Tuning Valve Trombone

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kinamugs
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Tuning Valve Trombone

Post by kinamugs » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:05 pm

Over the summer, I focused my practice on slide trombone while my valve trombone gathered dust in the corner. Now that school is starting again, I'd like to continue practice on my valve. I've run into a problem. My trombone is extremely sharp, almost a half step. If this problem were on slide, I would just adjust my positioning but I do not know how to tune my valve. It is also so sharp that I do not believe it is a embouchure problem (and I'm in tune on slide). Is there ways I can fix the tuning through my small slides? Should I tune every slide individually to a note until it is all okay? If so, what note? I've tried tuning just my Bb but that made every other note go more out of tune.
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BGuttman
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Re: Tuning Valve Trombone

Post by BGuttman » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:20 pm

The slides on the different valve loops can be adjusted to improve intonation. The solution is far from perfect, though.

What I tend to do is to tune my 2nd valve slide so E is in tune and my first valve slide so Eb is in tune. What this will do is make D (1+2) a little sharp, so -I need to lip it down. I also tune the 3rd valve a little flat to D so that 2-3 and 1-3 are closer to being in tune. 1-2-3 is invariably very sharp and there isn't much you can do about it.

Trumpets often have triggers or saddles so you can adjust the 1st and 3rd valve slides to bring the different combinations into better tune. I haven't seen this on many valve trombones or baritones. Many of us just learn to lip the notes as close to tune as possible.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
"Almost Professional"
kinamugs
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Re: Tuning Valve Trombone

Post by kinamugs » Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:09 pm

Thank you for your quick reply! I will tune to your recommendation and see if it helps.
bbocaner
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Re: Tuning Valve Trombone

Post by bbocaner » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:48 pm

you're saying the open notes are almost a half step sharp? That's a lot. What kind of valve trombone is this? Is it possible it isn't meant to tune at A440? You need to start with the main tuning slide so those notes are in tune. Once that's done, Bruce's advice will point you in the right direction.
brassmedic
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Re: Tuning Valve Trombone

Post by brassmedic » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:26 pm

I'm not understanding what you're saying. The trombone is 1/2 step sharp, but tuning the Bb made all the other notes go more out of tune? If the Bb is 1/2 step sharp, you should pull out the main tuning slide. That would make ALL the notes lower, so I don't see how it's possible that would make them "more out of tune". If a note is sharp and you make it lower, doesn't that make it more IN tune, not more out of tune?
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Basbasun
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Re: Tuning Valve Trombone

Post by Basbasun » Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:12 am

If you can make the Bb in tune there should not be any trubble. Then tune your second valve slide to A, make it a tiny bit flatt, then the first to Ab, a tiny bit flat, try first and second together, should a G a tiny bit sharp, tune the third valve to G, a little flatt, try secund and third todether should be a Gb. All tones on a valved horn has to be humored when playing. That is one of the reasons we still have slide trombones. As Dennis Wick said (1965) a trombone is the only brass instrument that is capeble of playing in tune in all situations. Unftunatly the oppisite is often the case.
When it comes to valves, there are different solutions, like tuba players often find their own ways of tuning.
timothy42b
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Re: Tuning Valve Trombone

Post by timothy42b » Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:21 am

brassmedic wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:26 pm
I'm not understanding what you're saying. The trombone is 1/2 step sharp, but tuning the Bb made all the other notes go more out of tune? If the Bb is 1/2 step sharp, you should pull out the main tuning slide. That would make ALL the notes lower, so I don't see how it's possible that would make them "more out of tune". If a note is sharp and you make it lower, doesn't that make it more IN tune, not more out of tune?
No, he's right. If the horn is sharp, and the individual valves are not tuned well, then flattening the whole horn should exaggerate the out of tuneness of the valve notes.

So you have to do both: tune the main slide, and adjust each valve slide.

I've had euphonium players show up to our community band who had never been told to tune the valve slides. Ouch. They'd get Bb in tune but some other notes would be horrendous. If they were receptive I helped them, but of course you don't give advice unless you're sure it's welcome. One player recently had the first valve slide all the way in, and his ear was good enough he tried to lip first valve notes in tune, and chipped them every time. We got his valve tuned and his playing improved.

Sometimes that short second valve slide won't pull far enough to do much. I don't know the answer to that.
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Re: Tuning Valve Trombone

Post by brassmedic » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:30 am

timothy42b wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:21 am


No, he's right. If the horn is sharp, and the individual valves are not tuned well, then flattening the whole horn should exaggerate the out of tuneness of the valve notes.
Oh, yeah. I see what you're saying. In relation to the lowered tuning note, the valved notes would be out of tune.
Brad Close Brass Instruments - brassmedic.com
timothy42b
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Re: Tuning Valve Trombone

Post by timothy42b » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:18 am

brassmedic wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:30 am
timothy42b wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:21 am


No, he's right. If the horn is sharp, and the individual valves are not tuned well, then flattening the whole horn should exaggerate the out of tuneness of the valve notes.
Oh, yeah. I see what you're saying. In relation to the lowered tuning note, the valved notes would be out of tune.
Yes. The longer the air column, the more tuning you have to do on each valve. It's the same reason that on slide trombone the distance from 6th to 7th is greater than the distance from 1st to 2cnd. Or that we only have 6 positions when the F trigger is pushed.

Whether it's enough to matter I don't know, but the OP seemed to notice it.
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