Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

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Elow
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Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by Elow » Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:01 pm

I can reach 7th only when i turn my horn and angle it so i can just reach it. I’m wondering if anyone can actually reach it easily
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Burgerbob
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by Burgerbob » Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:04 pm

Nope. 6th is fine, 7th is a turn/stretch.
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sacfxdx
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by sacfxdx » Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:05 pm

No
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by Cotboneman » Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:16 pm

I used to, before shoulder surgeries. Now it cause me to change too much to play down there a lot.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by pompatus » Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:19 pm

Burgerbob wrote:
Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:04 pm
Nope. 6th is fine, 7th is a turn/stretch.
#1

:|
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BGuttman
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by BGuttman » Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:25 pm

I have to adjust my grip to reach 7th. Even more to reach T6 (sometimes called Flat 7).

The saving grace is that the notes in 7th (low E, B natural) are pretty rare in trombone music (except for Symphony).

We've had some guys here with long arms who claim to be able to reach 7th easily. I guess they can skin their knuckles as they walk forward :tongue:
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Matt K
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by Matt K » Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:33 pm

Not even close. Why I have F attachments on basically all of my horns.
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spencercarran
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by spencercarran » Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:34 pm

I can get 7th without adjusting posture, but 3rd partial 7th (B natural in the staff, further out than "neutral" 7th for the low E) is as far as I can go without shifting. For T6 I need turn/stretch.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by elmsandr » Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:44 pm

It takes an additional 46" of tubing to reach 7th, that is a 23" move from first position... In the manufacturing world I live in, I cannot generally ask operators to reach 20" cyclically (that is, every machine cycle), without an in-depth analysis of required force, frequency, and posture. I would not expect this to pass. One of these days I get the person in our tool adapted and I could tell you exactly what percentage of the population can do this comfortably, but I don't expect it to be large.

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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by Kdanielsen » Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:53 pm

Easily. I’m 6’1” and have super long arms. I rarely use 7th though. Basically never for B, 50/50 for low E. I keep going back and forth for William Tell...
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LeoInFL
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by LeoInFL » Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:02 pm

Yes. I just confirmed that I can take the outer slide off of the horn from a playing position (w/a tiny stretch). :)
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by spencercarran » Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:05 pm

elmsandr wrote:
Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:44 pm
I could tell you exactly what percentage of the population can do this comfortably, but I don't expect it to be large.
If we assume arm length roughly proportionate to height, at most ~20% of men (probably less depending on joint mobility), <1% of women.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by marccromme » Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:07 pm

No. Period. Need a long sholder stretch plus holding the slide handle between the tips of my index and middle finger. Pretty fragile. I am 169 cm height, with proportional short arms. Play only trombones with quart valve, or double valve.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by ithinknot » Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:15 pm

LeoInFL wrote:
Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:02 pm
I can take the outer slide off of the horn from a playing position
(though so can everyone else if they let go)

Same here - I'm just under 6ft, but have relatively long arms from the summers I spent working on the roof of a used car dealership

But rotation helps keep things more fluid regardless, so outside of marching masochism I can't see why one wouldn't do at least a little...
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by CalgaryTbone » Thu Jun 10, 2021 4:04 pm

Yes, but the thumb comes away from the slide bar, and my wrist is extended all the way. I played a lot of years on a straight horn (Conn 8H) and was quite good at playing in 7th back then when there wasn't another option. Sadly, a lot of years back on the F attachment horn has made it less comfortable. Still try to play there every day, and make my students use it unless they really can't reach it. There will always be passages where it's a better option.

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robcat2075
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by robcat2075 » Thu Jun 10, 2021 4:10 pm

I'm 5'9". I can reach it.

I can even go a hair too far. Hitting it accurately in a passage is harder than reaching it. :shuffle:

I'm doing it with the fingers extended out, my thumb no longer on the brace. The brace is always between my 2nd and 3rd finger tips for any position

AFAIK, that's the standard technique. My trombone-playing, Northwestern University-educated band director taught me that in 9th grade. Prior to that I was just holding it with my fist and throwing my shoulder forward.

I say that's the standard... but after brief perusal of internet imagery I can't find anyone demonstrating a 7th position trombone slide grip that is exactly as I was taught.
Last edited by robcat2075 on Thu Jun 10, 2021 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by harrisonreed » Thu Jun 10, 2021 5:02 pm

Yes. Easily
PhilTrombone
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by PhilTrombone » Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:53 am

Yes, but what is "easily"?

I am on the short side. My teacher taught me to push my right shoulder forward to get out to seventh.
I do not experience any discomfort doing this.

If I am hitting a long tone, no problem. If it is in a fast passage, getting out there (in tune) is a definite challenge.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by ArbanRubank » Fri Jun 11, 2021 7:38 am

PhilTrombone wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:53 am
Yes, but what is "easily"?

...

If I am hitting a long tone, no problem. If it is in a fast passage, getting out there (in tune) is a definite challenge.
Exactly. Bob McChesney re-wrote some very short parts of "The Carnival Of Venice" to accommodate fast playing on a straight trombone. I don't blame him. Who can triple tongue fastly between low Bb and B (1st to 7th) as quick as tempo dictates. Nobody.

So for me as well, it isn't a problem of getting out there; it's a problem of getting out there quickly enough and in tune enough to make music. That means I sometimes have to re-pitch ballads in order to get them laying on my horn as nicely as possible, especially at a faster tempo.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by bigbandbone » Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:43 am

Big turn and stretch to get low C and low B (pulled to E) on my 72H.
hyperbolica
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by hyperbolica » Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:54 am

I can mostly reach it, and I'm 5'8", but I don't hold the slide with my thumb. Out in 6-7 the slide is between my middle and ring fingers so I've got an extra 2-3 inches. If it's a fast note, it might be a little sharp. I use 7th when I'm out there anyway, and I can get a note like e, b or even Ab or possibly a double trigger pedal Bb (not a pedal).

Some horns have the handslide handle out further than others, so it's a little horn dependent.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by Vegasbound » Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:40 am

Yes
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robcat2075
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by robcat2075 » Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:48 am

7th is always going to be a poor sister to the others because it has the entire weight of the outer slide hanging off just the last couple inches of the inner slide.

That sort of off-axis force is working against smooth operation of the mechanism, already made awkward by needing to land it with just two finger tips.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by timothy42b » Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:21 pm

Yes, on an alto.

It's risky though.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by Doubler » Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:24 pm

Yes, using my fingertips. A little shoulder action is involved, but I'm usually not aware of it; no discomfort. I sometimes think I'd move the slide completely off, but actually it couldn't happen without contortion or losing grip with my fingertips. FWIW - Tailor's tape measurement is 34" from armpit to middle fingertip.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by BGuttman » Fri Jun 11, 2021 1:26 pm

A key word here is "comfortably". I can comfortably reach 6 positions with the same grip. Something has to change to reach 7. Even many of those claiming "comfortably" are doing something special to reach 7. To the OP: if you need to do something special to reach 7, don't fret. So do many of us.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by hyperbolica » Fri Jun 11, 2021 1:51 pm

To me using "fingertips" ( in reality the space between knuckles of my longest fingers) isn't too much of a stretch. My whole grip on the slide is intended to do a couple of things. I see a lot of people with this dainty tea-cup grip precisely between forefinger and thumb. This looks dangerous to me. There is no backup. If the brace slips from that pinpoint grip, the slide is gone.

Here's my grip in 2nd position.
2nd.jpg
2nd.jpg (42.66 KiB) Viewed 772 times
My hand faces my face when in a close position - like holding a hand of cards. The lower slide is between my middle and ring fingers with the ring finger on the far side of the slide brace. As the hand goes down the slide, it slowly opens up until the right hand is facing the left side, still with the slide between those 4 knuckles. Anyone using the tea-cup grip is limited by their thumb. My grip is limited by the two longest fingers while the hand is open.

Here's my grip in 7th. The thumb is a couple inches away.
7th.jpg
7th.jpg (44.51 KiB) Viewed 772 times
glenp
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by glenp » Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:04 pm

hyperbolica wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 1:51 pm
The lower slide is between my middle and ring fingers with the ring finger on the far side of the slide brace. As the hand goes down the slide, it slowly opens up until the right hand is facing the left side, still with the slide between those 4 knuckles.
:good: This is exactly what I do and teach.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by Kbiggs » Sat Jun 12, 2021 10:37 am

Yes. I’m 5’ 11.5”, although I used to be 6’ 0.5” (I’ll be 58 next month). I can easily reach 7th when I sit with my left leg on the left side of the chair and my right shoulder pointed slightly forward.
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Savio
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by Savio » Sat Jun 12, 2021 5:43 pm

Yes my arms is very long. So I'm afraid to do all trombonists nightmare. Slide off....

I don't like fifth position either..... it's like fishing, but no fish. :weep:

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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by JCBone » Sat Jun 12, 2021 11:15 pm

I'm 5'7 and can reach a low c relatively comfortably.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by baileyman » Sat Jun 12, 2021 11:19 pm

I need more slide for B in the middle of the grand staff.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by soseggnchips » Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:43 am

Savio wrote:
Sat Jun 12, 2021 5:43 pm
I don't like fifth position either..... it's like fishing, but no fish. :weep:
Perfect. Best description I've ever seen.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by biggiesmalls » Sun Jun 13, 2021 6:12 am

I have a very long reach, and I use 7th position probably more than anyone I know. For instance, I can't imagine playing measures 16/17 of the Cello Suites #1 Prelude on my 8H without using 7th (which is how it's marked in the Keith Brown transcription).

Over the years I've developed a technique to lessen the friction in 7th, where I push down slightly on the lower slide tube oversleeve above the brace with my thumb, while lifting up a bit on the oversleeve from underneath just below the brace with my middle finger. Works great.

Although I don't play my 79H very often, the slide is uniquely smooth in 7th, with well over an inch of travel remaining while playing 7th in tune. If any contemporary horn designers who are reading this ever get a chance to study an Elkhart 79H, there's food for thought in it's design.
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patrickosmith
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by patrickosmith » Sun Jun 13, 2021 8:21 am

I do the same. I like to quality of sound from open horn (no trigger) for C and B natural. But over the years this will take its toll with wear and tear on the inner slide. So in most practicing I use the trigger to avoid that wear and tear. But for preparation and performance I opt for 6th and 7th position.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by Mamaposaune » Sun Jun 13, 2021 9:54 am

No. Never could, and will never be able to. I wish I could remember that myself, because every 5-6 years I see a nice straight horn for sale that looks tempting, and next thing I know it's in my living room. It is always somewhat of a surprise to me that I STILL can't play B-naturals. This goes on for awhile, the horn gets stored, then sold.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by Thrawn22 » Sun Jun 13, 2021 2:11 pm

Reach is a big reason why i think trombone shouldn't be taught at the 4th/5th grade levels unless the kid can reach 6th position reasonably.
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BGuttman
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by BGuttman » Sun Jun 13, 2021 2:32 pm

Back in the 1950s there was an article in The Instrumentalist on how to build a simple handle to let a shorter arm reach 7th position. I think Getzen actually made one for a while.

Byron McCollough said in an interview that he started bass trombone because he didn't have a long reach. He was "vertically challenged". There is a funny photo from an early ITF with McCollough holding a huge bass trombone and Lew Van Haney (a tall, big guy) holding an alto.
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glenp
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by glenp » Sun Jun 13, 2021 3:40 pm

Extendabone by Nick Abissi is a current implementation of the handle idea. It looks like it’s well executed but I have zero experience with it.

https://extendabone.com/
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patrickosmith
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by patrickosmith » Sun Jun 13, 2021 8:35 pm

Thrawn22 wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 2:11 pm
Reach is a big reason why i think trombone shouldn't be taught at the 4th/5th grade levels unless the kid can reach 6th position reasonably.
Here's a unique option for younger students: the Yamaha compact trombone.
https://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical ... index.html

"This is a full-sized trombone, using the traditional slide positions, but it's much shorter in length. With its ascending valve, you can play a full scale without using the two farthest positions!"

It barely has a 6th position and has no 7th position. It has a pretty nice full sound too.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by lupusargentus » Mon Jun 14, 2021 5:46 pm

Drat, someone beat me with the alto comment.
Yep. 6'1" and need long sleeve shirts in tall. I do have to release my thumb on all my horns except my bass.
Then there's the narrow slide on Olds Studio. Good thing you never need that B or low E on a small bore lead horn.
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Re: Can you comfortably reach 7th position?

Post by Mamaposaune » Tue Jun 15, 2021 11:44 am

BGuttman wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 2:32 pm
Back in the 1950s there was an article in The Instrumentalist on how to build a simple handle to let a shorter arm reach 7th position. I think Getzen actually made one for a while.

Byron McCollough said in an interview that he started bass trombone because he didn't have a long reach. He was "vertically challenged". There is a funny photo from an early ITF with McCollough holding a huge bass trombone and Lew Van Haney (a tall, big guy) holding an alto.
Bruce, do you have that photo of McCullough and Van Haney? If so, can you share it with us?
My college trombone professor knew Byron - I think he told me his nick-name was "Stumpy." He grew up in upstate NY, and played with one of the big bands for awhile (Les Brown? Freddy Martin?) with Stumpy before he went on to play with the Pittsburg Symphony. I remember him telling me about the handle he used so he could reach the outer positions.
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