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The Trombone ForumHorns, Gear, and EquipmentInstruments(Moderators: tbone62, slide advantage) Brass vs. Nickel Slides: Spectral Comparison
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BGuttman
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« Reply #60 on: Jan 04, 2017, 12:38PM »

If you are going to use the results of this kind test to determine 'the best horn configuration' then I agree.  I don't think there is such a thing as 'the best horn configuration'.  I think everyone has to determine their own best horn configuration.

However, if the results are used to give people an idea of what tonal characteristics are typically offered by different materials, coatings, leadpipes, ect... then it may prove useful. For example, if tests show a brass slide to provide a warmer, less edgy tone, then if you try a horn with a nickel slide and decide you'd prefer something a little warmer and less edgy, you would know that a brass slide might help get the tone your after.

Who knows?  At the very least, it would give us something to try out and if it does not prove helpful, go back to trying as many different horns as you can.
But we have this kind of qualitative information now.  Based on thousands of trombonists registering opinions on different instruments.

You can go to the Shires Web Site and they will tell you characteristics of the different bells.  While you can't select based on this, if you have something and want to change, the descriptions are perfect for deciding which way to go.

Norsworthy's tests showed some quantitative data for two different configurations, and if you decide you like one or the other you can find something to validate your opinion.  The problem is making pronouncements based on the limited dataset.
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« Reply #61 on: Jan 04, 2017, 12:47PM »

But we have this kind of qualitative information now.  Based on thousands of trombonists registering opinions on different instruments.

You can go to the Shires Web Site and they will tell you characteristics of the different bells.  While you can't select based on this, if you have something and want to change, the descriptions are perfect for deciding which way to go.

Norsworthy's tests showed some quantitative data for two different configurations, and if you decide you like one or the other you can find something to validate your opinion.  The problem is making pronouncements based on the limited dataset.

I guess you're right Bruce, but we trombonists can never seem to agree on the effect of materials and coatings, etc...  Just start a thread on the effects of silver plating a trombone and you'll see.   Evil
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« Reply #62 on: Jan 04, 2017, 12:48PM »

Thanks for opening this discussion again !

If my tone sounded contentious it wasn't meant to be, just thought people might be interested in what we did back then and what a Pandora's box it all is.

I should state that I have had no association with Rath instruments for over ten years now so am not trying to fly any flags here  either.

As I side note, I always found it interesting that to the best of my knowledge C.G. Conn never made any model of trombone with nickel outers...... unless anyone knows different??

In the old days the bronze Conn slide alloy used on some models in the old days was  85Cu 13Zn 2Sn

We had a piece tested in the laboratory of the rolling mill that supplied us raw materials. The M.D. was a trombonist and was as curious as us, what a find!

Any wayiIt is listed in the American alloy specs but I can't remember the exact number.
I've just tried to look it up and it comes up as Pen Metal as it was used for making nibs.... go figure how they came up with using that one for trombone slides ?????

BellEnd

  

Just a reminder, Bellend. Alestair Braden did some work with Rath as part of his doctoral research into brass instrument acoustics. It happened after my time there, but that is what I referred to earlier in the topic.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #63 on: Jan 04, 2017, 12:58PM »

If these tests are not for aiding in choosing equipment, BillO, then what are they for? If it's just to say "nickel slides are clear and bright", then we already "know" that (though I personally can't play well on a nickel slide large bore). The most critical factor in what a horn sounds like is the input from the player. 100 players, 100 inputs, 100 outputs.

If you take surveys about what these players think about materials and dimensions of horns, and catalogue what they play on today, then you can start to build a general consensus about brands, materials, etc. And this has been done. And we mostly have a pretty good idea about what horns play like. And we also know there are outliers in this data who use weird equipment and sound great.

Using a robot to test an instrument tells us not so much objectively as this kind of old timey survey does.
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« Reply #64 on: Jan 04, 2017, 01:43PM »

Just a reminder, Bellend. Alestair Braden did some work with Rath as part of his doctoral research into brass instrument acoustics. It happened after my time there, but that is what I referred to earlier in the topic.

Chris Stearn

Alistair's doctoral thesis is available in full-text if anyone is interested in taking a gander.

http://www.acoustics.ed.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/Theses/Braden_Alistair__PhDThesis_UniversityOfEdinburgh_2006.pdf

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« Reply #65 on: Jan 04, 2017, 01:50PM »

If these tests are not for aiding in choosing equipment, BillO, then what are they for? If it's just to say "nickel slides are clear and bright", then we already "know" that (though I personally can't play well on a nickel slide large bore). The most critical factor in what a horn sounds like is the input from the player. 100 players, 100 inputs, 100 outputs.

If you take surveys about what these players think about materials and dimensions of horns, and catalogue what they play on today, then you can start to build a general consensus about brands, materials, etc. And this has been done. And we mostly have a pretty good idea about what horns play like. And we also know there are outliers in this data who use weird equipment and sound great.

Using a robot to test an instrument tells us not so much objectively as this kind of old timey survey does.
In the end I guess you're right.

When I was looking for a bass I tried lots of horns and with other people to listen in too, mostly to counteract my own biases.  It was quite a bit of effort, but the end result was a bit of a surprise.  I certainly would not have predicted I'd prefer the Jupiter XO.

There is no substitute for actual play testing.
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« Reply #66 on: Jan 04, 2017, 02:31PM »


If these tests are not for aiding in choosing equipment, BillO, then what are they for?



To check for consistency of a build standard for a start.
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« Reply #67 on: Jan 04, 2017, 03:17PM »

To check for consistency of a build standard for a start.

Ok, for sure. Yamaha does this with a spectrometer for every pro horn to check for major flaws before shipping, using a real person. See the Doug Yeo Yamaha youtube movie and you can see them do that. It was sort of a rhetorical question I asked.

Is Steven Norsworthy's post about a 3rd party checking up on Steve Shires' designs and build quality? If it is, his pool of slides is probably too small. I highly doubt that's the goal.

For sure the goal here is to determine the effect of design on sound etc. He had a thread that proved silver plate is best. He had another thread proving that the stock Friedman Bach 42 is the best trombone, at least vs. the other horn he played it against.

I think that it's difficult to make conclusions on these kinds of tests because a lot of what materials and design factors in an instrument are about aren't about overtones or frequency tendencies. It's about how they change the feel of the instrument to the player, and how that in turn affects the way they approach the instrument. Take the human out of the (play)test, and you really get less useful info than a large survey would give you.
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« Reply #68 on: Jan 04, 2017, 06:44PM »

Thanks for opening this discussion again !

If my tone sounded contentious it wasn't meant to be, just thought people might be interested in what we did back then and what a Pandora's box it all is.

O.K., well sorry if I falsely accused you. I was just fearing that the argument was going to flare up again. Yes, I'm very interested in what kind of R&D is done by instrument makers.
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« Reply #69 on: Jan 05, 2017, 03:27AM »

O.K., well sorry if I falsely accused you. I was just fearing that the argument was going to flare up again. Yes, I'm very interested in what kind of R&D is done by instrument makers.

I'd say as much as they need to and no more than they have to.

Seriously, from my experience, what most makers do is consult as many good players as they can, then scratch their heads about all the contradictory input and try to see if some common themes emerge.
Players can be very hard to deal with... endless demands... changing ideas.... inbuilt bias .....  but they are the end users, so they need to be happy. It can cost as much to build a bad instrument as a good one and makers want to get it right... they go bust otherwise.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #70 on: Jan 05, 2017, 06:19AM »

I'd say as much as they need to and no more than they have to.

Seriously, from my experience, what most makers do is consult as many good players as they can, then scratch their heads about all the contradictory input and try to see if some common themes emerge.
Players can be very hard to deal with... endless demands... changing ideas.... inbuilt bias .....  but they are the end users, so they need to be happy. It can cost as much to build a bad instrument as a good one and makers want to get it right... they go bust otherwise.

Chris Stearn

Exactly.

Steve Shires is a fine trombonist, so his first successful trombone designs were the ones that best fit his own preferences. He grew up playing Conn, so the large bore tenors that first generated interest were the ones with classic Elkhart 8/88Hs as their starting point. What took longer was capturing the aspects of the Bach 42 that people liked, because he never particularly liked it himself. The Conn-like parts he could understand viscerally when he played them in a deeper, more intuitive way.

Similarly, having been trained as a symphonic player, he likes small bore trombones that play fairly big...which was exactly the criticism of the Shires small bores from many dedicated small horn players for several years. It took working closely with Michael Davis to develop the tweaks that have gotten the Shires small bores some more market share. As a tuba player, Mick Rath came in without any personal preferences and had great small bore players like Mark Nightingale working with him early on, so his small bore designs were immediately more successful.

The association with Doc Severinsen has been key to the Shires trumpets. For one thing, Doc LOVES tweaking his instruments, so he's constantly got new ideas to try. Some makers he's worked with have wanted him to stop, but Shires has kept working with him as much as he wants. The other great thing about Doc is that he's not just interested in what works for him, but loves to work with other players with other careers to see what works for them, and the results have been a fantastic line of instruments, not just the Doc model.

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« Reply #71 on: Jan 05, 2017, 07:44AM »

Just a reminder, Bellend. Alestair Braden did some work with Rath as part of his doctoral research into brass instrument acoustics. It happened after my time there, but that is what I referred to earlier in the topic.

Chris Stearn

Ah yes, my appologies I had forgotten about that, just have to put down to age and too many libations   :D  :D  :D

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« Reply #72 on: Jan 05, 2017, 08:26AM »

Alistair's doctoral thesis is is available in full-text if anyone is interested in taking a gander.

http://www.acoustics.ed.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/Theses/Braden_Alistair__PhDThesis_UniversityOfEdinburgh_2006.pdf


Thanks for posting the link.

I've spent about 10 hours on it so far and am just 1/2 way through his development of his model.  My math at this level is rusty and he takes huge steps at times.  He's taken a lot into account and moved the model forward significantly from the papers he cites.  But it's taking a lot of effort for me to follow.  It's amazing how much you lose after 35 years.
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« Reply #73 on: Jan 05, 2017, 09:19AM »

Just thinking about the consequences of being wrong.

Suppose you think materials are not relevant to instrument differences, but you're wrong.  Your approach would have to be to test instruments without considering the color of the slide, just listening to the sound.  Are you going to be able to tell a good horn from a bad, to whatever extent your skill level allows?  Might you still pick the horn that's best for you out of a group? 

Suppose you have firm convictions that color of the brass is highly significant, but you're wrong.  Now when you test horns, you're carrying all those preconceptions.  Is there a chance your bias will cause you to hear and maybe even play horns differently?  Maybe enough that you reject a horn that would be good for you?

I would suggest you are better off assuming you can't tell anything from the materials, even if in some cases there might be an effect. 
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« Reply #74 on: Jan 05, 2017, 10:51AM »

I've just tried to look it up and it comes up as Pen Metal as it was used for making nibs.... go figure how they came up with using that one for trombone slides ?????

No way of knowing, but maybe because pen nibs have to spring under very light pressure (too much pressure flows the ink badly and cuts paper...) and resist acids and other ink chemicals?  The extended slide is an engineering marvel.  And I know at least ONE maker who tried to lighten a slide but then had to backtrack because positions past 4th drooped the tubes too much.

structural integrity vs. inertia vs. sonic characteristics... what else can go wrong  :D
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« Reply #75 on: Jan 05, 2017, 02:54PM »

Anecdotal evidence time....

I was working with a "VERY" high profile player (whose name I will not mention) He usually uses a particular type of slide (let's say "X")

He tried the horn he was playing with an "X" slide, because that is what he says he needs in his work. He says, "No, that slide isn't for me, it's not open enough". I say, "But it's an "X". He says, "what else do you have?"

I put on a (let's say) "Z" slide. Player says, "Yeah that's great, what is it?" I say "It's a "Z". He says, No I can't play that, it's too small, I need an "X".

I put back on the original "X" slide.. "Yeah, that's what I need, nice and open and free blowing"....

Even the best players in the world have pre-conceived ideas as to what they "need" in an instrument, often times these notions are at odds with what "actually" gives them the best results.

FWIW....

M
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« Reply #76 on: Jan 05, 2017, 02:58PM »

Anecdotal evidence time....

I was working with a "VERY" high profile player (whose name I will not mention) He usually uses a particular type of slide (let's say "X")

He tried the horn he was playing with an "X" slide, because that is what he says he needs in his work. He says, "No, that slide isn't for me, it's not open enough". I say, "But it's an "X". He says, "what else do you have?"

I put on a (let's say) "Z" slide. Player says, "Yeah that's great, what is it?" I say "It's a "Z". He says, No I can't play that, it's too small.

I put back on the original "X" slide.. "Yeah, that's what I need, nice and open and free blowing"....

Even the best players in the world have pre-conceived ideas as to what they "need" in an instrument, often times these notions are at odds with what "actually" gives them the best results.

FWIW....

M

I have a feeling I know who you're talking about... Evil
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« Reply #77 on: Jan 05, 2017, 03:12PM »

My lips are sealed....

M
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« Reply #78 on: Jan 05, 2017, 03:25PM »

I've had people buy the tightest leadpipes I make and swear they are the most open pipes they've ever played.
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« Reply #79 on: Jan 05, 2017, 05:10PM »

Ah, my eyes grow dim and I approach the waning of my youth, but I shall never forget what my old prof always said to me. He always said to me, every lesson, as I sat in his studio: " Son, what this crazy old trombone world really needs is page after page of mathematical calculations, and thousands of graphs..... maybe even more graphs than calculations..... I dunno......but when that day comes we'll be getting somewhere........"
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