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Author Topic: Dumb questions about basses  (Read 2799 times)
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jackbird
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« on: May 22, 2017, 09:39AM »

First dumb question. Has anyone used an Eb slide on a single valve bass?

Second dumb question. Isn't there some sort of plug-in valve kit? Why aren't there more plug-in valves.

Third dumb question. Why doesn't anyone make an honest to goodness small bass that doesn't scare tenor players? Two valves or a removable valve like the Yamaha 620, 547/562 bore slide, 9" bell. Lots of horns have elements of this config, but no one really gets it with small basses.
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Sliphorn
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2017, 09:45AM »

I'm pretty sure people have used every possible combination, and eventually settled on F/Gb/D and F/G/Eb.

Yes, plugins do exist.  I think the reason there aren't more is because today the vast majority of basses are built as dual-valve from the ground up.

Small basses...Have a look at the Holton TR-159.  There is one for sale on  the forum right now.  Very cool horns, in my opinion.  I even considered picking it up (I like Holtons) but decided that cash is too tight at the moment.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2017, 09:58AM »

Older single valve basses had one tuning slide that can be pulled out to retune the attachment to E or a flat E.  This gives low B way out on the end of the slide.  At one time the attachments were actually made in E.  I have a reference to such instruments in a 100 year old trombone method by Carl Hampe (of the Boston Symphony).  Could you have a crook made so the attachment is in Eb?  Sure.  Anything is possible with money.  If it was more useful than the F, I'm sure we'd all be playing them (hint, hint).

Plug-in 2nd valves were a development of the mid 20th century.  They were supplanted by double valve instruments almost immediately since the mechanics of working with a valve located at the end of the tuning slide of the F-attachment are pretty horrendous.  First double valve basses effectively made for a "quick E-pull" being about a position long.  Then we discovered that an Eb second valve could be more useful and finally that a D second valve is even more useful.  First double valve basses were dependent (again, concept of a "quick E-pull").  Then somebody made an independent and many of us found that instrument to be even more useful.

There are large tenor/small bass instruments.  The Yamaha YBL-321 is one such.  The King 5B and Holton TR-159 are also useful as "starter basses".
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2017, 10:02AM »

First dumb question. Has anyone used an Eb slide on a single valve bass?

Second dumb question. Isn't there some sort of plug-in valve kit? Why aren't there more plug-in valves.

Third dumb question. Why doesn't anyone make an honest to goodness small bass that doesn't scare tenor players? Two valves or a removable valve like the Yamaha 620, 547/562 bore slide, 9" bell. Lots of horns have elements of this config, but no one really gets it with small basses.

First question... yes. You end up having to shift the slide around a lot with the loss of 6th and 7th alternatives on the valve. I have an Eb slide for my single Rath.
Second  .. slot in valves used to blow less well than regular second valves. Yamaha solved that but they are just not popular. I just made a slot in for a former student who wants to use his Conn 60H all the time.
Third... a small bass... yes it could be useful if a really top level one was produced.

Chris Stearn
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JohnL
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« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2017, 10:08AM »

Second dumb question. Isn't there some sort of plug-in valve kit? Why aren't there more plug-in valves.
I think one of the main reasons the plug-in valve concept never really caught on is that the linkage ends up being less than ideal.
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« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2017, 10:44AM »

Conn's 88HK is supposed to be a "tenorbaß" trombone, that is, a bridge between the first and bass trombone for the modern, large-bore instruments. According to specs, it has a 9" bell with a larger throat, and 547/562 dual-bore slide. I think King's 5B, which supercedes the 88HK by 30-40 years, was intended for the same purpose. Edwards and Shires also have dual-bore slides available, and their bass slides fit their large bore tenor instruments. At one time both Edwards and Shires listed 9" bells as a custom option; I don't know whether they have a different shape, i.e., a larger throat.

Kanstul made (makes?) a single bass with an optional slot-in valve. I haven't played it, but the reports I've heard are what Chris describes is the case with most slot-in instruments, whether it's Holtons, Kanstuls, customs:  useful in a pinch, but not optimal for long-term use.

I have found this kind of tenorbaß instrument useful in limited circumstances: smaller or reduced orchestras where the 1st and 2nd use smaller instruments, where lower dynamics are necessary, and where clarity is needed over volume. Of course, other people who play a lot more than me could, I'm sure, list other times they've used such an instrument, or perhaps wished they had one...
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jackbird
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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2017, 11:07AM »

An Eb valve would give you a single valve fully chromatic instrument. Chris seems to get it.

Yeah, a plug-in is a workaround for non-chromatic horn, not really a great idea, but the Yamaha solution looks good.

Yeah, all those 9" tenors are missing second valves and/or chromatic capability, but otherwise look good.
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Terraplane8Bob
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2017, 11:52AM »

I've owned a Conn 70H since about 1964 that has an early solution for a "fast E pull". The serial number puts it in the early 1930's.  All of the valve tubing is neatly [and tightly] coiled inside the gooseneck of the instrument.  There is an "E" valve located centrally which is actuated by reaching back and turning a knob to switch from "F" to "E".  This isn't useful for the Bartok glissando because when you arrive in first position you end up with an "E" instead of the written "F". After a few years of ownership I hired Walter Lawson [of Lawson French Horn fame] to design and build a mechanism to actuate the "E" valve with my left thumb instead of the original knob setup.  He very cleverly designed a side-by-side trigger arrangement with a feature designed to keep the two trigger levers parallel even when the "E" slide had to be pulled for tuning purposes.  He placed a turnbuckle in the actuating rod to regulate its length and put a stop mechanism on the "E" slide so that it would remain in position no matter how vigorously the trigger was actuated.  To this day it is some of the finest custom work I've ever seen.  I'd post photos but evidently the TTF photo files are maxed out.  The mystery to me is : What was the original intent for the "knob" setup ?  Just being able to play a low "B" ?  Observations welcomed.  Cheers !!   Bob
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daveyboy37

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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2017, 02:00PM »

First dumb question. Has anyone used an Eb slide on a single valve bass?

Second dumb question. Isn't there some sort of plug-in valve kit? Why aren't there more plug-in valves.

Third dumb question. Why doesn't anyone make an honest to goodness small bass that doesn't scare tenor players? Two valves or a removable valve like the Yamaha 620, 547/562 bore slide, 9" bell. Lots of horns have elements of this config, but no one really gets it with small basses.
  Eb valve gives you a Bb in T1, the same Bb you get in one, so you lose the T1 C and T2 B natural. You then end up with needing to go out to 7th for E natural, and if you wanted to get down to Eb you'd have to go all the way to T1. Having just Eb would pretty much knock out a lot of the advantages of having the valve, aside form extended range.

I think the second two questions are somewhat tied together: the trombone community moved past those ideas. Plug in valves definitely were tried, but most were designed to changed to work with an F-attachment that was not really designed for it. The geometry is awkward, and this causes the valve throw to suffer. Having the two valves stacked or inline produces much better valve linkage geometry and ergonomics.

Only a trombone specifically designed for function as a single or double, like the Yamaha YBL-622 and YBL-822, the Doug Yeo models, are really able to accomplish this well. For the most part though, it's not an option they really care about, which is why you don't see many.

Kanstul developed a slot in valve for their George Roberts bass, and also I think for their 1580 single valve bass. However in general the single valve basses are not nearly as popular due to the desire to have a fully chromatic instrument. It worked for Roberts, but he had also learned to "fake it" on fast passages using false tones for notes like the C and B Natural.
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David Sullivan
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« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2017, 02:08PM »

Scroll down a bit to see one of my Holtons with the removable second valve..and Chris has done a fabulous job with the one he made for the aforementioned 60H.

http://tromboneforum.org/index.php?topic=42481.0
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jackbird
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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2017, 02:24PM »

Scroll down a bit to see one of my Holtons with the removable second valve..and Chris has done a fabulous job with the one he made for the aforementioned 60H.

http://tromboneforum.org/index.php?topic=42481.0


Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. I don't want that all the time, but for the times I need it, it's just right. Thanks. You mention a tech who does that work in that thread as well. That's great information. I play bass maybe half the time, and about a quarter of that time, I need a second valve. So I don't want a freaking horse just for that small portion of time for basically playing two notes.
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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2017, 03:14PM »

An Eb valve would give you a single valve fully chromatic instrument. Chris seems to get it.
...


Yes, but at a steep price, it seems.
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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2017, 03:22PM »

Eb slide is like going from an F attachment horn to a straight tenor. You have no use for the valve except below the staff. Maybe some people out there have long arms, but playing every single E and B in 7th sounds like a nightmare to me. I see them for sale every once in a while for Edwards tenors.

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« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2017, 03:35PM »

The King Symphony (5B) was designed to be a clone of a German tenor by Schmitt ( spelling?) for the Cleveland Orchestra tenor bones under Szell. .536/.546 bore


Using brass model rocket tubing I made a perfect Eb attachment for my King Symphony. A second player in my city did the same.

The advantages to the single Eb valve:
The lightest weight for the completely chromatic horn.
Low C and low B might be the best notes on the horn, as all the slide is extended making it free blowing like crazy.
It limits your technique to the technique of a straight tenor-- you have to learn how to use 7 positions. NO CHEATING.
NO thinking involved-- no alternate positions, just PLAY THE HORN.

I was fascinated by reading here that Robert Harper of the Philadelphia Orchestra played in Bb/Eb. It does work. Does it work "better"?-- well, it sounds great, feels fantastic, and it makes the horn more balanced. No need for ergo devices to hold the horn.

Again, a lot of what is discussed here is discussed by people just READING an internet chat room---" sounds like a nightmare to me". When you're on the job and low B is commonly called on for a lot of sustained things in # keys the single valve Bb/Eb horn is a dream. Effortless attacks-- 100% accurate attacks. No possibility of failure on a low B or low C.

It takes practice.
It takes a LOT of practice to get around on the Bb/Eb horn, but the rewards are there.
Yes, to answer the question, it has been done. It is still being done. You just have to want the feel and vintage vibe.
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MrPillow
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« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2017, 03:52PM »

The mystery to me is : What was the original intent for the "knob" setup ?  Just being able to play a low "B" ?  Observations welcomed.  Cheers !!   Bob

Many of the American trombones with rotary change valves designed before the 1930s were Bb/E instruments. It's hard to say with any certainty what the reasoning was. Most historical recollections from the time only acknowledge Bb/F instruments from the Germanic school. The low B wasn't really required in the mainstream repertoire, but having one available could have been seen as a plus. Both Conn and Holton made Bb/F instruments with a stellventil change to E. Perhaps in those days, eliminating 7th position was enough of an advantage, and people weren't too concerned with having a C or F in first position, especially since most people were used to having to play it in 6th before the F attachment became ubiquitous.
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« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2017, 04:13PM »

The mystery to me is : What was the original intent for the "knob" setup ?  Just being able to play a low "B" ?  Observations welcomed.
It was all about the low B. Think about it. You've got this instrument that has a practical range down to  8vb (or maybe lower), but there's this one note that gives you fits. Darn right you're going to go looking for a way to facilitate that note. Also consider that putting an E pull on a flat-wrap f-attachment would present some serious challenges and the static valve E extension begins to make a lot of sense.

As an aside - the score for The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) by Franz Waxman has a low B in bass trombone part.
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« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2017, 04:30PM »

The Conn 88HK bells were made on the King 5B mandrel. Are they still in production? Haven't seen one for some time.

M
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« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2017, 04:46PM »

I know the answer to everything is to practice for 8 hours per day for 40 years.  But... give that I am 54 years old and have a career and family... that seems unlikely.  So, I am forced to do what I can with my scant 1-2 hours per day almost but not every single day between now and the day I die. 

So thanks for the advice.  But, for me, it's Bb/F or Bb/F/D. 
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« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2017, 05:26PM »

Ok,  cool. I've got the answers I need. Some people get it and some just don't. Playing like a straight horn is not a problem. I do that and I'm know others do too. So this gets rid of the things I dislike about double pluggers - the weight, the cost, the confusion with multiple positions, etc. It also removes the problems with single plugs, the limited range, the need for clumsy plugin valves. Plus, you can take out the big Eb slide out and put the F slide back in. You're back to a regular single plug. I'm gonna at least try one. It'll cost a couple hundred bucks. It plays more like a trombone than a bass trombone.
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« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2017, 08:33PM »

I few months ago, someone was selling a prototype dual valve tenor. I don't remember the specs or maker (Wessex maybe?). As I recall, it had the potential to be a doublers dream. Maybe the buyer, seller, or someone else following will chime in, if they haven't already; I didn't have time to read much of this thread other than the OP and a precursory glance through the various posts.
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