Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

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sacfxdx
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Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by sacfxdx » Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:41 am

Howdy folks,
I started playing again after 40 years off. I have been back at it for 5 years now. I have recently been thinking about a bass trombone for Big Band. I love the low register sound and I can always use another horn :wink:

How hard would it be to start on a bass at this age? I will retire soon and have more time to devote to it. as I have never even played on a bass I am a little hesitant. I do plan on trying out a few at a Brass event held by a local Music store. I will be looking for a used one if I decide to go that way. I have a 88H that I play reasonably well (I think).

Thanks for your help on this topic. I'll know more about my abilities when I can give them a test.

Steve
Steve
Carolus
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by Carolus » Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:06 am

No you are not crazy! If you want to start playing bass at 60 and fell passionate about it, there isn't a single reason not to start. However, bass does not come for free, it will require work. The 88h will likely not give you the bass sound today's big bands are looking for.
sacfxdx
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by sacfxdx » Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:21 am

Carolus,
I agree about the 88H not having the bass sound that I want. I only mentioned it as it is a large bore and closer to a bass (air wise) than the .500/.508 small bores.

Thanks for the reply.
Steve
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by hyperbolica » Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:25 am

I started bass bone in my early 50s. I personally would recommend something "not huge". I found I'm a lot more effective on bass if I use a smaller bore slide, like a 547/562. I'd probably also avoid axial valves. Most of the best options are no longer made.

Your big struggle right away is probably going to be the air and the weight. You can work up to the air over the course of a couple of years, but there's no sense in making it harder on yourself. The weight will only become a bigger obstacle as you continue. My main bass is a Kanstul 1662i (which is no longer made, and was the lightest new bass I could find), but I also pieced together an Olds S-20 with double valves which allows me more flexibility and a lot more air control because it has the smaller dual bore slide.

Almost all the new basses made today start out big and get bigger. Nobody really caters to the "small bass" minority. You can find some odd exceptions, like a certain Amati http://www.amati.cz/en/brasswind-instru ... 38-asl-382

Some older double valve models to look into are the rare-ish Olds P-24g (one of my favorite instruments), Olds S-23, King Duo Gravis 6b, and maybe 7b.

Some people will recommend a 72h for you, which is ok, but it's just a starting point. There are some other single valve instruments which kind of balance between tenor and bass, like the Holton 159, and several Olds models. There's also a Wessex Super Tenor, which is just one valve short of being a really killer small bass https://wessex-tubas.com/collections/tr ... ier-pbf555

If you want to play bass, you'll 80% sure want a double valve. Some people make single valves work, but they are more tedious and you have to be creative. You can turn a single into a double with a plug-in valve, but that'll cost ~$1500 to have one made. You could get an Eb slide which technically gives you access to all the notes with a single valve (low C and B), but you'd have to use all 7 positions, and lose some convenient notes like C, B, F and E.

There's always the extreme solution https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Arb4u40iNxs

A used horn will probably cost ~$1500 up. New horns can be cheap if you go chinese (Wessex or Mack recommended options), or for a new Conn, Bach will be ~$4000+ or Shires, Edwards, M&W, Greenhoe, can be $6000+

Right now I'm struggling with a pinched nerve that effects my left arm, so instrument weight is also a concern. If you can afford it, a carbon fiber bass cuts a lot of weight http://butlertrombones.com/?page_id=765

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bigbandbone
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by bigbandbone » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:03 am

Don't hesitate!
After a 40+ year lay off I started playing tenor trombone again at age 66. I soon switched to bass bone and loving every minute of it! I bought a vintage Conn single rotor horn. It does everything I need it to do!
Backbone
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by Backbone » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:36 am

If weight is an issue then you could try an ergobone.

https://www.ergobrass.com/trombone/vide ... e-tombone/
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by Jimkinkella » Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:44 pm

Nah, go for it.

hyperbolica has a bunch of good info.
Play a bunch of stuff, you'll find that certain things work better than others.
Certain horn / mouthpiece combos will be both easier and more fun.
The more you enjoy it, the more you'll play.

Scroll through the forums, there's a bunch of great info.
Kinda sort out / understand some basic ideas, and figure out a general direction of where you'd like to go.
then go for it
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by Kingfan » Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:12 pm

I started bass late, and love doubling on it. I played a .547 concert tenor for years, and once I lucked into my Holton TR180 bass I took to it very easily. I wish I had more opportunities to play it. I disagree with those saying you need two valves. Unless you are playing challenging modern orchestral or big band music, a single valve will do fine. I never use my second valve and am actually thinking of going single valve if I can find a horn that sounds as good.
I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are still missing! :D
King 2B, 3B, 3B-F, 4B-F, Holton TR-180.
sacfxdx
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by sacfxdx » Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:32 pm

Thanks everyone for your input. This is a great forum.

steve
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by JLivi » Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:41 pm

If you have the option, I would definitely try the 3 mouthpieces in that size range. See if you can get your hands on a Schilke 58, 59 & 60 and then decide what makes you feel the most comfortable.

I'm mainly a tenor player (king 3b w/ a 6 3/4C), but I double on bass from time to time. When I was younger I thought bigger was better, so I played on a 60, but then as I got older and refined my playing a bit I bumped it down to the 59.

But if you like the 60, go for it! I always say, whatever gets you to play and practice more should be the choice. Good luck and have fun!
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by harrisonreed » Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:40 pm

My friend just got the newish Dave Taylor 1 mouthpiece, and says it feels like that series rims small. Not just the rim, but the inner cup and shank dimensions as well. He says that it's awesome. That might be worth checking out, because they make every more scaled down versions of that Taylor piece as well. FWIW, his lower register seems to be popping out even faster and cleaner than before, and it was already good.
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by Schlitz » Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:57 pm

Single, or double valve, whatever you decide, get it to a tech. Get the triggers set up properly For you.

I find the Ergobone to be a good thing too.
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by tbonesullivan » Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:13 pm

DO IT! It's just a BIGGER Tenor trombone. On the other hand it is bigger, so the air stream and sound concept are different. I would listen to some George Roberts playing, and get that sound concept in your head.
David S. - daveyboy37 from TTF
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by jpwell » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:58 pm

Go for it. I have a similar story started at 56 on bass
+1 on the 58,59,60. I started on a 58 was too big to start eventually settled in a 59 ish mps after a year n a half.
+1 on the small horn I started on a king 6b

Work on breathing gym, breath a lot you will be dissy at first just work at it. Lots of low note scales. Taken me 4 years of unfocused practice to get down to a pedal Eb, I threw learning tuba in also. Variety is the spice of life, too much add for me to focus.

Have fun!!
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by JLivi » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:01 pm

JLivi wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:41 pm
If you have the option, I would definitely try the 3 mouthpieces in that size range. See if you can get your hands on a Schilke 58, 59 & 60 and then decide what makes you feel the most comfortable.

I'm mainly a tenor player (king 3b w/ a 6 3/4C), but I double on bass from time to time. When I was younger I thought bigger was better, so I played on a 60, but then as I got older and refined my playing a bit I bumped it down to the 59.

But if you like the 60, go for it! I always say, whatever gets you to play and practice more should be the choice. Good luck and have fun!
Well I completely misread the topic :idk:
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by harrisonreed » Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:22 am

I didn't, and think that bass bone is fine at age 60 but maybe start with smaller equipment like the scaled down Taylor or a 2G
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Inspector71
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by Inspector71 » Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:37 am

Yes, you are crazy. Welcome to the club! ;-)
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sacfxdx
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by sacfxdx » Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:46 am

Inspector71 wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:37 am
Yes, you are crazy. Welcome to the club! ;-)
I love this comment. :lol:
Steve
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by cozzagiorgi » Fri Oct 04, 2019 9:04 am

sacfxdx wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:46 am
Inspector71 wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:37 am
Yes, you are crazy. Welcome to the club! ;-)
I love this comment. :lol:
No you are not crazy. Welcome to sanity, actually :-)
ƒƒ---------------------------------------------------ƒƒ
I'm a fan of high end custom and vintage trombones.
Follow my Instagram account @Swisstbone and I'll show you all the nice bones I come across!
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by Bassbonechandler » Fri Oct 04, 2019 2:47 pm

Brass Exchange in St. Louis has an Olds S-24G for around $1800 - that would be a great instrument for learning bass trombone for the price.
sacfxdx
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by sacfxdx » Sat Oct 05, 2019 7:02 am

I saw the s-24 on the brass-exchange. I’m not quite ready to buy yet. Thanks for the tip though.
Steve
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by Kbiggs » Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:56 am

Inspector71 wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:37 am
Yes, you are crazy. Welcome to the club! ;-)
+1

Anyone who chooses to play an instrument that:
Is sometimes required to play as high as a tenor but has a larger bore, more weight, and a larger mouthpiece;
Is often required to play as low as a tuba but has a smaller bore, is half the length, and a smaller mouthpiece;
Is required to blend with any instrument most of the time;
Is crazy.
I have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.
—Mark Twain (attributed)
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by GBP » Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:02 am

harrisonreed wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:22 am
I didn't, and think that bass bone is fine at age 60 but maybe start with smaller equipment like the scaled down Taylor or a 2G
I would start with a Bach 1-1/2 or 2G. I think it is important to get an understanding of what your needs in a Mouthpiece might be. A DT is expensive place to start that schooling.
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by PaulT » Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:22 pm

The Yamaha 421G is a single valve bass trombone that is well thought of. There are several posts concerning it on this forum. There are a couple of 421G's on ebay right now selling for around $1200-1300.

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical ... index.html

I have one. It is the only bass trombone I have played, so I have no comparison in that regard, and I have no comment on one valve or two (I know nothing). But this I can say, it is light, easy to play, and has a full, deep, rich tone. And when I say light, I do mean light. It weighs no more than a standard .547 (and is lighter than some). It is a fun horn. If I was playing third, it is the horn I would bring.
Last edited by PaulT on Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by PaulT » Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:09 pm

A btw...

If per chance you are interested in buying a used 421G, there is one on ebay for $1,999 being sold by a dealer named Quinn the Eskimo that he describes as "mint".

I have purchased two Yamaha trombones from Quinn that he described as "mint". And I would have sworn on a stack of Bordogni Etudes that they were brand new fresh from the factory horns if I hadn't been told otherwise. I have received a brand new fresh from the factory Yamaha trombone, and the two I got from Quinn appeared to be the exact same deal in all regards.

I don't know what the deal is, but it is a good deal.

(no, he isn't my wife's brother or my cousin's kid, I have no idea who he is, other than he ships quickly, accepts returns without question, and when he says mint, he means mint.)
Merv66
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by Merv66 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:13 am

Hi
I’m a BBb tuba player and took up bass trombone at the age of 70, as far as I’m aware with no problems!! Retired so plenty of time to practice so go for it👍
Now 75 and just taken up tenor trom. It’s tough at the top of the stave so I assume plenty of practice will train my embouchure up there - with patience!! Still playing EE and BB tuba but think this is holding my trombone development back so plan to ditch them. Get going!
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by Bach5G » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:03 am

Welcome to the dark side.
sacfxdx
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by sacfxdx » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:06 am

I found a XO 1240 RL-T in my price range. Should be arriving this Wednesday 12/4. :pant:
Steve
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by sf105 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:50 am

To some extent, the choice of horn depends on the kind of big band. If you're doing up to 60's, then a single will do fine and be easier to hold. A good Conn 72H is cheapish and works fine (not too large a mouthpiece). For later material, you'll need the second valve.
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by bassclef » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:44 am

PaulT wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:09 pm
I have purchased two Yamaha trombones from Quinn that he described as "mint". And I would have sworn on a stack of Bordogni Etudes that they were brand new fresh from the factory horns if I hadn't been told otherwise. I have received a brand new fresh from the factory Yamaha trombone, and the two I got from Quinn appeared to be the exact same deal in all regards.
I can vouch for Quinn as well.

I bought three "mint condition" Yamahas from him over the past several years (an 891Z, a 640 and an 882OR) and I agree with your sentiments above. The only signs that they weren't completely factory fresh were the lack of plastic wrap and a few fingerprints.
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bassclef
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Re: Starting Bass Trombone at 60 - Am I crazy?

Post by bassclef » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:49 am

sacfxdx wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:06 am
I found a XO 1240 RL-T in my price range. Should be arriving this Wednesday 12/4. :pant:
Great choice!

There's a couple Jupiter/XO artists in my area and I've had a chance to try some of their offerings including that one. I think you'll be happy with it.
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