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1063601 Posts in 70734 Topics- by 18560 Members - Latest Member: Karen h
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101  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: What`s on your "Holy Grail"horn list? on: Feb 05, 2017, 10:31AM
What are the 2 new ones Chris?....

Roger played Raths. His are great examples... better than those I got when working with the factory on development !!!. Mick is happy I have taken them over. Looks like they will continue to be worked hard ! Very classy instruments from a very classy player.

Chris Stearn
102  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Difference between the Elkhart 70 series basses and 60 series basses on: Feb 05, 2017, 02:16AM
I think the 60 series and 70 series had pretty much no design connection. The 60 came from the Conn Fuchs which was like nothing else before. The 70 series share many proportional elements with traditional German trombones... they are pretty close in size.

Chris Stearn
103  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: What`s on your "Holy Grail"horn list? on: Feb 05, 2017, 12:48AM
I am very lucky to have owned just about every sort of desirable instrument I can think of, and tried a lot that should have been, but were not... if you see what I mean.
I hear where Gabe is coming from... I own a 169 bell section that is supposed to be ex Ray Premru, but it's not original... I do have Ray's Conn bass trumpet and that I treasure. I know he had a few... but... people sort of leave something of themselves in an instrument and playing it is like having a conversation with RP. I just sold my Elkie 62H in order to own the two bass trombones of a very dear friend who died a few weeks ago.... now I can keep in touch on a daily basis... it's nice... a sort of grail.

Chris Stearn
104  Teaching & Learning / Pedagogy / Re: Heresy! Pure Heresy! on: Feb 04, 2017, 04:27AM

Was that an exercise specifically for pitch awareness or was it actually to develop sound? I suppose from the sounds of it, it works, I have just never personally come across a teacher giving that advice. I have heard and seen well known performers and teachers create intonation exercises by having students play with an unusually placed tuning slide, but not for the purpose of developing sound.

"If you don't get it, you are in the vast majority of people." Im not quite sure what you mean by that. Are you talking about amateur players or professionals? I know for a fact there are plenty of pros who would teach almost the opposite who have alive sounds which also project like crazy. I have been incredibly fortunate to have many lessons with Michael Mulcahy who I have heard mention its a good thing to sit at the bottom of your sound. He has one of the most exciting sounds ive ever heard and definitely has no problem with projection.

I suppose in the end the result is the same, its just different concepts on how to get there. Could you explain what you believe the negatives would be from using the concept of playing low in the pitch center? Perhaps that will help me understand a bit better.

Okay... it's ALL semantics.... EVERYTHING said about playing.

Only playing and listening to playing is a direct and reliable source of knowledge.

High ... Low... in the end it is all meaningless. Perhaps fewer get the high conversation and more get the low conversation.

It's the same with the description of every aspect of technique.

When I was 12 or 13 an old guy spent an hour playing me stuff and telling me why it was important. That was the only lesson I really needed. After that I needed to study music.... that is the lifetime pursuit.

I wish I could pass that hour of playing on as he did.

Chris Stearn
105  Teaching & Learning / Pedagogy / Re: Heresy! Pure Heresy! on: Feb 04, 2017, 04:18AM
Chris, even if you play a soprano trombone and do it right, it won't sound exactly like a trumpet. Sort of like the piccolo trumpet sounds compared to a normal B flat trumpet. It still sound a like trombone to me, just a piccolo trombone alike)

There is always exceptions...for example Wycliffe playing the trumpet on his crossover mouthpiece - it sounds like a trumpet, but it has something of that soprano trombone sound as well. But still sounds amazing. I've been there, where everyone wanted to sound dark, including me. Then a discovered Fred Mills, Vizzuti and Doc. And life forced me out of the symphonic world. So I went the vibrant, top of the pitch kind of conception...Which didn't only change how I sound, but made me gain some range in both extremities.

Sorry not to be clear... I did this in a studio years ago.... sounded like a trumpet... exactly like a trumpet. I was surprised at the time myself.

Chris Stearn
106  Teaching & Learning / Beginners and Returning Trombonists / Re: Large bore preconceptions on: Feb 04, 2017, 02:13AM
L I am an over 50 returning trombonist who never owned a large bore horn.  I recently bought an Elkhart 88H that I found at a pawnshop  so that I can play in a church orchestra.

As I try to acclimate to the larger bore, I am surprised with several experiences, but in a nutshell, I am surprised to find that my upper range is not at all diminished, but my pedal tones are harder to control.   I assumed that the upper range should be more difficult, but lower range would be easier.    What mistake did I make in my assumptions?

Your mistake is to have assumptions. Just enjoy the journey.

Chris Stearn
107  Teaching & Learning / Pedagogy / Re: Heresy! Pure Heresy! on: Feb 04, 2017, 02:04AM

Yeah by the sounds of it, It sounds like it could be one of those areas where trumpet just does it differently.... i dunno.
Just to be clear(er)  :D Im not talking about playing in a pitch center where the pitch is aurally noticeably out of tune, I do know that it is supposedly harder to hear a note as out of tune if its slightly high. I guess i mean that i just dont see how you could possible find that "sweet spot" by using a concept of playing high on the pitch. Im still waiting for responses on this, but i am skeptical that there are any players here who when they "let go" and relax the tone to find the sweet spot their pitch goes up.

Im not sure that sitting low on the pitch makes it sound lifeless if that is where you are most relaxed and that is where you find the sweet spot. The more relaxed you are, the more resonant the sound is going to be surely? (Of course to a point, im not talking about extremes!) And by relaxing or letting go, whatever you want to call it I dont understand how that would taper the pitch up.

Harold Nash was principal trombone at Covent Garden and professor of trombone at the Royal Academy of Music. He used to make new pupils pull their tuning slides out at least an inch and lip the note back up to tune. It sounds odd, but his students included some of the finest players ever to work in the UK.... people like Lance Green and Bob Hughes.... Bob is still the gold standard in bass trombone sound here in the UK.... it's not about tension... it was Harold's way of making a student aware of an ability to manipulate pitch, and with it, focus sound. I don't know if he did that with all students. If you get it, you get an alive sound that projects like crazy. If you don't get it, you are in the vast majority of people.

Chris Stearn
108  Teaching & Learning / Pedagogy / Re: Heresy! Pure Heresy! on: Feb 04, 2017, 01:52AM
Basically this is about semantics, but also about the role of every instrument in an orchestra.

A trumpet is supposed to be bright and brilliant compared to any other brass instrument.

A french horn is supposed to be mellow...and so on. Of course, there are nuances...where trumpet is supposed sound a bit darker, but never like a trombone. If a trombone starts to sound like a trumpet, that would be plain wrong  :/

If you record a trombone and wind it up to double speed it sounds just like a trumpet... except the articulations are odd sounding. Good sounds are interesting... far too many uninteresting trombone sounds around these days.

Chris Stearn
109  Teaching & Learning / Pedagogy / Re: Heresy! Pure Heresy! on: Feb 03, 2017, 02:57AM
I couldn't help myself! I know this is off topic ... but how do I get those brackets around quotations??


Now you have exposed my weakness... I can talk trombones all day ( you know that) but the technical stuff....  Eeek! Eeek!

Chris Stearn
110  Teaching & Learning / Pedagogy / Re: Heresy! Pure Heresy! on: Feb 02, 2017, 02:24PM
I believe that being a student of his would involve buying into his philosophy of trumpet playing in a deeply committed way. He certainly is a charismatic guy and can sell his points quite well.

Identifying with any great instructor is a matter of faith and buying into his methods. Most students would probably progress well under any system, so long as they believed in it and practiced hard at it's tenets.


I think it's more the instructors role to identify with the student.  Most students might progress well under one system, but not all. I believe very best teachers are people who can recognise the individuality in the playing of others.  Just my views, and I'm happy to concede they may not be correct!

He's obviously a real character who's had great success with his ideas so it all has great value.

All the best,


Hey Rich, nice to see you posting in this lion's den !!  :D :D

Chris Stearn
111  Teaching & Learning / Schools, Colleges and Conservatories / Re: The Best Schools for Orchestral Trombonists on: Feb 02, 2017, 02:14PM
Love the list..... so you can only study and get jobs in the US ? I teach in a place that is rated no 6 in the world... but doesn't seem to exist.
Never mind.
112  Teaching & Learning / Pedagogy / Re: Heresy! Pure Heresy! on: Feb 01, 2017, 11:53PM
Always great to hear concepts and ideas from great players! Thanks for posting!

I personally did not like his use of the word "misconceptions" for those 3 points at the start of the video. Personally I like having a high chest and focusing on that area when i breathe, but for SOME people "breathing low" works fantastically well. It is absolutely NOT a misconception in my opinion, just another option for people to try. I felt the same when he talked negatively about using vowels like "A" or "O" in the mouth when you blow. Again, that is absolutely not a misconception, just something that works for some and not others. I have played and studied with plenty of world standard trombone players who have success performing and teaching the use of the "O" vowel in the mouth. But also on the flip side, i have absolutely seen players it doesn't work for. Again, not a misconception, just another option to try.

What do others think about his concept of "sitting on top of the sound"? I may have misunderstood, but from what i heard he was talking about the taper being when the player really lets their body go in a relaxed way to find where the pitch sits naturally with minimal body interference. I was surprised to hear him say the pitch goes up with a lot of people.... it definitely doesn't in my playing and personally i would be surprised to hear more TROMBONE players (I dont know enough about trumpet) say that their pitch was raised when they did this. I would have thought the pitch lowering would be much more common.

I play at the top of my possible pitch center. That said, I often have issues with trombones being built flat for my technique. Natural breathing ?  Most of the great pedagogues talk about a natural breath. Vowel sounds/mouth shape ? In the upper register I go for more eee in mouth shape.... that would be low register on the trumpet, so perhaps it is not so strange.
So, we do what works, and avoid what doesn't..... but if we go wrong with a decision, we need people like this who think about process. Not saying I am 100% sold on what he says, but look beyond the hype and there is good stuff.

Chris Stearn
113  Teaching & Learning / Pedagogy / Re: Heresy! Pure Heresy! on: Feb 01, 2017, 02:57PM
Lots of hype in the words but I hear a lot of things that are sense to me in approach. Neither of your extremes .... in some ways mainstream... with spin.

Chris Stearn
114  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: More core from a Bach 1 1/2G on: Feb 01, 2017, 01:05PM
The size of the rim rarely have anything to do with the colour and the core of the sound. It's more up to the cup shape and volume, as well as the size of the backbore and the throat.

I respectfully disagree. Go past the 1 1/2G rim size and you are in a different sound world. Not better or worse. Different.

Chris Stearn
115  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Single Radius vs. Dual Radius Tuning Slides on: Jan 30, 2017, 12:44PM
I've played so much different stuff over so many years that I no longer have 'expectations' ...( great or otherwise). So much of what is commonly said does not hold up in the real world. I have no axe to grind, no view to justify. I just want to save people wasting time and money. All I can say about this specific issue is that I have not found any noticeable effect.... but have I ever tried really identical equipment with just a difference in the tuning slide bend ???  No.... there is no such thing as identical equipment .... everything is unique. Find stuff you like.... work at it....

Chris Stearn
116  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Single Radius vs. Dual Radius Tuning Slides on: Jan 30, 2017, 06:25AM
Practice makes more difference than ANYTHING.
On the other hand, five Holton tuning slides tried in a Holton bass... all blew a little differently... all were the same spec.
Don't jump to conclusions about anything... except practice.

Chris Stearn
117  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Single Radius vs. Dual Radius Tuning Slides on: Jan 30, 2017, 12:04AM
Biggest difference ??? How they look.

Chris Stearn
118  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Vintage Bach Trombone Balancer ? on: Jan 29, 2017, 02:34PM
You could go down the Gordon Campbell route and get Adrian Jarvis to fill the stays with lead!

The OP is a friend of both Gordon and Adrian.... he is probably aware of that route, but that does involve some torch work. My Martin has solid stays and extra thick tuning slide tubes and it balances well.... I know Andy likes his period touches though...

Chris Stearn
119  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Repairs, Modifications and Maintenance / Re: Playing sharp on bass on: Jan 29, 2017, 02:27PM
"Does this really happen in the real world ?"

Well, that depends on if you read it on the internet or not....



Exactly.... but what do we know ? Perhaps there are wiser minds on the net.
Now, what if these trombones were DESIGNED to have their tuning slides extended ????  A maker once told me that creating more cylindrical tube at that point in a trombone can have benefits..... oh, even the thought of it....

Chris Stearn
120  Creation and Performance / The Business of Music / Re: Importing horns into the US on: Jan 29, 2017, 01:44AM
You guys need a trade deal  :D :D :D :D  Evil Evil Evil Evil
In the UK we get to pay tax on everything from the US... even gifts !!! With handling fees, we can pay as much on a small item as it is worth, over again.
It's the way of the world, and it is about to get a lot WORSE.
I have given up on the idea of buying trombones from abroad.

Chris Stearn.
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