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Author Topic: Feel.... the real obsession  (Read 1935 times)
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blast

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« on: Feb 06, 2018, 03:45AM »

One of my students was complaining that it didn't feel good when he was playing. He sounded good, and when he thought about his sound, it got even better... and began to feel better.
A common issue, but it got me thinking.... FEEL.....
We choose equipment largely on feel.... trombones and mouthpieces.... if you are honest, you know it's true.... sound is a big deal, sure... but if we don't like the feel, we don't buy the tool.... we judge quality largely on feel.
Our equipment is sonic.... nobody HEARS feel.... not in any way.... but we select on feel.
It's strange when you really think about it....

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #1 on: Feb 06, 2018, 03:53AM »

But... when you feel better, you sound better. No?
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 06, 2018, 03:56AM »

At a brass band concert on Sunday, an event with several groups, mostly based around a school. We played the Tutti Camarata version of '12th Street Rag' for 10 trombones, and one of the music teachers was on the other bass trombone part - nice chap, good player, usually a small tenor specialist but covers everything. He used to be on this forum, I think - hi Colin if you're reading...

We were chatting about trombones (this usually seems to happen on the annual occasion we're in the same room...), and I offered him a parp on mine - the modified Holton 169 that you were kind enough to sell me a while back. "The notes just fall out of the bell" was his first comment, which is one of the things that I love about it too. Ease of playing combined with interestingness of sound - a rare combo.

I must get to Fintry to let you see how your new long D slide works in it, btw... We've not been able to get up to Scotland for health reasons since I was last there, alas, but it'll happen. Spoilers: it works well.
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« Reply #3 on: Feb 06, 2018, 05:06AM »

But... when you feel better, you sound better. No?


Why would that be the case?
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« Reply #4 on: Feb 06, 2018, 05:13AM »

One of my students was complaining that it didn't feel good when he was playing. He sounded good, and when he thought about his sound, it got even better... and began to feel better.
A common issue, but it got me thinking.... FEEL.....
We choose equipment largely on feel.... trombones and mouthpieces.... if you are honest, you know it's true.... sound is a big deal, sure... but if we don't like the feel, we don't buy the tool.... we judge quality largely on feel.
Our equipment is sonic.... nobody HEARS feel.... not in any way.... but we select on feel.
It's strange when you really think about it....

Chris Stearn

This is so TRUE Chris. I dod think about this often.

But... when you feel better, you sound better. No?

???????
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« Reply #5 on: Feb 06, 2018, 05:20AM »


Why would that be the case?

For me, when you don’t feel right, you have one more thing to worry about apart from making music. And that leads to worse sound, at least comparatively.
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« Reply #6 on: Feb 06, 2018, 05:29AM »

I believe that this idea stems back from the Arthur Pryor days. He was THE virtuoso of his day. And in the beginning of his career, his trombone didn't even work past second position. But after getting so good that having a functioning instrument didn't even matter, he decided he wasn't uncomfortable enough. So he began taunting and baiting mules. And got mule kicked in the chops.

Finally, he was able to have such an uncomfortable playing situation that he could only focus on his sound -- it hurt too much to even think about his swollen, bruised face. And the rest is churchglass shattering history.

I do think that sound is the first thing we should all be evaluating in our playing, but I don't want to play something that feels bad to play either. I think that's why it's good that we have access to mouthpiece series and leadpipes to change the feel of a setup that is already good. I don't think equipment has THAT big of an impact on someone's basic sound. Alessi even sounded like Alessi on Arthur Pryor's trombone, for example. So, using an instrument that is comfortable to play just makes sense -- less distractions.

My point : this topic is leaning towards "gear is what makes you sound good", rather than "your ears and ability to adjust based on your ears are what make you sound good", which is weird. Great players sound great on a variety of equipment.
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« Reply #7 on: Feb 06, 2018, 05:35AM »

When I worked at Shires helping people choose custom trombones (and trumpets), my biggest concern on the other side of the bell was not that I heard a sound I liked, but that I heard the player become free - free to make different sounds, free to move around the instrument range, free to articulate in different ways. In my experience, great sound tends to come with those things, but not necessarily the other way around.

   
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 06, 2018, 06:00AM »

When I worked at Shires helping people choose custom trombones (and trumpets), my biggest concern on the other side of the bell was not that I heard a sound I liked, but that I heard the player become free - free to make different sounds, free to move around the instrument range, free to articulate in different ways. In my experience, great sound tends to come with those things, but not necessarily the other way around.

   

+1

This exactly. It's not not going to sound like a trombone on the other end unless something is really wrong with the build or the player. The original post mentions the sound on the other end of the bell. I don't think an audience member would know or identify the difference between a 70H and a Holton, but they probably would unconsciously be able to hear something related to someone being able to play their part easily and freely.
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« Reply #9 on: Feb 06, 2018, 06:53AM »

For me, when you don’t feel right, you have one more thing to worry about apart from making music. And that leads to worse sound, at least comparatively.

Comparatively?

I feel awesome after 8 beers..... doesnt mean I sound good after 8 beers. (Extreme i know.....  :D )

Sometimes "feeling" good can distract you from actually making your best sound. Sometimes it goes hand in hand, you are lucky if thats the case.

I always try to look for sound first. If I can sound good, that is the most important thing for me. Amazingly, its pretty rare that I feel "good" on the day of an audition or big performance. I would like to be able to not blame "feeling bad" on poor performance. I would like to sound good whether I feel good or not. I believe you can and should sound good regardless of how you feel (within reason).

Do you and your instrument always feel good on the day of a big or important performance? Can you always control how you will feel with your trombone? Im jealous if you can! If not, then I dont see how feeling good holds that much importance in playing... unless you are comfortable with occasionally writing off performances or practice sessions because you dont feel your best  Don't know
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« Reply #10 on: Feb 06, 2018, 06:54AM »

When I worked at Shires helping people choose custom trombones (and trumpets), my biggest concern on the other side of the bell was not that I heard a sound I liked, but that I heard the player become free - free to make different sounds, free to move around the instrument range, free to articulate in different ways. In my experience, great sound tends to come with those things, but not necessarily the other way around.

   

This is really interesting to me, because whenever I went to the Shires factory with a friend, the main difference that I heard between components was not a matter of the much described "more complex sound, higher overtones, etc", but rather a matter of the evennness of the attacks of the notes. Change a slide or bell and immediately the player would go from doing DuWAH types of articulation to cleaner "Dah" ones, but in a subtle way, and I found that I preferred that sound.

I don't know if you'd describe that as freeing up or restricting the range of sounds of which the player is capable, though.

Right now, my all lightweight Shires is sitting at home watching tv while I engage in a love affair with my new-to-me Duo Gravis, because it feels like it holds together slightly better at volume, but there's no way for me to judge that for myself.
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« Reply #11 on: Feb 06, 2018, 07:08AM »

When I worked at Shires helping people choose custom trombones (and trumpets), my biggest concern on the other side of the bell was not that I heard a sound I liked, but that I heard the player become free - free to make different sounds, free to move around the instrument range, free to articulate in different ways. In my experience, great sound tends to come with those things, but not necessarily the other way around.

That's some great insight.
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« Reply #12 on: Feb 06, 2018, 07:11AM »

“Feel” is such a deceptively simple term. In my day job as a counselor, I often guide people to identify and talk about their emotional states and their bodily sensations. Many clients in my line of work have become “feeling” or “pleasure” deaf or blind in their recognition and experience of emotions and the state of their bodies. To me, that’s a demonstration that our minds and bodies are inextricably linked, and not separate (take that, Rene Descartes!).

When I feel sick, or my asthma is acting up, it’s difficult for me to play at my optimum level. Similarly, if it’s been a rough day and I’m feeling discouraged or upset, it’s difficult for me to play at my optimum level.

I suspect, blast, you’re refering more to the “body” feeling?
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« Reply #13 on: Feb 06, 2018, 07:40AM »

"Feel" can encompass many different aspects of playing, including sound.

For me it starts with ergonomics.  If it doesn't feel good to hold a horn, I won't be playing that horn.  I really don't care what it sounds like.
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« Reply #14 on: Feb 06, 2018, 08:27AM »

But... when you feel better, you sound better. No?

Not always. A good example is the bass trombonist who is playing on equipment that is too large. It feels good and open, but control suffers as does sound.
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« Reply #15 on: Feb 06, 2018, 08:31AM »

I've thought about this for years.  Harrison is absolutely right; unless there's something wrong, it's going to sound like a trombone.  I've gotten to the point in my career where I'm starting to believe there is not a quantifiable, direct difference in brass alloys, leadpipes, or bell solders in terms of the sound out front.  BUT, all of those things drastically effect the feel of an instrument, and feel changes how a player approaches a horn, and thus ultimately changes the kind of sound out of it.  If that's the case, then feel is more important than sound, because feel pushes us to make different kinds of sounds.
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« Reply #16 on: Feb 06, 2018, 08:55AM »

As with all things, it's a balance. I have played trombones that really sounded great but were hard to play (70H in this case), and ones that almost played themselves and sounded just as boring as humanly possible (Courtois AC502B).

Maybe some of us tend towards the sound side or the feel side, but probably not all the way in either direction.
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« Reply #17 on: Feb 06, 2018, 09:03AM »

As with all things, it's a balance. I have played trombones that really sounded great but were hard to play (70H in this case), and ones that almost played themselves and sounded just as boring as humanly possible (Courtois AC502B).

Maybe some of us tend towards the sound side or the feel side, but probably not all the way in either direction.

 Good!

So far, I have owned two Conn 88H (non-Elkhart) 'bones. Both of them sounded terrific, but - for me - were a real chore to handle. I sold them both and went with a King 4B/F that admittedly doesn't sound quite  as nice, but handles a lot better - and so I figured and still do that it had more potential - for my  use. Six months later, no regrets.

...Geezer
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« Reply #18 on: Feb 06, 2018, 09:09AM »

For me I felt this was obvious. The reason I would sell a horn was because it didn’t feel right and sometimes that would mean I did t sound right. Thinking about it in a way like Stan says is interesting.
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« Reply #19 on: Feb 06, 2018, 09:38AM »

For me I felt this was obvious. The reason I would sell a horn was because it didn’t feel right and sometimes that would mean I did t sound right. Thinking about it in a way like Stan says is interesting.

Alan Kaplan, in explaining the Kanstul 1602 that he designed, said something that really stuck in my head.  When talking about leadpipes, he said that he believes there is a resistance level on every horn that will just naturally work for a given player.  At that point, the player will be able to have better breath control, which means better phrasing, range, and articulation.  They'll be able to more efficiently color and change the sound, meaning they'll sound better in a given situation.  His point was that that resistance level, that balance, is different for every player, and you've got to select components that encourage your natural resistance and resonance. 

All of that makes a lot of sense to me as I've gotten older and my playing has changed.
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