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Author Topic: Bucket mute options?  (Read 854 times)
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gregs70

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« on: Sep 01, 2017, 05:21PM »

I play transcribed French horn parts in a brass quintet.    The other trombone player and I are both playing King 3B-Fs.  The leader wants me to sound more "Frenchy".  I tried my 4B, but not enough difference in tone to matter.  He asked me to try a bucket mute, so my old Humes and Berg was dusted off.   The sound is more to everybody's liking but as everybody knows it is a PITA to put on and off, the tabs scratch the bell, and unless tensioned just right it is hard to get on or so loose it falls off.  There are a few pieces where they want me to play open with only a measure or two to prep.  BTW we play more pops stuff - upcoming gig at asst. living center has dixieland, Weather Report, 50s, Girl from Ipamema, When Sunny Gets Blue, blues.  No Bach, no Gabrieli, no "classical".

OK, the Jo-Ral is a lot more expensive.  Can anybody tell me if it is more restrictive than the H&B?  Any opinions on the Soulo?  Any other options???
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« Reply #1 on: Sep 01, 2017, 05:45PM »

Try a softone mute.

Just hang it from the bell. (hardly any weight at all)
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« Reply #2 on: Sep 01, 2017, 05:52PM »

From what I remember the JoRal is just super heavy. But it blows very well and didn't feel constricted on either tenor or bass. I made my own bucket that just hangs from the bell out of a plastic colander and cotton balls. Cost about $5 all together.
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« Reply #3 on: Sep 01, 2017, 05:57PM »

I use the draped Softone all the time.  I bought one for my bass, but it drapes nicely over all my bells from small bore to bass.

Another thing to try is to clip a Stone Line derby to the stand and play into it from about 6 inches away.  Sometimes I'll do the same thing with my plunger holding it away from the bell.

Good luck.  I may be trying the same thing -- a local quintet is having trouble finding a horn player and they asked me to fill in.
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gregs70

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« Reply #4 on: Sep 01, 2017, 06:27PM »

I use the draped Softone all the time.  I bought one for my bass, but it drapes nicely over all my bells from small bore to bass.

Another thing to try is to clip a Stone Line derby to the stand and play into it from about 6 inches away.  Sometimes I'll do the same thing with my plunger holding it away from the bell.

Good luck.  I may be trying the same thing -- a local quintet is having trouble finding a horn player and they asked me to fill in.

That sounds like a good option.  Would it provide the sound I'm looking for?

The 5tet I play in started in a community band with no French horn players that were interested so they ended up with two tbones.  Our leader is a retired band director with the software to transpose fairly easily.  He is talented enough to take a big band arrangement of "Birdland" and write it for the 5tet.    Really kicks, but it has a high D.  First time I saw five ledger lines above staff outside of big band!
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« Reply #5 on: Sep 01, 2017, 06:56PM »

I do the "Just a Closer Walk" arrangement done for Gene Watts (Canadian Brass).  It goes into tenor clef and has that D in it (that's 3 ledger lines above the Tenor Clef staff).

I'll see the quintet leader in a couple of weeks and will see what they want.  I can read mezzo-soprano clef reasonably well so I can play the horn music as is.
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« Reply #6 on: Sep 01, 2017, 07:23PM »

If you want to sound like a French horn, stuff your bell with dirty laundry and crack every other note Evil

Seriously, though, get an Eazy Bucket. They are relatively cheap, easy on/off. Every body around here bought them. Fairly light and don't scratch the bell. They sound nice too.
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« Reply #7 on: Sep 01, 2017, 07:50PM »

I do the "Just a Closer Walk" arrangement done for Gene Watts (Canadian Brass).  It goes into tenor clef and has that D in it (that's 3 ledger lines above the Tenor Clef staff).


That's in regular rotation in my quintet.  Pretty sure the highest written note is C, but you can improv a D if you like!
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« Reply #8 on: Sep 01, 2017, 08:08PM »

Put hand in bell. Crack about 33% of the notes. Solved.
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« Reply #9 on: Sep 02, 2017, 04:55AM »

I was going to suggest trying to find a Tools 4 Winds bucket, but it appears they don't list it or dont make it anymore.
I have one. Great sound and fully adjustable, so you can get lots of different timbres which may help get the desired result.
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« Reply #10 on: Sep 02, 2017, 03:43PM »

Put hand in bell. Crack about 33% of the notes. Solved.

Yeah, but show them what a well played French horn should sound like!

If you're playing a west coast chart that says "quasi horn" that means lay "your hand in the bell along the side and use no vibrato".  I dunno about a tenor, but on a .500 or less it will sound really good. 

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« Reply #11 on: Sep 03, 2017, 05:43AM »

If you're playing a west coast chart that says "quasi horn" that means lay "your hand in the bell along the side and use no vibrato". 

"lay your hand in the bell along the side"

...like... gently grab the bell?
How did you figure this out?
I've always interpreted "quasi horn" as "sound like a big soft blendy horn section," but now that I think of it, I've never asked.



To the OP:
(1) if I ever update my bucket from a H&B, I'm going with a Softone; it's super portable, and that's what the lead player in my jazz band uses, so why not.
Here's the first video result I got for someone demonstrating a Softone mute:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYapt2D7dtI
(The Softone price tag bugs me... so my Amazon "saved for later" cart currently contains a roll of neoprene, a spool of thread, and a sewing machine. I'd love to make a bunch of these for my section someday.)

(2) I vaguely remember the question "how to sound like a French horn" came up last year.
http://tromboneforum.org/index.php?topic=90906.0
The comment that stuck with me was to make use of the outer positions.
I don't remember the whole thread, but you might get something out of it.
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« Reply #12 on: Sep 03, 2017, 07:21AM »

"
(1) if I ever update my bucket from a H&B, I'm going with a Softone; it's super portable, and that's what the lead player in my jazz band uses, so why not.


The one I have makes the notes around  and higher go really squirrelly. If anyone has a fix for that I'd love to hear it, it's the primary reason why I don't use mine (i did use it as a hat one night when it dropped suddenly to about 20 with no warning). I've had better success with a felt hat. I'm thinking of seeing what I can make out of this big plastic Cafe Bustelo can after we're done with the coffee inside. It has potential.

I'd recommend the easy bucket if those things are still kicking around somewhere.
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« Reply #13 on: Sep 03, 2017, 07:28AM »

Put hand in bell. Crack about 33% of the notes. Solved.

I don't need a mute to start cracking notes....
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« Reply #14 on: Sep 06, 2017, 07:57PM »

Went to my local music store to see what they had.  We went to the accessory section and they said all they had was the Humes and Berg.  I spotted a Jo-Ral bucket mute, they didn't know it was supposed to be a bucket mute and not a a funky straight mute!  Tried it in an hour rehearsal with the quintet.  It is going back to the store tomorrow.  Why?  More backpressure, less volume, affected the pitch more. Yeah, mute changes are more a pain with the H&B, but we all thought the better sound is more important.
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« Reply #15 on: Sep 06, 2017, 08:11PM »

The JoRal is a hassle enough just to make sure it stays in the bell
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« Reply #16 on: Sep 07, 2017, 12:05AM »

The Eazy Bucket mute will solve most of your problems.  Attaches and detaches quickly, made of a soft enough plastic that it won't scratch or dent your bell, fairly light weight (though of course heavier than a neoprene Softone), doesn't affect intonation very much.  Endorsed by Michael Davis, for what that's worth.  I like my Eazy Bucket for tenor trombone.  For bass, I use a Softone (because it's lighter and packs compactly) ! 

http://www.theeazybucket.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=839VTqH80jM

https://www.hornguys.com/collections/tenor-trombone-bucket-mutes/products/eazy-bucket-mute-for-tenor-trombone-1
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« Reply #17 on: Sep 07, 2017, 01:49PM »

I have the Soulo, and I like the Soulo, and my gig bag has cracked it up but I'll get another soon.

It has a very nice capability for solo applications, like yours, in that it can be set in a secondary "open" position. This still dampens the sound but it preserves some volume, tone, and attack. This position is repeatable, so you can set it and forget it. No lost notes. It's light and made out of super classy black plastic. Just ... fragile. And perhaps the least "bucket" sounding bucket mute on the market.

I also have the Softone, which is easier to throw on for 8 bars in big band hushed brass section, but it is kind of fussy to get just right for solo work. Plus it looks less-than-formal to have a limp purple and red wetsuit fragment flopped over your bell. Cheap and effective and indestructible though.

 Way cool
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« Reply #18 on: Sep 07, 2017, 03:24PM »

Unlike the Soulo, the Eazy Bucket mute is made of a relatively indestructible plastic (ABS, I think), so you would have a really hard time "cracking it up!"  I throw mine in a duffel bag, where it rattles around with other stuff (mutes, stand lights, wind clips, and other supplies) - not a scratch on it.  The bell hooks on early versions could break off, but that will not happen with the new design / material.   The lifting loop makes it very handy to remove quickly.  The black color is (I think) attractive. 

By the way, my bass trombone Softone has a dark blue front and a red rim.  Not really much like a limp wetsuit in my view.  Looks pretty classy - and distinctive - alongside the dark blue/black tenor Softone mutes the rest of our Big Band section uses. 
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« Reply #19 on: Sep 08, 2017, 04:38AM »

"lay your hand in the bell along the side"

...like... gently grab the bell?
How did you figure this out?
I've always interpreted "quasi horn" as "sound like a big soft blendy horn section," but now that I think of it, I've never asked.

...

I can't remember where this piece of instruction came from, but it works. 

Basically, reach your fingers as deep into the bell as you can and lay the hand on the side in there.  No need to obstruct the bore, just get the hand in their along the side. 

Oh, and play square, really square. 

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