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1  Teaching & Learning / Beginners and Returning Trombonists / Re: Comparing trombone playing to trumpet playing on: Jan 08, 2018, 06:57AM
At the moment, I am topping out at a concert D with a not so great sound. I am actually staring lessons this afternoon with a friend of mine who is a fantastic trumpet player. It's tough to go from being really good at one instrument to totally stinking up the joint on another.

Mike!

I'm sure that you will meet with success over time.  I still pick up a trumpet in the shop from time to time and find that my range on trumpet is less than that I have on trombone!  The thing I notice most is that I don't have the right focus at my chop and so I compensate by closing down my throat and tongue level.  I think once you start to build up the right kind of strength at your trumpet aperture you'll be in better stead.  That will take some time (how long, who knows), especially if you also have to maintain your trombone chops at the high level that you do.

You might want to think about some isometric exercises, like the pencil trick and possible the Warburton P.E.T.E.  Go easy on those, as they can really tire you out even from extremely minimal use (voice of regret and experience speaking here).  I also find articulation is great for building raw strength, flexibility for accuracy and efficiency.

Good luck, I'll be curious what your trumpet playing friend has to say.

Best,
Ben

2  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Shires Q&A, what would you like to know? on: Jan 03, 2018, 02:32PM
Ben,

I know this question was asked several pages back, but I don't think it was answered.  When coming to MA for a fitting, does one leave with a horn or do you order it and have it shipped sometime later?  How does the approval period work for long distance customers?  Would the customer have to return to the factory for a component exchange?

Thanks,
Bob

Hi Bob,

Thanks for the question, many people ask it of us and I'm happy to clarify.  The answer is "it depends".  If we have the components in our showroom inventory, then yes, you can leave with an instrument that day. 

If the any of the instrument components are not in our inventory, then we will need to produce it and ship (production times vary depending on backorders).  Sometimes parts are in demo condition and the customer prefers to have a brand new horn.  Sometimes we can find a horn but we'll really think another part we don't have in stock at the moment would make the horn even better.  It varies on a case by case basis.

All instruments have a two-week trial period.  If in that time you don't like the horn, we'll work with you to find one that does.  Or, if you are certain you do not want it, we will issue a full refund.  (If the horn comes back to us in as new condition.  We reserve the right to charge refinishing/replacement fees for any damaged pieces.)

We try to discourage long-distance speculation.  My general advice, for purchasing ANY expensive instrument, is that if you aren't 100% positive what you want: go to a well stocked dealer or the factory. Airfare/gas and possible hotel fees are usually a drop in the bucket compared to the total cost of the horn.  Getting to a good dealer or the shop is worth it to pick exactly what you want and satisfy any nagging curiosities.

The good news is that we are at more and more shows across the country and more and more dealers are stocking our instruments.  We came up with "standard models" as a way of helping those dealers to stock the most popular models we make.  And they're most popular by a wide margin.  usually on of those set-ups, or minor variation thereof, will satisfy most customers.  That visit to them is the first step, and if what they had in stock didn't work for you, your feedback will allow us to recommend a narrower list of options that would work for you. 

I hope that helps.  Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Ben





3  Classified Advertisements / Classified Advertisements / FS: 2 Shires bass bells on: Dec 29, 2017, 09:29AM
Selling two Shires bass bells that I havenít been using.

1.) BI 2RGLW

Lightweight, 2-piece bell with unsoldered bell wire, a red brass stem and a gold brass flare. Great playing bell, as if a Conn 62H and Holton TR-185 have been combined into a colorful and flexible character. In very good condition with minor scratches and lacquer loss from use.

2.) BI 7YM 9

Medium weight, modified two-piece construction, soldered bead wire, yellow brass in 9 inches. Really, more of a 9.25Ē inch bell, this is a compact, bouncy, yet flexible bell. Character reminds my somewhat of a Bach 45; dense and bouncy, blends very well with medium bore and smaller tenor trombones. Also excellent for lighter classical (Hayden!). This was my workday bell for many years.

$650 each, shipped in the CONUS.
4  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: AR Resonance Mouthpieces on: Dec 29, 2017, 09:22AM
Isn't a restricted lower range an inevitable outcome of a V shaped 'piece, hence the V/Cup that makers like Marc produce. My Marc 11 was in that mould.

I haven't ever found this to be the case. There's so many other variable that could explain it, but in general, a V shaped cup does not restrict low range.   
5  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: AR Resonance Mouthpieces on: Dec 29, 2017, 06:22AM
Hmmmm...I'm using a 46 11 shank on the C and it's still not as good below middle Bb as I need. Even my NY 11C is better down there, as are of course the NY Clarke S and Mt. Vernon 6.5A too.

S.

Hi Sam, I wonder if mouthpiece insertion depth would solve that.  I little teflon to back it out a smidge.
6  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: AR Resonance Mouthpieces on: Dec 21, 2017, 12:08PM
Hello Ben. I am finding the same thing w/the standard C cup...great above middle Bb, progressively less good...for me...on the way down from there. What shanks are you using on the C+ and V+?

Hi Sam,

I found the C+ to not work for me.  I've tried a bunch and it just is a little too dull.  I'm using a 43 shank on the V+ and now a 46 on the C.  The slightly bigger opens it up for me.  I'm curious if there's a V of similar depth/style to the standard C...
7  Classified Advertisements / Classified Advertisements / Re: FS: Shires 7YLW with thayer/TW-47 slide on: Dec 04, 2017, 09:22AM
This is a great horn, someone will be very happy to get it!
8  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Axials Vs Rotors Is it Really Worth It? on: Nov 30, 2017, 06:48AM
As Matt said, we generally put valves on a spectrum.  Axials tend to be the widest sounding and rotors tend to have a more dense sound.

As for feel, most feel that axials flow valves are the most open.  However, feel depends on the player input and desired sound.  If the valve type is not in balance with the player input and/or sound concept, a seemingly larger component can feel smaller or less open than a more focused component that balances with input and/or sound concept. 

Quote
Choose a valve based on your own playing characteristics and not that of the description of a valve on a manufactures website. Some players are naturally a bit more zippy or energetic and can use the axial flow valve to balance out that characteristic. Others have a more natural playing style that's more broad, and can use the rotor valve to bring them a bit more to center.

This.  Play the axial set, see what you think and decide for yourself.  We've had many wonderful players choose our rotors over axials or Tru-Bores.  It depends on what works and sounds best to YOU.

I hope that helps and that you;re enjoying your Q.

Ben
9  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: AR Resonance Mouthpieces on: Nov 04, 2017, 10:56AM
Thank you, Tony, for the explanation, it makes perfect sense.

10  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: AR Resonance Mouthpieces on: Nov 04, 2017, 09:29AM
----

Ben, if you would please, tell us more about the V+ and C+ cups. How they differ from the standard cup, etcetera.

Thanks...

===
Yes, please.....Iíd love to hear more, Ben. 

It's been a while since I've been measuring mouthpieces, but in general, the V+ and C+ cups are a fair amount deeper than the "C" cup I have.  They feel more a kin to a 6 1/2AL cup in terms of depth, with the V+ feeling a bit deeper than the C+.    The cups seem to continue a similar angle/contour to this depth with the C+ "bowling", or flattening, out considerably before going into the cup and the V+ being much more seamless. 

Playing characteristics of the V+ is as different as a 12C to a 6 1/2AL.  The 25.1 C cup I have feels punchy and supportive, and a crushing upper register.  The V+ and C+ definitely have more room and feel larger.  More air is needed to support.  I keep coming back to a 6 1/2AL comparison and I feel it's apt.  But it feels rounder and more supported than any 6 1/2 I've played.  The sound doesn't get away from you.  Does that make sense?

The C+ is a different animal that I haven't completely figured out.  It has some of the punch of the normal "C" cup, but it doesn't move as easily between harmonics.  It feel too locked into certain notes.  Perhaps a different backbore will help alleviate this, as the sound is a bit denser than the V+, and I thinkt hat could be really useful in some situations.

Definitely apples and oranges.  I'm using my 43 backbore that I picked out with the 25.1 top.  I'm looking forward to checking otu different backbores with these tops.

Ben
11  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: AR Resonance Mouthpieces on: Nov 03, 2017, 12:07PM
I got my 25.4 V+ and C+ cups in this week.   

WOW.   

Totally blows my best Mt. Vernon 6 1/2AL out of the water.  I've gravitated more toward the V+; it's a little easier to blow through the harmonic series of the horn.  A little more slippery, which I like.  The C+ has more bounce but grips more.  I'm waiting to try some of the other backbores before making a final determination, i think the right backbore could make the C+ a good "lead" piece for me.  I'm hooked.

Everything is so stable, extremely easy to play in all ranges of the horn.  It doesn't have the same 'pop' up top as the standard C cup up high, but it's thicker and richer below middle Bb. 

Ben

12  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: AR Resonance Mouthpieces on: Oct 18, 2017, 07:15AM
I purchased one of these about two weeks ago, a 25.1/60 with a 60/43/10.5 backbore.  Luke sent me out a few to try, four tops and two backbores.  The tops had inner rim diameters of 24.8mm, 25.1mm, 25.4mm, and 25.7mm.  The other backbore had a slightly longer throat (which I assume is cylindrical section) named a 60/40/10.5.

I gravitated toward the 25.1 and 24.8 tops.  My lips touch the sides/bottom of the 25.4 and 25.7, which didn't work too well for me.  I have a Bach Corp. 11C with a 6 1/2 rim threaded on and I don't bottom out on that one.  Your mileage may vary (They're making me up a 25.4 with a C+ cup now).  My lips tend to protrude a bit farther into the cup on larger rim sizes. 

Overall impression: this is a very stable mouthpiece with punch and power.  Bright, crisp sound.  In recordings I'm surprised at how much cleaner this mouthpiece sounds than most others I'm using.  I'm using it as a lead/commercial and Dixieland piece.  It feels a lot like a Greg Black 11C that I have, but punchier and more flexible.  I can move easier between low and high registers.  The rim profile reminds me of a Greg Black Bonilla model.  It works best for me on a .500 and smaller horn.  I've used it on my dual bore .500/.508 but that leaves me wanting a little more room to fatten the tone in middle and low registers.  Again, YMMV.  (I'm looking forward to trying out a 25.4 with C+ cup on this horn.) 

While I have dozens (hundreds?) of mouthpieces at home, this is on the short list of ones that I use regularly.  As a dedicated lead piece this fits the bill with the sound of a small mouthpiece that links with trumpets (11C/12C) while giving me a little more room to move around into the middle and low register without compromising the sound on top.  It was a close call, but I opted for the 25.1 over the 24.8 for that reason.  I'd definitely look at the 24.8 as a killer 11C mouthpiece with even more support up top.  I might pick one up later to have as an option. 

Luke was very easy to work with, I would put it on a short list of things to try if you are looking for a lead piece.

Ben
13  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Shires Q&A, what would you like to know? on: Sep 05, 2017, 06:17AM
I'm fortunate enough to work for a band that has quite a number of Shires tenors available, but over the years, I've never really settled on a combination that floated my boat...

...but recently, we acquired a 5YVNY bell. Oh my goodness. Now we're getting somewhere! It's probably because I cut my teeth playing Bach horns, but suddenly this horn, with the X tuning slide, has me really excited! Clean, crisp sounding with plenty of warmth and sparkle in the sound.

It works wonderfully with the TW47 slide, and I've also been using it with a T25LW slide, which is really fun. It really trims the fat from the sound, and produces a great tenor sound without much or the large bore girth. And so easy to play!

Anyway, playing this combo leads me to these two questions:

1. Have you made the 5YVNY in an 8 inch bell? Result?

2. When will you start making one-piece bass bells? I think I need one of these in my life.

Regards,

Andrew

Hello Andrew,

I'm glad you found a bell and tuning slide combo that works well for you!  The TII5YVNY bells is one of our most popular and fits very well for people coming from Bach instruments.  It even works for a lot of people that never would have considered a Bach.

Smaller diameter bells tend to respond more thickly and densely than their larger counterparts; there's less splash to the sound and feel.  I'd want to have a talk with whoever was looking into purchasing one prior to us making it, just to make sure we were all on the same page.

We have some prototype 1-piece bass bells that we have made.  A couple of them are with an artist right now in the field.  We've found that people are gravitating to a particular weight and treatment, so those will likely become regular production before too long.  They are not exactly like Bach or VNY bells, a little wider sounding and feeling, and the response varies greatly depending on the horn it's set up around.  Again, I'd like to talk with someone prior to them prior to order to make sure we are all on the same page. 

I hope this helps, let us know if we can do anything else for you.

Ben
14  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Shires Q series on: Sep 01, 2017, 06:56AM
Some words about the Q-Series instruments themselves.

This a result of our partnering with Eastman several years ago.  As long as I have been here, there has been a demand for a lower priced, entry-level professional instrument from Shires.  We tried addressing this before independently through the Pro-Select, Master Series, and then Standard Series instruments that were completely built here in Massachusetts.  While excellent instruments and a great value, they had limited success in the market. 

Eastman had previously asked us to design and instrument for them that they completely built, the Eastman by Shires.  This was a more successful instrument in the marketplace, mainly the combination of price and quality, which were unique at that time.  While these were very good, Eastman did have final say on the design and changed some aspects of the instrument based on what they though the market demanded.

The new Q is a marriage of these previous ideas.  Shires has final say on the design and quality.  It is built to our standards and we quality check and do final tweaking on every horn.  There are many Eastman parts on the instrument, again, built to our standards and specifications.  We make the machined parts and send them for assembly.  We have sent and continue to regularly send our technicians to Eastman factories to inspect processes and teach techniques.  They have enthusiastically adopted our suggestions and we've seen a tremendous jump in quality of what arrives at our shop.

Not to beat a dead horse, but we maintained a hard line on quality.  If the instrument wasn't good enough it couldn't have a Shires name on it.  To Eastman's credit, they took all of our criticisms and fixed them without protest.   Just like our Custom Series instruments, we continue to develop and refine the instruments.  Eastman is 100% on board and we've been very happy with the results; they share our commitment to making the best horn we can for this market.

For the specific questions being asked in this thread thus far, the Q has limited options, two bells for bass and tenor and two valve types for tenor.  The handslide, leadpipes and tuning slide remain the same for the bass and tenor models, respectively.  All Q Series instruments are completely compatible with Custom Series instruments so that you can interchange individual components.  We did find some fit/compatibility issues with early Q instruments and these will be modified or replaced as necessary if you run into any issues.  The individual components are marketed for individual sale as of this writing.

There's been a lot made about shipping these things back and forth.  Eastman is a large company that has been importing instruments for many years.  Adding several dozen trumpets and trombones to their commercial shipping container is of zero issue when it comes to cost.

Are they good horns?  I really do think so.  (I want a Q36YR for myself.)  But you should try them.  I certainly think they are worth cross shopping against other horns at their price point.

Feel free to send me any individual questions to ben@seshires.com, I'll be glad to help.

Best,
Ben

15  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Shires Tenor Components/Parts Buying Advice on: Aug 17, 2017, 07:42AM
Gabe is giving you great advice, I wholeheartedly echo what he has said.  Every word of it.

Ben
16  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Shires Q&A, what would you like to know? on: Jul 31, 2017, 07:15AM
Hello Witboi,

Most of what you were asking was covered by the other posters so far, but to add a few thoughts...

First, all medium bore components are compatible with large bore components; you will have no trouble matching a .525 slide to that bell and valve section.

I do warn about matching narrow slides to Tru-Bore valves (and axial flow valves as well).  Tru-bore valves extend wider than the neckpipe and can stick into one's neck.  Many people (Sam included) play with a narrow slide but forewarned is forearmed.  We do make a wide .525 slide that is more like Bach in width, but it does change the playing feel/characteristics.  If you wind up purchasing a slide new please contact me at the factory and we can go through options. 

As for leadpipes, in an ideal world we try everything, and if you can: do that!  If not, we generally recommend people start with a #2 in any size.  This is the middle of the road for our horns and the majority of our customers play this size.  If you have general tendencies, smaller or larger, they are generally mirrored in the other bore sizes unless you are looking for a different feel.  "M" leadpipes receive small shank mouthpieces, MT receive large shank mouthpieces.

I agree with what Sam said about bell sizes.  I use both 8 and 8 1/2" bells with my .525 slide.  I notice a big different in width of sound and density of tone.  The 8 1/2" is wider in scope and I feel I can push to the timbre around more.  There's more shoulder room to the blow.  The 8" is more compact, taking all of that same sound of the 8 1/2" and bringing it in for more tone per cubic inch.  The core is stronger and is less flexible to me face than the same 8 1/2" equivalent.  This can by mitigated or amplified somewhat depending on the bell you choose.  When that time approaches give me a call at the factory and we'll talk about it.

Ben
17  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Shires Q&A, what would you like to know? on: Jul 24, 2017, 07:38AM
Just a couple questions regarding weight of a bell.

First question... I have a BI2T7 bell aka the Conn 62Hish bell. So the weight on a BI2T7 is regular but which is thinned out with the T7 treatment, correct? This is a older bell from around 2010ish.

Second question... Would it be possible to order a LW or M bell with the T7 treatment? Maybe something like a BI2T7LW?

Third question... Besides response differences does having a lighter bell effect the color of a horn? More high or low frequencies? ect...

The T7 treatment affects the weight at the edge of the bell.  Most of our bells come standard with a T9 treatment, and progressively get lighter through a T8 and then T7 (lightest) treatment.  It is available on any custom bell. The T7 is most similar to What Conn was doing in the early-mid 60's. 

In general, the T7 gives a slightly faster response and more expansive feel without altering the core qualities that come with the particular weight of the bell.   

In very general terms, I think of weight as a trade-off between stability and color.  The heavier a bell is the more stable it is, however it is more difficult to color the timbre beyond it's core center.  The lighter a bell is the more timbral colors are available, however it is less stable in it's color and requires more stability on the part of the player. 

We've seen this play out it he last 20 years as we've moved from a darker, more stable sound of the 90's and early 2000's to the more acceptable brilliance we are hearing more and more of.  This is reflected in our weight designations; when Steve started making instruments under his own name in 1995, the standard weight was relatively heavy.  The weights get progressively lighter, with medium and light.  There is a heavy weight option, one that we rarely get requests for these days (I can't remember the last one we made new).  Since then, people have progressively moved to lighter bells in all styles of playing.  Our lightweight and medium weight bells are the most popular in large tenor.

The idea of quicker response can be a bit of a misnomer.  We, as a brass playing community, often pair the idea of response with snap, or brilliance coming off the initiation of the attack or beginning of the note.  If this is our standard, a heavier bell is definitely less responsive than a light one.  However, and it's a big "however", if our idea is simply that the instrument speaks immediately after input, and the sound one wants is a big open, less brilliant sound, a heavier bell may feel more responsive, because it naturally will want to get that sound.  It is important that we separate speed of response from color of response, and know what it is that we want to achieve. 

As Sam said, there is generally a happy medium for people.  Our lightweight and medium weight large/medium bore tenor bells are far and away the most popular.  Extra lightweight and lightweight for small tenor.  Bass are a bit different, with most people opting for medium or standard weight bells.  I think a lot of this can point to the weight of a double valve section, which can translate more of the sound energy to the bell than on a single valve or straight tenor.  This extra energy requires a slightly heavier bell to yield similar results as the tenors.  What is right for you?  Give us a call and we'll be glad to discuss. 

I hope this helps.  Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Ben
18  Creation and Performance / Trombonists / Re: Sonny Costanzo on: Jul 10, 2017, 06:39AM
Sonny is something of a local legend around Connecticut, a fantastic player and a real character.    I heard him around when I was growing up but never got to really meet or play with him.  Everyone that met him has a story about him.

One of my favorites: He played one of those old vintage Conn "Trombone" mouthpieces that was all banged up and a bent end shank.  Don Hayward, and maybe a few other people, found one in good condition, had it gold plated and gave it to him as a gift.  He couldn't play it!  Went back to the old beat up one. 

Sonny has a great big band album.  Jeff Holmes, a great composer, arranger, trumpet and piano player that heads the jazz department at UMass Amherst, did the arrangements.  Jeff still pulls them out from time to time in his big band; Emily has 4 high E's in it!

One of the great characters and musicians that seem to be all to rare these days...
19  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Shires Gold Brass Hand Slides on: Jun 20, 2017, 06:48AM
My experience with Shires gold brass slides is similar, but slightly different.  I played one for many years on my Shires small bore that was set up as a middle ground between a Conn 4H and 6H (T85G).

I completely agree with the slightly more slippery feel (I think of it has having a more flexible spring to the centering of notes).  I enjoyed this quality and being able to manipulate the sound without beating myself up the way i feel when I do the same thing on a yellow or nickel slide. 

The change in articulation depends on the input. More aggressive articulations on nickel or yellow brass can be calmed down and given a "bounce".  Round articulations on yellow or nickel generall become dull, or transparent.  Certainly, the crispest one generally can hope for is a hard "D" to the front of the notes, not as much "T".  Like Sam, this is why I ultimately turned to a different slide for most of my jazz and commercial pursuits.  Though I still bring it out when I don't have to cut through a thick ensemble and can take on a more soloistic role.

It does change the color of the sound, generally adding darkness, though I find it can brighten up in a way that only gold brass does.  A retention of the low fundamental while pushing the middle overtones up into a brilliant shimmer.  A shiny shimmer on the sound that won't overshadow the core sound of the bell.  Gold brass when pushed sounds like a bubbling spring to my ears.  This is an interesting sound, but often turns off people looking for a seamless blend between less...individual sounding instruments.  It can link in a lovely fashion to tuba or horn.

In addition to working very well with lightweight red bells, it can provide a bit some color to yellow bells that are consistent but sound/feel dull.  In these cases, we generally turn to a gold tuning slide first, but if that feels dull or doesn't "bounce" I'll suggest a gold brass slide.  I seen more acceptance of this sound and character the past couple of years, and some other horns started incorporating the material (and sound) too.

I hope this helps.
20  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Shires Q&A, what would you like to know? on: Jun 01, 2017, 10:38AM
Ben,

Any chance we could order underparts threaded for particular rims?

-Matt

No. You would need to contact someone else to do the threading for whatever rim you wanted.

-Ben
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