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The Trombone ForumHorns, Gear, and EquipmentInstruments(Moderators: tbone62, slide advantage) Small bore horns: light or heavy. Which do you prefer?
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Author Topic: Small bore horns: light or heavy. Which do you prefer?  (Read 1422 times)
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« on: May 03, 2017, 06:01PM »

I play the Conn 6H. Several of them have passed through my hands. I gravitated towards the one that feels right and plays best for my style.

One thing I noticed was of the many I have had, this one weights the most. I don't thing I can quantify what it is about a heavier horn I like. Maybe it is subconscious. Theoretically I assume a heavier bell is less likely to break up and distort at louder volume.

I like an outer slide that has some weight to it as well. I am not the kind of player who grips the slide brace. I hold it loosely between my thumb and forefinger. And when I play at tempo, I throw the slide, my hand getting to the right place just before the slide arrives. And very light slides make this style of playing impossible, whereas an outer with some heft to it provides some inertia and momentum, allowing me to play that way. It is just the way it feels right to me.

Stress and tension is not a good thing when it comes to playing a musical instrument. There is enough stress already....especially playing a brass instrument.

If I grip the slide, that tension translates to the rest of my body.

Bottom line, I just wondered if I am in the minority in my preference for less than light horns.
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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2017, 07:01PM »

I also play a pretty heavy 6H (pretty sure the slide weighs more than my 42B slide). I love it.

Maybe it's not for the same reason, but I feel like the weight makes it feel more like my day-to-day horn, my bass, and less like a toy.
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« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2017, 07:16PM »

I like a heavy slide as well, but then again I'm no Bob McChesney.
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« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2017, 07:43PM »

I like both heavy and light small horns, but I probably prefer light. Of the heavy horns, I like the Selmer Bolero, 48h, and the 32h (all great horns}. But my favorite horn is a 79h, which is light. I've had half a dozen 6h, and they seem to be all over the map. The 48h seem more consistent. My 10h is lighter than my 48h, but I love the way both play. All things considered I prefer a wide but light slide. In larger horns, I definitely prefer light, so 88h over 42b.
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« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2017, 02:43AM »

I prefer a heavier horn overall. A nice, heavy bell so the tone doesn't get nasty too quick (but can be pushed if desired) and a heavy slide so the inertia carries it somewhat. My school has a 3BF with a nickel slide that I really like.
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« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2017, 04:05AM »

Light for me....probably why I always take the counterweight of an HN White 2B!
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« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2017, 07:09AM »

both.

heavy horns help me produce a big sound almost instantaneously, which i love. I have a strong face thing happening and I can muscle a heavy horn around and get a nice huge dark sound out of one and I don't have to worry about the high end crackle because the heavier horns tend to smooth that out. they're great in any setting where using the full dynamic range from ppp to fff is an option - chamber groups, small group jazz without a bunch of frickin' amplifiers turned up to 11, "classical" stuff and studio work. I think I record well on big heavy horns. I love silversonics.

I don't like them on long endurance gigs, or gigs where I have to play loud all night, which seems to be where my bread and butter is these days. Also, anything where I'm playing with a lot of horns or playing lead in a big band i don't like heavier stuff too much.

For the majority of work I do, lighter horns tend to help better. Lead in a big band? I hear myself better. Horn band playing covers, TOP, funk, that kind of stuff? I can hear myself better. Long endurance gigs where I'm playing all night? My shoulder doesn't get sore - and I can hear myself better so I don't chop out too early in the night overblowing to hear myself. Small group jazz where I'm going to be playing a bunch of solos? I don't get fatigued nearly as quick. The only drawback to a light horn for me is the high end crackle - I like it but when I'm really blowing it can be a bit much to tame it down in certain settings. I don't have the problem with projection and volume that most seem to have with really light horns, but the highs can be a bit much on certain gigs.
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« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2017, 07:44AM »

Horns need to function as units.  Some work better as lightweight units, some as heavier units. 

The best Bach I've ever played was heavy as all get-out.  The best King I've ever played was a Jiggs that would float if thrown in the air (didn't try it though). 

My Williams is my favorite horn-- heavier than any horn I've played.  Except the Schilke small-bore, which I don't really like at all.  The weight is just one factor in the horn's design that needs to work with the other factors. 


Of course, if I found a horn that was as good as the one I'm playing in every single way but was lighter?  I'd get it.  To the exclusion of all other factors, lighter would be preferable.
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« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2017, 07:47AM »

I don't care; as long as the slide moves very, very well and the horn does not feel "clunky".

...Geezer
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« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2017, 07:50AM »

Light bell, light slide.  Seems like Shires horns feel a bit larger than other horns of the same bore size so the brightness can be countered in that capacity and allows for a lighter overall instrument.  At least that's my theory.

Main large bore is the 2RVET7, so thinned flare and the slide I use with it is a T47LW so both narrow and without oversleeves.   
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« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2017, 07:55AM »

Very roughly speaking:

Light = brighter

Heavy = darker

You choose for the dynamic range(s) in which you play and the timbral effects that you wish to get.

Also very roughly speaking:

Light = less effortful

Heavy = more effortful

and

Light = quicker (response and slide technique)

Heavy = slower (ditto)

I generally have chosen slightly heavier horns myself because I am now primarily an acoustic player...preferably very little or no miking...in very strong large ensembles and smaller jazz groups. Light horns tend to yap like dogs at high volumes. Not my style. But...when I played mostly recording stuff I went lighter. Still not super-light though, I guess because I started out as a tubist plus I have the sounds of J.J Johnson, Jimmy Knepper, and Jack Teagarden imprinted on my soul. I sometimes envy the good lightweight players, especially when I see how easy it is for hem to play lead and cut through in big bands.

So it goes.

Y'pays yer money and y'takes yer chances.

You choose!!!

Later...

S.

P.S. Larger instruments that are relatively light...especially at the bell...sound better to me than do smaller ones. More SNAP to 'em, less THUD.
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« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2017, 08:41AM »

I think that you can have horns which are too light, especially when a whole section uses them. IMO with light horns, the sound is all around the player which is why there are comments on this post about being able to hear yourself better in a loud setting.

On a Marc 11, In the last decade I've gone from an '80's  3B (best of 3 in the store) great all round with a good slide. A Rath R10, very light and great in the store but I never thought that I played as well on it, and sorry to say, but they ain't made perfect.. Too light for me.

A K+H 480/88" small bore with a very heavy slide, a lot of metal but with an exemplary build, which played with a larger sound than you'd think and with a round attack using the S/S lead pipe. It felt like the sound was "out there" in the room. Maybe the weight of the slide made for a little too much inertia which made a freer slide vibrato harder.

Now I'm back to the 3B which has been in it's case for 4 years, It's a good package, medium weight bell, light slide and still lively with a new DW 6BS (going larger all the time..)

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« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2017, 09:18AM »

Light bell, light slide.  Seems like Shires horns feel a bit larger than other horns of the same bore size so the brightness can be countered in that capacity and allows for a lighter overall instrument.  At least that's my theory.

Main large bore is the 2RVET7, so thinned flare and the slide I use with it is a T47LW so both narrow and without oversleeves.   

To me, even Shires' "lightweight" options are heavier than most manufacturers'.  The MD model, which is meant to replace a King 2b, for example, has an XLW bell, and it's not perceptibly lighter than a normal King.  YMMV...
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« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2017, 09:22AM »

To me, even Shires' "lightweight" options are heavier than most manufacturers'.  The MD model, which is meant to replace a King 2b, for example, has an XLW bell, and it's not perceptibly lighter than a normal King.  YMMV...

Remember MD played a silversonic for many years so that may have something to do with it!
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« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2017, 10:29AM »

In the past I would have said medium to heavy. Now I am playing the John Fedchock XO model which is extremely lightweight. I am happy to report that it fits in every situation I've been in...from he loudest big band and rock horn section, to quartet and small group work, and studio work.  They did some incredible engineering with the braces, and bell metal formula.  The sound just "goes" and holds togather at loud or soft.

I went from a silver sonic 2b to this XO 1632 with a gold brass bell - - and I couldn't be happier.
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« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2017, 11:05AM »

To me, even Shires' "lightweight" options are heavier than most manufacturers'.  The MD model, which is meant to replace a King 2b, for example, has an XLW bell, and it's not perceptibly lighter than a normal King.  YMMV...

That's a valid observation. I don't know where it is off the top of my head but there is a thread where Ben mentions that the regular weight options are roughly equivalent to Bach's heavyweight option because they were so popular in the 90s when SEShires was being founded.


Consider also that trombones all more-or-less the same and we're talking about very small amounts of actual weight differences.  At least to me they're pretty small. Perhaps I'm just less observant of weight than the average person  :/  But there may well be a perception of difference in weight because of the shape of the instrument. The narrower the horn, the longer it will be and variances in the ratio of length of bell : length of slide slide will both alter the feel of the instrument because there is more weight in the back to counterbalance the slide.  Shires horns are rather wide so they are definitely going to feel heavier than say, a King 2B which is one of the more narrow horns I've played. 

The other consideration is - at least with Shires bells - the thickness of the bell flare relative to the thickness of the stem.  I like the regular flares on their smaller horns more than on large horns it would seem (my small bore is a 1YM) although I've admittedly not played a 1YMT7. I actually would really like to try a 1YMT7 775.

So my perception the Shires bells is that they simply have many weight options such that they have a wider range than you'd typically expect to find but most models tend to have less of a difference than the options all the way on the 'lighter' side of their spectrum like the XLW bells... and then the "T" variants of those that are even thinner than those.  But, as mentioned above, they still may still feel heavy because of their width. And whether or not you have a counterweight or if you have a thumbrest.  Their horns with straight neckpipes also may feel a little heavier because they don't balance with the lower bell brace, but with the little doo-hickey they have that is closer to where an F attachment is.
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« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2017, 11:17AM »

I like lighter horns such as the Kanstuls.

The small bore ZSL-1555 and the Williams 6 look-alike 1606 and the medium KBT-760 and the large bore ZBT-1570. My favorite bass trombone is the 1662. All these Kanstuls are light horns so I guess I want them light.

My favorite small bore is a King 2b+ which also is a lighter horn.

but...nohing wrong with an old good Conn 88h or a Bach 42 either. A Conn 30h or a 32h will due at home.

/Tom
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« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2017, 12:18PM »

I think that you can have horns which are too light, especially when a whole section uses them. IMO with light horns, the sound is all around the player which is why there are comments on this post about being able to hear yourself better in a loud setting.
A lightweight horn is just as directional as any other trombone. Being lighter doesn't turn it into a saxophone. What is true is that lighter horns (all things being equal) tend to be brighter - i.e., the highs in the frequency spectrum tend to be amplified compared to heavier horns. I've seen this in recordings and experienced it in live situations. Without a band playing, by myself, I actually hear myself better on larger equipment. I hear more of my sound. Throw in a trombone section, saxes, an amplified guitar and a drummer, and all of the sudden there are a lot of frequencies competing for space in that mid and upper mid register. The lack of hearing comes from that register being effectively masked by all of that other sound. Brighter = louder articulations = more pitch/time information in the upper frequency range that isn't being masked by all of that mid range sound. On a heavier horn I'm not getting that high frequency feedback.

Remember MD played a silversonic for many years so that may have something to do with it!
I could've sworn it was just a silver plated 2B (60's) but I may be wrong.
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« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2017, 02:22PM »

I`ve had a couple of really light weight horns in the Past. Loved them, but as I`ve gotten older
I find that I prefer not really heavy horns, but a small horn with some heft to it.
That`s the sound I hear in my head.
Primarily Bach`s with Gold Brass bells
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« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2017, 02:24PM »

A lightweight horn is just as directional as any other trombone. Being lighter doesn't turn it into a saxophone.

I don't mean directional as in a mic', I mean carrying further into the room.
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