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Author Topic: Bach Bass too flat  (Read 2219 times)
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jwebster
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« on: Dec 28, 2017, 08:24PM »

Hi All-

I've got a Bach 50B2 that I just picked up and I'm having an issue I hope you can help shed some light on. No matter what I do I can not get the thing up to pitch. Always 20-25 cents flat.

This one still has the valve linkage where both valves are operated by the thumb. The slide receiver obviously has been replaced from a horn with a traditional thumb and middle finger valve setup (you can see the diamond shaped outline from where the old second valve linkage was attached). Does anyone have an original 50B2 that is willing to verify how long that slide receiver is on their horn? I am not sure if this is the standard "all bach basses need to be cut down" thing, or if that replacement slide receiver was taken from a different Bach model that has a longer slide receiver.

Thanks,

Jared
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 28, 2017, 08:41PM »

Is this your first bass trombone?  Often the first bass and bass mouthpiece are much larger than what you used to play and your embouchure is set up for the smaller mouthpiece.  This makes the horn flat.

If you have this problem with all bass trombones you may be using too big a mouthpiece for the state of your embouchure.

I wouldn't rule out the fact that there might be a "long" receiver.  But it would have to be pretty long to make you 25 cents flat!
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jwebster
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 28, 2017, 08:43PM »

Not new to bass. I have a masters degree in Trombone performance and have been playing bass for 20 years.

Primarily play a Shires. Just picked up a Bach as a potential second horn.
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elmsandr

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« Reply #3 on: Dec 28, 2017, 08:55PM »

Hi All-

I've got a Bach 50B2 that I just picked up and I'm having an issue I hope you can help shed some light on. No matter what I do I can not get the thing up to pitch. Always 20-25 cents flat.

This one still has the valve linkage where both valves are operated by the thumb. The slide receiver obviously has been replaced from a horn with a traditional thumb and middle finger valve setup (you can see the diamond shaped outline from where the old second valve linkage was attached). Does anyone have an original 50B2 that is willing to verify how long that slide receiver is on their horn? I am not sure if this is the standard "all bach basses need to be cut down" thing, or if that replacement slide receiver was taken from a different Bach model that has a longer slide receiver.

Thanks,

Jared
The hand slide receiver on all Bach basses is the longest hand slide receiver that I know of from modern basses.  Any other make is 1/2 inch shorter.

Bach basses are just built flat.
Andy
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« Reply #4 on: Dec 28, 2017, 09:26PM »

Bachs are long. I do have a 50B2 (and have had two in the past). I play them with the tuning slide all the way in, or nearly so. However, they are not any more flat than a stock 50B or othe rotor 50 model.

Yours was converted from split triggers back to stock? That seems pretty backwards!
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« Reply #5 on: Dec 29, 2017, 05:13AM »

jwebster, I recall that short tuning slides were an option you could order on all Bach basses a few years ago. The cutting to raise pitch problem has been around for at least 75 years.
The R&D for the 50B and 50B2 was done when players had smaller oral cavities, and when mouthpieces were indeed smaller and had cups of smaller internal volume.

As for the Bach 50B3??-- you can't convince me that there was any R&D for that model. I think they just looked at a picture of another horn and got the torches out.......

If it is long enough to accommodate the cut try, 1/2" per side to start, it can't hurt, as you can then pull the slide out if you didn't get relief, and you can cut more if it does make an improvement.

Also, the mod who mistook you for a beginner has also mistaken a student of Charlie Vernon for a beginner. Of course, mods here on a faceless internet on TTF also mistake beginners frequently -- they assume that because kids have access to a computer they also have a teacher.

  Please don't take being mistaken too personally, it happens very frequently here on TTF. We are all anonymous.

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« Reply #6 on: Dec 29, 2017, 05:59AM »

I have had the same issue with Bachs.  My current valve section came from a prominent pro player and arrived from him with the tuning slide already cut to remedy the issue.  I do believe that the horns are flat, but also think that though we have all become accustomed to the massive modern mouthpieces, they are still pushing us flat, making the length of the Bachs more problematic than ever.  Even as a doubler, I consider a 1-1/2 on the smaller end of the size spectrum to attain a sound that fits with a section of other in shape players on orchestral sized instruments. 
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« Reply #7 on: Dec 29, 2017, 06:16AM »

Years ago, I bought a early 70's Bach 50B. It was too flat(I play a 1&1/2G). Had a tech cut 1/2 inch off the tuning slide. Problem solved.
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« Reply #8 on: Dec 29, 2017, 06:20AM »

I've had to cut down the tuning slide of every Bach trombone I've owned except a 36.
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jwebster
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« Reply #9 on: Dec 29, 2017, 06:59AM »

Thanks for the responses everyone. I was aware of Bachs generally playing flat, but wanted to make sure that trait was not being exacerbated by this being the wrong replacement part. I'll just assume the replacement part is right.

Re: being converted from split back to stock: not sure if that is what happened or if the slide receiver needed to be replaced at some point and the part they used was from a horn with split triggers. I am assuming option 2 but I have no evidence to back that up.

Also, no offense taken!
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« Reply #10 on: Dec 29, 2017, 09:31AM »

If you have a chance, try your bell section with an Edwards slide. I think they are a little shorter, and may solve the problem. Then maybe work out a trade with someone?
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« Reply #11 on: Dec 29, 2017, 05:50PM »

I had my Bach bass tune slide cut short in the 70's.
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« Reply #12 on: Dec 29, 2017, 06:42PM »

jwebster, I recall that short tuning slides were an option you could order on all Bach basses a few years ago. The cutting to raise pitch problem has been around for at least 75 years.
The R&D for the 50B and 50B2 was done when players had smaller oral cavities



When players had smaller oral cavities?

You know, I see the terms "large" and "small" oral cavity used here quite a lot by different people. How do you know for sure if you have a large or small oral cavity? In fact what is an average oral cavity? I dont think I have ever heard of anyone going to the dentist to have them remark on the unusal size of their oral cavity. Is it dependant on how many marshmallows you can fit in your mouth at any one time?  :D
 
I suspect this is a made up term by trombone players.... but I would love to be proven wrong and find out where my own oral cavity sits on the scale.
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« Reply #13 on: Dec 29, 2017, 09:03PM »

When players had smaller oral cavities?

You know, I see the terms "large" and "small" oral cavity used here quite a lot by different people. How do you know for sure if you have a large or small oral cavity? In fact what is an average oral cavity? I dont think I have ever heard of anyone going to the dentist to have them remark on the unusal size of their oral cavity. Is it dependant on how many marshmallows you can fit in your mouth at any one time?  :D
 
I suspect this is a made up term by trombone players.... but I would love to be proven wrong and find out where my own oral cavity sits on the scale.

This made me chuckle and reminded me about the scene in the Coneheads movie where Dan Akroyd is at the dentist and the dentist keeps telling him to open wider... hehehe.



--Andy in OKC
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« Reply #14 on: Dec 30, 2017, 06:31AM »

Some who post, have HUGE oral cavities-at their keyboards....
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« Reply #15 on: Dec 30, 2017, 07:25AM »

I wonder how many tuningslides on Bach bass trombones that are cut? Many many. I had to cut quite a few my self. I do know lots of other bass bone players who hade their tuning slide cut, so it is very common.
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« Reply #16 on: Dec 30, 2017, 07:47AM »

You'd think the Bach builders would catch on after a while and just make the darn tuning slide shorter.  They must be deaf and blind.

In any case, I feel most trombones are built on the flat side.  To me the average player should need to have the tuning slide out about 3/8 of the total slide movement, but instead most seem to be substantially less than 1/4 or 3/16 of the total movement.  What's with that?

Of all my trombones only the Blessing B88 and the plastic Tiger are truly capable of playing in tune outside on a cold winter's day.
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« Reply #17 on: Dec 30, 2017, 05:10PM »

I wonder how many tuningslides on Bach bass trombones that are cut? Many many. I had to cut quite a few my self. I do know lots of other bass bone players who hade their tuning slide cut, so it is very common.

Did you find this an issue with both Bach singles and doubles? I as because I wonder if when adding the 2nd valve if proper allowances were made in the design to account for the added length of the 2nd valve?
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« Reply #18 on: Dec 30, 2017, 05:30PM »

There is a well known explanation of the phenomena of the larger oral cavity-

Arnold Jacobs, tubist of the CSO, was sharing a master class in Japan with a much physically smaller Japanese tubist. The much smaller tubist borrowed Jacobs' horn to demonstrate something, and found that he had to pull the tuning slide about 4".  ( 8" total to bring it into tune.)( As I recall the story, it has been over 35 years since I read it in print.......)

The world's authority on all things brass and physical, Jacobs, attributed the difference in tuning slide pull between players using the same horn and mouthpiece, as the proof that the difference was the oral cavity. Jacobs was huge-- he pushed the slide in. His professional counterpart was tiny, he pulled it 4" to get the same tuning.

Think about it-- the horn has no brain. The horn has no idea where the mouthpiece ends, and the oral cavity begins. As far as the brainless horn knows, the length of the horn always includes the oral cavity, and the volume of it, perhaps as far back as the uvula and glottis.

***
I had occasion myself to be examined by a ear/nose/throat specialist for an unrelated medical exam. I asked the doctor to measure my oral cavity, after telling him the Jacobs story, and explaining that I had occasion to cut most of my horns. The specialist just inserted a small white plastic ruler to take a reading in cm. As suspected my oral cavity-- a large adult's male oral cavity-- was larger than normal, but well within human limits. On the larger size limit, and confirmed by specialist.

I cut most of my horns.
We ARE as a species larger now.

Go to any vintage clothing shop. You'll find that most of the extant vintage men's hats are size 7 or slightly smaller. Now, this is a very unscientific example, and I freely admit that perhaps the smaller hats survived because nobody wore them, or perhaps because they were well cared for, or they are still for sale because nobody has a size 7 head now.

Bach bass bones are frequently cut because the $$$$$ rules all. If they sold at the length they were built, nobody bothered to redo the R&D, if they were cut, it was no skin off of the noses of the Bach R&D team.
A team which likely never existed.
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« Reply #19 on: Dec 30, 2017, 06:06PM »

There is a well known explanation of the phenomena of the larger oral cavity-

Arnold Jacobs, tubist of the CSO, was sharing a master class in Japan with a much physically smaller Japanese tubist. The much smaller tubist borrowed Jacobs' horn to demonstrate something, and found that he had to pull the tuning slide about 4".  ( 8" total to bring it into tune.)( As I recall the story, it has been over 35 years since I read it in print.......)

The world's authority on all things brass and physical, Jacobs, attributed the difference in tuning slide pull between players using the same horn and mouthpiece, as the proof that the difference was the oral cavity. Jacobs was huge-- he pushed the slide in. His professional counterpart was tiny, he pulled it 4" to get the same tuning.

Think about it-- the horn has no brain. The horn has no idea where the mouthpiece ends, and the oral cavity begins. As far as the brainless horn knows, the length of the horn always includes the oral cavity, and the volume of it, perhaps as far back as the uvula and glottis.

***
I had occasion myself to be examined by a ear/nose/throat specialist for an unrelated medical exam. I asked the doctor to measure my oral cavity, after telling him the Jacobs story, and explaining that I had occasion to cut most of my horns. The specialist just inserted a small white plastic ruler to take a reading in cm. As suspected my oral cavity-- a large adult's male oral cavity-- was larger than normal, but well within human limits. On the larger size limit, and confirmed by specialist.

I cut most of my horns.
We ARE as a species larger now.

Go to any vintage clothing shop. You'll find that most of the extant vintage men's hats are size 7 or slightly smaller. Now, this is a very unscientific example, and I freely admit that perhaps the smaller hats survived because nobody wore them, or perhaps because they were well cared for, or they are still for sale because nobody has a size 7 head now.

Bach bass bones are frequently cut because the $$$$$ rules all. If they sold at the length they were built, nobody bothered to redo the R&D, if they were cut, it was no skin off of the noses of the Bach R&D team.
A team which likely never existed.


Hmmmmmmmm..... maybe. I am still very skeptical. Its possible the only difference between Jacobs and this other player was their oral cavities..... but I doubt it. There are so many other factors and variables happening when someone plays, that I dont think you can really just single out the oral cavity as the only difference.

Well, you are the first person to tell me they actually had their oral cavity measured. So did the specialist tell you what a "normal" reading would have been? 
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