The Bass Trombone: Positions & Alternates, The triggers, and Equipment Choice (On An Amateur's Prospective)

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The Bass Trombone: Positions & Alternates, The triggers, and Equipment Choice (On An Amateur's Prospective)

Post by BassBoneWadie99 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:39 pm

NOTE: I had posted a topic similar to this on TTF, before it shut down several weeks back, but this one is more updated, along with a more specific title to keep in mind. I'm not sure if the TTF topic is archived, but I thought I'd still do it and to put things into a different prospective Also note, this is with a dependent bass in mind, so take this with a grind of salt and dependents are what I'm more experienced in, but I had used independents prior.

Before I start, I think it's appropriate to give a little backstory of me and the bass trombone. Ever since I started using a double valve bass trombone my sophomore in high school, I had been wondering how can I adapt to getting two valves, coming from a loaner single Bach 50B with a Denis Wick 2AL during my last few years of junior high. My school had a Benge 290 in Bb/F/Gb/D for me to use that came with a Bach 1G (I honestly would not recommend one to a newer player) and I practiced a good amount before I got my first personal bass which is current Getzen 1062FD in Bb/F/D and bought a Schilke 59 shortly after. I had spent days playing long tones and some nice melodious etudes, then found it to be a perfect match for that time being. Also, as of recently, I had recently hit a pedal C and pedal B after three years of playing a double valve bass, all thanks to those long tones, tuba concertos and etudes I will play for fun during lunch, and of course, PEDALS! Now with all that out of the way, let's get started:

First off, I will talk about the positions and alternates, along with the triggers (what all we bass trombonists know and love! :biggrin: ) and how I personally approach them. I use my choice of positions that is solely based on the chromatic scale on which the said song is in. For alternates, it depends on the music and intonation for me, for notes like F, A in the staff, tuning Bb, and some notes above the staff, I will see which slide position would fit best based on notes that come after said note and most importantly, what it will sound like as a result. So that's really about it and think that it's somewhat self-explanatory. Now with the triggers, I will go into the next paragraph.

As for triggers, I view the F-valve as more of an aid with notes in the staff than a necessity, so basically, I only use it at all times for notes below the staff like; F (sometimes depending on the music), E, Eb, D, and Db for example. I mostly use it for notes in the staff for example; C and B, but I do play them in 6th and 7th position on occasion because IMHO, they do sound better in some songs. There are times where I do play Bb in flat 3rd position on the F-valve in fast passages and for Ab and Gb concert scale, so I can have C and Db adjacent to each other. I do use F in the staff using the F valve, but under one condition only as a tuning reference to tune the tuning slide to low F and that's about it with my views on the F-attachment. Now for the D-valve, I only use both valves for notes below the staff like: D, Db, C, and B, with C and B being at all times. Now with Db and D, I do use it on occasion, but I usually play them with the F-valve more and they usually sound better depending on how and when you use it (at least I think.) I play low D with both valves in first along with D in the staff for tuning purposes and sometimes D above the staff to be on the safe side. After all these tunings with both valves when I think it's somewhat in tune, I play a Bb arpeggio going down to pedal Bb to really make sure (sometimes down another arpeggio, but only down to pedal D, because why not you know :wink: .) With that out of the way, now let's dive into equipment choices shall we?

Okay, this is a very subjective topic so I will try my best to not offend anyone in any shape or form. When finding my bass trombone along with a mouthpiece, you have to look into them to see which will fit best for what you mostly do (for bass trombones that is) and that will make you play well for said genre (with good practice that is) and that isn't too much work for what you do. For me, I personally like the dependent basses with the common Bb/F/D tuning and I just like the feel and sound they give me and I find them better (just my opinion.) As for mouthpieces, the norm for players is a 2G or 1.5G size equivalent, although there are times where after time, you could go up a size to let's say a Schilke 59 or 60 equivalent, that does vary from person to person. Even though I did play on a Bach 1G on my first ever double bass I had used, I honestly view my current Schilke 59 to be my first personally owned mouthpiece, since the 1G was what came with my school's Benge 290. But I'm not saying avoid the 1G at all costs, if you like it or even the Schilke 60 that is totally fine, but it's just a piece that I don't view as ideal as a first piece and it just wasn't for me coming from personal experience. I had used the 60 before and I honestly find it a better piece than the 1G, but that's just me.

That is all for my somewhat manifesto (well not really, but you know what I meant :pant: ) and hoped you guys/gals find this somewhat enlightening. Coming from almost half a decade of experience with the bass trombone with the single valve Bach 50B till now with my current Getzen 1062FD, I thought I would give my insight and thought some would like this and find this helpful.

Thanks for reading! :biggrin:
Ethan Wadie
EWadie99 from TTF
ايثن وديع
Macomb Community College - Bass Trombone Performance Major
MCC Jazz Lab Band - Bass Trombone

Bone (Bass) :
Getzen 1062FD - Schilke 60
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Re: The Bass Trombone: Positions & Alternates, The triggers, and Equipment Choice (On An Amateur's Prospective)

Post by Largobone » Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:22 pm

Lots of interesting stuff! I have a lot of the same opinions about use of valves, alternates, etc. I also prefer the dependent system. Being primarily a tenor player, the dependent system is just simpler and gets the job done in the low register, because I also like the sound of the open horn (or only one valve) when I can get away with it.

Equipment is really a personal thing, so that's where our opinions diverge. I use a 1-1/4G but after the last couple weeks of intense bass trombone playing, I have a feeling I'll be "moving up a size" soon. Probably a Schilke 60 or similar.
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