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1097043 Posts in 72472 Topics- by 19552 Members - Latest Member: ericburger
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101  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Conn 60H on: Oct 07, 2017, 12:35AM
Chris, curious what issues what may be helped by introducing certain gaps?
I can see fixing intonation, or leaving a gap where necessary to allow pieces to sit together without tension, but I'm curious if there are any acoustic  differences / improvements that may have been observed by "introducing" one.
Fwiw I've watched John heat up plenty of parts that just end up "pinging" apart because they were just squeezed together at the factory.
I trust John's distrust of the factories, but also understand there are a few that actually do well.
Appreciate your insight

When I am building up a trombone there are some places where I avoid gaps. . Some places where I build in gaps. Things you learn over time. A bit like playing.

Chris Stearn
102  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Conn 60H on: Oct 06, 2017, 12:03PM
Mick Rath would probably disagree..... I remember asking him when I started visiting the factory in the early 2000's if he mated all tubes so there was no gap and he just smiled and said he had tried that.... as an apprentice years before, and life was not that simple. I have since found gaps in lots of Elkhart Conns, and New York Bachs.... and Holtons....
In building up frankenbones a gap between a couple of tubes has been the answer to all sorts of problems. John may well have improved your trombone. Just saying that building trombones is a whole other thing.

Chris Stearn
103  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: "Stuffiness" in same model horns? on: Oct 06, 2017, 11:51AM
One thing to do with a stuffy trombone.... especially an Elkhart Conn.... put it back in the case and walk away.

ALL models from ALL makers vary....

Chris Stearn
104  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Conn 60H on: Oct 06, 2017, 01:06AM
Old leadpipe lost a good inch off the top trying to get it out. The rest is in good shape! The slide was rebuilt and John took off the J bend to take out the dings. Apparently the guys at Elkhart left some space in the build!

As for playing like a Bach? I don't think so, but then again I only own a couple. The stock Bach leadpipe that I have in it now is much the same thickness, and maybe a little longer than the previous Conn leadpipe. It definitely only works up to a certain amount of air and then doesn't respond in the same way, which is to be expected.

The horn before was ok. Not a bad instrument. But now it might actually be playable to a higher level. I'll get plenty of time on it in the next few weeks.

What do you think is wrong with space in joints ?

Chris Stearn
105  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Mouthpiece suggestion for jazz bass bone on: Oct 04, 2017, 03:20PM
Don't worry Savio.... what we now know is that for every mouthpiece and trombone out there , there is a player that will be right at home on them, and we shouldn't stand in the way of free choice. The problem is in asking for suggestions as this is limiting in itself.
Sam has it right.... try everything, use what works.

Chris Stearn
106  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Trombone buying advice on: Oct 03, 2017, 02:11PM
When will it be released? Also, how is it different than their current model.

Should be out any day... no real connection to the old one. I built up the prototype myself.

Chris Stearn
107  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Trombone buying advice on: Oct 03, 2017, 11:49AM
Hello All,
I'm sure this topic has been addressed numerous times, but I'm going to ask again. I'm a tuba player (and middle school band director) wanting to get back into playing more. I played bass trombone in high school in jazz band and would like to reacquaint myself with trombone playing. I don't currently have a trombone (although my 6th grade daughter has started on trombone, a Conn 23H beginner horn, actually quite a nice instrument). I've been looking all over the internet at both bass trombones and larger bore tenor trombones. I know I should know better having seen many rotten Chinese beginner horns in my band room, but I'm tempted at some of the Chinese trombones I've seen people speak of in various reviews. I'm not far from where the Wessex outlet is in Michigan, so I may go up there to give them a try. I've also seen people speak of the Mack Brass bass (which seems to be the same as the Wessex). Also, I've been looking at the Schiller's listed at Jim Laabs Music. They seem to carry "studio" instruments which are a step above their regular line. Just wondering if anyone has any experience with either the Schiller American Heritage Bass Trombone, or the Schiller Studio 547 Pro. Both look interested, but the price just seems too good to be true!

Wessex are about to release a new bass trombone designed my me. I think it will represent exceptional value and be a proper bass trombone.... not a student or intermediate model.

Chris Stearn
108  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Mouthpiece suggestion for jazz bass bone on: Oct 02, 2017, 11:52PM
Maybe I'm seeing this the wrong way but I find it pretty immature to make value judgements on other people's wants and needs based upon what you think should work, which I find ironic because I'm pretty young and immature myself…

Suggesting that someone you don't know will be successful on smaller mouthpieces just because (insert your favorite bass trombonist here) plays on it with no knowledge of the player, their anatomy, their sound, their chops, or sound concepts and goals sounds to me a lot like throwing a dart at a dartboard that doesn't exist. Maybe they do. Maybe they don't.

Maybe I'm biased because I absolutely can't play on small mouthpieces. I play on tenor a rim that's around the size of a Bach 2G, (XT N106). Yes, really, I didn't believe it myself at first. Yes, I have a useable high range up to double Bb sometimes   8va. When I play bass I play larger mouthpieces, and I don't feel it inhibits my sound or range. I know that I am one of the most common embouchure types which gravitates towards large, and that is a reason many STRONG professionals use fairly large mouthpieces on bass. My low AND high range gets extremely worse when I try to play on anything smaller than a Bach 5g. I can't even get below a middle F on a 12c without doing some seriously stupid things with my chops.

I think what is the best idea is to find what works the best for YOU. This is where getting Doug's advice is helpful because he will find what MEASURABLY works for you, quantifiably and repeatedly, and will give you good opinions (and sometimes he even recommends against buying one of his mouthpieces). It's important to have a teacher that will work with you and actually LISTEN TO YOUR PLAYING and not just see their own flaws in your playing and try to regurgitate what worked for them. I think you will be surprised how many teachers do that.

Sometimes your gut intuition that you need a larger mouthpiece is right (which is what my gut was telling me but I couldn't believe), and sometimes your intuition completely wrong. This is just rim size, too, not even talking about cup depth. If your playing isn't very strong or figured out it can be REALLY hard to tell and sometimes it IS the best idea to stick with what you have and go with it. If your playing isn't well developed enough, you're not going to have any kind of clue what to look for in a mouthpiece, and you can be subject to your own confirmation bias or even confuse yourself further.

I've only listed off a few of the possibilities while I'm sitting taking a break from practicing…

Someone call me out if I'm way off base here, but I dislike when people tell me (or others) what to do based on something that is irrelevant and unquantifiable.


I also seriously disagree with this because I feel like it completely discredits Jeff Cortazzo's work to get where he is, which I'm sure he's had to make his sacrifices and put in the countless hours to become a professional musician just like what all of us do or want to do.

Back to practicing...

This is why I post less and less these days.

I told Bill that people wouldn't like what he said.

I am not telling anybody to do anything, simply pointing out that equipment has to have certain characteristics to give certain sounds.

I can, and have, played very large mouthpieces at the highest professional levels. Getting the right sound.... for me.... on that equipment is harder than on smaller equipment, on bass trombone.

Sound concepts in the UK are generally very different from those in much of the US, it would seem.

I don't even tell my own students what to play on....

That is part of their growing experience.

This is not at all the best place to talk about these things.

Talking about sound is like dancing about books.


Chris Stearn
109  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Mouthpiece suggestion for jazz bass bone on: Oct 02, 2017, 12:35PM
Oh, and bigger rims suit me better..... so I play a Bach 1 1/2G.... because it sounds how I want to sound.... and an Bach 11 on small tenor.... because... etc etc.

Chris Stearn
110  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Mouthpiece suggestion for jazz bass bone on: Oct 02, 2017, 12:32PM
IMHO you're going about this all wrong. First of all the Edwards that you are playing blows in a way that what little overtones there are will get buried with all of the sound around you. A bigger mouthpiece is also not really going to help. Bigger, bigger, bigger will just have you working harder in a situation where you cannot win. An instrument with a quick response will work much better. A mouthpiece with some "back pressure" will allow you to shape the sound in a way that will carry throughout the ensemble. Just my 2 cents.

Well Bill, you might be right but you won't be popular.... at least with a large number of people here....
Glad you said it though, because I couldn't be bothered, to be honest.
That student of mine that you heard in the summer just came back from playing Mahler 3 with the Philharmonia Orchestra.... boy did he sound good today.... and he blew the **** out of the last part of 'Sub Zero'... on a Bach 2G....

Chris Stearn
111  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Who in their right mind plays a Bach 1 1/2G ?? on: Oct 02, 2017, 06:05AM
I just picked up a MV 1.5g (arrived yesterday).  So far so good.   Good!

 :) :) :)

Chris Stearn
112  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Re: Pedal tone question on: Oct 01, 2017, 11:57PM
I think Phil Teele also says (1) that the pedal tone warm-ups are an "ideal" situation, and you should strive for discipline by doing your best to play the pedals without an embouchure shift* or mouthpiece replacement* AND (2) in a performance all bets are off, and you do what you need to do to get the notes to speak. (Perhaps it was Gabe, or Chris, or Sam who said it... maybe someone else...)

The audience doesn't care whether you play the note "correctly," with optimal support, proper embouchure, etc. They just want to hear the music, in this case, a pedal tone. 

Doing the Teele exercises in a disciplined manner (as prescribed) allows you to expand the pedal range downward so that you can eventually, with deliberate practice and patience, play a pedal F or E (for example) with the "normal" placement and with the "shift" placement*. That is, you develop some overlap with these two different mpc placements* or embouchure settings*.   

*I'm using these terms interchangeably. Some folks make a distinction, but my feeling/belief is that in this situation, there isn't any difference. Reasonable people can disagree.

Teele is on the money.... work and work to play pedals without a shift.... it will be good for you in developing flexibility. On the gig do anything that works and don't worry about it.
In the OP's case, I suspect that the issue may be the instrument itself or the instrument/mouthpiece combination.... he should try another instrument and see if the problem is the same. If it goes it's the instrument, if it's the same there is a shift going on.

Chris Stearn
113  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Re: Hey Doug, I really need your help and insight on the matter. Others too!!! on: Sep 28, 2017, 12:26AM
So many people seem obsessed with output and underestimate input. Listening and watching great playing is one of the real keys to development as a brass player. The OP admits that contact with a good player has made a big difference.... much more is needed.
We would all like to think that we are missing some important key that will unleash an amazing player that we know is inside.....
That key is practise.
Everyone is unique and their journey through music will be unique.... accept that and move on.
Do not become focussed on process alone. Listen and watch and allow you brain to move things in the right direction by trying to copy great playing. Do not pull apart, put your mind and body back together.

Chris Stearn
114  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / MOVED: Disgraceful NFL on: Sep 25, 2017, 10:37PM
This topic has been moved to Purely Politics.


This is political. It's moved
115  Creation and Performance / Trombonists / Re: Aline Nistad R.I.P. on: Sep 24, 2017, 03:39AM
Very sad indeed. I knew her back in the 1970s.

Chris Stearn
116  Creation and Performance / Performance / Re: Wagner-Flying Dutchman Overture on alto trombone?? on: Sep 21, 2017, 02:33AM
Hmmm, not the answer I was expecting!!
My experience is with Brass Bands, and every conductor I have worked with has made these decisions. Admittedly, we are only talking about a 30+ member band, not a full orchestra etc.

Brass bands tend to be conducted by brass or ex-brass players. They are very hands-on and often have opinions on equipment. Orchestra conductors are very rarely ex-brass players and are very unlikely to have any specialist knowledge whatsoever. That rarely stops them from offering an opinion when asked. The most often requested change is for 'small bore' trombones.... a pretty meaningless term when applied to historical orchestral requirements but one that still leaves the players with a degree of choice and flexibility. Often such requests are made when no changes are made to any other instruments in the orchestra.
I remember satisfying one now dead eminent maestro who asked for such a thing by swapping my regular lacquered instrument for one of the same size but un-lacquered and very old looking..... he was rich in his praise of this wonderful 'small bore' trombone and the difference it made.
Conductors deal with the music.... we deal with how best to get what they want to actually happen.

Chris Stearn
117  Creation and Performance / Performance / Re: Wagner-Flying Dutchman Overture on alto trombone?? on: Sep 20, 2017, 11:51PM
I've never played in a professional setting, so please take this comment with a grain of salt, but I would have thought the best person to ask this question of would be your conductor/musical director? What are they looking to achieve with the performance?

With my more than 40 years of professional experience I would say a conductor is the last person you want to ask about instrumental requirements. Leave them to deal with traffic control and speaking to dead composers.
Chris Stearn
118  Creation and Performance / Performance / Re: Wagner-Flying Dutchman Overture on alto trombone?? on: Sep 20, 2017, 01:37PM
Alto for the Brahms. Tenor for the Wagner. Many reasons...

Chris Stearn.
119  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Conn 60H on: Sep 16, 2017, 11:09PM
If you want a wider crook and to have it made shorter it would start to add up. I am not sure if the slide for sale has removable oversleeves.... that is an important element. It is a fairly new slide, so $800 seems fair. If it were $600 I would buy it myself and use the tubes to rebuild my 70H slide.....

Chris Stearn
120  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Who in their right mind plays a Bach 1 1/2G ?? on: Sep 16, 2017, 10:56PM
Guess what guys.....today I got hands on a pretty Mt Vernon 1.5g. It was pure luck. A friend of mine that play trumpet posted some picture on facebook with a collection of bass trombone mouthpieces he got from a retired bass trombone player. I didn't look so much at it but suddenly I saw there was a Bach mouthpiece. Had a closer look and YES! To my big surprise it was an Mt Vernon!!!! Well, rest is history, I got it today for a rather cheap price. But not super cheap, my friend knew what it was worth, they are popular among trumpet players also.

Anyway, dont have much chance to try it tonight. I'm sitting in a hotel room and have to play a concert tomorrow. Tried it 5 minutes before a rehearsel tonight. A little different from the one I already have. In fact deeper and a little more V shaped. A little different on the lips. Didn't dear to use it in the ensemble because its a rather important concert tomorrow. Will try it more after the concert.

Look how nice it looks!!  LUCKY LUCKY like some other in the forum always write Good! Good! Good!



Well done !!!  Every one is a little different... all good, but different. Over the summer I messed around with a MV 2G and my oldest MV 1 1/2G but the one I picked up in summer of 2016 is still the winner.... it just fits my face. No idea what the magic is but it is real enough. I have MV's for my small tenor, bass and tuba.... I suppose a symphony tenor piece and a contra piece would be nice, but that would be greedy  Evil Evil

Chris Stearn
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