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The Trombone ForumHorns, Gear, and EquipmentMouthpieces(Moderators: BGuttman, Doug Elliott) Who in their right mind plays a Bach 1 1/2G ??
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Author Topic: Who in their right mind plays a Bach 1 1/2G ??  (Read 322304 times)
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Gabe Langfur

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« Reply #20 on: Mar 10, 2006, 01:26PM »

Quote from: "blast"
when did this relationship between mouthpiece size and potential volume become accepted wisdom ? I don't buy into it... I can see no relationship between those two in the players I know.
Chris Stearn


Good point.

Norman Bolter can play astoundingly loud, with control, on a 5G and his old 88H. It gets...brilliant...on that horn, but never out of control. The key word here is CAN of course. He certainly doesn't do it all the time.

He can play just as loud on his Shires - probably not louder, but it's true that he can make a warmer, thicker sound on the Shires at the highest volumes.

In some ways I think I could actually make more decibels on the smaller mouthpieces I used to play than I can on the Laskey I play now. And I can play softer on the Laskey, but I think that's more because I'm a better player now than because of the mouthpiece.
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Dan Satterwhite

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« Reply #21 on: Mar 10, 2006, 01:27PM »

Believe me, Chris, I don't buy into the size=volume thing either.  I spent a loooong time on the other side of that fence, and I wish I had listened to reason a lot sooner!  It works well for a small percentage of people, and the others who play huge equipment are just fooling themselves.

I'm not so sure that things have peaked.  Some places where I play, conductors ask for a ridiculous amount of volume out of some sections, and an equally ridiculous LACK of sound out of others.  No real balance.  And in a perfect world, those on the ego trip would be out the door...but we all know people who play that way, and are encouraged to do so. Smaller equipment lets a player reach that point of "excitement" in the sound sooner, and thus the music doesn't have to be unreasonably loud to SOUND loud.

Dan
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Dan Satterwhite
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« Reply #22 on: Mar 10, 2006, 03:33PM »

Dan, your last point about excitement at lower decibels is very good, and very important.... we don't need to take out the viola section to excite an audience.... unless we play equipment that only excites at mega decibels.
When we compare mouthpieces or instruments A-B it is all too easy to choose the darker, duller, warmer equipment, forgetting that we need a mix of qualities on the trombone, whatever the music we play.
At the end of the day, tone quality is a subjective thing, and my love of the sounds of Roberts, Studd, Premru, Hughes etc is nothing more than my subjective taste.... valid as such, but no more valid than any other serious musician's ideas.
The best thing I could do for any school or college bass trombonist, is to lock them in a room with recordings of all sorts of bass trombone playing from the last fifty years and not let them out until they have listened to them all. On release, I would hope they would have an idea of what they think they like in the playing of others..... they would then have to see if some of these people sound the same live....
Then they have a template to create their OWN sound.
Chris Stearn.
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« Reply #23 on: Mar 10, 2006, 04:47PM »

Quote from: "Dan Satterwhite"

Smaller equipment lets a player reach that point of "excitement" in the sound sooner, and thus the music doesn't have to be unreasonably loud to SOUND loud.

Dan


I had a nice Conn 62H that just YELLED when you pushed it. Not in a "loud" Edwards/Bach way - it was like someone next to you at a ballgame telling the ref off kinda loud. A real HUMAN quality. Maybe even a roaring lion kinda sound. That is what the modern horns lack. When Mahler or Wagner or Berlioz wrote FFF they didn't want more BLAHHHHHHHHHHH. Same for PPP - little BLAH is still BLAH.

I good friend of mine from grad school plays trumpet in a fulltime symphony now. We were discussing Nicholas Ecklund (spelling?) and the baroque trumpet. We both agreed that brass instruments in general took a wrong turn when they distanced their sound from the human voice.

Ever heard a nice Williams trombone being played? Very vocal quality.

As for the "normal" size pieces, like the 1.5G, until a few years ago most of the stock ones were not good.  Thankfully, with Blast leading the way, some mouthpiece makers will work on designs of that size that WORK.

I have another friend that is hoarding a few MV 1.5G's. It has taken me 5 years of knowing him to let me make a copy of his Minick L. Since this is not a cheap operation, I will be looking at his MV 1.5G's next to copy in the distant future.
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Michael Lawson
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blast

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« Reply #24 on: Mar 11, 2006, 05:23AM »

Yes, I am looking at making mouthpieces as good, or hopefully better than the old Bachs..... I'm very pleased with what has happened with the Rath projects, but I am still investigating these things. I have been lucky enough to have been loaned a Minick L by a very kind fellow trombonist, and earlier this week, had the chance to compare it with another genuine Minick L..... food for thought. Minick was a clever guy and his work is worthy of very close examination. I still need to determine exactly what makes New York and Mt Vernon Bachs special.... everything must be checked. I also have a soft spot for the copies of George Robert's mouthpieces made in, I think, the 1980's on the west coast... NY, CE, MV, SE & SO models..... some of these blow very, very well.
Really great mouthpieces are not just about manufacture, but also quality control.....each one would need to be play tested and tweaked for optimum results.... and any that don't work out need to be binned right away.... the sort of process that I think Minick went through.
Chris Stearn.
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« Reply #25 on: Mar 11, 2006, 01:48PM »

Really good topic and a good read.
I have a question that might not be on topic, but it might fit.

I've read and heard a number of times how some people play on larger mouthpieces because a 1.5G size is too small and for their fat lips.
But i've seen Trumpet players and Horn players with fat lips and they seem to be able to fit into their mouthpiece just fine.
Is this just an excuse or does it hold some truth ?

As an amatuer that has messed about with mouthpieces, I can understand why people (especially the youngsters) get onto bigger kit. The young ones want to play the low stuff all the time. Everything has to go down an octave. It gets a smile from the other youngsters in the band they think it's cool.
The bigger pieces can make some things easier. There is always a trade off. Big fat low end can lead to a big flat lifeless higher register. At least it has done for me.
It took me along time for me to understand that you choose your equipment (especially the mouthpiece) for the sound that it allows you to make, and the control that it allows you to have, not for the notes it allows you to play. At least that's how I've aproached things for a while now.

I think it too easy for players to fall into  the signature series. trap. I'm sure some of the mouthpieces (Yeo) for example, whislt being a good product, was designed by Doug for himself. It is probably the perfect mouthpiece for him. I recently bought one of the Rath mouthpieces, and I'm very pleased with it. I'm having to work with it at the moment, as it plays a little differently to my previous piece, but I feel there are benefits to be gained by sticking with it. Could I ask Chris how much of this piece is designed to fit him, as opposed to just trying to improve on the original Bach piece ?
I just wonder how it works. Do the companies make a mouthpiece that Joe Alessi will play, that fits him perfectly, and then market it knowing people are going to buy it just because it says Alessi on the rim, as opposed to finding a piece that best fits them ?
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blast

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« Reply #26 on: Mar 11, 2006, 02:46PM »

Well Alex, you have a Rath 1 1/2W.
That mouthpiece came about through a chain of events.
I was playing the Rath 1 1/4W, which was not developed by me, but was the baby of the bell maker at Rath, who is also a bass trombonist..... he was there all the time and tested a LOT of things....
anyway, I had given him a very damaged wide-rim (very,very wide) Mt. Vernon Bach 1 1/2G as a paper weight... I thought it could never be fixed.
He got Adrian, the Rath slide maker to work on it after hours, and fix it up...
He then gave it to me as a gift.
Well, I took the rim down to a reasonable size and reworked the profile until I was happy with it..... I tried it in the orchestra and thought that it was very good..... so I suggested Mick make it as the 1 1/2W using the backbore already developed for the B1 1/2.
When the prototypes came through I was very pleased. The change of backbore was the finishing touch. As the weeks went past I felt more and more that this was a valuable new option in the smaller bass market, and feedback from customers confirmed this.
Now all this is just the story of one project out of 25 years of mouthpiece modifications, and though I think the Rath 1 1/2W is a major step forward, I have no intention of halting my research....
There are still secrets to learn and I intend to keep studying the very finest examples from the past, to create great mouthpieces in the future.
Did I design the Rath B1 1/2W to fit me ?
Yes and no.
I did make a mouthpiece that I personally felt at home on, but it was a project..... to create a wide rim 1 1/2G style mouthpiece to fill a gap in the market, just like the B2W that was a tribute to Ray Premru, but in that case, a mouthpiece I wouldn't personally use- it was a response to market demand.
Hope this helps.
Chris Stearn.
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« Reply #27 on: Mar 11, 2006, 03:25PM »

Cheers Chris,

It's kinda the answer I expected from you on the Rath piece.
I have never actually play a Bach 1.5G.
I hated bach rims when I played tenor, always found the wider Wick rims more to my liking. I think that is one of the reasons the Rath B1 1/2W feels right for me.
It's hard work though. I have to think more about my playing than I have ever done, but the rewards are worth it.
One of the nice things I have found is how even the timbre is across all the octaves. Maybe that's just me though. The sound from my side of the bell is much more rounder and fuller than before. But it's still my sound.
I haven't found a note that I can't play on it, although I still have the problem I mentioned in my pm to you. Sometimes I just get nothing.
This occurs on the notes I used to move about on. I can't shift this mouthpiece very much at all. It really does just lock into one place and wants to stay there. I feel this is for the better, at least for me anyway.
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yeodoug
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« Reply #28 on: Mar 15, 2006, 06:05AM »

A reminder: during the Fritz Reiner era of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the trombone section played Conns.  Including Edward Kleinhammer.  And the mouthpiece Mr. Kleinhammer used on all of the Reiner-era recordings and concerts?

Bach 1 1/2G

-Douglas Yeo
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Kevin Marsh
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« Reply #29 on: Mar 15, 2006, 12:51PM »

And did Mr. Kleinhammer not also give clear and concise instructions in " The Art of Trombone Playing" published by Summy-Birchard in about 1962 as to how to MODIFY a Bach 1 1/2G.

He had the drawing of the reamer and instructed to start reaming from the shank up to the throat and keep reaming until it was a point just below the throat of the mouthpiece.

Mr. Yeo, I'm sure I have the publishers date and name incorrect, and I know that in later years Mr. Kleinhammer recanted some of his earlier advice , but I think the written record goes to prove that perhaps it wasn't always a stock Bach 1 1/2G.

Not that it matters one whit...the magic of the Reiner recordings remains undiminished half a century later, but the limitations of the 1 1/2G were apparent even then.

My copy of The Art of Trombone playing went to a deserving student a long time ago, please correct me as to the exact advice published in The Art of Trombone Playing.
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« Reply #30 on: Mar 15, 2006, 01:05PM »

Quote from: "yeodoug"
A reminder: during the Fritz Reiner era of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the trombone section played Conns.  Including Edward Kleinhammer.  And the mouthpiece Mr. Kleinhammer used on all of the Reiner-era recordings and concerts?

Bach 1 1/2G

-Douglas Yeo



One of the most interesting things to note about this is that although mr.Kleinhammer later in his career used much bigger equipment,You can hear that he has "formed" his sound on a "traditional " set -up; Huge sound ,Yes!! but with plenty core and a "generic" trombone sound(not an
undefined brassy bass sound)which easily blends with the rest of the trombones ,while distinguished itself from the tuba(yet matching it).
Not the sound You are most likely to hear from some young students using the biggest equipment there is,thinking that a big sound is more important than a beautiful sound!!!
BTW!!
What  mouthpiece are Mr. Kleinhammer using on the CSO low brass section recording from`71? I can see that he has changed from Conn to Bach 50B,but the sound is still very close to the Reiner era.

Interesting topic,Chris

tbarh
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Dan Satterwhite

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« Reply #31 on: Mar 15, 2006, 02:04PM »

I happen to have my copy of "The Art of Trombone Playing" handy...

Quote
And did Mr. Kleinhammer not also give clear and concise instructions in " The Art of Trombone Playing" published by Summy-Birchard in about 1962 as to how to MODIFY a Bach 1 1/2G.

He had the drawing of the reamer and instructed to start reaming from the shank up to the throat and keep reaming until it was a point just below the throat of the mouthpiece.

Mr. Yeo, I'm sure I have the publishers date and name incorrect, and I know that in later years Mr. Kleinhammer recanted some of his earlier advice , but I think the written record goes to prove that perhaps it wasn't always a stock Bach 1 1/2G.


Mr. Kleinhammer devotes a couple of pages in the first chapter to the mouthpiece.  What he says here is exactly what any reputable teacher and/or experienced player will say:

"If he [the player] is looking for the "magic" mouthpiece with which he can do anything safely and accurately with wide tonal and volume range, he is looking for a needle in an acre of haystacks."

He goes on to say what has been more recently said (less eloquently) on this forum in any number of mouthpiece threads:

"The writer advises buying a generally satisfactory and comfortable mouthpiece and then the seeking of proficiency on your side of the mouthpiece.  Constantly seeking the "ultimate" in mouthpieces can not only confuse the player, but will probably result in lack of proper consideration to playing fundamentals and coordination."

Wise words that, with today's dizzying array of mouthpiece choices, are more important than ever.

(as I write this, a box sits on my table containing two new Griego mouthpieces Don't know )

As for the reamer, he advocates (much later in the book) using one to open up the backbore of one's mouthpiece (a 1 1/2G is NOT specified) as a low register playing aid.  I believe Mr. Kleinhammer would say that he wasn't the world's most natural extreme low register player, and in fact would often play 3rd trombone when two basses were called for (Ring excerpts, for example), letting the extra play the very low part. In all likelihood he used a reamed mouthpiece, or an adjustable cup mouthpiece only as an aid for extremely low notes he encountered.  He also mentions having an Eb tuba mouthpiece in his case as standard equipment in case he had to "bring out" something in the pedal register, like Symphonie Fantastique. Remember that he endured and survived an era in the Chicago Symphony where a bad day could spell disaster for a musician's career.

The mouthpiece in Mr. Kleinhammer's horn in the picture on the front of the CSO Excerpt record looks to me to be a Schilke.
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« Reply #32 on: Mar 15, 2006, 02:56PM »

I'm still very happy with my Rath B1˝ and play it all the time with either my Rath R9DST or 1942 Conn 70H, which means, I suppose, that I am one of a select few players who do use a 1˝G (albeit a clone) on a daily basis. I'm still reaping the benefits and receive nothing but positive feedback on the sound I am making. Either it's the combination of bits and pieces of hardware or the player behind them. I suggested to my section at the weekend that it must be the hardware - they retorted that it's the player. :shuffle:
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« Reply #33 on: Mar 15, 2006, 04:32PM »

Here goes an ugly can 'o worms......


According to most published stats the sizes of Rath mouthpieces are larger than the matching Bach numbers. I admit it depends where you measure from on the rim , though.

Established size of a BACH 1 1/2G = 27mm
                                  RATH 2B=        27.2mm
                                  RATH 1 1/2 =   27.4mm

So, if the numbers are accurate then a Rath 1 1/2 is closer to a Bach 1 1/4.

Which takes us bakc to the previous two posts: Its the player, not the mouthpiece that matters.
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« Reply #34 on: Mar 16, 2006, 01:12AM »

Kevin,
The publised numbers are far from accurate (as usual). I was checking the Raths against the Mt Vernon prototypes last week. the B2 and B2W are very much on spec with the original Mt Vernon 2G.... though that example is a fraction larger than the Mt Vernon 2G that I own... but it's very small.
The B1 1/2 and B1 1/2W are both slightly larger at the inner rim than the Mt Vernon that was copied. It must have happened during the transfer to production, but it is SO small that I didn't pick it up when play testing.... so they are nowhere near a 1 1/4G size.... still very much a 1 1/2G size.
Hope that helps....are all the worms back in the can ?? probably not.
Chris Stearn.
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« Reply #35 on: Mar 16, 2006, 02:39AM »

Quote
are all the worms back in the can ?? probably not.


Nope.
Through the years I have owned lots of Bach 1 1/2G pieces, I did lots of experiments using the as blanks.
Opening the back bores, throats, mixing different cups and rims and so on. Interesting it was. I did not make the ultimate MPC though…I haven’t done anything like that on the last 30 years though.
But I did measure all the MPC:s. The MTVernon pieces are all different sizes! And the rim contours differ to.
A good MT.V piece is really something extra I think.
I did destroy some fine MPC:s back then . Embarrassed!  Frown
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« Reply #36 on: Mar 16, 2006, 06:05AM »

In defence of the Rath mouthpieces...... as compared to Bach mouthpieces, to keep this on topic:

I play tested the whole line bass trombone line of Rath mouthpieces on a fine day last spring: I'm convinced that through design or error they are numbered and named by the degree of control over the mouthpiece that the player perceives-- so that --

No matter what the actual physical measurement of a Rath 1 1/2 it will give you the same control over the mouthpiece that a primo juicy Mt. Vernon 1 1/2 will give you. The B2, although a hair larger than a measured 27mm will provide the same control as a MV 2G.

Throw the measurements out. Throw the calipers away. Go for the feel of it.
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« Reply #37 on: Mar 16, 2006, 08:07AM »

Quote
Throw the measurements out. Throw the calipers away. Go for the feel of it.


I agree.  Mouthpieces must be measured in different ways by different manufacturers.  Some people say a Yamaha Doug Yeo (28.72mm) is a viable option for a Schilke 59...orhers say a 60.  There's a huge difference in size between a 59 and a 60, and for me, the Yeo is much closer to a 60,  in feel, rim contour, and size.

Griego says their .5 has an ID of 28.91mm, but to me, it feels similar to a Laskey 93D (29.3mm) and feels even larger than a 60, which is advertised as 29mm.

A Stork 1 is listed as 28mm, just like a Bach 1G, but it feels bigger.


Long story short, test drive for a reasonable amount of time.
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« Reply #38 on: Mar 16, 2006, 11:14AM »

When I work on a mouthpiece I never bother to get the calipers out and check what I have done... it just goes on the face for a test. Last week I copied a rim shape onto another mouthpiece just by feel....and the results were judged very fine. The lips are the ultimate test.
Svenne is right ....New Yorks and Mt Vernons all vary a lot, so a copy can only be as good as the original. A good Mt Vernon is very special indeed, and not just another 1 1/2G..... the whole reason I started this thread was my rapture at being given a really great one.
Chris Stearn.
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« Reply #39 on: Mar 20, 2006, 07:54PM »

i play a benge 1 1/2 g with my bach 42 when i'm asked to play bass parts
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