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1096471 Posts in 72521 Topics- by 19536 Members - Latest Member: devnull2112
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61  Creation and Performance / Music, Concerts and Recordings / Finally got to hear the NYPO on: Jan 01, 2018, 12:55PM
Well, we are over in MA seeing our son, daughter in law and her family. Two days ago we hit the Big Apple and were lucky enough to catch the NYPO in their home venue.  Our old friend Bramwell Tovey was conducting them so we  got to sit in the conductor's box and get to see some backstage historic materials not open to the public. The NYPO staff were very kind and helpful. The program was the overture to the Bartered Bride by Smetena, Bartok's second piano concerto and Mussorgsky/Ravel 'Pictures at an Exhibition '.
The orchestra was everthing we expected and more.  The strings are so powerful and virtuosic whilst the brass were true to their reputation for power and richness of tone. A thrilling experience.

Chris Stearn





62  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: New Hagmann Valve? on: Dec 31, 2017, 06:40AM
What I don't get is how that change creates the need for a different cap. As it has been said, there is no contact between the rotor and the cap as the rotor is not level with the edge of the casing anyway, and the cap even curves away slightly from the rotor.

Because the revised valve is a different diameter.... simple.Mick told me that himself.

Chris Stearn
63  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Rath Nickel Tuning Slides on: Dec 29, 2017, 09:38AM
Interesting that you say that. My NS tuning slide has ended up in my double valve/double bell R4. This is a small bore bass trombone (Bb/F/Gb with the Gb valve going to the second bell, when attached) and I don't find the resistance to be a problem here.
Maybe resistance is the wrong word but I don't know how to describe otherwise. In any case the NS feels weird to me in most of my setups. No so in the small bass.


Yup  NS feels weird in pretty much all my setups except the all NS horn.
 Chris Stearn
64  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Rath Nickel Tuning Slides on: Dec 28, 2017, 03:42PM
Of all of the Rath tuning slides, I like the nickel the least. It has too much resistance for me, something I don't find in the nickel hand slide, which is more open than the bronze slide. My favorite tuning slide is the red brass, followed by the yellow brass. I didn't really care for the gold brass. This, of course, has a lot to do with the set up.

The red brass tuning slide is magic with a red brass bell/nickel slide. But a bronze slide/red brass bell works better for me with a yellow tuning slide. The resistance of the nickel ruins it for me.

I think a nickel tuning slide would work better in a smaller bore instrument where you want'd want more punch.



Funny,on bass the NS is the free blowing one. All NS is like the Olds Opera used to be... clear but heavy... not the best for actual Opera, but I suppose it was just a name. Put a NS tuning slide with a copper bell and yellow slide and it is a mess... at least to me. Materials are not the simple trade off that some people think. I think that may account for the emergence of artist models from some modular makers... it can be good to pick more musical brains to get a steup that works.

Chris Stearn
65  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Rath Nickel Tuning Slides on: Dec 26, 2017, 03:26PM
Yup.... in the R8. All NS horn. Works fine. Change anything and it is not so good. Parts make a whole.  You really have to build the whole and not try to isolate characteristics... and that is tough.

Chris Stearn.
66  Creation and Performance / Musical Miscellany / Re: Happy Christmas to all! on: Dec 25, 2017, 05:23AM
Very nice  Good! Good! Good!

Happy Christmas

Chris Stearn
67  Creation and Performance / Musical Miscellany / Re: James Levine, students, festivals on: Dec 24, 2017, 12:10PM
Can I warn everyone that this is a public place and many pro players lurk here. Lawsuits could be brought and gossip is rarely a nice thing.

Chris Stearn
68  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Rath R2 vs Shires Michael Davis + on: Dec 20, 2017, 02:51PM
I love this.  One of my favorite things recently is to find old horns (non modular), and to see how they play as-is-- what makes them work?  Do they work for one thing or work for many things?  It's a game!

Yes indeed. Different makes usually have 'house' quirks... I am at the stage where I have several makes pretty much understood.... and at an age where I don't want to get to know any more. Shires and Rath are poles apart in terms of the challenges they offer, so Shires players don't get the Rath vibe and Rath players don't get the Shires vibe.

Chris Stearn
69  Creation and Performance / Performance / Re: Elgar's Enigma Variations on alto? on: Dec 20, 2017, 10:57AM
I'll check our schedule and see how it looks. That was the encore from a concert in Bucharest where we had just played Mahler 3 - hence the four trombones. It's a shame I've never been able to find a video of that on you tube. The alto is a rather lovely one by Larry Minnick. Good find, thanks Bcschipper

I thought that alto was a good purchase at the time. Sure has earned its keep since :)

Chris Stearn
70  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Rath R2 vs Shires Michael Davis + on: Dec 20, 2017, 10:15AM
I hate to say this... but... no trombone is perfect... part of the joy of playing is to work at the aspects of the instrument that you find hard. Another person would not find the same things a challenge on the same instrument.
I spent time with Mick Rath a few weeks ago and said to him that I wished that I had not messed around with different parts so much in the early days. He laughed in a knowing sort of way. He asked me if I wanted anything done on my horns... of course I said no. I said that the only bit that needs working on is me.

Chris Stearn  Evil
71  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Who in their right mind plays a Bach 1 1/2G ?? on: Dec 18, 2017, 12:49PM
The more I read this, the more I'm intrigued on trying on of this MT. Vernon Bach 1.5G, also the 2G.  Or even a close equivalent would be just as good!  Now I need to find a good vintage horn like a old Conn 62H, King Duo Gravis, old Bach 50, etc. Evil  I'm sad to say my current Schilke 59 & 60 pieces, if it's as good as the hype is, you both have been replaced! Evil

Well Ethan, it's probably just old guys having a rant. If you listen to old recordings of bass trombone playing and think it sounds better than new recordings you are heading to retro gear. Most people like the newer sounds. If you try a MV 1 1/2G you might love it.. you might not. Nearest thing made today is the Greg Black 1 1/2G... if you get a good one. I am over in MA for Christmas and blowing my son's Bb/F Holton with a Greg Black 1 1/2G... feels great.

Chris Stearn
72  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Who in their right mind plays a Bach 1 1/2G ?? on: Dec 18, 2017, 09:24AM
I haven't read this whole 84 page post so excuse me if I am repeating what someone might have already mentioned. Is it absurd to have a Large Bass Trombone setup and also a smaller setup? Tenor Trombonist do it who both play Jazz and Classical . What I have used in the past to play 2nd( Bass Trombone) Trombone in a Pit Orchestra , 3rd Trombone in a Concert Band , 2 Trombones in a  Small Big Band is way different from what I choose to use Playing 5th Trb in a Big Band ,, Or playing the Tuba Parts In a Brass Quintet, Orchestral Bass Trombone or Covering "Tower Of Power" Bari parts in a Rock Band.I enjoy playing many styles of Music and I find the One Mouthpiece One Horn method does not meet my needs for all styles that I play. I choose My Equipment( mouthpiece and horn) for the type of music I will be playing . I have and use a 1 1/2G Megatone and a Greg Black 0G and others. I also play Tenor Trb,Lead Trombone, Jazz Trombone , Classical Tenor, Contrabass  Trb and a 5/4 BBbb and a smaller 4/4 Bbb Tuba. Whatever Works ... Too Each Their Own. I kinda wish the "One Size Fits All " concept worked for me. It would be  less expensive.

If you have equipment that works for you, physically and sonically then you need for nothing.Over the last 84 pages I have repeated myself regularly. I have played big and small bass mouthpieces professionally in every kind of setting and both have plusses and minuses. In between sizes just seem for me to be the worst of all worlds.
The bottom line for me is sound, and I get closest to the sound I want on a Mt Vernon 1 1/2G Bach. Nothing else comes close... but people listening to me don't hear such a big difference,so it may be self satisfaction. I play a Mt Vernon 11 on small tenor and a MV 25 on small tuba and MV 24AW on big tuba. Elliott on contra and something odd on Euphonium.
To help with low bass trombone parts I carry a big mouthpiece in the case. I never use it, but knowing it is there makes the 1 1/2G work great.

Chris Stearn
73  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Mouthpiece/horn synergy on: Dec 10, 2017, 01:31AM
Different trombones work better with different mouthpieces... a perfect match for one trombone is dreadful in another. I thought that was a given. If (and it is usually the case) a trombone has been developed with the help of a professional player, it will work at it's best when used with the mouthpiece that the player uses. You will often not know who did the development and what they were playing.
The Conn 88H is supposed to work well with the Remington mouthpiece, though that is considered small these days.
Modern Yamaha basses are not at their best with ANY small bass mouthpiece.... they work better with many bigger bass mouthpieces.
Some instruments are more flexible with regard to mouthpieces and some are very picky.
When we choose a new instrument it is usually with our regular, favourite mouthpiece, so we select a good match even without realising it. It is often when an instrument falls into our hands and we wish to use it that mouthpiece confusion follows.

Chris Stearn
74  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Re: The aging trombonist (and how to do it gracefully) on: Dec 09, 2017, 05:41AM
Chris, there's an optician about 5 minutes drive from Mick Rath who specialises in glasses for musicians so they can see music and director as required. The business is called Allegro Optical in Meltham. Happy to put you in touch.

I have say that the glasses I recently had made work very well. I will probably end up using them. The truth is that I prefer the conductor to be a blur.... it makes them so much easier to follow.
Chris Stearn
75  Teaching & Learning / Beginners and Returning Trombonists / Re: Practice mute or mouthpiece buzzing plus other things? on: Dec 07, 2017, 12:25AM
Hi Chris,

Is that because of the significant additional back-pressure that the plugging up of the bell produces? In that case, going to the other extreme of having none would also be bad, but not as much. But are there advantages of buzzing on the mouthpiece that make it superior to always playing on the trombone (at least for a little bit)? Or, if you can always have your trombone, that's always the best option. The reason I ask is that if the correct back-pressure is a key issue, then using a Warburton plug at the end of the mouthpiece would seem to be the best all around compromise.

(I've been on travel for a week (with another two weeks to go) with my trombone, a spare kelly MP, and a practice mute, and I've been limited in being able to play at full volume. So I'm looking for "best practices" for having productive practice sessions". I have noticed that my lip flexibilities are getting worse from just using the practice mute, so I've started playing super quiet as suggested by Doug).

Cheers, Pete

It's to do with the way the brain works. It sees a trombone with a mute as a trombone but a mouthpiece alone is viewed as something very different. Previous trombone learning can be damaged by extended mute work which can be mentally overlaid with the change in resistance.  Mouthpiece buzzing is mentally treated as a unique action though there will be spillover into normal playing with extended use. The spillover is usually beneficial.
It is far mor complex but that is a rough idea.

Chris Stearn
76  Teaching & Learning / Beginners and Returning Trombonists / Re: Practice mute or mouthpiece buzzing plus other things? on: Dec 06, 2017, 12:54AM
The practice mute is less than ideal but playing 105% of a trombone is a lot better than playing with only 5% of your instrument.

That one I strongly disagree with. Practice mutes can destabilise playing far more easily than mouthpiece buzzing.  It would take too long to go into the reasons but it is what I have seen over many years.

Chris Stearn
77  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Wessex 7B Copy on: Nov 28, 2017, 03:28PM
They are great value. Nice to blow. Perhaps on the light side, sound wise and you need to bend the valve levers to suit, but a lot of horn for the money. The new bass will be a real step up. More cash , but again, great value.

Chris Stearn
78  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Repairs, Modifications and Maintenance / Re: A valve concept I've been conteplating for a while.... on: Nov 26, 2017, 07:50PM
Bossey and Hawkes made just such an attachment in the 1970's on their tenor trombone designed with Denis Wick. It sort of worked, but was not great. It allowed for a removable valve. As Bruce pointed out, German trombones often have tuning slide valves, but the proportions are different.

Chris Stearn
79  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Two New Wessex design Trombones on: Nov 21, 2017, 10:53AM
Is the Contra slide long enough to do the Bartok Gliss?  And if so, will there be a handle attachment?

Really nice looking horns!

Don't do it. That gliss is fine on a bass... easy to find a way round.
NOT a contra part !!!

Chris Stearn
80  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Re: 10 Minute Warm-Up vs. 15 Minute Warm-up vs. 20 Minute Warm-up on: Nov 16, 2017, 03:04AM
Also agree with Leif and Svenne... no books... warm up the brain and the ears not just the face. Don't get locked into routines.

Chris Stearn
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