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The Trombone ForumHorns, Gear, and EquipmentInstruments(Moderators: tbone62, Greg Waits) Dependent vs Independent Bass Trombone?
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Paul T. McGraw
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« on: Jun 23, 2011, 10:40PM »

I have noticed that bass trombones have either dependent or independent rotors. What is the difference? Which is best?
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stutzand

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« Reply #1 on: Jun 23, 2011, 10:47PM »

Dependent rotor bass trombones only have three valve combinations. Independent have four. Meaning that with a double trigger bass trombone a dependent rotor system can have the open horn, the F thumb trigger, and the F thumb trigger along with whatever the finger trigger is. An independent rotor system has all of those, but the finger trigger can operate by itself.

Here's some reading from Doug Yeo's site.

Dependent/Independent FAQ
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« Reply #2 on: Jun 24, 2011, 03:34AM »

If you read some older threads you will discover that we discussed this lots of times.  Not recently, though.

There is no "better" for dependent vs. independent.  If there was, you'd only see one kind.  Each has advantages and disadvantages. 

Most people will get used to one type and use it exclusively.  Some feel that different styles work better with each type and own several.  Right now the independent appears to be more popular.

Many of us older guys who started when you didn't have double triggers often tend to go dependent because we started with a dependent E loop, then an Eb, and finally a D (or even lower) and we still think of the 2nd valve as a replacement for the old "E Pull" when we needed a low B.

Me?  I play an independent.  I use my Gb valve alone a lot.
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« Reply #3 on: Jun 24, 2011, 07:38AM »

really depends on what you are playing. A lot of the newer bass trombone literature, especially solo pieces, require the use of the independent valves for low technical passages.  For playing the "classical repertoire" either independent or dependent will be fine. you can get by with a single valve bass trombone in a lot of places.  Edwards I believe has a kit to change your double valve bass to a single valve due to weight considerations.  shoulder problems, wrist problems, etc can result from improperly holding a double valve bass. also there's the whole thumb and finger trigger repetitive motion issues.

Now, If you are a tenor player who has been playing F-attachment horns for years and has really learned to use it, the dependent may be a better option, as you may simply not even think about using the Gb or G valve.

Another thing to consider is that the tuning of the valves in independent trombones are still being decided. Classically you would have the F with the thumb, and the G or Gb with the finger paddle. However, some are now thinking of reversing that, as the Gb/G valve is actually more useful than the F valve in many situations. There are even now some tenor players having their F-attachments converted to G attachments, as it allows an in tune C and low F, and most tenor parts don't go down to the V4-6 very much, if at all.  The G is more useful in terms of facilitating technical playing.

There is also the Blair Bolinger Tuning, which is kind of like an Extended G valve.  It is a bit flatter than G, and with this tuning and F, you get in tune notes using any valve combination at third position, which allows a lot of faster runs. This all falls in line with the "you've got valves, USE THEM" philosophy espoused by many.  With the open wraps and free blowing valves of today, the stuffy sounding attachment systems are gone on new trombones.  So, if you've got 2 valves, you should use them to facilitate playing. Bass trombone is hard enough considering the weight and air requirements, so not having to go out past 4th position helps save work.
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« Reply #4 on: Jun 24, 2011, 07:20PM »

A lot of the newer bass trombone literature, especially solo pieces, require the use of the independent valves for low technical passages. 

Sorry, this is just not true. I've never come across a solo piece that I simply cannot play because I have dependent valves. I'm pretty sure that Dave Taylor would agree with me...

A little simpler in terms of slide technique? Yeah, I could believe that. But "require" independent valves? Simply not true.

Andrew
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« Reply #5 on: Jun 24, 2011, 08:52PM »

I play an independent myself, but even I have to admit that there really isn't anything you can't play on a dependent. What makes more of a difference is splitting the controls so you're not trying to manipulate both valves with you thumb. Playing technical stuff on an old-school double thumb-trigger setup makes life much more difficult.
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« Reply #6 on: Jun 24, 2011, 09:10PM »

I'm not sure of this but I've always wondered (I feel like this is a good place to ask this as it directly pertains to the topic), are independent bass setups noticeably different than dependent as far as resistance and response? I know that a lot of tenor players prefer horns with no F-attachment to get a more free blowing feel, but is the same true for bass trombones? Since dependent setups only pass through one valve when no valves are being used, rather than the independent setup where the air passes through both valves in all cases.
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« Reply #7 on: Jun 24, 2011, 09:35PM »

are independent bass setups noticeably different than dependent as far as resistance and response?
Depends on who you ask. Ask people that play dependent, they'll say they notice. Ask people that play independent, they'll say they don't notice.
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« Reply #8 on: Jun 24, 2011, 11:45PM »

really depends on what you are playing. A lot of the newer bass trombone literature, especially solo pieces, require the use of the independent valves for low technical passages. 

I am pretty sure Bill Reichenbach plays a dependent horn and I have recordings of him playing some outrageous stuff. I also have a recording of Doug Yeo playing the John Williams Tuba Concerto on a dependent horn and that is an extremely difficult piece.
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« Reply #9 on: Jun 25, 2011, 05:55AM »

Most of the bass trombones I owned in my carrier has been single since that is what I prefer really. Among the independent double triggers that I used there was Olds P24 and Benge.
There some advantages with the independent triggers, more combinations especially in some passages on the staff. More work to play in tune. The pedal Bb is more difficult to play soft since the lead pipe is shortened to make room for the second valve.
There is a difference in response between dependent and independent witch you can easily get used to.
David Taylor play very fast and tricky things on a dependent horn, he owns both types of trigger systems.

There some technically advantages on dependant triggers like “pre press” the second trigger sometimes to only have to press the first trigger, like on fast GG-CC and alike.
 
Myself I use single trigger and dependent, I tried all the horns I can, many times compared dependent to independent on horns otherwise alike.
No system is better actually, but there is often a reason for choosing one over the other.

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« Reply #10 on: Jun 25, 2011, 06:09AM »

I'm not sure of this but I've always wondered (I feel like this is a good place to ask this as it directly pertains to the topic), are independent bass setups noticeably different than dependent as far as resistance and response? I know that a lot of tenor players prefer horns with no F-attachment to get a more free blowing feel, but is the same true for bass trombones? Since dependent setups only pass through one valve when no valves are being used, rather than the independent setup where the air passes through both valves in all cases.

I have spent large portions of my career on both, and I've play-tested many Shires bass trombones in every combination, as well as tried many other bass trombones at conventions. In my experience it depends on the valves. My observations are by no means universal, but this is what I've found:

I notice the most difference in response with Thayer valves, actually, where independent set-ups often feel squirelly and uncentered to me, while dependents feel much more immediate with a more obvious core to every note.

Rotary valves tend to feel more free-blowing in a dependent set-up, although the differences in resistance between open horn, one valve and two can be more pronounced than with an independent rotor configuration. And the better the rotary valves, the less difference I find in response between the configurations.

I notice the least difference in valves like the Shires TruBore and the Hagmann, which share some design characteristics. The difference is similar to what I find with axial (Thayer) valves, but much less so.

The best argument in favor of independent valves I've heard came from Charlie Vernon. In a nutshell, he says bass trombone is already physically demanding enough; why not keep your arms closer to your body more of the time in order to stay balanced and make breathing easier?
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« Reply #11 on: Jun 25, 2011, 09:33AM »

Gabe, you observations are the same as mine, I do have question for you though.

Years ago when I played the Benge independent (don’t remember the #) in the Swedish Radio Orchestra, we played Verdis Requiem conducted by C M Gullini.
You may remember the contra Bb in the third trombone part pp? Gullini wanted that very very soft, I played it with both triggers on 5:th pos since the Bb was very unfocused when
played that soft.
That I have noticed with all independent horns I have tested after that. Yamaha, Bach, Conn, Holton,  Shires, Kanstul, Thein and more.
Most often, or in fact very rarely do you have to play that Bb so soft.
But when you talk about differences…
The most secure contra Bb in my opinion is with a dependent tis.
(I did not think of trying that on the thru bore Shires.)

Have you noticed that Gabe, or could that be a placebo effect?
(I don't think so though) Way cool
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« Reply #12 on: Jun 25, 2011, 09:58AM »

I can't really speak to that Sven. I've never had anybody ask for that Bb that soft, so I've never tried it. I play  -flat and  on the F valve pretty often to play very softly (particularly if it's not the root of the chord), but haven't done that for the pedal Bb.
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« Reply #13 on: Jun 25, 2011, 10:16AM »

I started out on a dependent horn and liked it very much.  I didn't see the need for an independent horn at all, and could technically accomplish what I needed to on that horn, which was 95% jazz and commercial playing.

A couple of years ago I moved to an independent horn for no reason other than it was worked best for me the day I was shopping (it was a Conn 62Hi, btw).  I quickly started using the Gb valve by itself often and for ME, the  was far more centered and easy to play than on the F valve.

I've recently moved over to a Shires bass, also independent rotors, and found the same thing.  I don't know if I am used to it or if its real, but its what I feel.  This prompted further exploration, and I now find a lot of uses for that second valve on its own.

I used to be a dependent guy, but now I play an independent.  I figure: use what works for you.

-Ben

P.S. I really love the idea that the bass trombone is still evolving.  That there is no real "standard" way to set up your valves or tune them.  That this ever evolving world allows someone to try something crazy without resistance from an establishment.  It's refreshing.  And open exploration generally yields results that are best for the individual.
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« Reply #14 on: Jun 25, 2011, 02:19PM »

I started out on a dependent horn and liked it very much.  I didn't see the need for an independent horn at all, and could technically accomplish what I needed to on that horn, which was 95% jazz and commercial playing.

A couple of years ago I moved to an independent horn for no reason other than it was worked best for me the day I was shopping (it was a Conn 62Hi, btw).  I quickly started using the Gb valve by itself often and for ME, the  was far more centered and easy to play than on the F valve.

I also started on dependent, and while intrigued by independent, I didn't get a real chance to spend quality time with one until about 3 years ago.

For me, the independent is about options. Normally, it takes working on a specific passage to a place for the Gb valve alone, but I like exploring the possibilities.
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« Reply #15 on: Jun 26, 2011, 12:12PM »

A lot of the newer bass trombone literature, especially solo pieces, require the use of the independent valves for low technical passages.
Technically, this is probably somewhat correct because of glissandos and such.
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« Reply #16 on: Jun 26, 2011, 12:15PM »

Technically, this is probably somewhat correct because of glissandos and such.

I can't think any solo pieces for bass trombone that could not be played on either type of horn. Which ones are you thinking of?
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« Reply #17 on: Jun 26, 2011, 03:07PM »

Sorry, this is just not true. I've never come across a solo piece that I simply cannot play because I have dependent valves. I'm pretty sure that Dave Taylor would agree with me...

A little simpler in terms of slide technique? Yeah, I could believe that. But "require" independent valves? Simply not true.

Andrew


Just on a point of correctness, the Sonata by John Kenny requires an independent setup, so you are not correct in one instance..... and that did sort of prevent Dave Taylor giving the world premiere of the work.... so he couldn't agree with your statement.
On the other hand, I don't think it has held Dave back career wise  Evil Evil

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« Reply #18 on: Jun 26, 2011, 05:08PM »

I can't think any solo pieces for bass trombone that could not be played on either type of horn. Which ones are you thinking of?
I don't know any specific ones as I don't play solos :D but it's reasonable to assume that Gb-D glisses,... exist. I -think- I read about one on here a while back.
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« Reply #19 on: Jun 26, 2011, 06:38PM »

Or Db-A.

Personally, I find the independent setup most useful for all kinds of alternate positions, which I use frequently because I like to do what Doug Yeo recommends, which is to move the slide in a fluid motion as much as possible. It also makes a lot of passages a lot easier (for example, a Bb minor arpeggio starting on 2nd line Bb - would you rather throw the slide out to 5th for the Db, use a lot of alternate positions that will still be at least somewhat cumbersome, or just throw down the Gb trigger for the Db and make it a piece of cake?). It's not strictly NECESSARY (except for the aforementioned Gb-D or Db-A glisses) but it makes some things easier. I use the second trigger a lot more than the first.
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