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The Trombone ForumHorns, Gear, and EquipmentInstruments(Moderators: tbone62, slide advantage) 9 inch Custom Edwards Bell On a 427
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GetzenBassPlayer

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« on: Nov 14, 2017, 08:53PM »

I have been interested in acquiring an instrument that would work as a small bass. I am not a fan of instruments that have quirks (Older instruments). I thought possibly having Edwards build a 9 inch bass bell with the throat similar to a tenor might work. However, knowing zero about instrument design, wondering what others think. What I should do is ask Edwards.
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« Reply #1 on: Nov 14, 2017, 08:57PM »

You could get an 88HK bell, 9 inches, and it's not just an 88H bell rolled out a little larger, its a small bass bell made on the old King 5B mandrel.
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« Reply #2 on: Nov 14, 2017, 09:24PM »

You could get an 88HK bell, 9 inches, and it's not just an 88H bell rolled out a little larger, its a small bass bell made on the old King 5B mandrel.

I worry about mixing and matching parts and different build philosophies. My original goal when I built my 427 was to have a small bass that behaved like my main horn. I wonder if bell lengths are the same? I wonder if it possible for Edwards mimics that bell design?
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Pro level? Pro level!  You make it pro, you make it good You make it loved and play nice Then its a pro level horn
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Beware wise men bearing equations  C. Stearn
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« Reply #3 on: Nov 14, 2017, 09:48PM »

That would mean a new tuning slide taper, too.

A "small" bass from Edwards would probably be a normal size from anyone else.
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« Reply #4 on: Nov 15, 2017, 02:31AM »

I have, what I believe to be, an unmarked Holton 9 bell that has an Edwards bell ferrule. It works great. Jim Bermann hooked me up with itmany years ago! I use a LW DB slide with it and an open neck pipe adapter.

Sam
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« Reply #5 on: Nov 15, 2017, 05:24AM »

Edwards used to have two bell mandrels for basses.  They should be able to make a flare on the smaller mandrel and trim it to whatever size you want.

I would note that starting at the lower tuning slide leg, that entire back end of the Edwards horns is big.  They don't really make a smaller tuning slide at all, so I would be curious to see if it actually was a smaller bass trombone sound/feel.  I generally feel this way for ALL of the custom horn makers, I don't think that any of them really make something in that small bass trombone window.

Mixing and matching components will give you some quirks.  The flare taper really does need to be matched pretty well to the mouthpiece and leadpipe tapers or you you get some funny quirks as well.  But the sound is a different sound, so I haven't found another way to get there.  Side note, one of my best responding horns (though still with a ton of quirks) is a 9.5" Bach 45 flare.  The 9.5" makes it feel from my end more like a 'normal' horn, but the tighter throat and tuning slide still give a significantly smaller sound.

Cheers,
Andy
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« Reply #6 on: Nov 15, 2017, 05:52AM »

The statements about tuning slides jive with my experience as well. I can also say that it swings the other way too. I had a Shires tenor with a (Holton) 9" bell and it didn't feel like a bass to me.although it did work very well for lighter stuff so maybe it is exactly what you're after.  For something like this, you might be best served by getting a Bach50B or similar and modifying thusly. The tuning slide is smaller and that alone might make enough of a difference. If not, them putting the 9" bell on that. Or perhaps making it screw bell and having just a 9" flare made.

The Conn 88HK and King 5B don't feel like basses to me either for probably the same reason the Shires I had made didn't feel like a bass. But they also may be a good starting point. Depends on how deep down the custom rabbit hole you want to go!!

Another option would be to try a smaller dual bore slide. Or even 547. Was mentioned in another thread recently. It isn't good for everything but I've had some success with similar setups.
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« Reply #7 on: Nov 15, 2017, 06:01AM »

Sounds like you need a Conn 72 or 73.

M
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Matthew Walker
Bass Trombonist, Opera Australia 1991-2006
Greenhoe Custom Trombones, Technician, Artist, Designer. 2006-2012
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« Reply #8 on: Nov 15, 2017, 06:02AM »

Edwards used to have two bell mandrels for basses.  They should be able to make a flare on the smaller mandrel and trim it to whatever size you want.

I would note that starting at the lower tuning slide leg, that entire back end of the Edwards horns is big.  They don't really make a smaller tuning slide at all, so I would be curious to see if it actually was a smaller bass trombone sound/feel.  I generally feel this way for ALL of the custom horn makers, I don't think that any of them really make something in that small bass trombone window.

Mixing and matching components will give you some quirks.  The flare taper really does need to be matched pretty well to the mouthpiece and leadpipe tapers or you you get some funny quirks as well.  But the sound is a different sound, so I haven't found another way to get there.  Side note, one of my best responding horns (though still with a ton of quirks) is a 9.5" Bach 45 flare.  The 9.5" makes it feel from my end more like a 'normal' horn, but the tighter throat and tuning slide still give a significantly smaller sound.

Cheers,
Andy
I agree with Andy here! The size of the tuning slide makes the edwards sound the way it does!
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GetzenBassPlayer

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« Reply #9 on: Nov 15, 2017, 06:32AM »

My other thought was to use an Edwards tenor and try to get it to play larger. 9 inch bell, bass slide, small bass mpce.
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Pro level? Pro level!  You make it pro, you make it good You make it loved and play nice Then its a pro level horn
Leif

I can justify my position with a trombone in my hands and that's good enough for me
Beware wise men bearing equations  C. Stearn
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« Reply #10 on: Nov 15, 2017, 06:37AM »

I wonder also about a dual radius tuning slide.
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Pro level? Pro level!  You make it pro, you make it good You make it loved and play nice Then its a pro level horn
Leif

I can justify my position with a trombone in my hands and that's good enough for me
Beware wise men bearing equations  C. Stearn
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« Reply #11 on: Nov 15, 2017, 05:26PM »

 For better or worse, the bass trombone in this country is a .562"  bore instrument with a minimum of a 9.5" bell.  Makers simply don't mass produce bass trombones in an array of sizes like they do tenors.  In an effort to satisfy various constituencies' insistence that the section "downsize" when our former principal opted to play alto, I've tried a number of options over the years, including: 

a.  a nine-inch bass bell by Edwards, played with a single F valve, with either a .562" single bore slide, or a .547-.562" dual bore slide.  Gerry Pagano had a similar bell, the number of which I've forgotten.  I used it for a couple of seasons, and then moved on, as much out of curiosity as anything.

b.  a Greenhoe/Conn bass bell with a lighter unbraced tuning slide and a .562" single bore Conn slide, assembled with an old-style narrow Conn slide crook.  Was shocked at how significantly that narrow slide changed things.

c.  an 88H "9" K bell (one of the last few Conn made in the size, I think), with two Greenhoe valves, paired with the smaller slide mentioned above.  If I had it to do again, I'd have the second valve built as a plug-in.  Also used it, less satisfactorily, with an old Elkhart .547" slide.

d.  and recently,  a 1948 Conn 70H, single-bore .562" slide.

e.  all of these were played with a mouthpiece with the same rim as my usual piece, but a shallower cup.

What did I learn?

a.  They all worked fine in that context.

b.  Simply playing that shallower cup on any horn, including my usual instrument, got me 95% of the way there.

c.  When you change one thing on an instrument, you change everything.

d.  And perhaps most important, as Mr. Jacobs said, there are many possible variables....mouthpiece, lead pipe, bore size, bell taper and size, alloy, etc. etc., as well as the player.  Of these the individual player is by far the greatest variable.

e.  Good players can make almost anything work.  Less than good players.....?

Certainly a fun and expensive pursuit over the years.  If you have the time, money and inclination to undertake a similar venture, good luck and have fun!  As our Music Director said to me one day, "I do like the sound of the trombone section to be lighter in this repertoire.  How you do that is up to you."

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« Reply #12 on: Nov 16, 2017, 05:54AM »

Yes....this!!

c.  When you change one thing on an instrument, you change everything.

d.  And perhaps most important, as Mr. Jacobs said, there are many possible variables....mouthpiece, lead pipe, bore size, bell taper and size, alloy, etc. etc., as well as the player.  Of these the individual player is by far the greatest variable.

e.  Good players can make almost anything work.  Less than good players.....?

Certainly a fun and expensive pursuit over the years.  If you have the time, money and inclination to undertake a similar venture, good luck and have fun!  As our Music Director said to me one day, "I do like the sound of the trombone section to be lighter in this repertoire.  How you do that is up to you."

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« Reply #13 on: Nov 16, 2017, 07:20AM »

This may go into unintended territory, but I've done a bit of experimentation in the small bass area in the last couple of years. I can attest to the fact that it's a bit of a money pit. As I see it there are three reasons for going to a small bass: 1) learners 2) tenor players who double 3) repertoire/ensemble considerations, or generally the desire for smaller sound. If you give up the obsession with 88hk, Greenhoe and Edwards, there are other options out there.

1) Holton. There are probably several Holtons that will cover the small bass territory. I recently had a 159 with a 9" bell and a dual bore 547/562 slide. It had what was to me as a tenor player a wonderful low range, such as it is with a single trigger. This horn would have been worthy of a plug in valve. There are several Holtons with the 9" bell, which might be a suitable replacement for a larger bell if you were building a down-sized horn. While I understand the bell doesn't fully define the horn, these Holtons start out with a great sound.

2) Olds P24g. This is one horn that I just can't bring myself to actually part with. I think this was the ultimate small bass. The combination of the 9" red bell and a lot of nickel silver really make a horn that responds in a way that's familiar to a tenor player. A small mouthpiece, and you can almost play it like a tenor. It doesn't have the big heavy sound of a 454, but that's not why you use a small bass.

I've gone the route of a 562 slide on an 88h, and it just didn't do it for me. The 88h bell is just too much a tenor bell to give the depth to the lower range. I've also gone the route of two valves on a large tenor, and that just gives you more notes that sound raspy. I've also put a longer crook on a single trigger bass to give it the same chromatic range as a double trigger. I've also got a bass with a 547/562 dual bore slide, which takes some of the edge off for a tenor player.

To me, the factors that make a bass trombone are (in order):

1) bell throat
2) mouthpiece/leadpipe combo
3) slide bore
4) bell diameter
5) number of valves

Other factors, of course such as materials, slide crook, tuning slide, neck pipe and the player of course have an effect.

I don't believe that instrument design is irrational. Everything has a measurable effect. Specs do matter, but things have complex relationships that aren't always intuitive. Still, there are some generalizations you can make about hardware and materials, as well as players. It's not voodoo, and you don't have to throw up your hands in futility when comparing hardware between different users.
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