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Author Topic: Horn weight preference  (Read 1296 times)
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« on: Jul 29, 2017, 08:54PM »

I'd be interested to know what others think on this horn issue.

I play 99% of my gigs on a Conn 6H. And I may be alone or at least in the minority when it comes to preferred weight of a horn.

I don't like light horns. Several 6Hs have come and gone, and I always settle on the heavier ones. I feel (and some of this could be psychological) that they can take volume better, less prone to being 'overblown'. On the other hand, the heavier ones don't have quite as much sizzle potential, and they lean to the warm end of the spectrum.

What are the thoughts of other small bore players? It doesn't have to be a 6H topic either. Just wondering. Because it seems like with a lot of people 'the lighter the better'. And that is okay of course. Just not for me.

I weighed my 3 6Hs. (actually one of them has a 10H bell paired with a 6H slide). Slides still have the sleeves too btw.

I didn't compare slide and weights separately. Horn assembled without mouthpiece.

1952 6H = 46.6 oz
1957 10H/6H = 46.2
1959 6H = 48.9

Not coincidentally, I prefer the '59. But when I really lean into it, it cuts through just fine.

Thoughts? I'd love to know how others think about it, or if it even crosses your mind. I guess I'm OCD about it  :)
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« Reply #1 on: Jul 29, 2017, 10:54PM »

In general, I feel all horns, light or heavy can produce great volume. The approach is different, but  I have heard players produce big sound out  both types.  There was a time in bass trombone playing when many players were making the instrument they played rather heavy. Currently, it seems many players are backing off that approach. I can't say that I hear a difference in volume.
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« Reply #2 on: Jul 29, 2017, 10:56PM »

For me, balance is more important than overall weight. It also depends on how the instrument plays.

Heavier horns tend to be able to be pushed harder before they start to sound bad. Lighter horns can be more nimble.

It also depends on what I am playing. I only really have one "small-ish" bore horn, my 3B, and it is not a super light horn. I worry if a horn is too light, i'll sound too bright.
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« Reply #3 on: Jul 30, 2017, 01:03AM »

Balance is super important - I have had some soreness from playing my horn for long periods of time and I prefer my horn to be near level when I hold it up naturally.

I have experimented recently in putting a counterweight on my Edwards which has helped immensely - my Alessi model is front heavy and not only was it uncomfortable for me to hold for extended periods, it also was playing haywire with my chops because the horn would pitch forward when I would get tired and cause me to lose contact and stability.

The counterweight hasn't seemed to have a major effect on the resonance of the horn, I'm expecting that a majority of the differences I'm feeling might be coming from the way I hold it and it interfaces with my chops.

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« Reply #4 on: Jul 30, 2017, 06:34AM »

If you are thinking/talking about cutting through a band, I'm pretty sure that's why the Silversonic 3B is popular. Have you ever held one? It just feels HEAVY. And the silversonics really cut, to tge point where they take extra care to blend with.
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« Reply #5 on: Jul 30, 2017, 07:12AM »

On small bore horns, I've recently gone that direction with bells. Still like the lighter slides. But I compensate by going for shallower pieces and nickel leadpipes.  I use an Elliott XT A cup and a 2.5N pipe on my Shires at the moment and its been working quite well.
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« Reply #6 on: Jul 31, 2017, 06:24AM »

Good post.  I have a 57 6H so i know exactly what you are talking about. Actually, I have played TIS horns for a long time, and for me, slide weight is everything and is where most of your sound comes from. There is nothing wrong with a heavier slide that works well, it kind of moves on its own inertia.  After playing heavier slides, going to a lightweight one is really noticable. Its kinda like closing a door on a hyndai accent versus a pontiac bonneville.
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« Reply #7 on: Jul 31, 2017, 06:45AM »

Long long ago Gary Greenhoe said he thought the formula was heavy slide, light bell.  Was that here, or on the -l?  Not sure. 
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« Reply #8 on: Jul 31, 2017, 07:00AM »

Balance, balance, balance. Heavy slide/lighter bell. Lighter slide/heavier bell.
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« Reply #9 on: Jul 31, 2017, 08:20AM »

Long long ago Gary Greenhoe said he thought the formula was heavy slide, light bell.  Was that here, or on the -l?  Not sure. 

What Gary said.

Maybe modified a little...heavy slide, not too light a bell.

That goes only for primarily acoustic playing. Projection, ability to hold together a good, core sound at volume, pronounced attacks...they are all better (for me) with that formula. And...at lesser volumes, I find very little difference in weights.

Recording?

Recordings lie.

That's a good thing, sometimes. Just sayin'...  :-0 :-0 :-0

But seriously...if you do mostly recording work...especially commercial stuff, and probably most Broadway/live pop styles as well (All amplified now.)...easiest is usually best. And lighter weights are definitely easier to play physically than are heavier weights.

Too heavy is as limiting as too light in my experience, especially in the bell. I have no trouble with the heaviest slides...TIS things from the '30s, etc...in terms of response and sound, but a very heavy bell? I feel like someone dropped a cone of silence and darkness over my playing.

Your results may differ, of course.

Later...

S.

P.S. I take the balance weights off of all my straight horns. I'm not exactly a weight lifter type...probably fairly average in terms of physical strength...and I play at a pretty much parallel angle to the ground, but the improvement in sound and projection w/out a weight makes the effort worthwhile as far as I am concerned. I suppose I've been doing it so long that I've ramped up the strength in whatever muscles are needed to deal with a weightless horn through sheer cussedness. It can be done.

P.P.S. Interestingly, on larger horns I find a trigger system...there is a lot of weight there...seems to affect the sound coming out of the bell a lot less than does a balance weight on the same bell with no trigger attachment.

The mysteries continue to abound...
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« Reply #10 on: Jul 31, 2017, 08:59AM »

Maybe because the balance weight is a solid piece of metal, as opposed to being distributed throughout the bell section?

There really is a whole world of resonance effects to explore. Maybe time to look into thin bells with garlands on them...
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« Reply #11 on: Jul 31, 2017, 10:53AM »

My K+H Bart v Lier weighs 46oz, which a lot for a small horn 480/88" bore and has an unsoldered bell.
The slide weighs in at 8 3/4 oz, heavy, but I got used to it pretty quick. I much prefer it to my Rath R10, IMO it projects better, and has snappier articulations. It has a warm dense tone when softer, and focused when louder, but I don't have the kind of commercial pressures to fit in with others as I used to. I'm in my 5th year with it, and as yet, don't have any trombone acquisition desires...
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« Reply #12 on: Jul 31, 2017, 09:17PM »

Generally, I like standard weight slides-then pick the weight of the bell for best overall performance. Too heavy and it harder to project as it doesn't pick up color, and generally feels less responsive. Too light and it's also harder to project as it may lack solid core. The best bells are the ones that are somewhat light weight so they have good response and just the right edge when pushed, but still have a dense core to the sound. There's always an exception, I have a Bach 16 with a lightweight slide, the whole horn's on the light side, but it plays wonderfully. My guess is that the Bach's play on the dark side so a lightweight nickel slide can help the balance.
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« Reply #13 on: Aug 09, 2017, 02:38PM »

My favorite horns tend to be on the heavier side- Olds Recording and Conn 6H
My only issue with the 6H is, I've had several with the standard weight slide and sometimes their standard weight slide is actually heavy compared to other 6H slides I've tried. I did a sleeve modification on one and then added a brush finish and now the horn is to my liking. Maybe it's my imagination but I think the brush finish somehow made the tone sweeter and less brittle.

I also tend to be distrustful of modern made brass as a metal. I like concepts and history behind the older style "cartridge brass" or "french brass" that was used in making trombones.
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« Reply #14 on: Aug 09, 2017, 03:33PM »

Nice "cone of silence" Dune reference -- for the win.
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« Reply #15 on: Aug 09, 2017, 04:43PM »

"Cone of silence" is a reference to the hit 1960s situation comedy "Get Smart", written by the great Buck Henry.
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« Reply #16 on: Aug 09, 2017, 05:29PM »

Dune came out the same year, and was hugely popular but it looks like both stole the idea from some earlier science fiction. But enough about that. Just made me chuckle is all.
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"My technique is as good as Initial D"
T-396A - Griego 1C
88HTCL - Griego 1C
36H - DE XT105, C+, D Alto Shank
3B/F Silversonic - Griego 1A ss
pBone (with Yellow bell for bright tone)
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« Reply #17 on: Aug 10, 2017, 01:36AM »

..and maybe applicable to Google's current difficulties with James Damore?
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