge in it. Problem is now gone along with the toy.

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Re: Return player question - intonation

Post by GeoffC_UK »

After a break of 15+ years, I returned.
It's been a year since I returned and there's still a slow progression back to full fitness. It takes time.

There could be many reasons for poor intonation.
A number have been already mentioned above, so I won't go there.

My input is this.....

When I play music with others, I want to fit in, be one with the ensemble.
Part of that is to be in tune, whatever it takes to make that happen.
Improved practice regime.
Better breathing and air column support.
Moving a slide.
Alternative fingering et al.
These are all my allies.

Each horn has its intonation issues.
Each mouthpiece is a compromise.
Each player can improve with help.

Hope you get it sorted, G
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Re: Return player question - intonation

Post by Jerryleejr »

Just curious, When you practice do you do long tones with a tuner? It should give you a reference for the horn and mouthpiece combination.

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