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968767 Posts in 64264 Topics- by 15712 Members - Latest Member: dcastillo82
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1  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Tuba Doublers , anyone???? on: Jan 11, 2015, 06:26PM
I've been doubling on tuba for a few years now... it's an ongoing project, but it's beginning to bear fruit. Started on a Besson 2-20 EEb and then added a Conn 15J BBb. Recently, I sold the 15J and now use a Mack Brass CC miraphone clone, which is a large improvement. I use the CC for most gigs, and the EEb for anything that involves standing or walking around. I'd like to one day upgrade to a compensating EEb - there are some wonderful, versatile instruments of that design.
2  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Repairs, Modifications and Maintenance / Re: Leadpipe stuff on: Jan 05, 2015, 12:10AM
I have a '70's version of the same horn and have been contemplating the same change.  What do you mean by 'opens out the response'.  With the H8, will the horn require more air, slot better in the upper register, etc.?  My basic issue with my horn is the squirrelly upper register when I play lead in a big band.  Also, if the H8 does not work out, what other .508 pipes are used by other 3B SS players?

I use the H8 in an early '60s 3BSS. The stock leadpipe was a rather small, tight blow, so I tried a few other pipes in it. I would characterize the H8 as being a slightly more open blow than my original 3B pipe, but not in a way that 'requires more air'... more like 'accepts more air' if you want to provide it. The resistance is well-balanced, it's definitely not an air hog. With the original pipe, the horn responded very differently in different registers - OK in the middle, quite squirrelly in the upper register, and very tight below  . Also, certain notes were problematic - the high Bb partial in particular was flat and unstable. With the H8, the blow is free and consistent in all registers, and the partials slot more cleanly and better in tune - the high Bb is bang on.

Keep in mind that stock King 3B pipes can vary wildly from horn to horn. YMMV.

I also tried Shires #2N and #3N pipes in this horn, and found them both to be air hogs. I've heard good things about the Yamaha 891Z LA and NY pipes.

Big fan of these Burt Herrick replica pipes... I also use the H6 in my heavily customized Conn 32H.
3  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Repairs, Modifications and Maintenance / Re: Leadpipe stuff on: Jan 03, 2015, 06:01PM
The H8 in a King 3B is a mod that works for a lot of people, myself included... opens up the horn and evens out the response and intonation. If you find a good tech to pull the original leadpipe, you should encounter no difficulties. If it's an older 3B, I understand that it may have a 2-piece leadpipe which can be problematic to remove intact.
4  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Technology / Re: Finale 2011 & Yosemite on: Dec 28, 2014, 02:51PM
I was running Finale 2010 until I upgraded to Yosemite, whereupon it stopped working. I ugraded to 2014, which I do prefer in many ways... but at the time, the forced upgrade was a tough pill to swallow.
5  Teaching & Learning / History of the Trombone / Re: Conn 4h on: Dec 22, 2014, 04:06PM
I have a Conn 24H from the 40s, which is the ballroom model variation on the 4H. I have also owned a 4H and a 12H - the copper bell variant.

These horns are all quite small in specs... .485 bore, usually 7" bell. The 24H has the bell set back closer to the player for easier mute use. All of these horns blow and sound MUCH bigger than you'd expect, with extremely good projection. My 24H blows about as big as many stock King 3Bs I've played. It's something about having a very open leadpipes and fairly heavy construction. I've used it in R&B bands, salsa bands, big band lead, and even in small orchestras. In short, the 4H/24H/12H is a very SERIOUS small bore horn.

However, for some reason these horns aren't extremely popular today... perhaps because they don't blend very well with modern horns. The right buyer would pay up to $1000+ for a 4H in extremely good condition - especially if the slide is in great shape (no Conn rot). Any mechanical or cosmetic flaws would significantly reduce this... I paid $250 for my 24H, which was is in good (not great shape), and had it overhauled.
6  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Accessories / Lightweight gig bag or case for frequent traveler on: Dec 14, 2014, 09:56PM
Hi everyone,

Lately, I've been mostly walking, bussing, or taking the subway to gigs and to my teaching studio. Right now, I use a Marcus Bonna standard tenor case most days, or sometimes a Fusion gig bag (bass). However, I'm looking at possibly getting an even lighter, smaller gig bag for daily commuting for a few reasons - wear and tear on the body (shoulder/neck pain, plantar fasciitis), and easier maneuvering on increasingly crowded buses/trains. The Bonna case is great, but it's pretty long and thick at one end, and it's not super light. The Fusion bag is quite light and comfortable, but also quite bulky (designed to hold a lot of stuff).

My ideal gig bag would be extremely lightweight and low-profile while being reasonably durable and protective, with room for some small accessories. It would be able to reasonably accommodate anything from a Conn 78H to a small bass trombone (Yamaha 620G). From a quick internet search, it looks like the Cronkhite 2-piece flight bag for large tenor or small bass might be the closest match. If anyone has experience with these bags or an alternate suggestion, I thank you in advance for your input!

Cheers,

J
7  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Re: Doubling on the same day on: Dec 14, 2014, 09:20PM
I'm going to say some things that might seem counter-intuitive, but hopefully somewhat helpful. My yearly Sep-Oct-Nov touring gig requires me to double trombone (medium bore), Eb Tuba, and Alphorn, as well as bass guitar & bg vocals. During a single set I might change instruments 4-8 times, big-to-small or small-to big - all on very different mouthpieces and often in extreme ranges.

In order to stay consistent while doubling/switching like this, I find that a couple of these concepts  are very helpful... maybe a few witll work for you too.

1) Above all else, maintain perfect balance on your primary instrument. Make it the first and last axe you play every day. Look at your doubles as being extensions of your primary technique - you should not have to radically change anything to make your doubles work, just make small adjustments.
2) Make sure you practice your primary instrument and your doubles in all possible ranges. Do not neglect the trigger and pedal ranges on tenor, or the upper register on bass. If you play a straight tenor, make sure to practice plenty of false tones (one position lower). If you have a single trigger, try practicing your low B in T3 - it works! Check out Sven Larsson's posts on this.
3) Free-buzzing trains your face to be able to form an embouchure independently of the mouthpiece rim pressure. Once you can free-buzz in a musical way, you'll find that switching rims becomes much easier.
4) Pay attention to how you use your pivot or embouchure motion on your primary instrument - it will often be similar or even identical on your doubles (but not always!).
5) When moving from small to big, we often feel the need to 'loosen up' the embouchure as you describe. However, this is often taken much too far, resulting in loose, flabby chops and a flat, dull, airy sound. This is a common issue for tenor players who double on bass trombone and tuba, one I dealt with for years. Rather than thinking about loosening, think about maintaining firm corners and flat chin, and don't let the aperture spread too wide. This may result in a small sound at first, but stick with it and learn to relax the inner vibrating centre of the lips, not the outer musculature. Your air efficiency will also improve using this technique. The long-term benefits are worth it!
6) For many players, there is a clear 'anchor-point' on the lower lip, which can help you find your ideal mouthpiece placement quickly on different rims. For me, it's directly on a protruding tooth, slightly off to the right.
7) Mechanics are for the practice room, but Music is for the gig.
8) Make sure you're playing the right gear for the job... that means different things to different people. Some need to keep the same rim when switching mouthpieces, others like me do not. Personally, I find that Wedge mouthpieces are easier to double with due to the cut-away sides.

Hope some of this helps!

J
8  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Technology / Re: monitor upgrade for music notation purposes on: Nov 25, 2014, 01:32PM
As a Mac user, I can use my Apple TV to wirelessly stream my laptop's display and audio on to my TV - mirrored or extended. That means I can do my arranging and composing in the comfort of my living room, with multiple displays. A very comfortable, productive situation.
9  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Technology / Re: Netflix on TV on: Nov 25, 2014, 01:24PM
+1 for Apple TV.
10  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Re: Switching instruments on: Nov 16, 2014, 07:10PM
I'm... probably gonna print this out and put it in the front of my notebooks for music. :-P I'll definitely use this a lot in the time between now and probably when I put down the horns for good, because that was probably the best advice I've gotten from anyone regarding music, ever. (Please, feel free to share all of your musical wisdom with me, god knows I need it. :-P) I don't really think that the articulation in relation to time is my biggest problem, but when I listen to myself play I feel like I could definitely use work when it comes to that, even on trombone.

Glad to be of help. This forum is a great resource - continue to ask good questions and you'll get some very good answers.
11  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Re: Switching instruments on: Nov 16, 2014, 06:25PM
I'll give credit for much of this post to Alex Iles and Sam Burtis - I'm using up a few of their ideas that have worked well for me and my students.

Playing any kind of brass instrument, you are essentially coordinating 4 basic elements, each with their own set of variables:

1) Air (quantity, speed, shape, direction)
2) Embouchure/buzz (lip tension, pivot, pucker, etc.)
3) Slide or valves
4) Tonguing/Articulation (Ta, Da, La, Doodle, whatever)

I think the OP is discussing a coordination problem involving #3 and #4. There are different ways of solving this... here's my .02:

If you are thinking about trying to coordinate your slide and your tongue, you might be missing the most important thing: to line up both of those elements with the TIME. Timing and coordination are inextricably linked in music (and other disciplines), and I feel strongly that the Caruso (and Burtis) approaches address this in the most comprehensive way.

Assuming that your air and embouchure are already working well enough, your first step should be to make sure your valve motion is timed in perfectly, independently of the tongue. To do this, practice slow slurred (no tongue) patterns (scales, arpeggios) with a metronome (or even better, great internal time). When you start, it doesn't matter so much WHAT scales/patterns you practice, it's more about HOW you practice them. Focus on the time, making sure that every valve motion lines up perfectly for a smooth legato (your airflow needs to be rock solid as well).

The second step is to practice your articulation independently of valve motion. Pick a comfortable note in your middle register, set the metronome (or internal time), and aim to play whole notes, then half notes, then quarters, triplet quarters, eighths, triplet eights, sixteenths, triplet sixteenths, etc., with consistent, even articulation (I recommend starting with Da/Ga, then repeating using Ta/Ka). Repeat the same process on every note in your range. Again, focus on the TIME. You are training your body to articulate perfectly in time, without necessarily having to think about it.

Once your valve technique and articulation are a bit more dialed in as a result of this isolated practice, you should be ready to combine them. Take the slurred scale/arpeggio patterns you've been practicing and add various articulations - start simple at first (all tongued, perhaps), then vary the articulations as you please. Again, focus on the TIME and you'll find that your coordination improves rapidly.

To sum up, placing emphasis on rock solid TIME establishes a great reference point with which the musician can strive to coordinate the various fundamentals of playing technique, rather than trying to juggle them in a haphazard kind of way. TIME is the thing that brings all the fundamentals together, and deserves to be addressed immediately whenever a coordination problem is encountered.
12  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Rim size poll on: Nov 11, 2014, 07:25PM
I used to do everything except bass bone and tuba on a DE 102 rim, and that worked well enough. When I started playing Wedge mouthpieces, I noticed that changing rim sizes didn't bother me the same way anymore. Now, I'm pretty comfortable on everything 11C (alto) to Helleberg 7B (tuba) when I need to be. Just finished a long series of gigs doubling trombone (~6.75C), Eb tuba (Marc 107), and alphorn (~11C), and some bass guitar & vocals. Frequent switches and extreme ranges throughout. I made sure to warm up well and stay in shape on each horn, and it all worked out well. 3 years ago? These gigs would have torn me up, big time.

J
13  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: These Chinese on: Oct 19, 2014, 11:15PM
There are some surprisingly good horns coming out of China these days... tubas/euphoniums in particular. I've been gigging on a Mack Brass compensating euphonium for two years and change, and it's held up well. Nice sound, response, intonation and mechanics - everything I need from a doubling horn. IMHO, more horn for the money than the Yamaha 321 I was using before. Recently, I've been doing more tuba doubling, and picked up a Mack 410CC. So far, my impression is about the same - a very functional gigging horn! The biggest issue I notice on both horns is with the valve caps: very easy to cross-thread if you're not careful.

If tuba or euphonium was my main axe, I would shell out for a Yamaha 842 euph and/or a Miraphone 186 tuba... but as doubler, it makes economic sense to go with the 'basic pro' horns that Mack offers. That euphonium paid for itself in under a month!
14  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Accessories / Re: Kanstul H8 leadpipe for 891Z on: Oct 07, 2014, 08:28PM
Honestly, specs can only tell you so much about how a leadpipe will interact with a given horn and mouthpiece and player... too many variables. Best bet is to try it out, and sell the pipe if it doesn't work for you. Although if you like your current setup, why change it?

I can tell you that the H8 and H6 are both, in my experience, beautifully balanced pipes. The H8 in my 3B slots very evenly in all registers, and feels both very centered and more open than the stock pipe. I tried a variety of Shires pipes in the 3B before settling on the H8.

The H6 is a great fit in my custom .500/.525 horn. Much more even and balanced in that horn than the 32H, Edwards, Callet, and BAC pipes I've compared it with.

15  Creation and Performance / The Healthy Trombonist / Re: Dead lip recovery on: Oct 05, 2014, 08:46PM
Playing music is a whole-body and whole-mind activity, even more so at high or demanding levels. Some things that can recharge the batteries (chops included):

Delicious, healthy food
Sleep/rest
Hot tub (my fave)
Yoga/stretching
Meditation
Deep breathing
Spending time with loved ones
A nice beer or glass of wine
Reading a good book
Watching a good movie
Evening promenade
Or whatever other low-intensity, simple, enjoyable activity you prefer!



16  Creation and Performance / The Business of Music / Re: VMA Trusteeship - AFM may impose crippling fines and expulsion on members! on: Oct 04, 2014, 11:52AM
Update, with some very postive news for our local:

http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/Mulgrew+Vancouver+musicians+legal+fight+against+international+union/10199428/story.html?utm_source=Post-trusteeship%2C+meeting+and+election+notices&utm_campaign=Thanks+synopsis%2C+injunction%2C+don%27t+resign&utm_medium=email

------------------------

From reinstated President David Brown:

As most of you know the BC Supreme Court decision of Sept. 11 ended the 14 month trusteeship of Local 145. It has been a complex dispute and I know that quite a few people are still unclear on the issues and the implications of the decision. There is a synopsis included later in this email which should help provide a better understanding of the issues. The short story is this: BC law overrides union and association bylaws. The elected board is back in office and their first order of business was to rehire Secretary David Owen whose position had been terminated by the AFM in the first week of the trusteeship in July 2013.
 
As you can imagine there is a great deal of work to be done in order to return the Local back to normal operations and to restore the democratic processes of the VMA. I'm sure there are a lot of questions so the October 19th meeting will provide an opportunity for questions and discussion. As well the current Board is in the final months of its three year term and the next election must be organized and conducted.  
PLEASE CONTACT ME IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BEING APPOINTED TO THE EIGHT-MEMBER ELECTION COMMITTEE. 
 
The charges filed against the Board by Vice President (Canada) Alan Willaert have not been rescinded by the AFM at this time, although the charges are specifically based upon an AFM bylaw that was ruled by the BC Supreme Court to be invalid in BC. We also do not yet know whether the AFM plans to appeal the BC Supreme Court decision. Further information on the charges and any appeal should  be available at the general meeting.
 
Many of you have written to AFM representatives to register your anger and dismay with the attitude that the AFM has shown towards this local.   
One might ask in such a climate: Who would ever want to run for election to the VMA board?
 
The answer is that luckily we do have very capable members who want to see the VMA move forward and who believe strongly in the value that this association can have for Vancouver's professional musical community. I know from all the contact I have had with members this past year that there are a lot of great ideas and suggestions for ways to improve our services to our members. I am confident we will have a strong slate of candidates for you to choose from.
 
Although none of us on the 'front lines' would be anxious to relive the stress and uncertainty of the past year it has been an experience I will never forget, primarily for the great privilege and opportunity I have had to work with such a dedicated and committed Board. Our legal counsel Jeanne Meyers and Stephen Hutchison were there for us every inch of the way.  
 
Most of all I want to thank all those who buoyed us throughout this long, arduous process. Your steadfast support and encouragement was so sustaining and appreciated by us all.

Synopsis of Supreme Court Decision

This is a long and complex document so here are the key points expressed by Madam Justice Ross in her judgment:

There is a contractual relationship between the VMA Local 145 and its international parent the AFM. The BC Supreme Court is the appropriate body to interpret the bylaws and constitutions that define this relationship.
Many AFM bylaws suggest that a central purpose of the AFM and its locals (including the VMA Local 145) is bargaining to secure collective agreements covering the terms and conditions of member employment.  The AFM bylaws clearly contemplate that locals will be trade unions representing members. Trade unions are subject to comprehensive legislation in their respective jurisdictions.   
In order to exist as a trade union for the purposes of the BC Labour Relations Code, the VMA Local 145 must have authority to make key collective bargaining decisions. But Article 15 section 6(b) of the AFM Bylaws requires AFM approval before entering into any type of recording agreement. Because of this section, the BC Labour Relations Board declared the VMA Local 145 is no longer a trade union.   
AFM bylaw Article 15 section 6(b) therefore conflicts with a central purpose of the AFM bylaws - trade union activity. The only way to preserve that central purpose is to declare the section void and unenforceable as against the VMA Local 145 and its members. Article 22 (sections 2 and 3) of the AFM bylaws contemplates this declaration, as it suggests that in some jurisdictions particular bylaws may be made unenforceable in order to preserve the central AFM purpose of trade unionism.
As AFM Article 15 section 6(b) (the basis for imposing a trusteeship over the VMA Local 145) is unenforceable in BC, it follows that the trusteeship must be set aside.
The parties may make further submissions on setting aside actions of former trustees and to obtain injunctions restraining the AFM from interfering with VMA/VFO relations.
17  Creation and Performance / The Business of Music / Re: Making it as a professional classical trombonist. on: Sep 15, 2014, 11:51AM
There was a time when I just wanted to be a professional orchestral trombonist... somewhere along the way, I broadened that idea to 'versatile professional musician', and several things happened: 1) my trombone playing improved drastically, 2) my overall musicianship improved the same way, 3) more and better gigs of very diverse types came my way, and 4) more non-playing work also came my way (arranging, teaching, etc.)

Right now, I make a respectable living in an expensive city entirely through music; playing it, writing it, teaching it, and living it 24/7. I have a wonderful wife (also a musician) and many great, talented friends and colleagues. Couldn't be happier!

If you define personal success as simply 'winning an orchestra job', there is a very good chance you'll be disappointed; you are putting your happiness in an audition committee's hands. If you define personal success more broadly, as in 'over time, completely maximising my potential as a trombonist/musician/artist', your chances of success increase dramatically - because it all comes down to being true to yourself. And you stand just as good a chance of winning that orchestra job if you approach life the second way!
18  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: 5G...B? on: Aug 20, 2014, 11:46AM
May I ask how you would describe your physical make up? ie lip thickness and size

Very large, and very thick. I am what Doug E calls a Very High Placement type, placement about 85/15 top/bottom, slightly right of center. From what I understand, my type can typically prefer larger diameters and narrow rim profiles. I double a lot, mouthpieces sizes from 11C to Helleberg 7B (tuba), and prefer Wedge rims on everything.

YMMV.
19  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: 5G...B? on: Aug 20, 2014, 04:17AM
I've always been most comfortable on narrow, round rim
profiles... The 5GB is a great mouthpiece, if your physical type works with narrow rims. I used a 5GB for a while, and found it comfortable and very flexible. I also know many fine players whose physical types work best with wide, flat rims (like Wick 5BL).

My favourite rim profile is the Wedge by Harrison Mouthpieces. To me, it combines the endurance advantage of a wide rim with the flexibility of a narrow rim.
20  Teaching & Learning / Schools, Colleges and Conservatories / Re: Best Schools to Study Trombone and Music Education on: Aug 19, 2014, 07:37PM
The best school?


Life.
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