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1057279 Posts in 70434 Topics- by 18347 Members - Latest Member: Ed G
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101  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Alto trombone recommendations on: Dec 22, 2016, 11:06AM
At the start of this year I heard 60 pro players audition with alto as a requirement. After that I would say that more people seem to be able to do a better job with regard to sound and intonation on the modern Conn alto..... I didn't expect that result, but it was pretty clear cut.

Chris Stearn
102  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Bach NY & Mt. Vernon, supply and demand on: Dec 22, 2016, 10:56AM
Yes. Precisely.

Buying a m'pce unplayed is a lottery.

So is buying one after only playing it for a short time.

For me? If I initially like a m'pce it's still 3 weeks to a month before I am really sure that it will replace whatever I am playing on that horn, and most of the time they don't
work out.

So...why do we do this?

Because when you find a m'pce that really works well for you on a specific horn for which you have specific uses, it's double heaven nirvana.

That's why.


Totally.... right on it, as usual Sam.
I had no intention of playing an old 1 1/2G again when I got this latest gem...I just could not resist buying and trying.... plugged it in my Holton and I was shocked by how it felt and sounded... shocked.
Not an easy option for low playing, but when you get in shape with it, it rocks in a way NO modern does. I did a trombone 4 tet gig last night and loved what it led me into.... and my MV 11 on my Martin worked perfectly as well... we all moved around to share the grief. 
Old Bach mouthpieces (and instruments) reward effort in a way no others do.... they also do not suffer fools gladly.... not for those seeking an easy answer.... they allow you to enjoy every minute of work... and to grow.

Chris Stearn
Old man Bach was a genius
103  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Bach NY & Mt. Vernon, supply and demand on: Dec 22, 2016, 02:29AM
I have a few old Bachs... all the small shank ones were cheap.... I have a NY 15... small but dark sounding it could work on a bass trumpet. Mt V 12C is okay, but my Mt V 11 is my small piece of choice... I have re-worked the rim to suit me. Simply works in my Bass Trumpet and Martin smallbore. The large shank stuff is another story... a New York 3... Bach's pre-war bass piece.... not expensive but not for modern usage.... the 1 1/2G Mt V models are expensive, but rightly so... they are very special, though all quite different, so buying one is a lottery. I understand that the 'G' series was only available on special order in the New York days, so they are VERY rare... I have only ever seen one NY 1 1/2G and the owner is not selling.... even with an offer of quite a few hundred dollars... it was not an easy mouthpiece to play, but the FEEL was something else... very like my favourite Mt V  1 1/2G. The 5G, 4G and 3G Mt V are rare and command silly prices when they do come up. Oddly, the Mt V tuba mouthpieces are dirt cheap.... I got a new-old-stock Mt V 24AW still in the wrapper for less than the price of a new one ! I also have a Mt V 25 that was cheap... both are great !
I also have one of the Pettinato (?) bass mouthpieces... he looks to have used a Bach blank, taken down down the outside cup and done his own thing inside the cup...  a sort of double cup ...backbore is like the Bach Artisan models. That was pretty cheap.
What are old Bachs worth ??? Whatever you are prepared to pay !!!

Chris Stearn
104  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Always Kings but never Bachs, Why? on: Dec 18, 2016, 01:06AM
The 3B is a 'safe pair of hands' ... a workhorse that is used by many, many pros. Covers a lot of ground sonically. I have seen them used in everything from big bands to orchestras. The Bach 16 is more specialised.... but there are many advocates out there.

Chris Stearn
105  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Tuning my Holton - second valve on: Dec 16, 2016, 04:09PM
:D Cheers!

Hmm have to try some options but I think my TR180 blows better with tuning in Eb with the second tuning slide about 8 cm out. It gives some weird slide positions, B in between 6th and 7nt...C a little further than 5th position.

Another question, did Ray Premru ever in any setting play a double trigger?



The 180 D slide was often stuffy... I prefer an Eb on that instrument usually.
Premru did play a double but not often. He didn't like the slot in second valve on his Holton but he did use the inline double that he helped develop for Boosey and Hawkes. I saw him play that in the PJBE.

Chris Stearn.
106  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Tuning my Holton - second valve on: Dec 16, 2016, 12:45PM
Chris, I could see you was online, how did you tune your Holton, second valve. I remember you told some about it one time but I cant find it again? Low Eb in first, or E?


More than one way to do this.... with a dependent it is pretty much personal choice... Eb, bEb or D all have their fans... the dep. 169 I am using at the moment has second valve that can tune to Eb or D, I prefer Eb but it blows better in D !!!! I cannot argue with the horn, so D it is.
With independent  I prefer bEb to get really nice choices between each valve and the combinations.

Chris Stearn
107  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Bass Trombone Mouthpiece for Big Band on: Dec 16, 2016, 09:35AM
For any kind of brass instrument, this issue has always to parts:

1. Sound quality - what kind of sound/colour do you want?
2. How easy is it to play in the necessary registers?

I would always favor #1 and work with it to copy the sound I like on all possible registers. To me its seems easier to work on register and copy a sound that I already have, than strugle with equipment that gives me ease of playing but I have to push myself to get of it a sound that is not its own. I hope that makes sense.

That makes perfect sense. These days it seems the fashion to think mostly of comfort and ease in mouthpiece selection, with tone a later consideration. This is all too obvious with bad examples of the 'modern' bass trombone sound. As has been said, the mouthpiece- shoe analogy is deeply flawed.

Chris Stearn
108  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Specs on 2 unusual mouthpieces? on: Dec 16, 2016, 01:49AM
John Ridgeon was my first teacher.He trained as a trumpet player. He decided to bring out a range of mouthpieces after I had finished studies with him. He spent a long time researching what people thought was a good outside shape. How the insides were worked out I don't know. He used to recommend Phil Parker's mouthpieces before he had his own made. I think they were made by the same person who made mouthpieces for Parker and Denis Wick at that time.

Chris Stearn
109  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Craziest thing said after a concert on: Dec 08, 2016, 12:37AM
Not sure if this is true but i heard a rumour that in a particular orchestra  (which i will not name) that after a piece with particularly loud trombone, a viola player turned around and voiced his/her disgust at the volume of the trombones to which one replied along the lines of "Well if you were actually any good at your instrument you would be sitting closer to the front of the orchestra and then the volume would not be such an issue"  :D

That old chestnut has been recounted many times. It has happened, and continues to happen in professional situations.... a common quip that always upsets viola players. Usually shortened to 'practise and you'll get nearer the front'.

Chris Stearn
110  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Mt. Vernon 2G Duplication Interest on: Dec 07, 2016, 10:18AM
Ray was a tenor trombonist through college at Eastman and when he arrived in London to study composition. He played an 88H and I assume a Remington mouthpiece. After he arrived in London there were two auditions in the major orchestras and he won both: London Philharmonic 2nd trombone and Philharmonia bass trombone. The Philharmonia was considered a more prestigious orchestra at the time, so he accepted that job. This was around 1958.

I don't know what instrument he played for the first few years in the orchestra until he got his first '63 Holton 169, but the Mt. Vernon 2G he got to play felt uncomfortable after being used to a tenor mouthpiece. There was somebody in London at the time who had figured out how to add metal to a rim to make it wider, so Ray had that done. He also had the throat bored out a little, which was pretty common. Vincent Bach always designed his mouthpieces to be playable by less advanced players as is, intended to be bored out for stronger, more advanced players. Trumpet players still do this often.

I understand that Ray's modified mouthpiece was done by John 'Tug' Wilson, the tuba player at the Philharmonia at the time he joined.
I am surprised it was bored out.... I have yet to play a bored out Mt Vernon Bach that worked. I know the boring out business was referred to in the early Bach days but that probably related to the early designs. The 'G' series mouthpieces featured bigger bores and backbores than earlier large shank models.

Chris Stearn
111  Creation and Performance / Trombonists / Re: Maisie Ringham Wiggins (1924-2016) on: Dec 05, 2016, 04:53AM
How sad.... Bob Hughes said she was on great form only a couple of weeks ago. At least she was active till the end and had a great and long life.

Chris Stearn
112  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Craziest thing said after a concert on: Dec 03, 2016, 12:18PM
'Can't speak'..... said by one L. Bernstein after a performance of his Opera 'Candide'..... obviously, he did.

Chris Stearn
113  Teaching & Learning / Pedagogy / Re: Distinct styles of Sound on: Nov 28, 2016, 08:55AM
They have a sound in their head... and work to get it out of the horn.

Chris Stearn
114  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Bass Trombone Mouthpiece for Big Band on: Nov 27, 2016, 12:24PM
..... oh, and pretty much all the horns and mouthpieces work... at least they don't make me sound better or worse. Mostly play that old Bach 1 1/2G because it feels like nothing else...
115  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Mt. Vernon 2G Duplication Interest on: Nov 27, 2016, 11:38AM
Paxman copied Ray Premru's mouthpiece... very few of those exist... wide flat rim that feels like it drops in toward the cup. The Rath B2 is a copy of a fine Mt Vernon 2G with revised backbore and Rath outer shape... so it's different. For the Rath B2W, I took a Rath B2 and made a wide flat rim in the style of the Premru mouthpiece, but not copied from it.

Chris Stearn
116  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Bass Trombone Mouthpiece for Big Band on: Nov 27, 2016, 11:30AM
To the OP....
When I was your age, I knew everything about how to play bass trombone and just needed to find the right horn and mouthpiece...
Now I am old, I realise that I know very little about how to play bass trombone but the few things I know have turned out to be quite useful.

Chris Stearn
117  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Bass Trombone Mouthpiece for Big Band on: Nov 26, 2016, 02:24PM
In response to the "don't just play bigger", I completely agree, It took me a while to understand that and comprehend it, but now I do. concern with playing I bigger mouthpiece is it has felt more comfortable to me. My range on tuba is pretty large, right now it's about pedal range up to high B flat, like the 4 ledger line B flat. Give me a trumpet, I may have a 2 partial range. I know this may not be applicable, but what im trying to say is I work better with larger mouthpieces (I think). The only larger bass trombone mouthpiece I've  ever played was the 59, which I can agree, is not a good mouthpiece.

So to refine my question, I'm not looking for necessarily "how big can I go" but what's a mouthpiece with those characteristics. I just feel like with my mouth anatomy, I may do better with a larger mouthpiece, but I'm not entirely sure, that's why I'm here.

And also, I'm not saying I want a mouthpiece to give me a larger range, I want a mouthpiece that I can work with to practice and keep my range solid and help me become a better player. I know "it's not the equipment, it's player". Trust me, I've heard that plenty of times over the years, but you can't become Joe Alessi on a elementary rental school horn.

I find it easier to play wider rim too... the last four years I have done everything a pro is required to do on bass using Doug Elliot's 116 rim and various backparts. If you want to go big I would go with Doug's stuff.... so flexible. Could you play all day on a 116 rim? I suspect you will not be developed enough.... you already admit that you cannot play fluid pedals on a 1 1/2G... so your lip tissue is not yet flexible enough for that.

Chris Stearn
118  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Bass Trombone Mouthpiece for Big Band on: Nov 26, 2016, 12:42PM
Okay Matt, this is not just for you, but also for all the young guys asking similar questions.... first, and this may get me flack... the Schilke 59 is not a great mouthpiece.... how many pros do you see using them ? So you are right on that count.
Next... the big one... there is NO mouthpiece that will help you play high and low with a classic bass sound. You are asking for a piece of metal to replace hours of work... it won't.
Smaller pieces get the old classic sound, bigger ones get the modern sound. With hours of work you can get either kind to do everything.... I know... I have done it. You work with the gear and learn how to make it work for you. I think many in-between pieces simply offer the worst of both worlds, rather than  the best. I would advise a young player to select a popular smaller bass piece and work at it. Classy bass playing takes time and effort... sorry.

Chris Stearn
119  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Conn 73H vs 83H? on: Nov 21, 2016, 02:57AM
Thanks for the insight Chris! I haven't had the chance to play a bass with the side-by-side triggers. I guessing there is a reason they never caught on. Would I have to get them split (if I were to buy a 73H)?
I like side by side levers... it's personal. A bit harder to go from 1 to 2 valves... but you learn.
Chris Stearn
120  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Conn 73H vs 83H? on: Nov 20, 2016, 11:50PM
83H has same bell flare as 73H but in red brass. Both have long slides. Valves are supposed to be the same but most 83H valves have poor compression.
The 83H is great on paper, but I only ever played ONE decent one. Owned a couple... tried many.... not a good horn.
Played, and owned many good 73H models.

Chris Stearn
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