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The Trombone ForumHorns, Gear, and EquipmentMouthpieces(Moderators: BGuttman, Doug Elliott) 2G or not 2G ? That is the question.
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« on: Aug 07, 2017, 01:18AM »

Well, those of you that follow my sporadic ramblings, know that I went back to a very fine Bach Mt Vernon 1 1/2G almost a year ago. No regrets.... it has a sound and feel combination that surpasses anything else I have tried.
Now, during the first part of this year I have seen my students and ex-students downsizing to the Bach 2G !! No input from me... they just went and did it.... and all sound better !
So, over my summer break I have become curious.... sure, I have tried to live with the 2G many times over the years. Growing up in London, almost all the top players were using the 2G.... none on a 1 1/2G. The most admired players over here are predominantly 2G people.... even today.
I have been very, very lucky to purchase a pristine early Mt Vernon 2G for my re-visit. As new, gold plated with a Conn taper shank ( these early MV's all had that shank as standard)
I want to remind myself of the specific challenges of these mouthpieces, and first impressions are that the 2G and 1 1/2G are very different animals, even though they are so close in size. They sound different... they feel different....
The journey begins....

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #1 on: Aug 07, 2017, 02:55AM »

Interesting, Chris. I have always felt that there's a threshold between 2G and 1-1/2G. It may be a counter-intuitive first comparison to go to, but the point that springs to mind is that a 2G works well in a large tenor as a light bass, whereas a 1-1/2G in the same feels like a large mouthpiece that requires lip-grip. A 2G on bass makes for a very natural sound relation to the tenors in the section, more so than the 1-1/2G, a point that was perhaps more obvious in the days when a 1-1/2G was thought of as the largest mouthpiece for bass trombone.

I hypothesise a three-fold division in bass trombone mouthpiece sizes:
2G and smaller: Small; think of bass as tenor with better low register
1-1/2G to some 1-1/4Gs: Medium; a happy compromise between retaining easy access to 'tenory' responses and easing the low register
Other 1-1/4Gs and larger: Large; requiring a different approach; much more comfortable in some ways, but making it notably more difficult to function as '3rd trombone' sound and response wise

More extreme at either end, there are further subtle subdivisions, but this is how I basically conceive bass trombone mouthpiece sizing. Does that agree with your thinking in any way?
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« Reply #2 on: Aug 07, 2017, 03:00AM »

A 2G on bass makes for a very natural sound relation to the tenors in the section, more so than the 1-1/2G.

Especially alongside small bore tenors in a big-band IMO.
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« Reply #3 on: Aug 07, 2017, 03:36AM »

Especially alongside small bore tenors in a big-band IMO.

One problem with the bigband charts today is that the fourth trombone is sometimes just a fourth trombone, could be just as well a tenor, often it should be a tenor like all original Glen Miller charts. Sometimes it more of a trombone equal to the sax bariton. Sometimes it is almost a contrabasstrombone part.

For a while I brouth two mpc:s to the stage to meet that problem. But there was not enough time to switch mpc.

Many bigbands at least in Sweden do sound strange in my (old) ears when the trombone play on 12C-6 1/2 Al for tenor and the bass play maybe Laskey 93D - 95D.

Trombone section often sound like three trombones and a BASSTROMBONE.

2G is a fine mouthpiece. I might try that again.
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« Reply #4 on: Aug 07, 2017, 03:41AM »

I am "struggeling" with a yamaha 58 (2G size) , but cant seem to let it go..  A short while ago i tried a Wick 1AL which has a 27,15 mm rim id according to specs.. Much easier overall, but not the sound i am looking for.. It seems to be a water mark at around 27 mm  for me.. Below ;  struggle to make it work, above; easy-peacy ! Just have too find out if the sound is worth the extra effort..  Decisions ,decisions !
BTW ! ; i found that the Yamaha 58 works great with Holton basses, almost the same sound as a 2G but more free blowing on these horns!

Trond
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« Reply #5 on: Aug 07, 2017, 04:01AM »

picked up a Greg BLack 2G after alternating between an Elliott 110/L and a G&W Chinook w/ Elliott 110 rim.  I stil like the 110 for some things, but I mostly do commercial stuff at the moment on bass so the 2GM works very well for me. Especially as a doubler.  The I don't like the wider rims though --- of course, that has something to do with the sound though.  How wide of a rim is your Mt. Vernon 2G?  I'm wondering if some of the 'magic' for some might be a wider rim. It cuts down on my flexibility but on the whole, I'm not dissatisfied. Just not totally used to it either.
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« Reply #6 on: Aug 07, 2017, 04:11AM »


Trombone section often sound like three trombones and a BASSTROMBONE.


Agreed...and same applies in Britain. I noticed a big (positive) difference when I started using a Rath B2 - much more satisfying and uniform ensemble sound, and am still able to produce adequately rip-snorting double trigger notes when they are required. Trigger pedal notes are hard to produce in time, but those are few and far between in any big band rep. These smaller sized mouthpieces have a more laser-like quality than even 1.5s, and can rasp more easily which is something to be mindful of. Otherwise, they seem to the way to go for me, at least.

Same goes for the amateur symphony orchestras that I play in. Let the tuba be the tuba, and let the bass trombone be a trombone. That old chestnut.
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« Reply #7 on: Aug 07, 2017, 04:13AM »

Ian Bousfield and Alessi both play on shallow cup 2Gish sized mouthpieces. Eventually the whole orchestra section can be on 2Gs.
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« Reply #8 on: Aug 07, 2017, 05:35AM »

Interesting, Chris. I have always felt that there's a threshold between 2G and 1-1/2G. It may be a counter-intuitive first comparison to go to, but the point that springs to mind is that a 2G works well in a large tenor as a light bass, whereas a 1-1/2G in the same feels like a large mouthpiece that requires lip-grip. A 2G on bass makes for a very natural sound relation to the tenors in the section, more so than the 1-1/2G, a point that was perhaps more obvious in the days when a 1-1/2G was thought of as the largest mouthpiece for bass trombone.

I hypothesise a three-fold division in bass trombone mouthpiece sizes:
2G and smaller: Small; think of bass as tenor with better low register
1-1/2G to some 1-1/4Gs: Medium; a happy compromise between retaining easy access to 'tenory' responses and easing the low register
Other 1-1/4Gs and larger: Large; requiring a different approach; much more comfortable in some ways, but making it notably more difficult to function as '3rd trombone' sound and response wise

More extreme at either end, there are further subtle subdivisions, but this is how I basically conceive bass trombone mouthpiece sizing. Does that agree with your thinking in any way?

Well Dave, I wish things struck me as a logical progression, as you describe. From the listening side of things, my students sound darker with more focus on their 2G pieces... and two of these players are on trial for symphony jobs at the moment, so we are talking the cream of the young crop here.
The 2 and the 1 1/2 are strangely different.... I suspect that the 2G has it's origins in a custom player-designed piece. Before the War Bach only produced one bass mouthpiece... the 3.... no G , just plain 3. I have one... similar to the modern 3G at the rim but more shallow and restricted.
After the war the 2G appeared.... and the 1 1/2G.... I've seen a NY 1 1/2G but not a NY 2G.... which came first ?
The rim of the 2G is hardly any wider than the 1 1/2G.... the blanks are the same, but the rim profiles are quite different, at least on early examples... the 2G tends to be rounder and the 1 1/2G flatter. This changed in later times and post Mt Vernon examples of the two have similar rims with a sharper inner edge and a high point more toward the inner rim.... I have just re-modelled a later 2G rim to match the early one and all the work needed was from the high point inwards.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #9 on: Aug 07, 2017, 05:44AM »

I'm liking the sound of your next journey, Chris.

I have journeyed from a 1G to a 2G since 1985, when I switched to bass trombone. Back then, I was playing a King and could not get the dark sound I wanted, so went as large as I could go at the time, a Bach 1G. I stuck with that large size for years until in 2004, I bought the Conn 70H and it completely revolutionised my playing. It taught me what a bass trombone ought to sound like, the simplicity of a single valve bass trombone, the devotion to striving constantly for beauty of tone. None of this could be achieved using a large mouthpiece (I had gravitated towards an Edwards bass trombone with a Yeo Signature mouthpiece) and so I switched to the Bach 1.5G, which is where I stayed when I replaced the Edwards with a Rath.

When I, too, was offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (by savio) of acquiring a genuine Mount Vernon 2G, I jumped at it. I had already tried one and fallen in love with the sound, which is where I always wanted to be and had taken decades to reach. Since adopting the 2G, the revolution is complete. I have worked hard at the soft machine to ensure the embouchure is still capable of doing what it could with the larger mouthpiece. It takes time and dedication, but the results are very much worth it. The blend with the tenor trombones is peerless and the ability to colour the sound without parallel. For me, this is it. No more searching. I have the Elkhart Conn 62H and the Mount Vernon 2G to go with it. I should have had it many years earlier, but perhaps I was not in a position physically to fully appreciate the advantages of the setup I now have, though mentally I have always striven towards that sound because I adore the sound of Bob Hughes and Ray Premru.

I wish you the very best of luck with your endeavours and do, please, keep me posted on your progress.
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« Reply #10 on: Aug 07, 2017, 06:46AM »

The 2G is very attractive bass doubling mpc size to a tenor player, but I find the inner edge of my particular rim very sharp, and it digs into my lower lip after 30 minutes of playing. Granted, I've not taken the time or money to hunt down a MV. My chops have been developed around somewhat smaller mouthpieces, so when I play 1 1/2 or larger, there is the center of the embouchure which is developed, but it is surrounded by this mushy area that's not accustomed to being inside the mouthpiece. This leads to uncentered, uncontrolled sound for me on large mpcs. On tenor I play a DE 104, which is the diameter of a 3G, so the 2G isn't much of a stretch, but I just cannot lock in to the center of the pitch on say a 1 1/4.

My compromise has been the Ferguson V. It's still a 1 1/2 size, so it required some embouchure development to play, but it avoids the unfocused sound of the larger pieces because of its V shaped cup. If they made this in a slightly smaller version, I'd be even happier. Or a 2G without that sharp inner edge.

I use the 2G on the single valve/small bass, and the Ferguson V on the Kanstul 1662i. The Kanstul has a tendency to play darker than I'd like, but in the groups where I play bass, they seem to prefer the more velvety sound of the 1662i. The Kanstul sounds like variations on chocolate pudding no matter what mouthpiece you put in it. My 70h feels very comfortable and at home with the 2G, and my Holton 159 can range from the best 88h you've ever played with a 5g size to a bad boy barking buzz saw with a 1 1/2g. I haven't played the 159 as a bass enough to find a sweet spot mouthpiece for it in that role. It's currently in the shop being fitted with a plug-in valve.
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« Reply #11 on: Aug 07, 2017, 07:03AM »

Why did I have to see this thread?????? :cry:
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« Reply #12 on: Aug 07, 2017, 07:04AM »

Yes, the modern 2G does a very sharp inner rim. Could be a poor choice of examples I've owned or found--- but the 3G is very rounded I've seen. Likely not planned, just poor quality control.

If you have a serious desire to buy a great 2G -- real vintage inspired gear-- look no further than the Rath B2. It makes old Conn bones stew in their own juices.

Not all 2Gs are created equal. Some sharp, some too small, don't trust second hand reports on an internet chat room. Any old 2Gs will all be different, and if they're in great shape they may not be great examples and survived strictly  because the original owner found something far superior.
That's enough reason to just bite the bullet and drop the money on a new Rath B2.

Another long lost gem is the Conn Connstellation 3B. 2G in size, but deeeep and conical, not bowl shaped.

One thing I've never found to try personally, is the line of rather rare very large Denis wick euph mouthpieces. Some of the bizarre offerings from Wick, and his R&D team have specs of a 2G or larger....but who knows???
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« Reply #13 on: Aug 07, 2017, 08:00AM »

Interesting Chris! I remember I had lessons with the bass trombonists in Oslo Philharmonic. He sounded just amazing on his Wick 2AL. I could always listen his voice when he played in the orchestra. I never got his dark full sound, it was amazing to stand beside him and listen him. Big inspiration for me.

I also have been surprised when listening some of my smaller students in ensembles. In fact the most interesting is when they go down in the valve and pedal register. I have sometimes wonder how they could sound so good down there. Its something special about it that I never quite understood. In fact I have listen that in some players on 3g also.

Well, Ray Premru, Bob Huges, it says it all.

Hmmm Chris, I sold my 2g.....but I have that GR MV....hmmmm nearly a 2g...

Anyway Chris, all the best to you. You are great inspiration for all here!!

Leif
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« Reply #14 on: Aug 07, 2017, 08:41AM »

I did hear one of Chris's students play back in March on a 2G. Beautiful, lush sound and played on a modern instrument.
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« Reply #15 on: Aug 07, 2017, 08:59AM »

I do have a MV 2G in my collection, I'll have more of a look at it.
The question I have: Is it POSSIBLE on that size to have the same easy access to the bottom of the horn as it is on a large mouthpiece?  And volume?  Somehow I doubt it, but I'd like to hear from the guys who use it.
I certainly recognize the sound advantage, but doesn't it limit what you can do, somewhat?
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« Reply #16 on: Aug 07, 2017, 09:37AM »

In other news, bass trombonists the world over ditched their 0G and .5G mouthpieces, with the sudden realization that they had been wrong for as long as they could remember. Those notes had all been false notes...
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« Reply #17 on: Aug 07, 2017, 09:45AM »

I do have a MV 2G in my collection, I'll have more of a look at it.
The question I have: Is it POSSIBLE on that size to have the same easy access to the bottom of the horn as it is on a large mouthpiece?  And volume?  Somehow I doubt it, but I'd like to hear from the guys who use it.
I certainly recognize the sound advantage, but doesn't it limit what you can do, somewhat?

Yes?

No?

It requires more practice and control to get results that are not limiting.  Practice and control that I lack.  I know that I have my MV 1 1/2 and 2G both plugged into horns at home all the time.  Every time I leave to play for actual audiences my DE L cup is in the case with the horn.  Lots of great sounds in those old Mpcs, but unless I'm on my A+ game, the newer, bigger piece allows me to do more of what is in my head easier.  But those sounds when they are on...

Does a 2G take some of the extreme volume and bottom off?  Maybe.  Can you get that back with some practice and patience?  I think so. I've heard enough other folks on recordings pull it off way better than I can.

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Andy
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« Reply #18 on: Aug 07, 2017, 09:53AM »

I do have a MV 2G in my collection, I'll have more of a look at it.
The question I have: Is it POSSIBLE on that size to have the same easy access to the bottom of the horn as it is on a large mouthpiece?  And volume?  Somehow I doubt it, but I'd like to hear from the guys who use it.
I certainly recognize the sound advantage, but doesn't it limit what you can do, somewhat?

WGW heard a pretty impressive bit of low register stuff from my student, and I have heard 'Sub Zero' work very well on a 2G.... so flexibility is possible. Volume... think Bob Hughes, Ray Premru and a bunch of others. Swapping between the 2G and the 1 1/2G I think the sound at volume is better on the 2G. That said, my 1 1/2G fits my face better than any mouthpiece I have ever had.... perhaps with a bit of time....
Easy access to the low register ? Well, it is more work, though I think there is a technique to doing it... one of my reasons to re-visit and it is possible to get a sound that everyone seems to like.
I will only really know how good it is when I get some Conn leadpipes ... It makes the old 60H sing for now.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #19 on: Aug 07, 2017, 09:59AM »

In other news, bass trombonists the world over ditched their 0G and .5G mouthpieces, with the sudden realization that they had been wrong for as long as they could remember. Those notes had all been false notes...

Well, a year ago I was playing Doug's wonderful, easy playing 116 rim with J,K,L and M cups. Nothing better for what is called the modern American sound.
Now I am back on a 1 1/2G and trying a 2G.... putting me back in the mainstream of British sound. People do play the trombone outside America.... and I can remember a time before I played the big stuff.
If you want to be flippant I can do that....

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #20 on: Aug 07, 2017, 10:04AM »

I have a Yamaha 58, but never really tried it. It also has a more "modern" throat size than a MV 2G would have, as I think they have the standard .276" standard G throat. Things may have been different back then though.

I guess a lot of it will depend on the specific trombone being played on.
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« Reply #21 on: Aug 07, 2017, 10:47AM »

I have a Yamaha 58, but never really tried it. It also has a more "modern" throat size than a MV 2G would have, as I think they have the standard .276" standard G throat. Things may have been different back then though.

I guess a lot of it will depend on the specific trombone being played on.

Yes, the 58 has a slightly bigger throat and backbore than the 2G but it is balanced out with a slightly heavier blank .. Looking down in the cup, there is not much difference.. On my Holton the 58 work better than my corp. 2G but not so much that i am done testing.. Rim shape is a very important and overlooked issue .. My 2G has a rim very close to a standard 1 1/2G which i dont like very much.. The MV 2 G I used to own ( i know..stupid!! ) was more rounded the way Chris explained..
What about variations in MV 2G's ? I would be a good candidate for a 2G with a rim id ,  just a small smidge bigger..

Trond
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« Reply #22 on: Aug 07, 2017, 11:01AM »

In other news, bass trombonists the world over ditched their 0G and .5G mouthpieces, with the sudden realization that they had been wrong for as long as they could remember. Those notes had all been false notes...

What does even mean?
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« Reply #23 on: Aug 07, 2017, 01:11PM »

Bearing in mind that the discussion begun by Blast concerns a long discredited mouthpiece, and a size long neglected, then the answer is a resounding YES. YES, most players who began playing after the death of the 2G would indeed be quite possible wrong for as long as THEY could remember, if they were young enough to have never met players who used a 2G for a career

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« Reply #24 on: Aug 07, 2017, 01:25PM »

No offense meant Chris, I was actually commenting on everyone else who is doubting themselves because of your post, in a tongue in cheek newsflash format. I think what your students and yourself are doing really makes a lot of sense. I was more or less pointing out the influence you have. One post and you've got people going "wish I hadn't read that" because now they're gonna have to try a 2G as well.

I actually think that the bass trombone mouthpieces are in general far too large, but that's only based on what I know can be done on a tenor with one valve and a 2G. Most of the monsters I've heard on bass are playing pieces in the negatives, so obviously that works too.
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« Reply #25 on: Aug 07, 2017, 01:30PM »

I actually think that the bass trombone mouthpieces are in general far too large, but that's only based on what I know can be done on a tenor with one valve and a 2G.

Forget a 2G, I hear some guys on 4G-ish rims that have a fat low range.
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« Reply #26 on: Aug 07, 2017, 01:36PM »

Yes, I have too, but my question was more about facility in the low range.

I have surely never had a great low range on mouthpieces in that size range, but  I've also never focused on that end of the spectrum.
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« Reply #27 on: Aug 07, 2017, 01:40PM »

Forget a 2G, I hear some guys on 4G-ish rims that have a fat low range.

Its not about range or what You can do in the low register.. Its about sound !
2G is probably as small as You can go , but can also be " just right " depending on player and / or concept ..
For me , a tenor trombone with no matter how big a mouthpiece is not a bass trombone !

Trond
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« Reply #28 on: Aug 07, 2017, 01:55PM »

We'll I'd say it IS about range and what you can do in the low range.  There's no point in having a perfect sound if it doesn't allow you to use it in the range you need, with facility.
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« Reply #29 on: Aug 07, 2017, 01:59PM »

Yes, I have too, but my question was more about facility in the low range.

I have surely never had a great low range on mouthpieces in that size range, but  I've also never focused on that end of the spectrum either.

Playing bass trombone with a 2G sized mouthpiece , the stereotype beeing ; getting the high register for free, and work like crazy on the  low register.. I suppose that it is a bit more complicated than that..  To get the airstream right is where its at.. I, personally feel that  i get the most resonant low C and B' s  with a 1 1/2G , 2G sized pieces.. Just the right mix of formants in the sound.. Maybe a bit more work in the pedal register, but best sound in the " money register" for bass..  

Trond
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« Reply #30 on: Aug 07, 2017, 02:03PM »

All Baсhs of the same size are completely different. I have two 2g : MV and current. MV has a huge throat and wide round rim. It creates a real bass trombone sound. Modern 2g has a narrow throat and narrow round rim. I can easily play high notes on it and I use it on a tenor trombone and euphonium.  On the bass trombone it sounds bad.

In addition, I have two MV 1 and 1/2G. They also have a huge throat and create the perfect bass sound. But one has a round rim and another has flat rim. Also I have a modern Bach 1 1/2g (large letters). It has a narrow round rim and a narrow throat as current 2g. I don't like it. MV is much better.

On the single valve bass the MV 2G sounds better then MV 1 1/2g.
On the two valve bass is vice versa. (IMHO)

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« Reply #31 on: Aug 07, 2017, 02:08PM »

We'll I'd say it IS about range and what you can do in the low range.  There's no point in having a perfect sound if it doesn't allow you to use it in the range you need, with facility.


Ok , within limits , yes . But ; You choose what you want to work at .. I recently ditched the D. Wick 1AL although  it made everything easier in the low range but i would work the rest of my life , and still not get the sound right..
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« Reply #32 on: Aug 07, 2017, 02:16PM »

I think at least in this country, the attractiveness of the sound of the 2G is not in question.... though that is a different story in other places. I have seen, or more accurately heard, a new generation here embrace these old mouthpieces to very good effect.
I suspect that my dental structure will push me back to the 1 1/2G , but it is really fun to try this old warhorse in my downtime and learn a little about how to get it to work.
What is becoming apparent is that the fit of the mouthpiece in the pipe is crucial. Resistance changes with the distance the shank goes in... look up old Sam Burtis posts about Teflon tape.... fit is critical.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #33 on: Aug 07, 2017, 02:25PM »

To Tbarh: Definitely. The rim is only so much of the equation. To me, the 2G ish rim allows for insane lows as well as F5 - F#5 (on tenor), but I suspect that what Chris is talking about in the 2G has way more to do with cup and rim contours, as well as the shape and size of the throat.

It makes me wonder if you could get the two different sounds Chris mentioned (the 2G UK sound and the American sound) by keeping the 2G rim size and contour, but changing up the cup and throat to match the larger "american" sounding mouthpieces.
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« Reply #34 on: Aug 07, 2017, 02:46PM »

To Tbarh: Definitely. The rim is only so much of the equation. To me, the 2G ish rim allows for insane lows as well as F5 - F#5 (on tenor), but I suspect that what Chris is talking about in the 2G has way more to do with cup and rim contours, as well as the shape and size of the throat.

It makes me wonder if you could get the two different sounds Chris mentioned (the 2G UK sound and the American sound) by keeping the 2G rim size and contour, but changing up the cup and throat to match the larger "american" sounding mouthpieces.

The Monette BT2 would fit the small rim big elsewhere idea I suppose... does not work for me... dull in a kinda bright way...

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #35 on: Aug 07, 2017, 03:45PM »

All Baсhs of the same size are completely different. I have two 2g : MV and current. MV has a huge throat and wide round rim. It creates a real bass trombone sound. Modern 2g has a narrow throat and narrow round rim. I can easily play high notes on it and I use it on a tenor trombone and euphonium.  On the bass trombone it sounds bad.

In addition, I have two MV 1 and 1/2G. They also have a huge throat and create the perfect bass sound. But one has a round rim and another has flat rim. Also I have a modern Bach 1 1/2g (large letters). It has a narrow round rim and a narrow throat as current 2g. I don't like it. MV is much better.

On the single valve bass the MV 2G sounds better then MV 1 1/2g.
On the two valve bass is vice versa. (IMHO)



Mouthpieces that create a "real bass trombone sound" and a "perfect bass trombone sound"? I'm pretty skeptical of that. Especially seeing as there are so many different approaches and sounds that are considered to be good Bass trombone playing, whatever that means. If you are able to create the perfect bass sound by just plugging in a particular brand of mouthpiece from a particular set of years, I would sure love to hear it!
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« Reply #36 on: Aug 07, 2017, 04:25PM »

dull in a kinda bright way...

I survived the Monette Wars of fin du 20ème siècle Boston.  :/ :/ :/
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« Reply #37 on: Aug 07, 2017, 05:32PM »

The one time I've played a concert series on bass I borrowed my college's Elkhart Conn (independent rotors with "Minick" engraved on the linkages), which came with a Bach 2G mouthpiece...I don't think it was any special era of 2G. The school was entirely uninterested in selling it to me once I was done.

As a tenor player, the 2G was a great setup and introduction to playing bass; I tried a 1.5G on the horn but my teacher at the time suggested I stick with the 2G to better bridge tenor (102 DE setup) and bass. Funnily enough, I had zero decrease in range or endurance or ability on the bass, and it actually felt great! I'm sure I didn't sound like a real bass trombonist, but it was good enough for the gig. I wish I had tried the 2G in my tenor.
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« Reply #38 on: Aug 08, 2017, 12:30AM »

Mouthpieces that create a "real bass trombone sound" and a "perfect bass trombone sound"? I'm pretty skeptical of that. Especially seeing as there are so many different approaches and sounds that are considered to be good Bass trombone playing, whatever that means. If you are able to create the perfect bass sound by just plugging in a particular brand of mouthpiece from a particular set of years, I would sure love to hear it!

Mouthpieces do not DO anything.... they ALLOW the player to do things. The player creates the sound. I have found with my students that moving to a 2G has allowed them to make a darker richer sound (in the conceptual context we work in here) .
For some stupid and frustrating reason, the bass mouthpieces made by Bach in the NY and MV years allow great sounds and have a great feel and have yet to be replicated in a meaningful way.... some are close... none are there... even those stamped Bach.
I think we have to accept that most Americans and most Brits are on a completely different page with equipment and concept. You can admire a musician even if you don't want to sound like them..... look at traditional sports cars in the UK and US... Corvette Stingray v MGB.... the 'vette is all about power for big long straight roads.... the MGB is gutless but goes round bends and is small enough for our little windy roads.... each is great in it's own setting... each is a puzzle in the wrong place.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #39 on: Aug 08, 2017, 01:29AM »

Thank you, Chris for clarifying.

Mouthpieces that create a "real bass trombone sound" and a "perfect bass trombone sound"? I'm pretty skeptical of that. Especially seeing as there are so many different approaches and sounds that are considered to be good Bass trombone playing, whatever that means. If you are able to create the perfect bass sound by just plugging in a particular brand of mouthpiece from a particular set of years, I would sure love to hear it!

Real bass trombone sound (old 2G):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAtaAwXgYME
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P102lmwZJFE

Perfect bass trombone sound (old 1 1/2G):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dayQIQZtRxo



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« Reply #40 on: Aug 08, 2017, 02:40AM »

Thank you, Chris for clarifying.

Real bass trombone sound (old 2G):
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAtaAwXgYME
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P102lmwZJFE

Perfect bass trombone sound (old 1 1/2G):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dayQIQZtRxo





Two of the all time greats.... and interesting that those sounds are not so far away from each other. I heard Ray play many times and it was even better live than any recording.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #41 on: Aug 08, 2017, 03:32AM »

I have noticed one thing with the 60h Chris. I think the 2g is in fact a little better match in that one then the 1 1/2g. Not much but I believe it is so. Maybe Bob Huges also discovered that in his 60h and 62h.   Strange thing for me is that both low and high register is about the same on all sizes. Not much difference for me.

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« Reply #42 on: Aug 08, 2017, 03:33AM »

Mouthpieces do not DO anything.... they ALLOW the player to do things. The player creates the sound. I have found with my students that moving to a 2G has allowed them to make a darker richer sound (in the conceptual context we work in here) .
For some stupid and frustrating reason, the bass mouthpieces made by Bach in the NY and MV years allow great sounds and have a great feel and have yet to be replicated in a meaningful way.... some are close... none are there... even those stamped Bach.
I think we have to accept that most Americans and most Brits are on a completely different page with equipment and concept. You can admire a musician even if you don't want to sound like them..... look at traditional sports cars in the UK and US... Corvette Stingray v MGB.... the 'vette is all about power for big long straight roads.... the MGB is gutless but goes round bends and is small enough for our little windy roads.... each is great in it's own setting... each is a puzzle in the wrong place.

Chris Stearn

I will freely admit that I have difficulty understanding all this. Not being American or British, I am not intimately aware of the major gear differences so I can't really comment too much on that.

All those recordings provided are of course excellent, but I can't help but roll my eyes at the terms "real" and "perfect" bass trombone sound. I can put what I like about each recording into subjective terms, but I think seeing as there are so many amazing bass trombone sounds from all over, calling those real and perfect is misleading, for lack of a better term.

I couldn't agree more when you said that "mouthpieces do not DO anything they ALLOW the player to do things" but where I get confused is here; I don't have any direct experience playing MV 1/2's or 2's so I can't speak from any playing experience on them, but do you think you could elaborate on how those mouthpieces allow you to achieve a certain sound? I mean, I don't really see much difference between this post and another hyperthetical one saying something like "Finally got a Laskey 95D today. I can finally get a sound close to what I hear on Charlie Vernon recordings".

I think I can speak pretty confidently in saying that if someone said they wanted to buy a Laskey 95D so they could sound like Charlie Vernon, hoards of people would waste no time here telling them that's not going to help them. You don't get a bigger sound on a bigger mouthpiece etc... Maybe I'm wrong but I don't think so.

It's super exciting to find a mouthpiece that makes creating the sound in your head through the instrument easier. I don't see how playing a MV would make you sound like those recordings any more than a Laskey 95 would make you sound like Charlie Vernon.

In a way I am hoping that I have misunderstood the meaning behind a lot of these posts because I am always receptive to learning new things on how to improve my own trombone playing.
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« Reply #43 on: Aug 08, 2017, 03:58AM »

I think the gist of this is to be against the "bigger is better" trend among bass trombone players today.

At one time the Bach 6 1/2 AL was considered a "bass trombone mouthpiece"! :)

The 2G was popular 40 years ago, although I will say that when my father went into Manny's in the mid 1960s and asked for a bass trombone mouthpiece for me they sold him a 1 1/2 G (I still have it, although I don't play it much any more).

I can also say that whether I play a 2G, 1 1/2G, or whatever, I won't sound like Chris (or even you).  The arrow doesn't make the Indian.
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« Reply #44 on: Aug 08, 2017, 04:12AM »

I think the gist of this is to be against the "bigger is better" trend among bass trombone players today.

At one time the Bach 6 1/2 AL was considered a "bass trombone mouthpiece"! :)

The 2G was popular 40 years ago, although I will say that when my father went into Manny's in the mid 1960s and asked for a bass trombone mouthpiece for me they sold him a 1 1/2 G (I still have it, although I don't play it much any more).

I can also say that whether I play a 2G, 1 1/2G, or whatever, I won't sound like Chris (or even you).  The arrow doesn't make the Indian.

Absolutely. I'm not talking about anyone in particular, and I know it is extremely difficult to convey a point and tone through text on the internet but I definitely get the impression from several posts that in this context some people seem to think the arrow does indeed make the Indian.


I have said something like this before in a different thread, but a few posts here give the impression that if you play this sort of gear you will get the "sound of the bass trombone" whatever that means. I feel like there are implications in certain posts that say if you don't play, or strive to play this kind of gear then you don't understand what a bass trombone is supposed to sound like.... which simply isn't true.
People are of course welcome to their opinions, that's half the fun in playing and listening to music, but I can't help but raise my eyebrows when I read things saying "perfect bass trombone sound".
Sorry to use that as the example to whoever posted That, again I'm not talking about anyone or any post specifically just a couple here and there.
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« Reply #45 on: Aug 08, 2017, 04:40AM »

I have used mouthpieces of various sizes from Schilke 58 to Yeo. I have been using a Rath 1.25W for a long time now, but have a 1.5W I have been switching between recently having got a new bass.
What I find on all the mouthpieces I have played is that I still make the same sound, but with slight tweaks to certain overtones. Its a bit like playing with a persons sound on a mixing desk.
For me, the biggest difference when I try my 58 or 1.5W isnt so much with how I sound as an individual, but more how I hear myself within the section.
I tend to prefer how i hear myself in the section when using the 1.5W or 58 regardless of what type of ensemble, however, I personally prefer my individual voice on the 1.25W.
As I get older I listen to the players around me a lot more and I think I have a better understanding of my role in the ensemble. To my ears, I can hear how smaller can be a good fit.

When we go back and look at old recordings of players like Ray Premu and George Roberts, I think it is important to remember the equipment that was available at the time, and how it would have played a big role on the mouthpieces they used (imo). Its probably also interesting to know where their sound concept came from. I think GR said he was influenced heavily by Urbie and tried to be a bass version of his playing. That in itself might force him to choosing a certain type of equipment.

At the professional end of the scale, a bass player may well be making his equipment choices because of who he plays with. Trying to make his section sound its best and that might mean a 2G and a 60h. However if that same player got a new job in a new country with a new section, I wouldn't be surprised to see their equipment choices change.
At the amatuer end of the scale, play what makes you continually enjoy making music. If you get booked for gigs then you must be on the right track and if you keep getting asked back, then your equipment choice is probably just fine.
 
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« Reply #46 on: Aug 08, 2017, 05:17AM »

The mouthpiece doesn't make the player; that we know for definite! And we also know that you'll sound like yourself, whatever your equipment.

But Alex's point is spot on - within that "Aha, that's so-and-so playing" aural response, a response that owes at least as much to the player's habits of articulation as it does to composition of overtones in the sustain, there's a wide spread of tonal qualities available. A particularly handy tool to manipulate these qualities is the choice of mouthpiece.

I have had the pleasure of close-up listening to Chris's bass trombone artistry on several time-separated occasions. On at least one of these, he was using his Elliott 116M set-up in his collection of wonderful bass trombones. On the most recent one, he was using his MV 1-1/2G. Although both were Chris-type sounds, there was a large distance between them, and his description of the change upthread tells us this.
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« Reply #47 on: Aug 08, 2017, 05:18AM »

The arrow either does or does not make the warrior.

...Geezer
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« Reply #48 on: Aug 08, 2017, 05:28AM »

Why did I have to see this thread?????? :cry:

 :D :D :D    ;-)

Why not be back on the tenor?
My current way, and on a 6 1/2 AL...    Hi
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« Reply #49 on: Aug 08, 2017, 05:39AM »

I`m a doubler. Primarily a Tenor player. I play a single trigger bass (Yamaha 321) I`ve tried a number of Bass mouthpieces trying to find one that really works for me.
1 1/2G - NO  Schilkes - NO   2G - really close    Yamaha 58 - BINGO !!! I know that it`s real close to a 2G but the rim feels best to me. Good lows and good highs
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« Reply #50 on: Aug 08, 2017, 05:47AM »

Sometimes analogies work to explain things--

The 2G works wonderfully in some horns for some players for the following reason: You can stick a 4 l. ( 1 gallon) sized funnel into a tiny garden hose and it'll fill the hose pretty poorly and not very quickly. Stick a much smaller funnel into that tiny hose and the hose will fill at the same rate, but the funnel will be more efficient.

Sond aside, and vintage sound aside, a 1 1/2G or 2G works very well on some horns because they are mated very well.

All the mechanics aside, a young student would be able to learn quickly and with proper mechanics to play the horn on a 2G. Most young students struggle to play a huge mouthpiece, as they should, as it is a large tool designed for experienced well muscled players who have lots of proper mechanical/muscular support to play the huge gear.
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« Reply #51 on: Aug 08, 2017, 06:18AM »

Sometimes analogies work to explain things--

The 2G works wonderfully in some horns for some players for the following reason: You can stick a 4 l. ( 1 gallon) sized funnel into a tiny garden hose and it'll fill the hose pretty poorly and not very quickly. Stick a much smaller funnel into that tiny hose and the hose will fill at the same rate, but the funnel will be more efficient.

Sond aside, and vintage sound aside, a 1 1/2G or 2G works very well on some horns because they are mated very well.

All the mechanics aside, a young student would be able to learn quickly and with proper mechanics to play the horn on a 2G. Most young students struggle to play a huge mouthpiece, as they should, as it is a large tool designed for experienced well muscled players who have lots of proper mechanical/muscular support to play the huge gear.

So if the size causes such an issue for young players, does that mean that teachers should discourage young players from leaning the tuba until they have experience and development on a smaller instrument? Or is that different? That is massive gear, and I have both seen and heard some incredible young players on tuba.
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« Reply #52 on: Aug 08, 2017, 07:33AM »

So if the size causes such an issue for young players, does that mean that teachers should discourage young players from leaning the tuba until they have experience and development on a smaller instrument? Or is that different? That is massive gear, and I have both seen and heard some incredible young players on tuba.

No. A tuba is a tuba, and a trombone, bass or otherwise, is a trombone. It only makes sense to start a kid on a smaller, more manageable version of a tuba, just as we do on trombone.

That said, I've seen some clear advantages to kids starting on a smaller brass instrument. I had a high school student this summer who started on trumpet with a great teacher, and he's set up with about the most perfect embouchure I've ever seen - easy range with focus from pedal F to double Bb with no apparent shifts or manipulations. The great teacher is probably the most important factor, but...this is a topic for a different discussion, I'm sure.
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« Reply #53 on: Aug 08, 2017, 08:03AM »

Another long lost gem is the Conn Connstellation 3B. 2G in size, but deeeep and conical, not bowl shaped.

I have a Conn 3B with a diameter noticeably larger than my 2G, though it isn't easy to compare because of the sloping inner edge of the Bach vs. the sharp Conn edge.  It's a little deeper.  I wonder if the Conns changed over the years?  Mine doesn't say "Constellation".

My other Brown & Sharpe shank mouthpiece is a Reynolds 2B, and that's very close to my 2G in size.  The cup is much more conical and a little shallower;  rim is not sharp but not as unnecessarily round as the Bach.
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« Reply #54 on: Aug 08, 2017, 07:11PM »

Thank you, Gabe, a beautiful reasoned response. As for beginner tubists?-- it is a conical horn, not cylindrical, and nobody expects a beginner tubist to have four octaves range to cover their parts. For the most part if a beginner tubist can cough up 1 1/2 octaves they are a hero.
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« Reply #55 on: Aug 08, 2017, 10:36PM »

May I ask the question, is the Rath B 1 1/2 a copy of Chris' beloved MV 1 1/2 G?
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« Reply #56 on: Aug 08, 2017, 11:56PM »

May I ask the question, is the Rath B 1 1/2 a copy of Chris' beloved MV 1 1/2 G?

Simply...no.
The B1 1/2W is a copy of a wide rim MV 1 1/2G that I own. The B1 1/2 was done away from me. All Raths have their own style bores and backbones so none are really copies.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #57 on: Aug 09, 2017, 05:14AM »

[OT RANT]

So if the size causes such an issue for young players, does that mean that teachers should discourage young players from leaning the tuba until they have experience and development on a smaller instrument? Or is that different? That is massive gear, and I have both seen and heard some incredible young players on tuba.

Although I violently disagree with the practice, starting young (middle school age) players on small instruments seems to be becoming the norm, at least in public schools in this area, in beginning band circles these days, where, for the first year (in some cases, two), instrument choices are restricted to trumpet, trombone, clarinet, flute, and percussion, and once the quota for a particular instrument is filled, you have to choose something else. (Now THERE'S a brilliant way to inspire a prospective band kid: "Sorry, we already have our quota of trumpets, trombones, percussion, and clarinets: wanna play flute?" >:( >:( >:() They can change to a different instrument after a year (if they're still around), but it still has to be one of the "approved" instruments. Only in Year Three can they choose something not on the list.

In my cynical moments, I think it's a move to cut, if not ultimately eliminate, the music/arts budget from public schools ("Band enrollment and player retention keeps dropping, so why are we wasting money on band?"); in my somewhat less cynical moments, I think it's a reflection of the sorry state of Music Ed degree programs (band director can't teach a beginning ____ player the rudiments if s/he can't play/never played ___ her/him-self).

[/RANT]
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« Reply #58 on: Aug 09, 2017, 05:45AM »

Simply...no.
The B1 1/2W is a copy of a wide rim MV 1 1/2G that I own. The B1 1/2 was done away from me. All Raths have their own style bores and backbones so none are really copies.

Chris Stearn

Chris do you know the differences, besides the wider rim, between the Rath B2 and B2W?
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« Reply #59 on: Aug 09, 2017, 07:04AM »

Chris do you know the differences, besides the wider rim, between the Rath B2 and B2W?

That's fairly easy... The B2 was a copy of a great MV Bach 2G..  with Rath throat and backbone.. . The B2W started out as a B2 to which was added a very wide rim which I re-shaped to be in the style of the Ray Premru rim.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #60 on: Aug 09, 2017, 07:47AM »

I'm curious if the greats we refer to  - like George and Ray for example - have embouchure setups that predispose them to working well with smaller rims. From what Doug has said in other threads, individuals should have  a "goldilocks" range of rim sizes based on what their optimal embouchure is.  I wonder if anyone (like Doug) has looked at videos of George or Ray, etc, to see if they are the type that would prefer smaller rims in general, or if they are just work horses that relentlessly stuck to their guns and made it work.
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« Reply #61 on: Aug 09, 2017, 08:47AM »

Listening to G.R. and R.P. I say that they have what is sometimes said (not by me) to be an oldfashioned sound, because so many bass players do have a bigger, what is said modern sound.
In USA it is bigger mpc and often bigger sound, In Sweden it is both bigger, and back to normal (smaller).  The size of rim is also a choise of what we like to sound like. Some say that the size of rim is unimportant for the sound, I do not agree.

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« Reply #62 on: Aug 09, 2017, 08:53AM »

I'm curious if the greats we refer to  - like George and Ray for example - have embouchure setups that predispose them to working well with smaller rims.

I think the problem here is wbat you are refering to as smaller rims, were not seen as smaller rims at the time they made their cboices.
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« Reply #63 on: Aug 09, 2017, 09:42AM »

I'm curious if the greats we refer to  - like George and Ray for example - have embouchure setups that predispose them to working well with smaller rims. From what Doug has said in other threads, individuals should have  a "goldilocks" range of rim sizes based on what their optimal embouchure is.  I wonder if anyone (like Doug) has looked at videos of George or Ray, etc, to see if they are the type that would prefer smaller rims in general, or if they are just work horses that relentlessly stuck to their guns and made it work.

Ray Premru did have a pronounced underbite, which tends to allow low range facility and big sound without needing a large mouthpiece. I'm told Bob Hughes has a similar underbite.
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« Reply #64 on: Aug 09, 2017, 12:13PM »

Ray Premru did have a pronounced underbite, which tends to allow low range facility and big sound without needing a large mouthpiece. I'm told Bob Hughes has a similar underbite.

So maybe with my slight overbite that might not work so well for me.
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« Reply #65 on: Aug 09, 2017, 12:46PM »

So maybe with my slight overbite that might not work so well for me.

Just turn it upside down...
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« Reply #66 on: Aug 09, 2017, 01:58PM »

Ray Premru did have a pronounced underbite, which tends to allow low range facility and big sound without needing a large mouthpiece. I'm told Bob Hughes has a similar underbite.

It is interesting that in the USSR teachers switched students with an underbite on the bass trombone. Underbite was considered an ideal for bass trombone.
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« Reply #67 on: Aug 09, 2017, 02:02PM »

Just turn it upside down...

 Good!
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« Reply #68 on: Aug 09, 2017, 02:53PM »

It is interesting that in the USSR teachers switched students with an underbite on the bass trombone. Underbite was considered an ideal for bass trombone.

That's smart, but it's certainly possible to play well without one.
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« Reply #69 on: Aug 09, 2017, 03:18PM »

Ray Premru did have a pronounced underbite, which tends to allow low range facility and big sound without needing a large mouthpiece. I'm told Bob Hughes has a similar underbite.

That's very interesting. I think that is what I have, I cannot actually put my bottom teeth behind my top teeth, my top teeth have always sat behind the bottom teeth on my jaw my whole life. That's an underbite isn't it?

What about having an underbite helps with low register? I would love to know more about It, I know very little about how it affects my playing in comparison to others. Mouthpiece wise I believe I have been fairly adaptable my whole life and development as a player. I have never had major issues playing on various sizes after some practice, but I have only ever been able to get a sound I was personally happy with out of schilke 60 kind of size pieces.
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« Reply #70 on: Aug 09, 2017, 03:26PM »

I force an underbite to play pedals.
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« Reply #71 on: Aug 09, 2017, 03:28PM »

Most players with an underbite would be low placement upstream embouchure.  I have also seen a very high placement work with a small underbite.

Low placement can work well with either small or large mouthpieces.
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« Reply #72 on: Aug 09, 2017, 03:52PM »

That's very interesting. I think that is what I have, I cannot actually put my bottom teeth behind my top teeth, my top teeth have always sat behind the bottom teeth on my jaw my whole life. That's an underbite isn't it?

What about having an underbite helps with low register? I would love to know more about It, I know very little about how it affects my playing in comparison to others. Mouthpiece wise I believe I have been fairly adaptable my whole life and development as a player. I have never had major issues playing on various sizes after some practice, but I have only ever been able to get a sound I was personally happy with out of schilke 60 kind of size pieces.

Yes, that's an underbite. My observation is that it seems to allow the kind of space in the mouth you want for the low register without having to manipulate anything.

I've taught two bass trombone players with underbites who presented the same way in early college:

1. easy big sound in the low register with no manipulation necessary - it just falls out, and trying to do something to make a bigger sound only makes it sound unfocused and not respond as well.

and 2. Unusually low cut-off of response in the high register, around F# or G above middle C. One had worked out a radical shift he could do to get high notes out, but it was not practical, and the other simply couldn't play consistently up there.

Both of them learned that they needed to take the usual advice people gave about how to access the high register - actually almost everything about embouchure - and do pretty much the opposite.

Fortunately, the first one I met, Justin Clark now of the Bern Symphony in Switzerland, figured out how to connect his registers (independent of me) and has established himself as a high-level player. He came to visit BU and talked a bit with my second student like this, giving him some clues in about 5 minutes that put him on the path to develop his own high register. He's turned into a very fine young player who is going places.

I now have a student without an underbite but who plays with that kind of angle quite successfully. He's young and developing, but I think he will be very fine.
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« Reply #73 on: Aug 09, 2017, 03:55PM »

Oh, and Justin plays a Laskey 93D - plenty big. I think my more recent student plays on a Griego GP and doesn't want to go any larger.
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« Reply #74 on: Aug 09, 2017, 04:17PM »

Oh, and Justin plays a Laskey 93D - plenty big. I think my more recent student plays on a Griego GP and doesn't want to go any larger.

This is a very interesting read for me Thanks!
It sounds like many of my "symptoms" are quite typical. I play a Laskey 93D and the mouthpiece is put very far down on my face... a lot more lower lip in there than upper, etc...

What sounds slightly different for me is the register thing. I feel like now days I have no "major" issues affecting my lower or upper range and I don't struggle to connect them. However, when I was in high school I had huge problems with low register. I was no superstar as a teenager, but never struggled with any high register music that was put in front of me. For many years though I could barely make a sound below just a middle F in the stave. I worked very hard at the end of high school to develop a low register which I believe I have done successfully. I do have a minor "shift" from middle F in the stave to everything above. It's kind of a "turning point" for me. It's not a big deal though, no one has mentioned it in lessons and I can play smoothly over and through it. I find that I do have to work harder to maintain and refine my low register more so than my upper.

Apologies for selfishly sidetracking the thread, that part of it was very interesting to me.
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« Reply #75 on: Aug 10, 2017, 10:18AM »

No problem with being slightly off topic.... Just note that many of the world's greatest players have a chops break... or even several  of them.... others have no breaks.... and a few get to choose...

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #76 on: Aug 11, 2017, 05:49PM »

I have 2 breaks.
first at pedal G. MAJOR shift for anything below G
High C - anything above high C. all the way up to Double high A
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« Reply #77 on: Today at 12:44 AM »

It's been an interesting experiment, but I have been working this week, and that has been on a Mt Vernon 1 1/2G.... it never really got to the stage of the 2G being a real consideration.... it still hits places on my teeth that make it feel less than right. It did make me look for some old Conn leadpipes which have turned out quite well, at least on my modern Conn.

Chris Stearn
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