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The Trombone ForumHorns, Gear, and EquipmentInstruments(Moderators: tbone62, slide advantage) Elkhart-made Holton TR181 bass trombone report
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Blowero

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« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2016, 03:50PM »

Quite so, Blowero.

Personally, myself, I never even considered it until I owned a single valve olds-school Elkhart Conn. The old Elkhart 88H is the same as the 72H/70H/60H/62H.

The difference comes into play when you do have the three spare fingers wrapped around the slide braces. On a double valve horn there are only two fingers involved there-- one remains free to activate the second valve.

I guess what I was trying to get at, is that if you just hold your hand in the air-- without the horn on you-- just the arm in the air so you can see it clearly, do the following experiment.
1. Rapidly move your middle finger and thumb in a crazy pattern violently, without pattern.
2. Watch your bare forearm....you can see the tendons going like mad.
3. Repeat the experiment and look for motion in the wrist-- it might be there.
4. Repeat the whole thing with a horn in you hand and look for motion in the wrist, that motion will indicate pulling on the chops.

Now-- do the experiment with JUST THE TIP of the left thumb rotating forward a bit-- like on an Elkhart Conn:
1. Watch the forearm tendons. See? Almost nothing. Almost no motion.

Regardless of throw distance on the valve, the less motion you do with the thumb, or fingers, the less motion there will be in the forearm.

da footbone connected to da ankle bone..and so on, until the footbone is connected to the embouchre bone.

Don't see what Elkhart Conn has to do with how many joints you use to move your thumb. Don't know Like I said, the weight of the trombone rests on the fleshy pad at the base of my thumb, and the bottom fingers that are wrapped around the brace, and I believe this is how most, but certainly not all, players hold the trombone. For purposes of how the grip works, the lever may as well be floating in mid air, because it is not bearing any of the weight of the instrument against my hand. Doesn't matter which side of the thumb it is hinged on. I think how much of your thumb bends when you operate the lever is a function of the throw, and Elkhart Conns do seem to have a slightly shorter throw in front (MUCH shorter when compared to a Mt. Vernon Bach), and the pivot point is further toward the mouthpiece, due to the way the hinge is soldered onto the bell receiver.

When I wiggle my fingers, my arm does not move, unless I want it to. I see tendon activity whether I bend my thumb at the first joint or the second joint. Personally, I get more fatigued playing my Elkhart 88H than playing my Bach. The odd short throw and the placement of the lever so far to the right isn't as comfortable to me as the Bach design. Different strokes for different folks, I guess...
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« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2016, 05:33PM »

Again, it is all determined by where things are. Where the pivot point is in relation to the joints in your thumb, is a "big" influence on how the lever works. The length of the lever on both sides of the fulcrum is also crucial. If there is something "off" in any of those items, the lever will not work at it's optimum.

Of course, not everyone has the same hand geometry, and I have seen some pretty weird ways of holding a trombone...

M
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« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2016, 07:38AM »

That's strange. No one got excited about lacquered nickel-silver cork barrel. Easier to service.

 :D
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elmsandr

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« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2016, 08:12AM »

Quite so, Blowero.

Personally, myself, I never even considered it until I owned a single valve olds-school Elkhart Conn. The old Elkhart 88H is the same as the 72H/70H/60H/62H.

The difference comes into play when you do have the three spare fingers wrapped around the slide braces. On a double valve horn there are only two fingers involved there-- one remains free to activate the second valve.

I guess what I was trying to get at, is that if you just hold your hand in the air-- without the horn on you-- just the arm in the air so you can see it clearly, do the following experiment.
1. Rapidly move your middle finger and thumb in a crazy pattern violently, without pattern.
2. Watch your bare forearm....you can see the tendons going like mad.
3. Repeat the experiment and look for motion in the wrist-- it might be there.
4. Repeat the whole thing with a horn in you hand and look for motion in the wrist, that motion will indicate pulling on the chops.

Now-- do the experiment with JUST THE TIP of the left thumb rotating forward a bit-- like on an Elkhart Conn:
1. Watch the forearm tendons. See? Almost nothing. Almost no motion.

Regardless of throw distance on the valve, the less motion you do with the thumb, or fingers, the less motion there will be in the forearm.

da footbone connected to da ankle bone..and so on, until the footbone is connected to the embouchre bone.
Still doesn't explain how for the same motion (turning a valve 90 degrees or so) with the same length lever arms (or close enough), that you come up with radically different motions for the tip of the thumb.  Maybe some pictures would help your cause here.

I have several horns in several configurations.  A well placed lever is vital to your point.  Over or under the thumb is not (in my experience).  Heck, I even really like the Hagmann option that is anchored above and below.  Much better to keep side load off of the assembly, as an engineer.  Of course it also increases the moving mass, but that is a different problem.

Cheers,
Andy
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« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2016, 05:19PM »

I used the Elkhart analogy mostly because likely all of us have seen one, or played one.
On a Bach the fulcrum works forward and DOWN, because it is located to the left of the thumb.
On a Conn the throw is shorter and still forward, and down, but it is smack upside the slide, so it is easier to close the interior of the left hand ( a fist?)and still operate it with just the tip of the thumb.

The problem, as with all double valve modern horns, is that the left middle finger does not hold the horn... hence my experiment to show how flopping both thumb and finger will cause more movement.

Yes, if you concentrate on keeping everything as still as possible, and having as little motion as possible, it isn't a problem..but in "the heat of battle" things do move more. Watch in a large mirror for movement of the bell while you play a prepared memorized orchestral except for example.

And, of course, no two thumbs are the same, no two hands are the same, and every horn is built with some long lost player the R&D was done for long gone.
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elmsandr

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« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2016, 05:45PM »

I used the Elkhart analogy mostly because likely all of us have seen one, or played one.
On a Bach the fulcrum works forward and DOWN, because it is located to the left of the thumb.
On a Conn the throw is shorter and still forward, and down, but it is smack upside the slide, so it is easier to close the interior of the left hand ( a fist?)and still operate it with just the tip of the thumb.

The problem, as with all double valve modern horns, is that the left middle finger does not hold the horn... hence my experiment to show how flopping both thumb and finger will cause more movement.

Yes, if you concentrate on keeping everything as still as possible, and having as little motion as possible, it isn't a problem..but in "the heat of battle" things do move more. Watch in a large mirror for movement of the bell while you play a prepared memorized orchestral except for example.

And, of course, no two thumbs are the same, no two hands are the same, and every horn is built with some long lost player the R&D was done for long gone.
Take some pictures. I don't get it. I have two horns next to me, one over one under the thumb. My hand is in the exact same place on both. The center line of the fulcrum of the levers is probably within 1/8" of each other relative to my hand position. The throw is longer on my under thumb one, but that is due to valve style.  I just don't get your description of the geometry.

Cheers,
Andy
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Andrew Elms
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« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2016, 06:39PM »

If I hold a 70H a certain way, I can kind of see what Bonesmarsh is saying. Of course, that's all negated by the horrible balance of a TIS with no counterweight.
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« Reply #27 on: May 02, 2016, 06:51PM »

"On a Bach the fulcrum works forward and DOWN, because it is located to the left of the thumb.
On a Conn the throw is shorter and still forward, and down, but it is smack upside the slide,"

????

No, A Bach lever throw is longer because the proportions of the lever make it so. Also why a Conn lever throw is shorter. It has NOTHING to do with over or under the thumb!!

M
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Matthew Walker
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BillO
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« Reply #28 on: May 02, 2016, 08:39PM »

There is no doubt that the Holton is a 'sexy' looking horn.  I love the look of it, with all that complex looking tubing bends and the lovely color of the bell.  Irresistible eye candy for sure.  And the price is not bad at all.

When I played one in September '15 I disliked 2 things about it.  First and by far foremost, while it sounded really decent straight, it got a bit stuffy on the triggers, especially in D.  I personally could get better response and sound from several other horns in the trigger and double trigger ranges.  Second, and this is admittedly just a nit pick, but how the heck do you lube' those vinyl covered ball joints effectively?

Out of 10 instruments I tested, it came in 4th.

It is beautiful though, isn't it?

Just a note on the trigger thing.  I have played (for reasonable lengths of time) various Bachs, Conns, Kings, Blessings, Olds, and now Jupiter with 'F' attachments (and more) and for the life of me, I can't really see what all the fuss is about.  Yeah, they are all a bit different, but it is really incidental to playing the trombone.  Adapt!  When I'm in the middle of a musically impressive section, a complex piece or playing a solo, the fulcrum of the trigger is the furthest thing from my mind.
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« Reply #29 on: May 02, 2016, 08:57PM »

Delete, SVP.
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wgwbassbone
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« Reply #30 on: May 03, 2016, 06:56AM »

That stuffiness you felt is not uncommon on the 181. My previous points still stands. Every 181 is overbraced. Removing some of the bracing and moving others makes a huge difference. If The manufacturer actually did R&D they could make the changes and actually make them better and sell some horns.
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« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2016, 06:57AM »

I wonder how well aligned the valves were? Did all the solder joints seal in the valve section??

M
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« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2016, 07:01AM »

I wonder how well aligned the valves were? Did all the solder joints seal in the valve section??

M

I am happy to check those for you, but you have to tell me how  :D
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BillO
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« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2016, 07:41AM »

I wonder how well aligned the valves were? Did all the solder joints seal in the valve section??

M

If your talking about the one I tried last September, it was nearly new and was being used by the bass trombonist of a large Chicago area concert band.  Not sure on the alignment of the valves, but if that is a concern on new Holtons, then that could have been a problem.  I'm pretty sure no leaks had developed yet, unless that too is a concern with new Holtons.  If those are two going concerns with new Holtons, then I'm doubly glad I decided to buy the XO and not the Holton.
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« Reply #34 on: May 03, 2016, 10:20AM »

That stuffiness you felt is not uncommon on the 181. My previous points still stands. Every 181 is overbraced. Removing some of the bracing and moving others makes a huge difference. If The manufacturer actually did R&D they could make the changes and actually make them better and sell some horns.
Yeah, the number of braces on the horn is almost comical.  I thought my YBL-612 RII had a lot of braces, until I saw the TR181. There have to be 9 braces, not including the attachment points to the gooseneck and bell. The brace with the holton logo is completely superfluous, and there are two braces holding together each valve slide, and two braces holding them together.
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Blowero

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« Reply #35 on: May 03, 2016, 11:03AM »

The brace with the holton logo is completely superfluous

That logo always used to remind me of those plastic model kits where they mold the parts with little tabs connecting them.
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« Reply #36 on: May 03, 2016, 11:12AM »

I've got a TR181 from 2013 that is very similar if not identical to this.  I bought it used.  I would not buy one new.  They need some tweaking to make right.  It has a great sound, though.

Like for example, the rotor stop bumpers... If you look close, you'll see that the stop arm pin hits the bumpers not in the middle but on the outer edges, so it will chew up the bumpers.  I had to stretch and grind down the stop plate so things would line up better. (Thanks to Eric for the idea!)

I also had to have the valves reseated by my tech so they were less leaky and have less wiggle.

My next two mods are: swap in a shires B62 slide and get the rotor valve ports opened up.  Should have all of that done this month.  At that point, it should be a real playing machine and without a ton of money into it.
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« Reply #37 on: May 03, 2016, 11:25AM »

The brace with the holton logo is completely superfluous

I love that thing to death, though. It instantly make the horn "look" more expensive and special  :D
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« Reply #38 on: Sep 22, 2016, 03:48AM »

I've dug this thread up while researching cheaper bass bones to add to my stable, possibly. No Shires and Theins for me.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks like new Selmer/Steinway/UMI/Holton/The Borg hasn't corrected long-standing criticisms of the 181 design. Roughly in order of importance:-

1) The leadpipe is a load of crap, hence the slide swap for a Bach 50 being a big improvement.
2) The valve design was obsolete decades ago and they still haven't changed it.
3) Bracing on the bell and valve section is ridiculous. You could and probably should lose 5 or 6 of them, and move two others, by my count.
4) A 9.5" bell would be better.

The horn doesn't have charm or character in the sound to make up for the problems, like you'd find in a King DG or old Conns. So buying one used that's already had the mods is the only sensible way to go. Is this a fair summing-up?
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« Reply #39 on: Sep 22, 2016, 04:50AM »

I've dug this thread up while researching cheaper bass bones to add to my stable, possibly. No Shires and Theins for me.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks like new Selmer/Steinway/UMI/Holton/The Borg hasn't corrected long-standing criticisms of the 181 design. Roughly in order of importance:-

1) The leadpipe is a load of crap, hence the slide swap for a Bach 50 being a big improvement.
2) The valve design was obsolete decades ago and they still haven't changed it.
3) Bracing on the bell and valve section is ridiculous. You could and probably should lose 5 or 6 of them, and move two others, by my count.
4) A 9.5" bell would be better.

The horn doesn't have charm or character in the sound to make up for the problems, like you'd find in a King DG or old Conns. So buying one used that's already had the mods is the only sensible way to go. Is this a fair summing-up?

Yes!
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