Brass

Summerhays Music Center offers a full line of Brass instruments. We carry everything from student model to professional model instruments, available for purchase or rent-to-own.

Our Professional Band Department includes three full time technicians and two professional band consultants available to help you determine which instrument or item is right for you. From mutes to mouthpieces, or upgrading instruments, our knowledgeable staff can turn a somewhat intimidating situation into an easy selection process! Stop in any time and we will be happy to assist you!

Trumpets

Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments dating back to at least 1500 BC. They are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a “buzzing” sound that starts a standing wave vibration in the air column inside the instrument. Three valves increase the length of tubing when engaged, lowering the sound.

Trombones

Like all brass instruments, sound is produced when the player’s vibrating lips cause the air column inside the trombone to vibrate. A telescoping slide mechanism varies the length and pitch.

French Horns

The French Horn is a brass instrument made of tubing more than 20 feet long, wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. Pitch is controlled through the adjustment of lip tension in the mouthpiece and the operation of the valves by the left hand, which route the air into extra tubing.

Tubas

Tuba is Latin for ‘trumpet’. The tuba is the largest and lowest-pitched instrument in the brass family. Sound is produced by vibrating or “buzzing” the lips into a large cupped mouthpiece. The Prussian Patent No. 19 was granted for a “basstuba” in 1835. This original tuba used five Berlinerpumpen type valves, the forerunner of the modern piston valve. The addition of valves made it possible to play low in the harmonic series of the instrument and still have a complete selection of notes.

 CHOOSING A BRASS INSTRUMENT

QUALITY

We feel strongly that a player’s first instrument is in many ways the most important one he or she will ever play. A well-made instrument is reliable, easy to play and maintain, and rewards a students efforts with excellent sound and response. Poor quality instruments can frustrate and discourage a student from playing by not staying in tune, breaking often, or having a poor quality of sound.

WHAT TO AVOID

Sadly, some overseas manufacturers, more interested in corporate profits than the success of the beginning student, are producing extremely low quality, poor sounding, cheap instruments trying to draw parents away from the high quality instruments that cost more. These online special instruments are poorly constructed and hinder students’ ability to learn. Summerhays Music Center refuses to carry instruments of such poor quality.

RENT OR BUY

For the beginning brass player, we suggest renting a high quality, student line instrument. At Summerhays Music Center we carry only the best in student line instruments. After a few years, the student will be ready to upgrade to a professional quality (also known as “step-up”) instrument. When that time comes, Summerhays Music Center will help find the best instrument for you.

TUBA

The critical factor is that the valves play quickly and smoothly. This is the result of valves having been properly “lapped,” the final process of making the piston fit the cylinder. Step-up horns often have hand-lapped valves, meaning an expert has performed this finish work by hand making sure the valves work perfectly. Valves that stick affect the responsiveness of the instrument, making it much harder to play.

Try to gently wiggle the underside of the rotors where you’ll find the stop screw. It should be tight. If there is any play, the instrument is either poorly maintained or the rotors are worn.

The slide shouldn’t catch on anything or slow down when being moved to and through various positions. A slide that is bent, dinged, or otherwise damaged can make the instrument nearly impossible to play.

The tuning slide should be easy to move as needed, but it should stay put once it is placed in a certain position. improperly fitting slides prevent correct intonation and may even prevent a sound from being produced at all. Firmly fitted slides are essential for the instrument to respond to its fullest potential.