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The Trombone ForumHorns, Gear, and EquipmentInstruments(Moderators: tbone62, Greg Waits) Axials Vs Rotors Is it Really Worth It?
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Noahharry
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« on: Nov 28, 2017, 10:54AM »

Im interested in purchasing an axial valve for my current horn, a Shires Q series that has a rotary valve.  I've never tried any other type of valve but I know that there are definitely differences in valve types.  And within the next month I am going locally to try out the Axial, and obviously that will decide on whether I purchase or not.  But in the meantime Im wondering, to you, what is the real difference between the two and why do/would you choose one over the other?
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« Reply #1 on: Nov 28, 2017, 11:05AM »

Im interested in purchasing an axial valve for my current horn, a Shires Q series that has a rotary valve.  I've never tried any other type of valve but I know that there are definitely differences in valve types.  And within the next month I am going locally to try out the Axial, and obviously that will decide on whether I purchase or not.  But in the meantime Im wondering, to you, what is the real difference between the two and why do/would you choose one over the other?

Axials are more consistent in blow and sound from the open horn to with the valve down. Assuming it's a standard rotor, the blow is more "tight" than the open horn, but the valve throw is shorter, and the maintenance is not as heavy. This is not to say that you can't make a consistent sound on standard rotors. It's mostly a trade off. Ultimately playing it yourself will give you an obvious answer of which you prefer.

There are other rotors that are more consistent in blow than "standard rotors". M&W, greenhoe, Hagmann among others. Shires rotors are pretty good in my experience.

The axial flow also changes the blow on the open horn slightly.

Basically any valve that's in alignment can be played with a consistent sound with practice, but for some people special valves make it easier.
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« Reply #2 on: Nov 28, 2017, 11:06AM »

Axials have a lot less air resistance than rotors.  In fact, it can make the F side feel like an open horn.

Some people like them.  Some people prefer having a little resistance.  

I prefer my Yamaha and King rotors to axials, but I'm not everybody.  On the other hand, I'd bet I'd prefer anything to the standard Bach 42 rotor.
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« Reply #3 on: Nov 28, 2017, 11:23AM »

Personally, I prefer rotors over axials for several reasons, weight and resistance being two.

I think a lot of younger players see someone else playing on something, and they think they should play that too. Don't worry about what other people do. If you're the only one to show up with a 1957 88h closed wrap rotary valve, non-modular, fixed leadpipe, but you blow them all away, that's the only thing that matters. Axial valves themselves have been around for some 30 years, so they're nothing new. They were just part of the "bigger is better" arms race where hardware just got bigger and bigger and sound got more and more diffuse. I think big valves like that really hurt things like phrasing and of course breath control. A bit of resistance in the horn allows you to make sound with less air.

Other reasons to keep rotors is that they are easier to maintain, slightly less expensive, you've already got one. An axial open wrap causes a water trap such that you'll get condensation in the wrap if you use it a lot cold. The rotor open wrap doesn't do this. Really, you need to have a local teacher, and ask them. Plus, if you want to make a change like this, you should have some idea as to why you want to make the change. Is there some problem you're trying to solve? Is this financed by the bank of mom and dad?

Finally, there are way better things to spend your money on. Lessons. Concerts. Music camp. Music books and sheet music. Paying your brother to mow the lawn for you so you have more time to practice. Save tricking out your horn for when its honestly holding you back. Change for the sake of change is not always progress.
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« Reply #4 on: Nov 28, 2017, 11:25AM »

On tenor, I can go either way. I've played great horns with both valves.

On bass, I prefer axials, since you spend so much more time in a register that requires blowing through one or two valves.

If you're not extremely unhappy with the rotor on the Shires, you may not notice a huge difference in blow, but more of a difference in response and sound.
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« Reply #5 on: Nov 28, 2017, 11:37AM »

Anything but axials...
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« Reply #6 on: Nov 28, 2017, 12:04PM »

Personally, I prefer rotors over axials for several reasons, weight and resistance being two.

I think a lot of younger players see someone else playing on something, and they think they should play that too. Don't worry about what other people do. If you're the only one to show up with a 1957 88h closed wrap rotary valve, non-modular, fixed leadpipe, but you blow them all away, that's the only thing that matters. Axial valves themselves have been around for some 30 years, so they're nothing new. They were just part of the "bigger is better" arms race where hardware just got bigger and bigger and sound got more and more diffuse. I think big valves like that really hurt things like phrasing and of course breath control. A bit of resistance in the horn allows you to make sound with less air.

Other reasons to keep rotors is that they are easier to maintain, slightly less expensive, you've already got one. An axial open wrap causes a water trap such that you'll get condensation in the wrap if you use it a lot cold. The rotor open wrap doesn't do this. Really, you need to have a local teacher, and ask them. Plus, if you want to make a change like this, you should have some idea as to why you want to make the change. Is there some problem you're trying to solve? Is this financed by the bank of mom and dad?

Finally, there are way better things to spend your money on. Lessons. Concerts. Music camp. Music books and sheet music. Paying your brother to mow the lawn for you so you have more time to practice. Save tricking out your horn for when its honestly holding you back. Change for the sake of change is not always progress.


The quote about young people seeing or reading about people playing something that causes them to assume they need that too is definitely not just for Axials.... I have seen a lot of students totally obsess over dropping huge amounts of money on a trombone with "geenhoe", "elkhart" or "mt vernon" written on it. They have no idea why, but assume that they will make some kind of special sound on those, where as really they just need to spend more time in a practice room. Gear envy is not really helpful for any type of instrument at a student stage.

To the OP, i strongly agree with the tail end of hyperbolicas post, it is so much more beneficial to drop money on method books and lessons etc.... If you are good at trombone, it really doesnt matter too much what instrument you have, and if you are not good at trombone buying an axial valve will not help you in any way.

The reason you would choose one over the other is that when you have established good technical and musical habits in your playing, gear choices can help in making a desired sound you want to produce slightly easier. Its possible to sound great on pretty much anything, but when you know what sound you want to make, and how to make it consistently, you want gear that helps make that as easy as possible. You need to spend a HUGE amount of time in a practice room figuring stuff out though before you are capable of knowing what gear you need.

Hoping to get there one day myself  :D
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« Reply #7 on: Nov 28, 2017, 12:12PM »

Im interested in purchasing an axial valve for my current horn, a Shires Q series that has a rotary valve.  I've never tried any other type of valve but I know that there are definitely differences in valve types.  And within the next month I am going locally to try out the Axial, and obviously that will decide on whether I purchase or not.  But in the meantime Im wondering, to you, what is the real difference between the two and why do/would you choose one over the other?

For tenor, I like the Trubore valve best. It feels the most like a straight gooseneck through the open side of the horn, since it has a straight path through the valve when the valve is not engaged, and the valve section is better than a normal rotor, anyway. The dual-bore rotor from Shires is also very efficient through the valve section, and so that's definitely a consideration. I tend to think that the standard rotor is better than the axial through the open horn, also, but that's not as clear a difference.

For bass, though, I prefer my axials. You'll spend more time transitioning between 0/1/2 valves when playing bass parts. The thayer has the most similar resistance across all valve closed and valve open combinations, and I'm willing to give up some efficiency (Thayers are designed to leak a tiiiny bit) and feel through the open horn for that benefit to uniformity.

Some things to keep in mind, though:
1. The throw of the axial valve is significantly longer than the equivalent rotary valve. This may or may not be a concern, but it's worth mentioning.
2. You can't really "half-valve" an axial valve like you can a rotor. This is only really a concern if you're playing with a conductor who knows the instrument extremely well and likes to do little tricks like that, but it does reduce the number of sounds you can make.
3. The maintenance for the axial valve is quite extensive compared to the rotary valve. If you don't want to oil your valves every time you pick the thing up, potentially ruining your slide lubrication due to negative interactions between the oil and whatever happens to be on the slide... stick with your rotor.

"Is it worth it"? If buying a new horn, choose the configuration that you like and buy it, whatever it happens to be- soldered/unsoldered bell, slide crook diameter, valve type, etc.

It's almost certainly NOT worth it to drop $1000 to modify it after the fact. If you like the horn, you'll be drastically changing its feel by switching out the valve, and if you don't like it, then why not sell it and get a horn that you do like?

Just my perspective.
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« Reply #8 on: Nov 28, 2017, 12:30PM »

Anything but axials...

Why not? Can you speak for Noah?
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« Reply #9 on: Nov 28, 2017, 12:50PM »

Why not? Can you speak for Noah?

I cannot speak for Noah.  None of us can - he'll need to try them and decide for himself. 

Why don't I like them?  I don't like the blow.  I don't care for the sound I get when playing them.  I don't like the mechanical feel.  I don't like the physical feel.  AND, I think they are ugly.   Way cool  Basically, for ME, there is not one redeeming quality.
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« Reply #10 on: Nov 28, 2017, 01:21PM »

I had Shires axials for a number of years and switched to Shires rotors.  I've been completely happy with them.  Yes, axials blow very "open," but there are others ways to make a horn feel more open.  For me, the Shires axial sets I had (two of them) were heavy and never very fast, even when oiled all the time.  I prefer the core the sound of the whole horn gets with conventional rotors and I love the throw, weight, and ease of maintenance of the rotors.  I don't notice a huge difference between the open horn and valved notes.  If it's there, it's easily overcome with little to no thought/effort.  The regular rotors aren't stuffy at all.

These are just my experiences in owning Shires basses since 2002.  Your mileage may vary, especially with other brands of valve.
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« Reply #11 on: Nov 28, 2017, 03:11PM »

Paying your brother to mow the lawn for you so you have more time to practice.

That can potentially be more expensive than a horn in long term.

Sorry, off topic.
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« Reply #12 on: Nov 28, 2017, 05:38PM »

There are differences between the two. The real question that only you can answer is which differences help and which hurt. You have to play them for yourself.
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« Reply #13 on: Nov 28, 2017, 10:09PM »

Having experience with both axials and rotors, I would honestly say at least for me, it really depends on the horn and how it plays in the trigger range on tenor, or with bass trombones both the trigger and double trigger range.

I've had played a few axial horns and based on my personal experience, they really open up the lower register even on the tenor Bach 42T I tried.  On bass, I tried a Getzen 3062AF and I liked the blow of them, but I honestly felt that the sound just didn't fit jazz settings and was too much of a workhouse, especially with the dual bore slide and my large Schilke piece, but work and sounded good in wind ensemble. 

I would say on the downside for me (basses with axials) is that, although I would love to try axials with dependent configuration, they're (at least for me) hard to come by and the two brands that have them (at least that I know of) are Edwards and Shires.

Now for tenor, I'm honestly fine with any valve, all that matters to me that the horn plays well in all ranges and that the valve is great in the low range and alternates.  If it's an older horn (ex. 1970s) I would think about it and play it more to decide if replacing the valve is necessary.  But if it's like a newer Bach 42B and the rotor just feels really uncomfortable even after some time playing as is, then I would probably change the valve with any other valve.  That's just me.  On Kings, Conns, Yamahas, Holtons, I leave it as they are as in my opinion, they don't need axials, hagmannns, etc.  They play fine just the way they are! :)

To go more into depth on bass trombones, pretty much same process with tenors, but on single valve basses, I would be fine with a rotor valve as I honestly think that they don't have any playability issues.  On single like a Holton 169, Bach 50B, Conn 60/71H, that are fine with rotors and have less issues in playability.  With double plugs (independent or dependent), I would do some with tenors, but they're are some cases on a older bass, especially a older Bach 50B2 or 50B3, then I'll see if they really need an update on the valve sections.  On vintage horns like Conn 62/73H, all king basses, Holton 180, and all Yamaha basses, they're fine just the way they are! :) (to me that is... or even most)  If I had to make some mofifications, I would probably have the rotors split and that's just about it.

If it's a custom, I'll try both to see which plays best for me, you'll never know, their rotors will probably be better than most standard brands. Custom brands like M&W or Greenhoe just to name a few, are great examples of how rotor valve basses or tenors can be great and are much better than the rotors of which they're based on.

So bottom line is, try to see which works and feels best for you!

Happy Hunting!
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« Reply #14 on: Nov 28, 2017, 10:58PM »

Ben Griffin has a very good post on this in the Shires Q&A, but its buried in there somewhere maybe around page 30.  In short, they typically put the valves on a spectrum where thayers are the most broad at the expense of some degree of articulation. Rotors are the opposite with a focused sound that has easy articulations at the expense of some depth of sound.  A neckpipe basically splits the difference between these two and a Tru-bore is a little bit more towards the Thayers whereas the Dual-bore rotor is a little bit towards the traditional rotary.

In general that largely matches my experience. But I will say that they aren't necessarily interchangeable in the sense that the horn is a collection of its parts. I have a Shires for sale at the moment on consignment at the brassark.  TB4762/Thayer/1Y.  One of the first ones made.  Awesome horn.  Not my cup of tea, but really good player. (I like my T47LW,2RVET7,Rotor).  But when I swapped out the rotors between these horns, I liked neither of the horns.  Neither worked as well.  Swap the slides out but keep the bell and it gets closer, etc. etc. 

Or in other words, its hard to compare valves by themselves because the horn is the sum of its parts.  Too much depth and its really hard to articulate. Too much crispness and its too bright. A matter of finding goldilocks for you.  I'd suggest changing the valve only if you've first made sure the current valve on the horn is in good working condition and if you want to make a change in the direction that I paraphrased from Ben earlier.  That's the definite benefit... and detriment... of modular horns. You can try a graident until it works... or the horn itself is no longer playable (in extreme cases).
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« Reply #15 on: Nov 29, 2017, 12:02AM »

In short, they typically put the valves on a spectrum where thayers are the most broad at the expense of some degree of articulation. Rotors are the opposite with a focused sound that has easy articulations at the expense of some depth of sound. 

I cannot agree more with this statement.

For me, which valve I use has little to do with the notes I will play with the valve and everything to do with how that valve effects the playing characteristics of the horn in general. I'm at a place in my career where I must tailor the instrument to the needs of the ensemble over what I personally find most appealing. In Presidio Brass, I play the XO Brass 1236 RL-O which is a rotor horn with open wrap and gold brass bell. I use this become all over the instrument, the articulations are more clear/distinct and the sound is more focused and compact. In the context of the brass quintet, this is most desirable. When I'm playing in the orchestra, I switch to a 1236L-T which is basically the same horn with an axial flow valve. I do this because the sound all over the instrument is more broad and allows me more flexibility to shape the many styles of articulation necessary when playing in an orchestra. The rotor horn sounds great in the orchestra as well...I'm just fortunate to have an array of instruments available to me.

Choose a valve based on your own playing characteristics and not that of the description of a valve on a manufactures website. Some players are naturally a bit more zippy or energetic and can use the axial flow valve to balance out that characteristic. Others have a more natural playing style that's more broad, and can use the rotor valve to bring them a bit more to center.

All that said, when you're young...pick something and stick with it.
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« Reply #16 on: Nov 29, 2017, 07:06AM »

I just play the valve that comes with the horn.
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« Reply #17 on: Nov 29, 2017, 05:22PM »

If it's a Shires, the "improvement" is debatable. It will be different, but you won't know whether it's better for you or not until you try it.
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« Reply #18 on: Nov 29, 2017, 06:02PM »

You will eventually pick the valve type that works best for you.  I like the Rotor valves on my Edwards B502 and I like the Axial valves on my Shires but they are really different horns.  I play the Shires mostly but if I were told tomorrow that I had to play the Edwards only I could certainly do that and be happy.  Play them, pick one, go practice.
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« Reply #19 on: Nov 29, 2017, 06:44PM »

In my Demi-godly,  all-knowing opinion....which that & $6 gets you a coffee at starbutts....

The axial on a tenor,  for most people,  is too much valve for the 0.547 bore horn.  It's TOO open and a vacuum for the lungs. As long as the valve section is built well with little or no tension,  a rotary valve will work just fine.
That said,  there ARE some folks with strong breath support & embouchures that appreciate this set up.
The newer designed valves with the similar thoughts of a continuous bore through the valve,  mimic the axials,  but with a bit of resistance.
Good or bad,  up to the player.

One thing I MUST harp on is the thought of maintenance.  As a tech,  I feel the axials are no more labor intensive to maintain tha any other rotor!  In fact,  they are somewhat easier to disassemble for service!!!  The only screw needing a tool is the stop arm screw,  but everything else comes apart with rings & threaded braces!


Just my late evening ramble.


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« Reply #20 on: Nov 29, 2017, 07:17PM »

FWIW, I played a bach 42b, 42t and 42a(hagmann) for 20+ years. The standard rotor was always really stuffy and noisy(old linkage) but was pretty fast. The thayer was too open for my taste. Seemed to just suck air and it was slow due to the long throw. I think they would work best if you were constantly playing through the valves, but for quick runs etc, they are just too slow for me. I really liked the hagmann. Almost as open as the thayer, but very fast, short throw. I think the hagmann is the best valve i've played although I did play on a 88h with the cl valve which was very nice too, just liked the bach sound better. I have since moved to a schilke st20 with a hagmann and love it. YMMV.
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« Reply #21 on: Nov 30, 2017, 06:11AM »

A Bach 42 with a Thayer is worlds better than the original style rotor. A valve is just one part of a complete system.

The first Edwards I got to play was a T350 with an axial valve on it.  It definitely favored being played with a lot of air, but it rewarded you with an amazing sound, and for the air you put into it, the note was going to speak and sound good.

Now I have a T396A, and it is a pretty different horn from the axial one. However, I don't think it's the valve or the air resistance that feels different. It's balanced really well, just as well as the T350 (previous Alessi specs), but I think Christan took a different route to get there. It's a complete system, not just a valve or just a bell.
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« Reply #22 on: Nov 30, 2017, 06:48AM »

As Matt said, we generally put valves on a spectrum.  Axials tend to be the widest sounding and rotors tend to have a more dense sound.

As for feel, most feel that axials flow valves are the most open.  However, feel depends on the player input and desired sound.  If the valve type is not in balance with the player input and/or sound concept, a seemingly larger component can feel smaller or less open than a more focused component that balances with input and/or sound concept. 

Quote
Choose a valve based on your own playing characteristics and not that of the description of a valve on a manufactures website. Some players are naturally a bit more zippy or energetic and can use the axial flow valve to balance out that characteristic. Others have a more natural playing style that's more broad, and can use the rotor valve to bring them a bit more to center.

This.  Play the axial set, see what you think and decide for yourself.  We've had many wonderful players choose our rotors over axials or Tru-Bores.  It depends on what works and sounds best to YOU.

I hope that helps and that you;re enjoying your Q.

Ben
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« Reply #23 on: Nov 30, 2017, 09:21AM »

I have a Jupiter XO with a Thayer axial and a Shires with a regular rotor.  As for how the amount of air, resistance and feel go they are about the same outside the trigger range.  In the trigger range, especially down low, the Thayer is freer playing and capable of more volume and control.  The Thayer does take a little more throw to activate, but that's not an issue for my large hands - it might be if you have tiny thumbs. Don't know
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« Reply #24 on: Nov 30, 2017, 09:40AM »

I dont understand how the "throw" on an axial causes any issues at all.... unless you are playing lindberg style music only in and out of the valve register (which seems unlikely for almost everyone) I cant think of any examples when you simply couldnt engage the valve fast enough to play the music required. Even then, there are so many other issues that would need to be addressed with that kind of music before you started worrying about the throw.

I remember a similar discussion a few years ago where I mentioned this and someone who disagreed with me insisted they need rubber bands and others aids to make the thayer move fast enough for the music they were playing. That seems weird to me, Im not sure I buy it.

When choosing a valve, I really would pay zero attention to the lengh of the throw. I dont think any valve available today has a throw so long it prevents you from performing properly.
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« Reply #25 on: Nov 30, 2017, 09:50AM »

It's not so much that a long throw is bad, just that a shorter throw is better. Why do more when you can do less Don't know
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« Reply #26 on: Nov 30, 2017, 09:54AM »

It's not so much that a long throw is bad, just that a shorter throw is better. Why do more when you can do less Don't know


Haha! I suppose. Personally I think the benefits of a thayer are worth it but I am very aware that is subjective. I dont really know about shorter being better.... it just seems to be trying to fix something that isnt a problem to begin with.
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« Reply #27 on: Nov 30, 2017, 10:23AM »


Haha! I suppose. Personally I think the benefits of a thayer are worth it but I am very aware that is subjective. I dont really know about shorter being better.... it just seems to be trying to fix something that isnt a problem to begin with.

I find the throw to be an issue because I find it uncomfortable in comparison other valves.  Regardless of whether it is "too" long, it's long enough for me to not like it.

Another thing to consider is that some people may not be able to move their thumbs as far, or don't have the necessary strength due to ligament or nerve damage to move the (typically) heavier linkage of an axial flow valve.
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« Reply #28 on: Nov 30, 2017, 10:49AM »

As to the original question of are Thayers worth it, if you can tell the difference and it's better, then it is.  If you don't know enough about the horn to be able to tell the difference, probably not.

I personally wouldn't modify a horn to add Thayers; at least none of mine.  They play fine for me as they are.
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« Reply #29 on: Nov 30, 2017, 10:54AM »

I dont understand how the "throw" on an axial causes any issues at all.... unless you are playing lindberg style music only in and out of the valve register (which seems unlikely for almost everyone) I cant think of any examples when you simply couldnt engage the valve fast enough to play the music required. Even then, there are so many other issues that would need to be addressed with that kind of music before you started worrying about the throw.

I remember a similar discussion a few years ago where I mentioned this and someone who disagreed with me insisted they need rubber bands and others aids to make the thayer move fast enough for the music they were playing. That seems weird to me, Im not sure I buy it.

When choosing a valve, I really would pay zero attention to the lengh of the throw. I dont think any valve available today has a throw so long it prevents you from performing properly.
If you're used to a short rotor throw the throw on a Thayer seems REALLY long.

The throw on trubores used to bug me sometimes and the throw in those is like half as long as the throw on a Thayer. Rotors spoil you after a while with their throw.
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« Reply #30 on: Nov 30, 2017, 11:01AM »

The throw can be made shorter on an axial flow valve. I don't like the stock setup and have modified both the Thayer horns I play.
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« Reply #31 on: Nov 30, 2017, 11:01AM »

I find the throw to be an issue because I find it uncomfortable in comparison other valves.  Regardless of whether it is "too" long, it's long enough for me to not like it.

Another thing to consider is that some people may not be able to move their thumbs as far, or don't have the necessary strength due to ligament or nerve damage to move the (typically) heavier linkage of an axial flow valve.


If people have physical issues with the mechanics thats a different story, you do what you have to when in a situation like that.
Sure, if finding it uncomfortable is reason enough for you not to consider it then of course its great that there are alternatives, and I think its good to have a solid idea of what you want when searching for gear.

Personally, I put being comfortable extremely low on my list of priorities to consider when choosing gear. If I make a superior sound on a particular piece of equipment, then it doesnt matter to me if it feels better or worse, thats what I am going to use. Audiences dont care if you are comfortable, and audition panels dont give you consideration if you say to them afterwards "I make a better sound on different gear, but its less comfortable so i dont play it".

If a student told me they didnt consider axial valves because the throw was too long, or they were uncomfortable, I would strongly encourage them to reassess what they are looking and listening for in their gear choices. I wouldnt force anything of course, just encourage more thought.

Just to confirm, I dont think everyone should play axial valves, and obviously if you have a physical issue with the mechanics of any piece of gear then you need to seek alternatives. I just think that seeing as how (i believe) the "throw" on axials does not impact the quality of your performance, it should be the last thing you consider when choosing a valve. If you make a superior sound on axials to any other valve available but make the choice not use them because the "throw is uncomfortable" I think thats crazy. If the throw affects how you play legato, articulated etc... then its an issue but I just struggle to believe the throw would be a core factor of those kind of issues.

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« Reply #32 on: Nov 30, 2017, 11:18AM »


If a student told me they didnt consider axial valves because the throw was too long, or they were uncomfortable, I would strongly encourage them to reassess what they are looking and listening for in their gear choices. I wouldnt force anything of course, just encourage more thought.



I think there are too many good instruments out there and that far too much of a person's sound is due to the player for comfort to be anything less than top 3 in priorities.  Many times I've picked up a Bach 50 at ETW or ITF to immediately put it down because I find them painful to hold and operate. Sure, I could get a tech to "fix" it.  But why?  Why when I could get a Courtois, Edwards, Shires, Yamaha, etc. that sound great, play great, and are comfortable to hold?  Is the sound of a Bach THAT awe inspiring?  Well, perhaps to some.  Not to me.
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« Reply #33 on: Nov 30, 2017, 11:26AM »

I dont understand how the "throw" on an axial causes any issues at all.... unless you are playing lindberg style music only in and out of the valve register (which seems unlikely for almost everyone) I cant think of any examples when you simply couldnt engage the valve fast enough to play the music required. Even then, there are so many other issues that would need to be addressed with that kind of music before you started worrying about the throw.

I remember a similar discussion a few years ago where I mentioned this and someone who disagreed with me insisted they need rubber bands and others aids to make the thayer move fast enough for the music they were playing. That seems weird to me, Im not sure I buy it.

When choosing a valve, I really would pay zero attention to the lengh of the throw. I dont think any valve available today has a throw so long it prevents you from performing properly.

Many bass players use the valve as an articulation, with lots of alternate positions. Throw matters.
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« Reply #34 on: Nov 30, 2017, 11:47AM »

Can you believe it but I never tried axial. So I dont have a clue....maybe on time I try.

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« Reply #35 on: Nov 30, 2017, 11:58AM »

Personally, I put being comfortable extremely low on my list of priorities to consider when choosing gear. If I make a superior sound on a particular piece of equipment, then it doesnt matter to me if it feels better or worse, thats what I am going to use. Audiences dont care if you are comfortable, and audition panels dont give you consideration if you say to them afterwards "I make a better sound on different gear, but its less comfortable so i dont play it".

If you are playing an instrument that is uncomfortable to operate, that disagreement with your body WILL manifest itself into a physical, or mental, problem somewhere down the line, no matter how good you think the sound is, no matter how well you play, and no matter how young you are.

Lest you think this advice is void coming from someone who went to college a hundred years ago, I had a problem holding my Holton TR185 in college, when after playing an hour rehearsal, my left index and middle fingers became numb because of all the weight of two valves. It definitely WAS a problem and back then, I didn't have the options available now.
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« Reply #36 on: Nov 30, 2017, 12:09PM »

Sidebar:  You had a 185 with two valves?  I thought they only came with one.  Or did you have the slot-in 2nd valve?
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« Reply #37 on: Nov 30, 2017, 12:19PM »

I think there are too many good instruments out there and that far too much of a person's sound is due to the player for comfort to be anything less than top 3 in priorities.  Many times I've picked up a Bach 50 at ETW or ITF to immediately put it down because I find them painful to hold and operate. Sure, I could get a tech to "fix" it.  But why?  Why when I could get a Courtois, Edwards, Shires, Yamaha, etc. that sound great, play great, and are comfortable to hold?  Is the sound of a Bach THAT awe inspiring?  Well, perhaps to some.  Not to me.

I think we are now talking about different issues. I am not talking about enduring pain, or trying to promote a "bach sound".
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« Reply #38 on: Nov 30, 2017, 12:21PM »

If you are playing an instrument that is uncomfortable to operate, that disagreement with your body WILL manifest itself into a physical, or mental, problem somewhere down the line, no matter how good you think the sound is, no matter how well you play, and no matter how young you are.

Lest you think this advice is void coming from someone who went to college a hundred years ago, I had a problem holding my Holton TR185 in college, when after playing an hour rehearsal, my left index and middle fingers became numb because of all the weight of two valves. It definitely WAS a problem and back then, I didn't have the options available now.


Again, I am not talking about playing through pain or using an instrument in a manner that causes problems.
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« Reply #39 on: Nov 30, 2017, 12:22PM »

I dont understand how the "throw" on an axial causes any issues at all.... unless you are playing lindberg style music only in and out of the valve register (which seems unlikely for almost everyone) I cant think of any examples when you simply couldnt engage the valve fast enough to play the music required. Even then, there are so many other issues that would need to be addressed with that kind of music before you started worrying about the throw.

I remember a similar discussion a few years ago where I mentioned this and someone who disagreed with me insisted they need rubber bands and others aids to make the thayer move fast enough for the music they were playing. That seems weird to me, Im not sure I buy it.

When choosing a valve, I really would pay zero attention to the lengh of the throw. I dont think any valve available today has a throw so long it prevents you from performing properly.


One of the reasons I sold my Getzen was the difference in the throw compared to my Greenhoe. It required an adjustment in timing and certain valve combinations that worked well on the Greenhoe were not as easy to execute on the Thayers.  When I was working the John Williams tuba concerto,, I noticed certain lines were much easier to play on my Greenhoe.
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« Reply #40 on: Nov 30, 2017, 12:35PM »

Wow! The anti-axial club is out in force today.

In any case, plenty of players (even top level bass trombonists...!?!?!?) use axials quite successfully, even playing technical literature on them. Yes, it's hard to believe. 

Plenty of players don't use them! And that's fine too.

As per usual, the final decision is up to OP about his Shires tenor, which will be a great instrument with a rotor or axial.
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« Reply #41 on: Nov 30, 2017, 12:47PM »

I think we are now talking about different issues. I am not talking about enduring pain, or trying to promote a "bach sound".

I don't think so.  You said "If a student told me they didnt consider axial valves because...they were uncomfortable..."

Uncomfortable, pain, whatever you want to call it.  I'm not going to sit down and play an instrument that I don't like to hold. 

I only mentioned Bach as a personal example and not because I thought you were pushing that sound. 

To make my earlier point more simply, there are too many good trombones out there that ARE comfortable to hold to bother with the ones that aren't.  In my opinion.
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« Reply #42 on: Nov 30, 2017, 12:48PM »

Yes, it's hard to believe. 


No it isn't.  Look, I don't like them.  But I'm not so arrogant as to think everyone else should be like me.
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« Reply #43 on: Nov 30, 2017, 01:04PM »

I don't think so.  You said "If a student told me they didnt consider axial valves because...they were uncomfortable..."

Uncomfortable, pain, whatever you want to call it.  I'm not going to sit down and play an instrument that I don't like to hold. 

I only mentioned Bach as a personal example and not because I thought you were pushing that sound. 

To make my earlier point more simply, there are too many good trombones out there that ARE comfortable to hold to bother with the ones that aren't.  In my opinion.

And that is totally fine. Im actually jealous that just because you dont like holding an instrument you are confident that you can write it off as not for you. I cant do that.

Uncomfortable vs pain.... the first example that comes to mind of what I am trying to describe, I love playing stainless steel mouthpieces. They feel great on my face, I like how they feel when I play them, etc.... when I play my laskey, it doesnt feel comfortable. Not in the same way a stainless steel piece of similar size does, but hands down I make a superior sound on my laskey in every regard. It doesnt affect my playing negatively in any way but its less "comfortable" to play than a stainless piece of a similar size.
Thats got nothing to do with pain.

Sure a longer throw might not be as conveinient, but if I get a better over all sound on thayers im gonna use them. Again, thats more important to me than a slightly shorter throw.
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« Reply #44 on: Nov 30, 2017, 01:26PM »

Wow! The anti-axial club is out in force today.

In any case, plenty of players (even top level bass trombonists...!?!?!?) use axials quite successfully, even playing technical literature on them. Yes, it's hard to believe. 

Plenty of players don't use them! And that's fine too.

As per usual, the final decision is up to OP about his Shires tenor, which will be a great instrument with a rotor or axial.

I personally am not anti-axial.  I just don't like them.  I know lots of people who do.

I believe the OP was still in HS, had a Shires with rotors, and wondered if Axials would be worth the cost of changing.  My feeling is no.  There is nothing you can buy to make playing a good trombone easier, except maybe lessons and a lot of practice time.
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« Reply #45 on: Nov 30, 2017, 01:32PM »

Sidebar:  You had a 185 with two valves?  I thought they only came with one.  Or did you have the slot-in 2nd valve?

slot-in
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« Reply #46 on: Nov 30, 2017, 01:56PM »

I will also add that it's kind of like a "some people like Pepsi, and some people like coke" kind of thing when it comes to preference of valves. 

With high school graduation and college coming up for me, I thought it would be fun to go to a place with lots of trombones with different valves, brands, basses, and tenors.  It would be something I would love to during spring break or summer before I go off for college! :D
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« Reply #47 on: Nov 30, 2017, 02:10PM »

If your a trombone hoarder, it doesn't matter.  Just get a couple of both!  :D
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« Reply #48 on: Nov 30, 2017, 02:28PM »

I don't think so.  You said "If a student told me they didnt consider axial valves because...they were uncomfortable..."


The point that bigbassbone1 is trying to make (which is pretty off-topic to this particular thread, but still relevant) is that sometimes a piece of equipment is worth using even though it's not the most comfortable, whether due to sound, or playability, or whatever.

The top players I know certainly don't choose their horns based entirely on ergonomics.
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« Reply #49 on: Nov 30, 2017, 04:51PM »

Wow! The anti-axial club is out in force today.

In any case, plenty of players (even top level bass trombonists...!?!?!?) use axials quite successfully, even playing technical literature on them. Yes, it's hard to believe. 

Plenty of players don't use them! And that's fine too.

As per usual, the final decision is up to OP about his Shires tenor, which will be a great instrument with a rotor or axial.

I really could care less what people play, just sound good. Professional players have more face time than many amateur players, which probably  explains why while some things works for  a professional, it may not work as well for even a very talented amateur.
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« Reply #50 on: Nov 30, 2017, 10:42PM »

Professional players have more face time than many amateur players, which probably  explains why while some things works for  a professional, it may not work as well for even a very talented amateur.

Plenty of non-pros on these instruments too.

I'm not saying the axial valve is the only option (especially for OP, I think the rotor is probably fine), but it's dogmatic to say it's NOT an option for anybody but a pro, which is pretty common advice on this forum.
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« Reply #51 on: Dec 01, 2017, 12:28AM »

The point that bigbassbone1 is trying to make (which is pretty off-topic to this particular thread, but still relevant) is that sometimes a piece of equipment is worth using even though it's not the most comfortable, whether due to sound, or playability, or whatever.

The top players I know certainly don't choose their horns based entirely on ergonomics.


Yeah kind of  :D the point I was trying to make is that I just dont think the lengh of a valves throw is that important of a factor in deciding whether it is the best option. People disagree though which is fine  :)

I definitely was NOT saying that people should play through pain. I dont know where that came from, I suppose its just one of those things that is difficult to put into text over the internet.

Perhaps a better way of putting it is that I think that going off "feeling" when choosing gear is not the most beneficial way of deciding whether that is how you make your best sound. It is an important factor for other areas, dont get me wrong, but finding your best sound, I believe is just not as simple as finding gear that feels the most comfortable on your face (or in your trigger thumb). That doesnt mean playing painfully, powering through poor technique or posture, I only mean that after you have listened to the sound you are making in a variety of contexts and are happy with it should you then consider if there are more "comfortable" and efficient ways to maintain that same quality of your best sound.

Im not saying thayers are for everyone. At all. Only that if you make a better sound on them than on a different valve, I think it would be crazy to play another valve just because you liked the sensation of not having to move your thumb as far. If you sound just as good on a different valve that has a shorter throw then you should play that valve! Just Dont handicap your sound for a different valve though.... I just dont think its worth it.
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« Reply #52 on: Dec 01, 2017, 04:23AM »

Net of all this is that there is no "free lunch".  Axial valves offer an advantage of more open feel at the expense of a longer throw and more maintenance.  Each person has to weigh what is important.
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« Reply #53 on: Dec 01, 2017, 07:52PM »

Plenty of non-pros on these instruments too.

I'm not saying the axial valve is the only option (especially for OP, I think the rotor is probably fine), but it's dogmatic to say it's NOT an option for anybody but a pro, which is pretty common advice on this forum.
The only person who said that is you. What I read is people starting a preference.  You were also the person bringing up fact that many pros make it work. I am just saying the fact that a pro can make something work doesnít mean it would also be a good choice for an amtateur. Charlie produced great sounds on a instrument with no leadpipe. A lot of pros and amateurs have tried that with less success. We have different preferences. The most important thing is you sound good.
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« Reply #54 on: Dec 01, 2017, 09:31PM »

Wow! Amazed

Did I start something with my comment?

From my perspective it makes little difference other than I notice it (see below for the net difference).  In my case it's really a non-issue and I just mentioned for the sake of people wit small hands.  Not that I think they won;t be able to adapt, but just to state that there is a difference. Overall I actually favor the XO 1236 with the Thayer over the Shires with the rotor, but it is more than just the difference in the valve - much more.  The XO is more responsive, more even in timber and intonation through it's range, able to handle more volume without becoming unhinged and more amenable to coloration - but honestly - not by a huge amount.  The Shires is still an awesome horn.  It's just that he XO is a bit more awesome.

The only real difference the Thayer makes is in the low trigger range.  At least I attribute the XO's great performance in that range to the Thayer valve.  The reason is, I have tried the XO without the Thayer and it was not as robust down low as the one with the Thayer.  Which I guess is more to the point of the OP's original question.
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« Reply #55 on: Dec 01, 2017, 10:02PM »

Well there is pros and cons to both. Some like Axials som donīt, some prefer Rotors some donīt. The through is an issue on the Axials for some but not for others some like the open blow on the low range some pefer the more center blow on the Rotor. I can really only tell what I like, and that does not help the OP much. I have tested good horns with Axials, and some real dogs. The same with rotors. I think the best tip is, try as many horns you can and may you fall in love with one horn, buy it! That may be a Axial or Rotor. In my oppinion the Axial is not better! It is another option. Many player have horns with Axials and horns with rotors and like both.

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« Reply #56 on: Dec 01, 2017, 10:34PM »

Wow! Amazed

Did I start something with my comment?

From my perspective it makes little difference other than I notice it (see below for the net difference).  In my case it's really a non-issue and I just mentioned for the sake of people wit small hands.  Not that I think they won;t be able to adapt, but just to state that there is a difference. Overall I actually favor the XO 1236 with the Thayer over the Shires with the rotor, but it is more than just the difference in the valve - much more.  The XO is more responsive, more even in timber and intonation through it's range, able to handle more volume without becoming unhinged and more amenable to coloration - but honestly - not by a huge amount.  The Shires is still an awesome horn.  It's just that he XO is a bit more awesome.

The only real difference the Thayer makes is in the low trigger range.  At least I attribute the XO's great performance in that range to the Thayer valve.  The reason is, I have tried the XO without the Thayer and it was not as robust down low as the one with the Thayer.  Which I guess is more to the point of the OP's original question.

You didnt start anything. No one did  :D it got a little weird but i think thats just the internet.

NO ONE has said axials or rotors are definitely better.... everyone has said both have merits and disadvantages. Some people just got kind of defensive when I mentioned part of an axial that I dont believe is a disadvantage. Some do, which is fine! I think its good to hear discussion from different minds about it  :)
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« Reply #57 on: Dec 01, 2017, 11:23PM »

The only person who said that is you.

Anything but axials...
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« Reply #58 on: Dec 01, 2017, 11:53PM »

Oh yeah I forgot about the "anything but axials" quote.
I dont understand that. How is that different from saying "anything but rotor valves"? Neither is particularly helpful or constructive.

I hope the OP takes away that both have strong merits depending on playing needs. Writing one or the other off completely for no reason is not helpful for anyone.

To be fair, more people have said that both are worth exploring  Good!
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« Reply #59 on: Dec 02, 2017, 12:23AM »



That is Dan speak for he doesnít like to play Thayer valves. He was replying to the op original question. I donít remember him saying anything about it not being an option for anybody else. Again, the first person to bring that up was you.

Quote
  cannot speak for Noah.  None of us can - he'll need to try them and decide for himself. 

Why don't I like them?  I don't like the blow.  I don't care for the sound I get when playing them.  I don't like the mechanical feel.  I don't like the physical feel.  AND, I think they are ugly.   Way cool  Basically, for ME, there is not one redeeming quality.
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« Reply #60 on: Dec 02, 2017, 03:51AM »

You didnt start anything. No one did  :D it got a little weird but i think thats just the internet.

On that we agree 100%!

Some people just got kind of defensive when I mentioned part of an axial that I dont believe is a disadvantage.

If you're referring to me, I didn't mean to seem defensive, rather I just wanted to offer further explanation.  You can like what you like and believe what you believe - that doesn't bother me one bit.   Good!

Oh yeah I forgot about the "anything but axials" quote.
I dont understand that. How is that different from saying "anything but rotor valves"? Neither is particularly helpful or constructive.

It seemed to me that the OP was asking for an opinion on the topic "Axials vs Rotors."  I provided mine.  Don't like them and never have.  Yes, I could have made a 4 paragraph post on why.  Would that really matter?  Not in my opinion because the OP has to try them for himself no matter what I, your, or anybody else says.  Because some people do like them and sound amazing!

Adrian, play your axial valves dude.  You sound great!  I'm going to enjoy my rotors.  On my second Holton 180.  Which I prefer to every axial valve bass trombone I have ever played.  It's ok to have different opinions.  At the end of the day, just remember that (most?) everyone posting here lives in a 1st world country, has high speed internet, and is talking about trombones.  Is it really worth getting upset?  Not one bit.   Good!

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« Reply #61 on: Dec 02, 2017, 03:53AM »

With my limited knowledge, isnt there one more option? The valves that looks like rotors but are much bigger? Dont know the name on them? I could see Denson Paul Pollard had this valves on his trombone.

Anyway, regular rotors works ok when you get used to them, I suppose also axials do that?

Leif   
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« Reply #62 on: Dec 02, 2017, 04:09AM »

With my limited knowledge, isnt there one more option? The valves that looks like rotors but are much bigger? Dont know the name on them? I could see Denson Paul Pollard had this valves on his trombone.

Anyway, regular rotors works ok when you get used to them, I suppose also axials do that?

Leif   

Yes, there are many options.  Dr. Pollard uses Hagmann valves.  Shires Trubore valves are nice too.  And many versions of the standard rotor.  Plenty of good options.
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« Reply #63 on: Jan 02, 2018, 12:09AM »

This discussion could go on forever. I agree with those above who state that it depends on the horn and the player. If you don't over-oil an axial, it shouldn't degrade/contaminate your slide lube. Dave Taylor, Joseph Alessi, Blair Bollinger and others of their caliber play axials. It doesn't mean they are better or not. It's a matter of taste.
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« Reply #64 on: Jan 02, 2018, 03:32AM »

This discussion could go on forever. I agree with those above who state that it depends on the horn and the player. If you don't over-oil an axial, it shouldn't degrade/contaminate your slide lube. Dave Taylor, Joseph Alessi, Blair Bollinger and others of their caliber play axials. It doesn't mean they are better or not. It's a matter of taste.
Well Dave Taylor have horns both with axial valves and without. Joseph Alessi have played rotor valves a lot some years. I think it has ben said many times on this thread it is a matter of taste, but also the difference could be that in some situations you would chose axials but sometimes you chose rotors. So it is actually impossible to answer the question if axials are worth it. Try for your self. Many do change their minds after some years though.
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« Reply #65 on: Jan 02, 2018, 07:48AM »

Does one type of valve favour being able to sustain very low notes over another?
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« Reply #66 on: Jan 02, 2018, 08:32AM »

Does one type of valve favour being able to sustain very low notes over another?
In my experience a good rotor favour sustained low tones over axial. The axial valve favour bigger sound though.
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« Reply #67 on: Jan 02, 2018, 09:07AM »

I believe I've mentioned this elsewhere in this thread, but it seems to depend on the rest of the setup.  I've played on variations of horns with both types of valves that would make playing sustained notes easier or more difficult. I'm using a Shires with axials right now that is far easier to sustain notes at any dynamic level than the Duo Gravis I was playing on for the last year or so. If rotors were a major contributor, you'd think the Duo Gravis would be the idea subject with it having 562 sized rotors.
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« Reply #68 on: Jan 02, 2018, 09:36AM »

In my experience a good rotor favour sustained low tones over axial. The axial valve favour bigger sound though.

If I still played bass, I'd go for slightly leaner lower notes if it meant a little more sustain. Rotors were the only option available at the time.
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« Reply #69 on: Jan 02, 2018, 12:19PM »

Im interested in purchasing an axial valve for my current horn, a Shires Q series that has a rotary valve.  I've never tried any other type of valve but I know that there are definitely differences in valve types.  And within the next month I am going locally to try out the Axial, and obviously that will decide on whether I purchase or not.  But in the meantime Im wondering, to you, what is the real difference between the two and why do/would you choose one over the other?

I donít like axials. I prefer rotaries based upon the added weight on my left hand. The main consideration is the sound being collaborative with the other members of my group, or ensemble. Secondary to that would be how taxing it is versus the sound output, and does my audience appreciate the difference. So I have a .547 rotary tenor and a single rotor bass. Iím not going to play or buy a horn that is uncomfortable to play. On durability, Iíll stick with rotaries. As for which rotaries Iíd prefer, count me in for Olsen valves. If you become set on buying an axial, better look at Mikeís axial valve too.
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