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1060690 Posts in 70620 Topics- by 18448 Members - Latest Member: TheAltoHornKid
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41  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Original Rath Bass Trombones on: Feb 10, 2017, 12:23AM
Chris does yours have Hagmann valves?

Hi Bill, no 34 is push fit leadpipe... very early pipe marked 25mm... yellow brass slide, standard oversleeves, bigger bottom bow guard, newer inline Hagmanns with the latest bracing, modular build, red brass tuning slide, 9 7/8" pure copper bell.
No 340 is an R8, nickel silver slide, no oversleeves, screw pipe fitment, single Hagmann valve, nickel silver tuning slide, 9 1/8" nickel silver bell.
I may invest in a gold or red brass bell to bridge the 'gap'  but  these horns work well.... using the nickel silver slide with the single Hagmann and red tuning slide, copper bell at the moment.

Chris Stearn
42  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Original Rath Bass Trombones on: Feb 09, 2017, 02:58PM
Back on thread....
I think Mick would be amused to think the early instruments are possibly thought of as being special.
Perhaps they are the ones that are now blown in !
Seriously, many of the early examples have been upgraded at the factory to later spec. I had both my early builds made modular by Mick and to me they played just as well. The early model I have just started using (no 34) has been refurbed at the factory and made modular.
In the early days there were some options and features that are no longer offered.... with constant development, some things were found to be less popular or better options were developed. I think Mick's trombones are probably still getting better.

Chris Stearn
43  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Bass Trombone suggestions? on: Feb 08, 2017, 02:33PM
I've recently been inducted into my high school jazz band as a bass trombonist and they only have a single trigger so-called "intermediate" Yamaha YSL-448G. So while I'm here reading grade 6 literature with low b's in every piece that I have that I just fake and also have petals that jump all over the place it's hard to articulate. So long story short does anyone have any cheap double trigger bass trombone suggestions?

I've played a couple of these Yamahas... they are fantastic and hard to better for double the money.... look with care.

Chris Stearn
44  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Original Rath Bass Trombones on: Feb 08, 2017, 12:00AM
Thanks, Chris. Glad I included the PS :/ Embarrassed!



I didn't mean to put it impolitely ... just very very busy at the moment. Playing a mix of 34 and 340 today.... 34 was a copper bell... nice....

Chris Stearn
45  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Original Rath Bass Trombones on: Feb 07, 2017, 10:44AM
My original R8 and R9 were built solid but were then converted to modular and later still converted to TIS . Both pre 100.

Chris Stearn
46  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: What`s on your "Holy Grail"horn list? on: Feb 07, 2017, 10:40AM
Didn't a horn claiming to be Ray's pass through ebay a while ago? It had been significantly reworked, so hard to tell how much was real.

I briefly got to try another 169 that was smooth as silk, but went to a higher bidder. Sigh.

Still curious to try a real Krupse.

<Edit: Fixed quote>

I bought that one Steve. The slide was not original and a second valve was added and the valves open wrapped. The seller bought it from Pro Brass who told him the bell had been Premru's . I contacted them but they did not reply to my mail. If it was Ray's it may well have been the stolen one that was recovered.

Chris Stearn
47  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Original Rath Bass Trombones on: Feb 07, 2017, 10:35AM
I had a R9DTIS that was non modular. I don't t remember the serial number..

TIS came in after Mick went modular, so your instrument was probably not as it left the factory, unless it was special order non-modular.

Chris Stearn
48  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Original Rath Bass Trombones on: Feb 07, 2017, 10:32AM
I have a feeling that the R8 and R9 bass models might have been introduced after the change to modular models. It would be worth checking by emailing Raths directly.



PS I could be wrong on this; I have been wrong before, but it wasn't a Tuesday.

Nope.... I was working with Mick in the early 2000's ... The early R8 and R9 were built solid... you got to try things out and when you were happy it would be finally soldered and lacquered. I remember having discussions about going modular and remember Mick deciding modular was the right way to go to be best able to offer customers choice and flexibility.

Chris Stearn
49  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
50  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
51  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
52  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
53  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
54  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
55  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
56  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
57  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
58  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
59  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.
60  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
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