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Author Topic: Bach 39 alto  (Read 711 times)
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vikingbone
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« on: Feb 10, 2018, 07:59AM »

would like to hear opinion on this.  sound, pitch, playability  . I have a good offer for a Nice used one , i am considering this  against a new jp rath (budget horn).
have not played a 39 before and this one os another country , reliable seller/ player though.
 
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daveyboy37

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« Reply #1 on: Feb 10, 2018, 09:17AM »

They are smaller bore than many of the current altos on the market. Also the bell does not line up with third position. They are good horns, but some say they don't blend as well with sections are other more modern designs.
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David Sullivan
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 10, 2018, 10:07AM »

The 39 works very well if the second and 3rd use smaller gear too. For ex a Bach 12 and 42, on 2nd and 3rd, balances very well. But if the others are not going smaller, then yes, the 39 can tend to "stick out" in comparison.

They are fun instruments to play. Who cares if the bell doesn't line up with 3rd position? I very much enjoy mine.

M
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« Reply #3 on: Feb 10, 2018, 10:11AM »

I like the JP Rath Altos much better. I played a 39 in my undergrad and it was much harder to get used to than the alternatives. But if it works for you there's not much else thatll compare. It's very unique
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What's in a name? that which we call a tenor-bass posaune
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« Reply #4 on: Feb 10, 2018, 12:45PM »

would like to hear opinion on this.  sound, pitch, playability  . I have a good offer for a Nice used one , i am considering this  against a new jp rath (budget horn).
have not played a 39 before and this one os another country , reliable seller/ player though.

It is a great horn with a great alto sound. Not a tenor sound and that's what I want. I agree that second should scale down to better blend with the alto if that's the problem and bass should follow. It should not be the other way around. The second choice would be to scale up and play the alto part on a small tenor like a Bach 6 for example. No need for an alto sound if the section can not adjust to that sound.

/Tom
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« Reply #5 on: Feb 10, 2018, 02:40PM »

It's a somewhat "trash-talked" horn. It has its quirks. But I think the sound quality is excellent -- clear and pure. I have played three different ones and enjoyed them all.
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daveyboy37

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« Reply #6 on: Feb 11, 2018, 09:58AM »

They are fun instruments to play. Who cares if the bell doesn't line up with 3rd position? I very much enjoy mine.

M
A lot of people seem to consider not lining up an issue. I'm not entirely sure why. It's not like every horn lines up at 3 position anyway. I have quite a fun time playing mine as well, when I remember I have one.

It's a somewhat "trash-talked" horn. It has its quirks. But I think the sound quality is excellent -- clear and pure. I have played three different ones and enjoyed them all.
  This is what I don't get. Lots of horns have quirks, Bachs included. The partials don't line up as well as some horns, but if you're playing with just muscle memory, that's not going to work anyway.

I wasn't trying to "Trash-talk" the 39 at all. I just know that a lot of people consider certain aspects of it to be less than ideal when compared to current offerings. I wouldn't still own a 39 if I thought it was a bad horn.
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David Sullivan
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« Reply #7 on: Feb 11, 2018, 10:39AM »

When compared to other offerings, you see there's something about the Bach 39 that stands out: its bore size. Straight .468. It's not much bigger than their C trumpet bore. The Conns 36H has a dual bore .491-.500 slide, the Courtois alto has a .464-.492 slide, Edwards is .500 straight, Shires is .485/.495, and so on and so on. The Bach alto is by far the smallest slide.

This means the trombone will sound brighter. It plays more like a German alto than an American tenor. That is the divide for most American trombone players. The alto you choose depends on the trombone section you're playing with. If the section doesn't size down, then a 36H or larger bore alto isn't a bad choice, since it tends to sound more like a tenor. If your section does size down however, then a Bach 39 or Courtois is what you want so you get the color of the alto.

You see people trash talking this horn for a few reason (this is only my observation). First, people love to trash talk Bach horns. People have their reasons for doing so, but they do. Second, the 39 is a true(er) alto. It has the smaller, brighter, more German-like alto sound that composers originally had in mind when writing our parts. The issue with the modern American sound concept is that most people want tenors to be the "do it all" horn. It has the trigger so it can play bass notes, but you should be able to play a screaming high F on it too. No. A tenor should sound like a tenor, not a bass. A bass should sound like a bass, not a slide tuba. And an alto should sound like an alto, not a tenor.
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 11, 2018, 11:54AM »

The 39 is on the small side, but it doesn't stick out too far in that respect. Bear in mind Bach small bores all have the same crook, so it is oversized for the alto.  For comparison, for some time it appears as though the 871 was .470/.470. The Courtouis altos are 462/492. The K&H is .480 and the Jurgen Voigt alto is .452 (smaller than a trumpet bore!).  Which is bigger, a Shires T4762 or a TB47?  Well, both are bigger in some respects.  The crook definitely can make a horn feel and play bigger if it oversized as the 39 is. And that is one of the draws to the 39 is that it tends to play less bright than other altos of larger bore sizes.  At least that has been what I've seen indicated by others who have liked their 39s.

For what it's worth, one could argue that you want your alto to sound like a trombone and not a trumpet since the bore size and length of an alto are much closer to a trumpet (particularly the Voigt) than a bass trombone is to a tuba. Certainly if a bass trombone can be called a slide tuba one could reasonably call an alto a slide trumpet given the dimensions are much closer and the size is smaller than that of a tenor.
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« Reply #9 on: Feb 11, 2018, 01:52PM »

The 39 is on the small side, but it doesn't stick out too far in that respect. Bear in mind Bach small bores all have the same crook, so it is oversized for the alto.  For comparison, for some time it appears as though the 871 was .470/.470. The Courtouis altos are 462/492. The K&H is .480 and the Jurgen Voigt alto is .452 (smaller than a trumpet bore!).  Which is bigger, a Shires T4762 or a TB47?  Well, both are bigger in some respects.  The crook definitely can make a horn feel and play bigger if it oversized as the 39 is. And that is one of the draws to the 39 is that it tends to play less bright than other altos of larger bore sizes.  At least that has been what I've seen indicated by others who have liked their 39s.

For what it's worth, one could argue that you want your alto to sound like a trombone and not a trumpet since the bore size and length of an alto are much closer to a trumpet (particularly the Voigt) than a bass trombone is to a tuba. Certainly if a bass trombone can be called a slide tuba one could reasonably call an alto a slide trumpet given the dimensions are much closer and the size is smaller than that of a tenor.

The alto trombone sound is the bridge between the trumpet sound and the tenor-trombone-sound. This only works if it is played with an alto sound. Listen to Branimir Slokar. That's the sound. One of the great benefits with the Bach 39 alto is it fits a small orchestra very well.

I have played the alto part in Mozarts Requiem about 15 times on my Bach 39 alto with a Bach 12E mouthpiece. I think the requem needs a "light" alto sound and that has a lot to do with mouthpiece choice. If you want a more tenor like sound then you could use a Yamaha 48A mouthpiece instead, or you play the part on a small tenor. I would use my Bach 6 instead of buying a more tenor-ish alto but as we know it is always the player who makes the sound and all might not like that Bach 12E mouthpiece.

A good trombone section is working as a team and adjust both equipment and style. No one sticks out if they blend well. It is up to the 2:nd and 3:rd player to follow the alto sound, not the other way around. Or you could discuss the matter and skip the alto.

/Tom
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« Reply #10 on: Feb 11, 2018, 02:23PM »

In theory, if I shorten a 12 Bach handslide to an Eb slide, will it fit a 39 bell section?
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« Reply #11 on: Feb 12, 2018, 06:35AM »

Yes, Heinz, that would work well on a 39 bell. The handslide shanks are the same size, so that is not an issue.

M
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« Reply #12 on: Feb 12, 2018, 07:28AM »

The issue with the modern American sound concept is that most people want tenors to be the "do it all" horn. It has the trigger so it can play bass notes, but you should be able to play a screaming high F on it too. No. A tenor should sound like a tenor, not a bass. A bass should sound like a bass, not a slide tuba. And an alto should sound like an alto, not a tenor.
You're right about sound. But I believe there is everything right with being able to play everything from basement notes all the way up to the "screaming F" on a tenor with a great sound. They tempered pianos to be able to play more music on one instrument. It was a compromise. I see no reason to not compromise in this sense to get more out of a single trombone -- or alto trombone. That's why I love the idea of the 36H. An amazing instrument.
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« Reply #13 on: Feb 12, 2018, 03:23PM »

Harrison, I wasn't clear in what I meant. There isn't anything wrong with the ability for a tenor to play those notes. Itís the same as an alto with a Bb attachment. Access to notes isnít my issue.
My issue is the timbre composers/people want out of the tenor trombone is all-encompassing of the trombone family. However, most of the expectation is more towards the bass side in terms of darkness.
The timbre of a lot of the altos I have played (most of the ones I listed) is more tenor-like. Itís too big, too deep, and too dark. Itís not the ďflavorĒ of alto. I feel the same way about most tenors. They are too big, too deep, and too dark as well. Itís all about the character of sound you get. If you want certain notes to function a certain way, they need a certain character.
So in the case of the Bach 39, I think it has more of the alto characteristic sound than most of the others out there right now. It will require the entire section to downsize, yes, but itís all in the name of a more authentic performance to the character the composer had in mind.
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« Reply #14 on: Feb 12, 2018, 04:24PM »

I wonder if there is a difference between eras or if there are variations on the 39.  The one that was at the school I went to was not like that at all.  It was a little abused being a school instrument unfortunately. I think I've previously referred to it as feeling like a toy, but that was because there were parts of it that were in disrepair (loose solder points etc.) So it may have had work or something done to it that altered the way it played, but it had no trouble blending with larger tenors and it certainly was not anywhere near one of the brighter altos I've played.
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What's in a name? that which we call a tenor-bass posaune
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« Reply #15 on: Feb 12, 2018, 04:53PM »

I borrowed a Bach 39 from a friend to get acquainted with the alto before making a final decision to purchase one. I ended up buying a JP Rath 236 and was very pleased with it. The small bore and the placement of the bell on the 39 made it a little hard for me to manage and to get the sound I wanted. The transition from tenor to alto feels much more seamless with the Rath. Depending on the repertoire and the section, the Bach may be a little too small and bright for some.
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« Reply #16 on: Feb 12, 2018, 11:00PM »

Harrison, I wasn't clear in what I meant. There isn't anything wrong with the ability for a tenor to play those notes. Itís the same as an alto with a Bb attachment. Access to notes isnít my issue.
My issue is the timbre composers/people want out of the tenor trombone is all-encompassing of the trombone family. However, most of the expectation is more towards the bass side in terms of darkness.
The timbre of a lot of the altos I have played (most of the ones I listed) is more tenor-like. Itís too big, too deep, and too dark. Itís not the ďflavorĒ of alto. I feel the same way about most tenors. They are too big, too deep, and too dark as well. Itís all about the character of sound you get. If you want certain notes to function a certain way, they need a certain character.
So in the case of the Bach 39, I think it has more of the alto characteristic sound than most of the others out there right now. It will require the entire section to downsize, yes, but itís all in the name of a more authentic performance to the character the composer had in mind.


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/Tom
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« Reply #17 on: Feb 13, 2018, 01:29AM »

Amati in Kraslice makes a nice copy of the Bach alto.

http://www.amati.cz/en/brasswind-instruments/slide-trombones/item/239-asl-601
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Getzen Super deluxe silver plated,copper rim bell
Getzen 3508R
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