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4841  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Yeo Update - Why this change? on: Apr 01, 2004, 03:09PM
Quote from: "Mike Suter"
<<It's the freelance players that are totally wound up about playing on what the regular players want them to.>>

Sadly, you're right. That's why, when I was 12, I decided to be 6'4" and 280 pounds so that I wouldn't have to listen to those dummies.

When describing The National Slide Quartet I'd tell people it started out as a big band until I fired everybody who pissed me off.

Mike


Oh Mike you really know how to hit the spot !  Grin
What orchestras really need is NEW music that people (and I mean more than the fossils and the geeks) want to listen to.
Chris Stearn.
4842  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Yeo Update - Why this change? on: Apr 01, 2004, 10:15AM
Well Ed, if you have a job, you can choose to play on what you like- it's the results that count and if your fellow section members think that messing around with strange plumbing is letting the orchestra down you soon get to know. It's the freelance players that are totally wound up about playing on what the regular players want them to.
Chris Stearn.
4843  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Question about bass bones on: Mar 31, 2004, 11:58AM
Paul, you actually have a Conn 111H ??
I've only ever seen one in an ad. thought they didn't exist.
Is it the same as a 112H except in dependant form ?
Chris Stearn.
4844  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Yeo Update - Why this change? on: Mar 30, 2004, 01:09PM
Mike- that was one of the most perceptive posts I've ever read on this forum.  So, so ,so, true.
Ed- yes most of the orchestral rep. avoids the really low stuff, at least in a loud rapid way, though I could fill a page with examples of loud, low orchestra passages. Remember also, at least in London professional circles, it is very common to work three session days, and most folk would find that tough on a bucket mouthpiece.
There is a different approach required for commercial and jazz bass trombone playing, but the best way to do it is in the head, and with hours of work to make the low register flexible- we're back to what Mike said- instant gratification with big gear gets a result, but not the right one.
Mike himself is a great example of that commercial sound, and it comes from the head and the heart, not the horn.
Chris Stearn.
4845  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / The mechanics of bass trombone triggers on: Mar 30, 2004, 12:33PM
In the late sixties/early seventies Boosey & Hawkes together with Denis Wick and Ray Premru, developed the first independant valve bass trombone. Denis told me that the inspiration for it was the German independant valve F contras that he had seen. I was studying with him at the time, and purchased one of these instruments. The first thing I did was to try and learn all the possibilities of the valves, by themselves and combined. I could get around down low pretty well on the Conn 73H that I had been using up till then. Well, after a few months of work I managed to wreck that low register ability, as I became totally confused about choice of valve and position- when, say faced with a low D I had three options, but I no longer automatically moved to ANY of them- I had trained myself to be equally at home at all three places, so auto-reading just ground to a halt. Beware of that problem, and always have a regular choice, plus the options. Also, remember that we play the SLIDE trombone, and too much valve work just makes us sound like baritones.
Chris Stearn.
4846  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Accessories / Leadpipes for my Rath R4 on: Mar 29, 2004, 01:34PM
True Bean, but a change of leadpipe has transformed Raths for me in the past. Mick can supply just about anything within reason. Worth a try, as they are not too expensive. Is it an early pipe that just pulls out or a later one that screws in ?
Chris Stearn.
4847  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Yeo Update - Why this change? on: Mar 29, 2004, 01:27PM
I can't argue with what you said Mike. Seems to make good sense to me.
I would add a little bit of a footnote for mouthpieces.
In the late seventies or early eighties, a shop in LA copied George Roberts' collection of mouthpieces and marketed them. I think they are very fine, and they still have a few left that they found tucked away.
They made five models- the NY , MV, CE, SE, and SO. The letters of the first two have obvious links, but I don't know anything about the others.
Any comments on those pieces, Mike ?
Chris Stearn.
4848  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Sterling Silver Bass Trombone Bells on: Mar 27, 2004, 03:42AM
Quote from: "moldycrow"
Quote from: "blast"
Lorna's silver bell Conn is a very different beast. Big dark sound.
Like they say, you gotta try the trombone, not read the spec.
Chris Stearn.


I think that instrument is helped a lot by the red brass tuning slides and dual bore slide, a combination I think really works well.  

Of course, after all this, it turns out I've decided I'm really not in the market for a bass trombone with a silver bell, no matter how fantastic it sounds.  It's just going to take too long and be way too expensive for me to consider.  All of your input has been valuable, however.


I'm probably the only player on the forum that has played Lorna's trombone in a professional orchestra, and I would hesitate when asked which parts of the horn provide which qualities. It is a highly customised instrument that Lorna has carefully and cleverly constructed, to enhance her already fine playing. It may well not be a combination that suits everybody. For very many players, it is safer to select a tried and tested stock model, that has a proven track record with many players over many years.
I say that as a custom trombone user.
If you REALLY know what you are looking for, put the bits together.
Otherwise, save some cash, buy a stock horn that you like, and get down to work.
I have pupils on Edwards, Rath and Conn. They all sound great when they are working hard.
Chris Stearn.
4849  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Effect of Metals on Sound on: Mar 27, 2004, 03:21AM
In these tests, the listeners will soon be so confused by the numerous sounds that the results will be meaningless. What do they end up comparing ?
I would suggest the use of a control bell, played every other time, to form a sonic base from which to work. The question is then always the same- is bell B different in sound to control bell A ?
On random occasions bell A would be played both times. The most important test, in many ways, is how many spot the same bell- this also gives the tester an insight into the aural perception of the listeners.
I set up a test in this way about twenty years ago, to compare Bach 91/2" and 101/2" bells, in both yellow and red brass. in those days that involved whole bell sections, and so was of debatable value, but it still showed me that what I thought the differences were was generally incorrect.
Chris Stearn.
4850  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Edwards vs. Shires Bass bones on: Mar 26, 2004, 04:47PM
Yes JP, but cars have to satisfy certain standards to be legally sold.
Anybody can build a trombone and offer it at any price they fancy.
Buyer beware is a big deal when looking at trombones.
Here the poster is asking about high-end horns with a proven track record, where taste will determine eventual choice. Even big makers have made lemons in the past, so he asks a reasonable question, even if we've heard it many times before.
Chris Stearn.
4851  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Sterling Silver Bass Trombone Bells on: Mar 26, 2004, 04:14PM
I had a King duo-gravis silver-sonic bass a few years ago- it came as a swap and I thought it might be fun. Far from being dull, that was the brightest, hardest sounding bass I have ever used. I used it a couple of times with two silver-sonic 3B's, but it really was unpleasant.
Lorna's silver bell Conn is a very different beast. Big dark sound.
Like they say, you gotta try the trombone, not read the spec.
Chris Stearn.
4852  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Effect of Metals on Sound on: Mar 26, 2004, 04:03PM
Hey Paul, we have already done some informal testing at Rath. It's so easy to get confused, so some blind tests showed us that to our ears, in a space much smaller than a concert hall, all the listeners heard differences between bells of different materials. No universals on what the differences were, but they seemed very real- not at all hard to hear. I don't know if Mick would be too keen to lose another day's production, so all the staff can pose around listening to bells.
A couple of years ago I went over to Belgium to play as a soloist at a brass festival. I also gave a demo of the Rath trombones. I played a red bell, then a copper bell to about a hundred brass players. There were shocked looks all round when they heard the difference. They all expected little or no change, but the difference was big.
Just a story, I know. No evidence. Keeps us moving towards page eight though.
Chris Stearn.
4853  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Effect of Metals on Sound on: Mar 26, 2004, 12:05PM
Hey Bickle, don't stop now. This has been the most fun topic in ages. I have enjoyed every post- especially the ones I moan about.  Grin
Chris Stearn.
4854  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Sterling Silver Bass Trombone Bells on: Mar 25, 2004, 04:25PM
Actually it's Lorna McDonald.
The Greenhoe Conn that she plays is available to anybody with the folding stuff to buy one. It all came from stock parts. The bell was made by Conn but you might have to put in a special order. Greenhoe will soon be making his own bells.
Bach supply silver bells.
Chris Stearn.
4855  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Effect of Metals on Sound on: Mar 25, 2004, 02:27PM
Quote from: "bickle"
*creeps back in cautiously*

OK, keeping in mind that I'm a cretin:

I agree with Chris, almost completely. I think the idea of it making a bigger difference for the player than anybody else is probably very correct, and speaks to the placebo effect Skeptic was talking about.

But I do wonder about things like Chicago having a characteristic sound, and playing (if I remember right, I'm sure I'll be corrected) matched heavy gold brass Bachs. And New York having a characteristic sound. Didn't they all play yellow Bachs for a while? Is it all in the players? I dunno. Could Joe Alessi or Chris Stearn ( Grin ) take their current set up and play in Chicago, and get the Chicago Sound? Is the Chicago Sound a myth? I dunno.

 A friend of mine, professional player, stunningly good, needs a couple of years of seasoning and he'll probably be top 20 orchestra material, maybe better, just decided his Edwards something or other bell wasn't right, and got four others to try out. Well, he always sounded like him, but there were differences among the different bells with him in the kitchen and me in the living room. Was he doing it on purpose? Maybe, but I could tell when he changed bells and when he just put the horn down to fool me. From my point of view, that's an invitation to try to figure out what's different. And a good reason for him to spend $500, if he's intent on getting that slight change out of his sound. Since he's in a place where a slight change can mean maybe mean getting a job or not, especially if he thinks it makes a difference.

For me, I think the thing I could do that would get the best sound out of my horn would be to give it to my buddy....  Grin  Don't know

I just had the same argument (more or less) with a client that I had with Paul, re testing for the sake of testing v. testing to come to a useful conclusion. Except I was on the other side. How ironical. Sure, I'll take your $500, but it's not going to solve your problem.

Edit: surely you're not syaing Blast prefers deep fried Mars bars to donuts, are you?  Amazed  Amazed  Amazed


Is it food for thought that is the problem ?

Yes, the great orchestras do have their traditions of sound and style. They select players that they think will fit those traditions.
I know that Ian Bousfield is working very hard to take on the Vienna traditions, even though he is already one of the world's great trombonists.
It can help if the player uses equipment that matches, but that is only part of the story.
The handfull of people on this forum that have actually played with one of the world's top class orchestras will know exactly what the demands are.
The make and metal of trombone are not at the top of the list.......
at least initially.
I remember hearing the Chicago about 1979 with the tenors playing Schilkes (Yamaha bits, assembled by Schilke and gold plated) and E.K. on a 'bitsa' of Williams and Bach. Sounded just like all the old recordings. Sounded like the Chicago trombones.
Chris Stearn.
4856  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Kanstul Contrabass on: Mar 25, 2004, 01:30PM
Actikid, you misunderstand what I was saying. You are right that all trombones are subject to hand manufacturing processes. What I said was in no way a comment on the quality of the Kanstul instruments, which is first class. It was a comment on the manufacturing processes.
Rath are a very small company with no bend pressing equipment, drawing tube and bending tube by hand. Kanstul use presses as the volume of their production means that it is economic to buy expensive tools. New press formers cost money. I simply wrote that I understood Steve's point.
I think Steve was aware of that.
Chris Stearn. Good!
4857  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Valve Types-Hagman, Thayer, Axial, Rotary, Lindberg on: Mar 25, 2004, 01:16PM
Christian is very 'hands on'. He works out things with Conn. He believes in the products that he puts his name to and is a really genuine guy.
Chris Stearn.
4858  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Effect of Metals on Sound on: Mar 25, 2004, 01:09PM
Well done John. The sane voice !!!
I really admire the stand that Tim has taken on this, and think he was at his best when attempting a detailed setting out of his position that we could all understand. As this great debate rolls on we finally reach the interesting part- the human brain. No test involving people playing a trombone can give valid results- the player is always the ultimate variable.
I'll be candid about my feelings on this subject of metals.
I think that there ARE real differences (think, not know) but.... these differences are important only close up. The player hears a difference, those working around them hear a difference, but in a large concert hall, I have never listened to a section and thought, ah yes, the second is using a red bell, but the first is using a yellow bell. Different makes of instrument sound differently in a concert hall, but even that difference is far less than the difference between the sounds and styles of different schools of playing.
The different metals provide a feel-good factor for the player, and those around the player, which can be hugely important in the creation of great music, but which is also unlikely to be heard by even the finest ear in the concert hall.
Modern instruments are a wonder, but the brain is the single most amazing thing that we know of in the universe. On that I hope both camps can agree.
Chris Stearn.
4859  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Custom design Rath dependant on: Mar 25, 2004, 11:56AM
Wow ! I go away for a couple of days and find loads of questions to answer. I'll do my best.
Firstly, I wanted valves 1 and 2 closer together mostly to reduce the length of the operating linkage and keep the horn from being back heavy. It's true that I've found in the past that the best double rotor horns tend to have the valves built close together, but that was not a reason for the design. Steve Ferguson is right about the reason for the second valve being on it's side- that's the only way to be able to get the valve out easily if it is in that position. It also allows a better tube build for the second valve. I set the second valve tube around the back of the first so that there is space to wear headphones in a recording situation. Although you might expect the instrument to be heavy, it is in fact, quite light for a double- Hagmanns are hollow and so quite light and Mick reduces staywork to a minimum. All bell and valve options work with this valve setup. I am most happy with the bronze slide and yellow bell with yellow tuning slide for general orchestral work, switching to nickel silver bell if I want an even clearer sound, and adding the nickel silver slide for big band etc.
As to this being offered as a model, there are a few problems to look at before that is possible. Firstly, the valves are built freehand, and in order to fit them in, they are at slightly odd angles (look at the pics.). The valve tube is lacking support stays and is quite easy to bend. This would not be acceptable on a production horn. Some people find the second valve too close to their face- again, not ok for a production horn.
That said, nobody has complained about the sound or the blow.
Nothing a little deveopment will not sort.
If it happens, you guys will be the first to know !!
Chris Stearn.
4860  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Kanstul Contrabass on: Mar 22, 2004, 04:24PM
The Rath contrabass will be in F with valves to Eb and Bb. There are good reasons to adopt that tuning, but it's not worth the explanation here- you find why when you play one. I think it is known as the Dresden system, whilst the Kanstul will use the other popular system, first used by VEB, and adopted by Alexanders.
Chris Stearn.
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