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Author Topic: Bach Bass too flat  (Read 2230 times)
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bonesmarsh
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« Reply #20 on: Dec 30, 2017, 06:26PM »

Numbers mean NOTHING.

An extreme example: When my daughter was born she was one of the rare kids who refused both soothers and other pacifiers. However, if we inverted a hand and gave her a little finger tip to suck she was quite happy and pacified. Her oral cavity at birth was the size of only the tip of an adult finger.
That was perfectly normal.

Children have small oral cavities until they lose their baby teeth and grow a larger jaw to accommodate adult teeth.

I'm 6'2", and a very large adult male/ size 16 shoes. Quite normal for my gender and age. Why do you suspect that my oral cavity does not also reflect my size, say, relative to a female of my species.

Look at it this way--- beginners of the age 10 to 12 have small faces. A Bach 12C mouthpiece might completely cover the whole embouchre of a very small kid aged 10, and their oral cavity is relatively small as well.



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MrPillow
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« Reply #21 on: Dec 30, 2017, 06:54PM »

Yet none of that explains why Bach basses, seemingly more so than any other brand of trombone in existence, have to be shortened to be usable.
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« Reply #22 on: Dec 30, 2017, 07:07PM »

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.
...
Nah, they are just faithful to old ideas to a fault.  You may have noticed that they still make two basses that are Bb/F/bE and make it a pain to buy a slide to put it in Eb or D.

Of course, the really funny thing is that they DID shorten the tuning slides from V.B.ís original designs.  Just not enough.  Really, check out the straight tuning slide lengths on some original Mt.V and NY large tenors and basses.  Hilariously too long.

Cheers,
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Andrew Elms
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« Reply #23 on: Dec 30, 2017, 07:18PM »

Numbers mean NOTHING.

An extreme example: When my daughter was born she was one of the rare kids who refused both soothers and other pacifiers. However, if we inverted a hand and gave her a little finger tip to suck she was quite happy and pacified. Her oral cavity at birth was the size of only the tip of an adult finger.
That was perfectly normal.

Children have small oral cavities until they lose their baby teeth and grow a larger jaw to accommodate adult teeth.

I'm 6'2", and a very large adult male/ size 16 shoes. Quite normal for my gender and age. Why do you suspect that my oral cavity does not also reflect my size, say, relative to a female of my species.

Look at it this way--- beginners of the age 10 to 12 have small faces. A Bach 12C mouthpiece might completely cover the whole embouchre of a very small kid aged 10, and their oral cavity is relatively small as well.





No im not saying your oral cavity doesnt reflect your size, Im saying what you just said. Numbers mean nothing. To me, It seems like an odd thing to bring up when talking about things that affect how you play the trombone. Seeing as how having a small or large oral cavity doesnt really have to impact how you sound I am just surprised whenever I see someone mention it.
You dont have to have a big face to play a big brass instrument and vice versa....

This discussion has probably gone on too long for its purpose. My original point was that mentioning oral cavities in most cases seems to be a mostly self diagnosed thing which bears little to no relevance in trombone playing. I would bet being a big person doesnt always mean you have a big oral cavity (apparently in your case it does), but im surprised at how many people assume their own is small or large....

I bet mine is average  :D
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« Reply #24 on: Dec 30, 2017, 07:21PM »

I do not believe that trombone players as a whole had smaller oral cavities in the 40s and 50s than they do today.  Why would that be true?

And why aren't the old Conns flat?  Or Holtons?...

For what it is worth, my 1966 50B is a bit flatter than the other basses I own or have played.  Warmed up in a average room, I am pulled out 1/4" or less.  Works for me.
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« Reply #25 on: Dec 30, 2017, 07:25PM »

I had a closed single valve Bach 50B during my freshmen year.  It was my very first bass and used for a year until I went to high school my sophomore year to use the school's Benge 290.

I had pretty good results with it and it was probably one of the best Bach 50s I've personally played.  As of flatness, I didn't pulled the main tuning that much but I was a young student so I didn't know much back then but looking back, it did somewhat played on the flat side but, hey it was years ago.

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« Reply #26 on: Dec 30, 2017, 08:09PM »

Yet none of that explains why Bach basses, seemingly more so than any other brand of trombone in existence, have to be shortened to be usable.
The most convincing theory I've seen is mouthpiece design. Bach trombones are made to be played with Bach mouthpieces, and when you start introducing larger mouthpieces that make horns play flatter in general, Bach trombones are going to play even flatter. Things are going to be flat on Bach especially if you play with your slide off the bumpers!

Even Bach trumpets play kind of weird if you use them with a non Bach mouthpiece or a mouthpiece that strays to far off from the original Bach dimensions. There's a reason why MK Drawing makes such a killing on their Bach trumpet tuning slides and leadpipes.

And why aren't the old Conns flat?  Or Holtons?...
Every Holton TR180 and TR185 I've played with a Schilke 60 sized mouthpiece has been on the flatter side of things much like a Bach 50B. My Minick bass trombone is much the same way. I push out maybe a 1/10th of an inch on all the above mentioned horns.

Honestly I'd rather have a horn on the flatter side then have a horn built intentionally sharp for large mouthpieces like a Getzen or Edwards bass trombones are built. IMO a horn plays best with the tuning slide in as far as possible and being forced to have the tuning slide out 1-2 inches isn't that appealing to me.
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« Reply #27 on: Dec 30, 2017, 08:53PM »

If all Bach trombones played flat, and needed to be cut to be usable, then we could expect the vast majority of used Bach trombones to have cut tuning slides. I have seen a lot of used Bach trombones, and I can tell you that this simply is not true. The vast majority retain the original length tuning slide. Some players need to cut the tuning slides. To make an absolute statement that "Bachs are flat" is wrong, because it depends on the player. Personally, I have never played a Bach trombone that was too flat for me to play in tune. Shires trombones do play sharper than Bach trombones, but you can't categorically say one is right and the other is wrong, and have that be true for all players. I don't know about my oral cavity, but I do have a large hat size. But I also work a lot on making sure that my lips are buzzing the same note through the mouthpiece that I am playing on the horn, whereas many players tend to buzz a pitch that is lower than the note they are playing, and I think that pulls the pitch down.
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bonesmarsh
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« Reply #28 on: Dec 31, 2017, 07:19AM »

Another theory, Blowero, and no disrespect, just an observation:

There are lots of USED Bach trombones floating around out there because of one of two reasons
1/ Slightly worn vintage horns are sold more frequently now that there are literally thousands of choices in the modern boutique horn world
2/ Used Bachs are on the market because the former owners just finally got fed up with fighting a horn that was flat, and it didn't occur to them to just cut it and keep it. They were convinced that the horn was a dog, and sold it, instead of looking into why.
The good ones-- in tune ones-- are kept, the bad ones are flipped.

And, yes, all of the Bach mouthpiece R&D was done and dusted decades BEFORE the advent of the double valve horn even existed. Bach 2G and 1 1/2G were pre-WWII designs. The 1 1/4 never showed up until after the company sale in 1960s, and not until the late 70s.

Plug a 2G into a flat Bach, and the pitch does rise, as does the rise in pithc occur when you have a smaller oral cavity in conjunction with  smaller 2G designed mouthpiece.

If you do want to see if your horn is flat, play a Bb in 1st position. See if the tuner you're checking it on is registering it is   showing it as in tune. Match the 1st position note with the same note in #5. Play with your chops and the slide to see if the sound improves, or the horn is more brilliant in sound ( not sharper, just more brilliant) as you adjust the slide to a sharper #5.
There is your answer.

Why would anyone accept the sound that might be produced with a flat horn, if it is less brilliant? Because the mind is a fickle thing. You drop thousands of dollars on a horn, and you refuse to believe that you've bought a poor design, especially when a Bach was/is supposed to be a quality horn.

Do the 1st position vs #5 experiment, It is quite surprising.
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« Reply #29 on: Dec 31, 2017, 12:37PM »

Another theory, Blowero, and no disrespect, just an observation:

There are lots of USED Bach trombones floating around out there because of one of two reasons
1/ Slightly worn vintage horns are sold more frequently now that there are literally thousands of choices in the modern boutique horn world
2/ Used Bachs are on the market because the former owners just finally got fed up with fighting a horn that was flat, and it didn't occur to them to just cut it and keep it. They were convinced that the horn was a dog, and sold it, instead of looking into why.
The good ones-- in tune ones-- are kept, the bad ones are flipped.

No disrespect intended, but here is why I disagree with your theory:

1. There are lots of ALL used trombones floating around, not just Bachs.

2. The idea being promoted in this thread is not that there are "good ones" and "flat ones", but rather that Bachs are ALL flat. And again, if that were the case, then they would ALL have to be cut down, and they are not all cut down. In fact, very few of them are cut down.

3. I can't accept the idea that Bach manufactured hundreds of thousands of trombones just so people can buy them, realize that they are no good, and "flip" them. Bitcoin maybe, but trombones, no. The Bach 42 and the Conn 88H were THE standard for a long time, and were used in most major symphonies. If this were a horn that is unusably flat, that just couldn't have occurred. It's impossible.
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bonesmarsh
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« Reply #30 on: Dec 31, 2017, 02:52PM »

Good points, Blowero, and you likely see, as a repair person hundreds times more horns than the rest of us.

Likely the Bach 42s aren't prone to being flat because most folk blow them with a 5G size mouthpiece, unlike the BASS versions played with mouthpieces larger than the Bach 1G.

As for the piles of Bachs floating around, remember that here on TTF lots of press is given to the relative worth of any Bach only being fit to play in Texan marching bands, or for beginners, until daddy and mummy can buy them a new Shires.......
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« Reply #31 on: Dec 31, 2017, 03:37PM »

I've seen and owned a not-insignificamt number of Bach basses. Only 1, a '70s 50B2 was cut.

Plenty of 42s being played out there with large mouthpieces, too. The 42 is a little shorter in general, I think.
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« Reply #32 on: Dec 31, 2017, 05:38PM »

No disrespect intended, but here is why I disagree with your theory:

1. There are lots of ALL used trombones floating around, not just Bachs.

2. The idea being promoted in this thread is not that there are "good ones" and "flat ones", but rather that Bachs are ALL flat. And again, if that were the case, then they would ALL have to be cut down, and they are not all cut down. In fact, very few of them are cut down.

3. I can't accept the idea that Bach manufactured hundreds of thousands of trombones just so people can buy them, realize that they are no good, and "flip" them. Bitcoin maybe, but trombones, no. The Bach 42 and the Conn 88H were THE standard for a long time, and were used in most major symphonies. If this were a horn that is unusably flat, that just couldn't have occurred. It's impossible.
No, really... Bach changed the design length of the straight sections of tuning slide. The design closed length was too long and they changed it.  I donít have my 50B original tubes anymore, but the straight parts were about 1/2Ē longer.  Iím too lazy to get a camera or tape measure, but I can show this on my 42s, as I have a 90s Elkhart and a MTV downstairs.  Bachs were designed too long, the factory made a change, and it still wasnít enough to match the market.

Oh, and the Conn Fuchs down there is also too long.

Cheers,
Andy
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Andrew Elms
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« Reply #33 on: Dec 31, 2017, 05:43PM »



Look at the main tuning slide from the initial conversion of my Bach bass. Big leg is closed, original length of tuning slide. Small leg, which was a new 2006ish part. Notice how it is shorter and not seated? The tube is just shorter, man, not mis aligned. Yes, I fixed this later.

(Note to mods the pic is in my gallery here if I mucked up the link)

Cheers,
Andy
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« Reply #34 on: Jan 01, 2018, 07:19AM »

Bear in mind too that Bach hand slides are a little longer than other "contemporary" designs.  Edwards and Shires will make you a Bach length slide. I played on a 42 with a Shires 525 slide (and occasionally a Shires 562 slide) when I was woking on a masters degree and both combinations worked better for me than the stock slide. Although I never, ironically, tried the combination with a 547 slide other than the stock one so way too many variables to make that advice be heeded with anything other than a big grain of salt.
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« Reply #35 on: Jan 01, 2018, 07:34AM »

I have played a bunch of 50B's made between 1966 and 2000-ish.  They were all identical in terms of tuning slides.  So, perhaps Bach shortened them sometime after 2000...
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« Reply #36 on: Jan 01, 2018, 08:02AM »

I don't have the experience with multiple Bachs that many of you do.  I've only played my own, purchased in 1971.  It came with a 4G mouthpiece. 

I just tried the Bb in #5 experiment.  I couldn't tell any difference.  I'll give it another shot later when I can record it.

But anyway.  A what if? occurs to me.

What if over the years since the Bach was designed, our collective tone concept has changed?  If our concept is darker, perhaps we play lower in the slot, hence flatter.  And if people who choose Bach partly do so because Bachs are supposed to play darker, we're selecting for people who tend to play lower. 
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« Reply #37 on: Jan 01, 2018, 08:58AM »

One more point for somebody of a more recent vintage than myself to post about-

So many Bach basses were being cut to accommodate the use of the original length Schilke mouthpieces, that eventually Schilke changed to a standard Morse taper ( Bach taper) and Bach shank length.

When did this happen?
I think we can all agree that it happened to fix in part the flatness problem of the horns most likely to be used with the original length Schilke pieces ( Bach basses).
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« Reply #38 on: Jan 01, 2018, 10:03AM »

I am a big guy with a low voice. I sing too low to sing bass in the choir.
All of my 547 Edwards slides are cut and my Bach bass is cut a lot.
My small bore Edwards is ok all the way in. It will be cut soon.
Funny my Conn alto is ok almost all the way in and ok.
I also play my 1st position out a 1/4" to 3/8" so that makes a need for shorter.
It is the person not the horn that determines the length of tubing beyond the face to resonate the pitch.
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« Reply #39 on: Jan 01, 2018, 12:07PM »


Look at the main tuning slide from the initial conversion of my Bach bass. Big leg is closed, original length of tuning slide. Small leg, which was a new 2006ish part. Notice how it is shorter and not seated? The tube is just shorter, man, not mis aligned. Yes, I fixed this later.

(Note to mods the pic is in my gallery here if I mucked up the link)

Cheers,
Andy

I'm not saying you're wrong, but I don't follow as to why you didn't use the original tuning slide tube in the conversion, and how you know the Thayer valve set isn't just shorter than the original valve set.
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