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1088709 Posts in 71954 Topics- by 19317 Members - Latest Member: Whitewolf07
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41  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
42  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
43  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
44  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
45  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
46  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
47  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
48  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.
49  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
50  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
51  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Conn 60H on: Sep 16, 2017, 01:18AM
The different operating systems do produce a difference but not too much. I have removed a couple of the opera wheel types and replaced them with lighter systems. The slide moves easier, of course, but they also are more free in the blow, but lighter in sound. Some 60H slides are really stuffy... a combination of pipe, tube thick ness, bottom bow and build.
What I am saying is that a poor slide might need a LOT of work.... and still be not right.
It might be cheaper to buy that slide in classifieds and have it converted to TIS ..... I have done that before and a TIS conversion is not the big deal that some say it is.

Chris Stearn
52  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Conn 60H on: Sep 15, 2017, 07:12AM
A point to add to Jim's post.

The pipes supplied by Greenhoe were un-modified, Conn-Selmer factory items. Meaning, they are still in production (as Greenhoe didn't make them in the first place) and are readily available through Conn-Selmer suppliers. Bass pipes in question would be Conn B, C and D should you be interested in pursuing them.


Interesting.... I have a Greenhoe pipe that came with a Greenhoe Bach 50... it's longer than any pipe I have. Came with the horn direct from the factory. I swapped it with the owner of the horn as it didn't work and I had a pipe that did (how nice am I ?) It has never worked in anything.
Original Conn pipes are very, very thin... often destroyed during removal.

Chris Stearn
53  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Conn 60H on: Sep 14, 2017, 11:38AM
Hard for players who have not spent a good amount of time on Conns to tell if the leadpipe is past it. It's a very American vibe to change pipes as a first stop on the way to getting into a horn. We in this sad little island tend to change pipes on old horns as a last resort, not a first one.... which accounts for my view. My modern Conn has a vintage pipe from a 70H in it.... it seems to make sense.... at least to me. Kanstul pipes play like Kanstul pipes.... Conn, Minick, Herrick... nah....
Conns and Bachs are a different world....
You play them in a whole different way.

Chris Stearn
54  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Conn 60H on: Sep 13, 2017, 11:44PM
In my experience with basses, people who play, and like Bachs never get on with Conns in the long term, same with Conn players who try Bachs.... they are so different. You can mess with the pipe and you might get lucky but it is hard to get a Conn to be Bach-like in any way. Part of what makes the Conn is that feel you are talking about. Morse shanks are not likely to alter the Conn pipe as it has a more shallow taper.... they are often big and take a lot of mouthpiece shank as Savio says.

Chris Stearn
55  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Accessories / Re: Stearn's law of leadpipes on: Sep 05, 2017, 11:50PM
Chris, I am going to disagree about how the front of the horn is more important than the back.  I find that most players have a point in the horn that is the #1 thing that makes the horn work for them...maybe the mpc, the leadpipe, slide crook (shape and bore size), neckpipe and valves, tuning slide, bell throat and bell flare.  I think the players input matches the reflection at those points and that returns to the players the information they need.

Many are very mouthpiece sensitive...but the rest is just a megaphone.  I think leadpipes are confusing because many people expect that to fix...everything.  When it doesn't the seach for the holy grail continues while the really wanted a different crook...or something.

Except for the PDQ Bach types, no one plays just a leadpipe.  The trombone is either a complex system that requires fine tuning, or a compact chromatic funnel. If you have messed with 20 leadpipes and not found the winner, it's probably something else.

Well John, I still feel that in the light of my own personal experience both for my own work and from helping students that the leadpipe can be the critical element in creating a whole playing system that optimises playing function in mating the mouthpiece with the rest of the instrument.
Try 20 pipes and not find a good one ? Yup.... easy to do. Does that mean that a really good pipe for that player, mouthpiece and instrument does not exist ? Of course not. Finding the ideal pipe is not an easy job, but I think it can be an important job.
None of this is of any more than minor importance compared to practise..... and should never be a practise substitute.
It does make a difference though..... as does any part of an instrument.... but the mouthpiece/leadpipe combination is the big one for me.

Chris Stearn
56  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Accessories / Re: Stearn's law of leadpipes on: Aug 23, 2017, 11:31PM
Chris, I'll bet you never imagined you'd have opened a can or worms like this.

Oh, I did  :)
Let me put it another way....
If you play 20 different pipes in a trombone you will find that the tuning imperfections of that instrument, when put against a tuning meter, become apparent. Most pipes tend to go with those basic tuning characteristics but a few tend toward even greater pitch variation and a few others pull things toward the tuning meter. The pipes that are loose on pitch often sound the most interesting whilst the pipes that fix the tuning feel and sound less good.
Most of the better sounding pipes allow the player to adjust at the face without loss of quality and can therefore be made to play in tune... You just have to work at it. Even trombone players adjust at the face, not just with the slide.
That probably makes things even less clear... we shall see.

Chris Stearn
57  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Accessories / Re: Stearn's law of leadpipes on: Aug 23, 2017, 11:05AM
Dunno. Maybe I am missing something. The original post said "the better the sound and feel, the more out of tune the harmonic series".
I adjust for each note accordingly, but within reason I would like it to be a predictable adjustment. Perhaps I I interpreted that quote wrong, but I would think if a professional player says something plays out of tune, it means that it is hard to either predict what adjustments need to be made, or that are notes that cannot be manipulated into correct pitch without sacrificing evenness of sound or tone quality in general.

Again, I am not sure but I think clarification is probably coming  :)

Clarification.... whilst I can correct the tuning of any pipe... in testing I try to just play in the centre of each harmonic and see where that leads.

Chris Stearn
58  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Accessories / Re: Stearn's law of leadpipes on: Aug 23, 2017, 11:02AM
Unfortunately I don't think I am clever enough to understand this. To me if something makes my instrument play out of tune then it doesn't sound good. Thats all there is to it really. No other quality Will redeem it if it doesn't play in tune.

I look to make the most even and resonant sound that I can across the range of the instrument and the different levels of dynamics. Usually if something is in tune it resonates better which for me, means a better sound (and usually the people playing next to me too!).

Looking at your profile I am sure you can tell the difference. I bet your double is very slotted and unless your 70H has had a pipe change, that will be pretty loose in the slot. If you are a good musician you will find the old Conn easier to play in tune as you can blow it in tune. The slotted double you HAVE to adjust at the slide... and that is less instinctive.

Chris Stearn
59  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Accessories / Re: Stearn's law of leadpipes on: Aug 22, 2017, 12:58AM
I will have to remember that tip Gabe.
Chris Stearn
60  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Accessories / Re: Stearn's law of leadpipes on: Aug 21, 2017, 03:39AM
Chris Stearn asked, ďYou say that you have tried leadpipes by Minick and Herrick.... really ? Made by them ? Not Kanstul 'copies' ? There is a Hell of a difference. Conn pipes ? New Conn pipes or Elkhart pipes ?Ē
Yes, Mr. Stearn I have owned original examples of all of these, and more that you didnít ask about. But itís not a question of ďwhoís tried the most lead pipes.Ē That would miss the points I was trying to make. I will try to illustrate with a few examples. Of course, others will have had different experiences.
When I was younger, most of my work was with big bands. I had an Early Holton Tr180 which I thought worked well. For the last three decades, most of my playing has been orchestral, and Iíve gone the usual Bach, Edwards route. Now I play on a Shires. My regular shires setup works well in the orchestra. I can put a lighter, Conn like BI bell on it, B tuning slide, and it does brighten up. But Iíve never quite thought it was I wanted for commercial work. Iíve tried to go back to vintage Holtons, King Duo Gravis, Conn 73H, Holton Tr183, Kanstul 1662, Conn 62HI but wasnít really happy with any of them.
Then I picked up a Conn 62HG Greenhoe. Suddenly thereís the sound I want for big band. And I donít have to change lead pipes or mouthpiece to do it. The Conn 62HG retains its distinct sound and intonation with a good range of lead pipes.
Switching lead pipes between the Conn and the Shires doesnít have much effect.  The leadpipe that came with the Conn feels and plays like the couple of stock Bach 50 pipes I have. The Shires #2 is slightly more open, in either horn. But, hereís the point, putting in any of the pipes Iíve cared to try doesnít change the tone or intonation of either horn much. And no pipe will make the Conn sound like the Shires, or my Bach, Yamaha or Holton. And no leadpipe I have will make any of the other horns sound like the Conn.
I donít mean to imply that all lead pipes are created equal. I favor the Shires #2, others may favor more or less resistance or a different feel. As with mouthpieces, when players start using a new leadpipe they notice all the differences at first, but over time they adapt, and soon they sound like themselves again. Hopefully with some improvement.
Example #2
Shires small bore tenor with original tuning crook. This horn sounded great, but felt too open and the F, E, And E flat were all too sharp so it was not natural for me to play when Iím used to horns with other intonation tendencies. I tried all three of the shires pipes, the number one felt best, but didnít change the intonation. I tried Conn and Bach and some Kanstul repo pipes, none had any effect on the intonation.  A Doug Elliott mouthpiece, which is a little longer than most, helped a little. Some people swore by this horn and loved it. But I wasnít the only one who liked this horn but had trouble adjusting to it. Due to customer feedback, Shires developed two new tuning slides for the horn.  I bought a 1.5 tuning slide. Just put the new tuning slide on, and like magic, all the previous intonation problems simply vanished, and the horn played with better slotting, so I didnít have to use the #1 pipe, and switched to the #2. Regular mouthpieces now work with it just as well as the Elliott. None of these changes effected the tone much, and attempting to address these issues by changing the leadpipe was a failure because the problem was elsewhere.
Case 3#
Shires Large bore with original tuning slide. Itís well known that Shires large bore trombones were designed to get the high D in tune in 1st, and doing this meant that the F above the staff would be sharp in 1st. Many players are used to this, but Iím one of those who arenít, so Itís more work for me to adjust to such a horn. None of the lead pipes I had made much difference to the intonation. Long mouthpieces, such as older Schilkes, and Doug Elliotts helped a little. Then Shires came out with the X tuning slide, said to change intonation of the partials to be more like a Bach. I bought one and the new tuning slide works as advertised. Octave F, Es, And E flats are well in tune with each other and High D tends to be a little flat. Changing the lead pipe changed the resistance and feel, but had little effect on tone or intonation.
One further example
Older Conn 88Hs require a Remington taper shank on the mouthpiece. Many players never bothered to order a mouthpiece with the correct shank. Iíve noticed that when I play a vintage Conn with a typical Bach or other modern mouthpiece, they play really open, perhaps too open on some notes, and the F, E, and E flat above the staff can be very sharp. But put a mouthpiece with a Remington taper, or a long shank Schilke 51, then partial lineup becomes much more like other instruments, and the slotting seems better too.  Remington taper mouthpieces are a little longer than others. This demonstrates the commonly observed rule that thereís a certain distance that works best for the mouthpiece to go into the leadpipe. If the mouthpiece goes in too far (too small a shank) notes that tend to be sharp get sharper and the horn plays more open. If the mouthpiece doesnít go in far enough (too large a shank)  then the notes that play flat will tend to be to flat, and the horn will be too resistant. And thereís a point in the middle that seems to give good results and feels good too. The leadpipe and mouthpiece have to be part of a well matched system, no one part is most important.

The question about Herrick and Minick originals verses the Kanstul 'copies' was a genuine one.... so many people on this forum talk about  makers when they mean copies of that maker's product. For me all kanstul pipes play like variations of a Kanstul pipe, whatever they are called.
Most of what you are saying relates to more recent experience with Shires trombones, and I can understand where you are coming from.... I had two students last year that had Shires basses.... any attempt to fine-tune them with different leadpipes was futile. Mouthpieces had some effect, but those instruments play and sound a certain way and that's what it will be.
Other makes behave differently.... a friend in New York recently mentioned that he was having a job finding the right pipe for a Holton 185 he recently bought. I went through twenty-something pipes that I have here and found that they pretty much all behaved very differently in a Holton to how they worked in my other horns.... I sent him one that made the most sense in my 169..... I could not remember where that pipe came from... it was simply marked 'Holton'... perhaps they knew what they were doing ! Of course, it may work in my Holton but not in his !
Raths are pretty pipe sensitive, at least for me.... and I have a modern Conn that has been transformed by an original 70H pipe.... I say transformed... others might not notice a difference. All this stuff is relative.

Chris Stearn
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