Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

 
Advanced search

1080140 Posts in 71468 Topics- by 19047 Members - Latest Member: The Dark Bone
Jump to:  
Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Down
Print
Author Topic: Nartiss sackbut review  (Read 1842 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Le.Tromboniste
*
Offline Offline

Location: Montreal, Canada
Joined: Aug 5, 2008
Posts: 232

View Profile
« on: May 18, 2017, 08:05AM »

There has been several inquiries in recent months about cheap alternatives to the high-end Meinl and Egger sackbuts. One of the names that comes up a lot is Nartiss. I had the chance to try a Nartiss tenor sackbut yesterday and thought I would leave my impressions here for future reference.

I must admit I didn't have high expectations to start with, but the instrument proved to be at the same time both much better and much worse than I had imagined. I tried it first with the mouthpiece that comes with it. Renaissance-type outer shape, but that's about it. Very rounded rim (more rounded than some modern mouthpieces), very wide cup (I didn't have a measuring tool, but it felt at least 5G-wide, probably more), extremely open throat with a rounded and slightly funneled entrance. I literally sounded like a modern bass trombone on it, big fat dark tone, and had about no margin to change the color of the sound or vary the articulation. So first conclusion : if you buy that instrument, throw that mouthpiece in the bin and get yourself a better sackbut mouthpiece. There is absolutely no way you'll ever get a good sackbut-playing experience with the original mouthpiece.

I then switched to my own mouthpiece (Egger RT-6). This is the part where it was better than I expected. I actually managed to get a good sackbut sound on the instrument. I could get some nice colors, and the articulations came out fine. Sound-wise, I could imagine this instrument blending OK in a sackbut group on low tenor/baritone parts. Not as easily as with a Egger or Meinl of course, or even a Leuchter, but still much, much better than a hackbut. It was in fact easier to make it sound well than the old Monk instrument I started on. However (and it's a big however), I had to fight against the instrument at every moment to achieve that, and I'm not convinced it would be possible for someone that has little or no experience on sackbut (the targeted market for this horn).

I was on the other hand expecting, if not a good sackbut, at least a good instrument in terms of playability and quality of fabrication. That is the part where it was much, much worse than I expected. The lower and mid partials are very centered and well aligned, very in tune, but anything higher than F (partial 6) is extremely off. Partial 8 was flatter than partial 7 (!), so no Bb (or high pitch A) in 1st, partial no. 9 was extremely sharp, and partial 10 (D) was over a quarter tone flat. Everything was getting harder and harder to center as it got higher, and the tone was harder to color, very hard to get anything else than a very dull and diffuse sound.

But that is nothing compared to the slide. Imagine the slide of a Yamaha 354 after a decade of being played by 6th grade students. That was the kind of slide action this horn had. And this was a brand new horn. No amount of slide lube would save that slide. Upon inspection of the inners, I noted several anomalies in the plating. And there were actually two deep, wide grooves about 1.5 inch long (which leads me to suspect the inside of the outers is uneven and scratchy). Also, it didn't have a 7th position.

It is lacquered, and is made of very thick and heavy brass, which make it about as heavy as a modern small bore tenor. The bell garland makes the bell even heavier. Bell is about 1-1.5cm wider than typical on a sackbut, and looking at the taper and throat, it appears as if it was designed with a modern bell as a starting point, except taking the flare out. Bell is in 3rd position which I dislike, but that instrument would probably not work with the bell in 4th, as it would be extremely nose-heavy. The soldering is sloppy, you can see quite a lot of grey soft solder at each joint or brace end. The brand logo is engraved very deeply (and rather unevenly) into the metal and has some rough edges. Overall, it displays rather poor craftsmanship and doesn't have the look or feel of a quality instrument.



So so sum it all up, although it is not impossible to make the instrument sound approximately right, it takes a lot of work, and it is simply a very poorly made instrument. If you could get one for free or extremely cheap, and you can't afford a good instrument, then *maybe* it could be a valid option. I wouldn't ever recommend to anyone to spend the retail price of $1000+ on this.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 10:30AM by Le.Tromboniste » Logged

Maximilien Brisson
Posaunus
*
Offline Offline

Location: California
Joined: Feb 20, 2014
Posts: 686

View Profile
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2017, 12:39PM »

From Latvia.
Logged
Le.Tromboniste
*
Offline Offline

Location: Montreal, Canada
Joined: Aug 5, 2008
Posts: 232

View Profile
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2017, 07:49AM »

From Latvia.

Pretty sure they're made in China, like the rest of his brand's  instruments that look exactly the same as every generic Chinese instrument.
Logged

Maximilien Brisson
chipolah

*
Offline Offline

Location: Vaucluse,France / Hampshire,England
Joined: Jul 18, 2010
Posts: 697

View Profile
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2017, 10:11AM »

Pretty sure they're made in China, like the rest of his brand's  instruments that look exactly the same as every generic Chinese instrument.
I can't say for sure, but I don't think the sackbuts are made in China.
Logged

Holton TR-100 / Bach 6-1/2A
Wessex Trombone Consultant
www.chiphoehler.com
SBMaestro

*
Offline Offline

Location:
Joined: Apr 28, 2013
Posts: 151

View Profile
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2017, 01:57PM »

Thank you for the review.  I also have played a Nartiss tenor sackbut (I bought it for our college), and agree about the stock mouthpiece--you're much better off with a custom mouthpiece (I use a Geert van der Heide mouthpiece and it works very well). 

I wonder if the intonation issues you are having are particular to your instrument--I know nothing of the consistency of them, but the one I play plays remarkably well in tune (of course, perhaps that is due to the mouthpiece or the way I play).  Or perhaps you simply got a "lemon."

One more thing--when I bought the instrument (an early one, directly shipped from Latvia), I asked Mr. Nartiss himself if the sackbuts were made in China.  He said they were not, for what that's worth.  I wouldn't be surprised, however, if some of the parts (or the metal, for that matter) originated in China.

I'm very happy with the Nartiss sackbut--I'm curious to hear other reviews.
Logged
Le.Tromboniste
*
Offline Offline

Location: Montreal, Canada
Joined: Aug 5, 2008
Posts: 232

View Profile
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2017, 03:09PM »

Thank you for the review.  I also have played a Nartiss tenor sackbut (I bought it for our college), and agree about the stock mouthpiece--you're much better off with a custom mouthpiece (I use a Geert van der Heide mouthpiece and it works very well). 

Van der Heide are a great option indeed. Egger RT series (non-V models) are another. Nate Woods is developing a new mouthpiece line. In the US, John Cather makes good sackbut mouthpieces in Long Beach, CA. Not based on specific historical designs and a bit of a heavy blank, but a proper flat rim and sharp entrance to the throat. Plenty of valid options.

I wonder if the intonation issues you are having are particular to your instrument--I know nothing of the consistency of them, but the one I play plays remarkably well in tune (of course, perhaps that is due to the mouthpiece or the way I play).  Or perhaps you simply got a "lemon."

I thought about that too. Unfortunately there was only one available at the store, so I couldn't compare. But that one had huge playability problems, and I figure most buyers won't get a chance to try them first. So at the very least, it's a shot in the dark.

It did impress me how well in tune the low and mid partials were. Slotting was also great on those partials.

Does yours have a 7th position?
Logged

Maximilien Brisson
SBMaestro

*
Offline Offline

Location:
Joined: Apr 28, 2013
Posts: 151

View Profile
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2017, 10:46PM »

Yes--the Nartiss we own does have a true 7th position, though with the A=415Hz tuning slide in, it only has 6.  It is also worth noting that even with the stock Nartiss mouthpiece, I have to push the A=440Hz tuning slide in nearly all of the way to bring it up to pitch, and other members in our group have to push it all of the way in. 

The lower partials (low Bb, F, tuning Bb) do indeed play and slot quite well.  The D above the tuning Bb is a tiny bit flat, but that's often to be expected on many of the smaller-bore modern (and not so modern) trombones.

Please understand that I am in no way saying that this horn is comparable to an Egger or any other high-end sackbut, but for the money we paid, it was a good choice for a music department with a limited budget for such a specialty instrument.  I've never had a chance to play an Egger, but we own two Horst Voigts (an Eb alto and an F bass), and two Finkes.  The Nartiss is the easiest one for people to "learn" on for us by far, and that's especially helpful for our college, since there is a rotation of players in the group as students come and go.
Logged
Le.Tromboniste
*
Offline Offline

Location: Montreal, Canada
Joined: Aug 5, 2008
Posts: 232

View Profile
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2017, 08:16AM »

I'm just very curious to hear about other's experience with it. Funnily, with the one I tried, I had to pull all the way out to tune it. All the way in made me play almost a quarter tone sharp.

It didn't even occur to me to try it with the 415 crook, as we usually transpose down a step from 466 when we have to play at 415.

Flat 5th partial is to be expected, that's right, and it's a good thing on a sackbut since it's supposed to be a flat note anyway.
Logged

Maximilien Brisson
bbocaner

*
Offline Offline

Location: Herndon, VA
Joined: Nov 25, 2004
Posts: 943

View Profile
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2017, 11:04AM »

I always find the 6th partial to be unusably flat on Egger instruments, and that's supposed to be a (very slightly) sharp note. Need to use 4th for all the Fs. So it's not a problem that's confined to only budget instruments.
Logged

--
Barry
Le.Tromboniste
*
Offline Offline

Location: Montreal, Canada
Joined: Aug 5, 2008
Posts: 232

View Profile
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2017, 12:57PM »

I always find the 6th partial to be unusably flat on Egger instruments, and that's supposed to be a (very slightly) sharp note. Need to use 4th for all the Fs. So it's not a problem that's confined to only budget instruments.

It's actually supposed to be a slightly flat note, as it's a fifth above your tuning note and meantone fifths are flat. 3.4 cents flat compared to equal temperament, to be precise.

But yes, that partial is noticeably flat on Egger instruments compared to modern trombones (which usually have it too sharp). I found it to be exactly perfect on the standard and MDC models I've played, and a bit flat on the "historic" model (one of the reasons I don't really like that instrument).
Logged

Maximilien Brisson
bbocaner

*
Offline Offline

Location: Herndon, VA
Joined: Nov 25, 2004
Posts: 943

View Profile
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2017, 05:51PM »

It's actually supposed to be a slightly flat note, as it's a fifth above your tuning note and meantone fifths are flat. 3.4 cents flat compared to equal temperament, to be precise.

I guess it depends on where you start the comma. I hadn't heard of starting it on Bb before. My post pre-supposed you were starting it on C.
Logged

--
Barry
Le.Tromboniste
*
Offline Offline

Location: Montreal, Canada
Joined: Aug 5, 2008
Posts: 232

View Profile
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2017, 06:13PM »

I guess it depends on where you start the comma. I hadn't heard of starting it on Bb before. My post pre-supposed you were starting it on C.

"Start the comma"? I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Everything is evenly spread out in meantone. Doesn't really matter where you start calculating (except to decide where the wolf will be but that's irrelevant for a trombone since you can play every enharmonic).

What I meant is although F is a sharp note in the temperament, you tune your instrument to a note that is even sharper. Bb is 17.1 cents sharper than in ET. So if you tune to Bb, then the whole instrument is 17.1 cents sharp. F is only 13.7 cents sharp, thus F is actually 3.4 cents flat on the horn.
Logged

Maximilien Brisson
bbocaner

*
Offline Offline

Location: Herndon, VA
Joined: Nov 25, 2004
Posts: 943

View Profile
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2017, 06:16PM »

Ahh, I see what you mean. Thanks.
Logged

--
Barry
svenlarsson

*
Offline Offline

Location: Enskede, Sweden.
Joined: Sep 15, 2001
Posts: 4518

View Profile WWW
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2017, 02:36AM »


It didn't even occur to me to try it with the 415 crook, as we usually transpose down a step from 466 when we have to play at 415.


I am curious about what tunings you are used to?
Yesterday we played music of J.M. Krauss (orch chorus and solists) as we always do when playing music from the 18nth centuari the A was at 430. We talked about when the last time we tromboneists played in 415, that was many years ago! And we still wonder why, since there was no historically reason for Mozart or Monteerdi in 415. In Sweden 415 is used with Bach and Handel,not much tromboning there. As sackbutist I play 440, 466 or 420, never today 415.
So I wonder, when do you play 415?
Logged

Kanstul 1662. Bach 45B. Kanstul 1555. Besson Euphonium. Kanstul 66-S Tuba. Sackbuts in F/E/Eb Bb/A
And several horns I should sell.
Le.Tromboniste
*
Offline Offline

Location: Montreal, Canada
Joined: Aug 5, 2008
Posts: 232

View Profile
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2017, 08:49AM »

I am curious about what tunings you are used to?
Yesterday we played music of J.M. Krauss (orch chorus and solists) as we always do when playing music from the 18nth centuari the A was at 430. We talked about when the last time we tromboneists played in 415, that was many years ago! And we still wonder why, since there was no historically reason for Mozart or Monteerdi in 415. In Sweden 415 is used with Bach and Handel,not much tromboning there. As sackbutist I play 440, 466 or 420, never today 415.
So I wonder, when do you play 415?

The switch to an intermediary pitch happened early on in Vienna (likely first decade of the 1700s), but much later in many other places. Salzburg was once such place; so early Mozart works, for instance, would be better played lower, with trombones in high pitch transposing down a step. He still had to have transposed parts prepared for his Great mass in C minor  when he went back to Salzburg to premiere it much later.

Bach cantatas of course.

Also if I'm hired to double the choir in baroque pieces that either didn't have specific trombone parts or weren't likely to have trombones at all. It wouldn't have occurred to them to think of their trombone as in Bb and put in a 415 tuning slide...
Logged

Maximilien Brisson
BGuttman
Mad Chemist

*
*
Online Online

Location: Londonderry, NH, USA
Joined: Dec 12, 2000
Posts: 50810
"Almost Professional"


View Profile
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2017, 09:09AM »

Let's see if I have this right:

In Chorton (A=465) a Bb (at A=440) instrument is now in A.
In Conventional Baroque (A=415) a Bb (at A=440) is now in B.

Would a High Pitch instrument (made so A=465) be in C if played in Conventional Baroque?
Logged

Bruce Guttman
Solo Trombone, Hollis Town Band
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orch. President 2017-2018
Le.Tromboniste
*
Offline Offline

Location: Montreal, Canada
Joined: Aug 5, 2008
Posts: 232

View Profile
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2017, 09:27AM »

Let's see if I have this right:

Would a High Pitch instrument (made so A=465) be in C if played in Conventional Baroque?

It's not a ''high pitch instrument'', it's the same instrument, it's just that A is in first position.

So, technically your horn is in B at 415, but you don't want to think of it in B, cause that would be terrible. You think of your trombone in A (at A=465), and you mentally transpose what's on the page down a step (same mind process as reading modern Bb trumpet/euphonium/brass band parts on a trombone in Bb (440) - so it's especially easy when reading from modern editions that use 8vb treble for the tenor parts!).
Logged

Maximilien Brisson
BGuttman
Mad Chemist

*
*
Online Online

Location: Londonderry, NH, USA
Joined: Dec 12, 2000
Posts: 50810
"Almost Professional"


View Profile
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2017, 09:35AM »

I have a "High Pitch" trombone from 100 years ago.  It's shorter than a conventional tenor.  It plays like a Trombone in B when played against A=440 instruments.  So would this be a Trombone in C at A=415?

Personally, I've always wondered why the trombone was made in Bb.  My own (probably wrong) theory is that it was originally supposed to be in A (string instruments have one string that is also in A: top string on viola and cello and 2nd string on violin and double bass).  At that time standard pitch was A=465.  Now we adopt A=440 and we have these trombones that it's really tough to modify.  So we consider them instruments in Bb.
Logged

Bruce Guttman
Solo Trombone, Hollis Town Band
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orch. President 2017-2018
Le.Tromboniste
*
Offline Offline

Location: Montreal, Canada
Joined: Aug 5, 2008
Posts: 232

View Profile
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2017, 10:04AM »

Aaaah I see. That's a different ''high pitch'', that's the 19th century British (old) philharmonic pitch, and it's A=452 (which is approximately a half step above 430). So what you have is a different thing entirely, it's a romantic instrument in Bb, but at a higher pitch than the ''low'' (new philharmonic) pitch of 439 (which was adopted in 1896 and is where the modern 440 derives from). Conn and the British makers continued to make those ''HP'' instruments well into the 20th century because some brass bands stuck to the old ''high'' pitch.


When we talk of high pitch and baroque pitch and classical pitch for early music, we're talking about 466, 415 and 430, and they're all rather arbitrary, as the pitch varied vastly from city to city, and even from church to church. 415 was chosen in the modern revival of early music because it is exactly one equal tempered half step lower than 440, and 466 is exactly one half step above. Those are 20th century decisions.

But yes your intuition is right. The reference pitch was generally higher when the trombones appeared (as A and D instruments, which makes a lot of sense when you're only using church modes). At some point the strings and woodwinds were tuned a whole step lower (some would say it is due to most oboes used throughout Europe being made in France, where the pitch was lower, and since they can't change their pitch that much, they were the ones the orchestra would tune to). Then they gradually switched from having two simultaneous pitches (Kammerton for the strings and WW, Chorton for the ''church'' instruments (trombones and cornetto, organ)) to having only one, roughly halfway in-between. They didn't change trombones, they kept the same instruments and simply changed the nominal pitch of the instrument, from A to Bb (and alto and bass in D to Eb).


Your HP trombone would probably not be sharp enough that you could play it at 415 and think of it as a C instrument. You'd have to lip every 1st position note up quite a lot. Especially since C would be sharper than in equal temperament in whatever tuning the group would be using.
Logged

Maximilien Brisson
renbaroque
*
Offline Offline

Location:
Joined: Feb 8, 2013
Posts: 64

View Profile
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2017, 10:48AM »

I am curious about what tunings you are used to?
Yesterday we played music of J.M. Krauss (orch chorus and solists) as we always do when playing music from the 18nth centuari the A was at 430. We talked about when the last time we tromboneists played in 415, that was many years ago! And we still wonder why, since there was no historically reason for Mozart or Monteerdi in 415. In Sweden 415 is used with Bach and Handel,not much tromboning there. As sackbutist I play 440, 466 or 420, never today 415.
So I wonder, when do you play 415?

Anyone really did Monteverdi at 415?! That is ridiculous. We might play his work at 440 (because that's the standard of our time), or we might do it at 466 (organ pitch at San Marco in Venezia). Not much else are heard of, at least these days. Boy, musicology (and instruments) has come a long way real quick in the last few decades for sure. Pitches until recently were very localized. First "sort of" universal pitch was 415, brought about by the French court of Louis XIV.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Up
Print
Jump to: