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1066107 Posts in 70842 Topics- by 18679 Members - Latest Member: roland2k
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1  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Anyone playing a rath cb2b on bass? on: Today at 12:00 AM
Just curious as to who is playing this piece and it's character

One of my designs.... a bass shank version of the small Rath contra mouthpiece. Based on a very modified George Roberts SO. Much deeper and wider at the rim. Big full sound. Not like anything else !

Chris Stearn
2  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Need suggestions finding a trombone similar to this Shires configuration on: May 22, 2017, 12:43PM
Chris, would you like  to expand on what you said about the Courtois having a different dynamic envelope to the Conn? Thanks....

Not really....  :/
Well...starts more mellow... stays mellow for longer and does not do mega loud in a Conn way.
Any help ?

Chris Stearn
3  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Repairs, Modifications and Maintenance / Re: Dumb questions about basses on: May 22, 2017, 10:02AM
First dumb question. Has anyone used an Eb slide on a single valve bass?

Second dumb question. Isn't there some sort of plug-in valve kit? Why aren't there more plug-in valves.

Third dumb question. Why doesn't anyone make an honest to goodness small bass that doesn't scare tenor players? Two valves or a removable valve like the Yamaha 620, 547/562 bore slide, 9" bell. Lots of horns have elements of this config, but no one really gets it with small basses.

First question... yes. You end up having to shift the slide around a lot with the loss of 6th and 7th alternatives on the valve. I have an Eb slide for my single Rath.
Second  .. slot in valves used to blow less well than regular second valves. Yamaha solved that but they are just not popular. I just made a slot in for a former student who wants to use his Conn 60H all the time.
Third... a small bass... yes it could be useful if a really top level one was produced.

Chris Stearn
4  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Repairs, Modifications and Maintenance / Re: Loosening Up The Slots on: May 22, 2017, 06:32AM
Thanks Chris.  I know you mostly play bass, and the horn I'm talking about is a .500 tenor, but do you have any recommendations on pipes?  Any ideas what made older pipes looser?

You are right, my playing experience is with bass pipes. I would think traditional Conn and Bach pipes have a wider slot in your size. Shorter pipes have a wider slot, but pipe profile is the most important issue. Pipes are very mouthpiece and instrument sensitive and a pipe that is great in one horn is rubbish in another. A visit to Dillon ?
On bass, if I see a pipe at a good price, I buy it. They are pretty cheap and they usually work in an instrument eventually.
I have found that the best test is to take several candidate pipes along to a gig and just go for it ! If one is the right pipe, you kinda know really quick... and also if it's not !!!

Chris Stearn
5  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Repairs, Modifications and Maintenance / Re: Greasing Up The Slots on: May 22, 2017, 12:50AM
Change the leadpipe. You might need to try a lot of pipes as very few modern pipes have a looser slot. A looser slot can give more control to the advanced player.

Chris Stearn
6  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Need suggestions finding a trombone similar to this Shires configuration on: May 22, 2017, 12:37AM
I understand that the Courtois was based on an Elkhart 88H owned by British trombonist Dudley Bright, although apparently they subsequently had a falling out over some of the details.

If Courtois is your pleasure, you might do better flying to London and buying one from Parker's and claiming your VAT exemption.

I think Dudley just decided he preferred his old Conn.
Having sat in professional sections with Conns, old and new, Courtois and the Getzen Bousfield model, I would say that the Getzen is what a Conn might have ended up as if it had been developed over the years in the way it might have been. Still a Getzen of course. The Courtois seems to have a different dynamic envelope to any Conn. Looks like a Conn though....

Chris Stearn
7  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Need suggestions finding a trombone similar to this Shires configuration on: May 21, 2017, 03:02PM
Useful information! Sorry to have assumed otherwise!

I wouldn't say the 42 is the ''lesser quality'' version. I don't think the Artisan line is better quality, it's simply Bach's attempt at stopping the bleeding to Shires and Edwards, and crawl their way into the modular/custom market. New Bach's quality seem to be as inconsistent as before, from what I've tried and heard from others - I see no reason to believe the Artisan components will be any more consistent. With Bach, trying several is even more important than other brands, I feel. Finding a good, older, used 42, straight or with the standard valve, and then buying a Hagmann conversion kit is probably cheaper than buying a new 42A or 42T, with the advantage that the conversion kit has a slightly different wrap than a stock 42A's and you can pull the F slide to E, and you can get an adjustable thumb lever in German silver or wood instead of the standard non-adjustable one.

The grip is pretty bad on the 42, that's right. I have a Greenhoe thumbrest on mine.

The main issue I had with the TruBore and other similar 3 port designs I've tried was that the F side is a lot less open than the Bb side, which goes straight through. The Hagmann's 3D design for the ports instead of the usual 2D plane, and the very smooth curves of the wrap design allow the F side to be more open, while the Bb side is slightly less open because the central port is slightly curved (so they are more even). Thayers/Axials are great of course, probably the most even between the two sides, I just hate how they stick in my neck, and in most of the ones I tried, I didn't like the throw or weight of the action. That's all very subjective and personal. Try as many horns as you can, including used horns.

Other suggestions - have you tried the Courtois AC440? Modernized copy of a 60's Elkhart 88H, better than any modern 88H I've tried. Long and McQuade should have them (and they will usually have it shipped between locations if it's not in stock at your local store and you are insistant enough)

Interested to know how the Courtois is better than the modern 88H....

Chris Stearn
8  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Need suggestions finding a trombone similar to this Shires configuration on: May 21, 2017, 11:42AM
Grumpy old man warning.....
First.... you cannot build a trombone up from one company that plays like one from another company. It took me years to realise that... yours for free in one line. I bet 90% of you don't buy that... your choice.
Second.... when putting a trombone together you need to build a BALANCED instrument that ALLOWS you to do everything you want pretty well..... then YOU need to learn how to play it. If you want to build the perfect instrument, you won't..... it does not exist. Your work on a balanced instrument is the most important factor.
Again, most won't buy that.... that's fine with me.
Give it 40 or 50 years and it becomes obvious..... tick tock.... :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

Chris Stearn
9  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Who in their right mind plays a Bach 1 1/2G ?? on: May 19, 2017, 03:11PM

Thanks for clarifying  Good!
I agree with pretty much everything you said there, I thought in my own posts I had made clear that I also thought that much could be gained from listening to George Roberts and those that play in a similar fashion..... I just believe that is also true for modern players on big gear also. I don't think either should be dismissed.

Yes, I am aware that the no leadpipe, tenor on bass mouthpieces etc... basically came from America. I take issue specifically with the phrase "massive overbearing sounds". Whilst of course there is some crazy loud playing that comes out of America I dont think the top level players go too far with it. They can play big, but they pick their moments, they still blend with their colleagues and are aware of what else is going on in the orchestra. I think its inspiring. I didn't say it before buy I did roll my eyes when I read that "massive overbearing sounds" aren't heard in europe. I dont think I personally would ever use that term, but some brass bands that come from the UK get closer to that than any American orchestra I have ever heard. I have even heard some orchestras in europe where the bass trombone specifically will play in a way that makes them really stick out of the texture like a sore thumb. Its not overbearing, but to me its usually pretty unpleasant to my ear. I would rather hear a slightly more diffuse sound that bends with the others rather than one that rips through 70 odd musicians on stage. I am aware that is subjective though, and not necessarily what others hear.

I am very aware that the low register is accessible on a 1 1/2G. I was fortunate to study with a fantastic player who played a 1 1/2G for his entire career and he had a very strong low register. I have also been very fortunate enough to have done some study with Michael Mulcahy who Im not totally sure what size mouthpiece he plays, but it is definitely a tenor one and he has unbelievable control of his low register. What I was trying to say is that PERSONALLY, whilst I dont dislike those sounds and other bass players that choose that kind of gear, I find the sounds that inspire me most come from players on generally bigger gear. Who knows? I may change my opinion one day.

I suppose one thing I also dislike is that especially on somewhere like here it is difficult to convey tone and intent down in writing. A lot of posts I read on here (by no one in particular!!!) that talk about players using 1/2 G's and smaller mouthpieces (bass and tenor) read a little as though they do so because they have reached some sort of higher understanding of some kind of elitist sound that can only be understood by those who play small gear. Some posts read a bit like, anyone who doesn't understand the 1 1/2G just isnt a good musician. Perhaps I am not clever enough, but I dont get it. What I have seen stem from there,  are young players who get reasonably small gear and misunderstand the kind of sound they should be making with their equipment. Where I come from, I see so many players playing small gear saying "I just want a more compact sound" and "I dont really like that big American sound concept". What usually happens here is that these players (younger ones in particular) Get incredibly aggressive sounds that stick out regardless of who they play with, irrelevant of a loud or soft dynamic. They usually dont understand that even on smaller gear a low register is possible and sometimes required so they tend to not be able to play very low at all. Where I come from, these players get frustrated because no one will hire them. They are hard to play with. Then they tell themselves that the reason they cannot find work is because everyone is too big gear focused. The players that make small gear work, have put in the work. There are problems that come with playing the 1 1/2G, just like there are different problems that come with playing a schilke 60. I dont believe that playing a 1 1/2G is easier like many seem to suggest, for reasons I have made in various posts, you still need to work. I also do not think it gives a superior sound, just different.

Whats that saying about using what works and you?  :D

Quite a tome... thank you for your thoughts. I own the 'massive overbearing' trade mark and take full responsibility. It is how I hear some playing. The 'get it ' thing about the 1 1/2G I would stand by.... You CAN get it, if you want... but it is not an easy option. Not a good musician if you don't 'get it' ? Of course not... there are GREAT musicians playing in what we tend to call the modern American style... James Markey comes to mind, though there are many others, like my friend John Rojak... and monsters like Dave Taylor, who I have spent many enjoyable hours with.  1 1/2G easier ? No way in any sense.... only in that if you want that sound, it does it. Lets not look at how kids fare on different mouthpieces... we are more into the 1 1/2G in professional settings here.

Chris Stearn
10  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Who in their right mind plays a Bach 1 1/2G ?? on: May 19, 2017, 04:39AM
Whatever. But believing those sounds don't come from American players is very funny indeed.
That would be Rob ?

Chris Stearn
11  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Who in their right mind plays a Bach 1 1/2G ?? on: May 19, 2017, 12:50AM
82 pages ago I simply tried to put up a case for not dismissing the Bach 1 1/2G as a viable orchestral mouthpiece. All this time later the debate is more interesting than ever. I have been on a MV 1 1/2, then, with doubling on contra, decided to jump onto the larger end of Doug's bass line... the 116 rim with J, L and M cups as needed. Still sounded like me, but a different version of me. You can hear this setup on the 'Wallace Collection' recording of Malcolm Arnold's Symphony for brass.... not that it tells you much about how I actually sound, as has been pointed out. I was perfectly happy with the mouthpiece.... then another MV 1 1/2G came my way and back I came ! Meanwhile, my students all seem to be going to the Bach 2G.... with no direction for me. The 2G is a big deal here because of the great British players that have used them and the great players presently using them.
We are now way on from a simple consideration to the complex issues of tonal concept and national variation of concept.
If this makes young and old think about sound, it is a good thing, whatever their conclusion is.

Chris Stearn
12  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Who in their right mind plays a Bach 1 1/2G ?? on: May 18, 2017, 03:44PM
I've been patiently waiting to join this group. Where do I send the check for annual dues?

Indeed.... the interesting thing about New York is that it is a compact place for musicians... they see each other... they hear each other .... they talk... they think. Joe and Bill REALLY care about bass trombone sounds and are great pro players... they have so much direct experience of other players... this generation and previous generations that they have listened to and sat next to.... for me they are the real deal. The UK is a compact place too.... we get to hear each other and work with each other and we have a highly developed sense of sound and style... we use what works... we play in the way that makes sense, having listened to, and sat next to the best of the previous generation.... that builds tradition and there is nothing wrong with tradition. My students are playing at a higher standard than any previous generation of students that I have taught, on equipment that is pretty much the same as their teachers... and THEIR teachers played on.
The next generation learn by sitting next to the the present generation... no amount of lessons... no amount of recordings are a substitute for that practical experience.

Chris Stearn
13  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Who in their right mind plays a Bach 1 1/2G ?? on: May 18, 2017, 05:51AM

I dont have any evidence for my thoughts but wanted to contribute none the less.

I think its pretty obvious that bass trombone has seen some amazing development over the last 50 years, mostly of course on how the instruments are made, and to some extent sound concepts and approach to playing also.
I did not grow up listening to george roberts, I only found his name when I saw him mentioned on the forum here, after which, I bought a solo CD of his.
I think you are absolutely correct, so much of what you hear in george roberts playing was and is an inspiration for so many players that followed him. Having said that, as per this discussion, I think most would say that modern professional bass trombone players do not play in a way that emulates to the letter the sound of george roberts. When I decided that I wanted to play trombone for a living, I did a lot of research and bought CD's of as many big name tenor and bass trombone players I could find. It wasn't until much later after I had done some years of listening and practice that I thought it might be interesting to see what gear some of these players were using. I discovered that the players and sounds I was hearing that inspired me most from my collection of recordings, were mostly American players who were using comparatively large equipment. For me, it was extremely exciting to hear players who had such command of their instrument like Alessi playing with amazing power and sustain but also with finesse in the extreme upper register. Charlie Vernon playing with unbelievable control in legato and soft playing but with a confronting and powerful low register down to notes I didn't even know were possible to play.

The qualities I think are important from George Roberts playing are still there. These modern players (bass and tenor) are playing with beautiful legato, rich song like sounds and attention to detail in the music. All that I think has happened is that its evolved. Whenever discussions come up about people playing big gear a handful of players here talk about modern sounds in a negative way. I dont think that is the case at all. Different yes, but no worse, and similar enough that I dont think anything has been lost in the process.

Whilst it is imperitive for developing musicians to listen to players like george roberts and the kleinhammer recordings where he is using the smaller gear, I myself, prefer to look forward in seeing where it is possible to move on and develop with trombone sounds, not making sure we are stuck in the past.

Another small, but relatively (i believe) major point, when was the last time a professional audition was won where a player was using a 1 1/2G sized mouthpiece? Im sure there are players in their jobs who have chosen to play one, but I would be surprised to hear if many auditions RECENTLY have been won on one. That is important to know if you want to make a living in bass trombone. Following on from that, I could be wrong about this, but in the top tier orchestras, really at the elite level of playing, how many bass trombone members are using a 1 1/2G? Id wager not many. Those players who command the most critical acclaim make the sounds now that inspire students and aspiring professionals. Its a sound that has evolved, not in a better or worse way, just different, and enough people agree on that, which I believe is why we dont have players in major orchestral positions sounding like george roberts, just nods and appreciation for what he did for the standard of playing.

You are assuming that there is one worldwide concept of bass trombone sound. That is not correct.
You are also assuming that change is the same as progress.  It is not.
Players are winning jobs in the UK on 1 1/2G and 2G size mouthpieces... and they are sticking on them.
We like what we are doing and how we are doing it.
There are many styles to be found in Europe, where most of the classical repertoire was composed... and I don't hear massive overbearing sounds among them.
George Roberts did indeed use a slightly oversize 1 1/2G size in his later career...but it was marginal. Back in 2004 I gave him a Rath B1.5W which was based on my wide rim mv Bach 1 1/2G and he loved it... really loved it. He couldn't use it as he had an exclusive deal with Kanstul at that time.... but he liked that size.
We will continue to use the equipment we do and play in the style we do here in the UK. We are not stuck in the past... we just have a different view of the present and the future.

Chris Stearn
14  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Single Valve Bass Trombone Recommendations on: May 16, 2017, 12:38AM
How about a Williams 10. A little heavy but it can bark when needed?

Is that heavy on the bank account ?  Evil Evil
The Conn Fuchs is a single too ......

Chris Stearn
15  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Michael Rath Trombones - Whats Your Opinion on: May 15, 2017, 11:45AM
THanks again all for your replies. Afew more question.
 How is the blow on a Rath w/ Bass inline Haagman valves
in comparison with the dependent Haagmans?
Is there much difference taking that second valve out of line? Is it more free blowing?
What is the speed of the Haagman valves?
 SOmeone suggested  to me they were slower than Thayer valves because of the linkage length.
How about TIS Bass's Compared to Tuning at the Back Bow Raths.
What's Ya'lls preference?
THanks , John McKevitt

Inline and stacked... had them both .... for me the difference in blow is very small or not noticeable at all and I far prefer the added facility of the inline system. If you use a single valve in the same trombone it feels a little lighter in sound but more alive... I love playing single valve basses, and it is nice to play the same trombone with the option of one or two valves.  Hagmanns slower than Thayers ?? No way. The valve cores are light and movement no more than traditional rotors. I found problems with some early valves but in recent years I think quality has improved and they are fine. The Rotax rotors are excellent and appeal to many, especially the traditionalists. TIS verses bell tuning... again I've had both and each has it's merits.... though I have some classic TIS basses, I think I am happy to live with the more practical bell tuning.

Chris Stearn
16  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Michael Rath Trombones - Whats Your Opinion on: May 15, 2017, 05:20AM
Amazing right out of the box - well it happens, but still rarely (if ever) amazing for every situation and still requires some adjustment from the player.

When I came out from the Spada shop with a modular Bach-Spada B flat trumpet with a configuration that I worked on from some 2h choosing many details....everybody loved it, but now I realize that sometime in commercial context it requires quite an effort to be consistent, though soundwise is quite versatile.

The out of the box impression is almost all about feel. Sound can only really be judged in the playing context... your section.. your hall etc.
Response and slot can be made very attractive...but many other qualities are important. I think many modern instruments are far too slotted and leave many players struggling to play in tune as every tiny adjustment has to be made on the slide, not on the face.
Chris Stearn
17  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Michael Rath Trombones - Whats Your Opinion on: May 14, 2017, 03:09AM
From my rather humble but limited experience I'd say that as far as quality of build, there I nothing better, but hey, you're paying for a high end product so I'd expect nothing less.

Regards the actual instrument, I had a R9 independent made up to 'try' and copy an old Edwards bass I used to own. I got exactly the same things (apart from valves were obviously different)... needless to say, it was/is a pig, a right donkey of an instrument. Sounded great in the shop in a small practice room but out in th open in a band rehearsal it was toss.

I fought with it for a few years until I bit the bullet and contacted Mick direct and explained the problem and that the trombone had never really worked for me...

This is the best bit... And maybe explains why there's not loads of spares flying around 2nd hand? Mick sent me a few bit to try on approval and I just swapped them over in my own time over a few weeks till I got it better. Just sent back my original lead pipe and other bits I didn't want. An excellent service (that's possibly not available to everyone depending on location?) but terrific none th less.

Over all it's not helped so much as I've rather given up hope of ever getting it right. There's just something 'not right' about it that I can't lay my finger on. If anything I'd say there's possibly too much choice, too many options that you end up tangled up in your own mind about what you want, what you think you want versus what you end up with.

I guess a bog standard off the shelf option like the R900 is probably spot on for most players, we just don't realise until it's expensively too late.

Here are many of the issues that worry me with ideas about modular trombones. If you liked your Edwards,you should have contacted Edwards and bought another that was tweaked to do what you want. If you buy a Rath in the hope of getting a better Edwards you will be disappointed. They are very different. I loved my original Rath.... standard yellow brass slide, indi Hagmanns and 9 1/2" pure copper bell. I ordered a second one, this time speced to be a clone of my Holton 169 and it never got to where I wanted it to be.... silly idea. If you put together a balanced instrument and learn how to play it you can end up happy. One of my students got a Courtois a year ago..  he loved it, but I thought his sound had suffered and I was not happy. He worked at it to get his sound out of the bell and now sounds amazing.  People expect amazing right out of the box with no player adjustment. That leads to disappointment. What sounds best out of the box can end up being a poor choice.

Chris Stearn
18  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Michael Rath Trombones - Whats Your Opinion on: May 13, 2017, 02:13PM
If Chris regards building as being hard what chance do the rest of us have? ......

This is a problem with ANY modular horn with many choices.... witness the number of modular bits for sale here and on ebay.
You see less Rath parts for sale... either they sell far less stuff or customers get it right more often.
The A/B comparison game is dangerous... too many people think duller is darker, and darker is the required quality. You try bell A and bell B and jump in the direction that seems right.... but real choices happen over time in your playing situation. I don't know what the answer is. A great instrument teaches you things... how do you put together your teacher ???

Chris Stearn
19  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Michael Rath Trombones - Whats Your Opinion on: May 13, 2017, 01:57PM

I apologize if you have already answered this somewhere and I missed it, but what ever became of your Fuchs inspired Rath?

Thanks much,

Dan Harris

Oh Dan... there was never a proposal to build a Fuchs copy....
We did talk about making a smaller bell bass like the later 70H, but Mick was snowed under with orders and it seemed pointless at the time.
Looking back, I should recap my involvement with Mick and the team...
I remember trying the prototype bass around 1998/99 and then met up with Mick in Utrect at ITF 2000 and after trying a couple of basses, I decided to buy one of his horns. I started visiting the factory on a regular basis and started to be involved in development. I helped with material development... nickel bells, bronze slides and a lot of things that didn't make the cut. I was a voice in the room when Mick decided to go modular and was part of the TIS development team. I had quite a lot to do with mouthpiece development and then my biggest project was working with Mick to create the R90 contrabass trombone. It was great fun and a steep learning curve. My horns became test rigs for various ideas and went from solid build to modular, indi to dep, bell tuning to TIS and some of it back again.
Mick is the finest brass instrument maker I have met... a real master of the craft and design of trombone in every way. I am proud to be using Rath basses that I have inherited from my dear friend Roger Williams.... the double is number 34 and pretty much the same as my first horn.

Chris Stearn
20  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Michael Rath Trombones - Whats Your Opinion on: May 12, 2017, 03:38PM
You can put a Rath together that works for anything... jazz, classical, whatever. They have a distinct character.... I don't think you can build a 'clone' of another make, but then why would you ?
They are very easy to play... helpful... responsive....
The hardest thing is choosing from all the options... the Raths I play now were put together by an old friend and work better than the ones I put together myself... building is hard.
I am on indi Hagmanns and love the setup... I had dependants in the past but I find more advantage in the indis.

Chris Stearn
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