Trumpet/Trumpet tunning



I am a fresh trumpet student. Using a phone app I am tuning my Bb trumpet so the middle C is around 233 Hz.
But then, when I am playing high-C, I am getting around 480 Hz. The tuner shows that it has to be 466 Hz.
Is it within the normal range? Is it a problem with my playing technic?
can you please advise.

I am playing a new professional trumpet.



Thanks for reaching out. I appreciate a trumpet player who wants to dig into the "deep weeds" of tuning and other various peculiarities you can have with our horn.

As for tuning I am a big proponent of a couple of things:
1 - Tuning is relative
2 - Tuning changes from day to day and even moment to moment depending

You see, the reason for tuning is so notes can be tuned in relationship to the other notes played around it. For example, you're most likely trained your ear that if you play your C scale and don't throw your third valve slide out it's going to be sharp and not in a good relationship to the notes before and after it. So we adjust. The best thing with tuning is to be sure you understand your tuning tendencies and how they are effected by your horn, playing style, mouthpiece, etc. I hope that makes sense. Essentially what I'm saying is don't get too wound up pegging to be an exact number on a tuner. It'll drive you nut. Do, however, find your tendencies and adjust for those and be aware as you get into ensemble.

That brings up number 2. Temperature, fatigue, embouchure adjustments, and ensemble tuning all are factors to keep in mind. This is where I learned that that tuner is only good to get you close but...let's say you're in a 10 piece ensemble. You've spent the last 10 minutes tuning and getting that needle spot on and then the clarinet or whoever lights up a tuning note to tune to and you can hear you're just waaaay off. Do you get disgusted and argue that you're right or do you adjust for the ensemble. Obviously, you'd adjust even if it means you're pulling way out or in and something you just didn't see needing to be done. Then we can look at performance adjusting. Usually if an ensemble starts close they can stay in pretty good tune with one another throughout the performance or practice. That's good. However, a change in temperature or fatigue can mean you need to adjust to stay in tune even further.

I hope this helps. I like a good starting point and such, but when it's you and the horn find your tendencies and work on hearing them. Be hyper critical but be so in relation to the passage or other notes. Then adjust and know that in the next ensemble you play in they may all be flat or sharp to you and you have to blend.

Happy playing.


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Gene Ramsay


PLEASE read my instructions to you as a questioner about horns and value, etc. Most of those answers can be found at

I feel confident to answer all questions regarding trumpet and brass performing, practice techniques, and equipment inquiries. We never stop being "students" in music as we strive to grow technically and musically over our lifetime. Music is something that truly individualizes people and I would treat every question based on the individual asking the question.


I have been performing on trumpet for over 30 years. I have taught privately for over 20 years and in the public schools for 5 years. I have taught and performed in drum and bugle corps, bands, ensembles, and solo.

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Bachelor's Degree from the University of Montevallo in Music Education.
Over 20 years of private instruction (various individuals).
5 years of instructing and performing in drum and bugle corps.

Awards and Honors
Alabama Assistant State Director for Bugles Across America - 2009-2010
Alabama State Director for Bugles Across America - 2010-Present
University of Montevallo Student MENC President - 1991-1992
Principal Trumpet - University of Montevallo - 1990-1992
Nuncie Leberte Music Scholarship - 1987-1988

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Vestavia Hills High School
University of Montevallo
Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps
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