Db bass trombone!

Jgittleson
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Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:40 am

Im sure some of you here have seen my wild tangent of a prototype, but for those that havent, here's what i have been busy with.

I went ahead and made a prototype for a more compact bass trombone, pitched on Db, where there is about a foot and a half less tubing. Now small enough to be a carry on, the horn has the same sound as a Bb bass bone in the low register, and a slightly different, yet still clearly a bass trombone sound higher in its range.

Some of the benefits have been, a shorter slide, making the distance between position smaller, keeping 7th position, but making it usable for the folks who have a hard time reaching it. As the horn is lighter and shorter there is, a reduction in hand fatigue. Since there is less tubing, there is also less resistance at the mouthpiece. It is noticeably easier to make note at any part of your range speak clearly.

I have yet to add valves, or the tuning in slide, but both will be fairly soon. I will be adding 2 dependent valves in a Db/Bb/Gb configuration, so the user is familiar with 3 of the 3 keys.

Heres some photos and videos!

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elmsandr
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by elmsandr » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:00 pm

So, a couple of inches shorter than this?

https://www.trombonechat.com/viewtopic.php?t=5592

I’d seriously consider clocking the valve to have it stand in Bb and use it as an ascending valve. No thought required to drive it then.

Cheers,
Andy
Jgittleson
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:21 pm

elmsandr wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:00 pm
So, a couple of inches shorter than this?

https://www.trombonechat.com/viewtopic.php?t=5592

I’d seriously consider clocking the valve to have it stand in Bb and use it as an ascending valve. No thought required to drive it then.

Cheers,
Andy
Yes, 6 roughy. That would completely defeat the point of the horn. People are completely capable of learning a new key, it really isnt that hard.
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Neo Bri
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Neo Bri » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:22 pm

This is pretty interesting.
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Jgittleson
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Fri Jun 29, 2018 2:12 am

Neo Bri wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:22 pm
This is pretty interesting.
Thanks! I will take a series of in depth videos once it's finished, but unfortunately the real benefits can only be experienced by playing it. I do a lot of play it for 3 mins, switch to my Bb horn, play for another 3, and so on, to compare. It may sound odd to say, but i find myself preferring the Db horn, both in overall sound, and ease of use. I think other players may have similar results.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by peteedwards » Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:18 am

Jgittleson wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:21 pm
People are completely capable of learning a new key, it really isnt that hard.
True, but who wants to think that hard? Asking folks to learn a whole new key just to determine whether they like a new horn or not is a risky proposition from a marketing perspective.
Having the "home" key in Bb gives people a familiar foundation to build from. The ascending valve is a great idea for many reasons, it didn't fly with Gunter Frost's horns in the '90's probably mostly because they were built in the German style, which is out of fashion everywhere but Germany.
I built mine (https://www.trombonechat.com/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=2082) using a "standard" style bass bone, I had considered cutting it to Db, but decided on C because it gave me a nice trill valve and preserved as much as possible the cylindrical/conical ratio of a standard bass bone, especially since it has independent valves. The combination of both valves gives a flat G tuning, similar to Bollinger 2nd valve, which gives some convenient alternates.
Also the length of the bell is unaltered, so it can be swapped out for other bells without permanently altering them.

Just food for thought, I admire your innovative spirit!
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:13 am

Thanks, but making it a Db horn is what makes it so interesting, not to mention gives it a fantastic tone. The whole point is, this is a different, more efficient instrument, think tubas of different keys. They all have different virtues, and people take the time to learn them.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by peteedwards » Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:36 am

Jgittleson wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:13 am
think tubas of different keys. They all have different virtues, and people take the time to learn them.
Tubas are in different keys to fill the gaps in the range (and tonally) they are called on to play (mostly for historical reasons).
As far as I can tell there is no gap between Tenor & Bass trombone needing to be filled.

Besides, we all know tubists are a little nuts, and probably like to learn new tunings just to make the oom pahs a little less boring!
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:40 am

Sure, but theres no denying its a different key to learn, and there is a difference in sound between a BB tuba and an F tuba for example, which is the point im making. Why they exist pretty much doesn't matter in my example.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by timothy42b » Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:27 am

I like the idea. Maybe Bb isn't the ideal pitch for a trombone.

Or, maybe the bore, or the fixed bell has something to do with the response.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:01 am

timothy42b wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:27 am
I like the idea. Maybe Bb isn't the ideal pitch for a trombone.

Or, maybe the bore, or the fixed bell has something to do with the response.
Its very interesting to play, in a good way. Im waiting til valves are fitted to film more, since i want to record a whole mess of stuff that requires it.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by timothy42b » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:13 am

It's just one step below an alto, right? (assuming alto in Eb, I know they were made in other keys)
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:38 am

timothy42b wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:13 am
It's just one step below an alto, right? (assuming alto in Eb, I know they were made in other keys)
Yep
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by doctortrombone » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:28 am

OK--I'll start by saying that it drives me nuts when people raise theoretical objections to the various project horns I've built.

That said--here are my theoretical objections to the project horn you've built:

You've removed the bell-tuning mechanism. That's a great first step. The addition of cylindrical tubing in the bell section was one of the great compromises in sound that happened when we moved from no tuning slide or TIS as the norm to TIB as the norm.

By removing that extra cylindrical tubing, you've changed the ratio of conical to cylindrical. To get that back, you'd need to lengthen the slide, not shorten it. Of course, the amount of cylindrical tubing is going to change every time you move the slide, but the current ratio seen in modern trombones seems like a good compromise, and the compromise around which that particular horn was designed.

I notice in the video that the notes don't speak well when the slide is in the upper positions. You don't seem at ease until you get to the test note--at the very end of the slide's extension. Is that an accurate observation?

I also wonder whether changing the = to < ratio changes the partials. Does the horn still play in tune with itself, or do you have to use the slide to adjust your intonation as you cycle through partials? I know--adjusting slides for every partial is something that can be learned, and tubists tend to be quite adept at it--still, it seems like a pretty hefty compromise for a reduction in size and weight.

I said above that my objections were theoretical, but they're actually based in experience. Last year, I built a similar horn in GG, (or thereabouts,) using a bass trombone slide and a marching euphonium bell with an added tenon joint. Like yours, it had a far more conical than tubular profile. l found that it played poorly unless the slide was fully extended, and that the partials were not well lined up.

The solution--a truly frightening idea--would be a "TIS/Quadro" slide. :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: I don't even want to think about the complexities in aligning something like that, especially if it got dropped.

The build looks great, and maybe the physical product completely overcomes the theory, but if I'm wrong about the above I'd like to know it, since it negates a lot of the theory that I apply when making frankenhorns.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:46 am

doctortrombone wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:28 am
OK--I'll start by saying that it drives me nuts when people raise theoretical objections to the various project horns I've built.

That said--here are my theoretical objections to the project horn you've built:

You've removed the bell-tuning mechanism. That's a great first step. The addition of cylindrical tubing in the bell section was one of the great compromises in sound that happened when we moved from no tuning slide or TIS as the norm to TIB as the norm.

By removing that extra cylindrical tubing, you've changed the ratio of conical to cylindrical. To get that back, you'd need to lengthen the slide, not shorten it. Of course, the amount of cylindrical tubing is going to change every time you move the slide, but the current ratio seen in modern trombones seems like a good compromise, and the compromise around which that particular horn was designed.

I notice in the video that the notes don't speak well when the slide is in the upper positions. You don't seem at ease until you get to the test note--at the very end of the slide's extension. Is that an accurate observation?

I also wonder whether changing the = to < ratio changes the partials. Does the horn still play in tune with itself, or do you have to use the slide to adjust your intonation as you cycle through partials? I know--adjusting slides for every partial is something that can be learned, and tubists tend to be quite adept at it--still, it seems like a pretty hefty compromise for a reduction in size and weight.

I said above that my objections were theoretical, but they're actually based in experience. Last year, I built a similar horn in GG, (or thereabouts,) using a bass trombone slide and a marching euphonium bell with an added tenon joint. Like yours, it had a far more conical than tubular profile. l found that it played poorly unless the slide was fully extended, and that the partials were not well lined up.

The solution--a truly frightening idea--would be a "TIS/Quadro" slide. :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: I don't even want to think about the complexities in aligning something like that, especially if it got dropped.

The build looks great, and maybe the physical product completely overcomes the theory, but if I'm wrong about the above I'd like to know it, since it negates a lot of the theory that I apply when making frankenhorns.

Hate to break it to you, but your theory is way off. Everything overall speaks way easier on the Db horn. Higher, lower, mid range, all of it. The Db horn can also play at a higher dynamic than the Bb horn without breaking up. Take a listen on a high quality set of headphones once more. As far as tuning, every partial in the same position is slightly more in tune than my Bb bass. I have found that every "theory" that has been thrown in my face as to why this wont work has been utter hogwash.

This horn, overall, i find to work better than a Bb horn. If i didnt have a sentimental attachment to it, id put it up for sale once this Db horn is complete. Again, i don't expect anyone to take my word for it. Even with detailed recordings people will doubt unless they try it themselves. I mean after all, how is it horn makers didnt come up with it already? I wish knew, but all i can say is in real world application, this is a significant improvement over what is available.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by timothy42b » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:12 am

But...........
Okay it sounds good to my ears, but I didn't have good headphones available.
But if that method of shortening works so well, why does not that apply to the alto? I think most of us would say the alto, while it can obviously be played very well, has some limitations>

Not trying to criticize your project, just trying to learn from your experience.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:18 am

timothy42b wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:12 am
But...........
Okay it sounds good to my ears, but I didn't have good headphones available.
But if that method of shortening works so well, why does not that apply to the alto? I think most of us would say the alto, while it can obviously be played very well, has some limitations>

Not trying to criticize your project, just trying to learn from your experience.
As it was put to me, sometimes a half step makes all the difference. This is roughly a foot longer than an alto. I kept it as long as possibly while still fitting in a case as a carry on for airlines. I was able to make it work at Db, and didnt keep going to Eb specifically because it works extremely well at this point. Why tept fate further if i met all my requirements? Also this is a .562 bore, and a bass bell at 9.25" it has about as much in common with an alto as a trumpet does.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by doctortrombone » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:26 am

Jgittleson wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:46 am


Hate to break it to you, but your theory is way off.
It's not my theory. It's more Mahillon's, with support from centuries of "natural selection" from builders who experimented with these ratios. But hey--if you figured out something that improves every single variable with no trade-offs, more power to you.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:31 am

doctortrombone wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:26 am
Jgittleson wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:46 am


Hate to break it to you, but your theory is way off.
It's not my theory. It's more Mahillon's, with support from centuries of "natural selection" from builders who experimented with these ratios. But hey--if you figured out something that improves every single variable with no trade-offs, more power to you.
Never underestimate the power of sheer dumb luck! Sounds like i should sell these then! Haha
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by elmsandr » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:45 am

Jgittleson wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:46 am

Hate to break it to you, but your theory is way off. Everything overall speaks way easier on the Db horn. Higher, lower, mid range, all of it. The Db horn can also play at a higher dynamic than the Bb horn without breaking up. Take a listen on a high quality set of headphones once more. As far as tuning, every partial in the same position is slightly more in tune than my Bb bass. I have found that every "theory" that has been thrown in my face as to why this wont work has been utter hogwash.

This horn, overall, i find to work better than a Bb horn. If i didnt have a sentimental attachment to it, id put it up for sale once this Db horn is complete. Again, i don't expect anyone to take my word for it. Even with detailed recordings people will doubt unless they try it themselves. I mean after all, how is it horn makers didnt come up with it already? I wish knew, but all i can say is in real world application, this is a significant improvement over what is available.
To be half fair to the detractors (from the FB threads if anybody wants to go searching), the commentary there was around cutting this to Eb, and they are still pretty much correct. You won't get this horn to Eb without killing the bell section or losing slide length, both of which can fundamentally distort the sound of the horn (as the maker of an Eb bigger horn, can confirm these). There were many comments that C would work, and has been shown by manufacturers to work, so it is little surprise that removing the tuning slide length and a slight slide trim to get to Db works.

My point about standing the horn in Bb is 1)Familiarity. No need to reconfigure much. Heck, all you would need to do is make two different stop arms, one for standing Bb, one for Db, moderately easy with your machining skills. 2) Now you do not have to care that there is no tuning slide on the Db side. Heck, we make tradeoffs on the double valve tunings all the time Bb/F/Gb/D isn't "exact" on all four combinations without compensation, similarly this with the double, but instead of the attachment being the compromise, here it is the "open" horn, but as the horn stands in Bb, you can tune and learn like normal.

Can't wait to see/hear this thing with valves. I would love to see a couple of recordings, play the same thing several times with random selection of the horn... See if any of the critics can properly categorize each horn (heck, I doubt most people could with this level of recording and playback, ever try that test on different sampling rates?).

Cheers,
Andy
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:51 am

Just to be specific. I didnt just remove the tuning slide. I took 12.5 inches out of the bell section. I got lucky i found a bell the worked perfectly, but would be terrible as a bell for a Bb bass.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Matt K » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:00 am

I think I may have mentioned this to you in one of our e-mails but in case I didn't and for the benefit of everyone potentially reading this it might be worth putting out there:

So obviously the ratio of conical to cylindrical tubing has been mentioned. I totally believe that the Db is easier to play than a Bb in a lot of ways. I observe that largely every time I play an instrument in a higher key compared to a lower one myself. Interestingly, I did like my 36H for that reason, although I ended up selling it because I did have some issue making it sound like a tenor, even on the Bb side. BUT the rest of the horn was designed to be an alto, not a tenor, so that isn't terribly surprising.

The other side of that coin is that, and I infer this because of the similarities between the Bb and Eb sides of that horn, is that when you do add a Bb attachment, my suspicion is that it will play similarly to the Db side. Fortunately, you've designed this to be a bass and didn't use smaller parts as all of my 'experiments' and frankenhorns that have been in the similar vein have.

The rotor you are using would actually make it relatively easy to make it go either way, although the direction of the valve would be reversed. In other words, you could add a second arm to the valve and make the default in Bb and the other in Db so that the user would be able to switch between the default 'side' of the horn with a few minutes and a screw driver.

I also concur with the indication that most people wouldn't be able to hear the difference if they weren't looking with their eyes. I think I also mentioend this in the FB group but I'll also repeat that here. I think the Db side sounds a touch brighter but so did my Duo Gravis compared to most other basses, yet it was still clearly a bass sound. If you were to do side by side: "Real" bass, Db side, Bb side and play them exactly the same way, well, I'd be really interested in trying that myself. I know I give myself a lot more ability to discern than is probably warranted ;)
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Burgerbob » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:24 am

Small point:

Tubas play in many different keys (as do trumpet players). However, all of those instruments use the same valve system, with some added valves on some tubas. Nothing needs to be relearned except the odd 5th or 6th valve. Only the way you read with those same valve combinations has changed.

A whole new slide position map is another thing altogether. I'm going through this currently on F contra, which isn't impossible just because I am used to playing on the F side of my bass.

Db is also an odd place- it's a minor 3rd away from Bb and a major 2nd from Eb, meaning the relationship of the key of the instrument to the music played on it is usually going to be pretty strange.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by peteedwards » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:47 am

That was my point above, from a pure marketing perspective, a Bb tuned horn has a potential market of 100% of trombone players worldwide. Anyone can pick up this horn & take it to the gig on day 1 of owning it. A Db horn has a market of whatever the number of people willing to take a risk & spend time re-training their innate instincts, which I suspect is a MUCH smaller number.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by hyperbolica » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:49 am

I think I still prefer Pete Edward's C/Bb/F arrangement. https://www.trombonechat.com/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=2082

Maybe because it was fully formed when I first saw it, maybe because the base horn in Bb with ascending valve is really brilliant. I'm not sure why OP is resistant to the ascending valve. Getting a low C and B as pedal tones is a big benefit, without giving up 1st position pedal Bb.

Bass trombone in Db solves a problem that didn't exist. Pete billed his as a mini bass bone, which makes sense to me. Adding the screw bell made it even better. The only thing I'd do that Pete didn't do would be to add TIS.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by peteedwards » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:20 pm

After 20 years on a dependent using the 2nd valve only for C&B, it wasn't too hard to re-learn those notes in 1st & 2nd. For me, I use the C side pretty much only for those 2 notes, so TIS would add weight to the slide only for the benefit of 2 notes, I didn't think it was worth it since my goal was weight reduction.
I'm using this horn in 2 weeks on Haydn Creation, the trill valve comes in very handy. Also the g-g octave jumps are more secure when I play the high g in 1st on the C side. I have a tendency to overshoot that note & the fact that the partials are a bit further apart helps lock it in.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by elmsandr » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:53 pm

Jgittleson wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:51 am
Just to be specific. I didnt just remove the tuning slide. I took 12.5 inches out of the bell section. I got lucky i found a bell the worked perfectly, but would be terrible as a bell for a Bb bass.
Yes, compared to a Bb horn, but I was comparing it to the Frost horn.

I'm also really curious where you sourced the flare, since I have never measured one that makes that taper rate to that diameter ~16 inches from the rim, and I've measured a lot of readily available trombone parts. The Edwards slide shown is what 1.020" or so OD at the tuning slide leg?

Cheers,
Andy
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:06 pm

elmsandr wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:53 pm
Jgittleson wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:51 am
Just to be specific. I didnt just remove the tuning slide. I took 12.5 inches out of the bell section. I got lucky i found a bell the worked perfectly, but would be terrible as a bell for a Bb bass.
Yes, compared to a Bb horn, but I was comparing it to the Frost horn.

I'm also really curious where you sourced the flare, since I have never measured one that makes that taper rate to that diameter ~16 inches from the rim, and I've measured a lot of readily available trombone parts. The Edwards slide shown is what 1.020" or so OD at the tuning slide leg?

Cheers,
Andy
Well that'll have to be my little secret, since thats likely the missing link for anyone who would want to reproduce it :D
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Sat Jun 30, 2018 4:01 am

Well, valves should get here today, along with a fun customer project. I am still figuring out how i want to set them up, but once its all here i can really play. Im pretty sure i am going to do the Db/Bb/Gb, especially since it makes so much sense, but i may throw a curve ball into how the valves are actuated. It makes way more sense to actuate the master with the finger lever, and the slave with the thumb. Not only will the linkages work better, but i can likely keep it where your thumb goes over the cross brace instead of having to move it. Personally, i much prefer it that way, otherwise i tend to put too much pressure on the thumb valve linkage. This way you maintain a central balance point, and less "holding the horn" vs "resting the horn" takes place.

Im sure im turning someones world upside down with this idea, but im slowly starting to realize bass trombones are a long list of compromises, and nothing is ideal. For example. Why is it the first valve is normally actuated with the thumb? Because players usually come from f attachment tenors, and its easier for them to learn. Why are horns in Bb? Because someone decided it was a good place to put it, and im sure something to do with concert pitch ( which i really dont care about) . The bottom line is a bass trombone is a different instrument than a tenor, and it should be treated that way. And if that means having to relearn some things to be a better musician on a more ideal horn, then so be it.

Here is a brief list of issues a bass trombone has, which i am resolving with this horn.

Slide is to long for some players to reach every position

Horn is heavy, causing hand fatigue

Horn is long, adding to hand fatigue, and transportation issues

Holding the horn without putting pressure on valve linkage or slide is difficult

There is significant resistance blowing through the open horn at the mouthpiece, making notes, particularly at the end ranges, difficult to have speak clearly

Length of the instrument makes it less than ideal for many playing settings, easy to hit the tuning slide or slide and damage the instrument. This is more true for the tuning slide, since players rarely think about the distance needed behing them.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by BGuttman » Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:47 am

I'm not sure I agree with all your premises, although I like the fact that you are trying something different. I don't have a prejudice one way or the other. Having had to learn instruments in Bb, CC, Eb, F, and G means that it's just a matter of getting used to the new setup.

We have had bass trombones in G, F, and Eb. Often with a handle to work the very long slide. They were cumbersome at best, but we learned to use them.

Why is a trombone always in Bb? Because most brass instruments are in Bb. I will say that having an Ab instrument makes the "tune up" in Bb most concert bands do rather approximate. Much like the tuning to A in orchestra.

I'm reminded of Byron McCollough, former bass trombone of the Pittsburgh Symphony, saying he took up bass trombone because he "had no 6th or 7th position". McCollough was "vertically challenged".

Keep us posted on how this works out.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by elmsandr » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:16 am

If you haven’t seen one, check out a haynor grip. Not sure if that is the correct spelling, but much improved ergonomics for valve actuation.

Also, I seem to remember a few old TTF threads where I was stared at oddly for suggesting that the trombone is really only a 5 position instrument based on reach length. 6th and 7th would never pass ergonomic reviews for manual work in manufacturing, why do we do it for fun?

Cheers,
Andy
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by peteedwards » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:50 am

Just read everything in treble clef down 2 octaves & add three sharps, and you'll be fine!
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by LeTromboniste » Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:30 am

I think this is an interesting idea and I'd love to try it sometime. That being said, here are a few thoughts. Mostly playing Devil's advocate here.
Jgittleson wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 4:01 am
Im sure im turning someones world upside down with this idea, but im slowly starting to realize bass trombones are a long list of compromises, and nothing is ideal. For example. Why is it the first valve is normally actuated with the thumb? Because players usually come from f attachment tenors, and its easier for them to learn.
More because before having two valves, the bass only had one, which was thumb-activated. The traditional design does also make sense ergonomically I find, though. One's thumb is typically much stronger than one's medius. The thumb is also more independent to the rest of the hand. It kind of makes sense to use your thumb for the valve you use most. If the main valve was on the medius, I for one know my hand would cramp up like crazy.
BGuttman wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:47 am
Why is a trombone always in Bb? Because most brass instruments are in Bb.
That is actually not correct, as trombones have had the same length of tubing long before other brass instruments had valves and thus a fixed fundamental.
Jgittleson wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 4:01 am
Why are horns in Bb? Because someone decided it was a good place to put it, and im sure something to do with concert pitch ( which i really dont care about) .
Well I know you said you don't care about it, but you still asked the question. Trombones were originally in A for the tenor, basses in D, sometimes E and occasionally F. There have been both tenors and basses pitched in G. Altos in D. Having A and D as the most common fundamental for the family made a lot of sense in the era of modal music. The pitch trombones were required to play at shifted down by about a half-step in the 1700s, and because they kept using the same physical equipment instead of everyone getting new trombones, suddenly trombones that had been in A, D and E were now in Bb, Eb and F, with basses in Eb and F being abandonned eventually.
Jgittleson wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 4:01 am
The bottom line is a bass trombone is a different instrument than a tenor, and it should be treated that way. And if that means having to relearn some things to be a better musician on a more ideal horn, then so be it.
There is plenty of precedent for trombones in all sort of keys. And between modern instruments and historical ones, I already need to play in Bb, Eb, F, A, D, E, C and Gb. If it means having a horn that is more adapted and easier to play, I agree, I don't think the difficulty of learning a new key should be a factor. It's really, really not that hard. It probably takes less time to learn a new key than simply getting used to the feel and response of new horn if you commit to it, actually.

That being said, I'm still not sure I see the logic of having a bass pitched higher than the tenor.


Concerning the list of issues you mention, I can't help but notice that several of them apply to tenor as well (in some case they apply even more such as 6th and 7th position being too far), so are you suggesting making shorter tenors too? And the weight and ergonomics issues stem directly from modern trombones being so big and fat and heavy. And getting even bigger and heavier is still very much a tendency. So I think we're missing a broader point here. Maybe our obsession with big, fat, dark and loud sound and thus with increasingly huge and heavy equipment (with also means increasingly bad ergonomics) is the real problem here, in which case, isn't this bass in Db also just a compromise? :shuffle:
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by BGuttman » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:03 am

The problems mentioned were at least in part a reason for the development of the Yamaha 350-C, a C trombone with a Bb attachment used in an ascending mode. The basic Bb instrument only needs 5 positions because the valve allows a near 6th and 7th. A number of us have reversed the 350-C valve so it's a C trombone with the Bb attachment. Might even be an interesting instrument if it were a C instrument with a G attachment. I could envision such an instrument being very valuable in orchestral music where there are mostly sharp keys (and the C trumpet has become the go-to instrument for the trumpet players).
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by peteedwards » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:51 am

BGuttman wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:03 am
Might even be an interesting instrument if it were a C instrument with a G attachment. I could envision such an instrument being very valuable in orchestral music where there are mostly sharp keys (and the C trumpet has become the go-to instrument for the trumpet players).
One of the design features of my mini-bass is I can "un-reverse" the Bb valve & swap the valve tuning slides & it becomes a C/G/A/F tuning, or a whole step higher than the common Bb/F/G/Eb.
I thought it might appeal to tubists who are used to thinking in CC & want to double on bass bone.

I haven't played it that way other than initial testing, because when I play I don't want to have to think any more than required, it kinda kills the musical mood.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:35 am

Well ups faked me out, valves tomorrow. I guess there's no need to say how eager i am for them to get here. Got some big plans for this little guy.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by sirisobhakya » Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:33 am

Jgittleson wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 4:01 am
Im sure im turning someones world upside down with this idea, but im slowly starting to realize bass trombones are a long list of compromises, and nothing is ideal. For example. Why is it the first valve is normally actuated with the thumb? Because players usually come from f attachment tenors, and its easier for them to learn.
As only an occasional amateur player I don’t quite like to contradict you, but there are many points that bug me.

There is a reason why the trigger is actuated by the thumb. The thumb, in most type of grip, is quite free and does not carry any load; the load is born by either the thumb joint, the palm, or the middle and ring finger. The index finger has to maintain the longitudinal rotation of the horn. So it is reasonable to put the trigger there. And why make something different when it works for both? Even the bass trombone is in another exotic keys like Ab or something like that, the same reason still applies.

And the reason (or at least one of the reasons) that F, Eb, and G bass disappeared is because their part can be played with Bb trombone with F-attachment, so you don’t have to learn new slide positions and you don’t have to buy trombones in every key. People rich enough to buy many horns is quite a recent phenomenon.
Jgittleson wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 4:01 am
Slide is to long for some players to reach every position

Horn is heavy, causing hand fatigue

Horn is long, adding to hand fatigue, and transportation issues

Holding the horn without putting pressure on valve linkage or slide is difficult

There is significant resistance blowing through the open horn at the mouthpiece, making notes, particularly at the end ranges, difficult to have speak clearly

Length of the instrument makes it less than ideal for many playing settings, easy to hit the tuning slide or slide and damage the instrument. This is more true for the tuning slide, since players rarely think about the distance needed behing them.
The length and the slide length is the same for both tenor and bass. Closed wrap solves the problem of tuning slide. Resistance is more relevant to the ratio of conical and cylindrical sections and also valves. And it may be just my type of grip, but almost no load is transferred to the trigger linkage for me. It is more of a balancing issue than the actual weight issue.

My thought is, like many before me: add a Bb rotor and make it adjustable.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:32 am

sirisobhakya wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:33 am
Jgittleson wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 4:01 am
Im sure im turning someones world upside down with this idea, but im slowly starting to realize bass trombones are a long list of compromises, and nothing is ideal. For example. Why is it the first valve is normally actuated with the thumb? Because players usually come from f attachment tenors, and its easier for them to learn.
As only an occasional amateur player I don’t quite like to contradict you, but there are many points that bug me.

There is a reason why the trigger is actuated by the thumb. The thumb, in most type of grip, is quite free and does not carry any load; the load is born by either the thumb joint, the palm, or the middle and ring finger. The index finger has to maintain the longitudinal rotation of the horn. So it is reasonable to put the trigger there. And why make something different when it works for both? Even the bass trombone is in another exotic keys like Ab or something like that, the same reason still applies.

And the reason (or at least one of the reasons) that F, Eb, and G bass disappeared is because their part can be played with Bb trombone with F-attachment, so you don’t have to learn new slide positions and you don’t have to buy trombones in every key. People rich enough to buy many horns is quite a recent phenomenon.
Jgittleson wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 4:01 am
Slide is to long for some players to reach every position

Horn is heavy, causing hand fatigue

Horn is long, adding to hand fatigue, and transportation issues

Holding the horn without putting pressure on valve linkage or slide is difficult

There is significant resistance blowing through the open horn at the mouthpiece, making notes, particularly at the end ranges, difficult to have speak clearly

Length of the instrument makes it less than ideal for many playing settings, easy to hit the tuning slide or slide and damage the instrument. This is more true for the tuning slide, since players rarely think about the distance needed behing them.
The length and the slide length is the same for both tenor and bass. Closed wrap solves the problem of tuning slide. Resistance is more relevant to the ratio of conical and cylindrical sections and also valves. And it may be just my type of grip, but almost no load is transferred to the trigger linkage for me. It is more of a balancing issue than the actual weight issue.

My thought is, like many before me: add a Bb rotor and make it adjustable.
You're not understanding my reasoning, but thats ok, because i don't agree with yours :o

This is one of those cases where i already know what I'm doing, and why I'm doing it, so sit back, hang on, and enjoy the ride!
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by brtnats » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:17 am

I’ve followed this without commenting on FB, and I do have a genuine question: Why are you looking for criticism and feedback and then immediately disagreeing with it when it doens’t line up with what you’re looking for?

I’ve played a lot of actual F bass in an early music group I directed, so I’ve got some time behind a long bass trombone. The modern bass, which is a compromise instrument to begin with, does not sound like an F bass. Frankly, it sounds better above :bassclef: :line4: than a long bass for most things. That’s kind of the point of the Bb/F/whatever bass. With the valve engaged it’s an F bass, without it’s a tenor.

Your bass doesn’t sound like an F bass either, but it also doesn’t sound like a modern bass. Bore size, bell, and mouthpiece can’t compensate for a lack of tubing or for a proper cylindrical-conical ratio. :bassclef: :line3: on an F bass has a completely different timbre than the same note on a modern bass trombone, because it’s at a different point in the harmonic series and the length and proportions of the instrument resonate the note differently.

You’ve made a super large alto in Db. Full stop. You can call it whatever you want, and it sounds fine, but in reality you’ve made a trombone that’s shorter than a tenor which must play almost entirely in its pedal register to achieve the bass range. There are .547 altos that sound a lot like your horn. It’s not a “bad” sound, but it absolutely brings a level of brightness that you don’t hear in the longer horns. That’s just what happens when you push the smaller cylindrical tube. You keep bringing up tubas as a proxy, but tubas are still twice as long as what you’re dealing with, and almost entirely conical. When it comes to timbre, size does matter, and I absolutely hear a timbre difference in your horns.

Your horn doesn’t sound bad, but I bet that playing it in a section of large tenors would highlight that brightness I’m talking about. With smaller tenors that might even be a good thing! Pines of Rome? Maybe not. But I wish this conversation could evolve beyond “it does so sound like a bass!” That depends entirely on how one defines a bass.

Matt
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by brtnats » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:31 am

BGuttman wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:47 am
Why is a trombone always in Bb? Because most brass instruments are in Bb. I will say that having an Ab instrument makes the "tune up" in Bb most concert bands do rather approximate. Much like the tuning to A in orchestra.
I’ve put a lot of thought into this through the years, and I think the opposite is true: Most brass instruments are in Bb because trombones are in Bb. It’s natural selection of a technical process. Once the trombone and equal temperament collided, you see a standardization of the Bb tenor, and the slow but sure elimination of the fringes. The Eb alto trombone got sidelined because it’s too hard to play in tune without a substantial investment of time and energy. All the alto notes are perfectly playable on the tenor, and practical realities often trump compositional vision in the 18th and 19th centuries. The long basses stuck it out longer in certain corners, but was still dismissed in favor of a Bb instrument.

Bb is the sweet spot. It’s the longest trombone you can make that can average sized person can play and reach all 7 positions. It can function as a bass, tenor, or alto voice in an ensemble. You want a longer horn because that makes the positions farther apart, which in turn makes it easier to play in tune. Bb is Goldilocks.

Matt
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:46 am

brtnats wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:17 am
I’ve followed this without commenting on FB, and I do have a genuine question: Why are you looking for criticism and feedback and then immediately disagreeing with it when it doens’t line up with what you’re looking for?

I’ve played a lot of actual F bass in an early music group I directed, so I’ve got some time behind a long bass trombone. The modern bass, which is a compromise instrument to begin with, does not sound like an F bass. Frankly, it sounds better above :bassclef: :line4: than a long bass for most things. That’s kind of the point of the Bb/F/whatever bass. With the valve engaged it’s an F bass, without it’s a tenor.

Your bass doesn’t sound like an F bass either, but it also doesn’t sound like a modern bass. Bore size, bell, and mouthpiece can’t compensate for a lack of tubing or for a proper cylindrical-conical ratio. :bassclef: :line3: on an F bass has a completely different timbre than the same note on a modern bass trombone, because it’s at a different point in the harmonic series and the length and proportions of the instrument resonate the note differently.

You’ve made a super large alto in Db. Full stop. You can call it whatever you want, and it sounds fine, but in reality you’ve made a trombone that’s shorter than a tenor which must play almost entirely in its pedal register to achieve the bass range. There are .547 altos that sound a lot like your horn. It’s not a “bad” sound, but it absolutely brings a level of brightness that you don’t hear in the longer horns. That’s just what happens when you push the smaller cylindrical tube. You keep bringing up tubas as a proxy, but tubas are still twice as long as what you’re dealing with, and almost entirely conical. When it comes to timbre, size does matter, and I absolutely hear a timbre difference in your horns.

Your horn doesn’t sound bad, but I bet that playing it in a section of large tenors would highlight that brightness I’m talking about. With smaller tenors that might even be a good thing! Pines of Rome? Maybe not. But I wish this conversation could evolve beyond “it does so sound like a bass!” That depends entirely on how one defines a bass.

Matt

Ahh well theres the problem, I never asked for criticism, I'm just showing others what I've done. I do not agree with what you are saying. The sounds is virtually the same as my Bb bass in the video i have posted. I have gotten a pethora of feedback saying this, and some even went so far and to have someone "test them" as to which horn they were listening to. Thus far, no one has been able to consistently pick out one from the other. That, is the real test. It all measures that count, this is a higher pitched bass trombone. For everyone who makes the tenor is in Bb argument (weak!) I'll just have to make a Db tenor too wont I? :lol:

Look, this isn't going to be for everyone, I get that. But many people are attracted to it, which is great too. I have gotten overwhelmingly positive feedback on this project, far more than i expected. Im just highlighted something i have come up with, and believe in. If anyone want's to come try it once complete, by all means! If they want one, fantastic! But for the non believers, I'd thank you to kindly reserve judgement til you hear the coming recordings, or try it for youself.

Progress in any field doesn't happen by way of negative criticism, but rather by challenging the status quo, followed objective observation and analysis. There's a lot of people who seem stuck in their little box of rules and conventions for how a horn "should work". Let's get rid of that. Let's just for a minute, pretend there are no rules or preconcieved notions.

I do have to say, i love all doubters out there. Without you, I wouldn't have been pushed to make this and find out how awesome it works!
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:56 am


Bb is the sweet spot. It’s the longest trombone you can make that can average sized person can play and reach all 7 positions. It can function as a bass, tenor, or alto voice in an ensemble. You want a longer horn because that makes the positions farther apart, which in turn makes it easier to play in tune. Bb is Goldilocks.

Matt

No, it's not. Many of us cannot comfortably reach 7th, some cannot reach it at all. And my Db horn plays ever so slightly more in tune that Bb, with 17.5 inches less tubing. There's also technical benefit to having the positions closer together.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by timothy42b » Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:22 am

I suspect Bb (or 9 feet of tubing, either way) is the sweet spot for a particular bore size, and everything else is a more or less acceptable compromise.

We did have a long and contentious discussion of this some years ago.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by whitbey » Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:30 am

I think it is cool to try new things. Much can be learned and applied to other horns. I have dependent valves on my bass to low C and have seen a horn in C/Bb/F on line from Europe. But never seen one in the wild.
But ultimately the real estate in me guy jumps out and says there can't be more then one buyer for this horn so resale is going to be rough.
Cool horn though.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by brtnats » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:39 am

Jgittleson wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:56 am

No, it's not. Many of us cannot comfortably reach 7th, some cannot reach it at all. And my Db horn plays ever so slightly more in tune that Bb, with 17.5 inches less tubing. There's also technical benefit to having the positions closer together.
And therein lies the challenge. I'm curious: Do you play alto too? I've never found a shorter slide to be more forgiving in terms of intonation or technique. If you play alto at a very high level, your comfort with the shorter slide will obviously be different than mine. And, despite the fact that many of us cannot comfortably reach 7th position, many more of us can, and clearly could through the last 400 years. I can't on an "A' trombone, but I can on a Bb!

I'd be curious to hear you play your horn with others. The instruments in your recording sound very different to my ears (Yanny/Laurel different). I'd love to hear a blow with some classical music and commercial stuff.

Matt
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:51 am

brtnats wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:39 am
Jgittleson wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:56 am

No, it's not. Many of us cannot comfortably reach 7th, some cannot reach it at all. And my Db horn plays ever so slightly more in tune that Bb, with 17.5 inches less tubing. There's also technical benefit to having the positions closer together.
And therein lies the challenge. I'm curious: Do you play alto too? I've never found a shorter slide to be more forgiving in terms of intonation or technique. If you play alto at a very high level, your comfort with the shorter slide will obviously be different than mine. And, despite the fact that many of us cannot comfortably reach 7th position, many more of us can, and clearly could through the last 400 years. I can't on an "A' trombone, but I can on a Bb!

I'd be curious to hear you play your horn with others. The instruments in your recording sound very different to my ears (Yanny/Laurel different). I'd love to hear a blow with some classical music and commercial stuff.

Matt
I do play alto, i would not say at a high level. I did play bass at a very high level, but that was 13 years ago. Although i do feel my chops coming back, i cannot play like i used to. The air support is simply no longer there. Perhaps given time....

Once the horn is done you will have ample recordings to listen to. Its important to remember though, the point isnt to judge the horn on my ability, or my sound, but rather to use my bass sound as a control, and the Db horn as the variable.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by imsevimse » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:16 pm

I think this is a cool project. Hope to hear more when it is ready.

I wonder how it will look with the valves :good:

/Tom
"Do your best and then do better" ttf_watermailonman
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:35 am

Made excellent progress last night, and also made a few decisions that made sense as i went. For starters, everyone keep in mind this is only a prototype. If i didnt get the valve parts on a barter, id be using totally different bends, and valves, but as they cost me $0, and since what I wanted would have been about $1000, i am more than pleased to make do. For the time being, i am going to only put one valve, and i will be testing out various lengths of tubing to nail the desired Db/Bb/Gb setup in the future. That being said, i repositioned the lower brace, and am making a fix thumb rest in a more ideal position. The single valve will be a finger valve. This makes it easy to add a thumb valve when the time comes, and is also a better position for my hand for the time being. Im finishing up my first wrap design now, photos very shortly.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by Jgittleson » Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:21 am

As promised. I tried to get it as compact as i can, i mean thats one of the major features of it. Plus, i am finding more pressure is needed for the real low stuff to belt out nicely, so viola. I have to solder it all up yet, then adjusted the length for tuning, but im diggin it thus far. Not a huge fan of the tight bends, really prefer the nice single radius ones, but i have two bach valve wraps, and decided to embrace the angularity of it all.
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Re: Db bass trombone!

Post by elmsandr » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:22 pm

Coming out to be a cute little pocket monster.

Can't wait to hear it,
Andy
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