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1083350 Posts in 71707 Topics- by 19125 Members - Latest Member: trombone.willy
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4841  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Rath Trombones on: Aug 12, 2004, 01:25PM
Got my Rath mouthpieces today. Very first impression is that they are stunning. Feel is great. I will not say any more as first impressions are often not worth much. I will try them out in the orchestra tomorrow, and if that goes well, they might get a shot at the Edinburgh Festival next week.
Any more posts will be in a new topic, in the correct section.
Chris Stearn.
4842  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / switching bells to fit better in a brass quintet (bass trom) on: Aug 12, 2004, 01:18PM
Bass trombone or Tuba ?
Brings to mind a situation, many years ago. I ended up playing the last two weeks of the original run of 'Jesus Christ Superstar' in the West End.
Over a very long run (about fifteen years or so ) what was originally a trombone 2 / Tuba pad, had come to be all played on the bass trombone- for at least seven or eight years.
At the end of the run Lloyd- Webber came to see the show for the first time in years..... and when he heard me do the whole thing on bassbone, went totally ape**it !!
When the show was revamped and sent on the road, the player that got the job HAD to play bass and tuba. A while into the tour they were stuck for a deputy and called me. I said I would do it, but only on bass trombone, as I had no time to grab a tuba. Went and played it on bass trombone and everybody in the band said that it sounded much better than on tuba.
Who was right ?
You choose.
Chris Stearn.
4843  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Rath Trombones on: Aug 11, 2004, 12:12PM
As far as the mouthpieces are concerned, I'm getting a couple of the first batch to check out tomorrow. I'll let everybody know what I think ASAP.
Will the Rath be better than it's Bach equivalent ? That's up to the individual to decide- they should be out there for sale any time now.
As far as the slide bow, and other bends being quite square- that's just how Mick likes to build them, though rounder bends have been tried. Must be a case of little to choose. I do know that rounder bends are being used on some development models under test. Who knows if they will ever make it to production ?
Chris Stearn.
4844  Creation and Performance / Trombonists / Mr. Bass Trombone! on: Aug 08, 2004, 09:34AM
Twenty or thirty years ago, there were a range of George Roberts mouthpieces made. I understand these were copies of mouthpieces he used. They were marked NY, MV, CE, SE and SO. Could George say which mouthpieces were these models based on, especially the SO.

Chris Stearn.
4845  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Yellow Brass or Rose brass? on: Aug 01, 2004, 02:12PM
You assume that if a player has preconceptions, they are borne out during the testing process. With the nickel silver bells, I expected them to be clear but very bright and cutting, and probably unsuitable for orchestral work- which is just what the first bass bell made by Raths turned out to be. We tried heat treatment to calm it down, and it ruined the bell, making it dead and flat in tone. Bell no. 2 was made from a slightly different nickel silver alloy, from Germany. I expected a similar character, but found the bell to be dark, resonant and projecting, with a sound warmer than red brass.
That was very different from the qualities that I expected, but I just had to accept how the bell sounded to me. There is no point in trying different materials if you don't keep an open mind, and the results of one player's trials are true for that player, and can be no more than a rough guide for others.
Still, it will be very interesting to see how your experiments work out.
Chris Stearn.
4846  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Yellow Brass or Rose brass? on: Jul 31, 2004, 03:23PM
The Rath tests were not double blind, but we all were by the end of the evening. You will find Raths a dangerous place when you go down !!
I quite like your prediction of possible cause- just the sort of speculation I might indulge in if I were setting out on that path- and as casual speculation, I'm sure that it will not affect your view of the work in hand.
I'm sure Alistair could tell you that devices such as you are talking about are common tools in this area of research- a man called Bausher ? was using this sort of method at Surrey University in the '70's- though he sold a Latzch bass trombone to buy a Boosey Soveregn, so I question any conclusions that he came to.
Edinburgh University are up to such things today, according to an article in the BTS mag. by the prof. there- though I'm sure Alistair can speak on the work there with a far greater understanding than I can.
Chris Stearn.
4847  Teaching & Learning / Schools, Colleges and Conservatories / COLLEGE ACCECPTANCES!! on: Jul 31, 2004, 02:47PM
I'll be back at the RSAMD Scotland in September, same as every year since '91, but then I teach there. Sounds like I'm in a rut. Grin
Seriously, I wish you all well with your studies, and remember, you only get one shot at college, so work hard, and those that did'nt make it this year, you can always try again- if it's what you REALLY want to do.
Good luck,
Chris Stearn.
4848  Teaching & Learning / Pedagogy / The Ultimate Question on: Jul 30, 2004, 03:21PM
I teach whatever the student wants to learn.
I have, and still do, teach every level from beginner to college student, to pro's requiring remeadial work.
If you teach properly you must be totally unselfish, and provide anything from light entertainment, to all the tools to allow that student to take away your own work.
I've had students from each extreme and all shades in between.
Chris Stearn.
4849  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Yellow Brass or Rose brass? on: Jul 29, 2004, 01:08PM
Let's just remember that all this alloy searching is fun (for some) but is really just a side show in the game of music making. I think materials make a difference, and can make life easier, but it's the player that counts, and players can adapt to all sorts of different instruments and materials.
I've never heard of a player getting rubbed from a gig for not bringing the right color of bell. I've known it happen, when it is a make of instrument that other players don't think fits, but is it REALLY the instrument or just an excuse when the player is not right for the job?
Great players sound great on anything.
Enjoy your yellow bell Getzen. If you think it's a great horn, then it will be.....given hard work and musical ideas.
Chris Stearn.
4850  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / The physical side of brass playing on: Jul 27, 2004, 04:46PM
I wish you all the best Mike.
When I heard you play last year you sounded great- really on top of your playing.
If that was in unwell mode, I'm scared !!
All the best with the master plan. You can't keep a good musician down.
Chris Stearn.
4851  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / What Happened to the Rath Mouthpieces? on: Jul 26, 2004, 02:08PM
I got an update today. Pre-production mouthpieces are just starting to be checked by players that have been involved in development, so if all is well, they should be available quite soon. I hear inital reaction is good.
Chris Stearn.
P.S. I think any launch news better be in the 'products' section.
4852  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Yellow Brass or Rose brass? on: Jul 26, 2004, 01:53PM
It is a pleasure to read Kevin's considered and musically reasoned posts. I agree with him in all respects, and can see exactly why he wants tests done in the way he suggests.
I will state AGAIN that Rath have tested removable bells of different alloys, with professional players listening blind, and have gained consistant results that indicate differences due to alloy do exist for those listeners.
They also conducted tests where identical bells were subjected to different heat treatments, or no heat treatment, and the professional players listening could hear no difference between any of them.
I have myself listened to four bells of different alloy, on my trombone, played in the Glasgow Royal Concert hall, whilst I sat in the middle of the hall. I was not blindfolded, but I did have an open mind, and was able to hear clear differences between the bells, but they were not always the differences I expected, yet I accepted them as true for that instrument in that hall, with that player.
Design and manufacture are by far the greatest variables in the instrument, and the player is an even greater external variable, but I cannot question the benifits of the different alloys available to me in the creation of the instrument that can most easily give me the results I require in different situations, as I have heard the evidence time and again.
Chris Stearn.
4853  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Bass Trombone in tenor clef! on: Jul 25, 2004, 01:54PM
Quote from: "griffinben"
Ok thunders was posted while I was writing my P.S so here goes...

First off learning tenor clef means attaining a level of comfort and ability that you can sight read it.  If you have to count ledger lines then you haven't learned it, and certainly wouldn't be able to perform it a moments notice.

Second Dave Taylor has acheived alevel of virtousity that few of us will ever reach.  He has spent a lifetime wortking to get to the point he has now.  And I bet if you ask him, I'll bet he had to learn to double tongue at some point.  You know what, I study with him, and will post the results here when I ask him.

Beyond that, you should learn how to double tounge so that you explore all options available to you.  yes I hardly double tonue on bass trombone, but there are times I have to.  Students should learn so that the have it available to them.  If they make an artistic choice not to later, that's their buisness.

Third hell yeah there's a lot to work on, a lot to practice.  If it were easy, then everyone would do it and it wouldn't be special.  Playing the horn is hard and we gotta figure it out.  But we also have to be able to interpret music that is put in front of us.  You never wanted to play a trumpet part or solo?

 The stuff you're saying is the kind of complacency that limits the progression of the music.  You want to only read bass clef and single tongue?  That's great.  And chances are you will be able to do 95% percent of what you will encounter in life as a bass trombonist.

But its that extra 5% that seperates the good from great, the truly memorable.

We love Dave Taylor, Doug Yeo, George Roberts because they have pushed the envelope of trombone playing.  What would have happend if they had been satisfied with the typical role?

This kind of attitude is why Bass trombone solos are so rare, either in the jazz field or classical.because we aren't willing to learn.  That's like saying don't bother learning changes 'cause you'll never see a bass tormbone part with changes.

If you don't learn it, noone will ever write them.
If you don't learn the techniques, we remain stagnant.

I get it that there's other stuff to work on, but c'mon, play your Rochut's an octave down in tenor clef, work that Arban's to an extreme single and then double tongue tempo.  It doesn't have to be the bulk of your pratice time but every little part that helps you expand HELPS YOU!

BTW, You bet Dave reads treble and tenor clef.

That is one hell of a post, and I'm right behind you Griffinben.
Dave seems not to quite understand the level that DT and DY work at- in fact, having heard and spent time with Dave Taylor, Dave Thunderchops has not a clue what Dave Taylor is about- and I mean that with no offence to Dave T.
Dave Taylor covers EVERYTHING in detail- any technique that he requires to realise music at it's most profound.
As for Doug Yeo, I would direct Thunderchops to the duets he does on Ron Barron's 'In the Family' CD, there you will find passages so rapid that even double tounging seems too slow.
It's not wise to quote great players in modest mode.
For many years I played only bass trombone, but in the last fifteen I have expanded to contra and tenor and several other instruments, and I find only benifit.
I recently had to turn down a gig playing 'period' contrabass in Das Rheingold under Sir Simon Rattle at the Proms- Great to be asked, and worth the extra effort to be in the frame.
Using tenor on Verdi's third parts solves so many problems.
If you work as a professional, pushing the boundries is essential, but it is still a lot of fun if you play for the love of it.
Chris Stearn.
4854  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / What is a quality trombone ? on: Jul 24, 2004, 03:19AM
The Bach 36G thread has started to head in the direction of a discussion of quality and quality control in relation to trombones, so I thought I would start a new topic so we can chew this over in more detail.
My question is this :
What do you consider to be the traits and qualities that go to make up a really top level trombone in 2004 ?
Feel, sound, tuning,workmanship, options etc.
Should they be consistant from instrument to instrument, or can each example be different, if they play stunningly well ?
I'll use French Horns as an example of the sorts of differences I'm thinking about- Alexander horns, made in Germany are used in orchestras throughout the world. Talk to an Alexander horn player and they will tell you that no two Alex's play the same. They often have 'funny'notes, BUT Alex players all love their horns and seem to stick to them for life.
Paxman horns are made in the UK and played in orchestras all over the world. They are very, very consistant, well in tune, with no poor notes, but if you talk to players, they often say that it 'does the job better than anything else I could get', and I've heard it said that whilst you will never get a bad Paxman, you will never get a great one.
Musical instrument or instrument for music ?
Over to you.
Chris Stearn.
4855  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / What can you tell me about a Bach 36G, other than it's ugly? on: Jul 24, 2004, 02:58AM
This thread is now heading towards a 'what is quality ?' line of argument.
As the comments about Yamaha indicate, there are many, myself included, who admire the quality of construction and design of Yamaha trombones and applaud the consistant quality from example to example, but find them lacking in 'musical character'. This is totally subjective, and many of the world's finest players choose Yamaha, but it does push you towards asking the question : What is a quality trombone ? Apart from the physical construction, what attributes should a great instrument have ?
Time for a new topic, I think.
Chris Stearn.
4856  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / What can you tell me about a Bach 36G, other than it's ugly? on: Jul 23, 2004, 03:42PM
I'm with John on this- how the horn is put together is central to the final quality. Look what happened to Conn when they left Elkhart.
When Bach was in charge it would have been different- as John says, like Shires and Rath are now. I know that Mick personally assembles every trombone, but that's only possible in a small shop. Bach would have to look at the whole operation and apply new standards of assembly, a hard thing to do.
A good Bach is a thing of wonder, and I've been luckey enough to own several over the years, but all too often, instruments that I've tried in shops are just not right.
Chris Stearn.
4857  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / What can you tell me about a Bach 36G, other than it's ugly? on: Jul 22, 2004, 12:42PM
Quote from: "drahthaar"
Quote from: "blast"
If Mick Rath had Bach's level of good to not good instruments, he would only be making about four decent ones a year !!!!!!
They HAVE TO get their quality control sorted- after all, a GOOD Bach is a stunning instrument.
Chris Stearn.

A strong opinion, and clear enough.  But based upon what?

Based upon trying Bachs for over thirty years, and hearing of other player's  problems in finding a decent one. Sorry, I should not have brought Rath into it , but what I was trying to say was that many makers have solved the quality control issue (when did you ever play a bad Yamaha?) so why do we always accept that you need to try a load of Bachs to find a good one ?
Chris Stearn.
4858  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Yellow Brass or Rose brass? on: Jul 22, 2004, 12:31PM
Reducing the number of flutes, clarinets, oboes and bassoons made would indeed be of benifit to the planet.  Grin  Grin
Chris Stearn.
4859  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Custom mouthpiece? on: Jul 21, 2004, 04:11PM
If you like the LS but find it too big, the Reynolds L , and Furguson L are the obvious next steps- very fine mouthpieces.
Chris Stearn.
4860  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Rath Trombones on: Jul 21, 2004, 04:05PM
Yes Ed,
It's not far away now !!
Interesting comment about older and newer basses- there have been no basic changes in bass design (opps) since the model was introduced, just more options available. The only big thing is the DST, which offers a distinct new slant on the Rath bass design.
Such are the options, however, that you can now build a Rath bass that pleases devotees of many famous old models, but you can also break new ground, with say, a nickel silver bass (lot to be said for it) or choose alloys not used in brass manufacture before.
Nice to call the factory and hear that Ed's trombone is being built- how many makers know who they building an instrument for ?
Chris Stearn.
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