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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningBeginners and Returning Trombonists(Moderator: bhcordova) High register: euphonium v. bass trombone
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peteriley
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« on: Jul 22, 2017, 07:47AM »

Hi,

I've been having trouble with my left hand since switching predominantly to (a really heavy) bass trombone. It's getting to the point that I'm having trouble supporting my wrist because of the pain, which probably means I should be taking a break to let things heal.

So, I thought I'd try my daughter's euphonium. Even using the same 1-1/2 G mouthpiece, I was amazed how much easier the upper register was to hit on it. I thought at first that it must have a smaller bore, but it's actually larger (.566 v. .562). The only things I can come up with are:

1. MP angle or position is naturally better on the euphonium (which I should be able to translate back to the trombone)
2. The increased wrapping of the tubing on the Euph does something to support the higher notes (increased resistance?)
3. The stationary position of the MP on my lips when playing the Euph helps.
4. It's just a new configuration and/or a mental thing.

I wondered whether anyone else had the same experience and why it might be so?

Cheers, Pete
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Tbonedude

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« Reply #1 on: Jul 22, 2017, 08:11AM »

I've noticed the same thing.

The Euphonium, being a conical bore instrument, does tend to have more resistance which can help some folks with their high range. I've found that certain notes in the high range seem to slot better on a euph, which aids in their production. The only downfall is the intonation quirks in the high register that can be fixed easily on a trombone.
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harrison.t.reed
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« Reply #2 on: Aug 12, 2017, 07:14AM »

So, for numbers 1 and 3 in your list, that's a very important thing for you to put some thought into.

Bring the trombone up to your face, and be in charge of how your mouthpiece sits on your face. This will also help with your wrist pain. The trombone doesn't dictate how your embouchure sits, you do. You're the boss.

Also, if your mouthpiece moves around when you're playing trombone but not euph, first see the above tip, but second, take a look at your slide technique and the actual condition of your slide. It's common for people to think the trombone is just clumsy and difficult to play, and when you test out their slide it's just absolutely garbage. No maintenance, improper lubrication, never been cleaned, etc. I don't know if that's the case for you, but it's the first thing I teach my students. You can't play better than your slide can. And you can't play better than your slide technique can either.
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Bob Riddle

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« Reply #3 on: Aug 13, 2017, 04:11AM »

A lot of truth in your post Harrison.
Bob Riddle
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Radar

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« Reply #4 on: Aug 13, 2017, 06:09AM »

I do believe that the main reason the upper register is slightly easier on the Euphonium is the conical bore.  I've heard trumpet players make the same observation when playing cornet, and I've switched to using cornet myself for playing taps on because I find it easier.  As Harrison says on either instrument you need to be in control of mouthpiece angle and placement.  I switch between Bass and Tenor trombone, Euphonium, and Tuba on a regular basis (I've played concerts this week on three different instruments Tenor and Bass bone, and Euph.) and I hold the horns at an angle and placement that is consistent between the instruments.  If I didn't have that consistency of mouthpiece placement I couldn't so easily go between instruments.   
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