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Author Topic: Trombone advice needed  (Read 1010 times)
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clnpayton
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« on: May 15, 2017, 06:34PM »

  Hi and thanks for reading!  It's a bit long but you can skip to the end, no worries.
  I am the proud father of a 14 yr old trombonist.  He started on Grandpa's hand-me-down in elementary and showing he enjoyed it, I got him a Bach TB200 intermediate w F attach.  Not sure if this was the wisest move as I think I should've just bitten the bullet and gotten him a Bach 42 Strad or comparable.  But hey, I don't play and am kind of navigating this thing blind.  After progressing on the TB200 he got a private instructor and now is really getting some chops.  He has gotten to a point where he came to me and asked to play the bass trombone.  Now, I had never even heard of a bass trombone but with his instructor's blessing and telling me he was ready (with some guidelines and instrument recommendations) for one I got him a Bach 50B3 9.5".  He loves it and is playing well, even going to Europe this summer with a handsome scholarship. 
  Next step is high school with a very good band program including recognized marching band program.  His trombone instructor and several others have told him/me he cannot march with his Bach 50B3.  I agree with this as it is not an instrument that I can afford to replace and is expected to last him through college. I impulsively bought him a Conn 50H "Bass trombone" which is really just a medium bore tenor by today's standards (learned in this spectacular forum).  Either way, due to the close proximity of the slide to the bell it makes the horn, not unusable but darn close, at least to him.  Plus, he wants to march with a true bass he says and of course the marching director is great with this as if he isn't the only bass player, he'll be in low company numbers.  I think I can sell the Conn without too much of a problem, it's a decent horn but I was being cheap and a bit scared for all the marching camps starting this summer.
  So, here's the question.   1. Does one need a beater horn to march with or is everyone marching with a Strad, etc?  2.  If he plays bass will he ever need a tenor intermediate trombone?  That is, can I sell the Bach TB200 for $1500 and get a "marching band beater?"  3. Dillon's music has a Bach 50B (single rotor) 10.5" that has had a repaired bell flair dent and been re-lacquered but in a price I can live with.  I am skeptical of the instrument level expectations playing for marching band. Am I thinking about all this correctly?  Am I missing anything?
  Thanks in advance!
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uncle duke
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2017, 07:04PM »

I'd like to add that there's more to high school instrumental music than marching band.  If they're good you'll enjoy the marching program as a parent but as he gets older there's concert and jazz programs to look forward too also. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is you may be doing more horn hunting before he graduates high school.   
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BGuttman
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2017, 07:34PM »

Big problem with most large bores and basses is holding them while marching.  I like a bass or large bore that you would hold like a small tenor with your thumb around the bell brace.  Makes for better balance.  You can have the trigger adjusted to fit his thumb if it's too short.  I don't think you will need a double trigger for marching -- never seen a low B natural anywhere.

I don't like to see kids marching with good instruments.  It's too easy for a ditzy flag girl or careless rifle juggler to miss and take out the slide (very expensive to replace 2 inners and 2 outers!).  Most of the Band Directors here told me they don't want the Strads or 88H's on the march.  If they want him to march with a good horn like that, they should provide it (and some schools will).

A nice old Reynolds or Olds bass with thumb around brace setup will probably do fine.  Or even a large tenor like a King 5B or Holton TR-150.  Get a used one (they aren't made any more anyway).

Good luck to him.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2017, 09:18AM »

Hi, this year I'm going on my fourth year of Marching band and in my personal opinion your son should not march with a bass Trombone unless it's necessary. This is because most marching bands do not have bass Trombone parts or trombone parts that​ go down anywhere below a F below the staff. Also the Trombone will be more prone to dent, abrasion, and cracks near the valves due to the constant horns up and the stress it causes.

To answer you questions: it is not necessary to have a beater horn for Marching band, but as I stated above the instruments are more prone to being damaged so depending how your son is with instruments will determine it's necessity. Next, if he plays bass, he doesn't​ need a tenor Trombone, but it would be better to keep it so if he needs to play a tenor part he'll have the right instrument and if his bass breaks he can use it as the back up. For your third question, I don't see why you would purchase the Bach 50b only for marching.

Ultimately you're right about not wanting to March with his bass Trombone and congrats to your son for the scholarship to Europe.
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Matt K

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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2017, 09:25AM »

What I would do is have the Conn slide angle fixed. A tech can probably take care of that for the price of a single solder. Last time I wanted it done, my local guy fixed it for free.

I'd then find a comparable small shank mouthpiece to what they normally play.  That might nto be a stock option, but someone like Doug Elliott can put one together. 

The two of these things together will maybe be $250-$300 total.  That's a lot less than marching with a Bach even with a single trigger.  I certainly wouldn't want to march with a thayer valve. They require more maintainance than a horn with rotors and the stress that gets put on a horn marching... I would be afraid of damaging the thayer core. That's not a cheap fix.  A marching horn needs to 'cut' anyway and a big mouthpiece on the Conn 50H should be more than sufficient even for playing lower parts.
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2017, 10:06AM »

I definitely would not recommend anyone march with a Bach 50, but it also depends on the type of "maneuvers" they will be doing while marching. The problem currently is that a lot of the choreography puts a ton of stress on the joints of the trombone, which is really a problem that no other instrument faces. With horns that have an F attachment or more, it's pretty easy to distort the valve knuckles, which is not an easy or cheap fix. This is especially true of the infamous "trombone suicide" routine, which in addition to really putting stress on the horn, also has pretty dire consequences should someone make a mistake.

I would see what type of single valve "true" bass trombone you can locate that, maybe a Yamaha 300 series.
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David Sullivan
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BGuttman
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2017, 10:27AM »

If you want to do the large mouthpiece on the Conn 50H, I bought a Warburton 3B cup (about the size of a 1 1/2 G) with a 4 backbore that fits a small tenor.  The combination would probably work fine.  Mine is not for sale, but you can contact Warburton and buy one for yourself.  Less than the cost of a Doug Elliott combo and way less than the cost of another horn.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2017, 11:37AM »

Keep the Conn. As for the mouthpiece, try looking for a Conn #3. The other option might be a used Bach 6 1/2al. Just because you see a military parade band marching large bore tenors (with axials), or double valve basses (with axials),doesn't mean it's a good idea. We have sousaphones for that.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2017, 11:39AM »

Also, the US Military provides the instruments used on the march.  They aren't using their own gear.
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Bruce Guttman
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clnpayton
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2017, 08:03PM »

  Thank you all for the replies!  I will take the Conn in and see if they can adjust the slide.  I like that idea.  I'll post back and let you guys know what happens!
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JohnL
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2017, 10:30PM »

...due to the close proximity of the slide to the bell it makes the horn, not unusable but darn close, at least to him.
50H's have a well-deserved rep for being knuckle-biters. Kinda inherent in the design, though a good tech can improve the situation. It does encourage the player to hold the slide with just their fingertips. Evil
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2017, 05:43AM »

Keep the Conn. As for the mouthpiece, try looking for a Conn #3. The other option might be a used Bach 6 1/2al. Just because you see a military parade band marching large bore tenors (with axials), or double valve basses (with axials),doesn't mean it's a good idea. We have sousaphones for that.

There is also a big difference between marching in a parade band, and doing a field show with color guard and rifles also.  In my drum corp days I had more than one flag person hit my horn, on the bugle it didn't do major damage, on a trombone slide it would have really messed it up.  What are his band directors suggestions regarding a marching instrument for him?  Are they suggesting he use a Bass?  Personally I would look for a used not pretty but functional large bore tenor for marching and use my bass mouthpiece in it. 
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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2017, 05:53AM »

Nobody has mentioned the sensible option which is to avoid marching altogether ! :-)

Ronnie
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Matt K

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« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2017, 06:19AM »

There is also a big difference between marching in a parade band, and doing a field show with color guard and rifles also.  In my drum corp days I had more than one flag person hit my horn, on the bugle it didn't do major damage, on a trombone slide it would have really messed it up.  What are his band directors suggestions regarding a marching instrument for him?  Are they suggesting he use a Bass?  Personally I would look for a used not pretty but functional large bore tenor for marching and use my bass mouthpiece in it. 

Also a good option and then the mouthpiece they normally use would fit.  FWIW, the used market would be good for that or something like a Mack Brass (http://www.mackbrass.com/MACK-TB810L.php) may be a good fit. Although to be perfectly honest, if you're going to drop $600 on a tenor for marching, you may as well drop $900 for their bass model.  I don't know what you got the Conn 50 for, but they probably won't fetch as much as one of these new but it may be an option worth considering.
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« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2017, 06:29AM »

The military bands do march with large bores and F attachments or bass trombones, but they also:

1. Are being paid to do so and are signed for Uncle Sam's gear.
2. Aren't really doing any crazy kind of marching or horn snaps. Even at a tattoo it's pretty tame marching.
3. Usually have a full trombone section wondering why we aren't using inexpensive and lighter Yamaha .525/F attachment horns rather than Edwards and Shires.

I personally wouldn't take any of my own trombones out to march around with. I'd use the school's Bundy.
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« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2017, 03:23AM »

I am a bit late to the party!

First of all, do not agonize over not having had bought your son a Bach 42; mid-teens typically do not have the physical maturity to be able to utilize the full potential of a large bore tenor, anyway.

1. Nobody marches with a horn priced in the thousands, especially when the budget (e.g. procurement, repair, etc) is coming out of their own or their parent's pocket. Nobody. Anyone that takes up marching band during school marches with a generic pea-shooter.
 
2. That is a very wise idea on your part. If your son objects, tell him that the outdoors is not a good environment for expensive instruments, especially when stunts like trombone suicide are taken into account.

3. When you are buying a professional-grade 0.562" bass horn from your own pocket, you do so with the expectation that you will only use them indoors. On your employer's dime- that can be a different story though, but your child is not anywhere near a military band right now, is he?

As a side note, if your son decides to try a hand at majoring in music performance on bass trombone, do also buy a large-bore tenor (in addition to a 0.562" bass). Large-bore tenors are utilized as bass instruments for anything earlier than mid-19th century stuff (you will most definitely not perform Haydn's The Creation with a 0.562" horn except during auditions; likewise for anything by Mozart- even for something more dramatic like Magic Flute or Requiem; Beethoven too, despite his "fate-knocking-on-ya-doorstep-thug-life-homie" stuff going on), and even for interpreting select mid-19th century works (Brahms and Schumann) because the modern 0.562" gear would be too overwhelming for those works.
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Matt K

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« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2017, 03:26AM »

Quote
1. Nobody marches with a horn priced in the thousands, especially when the budget (e.g. procurement, repair, etc) is coming out of their own or their parent's pocket. Nobody. Anyone that takes up marching band during school marches with a generic pea-shooter.

You may be surprised. This is actually pretty common in some states as well as college marching band. But it certainly was not where I went to school.
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« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2017, 05:06AM »

Yeah, I've seen it done. Head scratcher for sure.
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« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2017, 06:06AM »

If he has the chops to fill a bass he could probably do well on a large bore tenor.  A straight tenor would take the punishment better than an F-attachment horn.  Something like a Blessing B8 or an beater King 4B or a well used Bach 42.  But still, something like a Yamaha 354 or an Olds Ambassador or King 606 - Bundy - would be ultimately best.  The Yamaha is very well built.
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« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2017, 09:13AM »

My son is in college now so he's playing bass trombone in a big band (King Duo Gravis) and large bore tenor (Conn 88HTO) in Symphony.  When he was in HS he played those as well as a pea shooter for marching/pep band - King 606 with a super ugly finish and a Kelly Lexan mouthpiece (great for hot and cold weather).  His small bore cost us $35 at a thrift store and $60 for the slide job.  He still uses it for practice at football camp (college football players are not very respectful to fragile instruments).  Cliff Notes: cheap pea shooters are good to have around - even for bass players.
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