Playing with a trumpet player, special tuning?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bassman74, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. bassman74


    Jan 2, 2007
    Tomorrow, i’ll be playing with a trumpet player for the first Time.

    Do l need to tune differently?

    Thanks in advance
  2. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    You don't need to tune any differently but be prepared to hand them a TAB, if need be.
    vindibona1, DrMole, JC Nelson and 4 others like this.
  3. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA

    BTW, Diabolus, you're diabolical to prank bassman74 with the old "make sure to write up some TABs for your horn section" gag
  4. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    Great question!

    No, you do not need to tune differently to play with a trumpet player. :)

    However, if you are writing out sheet music for a trumpet player, you need to understand that trumpet is a "transposing instrument" in the key of Bb. That means that trumpet sheet music is written 1 whole step higher than it sounds. For example if you are composing a song in the key of Bb, you would write the trumpet part in the key of C.

    Are you the composer or arranger for tomorrow's session? Or are you just playing the provided bass part, and it's someone else's job to write out the trumpet charts?
    Wasnex, mrcbass, bassman74 and 2 others like this.
  5. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member


    but depending on circumstances (trumpet player's abilities) you might have to transpose some things/tunes on the fly --- how's your transposition chops?

    good luck! :thumbsup:
    bassman74 likes this.
  6. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    And a good horn player worth their weight will know what to do. If they ask they key, just tell them the key YOU are in and they will transpose themselves. :)

    If they happen to be a rookie, Mushroo's description is spot on. I'll say flat keys are easier for trumpets (Bb, Ab, Eb etc) .... but again, any good player will be fine in any key.
    Jhengsman, Cheez, mrcbass and 4 others like this.
  7. Malcolm35

    Malcolm35 Supporting Member

    Stay in standard tuning, but, brush up on the flat keys, in case the guys call one of the flat keys.

    Place the root note then let the ole major scale box pattern do the rest.
    MVE and bassman74 like this.
  8. IamGroot

    IamGroot Inactive

    Jan 18, 2018
    For trumpet , soprano and tenor sax (the Treble Bb transposed)

    You would expect to see for most ro least comnon:

    F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb
    C G D A E

    But the blues cats will usually play A and E
    Business as usual.

    Eb, Ab, Db, and Gb are a little tougher. I suggest look at jazz bass transcription for ideas in these keys. If you play big band, it gets easier with a few rehearsals.

    If you break out the 5 strring, you can cover the less common flat keys, but you are missing out on an important learning experience.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
    bassman74 likes this.
  9. bassman74


    Jan 2, 2007
    I just have to play the provided part.

    Thanks for explaning the transposing Thing. I appreciate it.
  10. bassman74


    Jan 2, 2007
    Thanks, that is what i’ll do. Major scale has always been my best friend.
  11. bassman74


    Jan 2, 2007
    I will only bring my new Fender 4 string bass then.
  12. Ampslut


    May 15, 2017
    Barrackville WV
    As one who has played horn in bands in the past I can honestly say that it will be up to the trumpet player to play in tune with the other instruments so NO you should not have to retune. He/she may complain about songs you play in E or B as that puts the trumpet into rather uncomfortable keys for a Bb transposing instrument. If possible you might want to play those songs in Eb or Bb but it is up to the trumpet player to suck it up and play the parts.
    bassman74 likes this.
  13. Allan Allan

    Allan Allan Guest

    Mar 25, 2018
    Trumpet players and their "standard" tunings... Am I right guys?

    You should obviously berate them until you are fired from the band because A is only and will forever be 440Hz and everything else is wrong and people who don't agree are drummers.

    A little cross thread sarcasm, for anyone wondering.
  14. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    NO ... trumpet players are used to being in B flat ..!

    but i had a 'C' trumpet when playing in more rock type bands ..!! it was the 70's ( could do the drink/drugs & transpose)
    bassman74 likes this.
  15. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    This! Most people don't realize that the music staff is about hitting the right fingering, not the right frequency. Even if we stay in treble clef, when a C is written down on the staff for every instrument, many of those instruments won't play a C frequency.
  16. Hendricks97


    Jan 3, 2017
    I've been playing for over 30 years in every style of music available and never had to play in non standard tuning
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  17. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    A brief history lesson:

    Before "valve" technology was invented, trumpets could only play the notes of the overtone series (like the harmonics on bass) and therefore could not play all 12 notes of the chromatic scale. Trumpet players would have to choose different trumpets depending on the key of the composition. To facilitate easy sight reading, trumpet music was always notated in C, and then depending on which trumpet you took from your trumpet collection, would determine the actual concert pitch.

    Nowadays, trumpet players can use the valves to play in any key. But for whatever historical reason, the Bb trumpet has held on as the standard. So even though the modern Bb trumpet is capable of playing in any key (and therefore could certainly read standard concert pitch) it is still the tradition to read and write trumpet music in the key of Bb.
  18. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Tell me about it. I've gotten so accustomed to flat keys that I can read Db and Gb all night, but hand me a chart with a lot of sharps and you'll hear me playing outside more often than I'm comfortable.

    I really need to brush up on my sharp keys but they occur so sparingly that the few that do occur come as a total surprise. :roflmao: Gotta look twice then...
    IamGroot likes this.
  19. Drucifer

    Drucifer Not currently practicing Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    Houston Heights, Texas
    Endorsements: your name could be here, Mr. Sadowsky!
    There's never enough berating of horn players!
    BassManKK likes this.
  20. Drucifer

    Drucifer Not currently practicing Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    Houston Heights, Texas
    Endorsements: your name could be here, Mr. Sadowsky!
    And that bass is also a transposing instrument.
    Garret Graves and Mushroo like this.