Bass Trombone Sound?

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imsevimse
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by imsevimse » Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:01 pm

FOSSIL wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:33 am
... the closer to the player, the greater the influence.... mouthpiece big, leadpipe quite big, slide less so etc etc. Interesting perspective....

Chris
Yes, I agree. Closest to the body is the brain and that is also the part that's most important to the sound. "The sound starts in your head".

The mouthpiece is certainly what's next. I often change mouthpiece on tenor. A .500 bore sound very different with a small Bach 11C and a Hammond 12M (Bach 5-ish).

The leadpipe can change the horn a lot too. A cracked leadpipe destroys the sound of any trombone. The leadpipe makes the horn a player or not, that's pretty important. It can make the horn play big or small.

The slide and bell? I have not experimented with a lot of slides and bells on the same equipment so I can not confirm that but I know dents can be pretty big and still the instrument is not affected. It depends on where the dent is.

What I think; the equipment we choose make the sound we have in our head more or less easy to produce. If we have the possibility to change our mindset and imagine another sound we would NOT sound the same whatever equipment we are playing. When I change instruments I resign to what ever character the instrument has. I sound very different on my Yamaha 612R and my Holton 169 and my Bach 45 and my Conn 70h. I don't try to make them sound the same. The same goes for my tenors. If I want the same sound I would only use one instrument.

/Tom
Last edited by imsevimse on Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:38 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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MoominDave
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by MoominDave » Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:22 am

No mention of Bob Hughes yet? Paul Milner, the current incumbent of his former seat at the LSO, also has a sound appoach to admire.

Regarding the earlier discussion about "standing on the shoulders of giants", yes, no-one comes from nowhere, and indeed there were bass trombone names to remember from the WW2 era and before. But the changes in instrumental fashions between then and now mean that meaningful comparisons are hard to come by. Leroy Kenfield was mentioned... What equipment did Kenfield play on? A mouthpiece not dissimilar to a 6-1/2AL; an early Holton of whose dimensions I'm unsure (and then later a Conn). It certainly wasn't a .562" bore - such large tubes were not part of trombone slide design at that time. These people were playing different musical games to anyone playing since the mainstream bass trombone community unilaterally decided on .562" bores, and so the first to make their names on the modern American-style bass trombone bores do stand as pioneers in an important sense.

It shouldn't be denied that there is important commonality over the decades in what makes a good bass trombone sound - listening to the 1906 BSO trombone quartet 78 recordings with Kenfield shows even through the crackles of the medium a beautiful rich tone and an admirably clean articulation (more difficult on such equipment than now) in the dynamically limited repertoire that they chose to record. But the possibilities of such instruments are significantly different to the possibilities of bass trombone instruments as they've been since the 1960s. Yes, e.g. Kleinhammer would not have been the player he was without the efforts of the preceding generation(s). But in am important sense players of his era created the bass trombone anew. And this goes even more so in the UK, where the bass trombone tradition that preceded the adoption of modern American-style instruments called for even smaller instruments and much pointier noises - Ray Premru was painting on a near-blank canvas.
imsevimse
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by imsevimse » Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:10 pm

It's wrong to think old trombones were bad and difficult to play well. They were different and less consistent but old horns can still sound very good today which means they knew what they were doing in the old days too. The ideal sound was different, not bad, just different.

/Tom
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MoominDave
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by MoominDave » Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:05 pm

That's what I said!
imsevimse
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by imsevimse » Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:49 pm

MoominDave wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:05 pm
That's what I said!
Great to find out that two persons agree on something. You said it in more words than I did, but I don't know as many English words as you do. Good post! :good:

/Tom
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by FOSSIL » Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:20 pm

The Fuchs model Conn bass was the model for most modern basses. made in the 1920's... .562 bore slide and a big throated 9 1/2" bell. In America the 'modern' equipment has been around a long time.

Chris
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by Tbarh » Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:05 am

FOSSIL wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:20 pm
The Fuchs model Conn bass was the model for most modern basses. made in the 1920's... .562 bore slide and a big throated 9 1/2" bell. In America the 'modern' equipment has been around a long time.

Chris
Noah Gladstone states that his Fuchs is from 1916.. :shock:
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by MoominDave » Sat Aug 31, 2019 4:36 am

FOSSIL wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:20 pm
The Fuchs model Conn bass was the model for most modern basses. made in the 1920's... .562 bore slide and a big throated 9 1/2" bell. In America the 'modern' equipment has been around a long time.
But... Was it the standard that people went to then when they looked for a bass trombone? I could use more info on this point - I don't feel like it was, but would struggle to convincingly back myself up in asserting that. I'd be pointing at 70H specials being made with various bore sizes (down to .525" as I recall? Or do I misremember?), and at Fuchs basses being rare and the design not really catching on until Bach, Holton, and Conn made their later copies of it.

Or was it that that was in some cultural sense the accepted "bass trombone" in the US interwar, but that it was rare at that time, and so parts marked 'bass' were often played on smaller instruments? It seems to me that the modern bass trombone only firmed into the shape it broadly still has in the 1960s - but I'd love to know more about the story.
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by BGuttman » Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:14 am

Up until the mid 20th Century the trombone sections of American and British orchestras were quite different. Americans used variants on the German style, often with large bores. Often an American symphonic trombone was 0.525" or so. Bass trombone ranged from 0.547" to 0.565". In Britain, on the other hand, the bass trombone was in G and often 0.525" or sometimes even smaller. The tenor was also much smaller.

If you want to hear the differences between the sections, Trent Hamilton played a quartet using an old "pea shooter" and his grandfather's G bass for the "old" sound and a set of modern sized instruments. It's an interesting video. I hope this link works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHC8SZTGvWA
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by FOSSIL » Sat Aug 31, 2019 7:26 am

The seed of the modern trombone sound was planted in Germany in the mid 19th century. Trombones began to be made with a large (.500-550) bore and large (9-9.5") bell. I have an example that is in Bb and without valve but would probably have been called a bass trombone. Played with a period mouthpiece it has a tone a little different from modern horns but plug in a large modern mouthpiece and you could use it in a modern section !

Chris
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by imsevimse » Sat Aug 31, 2019 7:36 am

One difference is their volume.

The older horns as my Conn small tenor with a 7" bell from 1902 and my 6.5" bell King from 1904 can not take the same air as my modern symphony .547 horns but if you play pianissimo the old horns still can glow while you have to struggle to get that same glow on the modern horns.

A modern fortissimo in a symphony orchestra would sound terrible on the old instruments if I try to play them as loud as LOUD is today. The character of loud comes much earlier on these old horns. It means the experienced volume loud does not need as much decibel compared to the modern standard of loud.

The character is what is sought of musically, not volume, not really. If we want to be heard from long distance in a noisy environment, maybe outside, then loud is nessecary. In a church or in a good concert hall were the rest of the orchestra scales down in volume the character loud of an old smallbored instrument could be an advantage.

/Tom
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by DougHulme » Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:21 am

Interesting points to consider after reading imservimse post...

One of my teachers Maisie Ringham/Wiggins played for many years on a small salvation Army 6.5" belled 'pea shooter' trombone. She got a huge round sound out of it not too much different to that which she produced when she graduated to an Olds Recording, which in turn wasnt too different to the sound she got when she finally arrived at her beloved Conn 88. Absolutely she found it much easier to create the sound she wanted on the better equipment and no doubt helped her to do it for longer (in years) but it seems to me the player is much more important than the instrument. When imservimse says "A modern fortissimo in a symphony orchestra would sound terrible on the old instruments if I try to play them as loud as LOUD is today" he isnt wrong if you apply that to me but the fact is that the previous generation of players did do it and they didnt sound terrible.

Likewise there were some amazing G Trombone bass players over here (UK) who got remarkably large fat sounds out of those instruments that didnt sound too different from modern big equipment - it just wasnt as easy or as accessible to us all.

On another point and going back to George Roberts, he could project a note to the back of the concert hall without seemingly putting any effort in to it and included pianissimo notes not just the loud ones! He did that on all the equipment he ever used.

And one last point - interesting post by Doug Yeo on his "Last Trombone" blog about Edward Kleinhammer the other giant that stood alongside George Roberts in the Bass Trombone annals of history - theres a picture of them meeting for the first time in 2004 too.

Read it here... http://thelasttrombone.com/2019/09/01/1 ... 1919-2013/

Doug
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by imsevimse » Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:45 am

DougHulme wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:21 am
When imservimse says "A modern fortissimo in a symphony orchestra would sound terrible on the old instruments if I try to play them as loud as LOUD is today" he isnt wrong if you apply that to me but the fact is that the previous generation of players did do it and they didnt sound terrible.
Correct! They could play beautiful and loud but loud was not as loud as LOUD is today which was my point. I'm talking decibel which is different from what you hear and perceive as the character loud.

I bet very few know how many decibel the composer whish for in his work when the manuscript says fortissimo but most in the orchestra knows when a sound from a trombone is perceived as loud. If the orchestra has a really loud fortissimo the small bore might not be as effective. This was is the reason for bigger horns in the first place, to be able to play louder.

/Tom
Last edited by imsevimse on Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by JohnL » Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:05 am

DougHulme wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:21 am
And one last point - interesting post by Doug Yeo on his "Last Trombone" blog about Edward Kleinhammer the other giant that stood alongside George Roberts in the Bass Trombone annals of history - theres a picture of them meeting for the first time in 2004 too.
Several years ago, Charlie Vernon was the guest artist at SoCal Trombone Day. Towards the end of his master class, the organizers snuck GR in through a door behind Charlie. The look on Charlie's face when he realized George was right there behind him...
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by bigbandbone » Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:02 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:14 am
Up until the mid 20th Century the trombone sections of American and British orchestras were quite different. Americans used variants on the German style, often with large bores. Often an American symphonic trombone was 0.525" or so. Bass trombone ranged from 0.547" to 0.565". In Britain, on the other hand, the bass trombone was in G and often 0.525" or sometimes even smaller. The tenor was also much smaller.

If you want to hear the differences between the sections, Trent Hamilton played a quartet using an old "pea shooter" and his grandfather's G bass for the "old" sound and a set of modern sized instruments. It's an interesting video. I hope this link works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHC8SZTGvWA

Very interesting video. Personally, for big band use, I preferred the sound of the G bass in this video. Has anyone experimented with one in a big band setting?
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MoominDave
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by MoominDave » Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:09 pm

Yes, I have on occasion. It's hard going, though it does offer some nice tonal shading.
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by BGuttman » Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:10 pm

Most G bass trombones do not have attachments and thus cannot play below Db below the bass staff. Some are equipped with a D attachment to play lower notes, but they are definitely not common.

Also, the slide is a lot longer and you need to use the handle to get to the lower notes. Facility with the handle is a lot more difficult than an instrument in Bb/F.

If you really want the sound of the G bass you might be better off using a medium bore horn with an F-attachment. But you will have a big problem if the chart contains a low B natural.
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by Vegasbound » Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:31 am

To join in the thinking aloud, Ray has had a massive influence on the bass bone concept in the UK, but as we get more generations away the number of those influenced reduces and that may be why the classic sound has given way, Les Lake during his time at ENO and Alwyn Green also had big influences with their teaching and playing

I know Bob Hughes has done his part in keeping it alive with his teaching, and for any bass bone players go and listen to the recording of the Alpine symphony with Bob it is fantastic

As George Roberts said 'a bass trombone is still a trombone and should sound like a trombone'
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by bigbandbone » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:45 am

BGuttman wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:10 pm

If you really want the sound of the G bass you might be better off using a medium bore horn with an F-attachment. But you will have a big problem if the chart contains a low B natural.

This is very interesting! With this in mind I revisited my Conn 50H. For a mouthpiece I used a small shank Bach 5G that I bored out to a .276 throat. I alternated playing the 50H and a 72H along with a YouTube video of Makin' Whoopee.

Wow, the two sounds were startlingly different! And now I'm not sure which horn to use for big band work! Not having the low B doesn't bother me. There are several ways around that.
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by BGuttman » Mon Sep 02, 2019 10:03 am

I believe the tuning slide of the 50H F-attachment is long enough for an E-pull.

There are also ways to get a bass trombone cup on a small shank. I put a Warburton 3B cup on a #4 (tenor) shank to try on a Yamaha 321 Euph. But the usual mouthpiece for a G-bass was somewhere in the 6.5AL size (per Doug Yeo).
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by bigbandbone » Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:16 am

bigbandbone wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:45 am
BGuttman wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:10 pm

If you really want the sound of the G bass you might be better off using a medium bore horn with an F-attachment. But you will have a big problem if the chart contains a low B natural.

This is very interesting! With this in mind I revisited my Conn 50H. For a mouthpiece I used a small shank Bach 5G that I bored out to a .276 throat. I alternated playing the 50H and a 72H along with a YouTube video of Makin' Whoopee.

Wow, the two sounds were startlingly different! And now I'm not sure which horn to use for big band work! Not having the low B doesn't bother me. There are several ways around that.
Wow, the whole last page of this "bass trombone sound" thread has really gotten me excited and I think moving closer to what "my" ideal bass bone sound should be.

The idea that what is closest to the player starts the sound shape started me thinking. Then the video with the G bass in it was eye opening. Then when BGuttman suggested using a medium bore horn with f-attachment to approximate the G bass sound... wow, it all got me thinking and then experimenting.

Here's what I tried and my thoughts -
Conn 72H with 1 1/2G - nice big sound, but not centered enough for me
Conn 50H with a small shank 5G with a .276 throat - very centered and penetrating, but small
Conn 72 with a stock 4G - better, but not quite what I'm looking for
Conn 72H with that same .276 throated small shank 5G into a small to large adaptor - wow! I think I have a winner!

With that last set up I got the big, centered, penetrating, edgy sound I've been looking for! I wonder if anyone would make me a Remington shank 5G with a .276 throat?
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by baileyman » Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:03 pm

Skeptical big horns can play louder. That would imply the big horn more efficiently converts input energy to dB output. If so, that would be a big surprise.

What is certainly true is that the small horn "lights up" the high harmonics at a lower volume, and it's the higher harmonics that send the "loud" signal to the listener. Going to bigger horns over time could rather have been an effort to play darker louder before the sound lit up.

It would be interesting if there are any composer comments on trombone sound who were active during both the small and large horn periods, because the section sound certainly did change.
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by Basbasun » Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:07 am

baileyman wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:03 pm
Skeptical big horns can play louder. That would imply the big horn more efficiently converts input energy to dB output. If so, that would be a big surprise.

What is certainly true is that the small horn "lights up" the high harmonics at a lower volume, and it's the higher harmonics that send the "loud" signal to the listener. Going to bigger horns over time could rather have been an effort to play darker louder before the sound lit up.

It would be interesting if there are any composer comments on trombone sound who were active during both the small and large horn periods, because the section sound certainly did change.
"Lights up" is a useful expresion. Lets say that the smaller horns lights up at 84 Db, the large horn lights up at 92 Db. (Hypotethically of course) The "lighten up" sound from the trombones in an old recording is what often makes the modern band playes louder to get the "lighten up" sound.
I can play louder at the higher range on a 500# bore but louder on the lower range on a 562# bore.
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by GBP » Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:00 pm

baileyman wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:03 pm
Skeptical big horns can play louder. That would imply the big horn more efficiently converts input energy to dB output. If so, that would be a big surprise.
I think there is a difference between loudest and easiest to hear.
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by GBP » Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:32 pm

baileyman wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:03 pm
Skeptical big horns can play louder. That would imply the big horn more efficiently converts input energy to dB output. If so, that would be a big surprise.
I think there is a difference between loudest and easiest to hear.
The ear can perceive certain pitches differently depending on timber, pitch and probably a few I missed.
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by michaelrmurrin » Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:53 pm

For classical bass trombone sound, my preference is a very rich sound, that has plenty of crispness, and is a very nice thick sound, and full, rich sound. Examples of some of my favorite bass trombone sounds are those of:

Martin Schippers (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra)
Blair Bollinger (Philadelphia Orchestra)
George Curran (New York Philharmonic)
Christian Jones (formerly of Philharmonia Orchestra)
John Lofton (Los Angeles Philharmonic)

For my own playing, my approach is just to listen to recordings (ideally solo albums or YouTube videos) of my favorite bass trombone players and just try to imitate their sound quality.

For jazz bass bone I don't really have a lot of experience or knowledge there.
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by bigbandbone » Fri Oct 04, 2019 2:18 pm

My main emphasis is big band and I work very hard to get a compact and focused sound on my 72H. But I also play third trombone in a very serious Symphonic Community Band. It has a real legit director and very serious symphonic wind musicians. I don't try to "change" my sound for this group. And surprisingly, I've gotten a lot of compliments on the "presence" I give to the bottom of the trombone section. Go figure....
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Re: Bass Trombone Sound?

Post by dukesboneman » Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:56 pm

Here`s a couple examples of both
Commercial/Jazz - Bill Reichenbach https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QtCe6TJCsQ
Classical - Denson Paul Pollard - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_PAO7aiHpw
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