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962484 Posts in 63594 Topics- by 15580 Members - Latest Member: bassplayer
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1  Creation and Performance / Music, Concerts and Recordings / Re: Looking for both Pederson Trombone Trio books on: Jan 22, 2015, 08:14AM
I have both volumes in the original.
2  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Accessories / Re: New design Bach case? on: Jan 08, 2015, 10:58AM
That looks like a Conn 88H in the Eastman case.
I thought that this particular Eastman case is only recommended for wide slides like a Bach 42. Anyone know if this actually works?
I would love to get this case but, since my Raths have narrow, Conn-like slides, I didn't think it would work.
3  Creation and Performance / Music, Concerts and Recordings / Re: Don Quixote on: Dec 21, 2014, 01:04PM
I think I heard it was John Swallow, not 100% sure about this, though.
4  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Repairs, Modifications and Maintenance / Re: Spit Valves (...or WATER KEYS) on: Dec 18, 2014, 01:09PM
Get a Joykey and you'll not have to touch your water key again, except maybe when you pick up your horn cold.
You could also get rid of the water key altogether.


I've got them on two slides and they are great.

Only thing is, silicon based slide lubes can block up the water wicks.
Ultra-Pure slide lube works fine though, I've no troubles with that.
5  Teaching & Learning / History of the Trombone / Re: The Voights on: Dec 07, 2014, 03:40AM
I don't know the Helmut Voigt trombones but his bass trumpet in C is my absolute favorite!
It is very similar to the earlier Alexander, made after the war. The build is longer and narrow curved and looks more like a German rotary trumpet than the shorter, wide curved ones Alexander and everyone else is making now.
When I need one I rent it from him, for a very small fee. I would love to buy this instrument, and I would indeed, if I needed it more often.

I've always dealt with Stephan, who is very nice. He has told me that everything they make is pretty much special order, so they will build anything to suit you.

Jürgen Voigt is also supposed to have a very nice bass trumpet, which I have not yet played.

6  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Accessories / Re: Alto trombone mutes. What works? on: Nov 29, 2014, 03:49AM
There are quit a number of contemporary pieces written for alto.
Other than the ones already mentioned, there is Schönberg - Peleas und Melisande, Stockhausen - Carré (straight and cup), Emmanuel Nunes - Lichtung 2 and 3 (he liked the sound of alto trombone and euphonium instead of tenor and tuba) and even a trombone concerto by Richard Ayres for alto and a whole box of mutes, just to name a few.

Mutes kind of depend on the bell size (throat) of the alto, Unless it's the small size like a Bach etc., one can use many of the tenor mutes. The Wick tenor straight, for instance, works better for some things than the Wick alto mute. The Wick cup works fine. I have an Ulvén cup that is great for alto.
Anything that works in a small bore tenor should work for alto. But even a normal Tom Crown works alright, it sticks out pretty far but it sounds fine. I've seen Christian Lindberg use the TC with an alto in a concert.

One big problem for alto is a harmon or wawa mute, nothing really fits well. The JoRal flugelhorn mute does not fit an alto at all, but one can make due with a JoRal tenor or other brand.
I really wish a mute maker would make one of these!
7  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: What are the really nice Straight 525s? on: Nov 26, 2014, 12:44PM
I own a Conn 78H (made in the 60s) and a JP Rath 231. I much prefer the JP Rath!
Easier to play, with a nicer, more colorful sound, for me.

8  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Re: The Ear VS. Muscle Memory on: Nov 13, 2014, 11:56AM
That was a great reply, Sam. You've put into words exactly the way I feel when I play.
Eventually, it's possible to hear the notes in atonal music, too, but in the first rehearsals, it's a lot of muscle memory.

9  Creation and Performance / Music, Concerts and Recordings / Re: Lyrical, unaccompanied pieces? on: Aug 25, 2014, 12:47PM
I would also vote for the Leslie Bassett, a beautiful, lyrical piece.
10  Creation and Performance / Musical Miscellany / Re: What is the weirdest time signature you have ever seen? on: Jun 05, 2014, 01:49PM
6/6, but it was a joke.  It appears in the Schmutzig Horn Method.

The denominator has to be a note value, so it has to be 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc.

There are some really odd time signatures like 13/8 or 3/1 (the last occurs in Saint-Saens' Organ Symphony).

I've also seen "logical" time signatures with odd groupings.  Dave Brubeck's Jazz Rondo ala Turka is in 9/8 divided 2-2-2-3 where normally 9/8 would be 3-3-3 (may have been written by Paul Desmond).

If you were to write 33/32, how would you divide the 33 notes up?  How many main beats to the bar?

Well actually, note a joke. 6/6 just means 6 sixth notes or 6 quarter note triplets. 6/6 is kind of stupid because you can express this much easier as triplets with no time change . But sometimes composers like to have 2, 4 or 5 triplets and would write 2/6, 4/6 or 5/6. The same could be done for quarter note quintuplets, 2/5, 3/5, 4/5 etc. or eighth note quintuplets 2/10, 3/10 4/10 etc. In fact one could take any value, like 7 (septuplets) or any other value.
11  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Greg Black Standard 4.5 vs NY5 series on: Apr 26, 2014, 02:55AM
This is part of an email I got from Greg about this;

Yes, the 4G-5G (Standard series) has a different backbore than the New York 5.5 (all New york have the same backbore)

The New York backbore at the top (right behind the throat area) is not as open; providing a litlle more compression without being bright. The backbore on the New York series is my #1.

The backbore on the 4G-5G is my #3. It is the same size at the bottom of the backbore and at the top. there is a 'coke bottle' type shape. Making it bigger.

I do make my standard series models with the #1 backbore and it is very successful.

12  Teaching & Learning / Beginners and Returning Trombonists / Re: Can't start notes without hitch on: Apr 19, 2014, 05:23AM
A little word about free advice.
Years ago, I had a colleague who obviously had this hesitant attack problem. I mentioned it to him and said I could probably help him. He kind of hemmed and hawed and avoided the issue so I let it be.
A few weeks later I saw Jiggs Whigham who knew this guy and asked how he was doing. I told him that he had this problem and I tried to help him but he wouldn't let me. Jiggs said, you should have asked him for 50 bucks for the advice, he would have believed you then.
I think Jiggs had a point.
13  Teaching & Learning / Beginners and Returning Trombonists / Re: Can't start notes without hitch on: Apr 18, 2014, 10:29AM
Maybe it would be interesting if I told more about my experience with this problem.

I had this problem, which I would call a stuttering attack, really badly in the first 2 years or so when I started to study trombone.
The most frequent suggestion by my teachers (and I had some good ones, Steve Zellmer, Ron Ricketts and Henry Charles Smith) was to play with a metronome.
This didn't really help because I could play with a metronome, a conductor or anything else where the beat was a given
and out side my body. The problem was when I had to start by myself. I usually got around this by starting pieces with no tongue, but this really destroyed my confidence at this early point in my career. I could say 1-2-3-PLAY but at PLAY, I would abandon ship and hesitate making a T-T-T-T stuttering attack.

The thing that finally helped me was Swallow's exercise. It helped set up a beat in my body and, after enough repetition, became natural enough so that I could trust myself to go 1-2-BREATH-PLAY.

I've been playing professionally for over 35 years and I can honestly say that this has never since been a problem for me, except for one point early on when I was working under a conductor who hesitated his downbeat. I just did the exercise again and it was fine.

The Swallow exercise is very simple, of course, and can have many variations but the jist of it is to set up a pulse in your body that you trust, whether it be foot tapping or mental. If you doubt it, it won't work. It has a lot to do with confidence. A metronome doesn't work in this case, because you can trust the metronome but not yourself.

For me, this is the single most important aspect of brass playing, or even wind playing, setting up a tempo (before you play) and going 1-2-BREATH-PLAY, without fear and hesitation, totally free, with confidence. If you can't do this, you are lost.

I've encountered a surprising number of professionals who have developed this problem and were hesitant to talk about or even admit it.
Those who have talked to me about it were very thankful afterwards. But, it's very obvious to any one who has had the problem, like me, and especially regrettable because it is quite easy to fix.

There is some great advice here, especially from Sam and Doug, all for free. The only way to solve a problem like this is to pick one and practice it, every day. You can only solve problems through continual, correct practice.

Good luck

14  Teaching & Learning / Beginners and Returning Trombonists / Re: Can't start notes without hitch on: Apr 16, 2014, 03:23PM
John Swallow gave me this exercise when I had this problem years ago;

3/4 bar, breath in on 3, attack on 1, breath out on 2, breath in on 3 act.
Start on middle Bb, repeat 4 times, and go down chromatically, for example.

It's so easy, it's hard to take seriously, but it worked for me and every other player I've passed it on to over the years.

Essentially, it's just replacing your bad habits with a good habit by repeatedly practicing the breath-attack without hesitation.

Do it every day and the problem should be gone in 1-2 weeks, or as Swallow said, when I said the problem was gone, "its never gone, but you know how to fix it now"

15  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Re: What's on your music stand currently? on: Mar 10, 2014, 01:15PM
Richard Barret - EARTH (on two stands actually)
and Klay/MacDonald Daily Excersices
16  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Accessories / Re: Alto Mutes/Saglietti on: Jan 25, 2014, 02:07PM
The Jo-Ral flugelhorn wawa mute does not fit in an alto trombone. Just use a tenor wawa, it kind of fits.
The Denis Wick flugelhorn/alto straight fits fine, but a tenor straight may sound better.
A Wick cup is good because you can slide the cup in.

Any tenor mute will work in an alto, it will just stick out farther.

I wish someone would make a good wawa for alto!
17  Creation and Performance / Performance / Re: German Trombones in American Orchestras on: Jan 24, 2014, 06:12AM
Wagner's orchestra-- as I recall it was 55 to 60 players? Not the 120+. I might be incorrect. At any rate-- its a pit orchestra-- in a pit, and not designed for 16 first fiddles and 16 seconds etc. etc.
Correct me if I've misrecalled.

I think you're wrong here.
Watch this;
It's in German but I think you'll get the idea.
The "pit" has 6 levels for the different orchestral groups and is huge.

The musicians of the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra would be extremely insulted to be called a pit orchestra. These musicians are hand selected from the finest orchestras in Germany and it's a great honor to play there.
The first violin group, for instance, lists 28 musicians for 2013. This is a pool, of course, but they would hardly need 28 people for a section of 8-10.
I can't imagine them playing under 16 or at least 14 1st violins and 6- 8 basses, 6 for the earlier works and 8 for later.

A typical late Wagner opera would have 30+ wind players leaving only 20-25 for the strings (not counting the percussion)
Do you really think Wagner would have a 8-6-5-4-2 (or similar) string section for something like Götterdämmerung?

18  Creation and Performance / Performance / Re: German Trombones in American Orchestras on: Jan 23, 2014, 07:37AM
Hello Bruce
I own one of them. It's basically a modular Shires just with a different bell. It's interchangeable so you can switch to any other bell option within the Shires system.

AFIK its an idea of Mr. Bertram. The bell is manufactured in Germany, then sent to Shires for fitting the mounting points and tuning slide receiver etc. Engraving and finishing is done at Shires. It's sold by Musik Bertram exclusively.

The bell flare diameter is about 8.5", very similar to a "normal" 8.5 bell. Its one piece, so the seam is running from the tuning slide receiver down to the flare. The bell is available in yellow or gold brass and has a nickel silver Kranz. The diameter at the tuning slide receiver logically is the same as the other Shires bells. Also the flare diameter. But the taper in between is different. The bell throat is wider.

If you combine with a dual bore slide, you may get something similar to a German style trombone. I never tried that. I use it with a TB47 or a TW25 slide.

Compared to the other bells, it sounds different, but not in a way that I could recognize it as German sound in regard to the attributes which seem to be linked with that. I perceive it as a sound with a rich spectrum of overtone and it "projects" very well. When I switch to my other bell option, a 2RVE, I always come back to the German model which gives a more "interesting" sound in my ears.

I am not a pro and have no experience with playing in a symphony so I can't tell whether it can serve as a German trombone there.


Thanks for the info, Richard.

So, the Shires is not really a traditional German trombone, which I would classify as a small, dual bore slide that is also longer than an American one. The bell is large, at least 9 inches, with a very thin wall and, usually, a Kranz.

This new type of trombone, which I myself would call a German-American hybrid, is becoming very popular here in Germany. It keeps some of the German traits, especially around the bell, using a more "American" .547 slide and valve tubing.

The traditional German trombone is a totally different beast altogether. You need to spend some time with this instrument and the players who play them usually play them exclusively.

19  Creation and Performance / Performance / Re: German Trombones in American Orchestras on: Jan 22, 2014, 07:26AM
Ben, can you tell us about the Shires German trombone that Musik Bertram is advertising.
That would be interesting in this topic.
20  Creation and Performance / Performance / Re: German Trombones in American Orchestras on: Jan 22, 2014, 06:47AM
Although I play a Rath, my whole section plays Lätzsch so I play with German trombones almost every day,

My feelings are, yes, they do change color when they get louder and can get really nasty when pushed too hard.
This is one of the reasons I don't play one. I feel that an American trombone is easier to color at each dynamic, the German trombone's sound is more "predetermined". This can be great for certain repertoire but I find it too limiting for the modern chamber music I also do.

I also feel that a "Conn 88h style" trombone, be it a Conn, Rath, Shires, Courtois etc. can blend quite well with German trombones,  a "Bach 42 style" is a bit more difficult (one of the reasons I switched from a Bach to a Rath).

Most German and Austrian manufactures are offering American style horns (.547 bore) which are not really German trombones but, as far as I've heard, Berlin Phil. will accept them and it looks like the Vienna guys are using them, too. (I haven't seen Vienna use real German trombones for years and consider the sound they get more American than German)

The traditional German trombone section is weite I or II on 1st, weite II or III on 2nd and weite IV or V on bass. This sounds absolutely amazing on German classical and romantic repertoire. This is the sound you can hear on older Berlin Phil. recordings.
But because the weite I and II are so small in bore size (with larger bells than American horns) many players are starting to use weite III on 1st which I feel kind of destroys the traditional trombone sound. (Weite III is a .508 bore on the top slide and a .527 on the bottom, with a larger bell spout and sounds darker than an American .547 bore)
Herr Nienaber at Lätzsch says that many Austrian players are using a weite III slide with a weite II bell because the bell spout of the weite III is so big. This hasn't seemed to have caught on in Germany, maybe it will someday.
(Weite II is a .485. top slide and a .508 bottom slide with a bell flare similar to a .547 horn but 9" or more)

The weite II is a great horn but you really have to learn to cope with it's small bore resistance and feeling. In the right hands it can sound as big and full as a Bach 42, but it's not a horn you just pick up and play, I tried doing that for years and finally gave up.
Not many players are playing this one anymore which I think is too bad, because this is the quintessential German tenor trombone, the weite III is actually a horn for a 2nd/3rd player, who doubles on bass.

So for this reason many players are switching to German made .547 horns, so they can play a German horn and still have it sound like a tenor.
But this instrument is not really not much different than a Conn 88H, what does that tell us?

So, what was the question?  German trombones in American orchestras? Sure, why not, have fun! ;-)

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