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1088709 Posts in 71954 Topics- by 19317 Members - Latest Member: Whitewolf07
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21  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Finally got held of a Elkhart 62H on: Oct 22, 2017, 12:53AM
An update on this.

I got the horn back this Wednesday. The tech had to take the valves apart to move and align everything. Now it plays better especially on the valves. The gap slide/bell is now about five centimeters and I can hold the slide as I'm used to.

I compared the 62h to my 73h and it is now more open, especially in the low range. I will play this horn a lot before I decide if I need to do any further changes. This one has the second valve in E. I might look out for a D-slide or let the tech make a new one if not too expensive. Rolls works. I don't need to split the trigger's. 

This horn does not slot as easy as the 73h does but it is probably because they are different specifications, different bell throats and bell-tuning vs. slide-tuning. I'm more pleased with the horn now after the repair.

The tech said the valves were not aligned properly. It had been a sloppy repair work. He had to loose all the tubes in- and out of, and between, both valves to make everything straight.


Overall, 62Hs tend to slot better than 73Hs..... so you may .... I stress may.... have a leadpipe issue.  I have never played two 62Hs that were the same.... huge variation in blow.... and sound. Generally, the harder they are to blow, the better they sound.... sad.
Great trombones, but not as easy as most top end horns of today..... but a good one sounds like nothing else.

Chris Stearn
22  Teaching & Learning / Schools, Colleges and Conservatories / Masters study at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland on: Oct 21, 2017, 12:28AM
A heads up for anyone wishing to take a masters in the UK....

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has space for masters Bass Trombone students next year. The RCS is one of the highest rated institutions in the WORLD. Interested players should look at the website to get a taste of what is on offer. PM me if you have any questions. We have a great track record for bass trombone and are a very cost effective place to study.

Chris Stearn
23  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Who in their right mind plays a Bach 1 1/2G ?? on: Oct 20, 2017, 01:52PM
Hard for me to believe that I actually sold that 185 to Max many moons ago. What a fine player and a great guy!

Lucky he doesn't play a boutique horn.... he would wipe us all out  Evil Evil Evil Evil

Or a 1 1/2G Bach  Evil Evil Evil Evil

Close call...
24  Creation and Performance / Performance / Re: Another Wagner conundrum. on: Oct 14, 2017, 02:28PM
There is no question about that part of the Ring cycle. The ride is NOT intended to be played on contrabass. Wagner expected contemporary trombones, which could have been any mixture of tenor and tenor/bass trombones, but 3 and 4 would be tenor/bass (Bb/F) for sure. Been there researched it.
It would help here on the forum if people refrained from posting if they they don't actually know the answer to a question.  Simple but effective.
A lot of pros cheat by playing bass or contra all the time... don't give us examples here..... that is a personal choice. The history has been researched.

Chris Stearn
25  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Repairs, Modifications and Maintenance / Re: Minimal bracing & structural integrity? on: Oct 12, 2017, 11:26AM
When I build up or modify horns, I go toward minimal bracing. That does make them more liable to damage in some cases. Braces, in the right place, can enhance the blow of a horn.... you need at least enough to keep things stable, but positioning is everything.

Chris Stearn
26  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Who in their right mind plays a Bach 1 1/2G ?? on: Oct 11, 2017, 01:37AM
Not a criticism of the players themselves, but the sound concept.

Of course. Listen to professional bass trombone players in the UK and you will hear things you like.... orchestras, pits, jazz.... there is a commonality of sound that might be best termed 'classic' bass trombone.
In some ways this has been an unplanned unscripted story.... but I think the truth is that it is because of the massive figure of Bob Hughes providing a sonic glue for several generations of players in the UK.
Bob became a friend when we were both young professionals, starting out on a career. He had a class to his playing and sound, right from the early days that inspired all who heard him. Everybody said 'wow... if I could only sound like Bob'. Through his many recordings, all generations that followed had access to his sound (I know, it's not the same as live) and he has now taught very many players who continue his tradition.
One guy at the heart of British bass trombone playing.

Chris Stearn
27  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Who in their right mind plays a Bach 1 1/2G ?? on: Oct 10, 2017, 02:06PM
I'll get my coat...

There are still the players out there..... I've taught a few of them  Evil Evil

Chris Stearn
28  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Tuning in Slide vs. Tuning in Bell on: Oct 10, 2017, 02:47AM
There are so many other variables with horns that people are comparing that any conclusions are meaningless. I have owned and used the same instruments with tuning in bell, then converted to tuning in slide..... yes, there were small differences, but nothing to justify the hype generated from time to time on this forum. To me, a dual bore slide makes more difference to the tonal character. A leadpipe makes more difference. Lots of things make more difference.
If you are selling an old Conn bass, you are very likely to big up the virtues of the system, but it is the whole instrument that makes an old Conn what it is.

Chris Stearn
29  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Equipment Experiments on: Oct 09, 2017, 01:41PM
I experiment all the time in the orchestra.... but only when I feel at home on a piece of equipment away from work.... or at least understand it.

Chris Stearn
30  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Who in their right mind plays a Bach 1 1/2G ?? on: Oct 08, 2017, 11:27AM
Interesting stuff Zac, the 2G although very close to the 1 1/2G, is a different (and rather special) beast. Many of the players I have, and still admire played that mouthpiece. I tried going back on it this summer, but it still messes with my dental structure. I have had several students who found it to be their mouthpiece.... perhaps it is yours too !!

Chris Stearn
31  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
32  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
33  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
34  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
35  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
36  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
37  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
38  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
39  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
40  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
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