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Author Topic: My Mini Bass  (Read 866 times)
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pete edwards
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« on: Dec 06, 2017, 02:42PM »

I mentioned this in the double valve tenor thread but I thought I'd start a new thread, which I've been meaning to do for a while...

About a year and a half ago I was inspired by the design of the Yamaha 350C with ascending Bb/C valve, thinking "what if" you took that concept & built it as a bass with an F attachment & .562 bore?
Not wanting to invest a ton of $ I bought myself a cheap Schiller bassbone from Jim Laabs, (which actually turns out to be a decent horn!)
took it apart, cut 12" from the open horn, put it all back together and voila! a Bb/C/F bass trombone!
It has 6 positions which gets you down to a Db in the F valve, low C and B are now pedal tones on the open horn. So it is chromatic down to pedal Db.
The Bb/C ascending valve is reversed so without pushing the valve lever the horn is in Bb.
The horn is compact, perfect for tight stage or pit gigs.
The horn weighs about a pound less than my big bassbone (~4.5 lbs vs ~5.4lbs) which is great for long gigs.
it took me about a year to fine tune the design, just completed it a few weeks ago,
replacing the shortened MTS with tapered tubing to create a constant taper from the 2nd valve to the bell, like a TIS horn (with no TIS).
this made all the difference!
the low (pedal) C is "factory tuned" slightly sharp for a little adjustment.
I also replaced the Schiller leadpipe with a press in Bach 50 pipe, bored out the valve passages and added a spit valve to the F-tubing.

The horn plays great, I absolutely love the results. I play it in big bands and in the orchestra when lighter sound is more appropriate.
My theory is that the lighter sound is more due to the original Schiller horn design than with the size /length of the horn.
I think if I did the same thing to a bigger horn it would have a more "Orchestral" sound, but that was never the intention for this horn anyway, so it works for me.

here's a link to some pics (hopefully this works) of it side by side with my Bach 36 for comparison.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/GRMNqHOXsODCQ1c83
https://photos.app.goo.gl/SlMFyB6qFbdUjxpu2





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davdud101
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 06, 2017, 03:25PM »

This is to say that the horn is ACTUALLY pitched in C technically (if you were to remove the valves), but because the Bb valve is always depressed it's not in C UNTIL the valve is closed and it 'goes straight'? Cool. I was wondering cuz I was like "that tiny loop really can't be more than a minor third... how does it move to F and C?" xDD

Is it easy to switch between this horn and more conventional tunings? And how's the build quality of the base Schiller horn in general?
Really cool build though, surprisingly small in size, and what a great look! Have fun  Good!
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pete edwards
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 06, 2017, 04:12PM »

Yes the "straight" horn is in C, the first valve (thumb lever) is in F, the 2nd valve (middle finger is Bb, but its reversed so pushing it raises the horn from Bb to C.
It plays just like any other Bb/F horn, so there was virtually no learning curve, other than low C and low B are played with the 2nd finger lever (by itself), as 8 foot pedal tones, rather than through 2 valves and 16 feet of tubing as on a conventional bass bone. very easy to retrain my brain, as I normally play on a dependent bass so I only use the 2nd valve for low D down to low B anyhow.
Also only having 6 positions resulted in a couple "surprises" early on reaching for B's or E's.
With both levers pressed its in a flat G, which puts a low F & the C above it in a normal 3rd position, which can be convenient sometimes.

As for tunings, I designed it so I could un-reverse the second valve, swap valve tuning slides, and it becomes a C/G/A/F bass bone, in other words a step higher than the conventional Bb/F/G/Eb tuning. I have not played this setup, though, and I probably won't in the foreseeable future- too much thinking involved.

The build quality of the Schiller was excellent, really, except for the valve linkages which I replaced. but I found no issues with the soldering, slide was near perfect, tuning slide alignments were good, really a lot of bang for the buck. The buffing and lacquering were as good as any other manufacturer although I stripped it of to do the rebuild. the horn is much uglier now even if it plays better.
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Driving Park

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« Reply #3 on: Dec 07, 2017, 07:44AM »

I've always wanted to do this. Thein actually sells a Bb/ascending C tenor and offers an additional F valve as option. Voigt (can't remember if it was Jurgen or Helmut) used to sell an orchestral tenor that was dependent ascending C/descending F, which is perfect for tenor players as it gave them the low C and B (and G3 in 1st/Gb3 in 2nd) without compromising anything else on the instrument. However, I've always been more intrigued by making the valves independent as the slide position options are insane. I have spreadsheet that diagrams all the position possibilities with valves in independent F/ascending C (combined G), independent E/ascending C (combined Gb), independent F/ascending B (combined Gb), and dependent ascending D/descending Gb. On an F/asc. C instrument, you only have to go beyond 4th position once, for low Db. On an E/asc. C instrument, you never have to go past 4th but there are a few more instances where you need 4th. On a Gb/asc. D instrument, not only do you never need to go past 4th, but if you want you can play down chromatically from top to bottom playing 1-2-3-4 over and over again. That's more of a thought exercise than anything else, but the F/C and E/C instruments are extremely valid as light bass trombones.
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Always WTB: Boosey & Co. ballad horn in C | Distin altophone | King 1147/48 altonium | Boosey/Courtois antoniophones | DEG alto cornet in F
hyperbolica
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« Reply #4 on: Dec 07, 2017, 08:10AM »

Very nice. Clever design. The only problem I see is that there's no tuning slide. If you went the rest of the way with it, make it TIS, that would be even better. I've got an Eb slide for my single valve bass, which forces you to use all 7 positions, but this compact horn has a definite appeal.
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elmsandr

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« Reply #5 on: Dec 07, 2017, 08:58AM »

Yeah!

This is pretty much what I was doing.  I was just doing it in tenor form and decided to go all the way to Eb so that I could fit it in the tiniest of spaces.  I have also played a bit of alto trombone in the past so didn't have to think too much about positions.

And a note... because it is an Ascending valve, the valve tuning slide functions as the main Bb tuning slide.  The C side may not have much of a tuning slide, but it doesn't need one.

Cheers,
Andy
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Andrew Elms
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« Reply #6 on: Dec 07, 2017, 09:15AM »

the valve tuning slide functions as the main Bb tuning slide. 

That's very cool. Just have to be careful of tuning if you ever pull that C valve. Excellent. This is an idea that should have caught on somewhere. Maybe Wessex could build a few.
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Stan

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« Reply #7 on: Dec 07, 2017, 10:05AM »

I've always thought this would be a great option.  You get all the fun of a G valve, you don't lose the F valve, and low C and B aren't problems.  Sell that horn as a prototype "Modern Tenor" to Yamaha.  I'd buy one.
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pete edwards
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« Reply #8 on: Dec 07, 2017, 10:31AM »

hey thanks for the responses!

Quote
This is an idea that should have caught on somewhere. Maybe Wessex could build a few.
I actually pitched the idea to Jonathan last year, not interested. Then I decided to build it myself (at half the cost of the same horn from Wessex)

Quote
The C side may not have much of a tuning slide, but it doesn't need one.
exactly right. I tuned the C side slightly sharp (for me) at 70 degrees F so it works in most all situations. I tune all my horns sharp anyhow. 1st position should NEVER be all the way in, IMHO.
Besides building tuning in the slide would defeat the benefit of having an ultra-light side! i figured for 2 notes, totally not worth it. I haven't had a MTS on my big bass for 15 years, never missed it. Outdoor gigs that are in hot weather, I just play everything a bit farther down the slide, too cold, well, that's happened only once and the rest of the band was ridiculously flat too so it didn't matter.

Quote
You get all the fun of a G valve, you don't lose the F valve, and low C and B aren't problems.
The combination (both levers pressed) that produces G is a bit flat with the tuning slides where they need to be to get a good Db, but Gb and down are totally usable, I have not really utilized those alternates much yet. Cool thing is the F is in a normal 3rd position, so I can see that being advantageous. being used to a dependent setup for many years, I'm not really attuned to alternate valve notes.
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heinz gries

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« Reply #9 on: Dec 07, 2017, 10:58AM »

GŁnter Frost in germany once build this kind of trombones, better say, Helmut Voigt built it and he saled
them under his name. His website doesn,t exist anymore. I found only some pictures on a facebook site.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/ConmotoDesignOffice/photos/?tab=album&album_id=459647794070542

perhaps take contact with Helmut Voigt

kontakt@helmut-voigt.de
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T.Mittag custom alto
Helmut Voigt alto with modified 36 Bach slide and brassark copper leadpipe
Conn 34H alto in D
Courtois alto
Bach LT6,gold plated,with Hoelle copper tuningslide.
Getzen Super deluxe silver plated and copper rim bell
Getzen 3508
pete edwards
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« Reply #10 on: Dec 07, 2017, 11:09AM »

Quote
Thein actually sells a Bb/ascending C tenor and offers an additional F valve as option. Voigt (can't remember if it was Jurgen or Helmut) used to sell an orchestral tenor that was dependent ascending C/descending F
I think it was Jurgen, but the designer was Gunter Frost.
His horns can bee seen on the internet archive wayback machine, Ill try to find a link to it & post.

His horns were all tenors, or very small tenorbass. Built in the Germnan style. they had 7+ positions (8 on the C side) so the slide was actually longer than a normal one, and the bell flare shorter. they were dependent horns.
My design has several other advantages other than the independent/ dependent arrangement:
1) I tried to preserve as much as possible the normal ratio of cylindrical to conical tubing, for sound as well as tuning of partials. Everything lines up tuning wise about where I expect it to without surprises.
2) Those horns and the Thein were very much in the German trombone design tradition. Mine is very much an American design. The sound is very much an American bass bone sound although more compact than I am used to on my big bass, mainly due to the original design of the Schiller. It after all is a copy of a King 7B, and has .565 dia bore through the valves. I would describe the sound and playability as very Duo-Gravis like, although its been many years since I've played a DG. But the point is this could be done to any modern (rotary valve) bass trombone with the right bends. My choice of the Schiller was based purely in low cost. It worked better than I ever imagined it would, partly due to the surprisingly high quality of the Schiller.
3) I could in theory swap the bell flare out with any production bass bone. I made no cuts to the bell flare. I may need to adjust the tapered section before it because the Schiller is about 0.05" smaller diameter at the start of the flare compared to say a Bach 50.
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heinz gries

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« Reply #11 on: Dec 07, 2017, 11:14AM »

both Voigt built for Frost, i had had a C/Bb built by Helmut
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T.Mittag custom alto
Helmut Voigt alto with modified 36 Bach slide and brassark copper leadpipe
Conn 34H alto in D
Courtois alto
Bach LT6,gold plated,with Hoelle copper tuningslide.
Getzen Super deluxe silver plated and copper rim bell
Getzen 3508
pete edwards
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« Reply #12 on: Dec 07, 2017, 11:45AM »

cool! how did it play?
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heinz gries

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« Reply #13 on: Dec 07, 2017, 01:47PM »

cool! how did it play?

intonation was good. Tone, small german tenor like. But the handling was bad, front to heavy, no balance
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T.Mittag custom alto
Helmut Voigt alto with modified 36 Bach slide and brassark copper leadpipe
Conn 34H alto in D
Courtois alto
Bach LT6,gold plated,with Hoelle copper tuningslide.
Getzen Super deluxe silver plated and copper rim bell
Getzen 3508
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« Reply #14 on: Dec 07, 2017, 08:17PM »

Way cool!

I have been thinking that is a good thing for years.

My Bach bass is an Bb/F/C dependent. Low C makes sense. Less tubing makes lots of sense.
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See my profile for my horns. To long to put on each post.
pete edwards
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« Reply #15 on: Dec 08, 2017, 05:28AM »

My Bach bass is an Bb/F/C dependent. Low C makes sense. Less tubing makes lots of sense.

For you there would be virtually NO learning curve & probably over a lb lighter!
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pete edwards
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« Reply #16 on: Dec 08, 2017, 07:21AM »

I was just doing it in tenor form and decided to go all the way to Eb so that I could fit it in the tiniest of spaces. 

Andy, I saw your comment about the screw bell on the double-valve tenor page, I was planning on doing the same thing. I figure with the slide only ~29" OAL it would fit in a viola case, and into the overhead bin on airlines. I'm afraid to cut it now though because it plays & balances really well & I don't want to mess it up. Plus, the case and the screw ring would cost more than what I have put into it so far.
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pete edwards
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« Reply #17 on: Dec 08, 2017, 07:35AM »

I found the archived versions of Gunter Frost's website:

https://web.archive.org/web/20030205074517/http://www.frosttrombone.com
https://web.archive.org/web/20030205201336/http://www.frosttrombone.com:80/english.html
https://web.archive.org/web/20060206100841/http://www.frosttrombone.com:80/modelle.html

and here's an archived version of Horn Guys' very thorough description of it:

https://web.archive.org/web/20160521124311/https://www.hornguys.com/products/used-jurgen-voigt-custom-bb-c-f-tenor-trombone
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