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Author Topic: Trumpet player starting on the Pbone  (Read 2695 times)
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The Dutch Guy
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« on: Jan 09, 2017, 08:04AM »

Hello,

I'm a trumpet and flugelhorn player in a few orchestras, and I used to play the trumpet in bigband/showband (not sure what to call it. Our play style is derived of the Swiss Guggenmusik. For our inspiration, find on youtube: 'swiss powerbrass', and for us, find on youtube: 'doe mar wa bakel')
So, I got a Pbone a few years back, but actually never got around to playing it.
A few weeks ago in our bigband/showband (for lack of a better description), our last remaining trombonist decided to quit and I thought: why not try to play the trombone instead of the trumpet?
So I picked up the Pbone again, this time more seriously, and with some of the sheet music from our band.

I printed out some charts (one with the overtones for each position, and one with all positions for each note), and started to write the positions over each note in the sheet music.
So within a day I was able to -more or less-  play some of the pieces from our band. Within a week I had about 10 songs that I could play reasonable well.
Now, about 2 weeks later, I've already had the first rehearsal playing the Pbone, and it actually didn't go that bad.

The sound has been described by others as quite dull (I think?). From what I read on the I-net, I might be able to fix that by exchanging the plastic mouthpiece by a metal one. Any suggestions for one? I'm playing 1st trombone parts, So usually quite high notes up to G (3rd or 4th ledger above staff), but also low Cs (pos. 6 on the slide if I recall correctly). So the range I need to play is all over the staff.
If I still like it in a month or two, I might get my own horn. Any suggestions on what to look out for? I'd prefer not to spend much more than 500 euros, and am OK with 2nd hand instruments. Let's say the budget is 500-1000 euros.
My main question about that right now is the following: Tenor or Bass trombone?, and with or without F attachment? I don't want a 'student' 'model first, and then another one later. I got my student one (Pbone) already. If possible I'd like to buy one that I can use forever without needing an upgrade anymore. Any advice? I plan to use it for 1st parts in the band mentioned above, not in an actual orchestra.

Another issue right now: How to get my endurance up as quickly as possible. I practice songs for about 30-90 minutes a day right now, and that goes OK. After a while I notice that the high notes don't sound very focused anymore, so I'm getting tired. Are there any specific excercise that can get my endurance up fast? My range is not that bad. I can hit the F on 3rd ledger without straining anything, even after an hour of playing (thank you 15 years of trumpet playing). It's just the endurance to keep them sounding nice for about 2 hours straight that's missing :)

I've looked at teachers in the area, and there are few to none. Most being brass players that happen to teach trombone as well (but not necessarily play it themselves). Considering I've had about 10 years worth of music education on trumpet, I don't see that much added value in that. Or is there?

Also important: Is there anything I should keep in mind that could screw up my progress? (too much practice perhaps?)

Well, any advice for is welcome!

Thanks!
Stefan
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BGuttman
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« Reply #1 on: Jan 09, 2017, 08:27AM »

Hi Stefan.

First, for a mouthpiece I would look for (Bach numbers) 5G or 6.5AL.  Yamaha equivalents 48 or 51.  Schilke equivalents 50 or 51.  I'm sure there are Klier equivalents but they aren't common in the US.

Getting a metal trombone:   From C in the bass staff to G above the bass staff you probably won't need an F-attachment.  That can make the cost a lot better.  Even though it's marketed as a student horn, the Yamaha 354 is really a good choice and used ones can be had for your price point.  There are a lot of good used straight tenors that would be affordable on your budget.
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« Reply #2 on: Jan 09, 2017, 08:29AM »

Another trumpet player beginner on tbone.

What I do is starting with lip flexibilities (mostly slurs and lip trills) with frequent short rest. This works for me and keeping me fresh for a long time.
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« Reply #3 on: Jan 09, 2017, 08:42AM »

Don't worry about bass trombone for now; they are quite a bit more costly than straight tenors and there is not much call if the band has no tenor trombones.
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« Reply #4 on: Jan 09, 2017, 11:56AM »

Also, for a 1st trombone, you might consider a small or medium bore trombone instead of a large bore.
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The Dutch Guy
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« Reply #5 on: Jan 10, 2017, 01:04AM »

Thanks for the replies so far!

Ok, so if I'd go for 1st trombone, you would suggest a small/medium straight trombone, mostly for financial reasons, if I understand correctly.

The problem is, that currently we don't have any trombones at all (except me with about 2 weeks of practise). I'm pretty sure that eventually other will join the band, and if that happens, it would be only fair to let the person most suited for the part play the 1st part (right?). So it's not unlikely that I will either have to share the part or move down to 2nd within the forseeable future.
Now if you know this: would you still recommend the same trombone?
A quick look at the sheets tells me that 2nd trombone plays a LOT more in the staff, whereas the 1st mostly plays above it.

I've never used an F attachment, but in my head it seems like a useful tool for alternate positions. Being a trumpet play and all I really like the idea of this: In a way limiting the slide positions to the first 5 (If I understand the attachment correctly). I would probably not need it for the extended lower range.

And while we're on the subject: My low range is a LOT weaker than my high range. Lets say the b-flat and c on the bottom of the staff. If I'd compare the sound of high notes with these notes, the high ones are like: 'taaa', whereas the low ones are like 'dfwaaa', and a lot less loud. Any specific exercises that can make this a bit better?
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« Reply #6 on: Jan 10, 2017, 01:40AM »

Don't get frustrated because of the low notes articulation, you will need some face time on the tbone the figure it out, as did I. but first...

1. Make sure you have a comfortable for you sized mouthpiece that fits well the trombone, whatever it is.
2. Don't tongue too hard.
3. You may want experiment with other articulation syllables like tu or even du (but that's already almost doodle tonguing I guess)

Do articulation exercises as you do on trumpet, just an octave lower.

If you plan on moving around the parts a lot (first, then second, then maybe something else) a medium bore with a trigger seems like good thing to do.
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The Dutch Guy
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« Reply #7 on: Jan 10, 2017, 04:48AM »

Thanks Bonerick!

I'll make sure to put that to practice.

As for the trombone itself:

From what I understand, my Pbone is small bore. And I'm running out of air quickly.
Does bore size really do that much that I'd notic a difference with a medium or large bore?
I found a nice B-stock large bore with trigger online. Problem is, I can't try it out without actually ordering it. Although they have a return policy.
As far as I can see, most small bores don't come with a trigger. Some medium ones do.

As for brands: I recognize many of them because they make trumpets as well. Sadly they're quite expensive.

Has anyone any experience with Thomann trombones? I mean their own line of instruments. They are much more affordable than Bach, Yamaha etc...
Ranging from about 100 to 1000 euros for tenors. If so, which one would suit my purpose best?

Thanks!
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« Reply #8 on: Jan 10, 2017, 05:37AM »

Me again...keep in mind that I am not an expert, I am into tbone playing since December.

Do you insist on buying new? How important for you are cosmetics of the instrument?

If not, look for a decent vintage tbone, something like a conn, king, olds or anything of the kind. If I was you, I would go into .520-.547 bore with an F trigger.

You'll need some more time (for me it was somewhere around 4 weeks to adjust my embouchure, breathing and general body use) to get used to the new instrument. Most of the time the tbone for me requires more relaxed approach than both trumpet or flugelhorn as far as breathing and embouchure. Just keep breathing, you may need to learn to get quicker some air without building up on body tension.

You can use a large bore tbone, but I imagine that you would need to put more efforts to use it on first tbone parts and switching (if you keep playing your main instrument) from trumpet and flugelhorn will be more difficult, at least at the beginning. For me personally, it is more about the sound you are looking for. For the kind of stuff you will be playing I imagine that large bore would do the job as well.
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The Dutch Guy
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« Reply #9 on: Jan 10, 2017, 06:06AM »

Do I insist on buying a new one?
No. I'm quite used to buying second hand instruments. I've had about a dozen trumpets, none of them were new.
However, there are quite few used trombones for sale at this point. Depending on my criteria (bore, trigger) there are even less.

Cosmetings:
Not very important. In most cases I don't care. My most played trumpet is a banged-up yamaha with the laquer peeling off everywhere.
I do appreciate 'special' instruments, like a limited edition with custom engraving, stuff like that, but not for the band I'm going to use this trombone for.
I'd pay extra for an instrument in better shape with the same sound. But not that much that I'd buy it new.

I won't have to switch during the day, but I'll keep playing both the trumpet and flugelhorn in other settings.

What's most important is that I have an instrument which I can use for playing days up to 6 hours a day (spread over the day) or so, and that a few days straigth.
If medium or small bore is preferred for that, I'll have to keep that im mind for sure.

About 4 weeks to get used to the embouchure eh? Good thing I have about 5 weeks left until Dutch Carnaval starts. That's a full week of playing about 6 hours a day :)
My aim right now is to be good enough sound- and embouchure-wise to make it through that, but with a horn that I can use for years to come.
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« Reply #10 on: Jan 10, 2017, 06:17AM »

Small bore is usually favored in Jazz settings.  Many people also find it easier to play in the high range with the smaller bore.  Large bore is mainly for orchestral work.  A medium bore tenor with f-attachment is a good all-around horn.

As for air, of the brass instruments, the trombone uses the most air.  I can sing about 8 measures in choir at my church easily.  I can play at most 4 measures of the same song on my trombone.  (Of course, I've had 3 bouts of pneumonia, so my lung capacity isn't what it used to be.)  When I started back on the trombone after a 20 year lay-off, I had problems with anything passed 4th position.  It took a while to be able to play a C in the staff.  I would definitely suggest long tones in the lower register.  They are very helpful.
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« Reply #11 on: Jan 10, 2017, 06:28AM »

Another vote for a medium bore with F.

If Dutch Carnaval is like Swiss Carnaval, being a stellar player isn't that important.  Also you will be playing outdoors most of the time.  So a great horn isn't really necessary.  And depending on the weather, a plastic mouthpiece (I suggest a Kelly 5G) is a godsend.

A good Chinese trombone (don't know if Thomann does any QC work on them; Wessex Tubas and John Packer do) can probably work well in this situation.

But for Carnaval, I'd bet a plastic pBone would be eye-catching.  It's less about virtuosity and more about drunken entertainment. ;-)
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #12 on: Jan 10, 2017, 06:39AM »

About 4 weeks to get used to the embouchure eh? Good thing I have about 5 weeks left until Dutch Carnaval starts. That's a full week of playing about 6 hours a day :)

Everybody is different, but you should know that by now. And I am not aiming to play 6 hours in a row on tbone. Keep in mind that I have a work break now, probably till March, so bassically I have all my time to use for my own purposes. If you are working while try to get a hang on the bone, you may need more time. Anyway I wish you luck and hope to see your updates.
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The Dutch Guy
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« Reply #13 on: Jan 10, 2017, 06:43AM »

@ BGuttman:
It's quite similar. Although I consider our music to be more 'refined' and less about making as much noise as possible. Still, we play at the same events.
For some of those gigs, a great horn isn't necessary, but for some it might be. I want one that'll be OK for all of them.

@ Bonerick:
I am working, but have about an hour or 2 every day left, excluding rehearsal days. I'll post updates as soon as I make progress!

I looked a bit further from home for 2nd hand instruments. In you opinion, assuming they are in the same shape, which of these would you recommend:

Yamaha YSL 354
Selmer 23-Special
Getzen KT

As far as I can see they are all small/medium bore without F attachment, but quite affordable.

If I'd be looking for a medium with F attachment. Which brands / horns should I be searching for specifically?
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« Reply #14 on: Jan 10, 2017, 06:54AM »

From what I understand, my Pbone is small bore. And I'm running out of air quickly.
Does bore size really do that much that I'd notic a difference with a medium or large bore?

Absolutely!

Since I'm Dutch too, I'm quite up-to-date about what's available on the Dutch market. As well as having experience with some of the Thomann (and other Chinese) instruments. (Big problem with the Chinese instruments is usually a horrible slide...)

If you really want an instrument that you wouldn't need to upgrade at any point in your career, you should go for a (semi-)professional model (new or used). Probably with an F-attachment in medium/large bore. But that is without having seen or heard you play.

If you're going to buy a Chinese trombone, it will be cheaper and easily available, but it will at some point not suffice anymore. When you get more familiar with playing the trombone, you're going to demand more from it. But it's another way to start. Either way is fine.

Used instruments in the Netherlands are getting cheaper and cheaper. I've seen Bach LT42BG's go for as little as 600 euro. And in way more than reasonable condition (I've worked on some of these bargains)! But you might have to wait for one of your choice to become available. And besides time you also need some luck.

With Carnaval I usually see medium to large bore trombones (King 3BF/4BF, Jupiter 532/536/636, Yamaha 400-series for example). Mostly large bores, to be honest. The bigger bores give a bigger/broader sound. In my 'kapel' we play with two King 4B/F's and one King 5B/F (each with an individual part). If you can manage the bigger bore, the chords you're able to produce is going to be impressive :-P Especially if the parts are tailered to the trombone section. Even though most people find it easier to play high on a smaller bore, you'd be surprised how many people play the large bores during Carnaval. And trust me, I've seen and heard quite a few trombone players in this typically Dutch "genre". In varying degrees of success, btw.

The most alround instrument is a medium bore. Which would be my advice for most players during carnaval. The F-attachment adds a little weight to the instrument, which in itself will already be appearing heavier during each day. Even though it comes in handy at times, most music for carnaval doesn't require one, even in the lower parts.

You are in the luxurious position that you live in the Netherlands. You never need to drive far before you get to a shop with (used) trombones and mouthpieces, good advice and usually a nice cup of coffee!
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The Dutch Guy
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« Reply #15 on: Jan 10, 2017, 07:09AM »

Hah, what a coincidence!
I'm currently in Eindhoven :)

Ok, so I don't have to limit myself to small/medium per se. That's good to know.
I think for me the best way to go is to first practice some more for a week or two, and then go to one of the stores and try different instruments of all bore sizes, to see how they suit me. From there I can make a choice to either immediately buy one or keep looking for a reasonably priced second hand one.
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« Reply #16 on: Jan 10, 2017, 07:21AM »

Small world :)

In our part of the country, we are used to hearing large bores. We hear them all the time in wind bands, symphonic orchestra, brassbands and even some bigbands. To our ears, the trombones during carnaval sound better with the 'gravitas' of a large bore. Especially to counterbalance the trumpets :-P

So it's not a strange thing to use a large bore at all during carnaval! But most important still is that the trombone suits you.

Practice some more for a while and you'll be able to experience the difference between the bore sizes more easily. Good luck and most importantly: enjoy!
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The Dutch Guy
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« Reply #17 on: Jan 10, 2017, 07:37AM »

Good to know. I actually had no idea what kind of trombones are common here.
Thanks for the advice!
I'll practice some more, and will post an update once I've made a decision.
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« Reply #18 on: Jan 11, 2017, 07:18AM »

You have an Amati valve trombone? You donīt like to use it? The mouthpice in the Amatin might fit the Pbone. There a few different Pbones around, often the mouthpiece to those are close to Bach 11c and not bad at all, many players on this forum are not used to play that size, but more often that not the mouthpiece are ok. Just as good as Kelly.
I do play profesionally (for about 50 years) I have a Pbone and have used it for some gigs, nobody noticed that it wasnīt a regullar trombone.
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« Reply #19 on: Jan 12, 2017, 01:33AM »

Hello Sven,

No I don't have a valve trombone. All I have is a dozen of trumpets, a flugelhorn and a Pbone :)
This evening I'll get a metal mouthpiece from someone who used to play trombone, and I can use it until I buy my own stuff.
I've found a 'relatively' close by store that has about 20 second hand trombones within my price range. Once I'm a bit more comfortable with the metal mouthpiece I'll take a look there.

If I stick to 1st parts, I'll probably go for whichever horn allows me to play the high notes easiest and with the best tone.
If I'm not sure, I'll get a bone with attachment.
I'll probably not go to bass parts, so a bass trombone is not necessary.

I studied two more songs yesterday, and now the range I need has increased to an A above high F (around the 4th ledger above the staff I guess?). The lowest note necessary is still a C in the staff.
Would this change your recommendation for a horn (bore) ?

But back to the store I found: Here's some of the horns they list within my price range. Assuming everything works, are there any I should definitely take a look at, or not at all?
They are all within 200-1000 euros. Most without a picture though. As far as I can see, only the ones with + F have an F attachment. I sorted on price (lowest first), and then added more expensive ones of the same brand to the same line. So the further down to the right, the more expensive. The further up to the left, the cheaper. Most don't have any further description, so no idea about the condition or the bore size.

Let me know what you think!

King Cleveland Superior, and Tempo
Selmer Bundy, Signet, K Modified 3b + F
Holton Collegiate
Reynolds
Olds Ambassador, continental, Ambassador + F, Superstar 3b + F, Super LA
Con (18H and 14H) Director, Conn Union Label Small Bore LP, Continental Clarion, Connquest, 6H, 38H Connstellation
Roth
King 606, 606S, King concert 3b + F, King Sonourous 4B + F, 2104
Yamaha 352, 354
Buescher Hertekop, Model I Grand, and Model X Solo Grand, nr 400, 406, Aristocrat
Bach Reynolds,
Courtois Revelation 3b, or 3b + F, AC280BO
Bach Mercedes, New York Mercury
Martin Committee
Jupiter 636 4b + F, 536R 3b + F


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