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Author Topic: Why Learn The Bass Trombone?  (Read 14558 times)
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Burgerbob

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« Reply #40 on: Mar 01, 2012, 12:42PM »

Low B as a false tone in V3 works pretty good, for the rare occasion you might actually have to play one with only an F attachment.

Or the C in V2. I'm not sure why these are almost never considered as options.
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« Reply #41 on: Mar 01, 2012, 08:40PM »

In fact, he may do just fine with a nice large bore tenor with F-attachment.  Even that will sound more "bass like" than the student horn he's playing now.

If "bass" means "like a human male bass voice", that's just where a large bore "tenor" is.  I was usually on the 2nd or 3rd bass parts in ensemble singing, and while I can sort of manage an A or something, it's only a gurgling croak that is of no use whatever.  A low F or E is right about at the bottom of my strong range, and a good player can sound fine down there on a .547 or thereabouts.  A bass trombone is really more distinguished by its access to the contrabass range, where the "tenor" may sound a little faint.
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« Reply #42 on: Mar 01, 2012, 09:27PM »

Or the C in V2. I'm not sure why these are almost never considered as options.

 If I had to I would but if I was playing a low C at the end of a Dave Wolpe chart then I'll try to avoid falsetone as much as possible.
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« Reply #43 on: Mar 01, 2012, 10:47PM »

GBP, let's not get too carried away here.

Geezerhorn is not looking to play with the Pittsburgh Symphony (or even the Altoona Symphony).  He likes the sound in the lower register and wants to be able to play standards and maybe some hymn tunes there.  Whether he has a double trigger is probably more a function of how hard it will be to hold the horn (or maybe cost) than most other considerations.

In fact, he may do just fine with a nice large bore tenor with F-attachment.  Even that will sound more "bass like" than the student horn he's playing now.

Would be nice if you are going to respond to a person's post to actually read it. Nobody except you have mentioned a double valve horn. I said learning to play a false tone B would be an acceptable way to go, given that any option will take some amount of practice to sound right.
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« Reply #44 on: Mar 02, 2012, 02:57AM »

Or the C in V2. I'm not sure why these are almost never considered as options.

I had a number of students who could use C in V2 good enough to play it in any chart.
I have played with Gil Evans, Bob Mintzer, Bob Brookmeyer, Phil Wilson, actually most of them commented on my good low C.s and B.s.
It takes some practise, it works very well if you can play the tones in just your mpc and just place the slide in the right position.
And more, the low C:s and B.s with two valves works even better when you can play the tones in the mpc.
I prefer to get students starting with single valve before the double if they like to play bass.
It has worked very good in many years.

This not to say that all good bass trombonists can use the false tones, but as a teacher I do insist on them.

(Yes I played Dave Wolpe charts with ending C too, so did many of my students.)
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« Reply #45 on: Mar 02, 2012, 04:42AM »

Bruce;

You are spot on!  Thanks.  You completely understand why I am studying on this topic because you are looking at it exclusively from MY point of view.  Good!

That said, I also appreciate ALL of the other comments and points.  Clever  I believe we are now pretty much in the realm of personal preference  - which of course varies, depending on each unique individual.      Alto Clef  Tenor Clef  What remains for me is to find a friendly music shop that will allow me some face time with various horns.  I would like to try out some tenors in all bore sizes and a variety of bass trombones.  How else can I make a decision that is right for me?  Idea!

I have a suspicion that horn players tend to collect both horns and mouthpieces.  I am already on my second mpc.  If money was no object, I could envision having a rack of horns to play, depending on what I wanted to do and what mood I was in.  Well, maybe I should learn how to play the one I have a little better first.   :D

Thanks guys!

Charles

 
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« Reply #46 on: Mar 02, 2012, 07:37AM »

I was looking into getting a bass bone earlier this year (well last year about sept) and I had the same question, single or double. I went for the blessing b98 independent and I am glad I did. I had heard on the forum that i would rarely ever play a low b natural, but I have played many in jazz band, trombone choir, and brass choir.  I do have single trigger basses, but having a low C in 4th position is also a plus compared to "somewhere near the end of the slide". I can almost play a low b on my 71h but that is with the really long slide it has, and the tuning slide pull on the f-att makes it useless. You will only be able to play a low b with that tuning (well i guess you could play a low e-flat in like flat first, but what good is that)
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« Reply #47 on: Mar 02, 2012, 04:15PM »

I had a number of students who could use C in V2 good enough to play it in any chart.
I have played with Gil Evans, Bob Mintzer, Bob Brookmeyer, Phil Wilson, actually most of them commented on my good low C.s and B.s.
It takes some practise, it works very well if you can play the tones in just your mpc and just place the slide in the right position.
And more, the low C:s and B.s with two valves works even better when you can play the tones in the mpc.
I prefer to get students starting with single valve before the double if they like to play bass.
It has worked very good in many years.

This not to say that all good bass trombonists can use the false tones, but as a teacher I do insist on them.

(Yes I played Dave Wolpe charts with ending C too, so did many of my students.)


Thank you! I just gave a masterclass to my studio about low range (on tenor) and my last point was about false tones. I can play them very well, almost as well as the trigger notes. Everyone else I know seems to have a lot of trouble with them though.
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« Reply #48 on: Mar 09, 2012, 01:29PM »

I like the sonic possibilities of bass trombone- deeper/broader than a tenor, brighter/edgier than a bass tuba,... I really think it is just about the perfect instrument for me and would make it my main instrument if my left elbow could handle it. But that's why we have lots of straight tubing, piston valve sets, and G baritone bells!  Evil
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« Reply #49 on: Mar 09, 2012, 03:40PM »

Charles,

I understand that you aren't asking really why should people learn the bass trombone... You are asking if YOU should learn the bass trombone.  If you are looking for the instrument that just sings in that low bass/baritone voice then the bass trombone is for you.  The larger bore and mouthpiece just bring out the sweetness of sound as a solo instrument.  As an ensemble instrument you can rip the paint off the walls with a bass.  If you have the means to get an instrument I would suggest a single trigger horn for you.  You aren't going to be playing in a contemporary big band, or playing Wagner contrabass parts on your bass in an orchestra.  You want a horn that will work easily for you.  If you're looking new I would give the Kanstul 1670 a serious look.  If you're looking used I would look for a '60s vintage Conn single bass, or an Olds George Roberts model.  I know someone with an Old that really likes the Lund, but hardly plays it.  If you're interested I'll ask if they are intending on selling.  Otherwise... Really listen a lot to George Roberts... Anyone who hears him would want to sound like he does.
« Last Edit: Mar 10, 2012, 08:53AM by deanmccarty » Logged

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« Reply #50 on: Mar 10, 2012, 06:10AM »

Dean,

Yes.  You are correct.  That is my question.  Good!

I do love the sound of a bass trombone.  It's becoming an extremely difficult decision for me, which direction to go; tenor or bass.  Eeek!

I'm crystallizing what I do and don't want.  I don't want to play in any type of group, regardless of size or configuration.  I don't want to play sonatas, concertos, etudes or any of the other "higher" forms of music.  I don't want to pay any more than about $1k for a new instrument and I don't want a used one.  Now that the negatives are out of the way, here is what I want:  I want to be able to play for my own (and hopefully wife's) enjoyment in the privacy of our own home.  I want to play popular music, rock 'n roll and possibly some show tunes & ballads.  I want the best new horn for the money that suits me in as many ways as possible and I am somewhat concerned about the extra weight of even a single-valve bass trombone.  Idea!

Frankly, despite some very passionate persuasions, listening to some truly awesome bass trombone work and my own intuition that I just might be a better bass than tenor, I'm leaning heavily towards buying a better tenor.  I've only been playing for one month now.  But I'm close to being able to play the songs from my song books in a pretty clear and fluid manner (on a good day).  :D  I just need more practice to build up my strength and endurance so that I can play through them in one attempt, without having to pause part-way to rest and re-set.  I have found that there is a very good assortment of the kind of music I like to play - written for tenor trombone.  No need to transpose.  Also, I find that the music is written for a trombonist of average ability in the range of low Bb to F above middle C.  That should be achievable.

I have until about September or October to make up my mind.  At that time, I'll either upgrade or quit altogether, depending on how well I can play.  I figure that 7 or 8 months of playing on a low-end horn ought to tell me if I have enough potential to play the way I want to or not - whichever direction I go.  IOW's, this whole thing of taking up the horn again after 40+ years is a grand experiment for me.

If anyone wishes, they can follow my up & down learning curve at a blog I've set up.  I find that part of my learning is keeping a log of my progress.  My blog is at:

http://learntheslidetrombonewithme.blogspot.com/

I realize that I have hijacked the thread I started which should be all about bass trombone.  But nothing is ever a simple or easy decision for me - especially at my age.  I simply don't have time on my side to make wrong decisions and re-direct later.  Later is now.

Thanks Dean and everyone for your help.  I really appreciate you.

Regards,
Charles
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« Reply #51 on: Mar 10, 2012, 07:14AM »

Charles, you mentioned three characteristics that might be mutually exclusive:

$1,000 or less, new, and good.

I think you can have any two of them, but not all.  If it were me, I'd forego the "new".  I'm your age and a trombone as old as me is often a nice thing :)
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« Reply #52 on: Mar 10, 2012, 09:02AM »

There's a lot to be said for a US made trombone from the '50s or '60s.  But there are some potential hazards.  I bought the two trombones I've owned at a pawn shop and via online auction, but that's risky even if you know what you're doing.

On the other hand, I suspect for example if you went to Dillon's in NJ, they could set you up with a used large bore F trigger tenor for under $1K, that would be a fine instrument and far more enjoyable to play than a new one for the same price.
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« Reply #53 on: Mar 11, 2012, 02:56PM »

I'm your age and a trombone as old as me is often a nice thing :)

They had trombones that long ago?  Evil

JK, couldn't resist.  Hi
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« Reply #54 on: Mar 11, 2012, 03:38PM »

... I don't want to pay any more than about $1k for a new instrument and I don't want a used one... 

Charles,

Without getting into the merits of your Mendini horn, perhaps we should focus more on the "learn" part of your subject that the particular "trombone."

For the kind of budget you have, I strongly suspect you will get FAR more bang for your buck with some lessons with a good teacher than from ANY horn.  I know you've probably seen this in post after post here.  The reason is... it's true.  It matters far more HOW you play the trombone you have than WHAT trombone you have to play. 

In your blog you comment on tone quality and many other aspects of picking up the horn again.  I think, within your budget, you will get MUCH farther toward a sound you and your wife will enjoy hearing if you find a teacher than if you buy a horn.

Just one opinion, of course.  But I have not taught for decades, so it's not like I have a dog in the hunt.  So you can take my opinion as perhaps less partial than others.  I will say, though, that NONE of the current teachers I've seen posting on this board has said, "come take lessons with ME..."  it's ALWAYS "get a good teacher."  Not much self-serving in that!
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« Reply #55 on: Mar 12, 2012, 12:14AM »

Maybe one reason to learn bass trombone could be like George Roberts told, the bass trombone is a beautiful lyrical horn? I know things change through the years, and composers use it for many things. Many different demands. But still it is a thought that still is some to think about? Also for the young players? Make it lyrical also sometimes. Music is more than that, in bands, in orchestra, in modern solo pieces, but still that lyrical part is not fare away in any setting? We have a choice to make it beautiful for all people. I know music is not always supposed to be beautiful or lyrical, but sometimes its just beautiful? Anyway a bass trombone can cover a lot of aspects, that music today demands. 

Leif
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« Reply #56 on: Mar 12, 2012, 05:24AM »

Dave,

Very insightful comments, to be sure.  Thanks!   Good!

When I was a youngster, I took lessons from four different teachers, in turn.  First was a gifted violinist who got me started because he happened to have a used tenor trombone.  He taught me to attack each note cleanly.  Then came my band director, a trumpet player.  He taught me how to read music.  Next up was a piano player friend of the family who taught me musicality, phrasing and the importance of playing legato.  Finally, I sought help from a professional trombonist.  He pushed up my range & endurance and taught me technique.  I remember all of their teachings as though it were yesterday.  None of them could teach me to play in tune or to develop a good sound, although they all tried.  I just didn't get it.  I sounded like an out-of-tune Bob Dylan, if you can imagine that.  It was why I put my horn down 40+ years ago and that has always haunted me.  It is why now I am so sensitive to producing a likable trombone sound.  I'm trying for redemption.   :/   From a lifetime of listening to music, I now know when I am playing one note relatively in tune with the others and when I sound pretty good.  When I start to sound like a chainsaw or a duck trying to lay an ostrich egg and I can't play through it, I pause - sometimes for just a moment to re-set and sometimes for several minutes to rest.  My biggest enemy is fatigue, but I'm getting strong now; won't be long now (play Rocky theme).  :D  I also know when I resort to bad technique - such as ending a note with my tongue instead of with my breath support; or when I cheat and use too much mpc pressure to hit and sustain a high note.  I am extremely pleased with my progress to date.  My wife cannot help but overhear me practicing and she has reinforced that there are times when it sounds very nice.  Way cool  Other times, not so much.  :cry:  Point is, if I can make nice with my low-end horn on occasion, I should be able to make a habit out of it.  ;-)

I couldn't agree more with you that playing a low-end horn is no excuse for playing badly.  I came to that conclusion as well.  On a good day, I am capable of producing a fairly full sound in my middle & low range and a somewhat brilliant tone in my high range on my Mendini.  While I find the slide cumbersome, it's not impossible to use at my stage of development.  I clean and polish the slide weekly.  It works best when slathered up with slide cream; as much as it will take.  I thoroughly wipe the horn down with a damp cloth each time I end a practice session.  I treat my low-end horn as though it was an expensive horn.  Why not?  Good habit to get into.  I have not deluded myself into thinking that a higher-end horn would suddenly allow me to play like a Green, Hannon, Johnson, Winding, Betters or any other top trombone player of yesterday or today.  It won't.  With a better horn, I might have a richer tone.  I might find it a little easier to blow through a better horn.  I do believe that a better horn would have a more fluid slide that would be an aid to me in playing a smoother legato and more subtle vibrato.  So, I have set an upgrade for myself as a reward in hopefully, about 6 months from now.  Time will tell.

I again apologize to everyone for hijacking this thread I started to ramble on about my efforts to play a tenor trombone.  For me, it's all about learning and an important aspect of learning is deciding whether I want to continue on with a tenor or someday switch to a bass trombone.  That jury is still out.  But currently, I believe someday I'll want to upgrade to a better tenor; as in a Getzen 1050, Kanstul 750, King 2103 or the like.  I can also see me gaining a bass trombone of comparable quality in a few years.  That seems like the way to go for me at present - subject to change.

And OBTW Bruce.  I think you are correct.  I'll need to add a few dollars to my budget for the eventual upgrade.

Thanks,
Charles 
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« Reply #57 on: Mar 12, 2012, 08:37AM »

Ok, this post has a lot of suggestions. Keep in mind I'm not yet half your age and a collegiate music student. I play all the low brass I can, but shed my bass trombone the most every day. So yeah, just one person's opinions...

You should stick with the tenor. Consider an F-attachment in your eventual upgrade, but from your posts it seems like you really want to be doing straight tenor trombone playing.

Also, your upgrade could be right now or a month ago. I've been following your posts and blog; and I think you should go ahead and get a new horn.  You are very mature in your approach (hmm, wonder why?  :D ) and you do seem to have a handle on common pedagogy. If you can identify mistakes like tongue-stopping notes and cheating phrases, you would benefit from horn that doesn't retail for the cost of a slide alignment... and you're right, you would benefit from a slide that doesn't need ounces of grease applied daily to be functional.

DEFINITELY do not rule out used instruments. You can get a used 3B (f attachment or straight) for less than 1K. Talk to DJ kennedy on this forum and he'll hook you up with a horn that he knows is a good blow for a very reasonable price. (this is in no way an ad either, and i'm sorry if someone has mentioned it to you before it just seems like the ideal hook-up for you). Don't let his syntax fool you; he's a very reputable seller.

Step it up, Charles. You definitely shouldn't be playing on that mendini. The research I did on those horns made me cringe...
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« Reply #58 on: Mar 13, 2012, 04:35AM »

Say now, what's wrong with a Mendini?  It's a great horn - FOR A GORILLA!  Amazed  I hope someday to turn it into an amazing boat anchor.   :-0

Thanks for the encouragement!  I am anticipating a large tax return soon...   Idea!

Regards,
Charles
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« Reply #59 on: Mar 13, 2012, 12:58PM »

Or the C in V2. I'm not sure why these are almost never considered as options.

My 1062 responds very well on those notes. I don't use them much because they sound just a bit off, the positions aren't super far from the double valve notes, I don't have any problems playing them with both valves, and I paid for both valves. :D
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