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Author Topic: Feel.... the real obsession  (Read 1938 times)
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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.

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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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« Reply #20 on: Feb 06, 2018, 11:17AM »

HÆ? I didn't read the whole thread, but OF COURSE If I were basing it on feel, I wouldn't buy a horn that didn't FEEL good to play even if I sounded like the final horn on Judgement Day. I know I wouldn't be able to play my best, or that the horn would be inhibiting ME from having enough confidence to be able to trust it in what IT can do, or what I can do with it, more or less. At least, that's the best way I can put it in words.


Okay, I'll go back and read the thread now  :D
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« Reply #21 on: Feb 06, 2018, 12:15PM »


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 #22 on: Feb 06, 2018, 01:05PM »

 After many years I know just one thing, (I hope.) How we feel it sounds is often not how we actually sounds.

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« Reply #23 on: Feb 06, 2018, 02:37PM »

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.

I don't know where you got that last bit from.... 'gear is what makes you sound good'.... who said that ?????????????

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #24 on: Feb 06, 2018, 02:47PM »

Further to my last post, personally, I think one of the biggest delusions of modern times is that players can buy articulation, low register, high register, darker/lighter/bigger sounds.... you name it.... anything but have to spend time thinking and working on an instrument .

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #25 on: Feb 06, 2018, 03:19PM »

Something I have noticed about the experience of "feel" and "sound"

I have had several horns on stands side by side and compared them. I played one and then right after the other. I made sure I point the horns in the exact angle in the room.

I hear the trombones sound different and I can actually remember the sound difference long enough to make up my mind so that I decide I like one sound better, but a funny thing is it does not take much to distract me to forget the sound  Don't know

If I drop a pencil on the floor in between then the memory of the first sound is blurred.

This was actually what happened when I discovered how short the authentic memory of a sound really is. The FEELING is another thing. What it felt like to play a trombone stays a lot longer.

Because of this I am sceptic about people who miss a horn they've had based on a sound. I don't think the details are possible to remember for most people.

Do the experiment yourself. Try to set up the environment so you point the horns in the same angle in the room. Play the same thing on both horns. I'm sure you hear the difference. Now play one horn and concentrate on something else just for a brief second before you play the other horn.

Do you remember exactly IN DETAIL what that first one sounded like?

For me: The feeling yes, but the sound? No! It does not mean the trombones sound the same. For me it just means my memory is not perfect when it comes to be able to remember a sound in detail.

Maybe the evolution has not equipped us with perfect memory for "trombone sounds" or any other sounds. Maybe it was only important to be able to remember good enough, as to be able to differ if a sound comes from a tiger or if the sound comes from a pig. Then it is no need to remember a grunt from pig A from a grunt from pig B or C, or to perfectly remember a trombone sound.

And what sound are we talking about? Can we ever hear our true sound?

I think we are disqualified to hear our own true sound because the sound we hear is never coming straight at us, and it always travels through the bones in our body before it reaches our ear, and then mixed with the reflected sound in the room. Many people think their voice sounds strange if their speach is recorded. Try to play with earplugs and you pick up all kinds of different noises. Noises that others never hear. How can we ever know our true sound?

/Tom
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« Reply #26 on: Feb 06, 2018, 04:14PM »

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

I get your point. And other comments' point as well. I think "feel" is such a broad term. Mouthpiece has a feel. Horn has a feel, in blow characteristics, balance, comfort, even valve have a feel on the neck/shoulder. The weather/temperature also affects feel. And so on...

I do think some aspects affect my playing. Not much, but enough for me to notice. For example, playing at an uncomfortable horn angle because of tight space or stand placement makes my wrist ache, my back twists a little bit, and that affects my breathing. Not so much so that I mess up the whole part, and I doubt that anyone in front of the bell would notice, but I can feel it. I would not blame it for bad playing or mistake, though. It is my duty to not let it affect the end result. But I prefer producing the result in the most comfortable way possible. Less thing to think about = easier to concentrate.

8 beers... that is "another" kind of feeling good. I cannot do that, though. 2 beers and I already feel like my head is going to explode. Maybe alcohol allergy. :cry:
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« Reply #27 on: Feb 06, 2018, 05:51PM »

Further to my last post, personally, I think one of the biggest delusions of modern times is that players can buy articulation, low register, high register, darker/lighter/bigger sounds.... you name it.... anything but have to spend time thinking and working on an instrument .

Chris Stearn

I'm heartened to see your comments above!

I do not recall having many options when I made money playing in the 1970's. I DO recall that, as I tried options, I was far more concerned about being able to achieve the sound I wanted than anything else.  I had played some pretty beat up stinkers before that time, and KNEW I could practice to take care of anything that didn't "feel" good.  I also knew that, on some of those stinkers, I couldn't get the sound I wanted no matter how much I practiced.

But the key then was practicing.  Anything I couldn't get on the the horns I COULD find was a simple matter of practice time.  Never even considered being able to buy anything I could get by practice.

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« Reply #28 on: Feb 06, 2018, 09:46PM »

For me, "feel" is the main thing as far as equipment goes. And sound is feel. If it doesn't sound good...to my own preferences, behind the bell...then I lose all balance trying to get it to sound good. If I just pick up a piece of equipment and immediately get close to what I want regarding the produced sound(s) (including attacks, flexibility and articulations) through the various registers and volumes, then everything else is going to be fine tuning...fine tuning my own relationship to that equipment and/or fine tuning the equipment in some way.
 
I've been fooled a few times in showrooms and my own practice rooms (mostly fooled because I wanted it to work), but once I get something into a familiar playing situation and venue, that's the acid test. And again...it's all about sound. If it is not producing my sounds...the sounds that I have put together from the long-studied influences of so many great players...then I really don't care how easy it is to play, how great the extreme registers might be, etc., etc., etc. Nor do I ...personally...care how uncomfortable it might initially seem to be in a physical manner. I seem to be able to adapt to almost anything except really thin braces where we hold the slide, a cramped feeling in my neck from narrow slide widths and amazingly uncomfortable double trigger systems like the original King Duo Gravis triggers.

Your results may vary...

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« Reply #29 on: Feb 07, 2018, 02:53AM »


I've been fooled a few times in showrooms and my own practice rooms (mostly fooled because I <U>wanted it to work), but once I get something into a familiar playing situation and venue, that's the acid test.

Heartened to read this! I felt pretty foolish in 2006 when I got my newly-purchased 62HCL bass into a brass band rehearsal. It had felt so good in the practice room at WWBW in South Bend, Indiana. But it flat out didn't work for me in an ensemble of conical brass sounds back in the UK.

Still, the then exchange rate of $2.11:£1 soothed the lesson a great deal...
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« Reply #30 on: Feb 07, 2018, 05:24AM »

I think feel is really too broad a term for this discussion, I think the term Comfort is more specific to the topic at hand.  I've made equipment decisions based on comfort, because if a horn or mouthpiece isn't comfortable you aren't going to be inspired to practice on it.  I stay with my old dependent Yamaha 612 Bass with the dual thumb levers, because of trigger finger in my left hand that makes playing the second valve with the paddle lever on the bottom very uncomfortable for me.  I have one vintage euphonium mouthpiece that I love the way I sound on it, but I can't play it for a long period of time because it has an unusually sharp inner rim.  So it's really a matter of your equipment has to provide a level of comfort that will allow you to play for long enough periods of time to meet your goals.  I don't think you'll ever find an instrument that is totally comfortable for you all of the time, but when something is noticeably uncomfortable it will detract from your ability to play and sound good for long periods of time.  There seems to always be some compromises between comfort and sound and playability, but the fewer the compromises the better the instrument will allow you to make great sounding music over the required time. 
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« Reply #31 on: Feb 07, 2018, 05:43AM »

The sort of feel I am talking about people chasing..... you pick up an instrument and play a few notes ... you think OMG I've never felt anything that amazing...
Same with mouthpieces.... then, of course after a while you think there might be something more amazing out there and start the search again....
Not simple comfort.... a WOW factor.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #32 on: Feb 07, 2018, 05:50AM »

The sort of feel I am talking about people chasing..... you pick up an instrument and play a few notes ... you think OMG I've never felt anything that amazing...
Same with mouthpieces.... then, of course after a while you think there might be something more amazing out there and start the search again....
Not simple comfort.... a WOW factor.

Chris Stearn
Ah OK, Yea I've really never gotten into that myself, I'm pretty much an if it ain't broke why fix it kind of equipment user, but I do know musicians who are always chasing that next horn or mouthpiece that is going to be it!!
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« Reply #33 on: Feb 07, 2018, 06:17AM »

The sort of feel I am talking about people chasing..... you pick up an instrument and play a few notes ... you think OMG I've never felt anything that amazing...
Same with mouthpieces.... then, of course after a while you think there might be something more amazing out there and start the search again....
Not simple comfort.... a WOW factor.

Chris Stearn

I'm always searching for different because I like variation not because something is easier or louder, darker, lighter, more compact, more edgy or less edgy or more slotting or less slotting. I'm just searching for different because of the variation and challange. Each horn can sound good, you just need to adopt. This Monday I brought my Bach 6 model VII with my new Shires T85-leadpipe to a big band rehearsal. That leadpipe made it a very good horn  This was the first time 1:st, 2:nd and 3:rd all where playing .485 horns. The lead trombone player has asked for it and was very pleased with our new old section sound.

Now we will do our next concert with the "Johan Stengard Jazz Big Band" (this Sunday) on that equipment. We have one Bach 6 model VII on second, one Bach 4 (with Bach 6 slide) on third and a Conn Vocabell 44h on lead. The .485 bore horns fits those Basie Big Band arrangements real well.

/Tom
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« Reply #34 on: Feb 07, 2018, 07:37AM »

The sort of feel I am talking about people chasing..... you pick up an instrument and play a few notes ... you think OMG I've never felt anything that amazing...
Same with mouthpieces.... then, of course after a while you think there might be something more amazing out there and start the search again....
Not simple comfort.... a WOW factor.

Chris Stearn

Yes, but...sometimes that turns into WOW squared, and other times it rapidly become WHOA minus 2. That explains the endlessness of all of this equipment search. And some WOWs simply do not fit...for me...in any existing playing situation. My love affair with older Conn TIS instruments is like that. They are...the great ones...WOW cubed every time I play them for a while and settle into their playing characteristics. Then I bring them to almost any ensemble in any style in which I play and feel like "Oh. How come I feel so...isolated? What are all of these other people doing here?" Soloistically? Sure. But I don't spend a great deal of time as a free-to-play-and-sound-any-way-I-want-to-sound soloist. So there it is. back in the case for another few years.

They feel great, though!!!

S.
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« Reply #35 on: Feb 07, 2018, 07:48AM »

I recently bought a small tuba. The FEEL of the tuba is really luxurious. All that resonance, and a big deep hummm... But I'm quite sure my sound on the tuba is not all that wonderful. I agree that feel is very seductive, and it's easy to wish feel is the same as sound. But it's not. Sound is an aggregate of tone, articulation and attack, intonation, consistency, musicality. I've never really loved an instrument that didn't feel good, regardless of how perfect everything else was. I kind of agree with Doug about the ergonomics thing. The horn has to feel good as a pre-requisite to everything else. I can endure some need to manually adjust intonation if the feel is good. The feel is completely dependent on the hardware. Other things that are dependent on me, I can control to some extent, but the horn has to feel good before I care about anything else.
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« Reply #36 on: Feb 07, 2018, 08:47AM »

Yes, but...sometimes that turns into WOW squared, and other times it rapidly become WHOA minus 2. That explains the endlessness of all of this equipment search. And some WOWs simply do not fit...for me...in any existing playing situation. My love affair with older Conn TIS instruments is like that. They are...the great ones...WOW cubed every time I play them for a while and settle into their playing characteristics. Then I bring them to almost any ensemble in any style in which I play and feel like "Oh. How come I feel so...isolated? What are all of these other people doing here?" Soloistically? Sure. But I don't spend a great deal of time as a free-to-play-and-sound-any-way-I-want-to-sound soloist. So there it is. back in the case for another few years.

They feel great, though!!!

S.


Yes indeed... sometimes wow does not last as you become aware of various issues that make you move on... and in professional situations you have to blend into the section. I have wow horns that I cannot use for that very reason.  Funny how two identical horns can feel so different even if they sound the same. 

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #37 on: Feb 07, 2018, 09:07AM »

Sorry, Chris. Your original post seemed to imply that your student had a horn that sounded great, but felt bad to him. I took this as allowing for the possibility of a second horn that felt great, but sounded not so good. Which would read to me as, the guy's horn helped him sound good, even though it felt bad. If you are bringing up the comparison, which the topic does, I took it to mean that certain horns just sound better, even if they are a dog to play.

Didn't mean to put words in your mouth.

I still think that playing a dog would hurt my playing.
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« Reply #38 on: Feb 07, 2018, 09:16AM »

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

Truer sentiment has never been written.

I fight between sound and feel perpetually but feel always wins out in the end. Besides, audience members hear fracked notes, they don't notice the difference between a Bach 16m sound and a King 3b sound.
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« Reply #39 on: Feb 07, 2018, 10:58AM »

Sorry, Chris. Your original post seemed to imply that your student had a horn that sounded great, but felt bad to him. I took this as allowing for the possibility of a second horn that felt great, but sounded not so good. Which would read to me as, the guy's horn helped him sound good, even though it felt bad. If you are bringing up the comparison, which the topic does, I took it to mean that certain horns just sound better, even if they are a dog to play.

Didn't mean to put words in your mouth.

I still think that playing a dog would hurt my playing.

Yes, it was me not being clear..... my student simply became diverted by the mechanics of playing and needed re-directing toward music and sound.... it simply drew my thoughts toward the sensation of feel in regard to the equipment we use.... how important it is to us as performers, and even what feel means to different people.
It seems that to some, feel is a minor issue and to others it is an essential.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #40 on: Feb 07, 2018, 12:42PM »

Further to my last post, personally, I think one of the biggest delusions of modern times is that players can buy articulation, low register, high register, darker/lighter/bigger sounds.... you name it.... anything but have to spend time thinking and working on an instrument .
For the sake of clarity, I'm not saying that you can "buy" articulation, just that the difference was there, in the 15x15 showroom, on that particular day with that particular player.

I think you're on to something with regard to the feel, though, both ergonomically and on the face. The horns whose memories are most clear to me are, in particular, a BAC Horn Doctor custom small tenor that I tried out at Dillon's more than a decade ago (when they had just started making horns). Ergonomically, with the curved left hand brace, it was superb, and something about it felt very flexible across registers.

The other one was an Olds Recording, which (again) felt like it was responding so fast thatmy desire to play a particular note had not fully formed by the time that note came out. It was like a religious experience in that regard.

Sound? Yeah, I don't really know what they sounded like in that 10'x15' room with big metal resonators (trombones, trumpets and french horns) on every wall and  the floor, but the feel was something akin to a religious experience.
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« Reply #41 on: Feb 08, 2018, 10:28AM »

I remember when I studied trombone back in the eighties. My teacher told me, "why do you want to change to bigger equipment? You already sound nice and big on what you have" I didnt listen. I believed only my feel and comfort when playing the bigger stuff in my practice room. It felt more easy and I thought it sounded better. 

Many years later I discovered my teacher was absolutely right. Why didnt I listen him? Because of my own stupidity, my feel and my lack of knowledge. I wasnt even able to know how I sounded. Just relayed on feel in my practice room.

One thing is sure, we cant buy sound, articulation, legato. We cant read internet to get sound either.  However we can buy professional knowledge and help to make sure we work the right way. Work is in the end the keyword. And in my case, I should have listen what the professionals say when they stand right beside me....


Leif 
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« Reply #42 on: Feb 08, 2018, 03:24PM »

Feel is honestly the most important thing I look for in any type of instrument. You want the instrument to be an extension of yourself, and if it feels detached or out of my control, it's gotta move on.
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« Reply #43 on: Feb 08, 2018, 03:25PM »

The world's authority on playing by feel would likely be Michael Davis, who spent decades onstage with the Rolling Stones and some with Michael Jackson. Multiple levels of ear protection worn? I imagine his gear reelects a very conscious attempt to minimize the effect of the outer aural climate on a horn. THAT is where you appreciate "feel". When the gig is past 120 db, the crowd ( even a small group in a drunken club is deafening) and you can't hear a monitor or the house sound system...then "feel" is everything.

I found to my own horror that road trips with an incredibly beautiful Rath R3F were completely wasted on myself and the audience of drunken R&B dancers. I switched to an all brass Olds Ambassador, the smallest all brass horn I could find, and my problems were over. Multiple levels of ear protection never bothered me after that-- I could feel every pitch 100% accurately just with my head. If it was out-of-tune I could feel it. Couldn't hear it. I could feel it.
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« Reply #44 on: Feb 08, 2018, 07:14PM »

The world's authority on playing by feel would likely be Michael Davis, who spent decades onstage with the Rolling Stones and some with Michael Jackson. Multiple levels of ear protection worn? I imagine his gear reelects a very conscious attempt to minimize the effect of the outer aural climate on a horn. THAT is where you appreciate "feel". When the gig is past 120 db, the crowd ( even a small group in a drunken club is deafening) and you can't hear a monitor or the house sound system...then "feel" is everything.

I found to my own horror that road trips with an incredibly beautiful Rath R3F were completely wasted on myself and the audience of drunken R&B dancers. I switched to an all brass Olds Ambassador, the smallest all brass horn I could find, and my problems were over. Multiple levels of ear protection never bothered me after that-- I could feel every pitch 100% accurately just with my head. If it was out-of-tune I could feel it. Couldn't hear it. I could feel it.

Michael Davis probably uses isolating in ear monitors with a great mix. I don't know for sure, but it's likely. Those bands didn't last that long by going deaf.
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« Reply #45 on: Feb 08, 2018, 11:04PM »

I reckon that part of this conundrum is caused by the fact that the trombone is fairly simple and inexpensive to manufacture in comparison with other instruments. The trombone makes it easier to mix materials and experiment with many variables that just aren’t feasible with a cello for example. This is both a blessing and a curse, and requires a healthy dose of critical thinking and years of study to master.

Another aspect is that you can’t fully separate your senses. If the kinesthetic feels too uncomfortable, it will affect your sound in some way. If you’re truly listening to how your sound communicates your given musical setting and it’s not working, that will affect how you feel. Sam put it well,

Quote
That explains the endlessness of all of this equipment search. And some WOWs simply do not fit...for me...in any existing playing situation. My love affair with older Conn TIS instruments is like that. They are...the great ones...WOW cubed every time I play them for a while and settle into their playing characteristics. Then I bring them to almost any ensemble in any style in which I play and feel like "Oh. How come I feel so...isolated? What are all of these other people doing here?" Soloistically? Sure. But I don't spend a great deal of time as a free-to-play-and-sound-any-way-I-want-to-sound soloist. So there it is. back in the case for another few years.

So the Conns feel great in one setting but not in the group. He feels isolated when playing them so they don’t feel right.
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« Reply #46 on: Feb 11, 2018, 06:03PM »

Those bands didn't last that long by going deaf.

Or...maybe they got so loud because they were going deaf.

S.
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