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The Trombone ForumHorns, Gear, and EquipmentInstruments(Moderators: tbone62, slide advantage) Sackbuts -- how to get into playing the sackbut?
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blast

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« Reply #20 on: Mar 16, 2017, 01:39AM »

A sackbut will not help if you find it hard to play quietly... use a small tenor and work at your end of the dynamic range. You should have no problem blending with modern woodwind who can often be pretty beefy. Equipment is not always an answer.

Chris Stearn
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Le.Tromboniste
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« Reply #21 on: Mar 27, 2017, 08:08PM »

Some good advice higher in this thread already. My (okay, more than) two cents :

-If you want to listen to CD's to get familiar with earlier styles, I'd stay away from Lindberg, or other modern soloists for that matter. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they don't sound good. I absolutely love Trudel's Trombone Concerti CD, and Jorgen's sackbut CD was the very reason I started playing sackbut. They are amazing musicians who can make any kind of trombone sound good and there's many reasons to listen to those CDs, but I'd argue that learning the style isn't one of them. There are people that spend a lifetime learning early music, reading treatise, reflecting on historical and musicological issues, refining the world's knowledge and comprehension of historical styles...It's a good idea to look there instead, for stylistic inspiration. Couple suggestions : Fede e Amor by Ensemble La Fontaine with Catherine Motuz and Simen van Mechelen on sackbuts and the amazing countertenor Alex Potter (www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWse2wgIlTk); the numerous CDs by Caecilia Consort with Adam Woolf on sackbut;  also Adam's solo album Songs Without Words (www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXdrJxftG-U); and if you dig a bit, you'll find more or less historical recordings of the ''classical'' concertos with period ensembles. Ensemble-wise, plenty to find, if only on YouTube. Oltremontano, Concerto Palatino, His Majesty's.......a great album by íSacabuche!...and many others


-Regarding your instrument question... With the type of ensemble you're talking about, you're basically inventing something anyway, so it doesn't really matter what horn you play, whether it's your modern alto or a small bore tenor or a hackbut or a real sackbut... Just play what you feel like playing and what will allow you to express yourself best. And if you'd like to try to play on a sackbut for that, whether it's a good authentic one or a vaguely sackbut-ish horn like the Wessex, by all means go for it. You wouldn't be the first nor the last to use a sackbut in a non-early music or non-historical band.

-The advantage of buying something more ''serious'' than a Wessex is that the day you choose to try going deeper into earlier styles, you're already equipped. But I understand price is a big issue if you don't intend to do that or know for sure. However I'll just mention that your price estimate is inflated. I mean, the best alto sackbut out there is arguably by Egger and the standard model is about 3800 US (quite expensive, but not ''a lot more than four thousand'' - and the two I've played are both among the very best trombones (of any kind) I've ever had in my hands). Noah Gladstone sells the Leuchter alto $2550. I haven't tried the alto, but I tried a few of the tenors, and I agree with the oft-repeated assessment - it's about 70% of the sound for 70% of the price. Personally if I was going to spend that kind of money I'd put in the extra cash and get that 30% more, but that's me. Graham Nicholson here in The Hague is an outstanding early brass instrument makers - he's regarded by many as the best natural trumpet maker out there. I'm pretty sure his price for a trombone would be closer to Leuchter than to Egger - but he's got a fairly long waiting list.

-I can't vouch for the Wessex, haven't tried them. I've tried quite a few very bad sackbuts made by far more reputable ''sackbut'' makers, so I'd be cautious....but in the end with the price of the Wessex, it's not that huge a risk.


-If you do go for a Wessex (or if you somehow find a good used sackbut somewhere for a reasonable price - it's rare but it does happens!), I encourage you to at least try a real sackbut mouthpiece and see how it feels and sounds - it is strange and not super comfortable at first but if you stick to it, you get used to it faster than you'd think and it's extremely rewarding musically. It really allows you to do things with your instrument that your would never be able to do on a modern mouthpiece.
I probably will end up trying to use a very wide rim (which I know is a cardinal sin)
By the way, what do you mean by that? Sackbut mouthpieces typically have very wide rims, by modern standards.


-Been said before, but I'll repeat nonetheless - Get a copy of Adam Woolf's Sackbut Solutions. Every trombone player should own a copy of that book even if they don't plan on playing historical instruments or music. No kidding.


-You mentioned lessons. I don't know if he still stops by Colorado sometimes, but if he does or if you're ever in the Bay Area, you should get in touch with Greg Ingles. He's pretty much the top American sackbut player, as far as I know. Also, Linda Pearse is a great Canadian bass sackbut player and teacher - she teaches at IU in Bloomington.
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Maximilien Brisson
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« Reply #22 on: Mar 28, 2017, 06:18PM »

Noah Gladstone sells the Leuchter alto $2550. I haven't tried the alto, but I tried a few of the tenors, and I agree with the oft-repeated assessment - it's about 70% of the sound for 70% of the price. Personally if I was going to spend that kind of money I'd put in the extra cash and get that 30% more, but that's me.

I've played all three Leuchters and I own a bass (in addition to a Meinl). I'd say that the alto was the least successful of the three. It seemed really heavily built compared to an Egger or Meinl (but not nearly what a hackbut/Wessex would be) and for me was hard to modulate in a sensitive way, though I admit I spent very little time with it. I find the tenor to work alright with "better" instruments as long as it's toward the lower end of the group. I actually like the bass a lot. Noah sent it to me when I was really in a bind and I figured I'd end up selling it when I got a "real" one. I haven't, and I don't intend to!

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-You mentioned lessons. I don't know if he still stops by Colorado sometimes, but if he does or if you're ever in the Bay Area, you should get in touch with Greg Ingles. He's pretty much the top American sackbut player, as far as I know.

Since he's not on here, I guess I'll address this. Greg no longer has a house in CO, but we do occasionally get there or near for concerts (we did Boulder and Denver in December, but nothing for next season afaik). He also does Skype lessons if that's of interest.
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« Reply #23 on: Mar 29, 2017, 06:00AM »

Good to know. Once I get one I'll seek out a teacher.

And le Tromboniste hit the nail on the head -- what I was thinking of using the instrument for is pretty much just made up. My 36H is probably a better choice.

It's too bad that the Lindberg recordings are deemed inappropriate. I wish I could sound exactly like that in a woodwind group! The Baroque Trombobe disc is addicting and I also really like the Tbone and Voice disc as well.

Naxos doesn't have much else for Sackbut music....
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« Reply #24 on: Mar 29, 2017, 12:41PM »

You can find quite a few very good sackbut CDs on Naxos Music Online, if you have access to that (amazing) resource. Some of the CDs I mentionned earlier are on there. There are also dozens of CDs featuring major early brass ensembles.

It's not that Lindberg's CDs are inappropriate. It's just that upon listening to them, anybody who's ever looked at any of the major treatises instantly knows that he certainly hasn't (the same is applicable for some of the other modern soloists who have recorded on sackbut). And in certain cases he clearly hasn't looked at even the original editions of the works he's playing, as there are quite a few wrong notes that correspond to misprints in modern editions. And that's fine, all performances don't have to be deeply historically informed (or historically informed at all, for that matter), and anybody can play and record what they want. I just don't really see the point in going through the trouble of playing earlier music on a historical instrument if you're gonna play it with a modern mouthpiece, a modern approach to phrasing and articulation, and without demonstrating any curiosity for the actual history. The impression it leaves me when people do that is that they see the sackbut as a token, something they can show off with; ''Hey look/listen, I'm playing this primitive version of my instrument, isn't it cool!?'', without actually having the will or interest on learning how to really make it sound well - and I cant help but see in that attitude a certain lack of respect towards the instrument, let alone the people who have dedicated their lives studying it, reviving it and doing the research...

In any case, he would have sounded much better had he recorded those CDs on his modern instruments, and he wouldn't be given a false impression of what a sackbut and the music written for it sound like. As I said, these recordings still have their qualities and they are enjoyable to listen to; and in the absolute, they are not musically uninteresting - they are just not at all what sackbut playing is about.
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Maximilien Brisson
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« Reply #25 on: Mar 29, 2017, 05:03PM »

I just don't really see the point in going through the trouble of playing earlier music on a historical instrument if you're gonna play it with a modern mouthpiece, a modern approach to phrasing and articulation, and without demonstrating any curiosity for the actual history. The impression it leaves me when people do that is that they see the sackbut as a token, something they can show off with; ''Hey look/listen, I'm playing this primitive version of my instrument, isn't it cool!?'', without actually having the will or interest on learning how to really make it sound well - and I cant help but see in that attitude a certain lack of respect towards the instrument, let alone the people who have dedicated their lives studying it, reviving it and doing the research...

Nicely put.
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