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1088709 Posts in 71954 Topics- by 19317 Members - Latest Member: Whitewolf07
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101  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Wessex Bb/F Bass trombone on: Jul 16, 2017, 02:02PM
Yes indeed  :) :) :) I hope people really like it !!

Chris Stearn
102  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Accessories / Re: Tom Crown or Wick Straight Mute? on: Jul 16, 2017, 12:58AM
It's just that some pieces specifically request the wick straight fiber cone mute so there must be a big enough difference.

In more than 40 years of professional playing I have never seen a brand of mute specified on a part.... I must lead a sheltered life.
I have Wick, Wallace, JoRal, Crown metal and Wallace, Gane, Enkermann fiber. All have their place... best if a whole section use the same type of mute.

Chris Stearn
103  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Wessex vs/and Jin Bao Contra Bass Trombone on: Jul 14, 2017, 12:56AM
A major difference between Wessex and JinBao (apart from the fact that Wessex will claim their instruments are not made by JinBao) is that Wessex tests every instrument they sell, which compensates for the abysmal state of Quality Control in Chinese manufacturing.  There are other dealers who do this (Jim Laabs comes to mind).

That is the main reason you pay more for a Wessex instrument.  It covers the cost of dealing with the junk that is invariably included in the shipment.

Wessex do not hide the fact that their instruments are made by Jin Bao. They have many models that are only made for Wessex. Wessex go to the factory and check every instrument before it is shipped. That adds cost.Jin Bao quality is improving all the time. It is better than many other makers who charge a lot more.

Chris Stearn
104  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Repairs, Modifications and Maintenance / Re: E tuning slide for Rath R9D? on: Jul 13, 2017, 10:21AM
Is it possible and a regularly done thing for people to get an E tuning slide in place of the second trigger Gb tuning slide on dependent bass trombones, so that when both triggers are engaged one could play a C1 in first?

I have extra tube on my indi that puts the second valve into D by itself.... a really free blow plus Bb,A and Ab as second harmonics.... useful at times.

Chris Stearn
105  Creation and Performance / Musical Miscellany / Re: american and europran sounds on: Jul 12, 2017, 12:58AM
You cannot lump Europe into one group. There is a distinct British style, Dutch style, Italian style, Spanish style, German style, Russian style etc. etc. All are distinct and detectable.
All are different from the American styles (yes, plural)
None of this is primarily about equipment. It is about ways of thinking and ways of hearing.
At the conservatoire where I teach, we get students from all over the world and I notice that even after several years of study, they retain their own national style. Many Spanish students in recent years and they have a distinct approach. The Americans that come retain their basic approach.
Fine musicians can adapt and fit in with other styles... we had an American principal trombone for a few years who was a great fit. When he played solo recitals his natural style came through. In the orchestra, he blended in.
My bass trombone students listen to great players from all over the world, but tend to gravitate toward the sounds and styles they hear most often and feel most empathy with.
Thank goodness there is a difference.... the world would be more boring if all players sounded the same.
If you cannot hear differences, you need to listen more carefully.
All this is related to classical playing.... the commercial world is a different place.

Chris Stearn
106  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: ITF report on: Jul 03, 2017, 03:03PM
Serious note.... I wouldn't pass judgement on any horn until I have played it in the musical context that I work in.
Chris Stearn

P.S. my ex student has an XO bass for sale... great horn ... just not in the UK.
107  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: ITF report on: Jul 03, 2017, 02:59PM
Can you explain?

Well.... If you have to ask, we couldn't explain.  ;-)
Chris Stearn
108  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: ITF report on: Jul 03, 2017, 12:08PM
Yes! I have played them plenty in the past so I didn't spend a lot of time there.

The Lone Star bass is really great. Bollinger bass is also a good horn but I can't do the tuning.

A friend of mine found a Q series tenor with a gold bell (she's been looking for a new horn). She said it was what she needed. I played it and it was one of the best horns I have played, period. Probably a unicorn, but she nabbed it!

Chris, no offense to those that play Raths or to Mick! You guys sound great and the horns are very well made. Just not my cup of tea. A friend of mine bought the TIS alto to replace his Bach 39.

No offense taken... just looking forward to the price drop . On this side of the pond I am beginning to think we are on a completely different page... and nothing wrong with that.

Chris Stearn
109  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: ITF report on: Jul 03, 2017, 10:49AM
Thanks for the report. And thanks for the Rath opinion. I`ve felt that way since I first tried them and I get jumped on by people saying they are great. Well maybe they are for some.
I didn`t care for the feel or the sound.
I love it when people trash Raths.... If they stop selling so many, the price might go down and I could afford some more.  Good! Evil
Light ? Yeah!!!  Evil

Chris Stearn
110  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Rath Pricing? on: Jun 30, 2017, 07:40AM
With the current exchange rates, I would expect that. I would also expect it to go the opposite way if we're buying from you. Some other instruments I got from the UK recently I was able to get at almost a 50% discount.


Some manufacturers are able to take advantage of the weakness of the pound to sell more product, more cheaply. Rath is a small custom house.... smaller than Shires and way smaller than Edwards. If they cannot increase production they cannot gain the advantage of increased sales. If there is more demand than they can supply they will keep prices high.... just my thoughts on the economics of a small maker.

Chris Stearn
111  Teaching & Learning / Beginners and Returning Trombonists / Re: I'm Going To Have My First Trombone/Bass Trombone Lesson on: Jun 29, 2017, 01:00AM
If you are going to have lessons, search out the teacher with the best reputation.... a good teacher will inspire you, a bad teacher will confuse and demoralise you. I can see you are growing in maturity and will really benefit from GOOD tuition.

Chris Stearn
112  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Brand loyalty (?) on: Jun 27, 2017, 09:55AM
I played my 88H for ten years, for at least two hours nearly every day. I love that trombone. I would do drones and intervals every few days, so I had that trombone pretty well figured out.

I had what you call brand-loyalty, and I bought a Conn alto. I ended up going with a King 3B for my "small" bore, because I couldn't figure out the small Conn tenors. Besides that, though, I figured I could play my 88H until I died. The only things that were a bit of a crapshoot was high F5, and low C in 7th with the valve. I thought it was just me. In any case, it is a great example of the Eastlake 88Hs that Conn made when Lindberg was blowing it up in the early 2000's and they were pushing the Gen IIs.

I continued to convince myself that my 88H was the end-all-be-all, which was easy to do because the Army began handing me a steady stream of Bach 42Bs that played like crap. "Must be the wide crook", "must be the tight leadpipe", "must be the rotor ports". Paralysis by analysis. I wouldn't realize that all of this stuff was totally moot until a band signed out a beat up T-350 for me to play.

By moot, I mean that Bach vs Conn, wide vs narrow, bell materials, rotor design, crook materials -- all that crap that you think you have choices over at Edwards or Shires -- is completely not worth debating about. The two Edwards I've played now have been so well built and play so easily, that I honestly wouldn't want to tinker with or debate any of the variables. They were both pretty stock designs -- the T-350 was the early 2000's Alessi setup, and the T-396A is stock.

I realized that all the things I tinkered with and thought about and compared between Bach and Conn was meaningless. It was like trying to get two station wagons to compete and tweak them in order to outperform a BMW.

I don't think it's about the brand, or even completely the design, or the materials used. I think it's about how well the builder executed their superior design. This is why there are some Elkhart 88Hs that you won't even be able to pry free from the owner's cold dead hands. That's why the Yamahas that do their versions of classic designs better than the classics are the same. And why, maybe, the new Elkharts aren't the same as the old Elkharts, even if they are the same design.

LOVE this post  Good! Good! Good! Good!

Chris Stearn
113  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Brand loyalty (?) on: Jun 27, 2017, 09:53AM
In 2000 I caught an Alain Trudel masterclass. During a ,QnA session he was asked about his Yamaha Trudel mouthpiece. His answer: buy a Bach 61/2AL and play it until there was no plating left on the rim--- just like he did for 10 years, 16 hours a day.
Trudel mentioned he still missed his Elkhart 88H.
Brand loyalty?-- that is where Yamaha gets their R&D from, the cloning and input from players with brand loyalty, not players who played Yamaha for 40 years.

Loyalty? How do you deal with big band trumpet sections who switch mouthpieces between rests and 20 times a gig. ( I kid not).

Chris is correct--- sometimes play a horn for sentimental reasons and let the chips fall where they may, nobody in the audience will know, but you will. Chris is also correct that you may possibly not have an informed opinion about brand loyalty, when you post on the internet that you're just about to have your first lesson.

The thing about the Raths is they play easier than anything else and I love the sound I can get out of them.... but there are people I work with sometimes who are not fans, so as an orchestral player I have backups... just in case.

Chris Stearn
114  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Brand loyalty (?) on: Jun 27, 2017, 09:50AM
I do want to jump and add my impression of Chris's comments a little.  I think the major component here is the depth of knowledge in learning a horn that only comes with years.  However, I think a large contributing factor is also the plasticity of youth. In the past, I was a better player than I am now.  Just haven't had the practice time with a kid and another engineering degree.  I was much more able to adapt to different tendencies and tunings than I am now.  I would jump between three manufacturers and 5 bore sizes in 3 different keys and be fairly fluid.  Certainly I know that I was more consistently on center of pitch and tone than I am today.  Enjoy the ability to be malleable while it lasts.

As for the loyalty, yeah, I'm pretty much a Bach guy now.  I just like the sound I get.  I know I posted this someplace else, but even if I sound the same on recording, I just do not feel right playing unsoldered bells.  The feedback from the horn to me playing is not the signal that my brain is expecting and I am unable to retrain myself to hear it.


I think that if you are playing a lot, you can learn a new instrument at any age.... I got my first Rath when I was 45 and I know Mick's horns as well as Conns and Holtons that I started using in my teens. What I was trying to say is that I would now rather spend time learning music, not new makes of horn.

Chris Stearn
115  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Brand loyalty (?) on: Jun 27, 2017, 01:44AM
I've played on different horns of different brands and find myself not loyal or biased to certain brands.

Like on tenor, I played a Elkhart Conn 88H (which my school owned) and a Corporation Bach 42B and liked both and found them to be great horns.  For the Besson student model BE 639 (the tenor I currently have), it was my first ever trombone when I started playing in sixth grade and found it to be a good student model horn for my uses for marching band and pep bands.

As for bass, I played a Benge 290 (owned by my school) and a Getzen 1062FD (which is my current horn).  As for other basses, I play tested a Holton TR-180 and a King Duo Gravis which they both didn't had split triggers and I found the magic bar on the Holton hard to play, while I found the side-by-side triggers on the Duo Gravis to work fine for me. (just my experience) Don't know 

At your stage of playing, you have not really come to know any of your instruments..... give it time. It matters far less what you settle on than how hard you work to come the musician you want to be.
Over the years (50 of playing) I have played more brands than I care to remember, some I can come back to and feel a total stranger.... Bach are such a make.... and others have come to be old friends that I know very well indeed. Conns are familiar, as are Holtons and Raths. I no longer have the desire to learn other makes at my time of life.... just make music with equipment that I really know. Conns, Holtons and Raths took years to really get into. I don't have the time to waste on learning the quirks of others makes, so I suppose I have in the end, become brand loyal. I have the Raths and if I work with people who hear with their eyes, I have Conns and Holtons that might make them happy.... though I sound like me whatever.

Chris Stearn
116  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Rath Contra Mouthpieces on: Jun 24, 2017, 07:01AM
PM sent.
117  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Repairs, Modifications and Maintenance / Re: Cutting a rath R9d on: Jun 24, 2017, 01:11AM
Mine were done at the factory so the ring was retained by cutting the other end, having first disassembled the parts.

Chris Stearn
118  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Rath Contra Mouthpieces on: Jun 23, 2017, 07:01AM
What do you want to know ?

Chris Stearn
119  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Re: What are the tuning tendencies of partials above high Bb? on: Jun 23, 2017, 03:02AM
Every trombone is different. Don't worry about what harmonics tend to be... find out what they are on your instrument. Your ear is your friend.... I hope.

Chris Stearn
120  Creation and Performance / Performance / Re: Watching and listening on: Jun 22, 2017, 05:02AM
Okay, this made me chuckle...

--Andy in OKC

Me too.... and it's true  Amazed

Chris Stearn
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