Doubling

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BflatBass
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Doubling

Post by BflatBass » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:14 am

I've been away from the horn for 36 years and only been practicing for about 5 months now trying to get my chops back in shape and I've been spending all my time on a bass practicing bass stuff.
Practicing by yourself is fine but sooner or later you need to play in a group or even duets. So the other day I get hooked up with the little band of old folks (like myself) that are getting back into or just starting out on their instruments. I'm thinking, "great, I get to play with some peeps and I won't stand out like a total noob". Problem is, I'm the only trombone and when there's only one bone that's usually the 1st or lead part (sometimes second when there's a french horn). Welp...other than my chops NOT being in shape enough for this stuff, I'm having to switch over to my back up tenor :o
Nothing against tenors mind you but at this stage in my development, doubling on the tenor will make things complicated in a way that doesn't help me the way I'd like. We're playing twice a week and I need to learn the charts and get used to the tenor and so I'm not playing the bass as much as I really need to. I'd like to get the bass trombone seat in a good jazz big band within say 2 to 3 years max. I have a lot of work ahead of me to get to that point. This doubling was not part of the plan.

I'm done complaining.
How many of you bass trombonists are forced to double on tenor on a regular basis and like it?
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Re: Doubling

Post by hyperbolica » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:47 am

Aww, geez, you've got to play tenor! :weep: :D Some tenor players have to play bass just to play at all. You do what you have to do. I have to practice both, and I'm able to make it happen. Playing both brings more opportunity. If you really don't like tenor, don't play it. Its really just two different ranges on one instrument. Maybe try playing the tenor part on your bass with a smaller mouthpiece.
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Re: Doubling

Post by cozzagiorgi » Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:37 am

I double on a regular base on a high amateur level. I actually play in orchestras where I am the only amateur. So it can be done. And it can be done without practicing 6 hours a day.

You have to find your balance between the two instruments. I think you have to find a solid ground on one of the horns first, but that may be a misconception.
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Matt K
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Re: Doubling

Post by Matt K » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:54 am

I did this where I used to live. Very few bass players so I was basically the go-to person if the tenor players in town would rather play tenor. Gave me a great opportunity to learn it! Now where I live, I get called pretty regularly to do both. Did a tenor gig at a church last week, euph two weeks ago, and tonight doing something on bass. What might that easier for you while you get stuff sorted out is a mouthpiece that works for you for tenor that matches more what your bass stuff is doing. I did the opposite of that but I'm primarily at tenor player. I had an Elliott XT104N for my tenor stuff and was using either a Euph104N or an SB108 while I was getting my chops in order. Now that it's been a few years, I do an LB114 on bass and I feel fine using it. Doug is a good person to talk to about that and can recommend something that may make the transition easier. If you're anything like myself, smaller rim sizes don't work as well as larger rim sizes relative to the instrument being played.
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Re: Doubling

Post by StevenC » Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:51 am

I'm pretty much the opposite. I play tenor, but I have a bass to play and don't turn down bass gigs. If I'm auditioning on tenor, at some point I try to mention that I can play bass (without overselling my lesser bass chops). Life would be easier if I just played tenor, but keeping my bass chops somewhat active increases opportunities, and therefore increases fun.
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Re: Doubling

Post by Neo Bri » Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:40 am

hyperbolica wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:47 am
Its really just two different ranges on one instrument. Maybe try playing the tenor part on your bass with a smaller mouthpiece.
This.

I look at tenor and bass and the same instrument, really. The approach might be different, sound concept, etc. but the instrument is the same. For example, my range is the same on both, even though I use different mouthpieces to help do the job.

Bass usually has more options available with valve combinations.
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Re: Doubling

Post by hyperbolica » Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:08 am

Neo Bri wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:40 am
hyperbolica wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:47 am
Its really just two different ranges on one instrument. Maybe try playing the tenor part on your bass with a smaller mouthpiece.
This.

I look at tenor and bass and the same instrument, really. The approach might be different, sound concept, etc. but the instrument is the same. For example, my range is the same on both, even though I use different mouthpieces to help do the job.

Bass usually has more options available with valve combinations.
Yeah, that came out wrong. It's not two different ranges. My range is the same on tenor and bass as well, but the low sounds better on bass and the high sounds better on tenor. Most of what you learn on one is transferrable to the other unless it is directly related to extreme range. I had a Holton 159 and an Olds P24g that played like tenors with small mouthpieces and like basses with large mouthpieces.
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Re: Doubling

Post by Neo Bri » Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:37 am

Oh, it wasn't a reflection on that - I agree with you. Same basic instrument, but you use the right tool for the job.

I've had to play bass sometimes on a Bach 36. Pretty fun, actually.
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Re: Doubling

Post by BflatBass » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:14 pm

I do sound like a cry baby don't I :lol:
I really am grateful that I have an opportunity to play in this band and if every time someone said they needed a trombone I said, "I'm only a bass player", I'd probably have to wait a long time before I had a chance to play and then it might only be for one performance.
Looks like the tenor is going to get more use than I thought. I've had the bass since '79 but I only bought the tenor recently as a back up. It's ok. What's the worse that could happen? I'll be a better trombone player :D
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Re: Doubling

Post by StevenC » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:26 pm

Neo Bri wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:37 am
I've had to play bass sometimes on a Bach 36. Pretty fun, actually.
My "bass" is a Holton TR-183. I like using my tenor mouthpiece with it and playing it as a tenor. Being small for a bass, this works pretty well. I haven't done this lately, but there are things I really like about this setup.

Now that I have the Holton, I don't like playing bass on my tenor. I have less presence down low.
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Re: Doubling

Post by BGuttman » Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:50 pm

I've played tenor parts on my King 7B using a tenor sized mouthpiece (in my case a Wick 4BL). If you are trying to play lead over a section of 4 it's kinda hard (but can be done!). If you really love your bass, play it. If you need to pretend it's a tenor, use a smaller mouthpiece.

If you are the only trombone it matters a lot less what kind of trombone it is.
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Re: Doubling

Post by imsevimse » Tue May 01, 2018 5:50 am

I double a lot, and like to switch. The key is to approach the instruments differently not so much to find one mouthpiece for all. Not for me.

There are two ways of doing this.
1. The first seems to be to find one rim that fits your face, and then use different cups to be able to use that same size rim on any size of horn.
2. The second way is to find the best mouthpiece for any horn and teach your face to play any rim, any cup.

For me the second method is the one I use. The reason is there are a lot of parameters that count when finding one mouthpiece on any horn. What sound do you prefer on each horn and what sound for a particular context? This for me can not be reduced to just finding a single comfortable rim, it is much more to this.

The solution for me, was/is to try everything and change often.

Lately, I've found the Hammond series of mouthpieces to provide all I need. The cups are different and the rims are different but there is something familiar across all the mouthpieces. They are very comfortable to play.

I now play all my 0,525, 0,547 horns and bass trombones as well as eufonium on his mouthpieces sizes 13 to 20. I bought the 12XL and a couple of 12MXL after I heard they could be special ordered, thanks for letting me know, Burgerbob.

It's only when I play my small bores that I use a Bach 6 3/4C and a 12E for alto. Haven't found any Hammond mouthpiece to replace them yet.

/Tom
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Re: Doubling

Post by deanmccarty » Tue May 01, 2018 10:47 am

Another opinionated person here... bass and tenor are NOT extensions of the same instrument. Most players that state that they are do not accurately play the bass trombone. They are both trombones, but that is where it ends. Both have completely different feels, sound concepts, intonation issues, etc. To say this would actually mean that trombone and trumpet should be approached the same... they are, in essence, the same... anyway...

To answer the original post... I double regularly. I have no problem going from bass to tenor, tenor to bass, or either to tuba or Euphonium. I mostly double in the studio or in pit shows... but I also double bass to tuba in a brass quintet. I don’t think everyone is equipped to double proficiently... and that’s ok...
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Re: Doubling

Post by marccromme » Tue May 01, 2018 2:56 pm

imsevimse wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 5:50 am

2. The second way is to find the best mouthpiece for any horn and teach your face to play any rim, any cup.

For me the second method is the one I use. The reason is there are a lot of parameters that count when finding one mouthpiece on any horn. What sound do you prefer on each horn and what sound for a particular context? This for me can not be reduced to just finding a single comfortable rim, it is much more to this.

/Tom
:good: this is what I do also: every instrument it's own rim/cup/backbore/brand of mouthpiece. Lips and chops just adapt from tenor over bass, euph and Eb tuba.

If you just switch between tenor and bass for 15 min every day (play the same simple tune, switch, play again, switch , play again,...) you will get very adapt to switching bones in say one month. No biggie. Just work.
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Re: Doubling

Post by Redthunder » Wed May 02, 2018 8:51 am

deanmccarty wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 10:47 am
To say this would actually mean that trombone and trumpet should be approached the same... they are, in essence, the same... anyway...
I mean I don't disagree with this, and I can't seem to think of a good reason why this shouldn't be true. While there may be differences in range and timbre, fundamentally, brass technique IS fundamentally the same on each instrument. The demands of playing trumpet professionally or in ensemble settings may be different than those of a tenor or bass trombonist, but the concepts surrounding basic sound production, and embouchure remain constant.
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Re: Doubling

Post by ghmerrill » Wed May 02, 2018 9:14 am

Redthunder wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 8:51 am
The demands of playing trumpet professionally or in ensemble settings may be different than those of a tenor or bass trombonist, but the concepts surrounding basic sound production, and embouchure remain constant.
I really do have to disagree with this -- except in the case that "basic sound production, and embouchure" is taken so broadly as to end up virtually meaningless (like "Well, you put the mouthpiece on your face and blow into it while buzzing your lips.") Otherwise, a similar argument could be made for the reeds -- so that sound production and embouchure for saxophone and clarinet are "basically" the same. Or that sound production and embouchure on saxophone and bassoon are "basically" the same. In such cases, some of the "concepts" are even different.

Differences among (taking cases with which I'm familiar) trombone, euphonium, and tuba are "basically" the same (constant?) only if taken in a VERY broad sense. SOME of the demands (and techniques) are basically the same. But this glosses over some very real differences and challenges. For me at leat, the embouchures employed on tenor trombone, euphonium, bass trombone, and tuba all have some distinctive differences and requirements in producing reliable and quality sound.
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Re: Doubling

Post by Redthunder » Wed May 02, 2018 9:24 am

ghmerrill wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 9:14 am
Redthunder wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 8:51 am
The demands of playing trumpet professionally or in ensemble settings may be different than those of a tenor or bass trombonist, but the concepts surrounding basic sound production, and embouchure remain constant.
I really do have to disagree with this -- except in the case that "basic sound production, and embouchure" is taken so broadly as to end up virtually meaningless (like "Well, you put the mouthpiece on your face and blow into it while buzzing your lips.")
No, there are some very observable characteristics that every successful brass embouchure shares, regardless of instrument, and these are not virtually meaningless ideas. On any brass instrument, it is required to firm the corners of your mouth, and you can specifically feel the same group or knot of muscles being employed just below the corners. If you're also familiar with Doug Elliott's and Donald Reinhardt's embouchure type classifications, you can see examples of players using all three main types of embouchure on every instrument, which I think supports the idea that there's a lot of commonality between how each instrument is played. On every instrument one lip always predominates. On every instrument a smaller aperture and more lip compression is required for higher notes, and a wider aperture and less lip compression is required for lower notes. What changes from instrument to instrument is the surface area vibrating, as well as the volume of air required. I'm not saying there aren't differences. I am saying that brass embouchure is not radically different from instrument to instrument, and that good form and technique on one instrument can easily transfer to another if you know what is going on.
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Re: Doubling

Post by LeTromboniste » Wed May 02, 2018 12:42 pm

Redthunder wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 9:24 am
ghmerrill wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 9:14 am
Redthunder wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 8:51 am
The demands of playing trumpet professionally or in ensemble settings may be different than those of a tenor or bass trombonist, but the concepts surrounding basic sound production, and embouchure remain constant.
I really do have to disagree with this -- except in the case that "basic sound production, and embouchure" is taken so broadly as to end up virtually meaningless (like "Well, you put the mouthpiece on your face and blow into it while buzzing your lips.")
No, there are some very observable characteristics that every successful brass embouchure shares, regardless of instrument, and these are not virtually meaningless ideas. On any brass instrument, it is required to firm the corners of your mouth, and you can specifically feel the same group or knot of muscles being employed just below the corners. If you're also familiar with Doug Elliott's and Donald Reinhardt's embouchure type classifications, you can see examples of players using all three main types of embouchure on every instrument, which I think supports the idea that there's a lot of commonality between how each instrument is played. On every instrument one lip always predominates. On every instrument a smaller aperture and more lip compression is required for higher notes, and a wider aperture and less lip compression is required for lower notes. What changes from instrument to instrument is the surface area vibrating, as well as the volume of air required. I'm not saying there aren't differences. I am saying that brass embouchure is not radically different from instrument to instrument, and that good form and technique on one instrument can easily transfer to another if you know what is going on.
But playing a brass instrument is more than just embouchure, certainly we can all agree on that?

My take on that is yes, it is possible to double between different brass instruments without it inherently harming your playing on any of those instruments - quite the opposite, I find the more I play different instruments, the more it informs my playing on the others - because yes, there are common aspects in the playing, and the same muscles are being involved. [To a certain extant - for example a lot of cornetto players who come from trumpet play with an embouchure way off-center because the part of their lips that they use(d) for trumpet (i.e. the center) is way too developed an strong for the kind of delicate flexibility required by the cornetto]. To the OP I would say, go ahead and play tenor, it will help things in your bass playing, and vice versa. Plus you will be more versatile and more adaptable, which are essential qualities for any musician.

That being said, there are still MAJOR differences between instruments, and I don't think conceptualizing your doubling instrument as an extension of your main instrument can really work and give you the best results. They are different instruments and have to be approached as such.
imsevimse wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 5:50 am
I double a lot, and like to switch. The key is to approach the instruments differently not so much to find one mouthpiece for all. Not for me.

There are two ways of doing this.
1. The first seems to be to find one rim that fits your face, and then use different cups to be able to use that same size rim on any size of horn.
2. The second way is to find the best mouthpiece for any horn and teach your face to play any rim, any cup.

For me the second method is the one I use. The reason is there are a lot of parameters that count when finding one mouthpiece on any horn. What sound do you prefer on each horn and what sound for a particular context? This for me can not be reduced to just finding a single comfortable rim, it is much more to this.
/Tom
My experience is the same. I get best results by choosing the best mouthpiece for each horn - among other things because it helps me think of each instrument as a different one. I put the horn up to my lips and my body and brain know which horn it is and how to react to it. There's also the obvious fact that when you go to the extreme, this approach becomes unavoidable. There is no way I would play Renaissance slide-trumpet with the same rim as when I play ophicleide, for example - nobody in their right mind would even think of trying (would anyone play trumpet and tuba on the same mouthpiece?). But if I use different mouthpieces for those as I use on various trombones, why would I use the same rim on all trombones? Just because they're trombones? But playing alto trombone feels closer to playing slide trumpet than playing bass, and playing bass feels closer to playing ohpicleide than playing alto...Of course I already used different rims before I started playing those extreme instruments, but the conclusion that imposes itself to me is that it's a continuum, and so each mouthpiece is different.

Now that doesn't mean it's the only valid approach and that you can't use the same rim for everything you do, that is I think a personal question that depends on many factors (what instruments you double on, what kind of music you play, your physiology, etc), and different people have different experience with that. Do what works best for you. But even if you use the same rim on everything you still have to think of every instrument as a different one. If your alto, tenor and bass playing all have the same sound concept, then what's the point?
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Re: Doubling

Post by Matt K » Wed May 02, 2018 1:27 pm

As with many things, there is a spectrum. A sparrow and a chicken are both birds, but they're not the same bird. But then a leghorn chicken is different than a jersey giant. There are both commonalities and differences that vary between the levels of specificity that one uses.

So a trumpet is similar to a trombone, or at least more similar than say a clarinet, which itself is more similar than say, a lamp post. Likewise, a tenor trombone is more similar to a bass trombone than it is to a flute, or a tambourine. A tambourine is a completely different instrument than a trombone. It generally serves a rhythmic function, it is operated with the hands, etc. So in a literal sense, a tenor trombone is not a completely distinct instrument distinct from a bass trombone as they can even use the same mouthpiece in some cases. In that sense, there is little distinction between what you are doing physiologically between a tenor and a bass.

Then there are instruments that straddle both of those lines. To me, anything that has grey area does not have a major distinction between the two areas. They have minor distinctions that add up in favor of one vs. the other. For example, is the Bach 42T50LT (or whatever the nomenclature may be for the Friedman model) a tenor or a bass? It isn't clear to me that it is wholly a tenor, though it certainly isn't a bass. Yet there are those who describe it as sounding like a euphonium, or even a slide tuba.

Likewise then, is a bass trombone with a tenor trombone mouthpiece a tenor trombone? Definitely not wholly a tenor, though perhaps more like a tenor than one with a more "authentic" bass size (whatever that might mean). What about a bass trombone that is played like a tenor? Is that even possible? If you can find a "pure" bass trombone and play it like a tenor, is there a physical distinction? What about the reverse; can one play a tenor as a bass? If one can do either, is there a reason for a distinction between the two instruments? If one cannot play one like the other, what then actually makes the distinction?

To put my own skin in the game so to speak: It seems to my perception that the differences between the instruments are minor, though that does not mean it unimportant to learn how to play both well if that is one's goal. And the best way to achieve that is to recognize the major similarities as well as distinguish the minor differences with proportion to their importance.
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Re: Doubling

Post by Redthunder » Wed May 02, 2018 1:44 pm

LeTromboniste wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 12:42 pm
But playing a brass instrument is more than just embouchure, certainly we can all agree on that?
Yes, of course there is more to it than just embouchure, but I will contend that our embouchure, being the primary means through which we interface with our instruments, is the biggest and most important factor that determines a great deal about how we play, whether we realize it or not, in ways that aren't always obvious. All of the practice in the world wont make up for bad habits or a poorly formed embouchure. A good, stable, embouchure is the baseline needed in order to get to making music.
That being said, there are still MAJOR differences between instruments, and I don't think conceptualizing your doubling instrument as an extension of your main instrument can really work and give you the best results. They are different instruments and have to be approached as such.
I think the word "major" is really up to interpretation. I still disagree. Additionally, I certainly don't believe, nor did I say, that each instrument should be treated as an extension of your main instrument. What I'm saying is that you can apply and practice the same skill set on all of the brass family successfully, provided that you're playing in a way that matches your embouchure type. I also am saying that there is more commonality between how the embouchure functions on each instrument than there are differences.
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Re: Doubling

Post by Redthunder » Wed May 02, 2018 1:45 pm

Matt K wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 1:27 pm
To put my own skin in the game so to speak: It seems to my perception that the differences between the instruments are minor, though that does not mean it unimportant to learn how to play both well if that is one's goal. And the best way to achieve that is to recognize the major similarities as well as distinguish the minor differences with proportion to their importance.
This is a good take on it.
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Re: Doubling

Post by LeTromboniste » Wed May 02, 2018 2:00 pm

Matt K wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 1:27 pm
To put my own skin in the game so to speak: It seems to my perception that the differences between the instruments are minor, though that does not mean it unimportant to learn how to play both well if that is one's goal. And the best way to achieve that is to recognize the major similarities as well as distinguish the minor differences with proportion to their importance.
Agree with that entirely
Redthunder wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 1:44 pm
Yes, of course there is more to it than just embouchure, but I will contend that our embouchure, being the primary means through which we interface with our instruments, is the biggest and most important factor that determines a great deal about how we play, whether we realize it or not, in ways that aren't always obvious. All of the practice in the world wont make up for bad habits or a poorly formed embouchure. A good, stable, embouchure is the baseline needed in order to get to making music.

I think the word "major" is really up to interpretation. I still disagree. Additionally, I certainly don't believe, nor did I say, that each instrument should be treated as an extension of your main instrument. What I'm saying is that you can apply and practice the same skill set on all of the brass family successfully, provided that you're playing in a way that matches your embouchure type. I also am saying that there is more commonality between how the embouchure functions on each instrument than there are differences.
Well maybe you disagree but I agree with you mostly and I think we're just basically saying the same thing in different words. Being different instruments and having a lot in common are not mutually exclusive.

Of course a modern bass trombone is closer to a modern tenor trombone than to anything else, and the switch is particularly easy between those two for anyone who puts some time and effort in it. They still require a different mindset though. A primarily tenor trombonist that just plays bass the same way they play tenor is never going to have as much success as a primarily bass player, and vice versa. Adapt your mindset and embrace the differences between the two however, and it is really not that hard to attain the same level of proficiency, and that is because, as you say, they are so similar despite their differences.
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Re: Doubling

Post by imsevimse » Wed May 02, 2018 6:08 pm

Each instrument has its own sound. My alto trombone should sound like an alto and then I have a special alto sound in my head. The same with small bore trombone versus large bore trombone and bass trombone. To me they need different mindsets. To me it is essential to what sound comes out the bell

If you want your alto to sound like a tenor? Yes it is possible, you just need a tenor mouthpiece and think tenor. Probably easier with some of the larger altos, maybe dual bore slide helps too? Do you want your large tenor to sound more like a bass? Put a larger mouthpiece in and think bass and you will get closer to a bass.

To me every instrument is different, and I want them to be so I think "differently". To help this I use equipment that enhances what I want.

Why I don't consider all trombones to be the same? I think this is just where I come from. I began as a tenor player. I started to play alto as a tenor. I started to play bass as a tenor. Neither did work very well. First I needed a strong healthy emboshure and after that I made it work. It began to work after I started to approach them as alto, tenor and bass. Playing the alto, tenor and bass parts with different sound concepts in mind. I listened a lot to Branimir Slokar for alto and George Roberts and Raymond Premru for bass and Tommy Dorsey, Urbie Green, Christian Lindberg and Joseph Alessi for inspiration on tenor. My bass sound probably has been influenced by Sven Larsson, one of northern Europe's most sought bass trombone players at one time who was my teacher for several years and who's sound and great technique I have heard in closeup.

In the beginning my alto playing and my bass playing messed with my tenor emboushure, and I could not play a smaller mouthpiece after I had played a bigger. To help this I always started on alto and continued with tenor and finished on bass. I did this for several years. If I had to play a smaller mouthpiece after a bigger I always felt very awkward.

Today this is no problem at all. In a way it feels like I'm doing the same thing on all instruments, but at the same time with my history I know this can not be the case, because as I said to approach them the same in the beginning did not work.

A bass takes a lot of air compared to an alto, and the sound is completely different. The difference of mouthpieces are huge. Just compare a Bach 12E and a Hammond 20BL and you will see the huge difference in cup depth and rim. I'm never short on air on an alto but I'm always short on air on bass.

Today after many years of doubling I can agree I do not think much of the differences as I switch any more. The switching has become natural. I have learned to adopt fast.

/Tom
Last edited by imsevimse on Thu May 03, 2018 3:06 am, edited 11 times in total.
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Re: Doubling

Post by StretchLongarm » Wed May 02, 2018 6:32 pm

Coming from bass bone only in the 70s to tenor from the 80s on, has made it very difficult to go back - you need a lot of face time on the bass to be able to push that air, once you get used to tenor. I too double on a 3B and a Duo Gravis, but I just don't have the time to put the work into the bass...and there's enough tenor work (and good bass players around here) that I'm thinking of sellingthe bass horn, as I just don't use it much.

So I agree with a previous poster that picking one and moving on might relieve the frustration level, but it really depends on your musical opportunities - in a large metro area, there's more opportunities for bass bone (although more competition for the chairs!), and in smaller communites there's probably less opportunities for bass (unless there's an opportunity, in which case there's probably fewer bass players). YMMV.

So nobody really has answers for you - everyone is different...but face time is required.
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Re: Doubling

Post by Basbasun » Thu May 03, 2018 3:10 am

imsevimse and StretchLongarm are talking from experinence of actually doubling bass and tenor.
Before I became a double I spent some time to play bass part on my tenor. That is what I call doubling. I have spent time playing high parts on my bass. That is not really doubling. That is not what the OP is asking about.
To be a good doubler you have to except the difference between tenor and bass. The tenor with a bass mpc does not really work as a decent instrument, the bass with a small mpc is not working as a decent instrument. In some emergencies those combinations can work in a less then half decant way. That is not what the OP is talking about I believe. In the beginning the doubling is hard, play tenor afte bass can be hard on embouchure and viceversa. But after practis on both instrument we are many of us doing it every week with not so much problem (except when one of the horns have not been played for a to long time) Do I have the same range on all the horns I play? No. I can squize som high tones as high as my alto can be played, I can make som frecuencies on my alto that is lower then many bass player can play on the the bass. That is not playing in a musical sence. I do play a fifth higher on tenor and an good octave lower on the bass in playing good sound, though I can make very high sounds on my bass that is not where the bass sound is. To the OP, keep on blowing and think of the best sound possible on both instrument, remember the two horns are different and you must think of different sounds.
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ghmerrill
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Re: Doubling

Post by ghmerrill » Thu May 03, 2018 12:53 pm

Oh, what a hornets nest of opinion and nuances of drawing conceptual lines. And very emotional to boot. :shock: To add to all that just a bit ...
All these changes have left us with an instrument of deep, rich sonority, easily distinguished from its tenor relative. The bass trombonist of today must be a well-trained specialist in this unique instrument and must acquire special knowledge and technique that his counterparts in the section do not need.
-- Eliezer Aharoni in New Method for the Modern Bass Trombone.

And then there's the very similar funny story attributed to Kleinhammer in http://www.yeodoug.com/resources/faq/fa ... bling.html, together with Yeo's own statements that
However, a real problem can result when a player tries to overstep the bounds of logical doubling and attempt to play two (or more) instruments on a regular basis that require dramatically different mouthpiece (especially rim) sizes. ...

I personally cannot see how people can double effectively on tenor and bass trombones. While there are those who can play both instruments, I am not one of them, perhaps because I am completely unforgiving of little mistakes on either one. However, I have yet to meet a person who can play both tenor and bass trombone "best," and my advice is to stick to one or the other and leave doubling to other kinds of instrument. Kleinhammer's advice is well taken in that instance.
Just more opinions, of course -- and open to all the interpretation we've already seen here (and adding another one in terms of what "doubling" might mean under one construal or another).
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Re: Doubling

Post by imsevimse » Thu May 03, 2018 2:16 pm

The original question from the OP was not really about if doubling is good for you nor did he ask if it should be done. He simply asked how many of "us", bass trombone players like to double.

I do :shuffle:

Edward Kleinhammer knew his bussiness and could play bass trombone like a giant. His words are wisdom and he obviously had some limits when it came to doubling. We do not know how long he tried his very best though. As a full time Chicago player I doubt he wanted to struggle with something risky like that.

James Morrisson is a contemporary very inspiring multi instrumentalist who seems to have no limits. Playing everything like a mad man and never warms up. Fantastic!

Don't let anyone tell you there is something on an instrument you can't do! If they do then prove them wrong.

/Tom
Last edited by imsevimse on Fri May 04, 2018 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Doubling

Post by LeTromboniste » Thu May 03, 2018 3:08 pm

I always found the fact that bass and tenor trombonists split up very early in their musical lives (and are king of told that once you do one, then that's what you'll do forever and you can't switch or double successfully) nonsense. Yeah they have different mouthpiece sizes and embouchures. The same could be said of playing different kinds of saxophones, or playing different kinds of clarinets (or of tenor trombonists who have to double alto, for that matter). There is no such thing as a bass clarinet player who only plays bass. They all play at least two members of the family. Most sax players are expected to be at least proficient on bari, tenor, alto and soprano. Not EQUALLY good, but able to play each one well.
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Matt K
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Re: Doubling

Post by Matt K » Thu May 03, 2018 5:45 pm

Hey all, so this is getting quite heated. Remember, that we're trying to keep the language suitable for readers of all ages. I've edited some of the adult language out. This site is new so no harm no foul for the time being. I believe this is the first time the rule has been invoked. And while I can't speak for everyone, I think it's safe to say that we're all on the same page in the sense that we want other trombonists to have both a rewarding experience while playing the instrument... though our approaches to where that may be might differ.
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Re: Doubling

Post by Matt K » Thu May 03, 2018 6:00 pm

And to make my position clear, it's possible that there may be some who are incapable of doubling in the sense that they don't have time to put into learning other instruments, as minor or as major as those changes may be, or because they wish to specialize.

On the other hand, there are definitely those who can and my proof so to speak is in the form of Jim Nova's wonderful sound cloud channel, which if you have not had the pleasure of hearing, you can find here:

https://soundcloud.com/jimnova

He plays all of the parts himself. For the slide trumpet, I believe he is playing on a Greg Black one-off that has a ca. 3G rim and a trumpet shank. I know that to some extent he plays the same rim for bass... or at least had eluded to that a few years ago... though my understanding was he would use something larger when the situation called for it. I'm putting more words in his mouth than I'm comfortable, so take that with a grain of salt, but I thought a little bit of additional context necessary. I'm not sure what he plays for contra.

Then of course there are others, Jim Morrison and Bones Malone take that even further.

But with that said, there are only so many hours in the day. Who wants to be the "best" anyway and what does that mean? Is it worth being the "best" at something if it makes you less useful in other areas? Possibly --- especially in the orchestral world, where Ed Kleinhammer lived. For what are probably the vast majority of trombonists? Or the amateur? The standards are much different. The most important thing is to realistic about where you are and honest about what your short- and long-term goals and constantly reevaluate those.
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Re: Doubling

Post by Kbiggs » Thu May 03, 2018 6:52 pm

BflatBass wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:14 am
How many of you bass trombonists are forced to double on tenor on a regular basis and like it?
I’m never forced to play anything. I’m a freelancer and very part-time musician, so I can choose what I want to play.

In my view, there are only three reasons to play any gig: money, fun, or obligation. Most of us are not professionals, and so we don’t need to do it for the money. It’s an avocation, and we can get some bread-and-egg money. If we accept that money isn’t our motivator, then fun (or rather, enjoyment and pleasure) might be. If the gig ain’t fun—tyrannical band leader, unreasonable demands on the player, frstrationresulting from inability to play due to skill level and ability, etc.—then we have to decide whether the camaraderie and “those few bars in that particular symphony” are worth it. If not, then the decision is easer. Obligation is more along the lines of “help me out with this gig and I’ll help you with yours,” or “we would really like you to play at X event,” like a funeral, a wedding, etc.

As to the doubling part, I enjoy it all. It’s another chance to play trombone, and to play music.

If you don’t like play tenor parts, then maybe choosing gigs that use bass would be more satisfying, less frustrating.
I have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.
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Basbasun
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Re: Doubling

Post by Basbasun » Fri May 04, 2018 2:39 am

My first horn is basstrombone. I doubble on tenor, tuba, sackbut. I used to doubble on contrabasstrombone. Do I play my doubbles in the same standard as my first horn? No. Did the doubbling come easy? NO. It toke hours of practise. Do I like to doubble? YES!
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Re: Doubling

Post by deanmccarty » Sat May 05, 2018 8:17 am

LeTromboniste wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 12:42 pm
I don't think conceptualizing your doubling instrument as an extension of your main instrument can really work and give you the best results. They are different instruments and have to be approached as such.
^ This
Dean McCarty
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Re: Doubling

Post by brtnats » Thu May 24, 2018 12:46 pm

James Markey did a Youtube video talking about doubling. Considering his career in the New York Phil was born out of extremely successful doubling, I'm going to agree with his basic premise: The people that say bass trombone is a completely different instrument requiring a "specialist" are ignoring a lot of statistical evidence that suggests otherwise.

Alto trombone is a very different instrument from tenor trombone. Tenor players just learn to play it and no one says anything. Ditto euphonium and bass trumpet. There's nothing inherently holy or special about bass trombone that requires a specialist, other than perhaps bass trombonists' pride. There are simply too many outstanding players who play both tenor and bass well for their experience to be ignored.

I am not one of those players(!), but I do routinely play bass and small tenor in a variety of commercial situations. I fall into the different horns/different mouthpieces camp, and I get face time on both horns every day. The musical styles I'm asked to play on tenor and bass are very different, but the fundamentals of slide technique, breathing, airspeed, relaxation, and embouchure control are exactly the same. They're not different instruments; they're both still TROMBONES. One is just bigger than the other, and is asked to do different things.

Matt
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Re: Doubling

Post by imsevimse » Fri May 25, 2018 11:48 am

brtnats wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 12:46 pm
James Markey did a Youtube video talking about doubling. Considering his career in the New York Phil was born out of extremely successful doubling, I'm going to agree with his basic premise: The people that say bass trombone is a completely different instrument requiring a "specialist" are ignoring a lot of statistical evidence that suggests otherwise.

Alto trombone is a very different instrument from tenor trombone. Tenor players just learn to play it and no one says anything. Ditto euphonium and bass trumpet. There's nothing inherently holy or special about bass trombone that requires a specialist, other than perhaps bass trombonists' pride. There are simply too many outstanding players who play both tenor and bass well for their experience to be ignored.

I am not one of those players(!), but I do routinely play bass and small tenor in a variety of commercial situations. I fall into the different horns/different mouthpieces camp, and I get face time on both horns every day. The musical styles I'm asked to play on tenor and bass are very different, but the fundamentals of slide technique, breathing, airspeed, relaxation, and embouchure control are exactly the same. They're not different instruments; they're both still TROMBONES. One is just bigger than the other, and is asked to do different things.

Matt
As a doubler who regularly plays tenor and bass (and when I was younger also alto) I repeat that the best result I got after I learned to approach them differently, but I think we discuss grains of salt here.
If a tuba can be looked upon as the same as an euphonium, a clarinet close to a saxophone a trumpet nearly the same as a flugelhorn an organ played with the same approach as a piano then the bass trombone and the tenor trombone are very close. We are splitting hairs here. Anybody can do as they please naturally. You can simplify even further and think of them as reed instruments and brass instruments. There are big similarities within each group or you look att all as wind instruments. Just blow and there will be a sound. This makes all wind instruments very alike.

Nobody becomes a better player/doubler unless they take action and dig deep into this matter themselves though. Everybody is different.

/Tom
Last edited by imsevimse on Fri May 25, 2018 12:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Doubling

Post by hyperbolica » Fri May 25, 2018 12:16 pm

The tuba is an octave removed from the euphonium.
The clarinet and the saxophone are made from drastically different materials.

Tenor and bass trombone are the same length, in the same key, made from the same material, have the same unique mechanism of the hand slide, you can play basically the same range of notes on both, tuning tendencies are similar, use the same shank size mouthpiece, etc. Really the only differences are that they focus on different parts of the range, and they do that by a larger bore, different bell taper, and you use different size mouthpieces. You can put a bass slide on an 88h or 42b. Some Holton tenors have 562 slides.

Is a classical trombone a different instrument from a jazz trombone? There is a definite different style to playing bass bone. Your approach to Copland and Mozart are very different, but you can play trombone in both, although the trombone Mozart knew was not exactly the same as the trombone Copland knew.

Eb, F, CC and BBb are all tubas, and if you've spent much time with tubas, you know that from one tuba to another can be a world of physical, mechanical, acoustical, and material differences. Yet they are all tubas.

And (to some of the earlier posters), its really unnecessary to insult anyone's musicianship because they see both tenor and bass as trombones. I shift gears when I change from tenor to bass. Just as I shift gears when I use a small bore horn and change from Gershwin to Hovaness. I think I could play it all on an Olds P24g with two different mouthpieces.
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Re: Doubling

Post by imsevimse » Fri May 25, 2018 12:40 pm

Yes the tenor and the bass are the same length, but there it ends. Different mouthpiece, different bell, different bore size, different sound, add to this a different role in the band. Lessons learned for me was to think of them differently.

To me a small tenor is also different from a large tenor, and to me even trombones of same size are different. I use different mouthpieces to enhance or supress characteristics to make them fit in a particular context. As I said we are splitting hairs here

/Tom
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