Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

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SirJohn
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Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by SirJohn » Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:26 pm

My son is an avid player in high school who is currently using a B88-O. Several people suggested to him to move to a Bach 42 and his private instructor also thinks he should be thinking of upgrading soon. We are not going to do it right away, but for planning, what are some different horns to look at with limited funds, besides a used Bach 42, which seems to be the standard. I know the Conn 88 is very similar to his Blessing so it seems we need to go a slightly different direction from that. Is the Holton TR160 a good instrument. Are any Getzen's in that range any good? Are there particular Yamaha models to look at. What are some other equivalents to consider?

As a musician myself, I realize the importance of trying them out. His instructor does have several old Bach's, some he would be willing to sell so that would be a starting point, but I want to have other options as well. My son also has it in his head that he wants a Thayer valve. I have no idea where that came from but I will have to figure out a way for him to try one as I think he is saying that without ever having played one. Doubt I could get a decent one for a lower price, though so it may not happen.
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PhilipEdCarlson
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by PhilipEdCarlson » Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:34 am

Isn't the B88 was a decent copy of an 88H?

It is my understanding that an 88H is good enough for any level of playing. There are lots of reasons to go with a 42 over an 88. I can't imagine most of them applying at even a 'high level' in high school. I plan to get a 42 when I end up in an orchestra that needs that 42 sound for blending with the rest of the section. Seems to me even most colleges don't need that level of fine tuning. Seems to me there'd be better things to spend money on. If money isn't an issue, it's great fun to have a variety of similar horns, go for it. 7 of my 10 trombones serve a similar purpose. I only need one of them. Any ONE of them would fill all my small tenor needs, but I can't bring myself to part with any of them, because they're each slightly different and it's fun to have those differences available. But, if money's an issue at all, I say don't worry about 'upgrading'. Unless there's something wrong with your particular B88, the B88 model itself is nothing to feel inadequate about.
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Matt K
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by Matt K » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:49 am

All of the horns mentioned in your post are reasonable horns for a high schooler to be playing, including the Blessing B88. Getzen horns (1047, 3042) are great, as are the Shires equivalents (Q series), Yamaha (400, 600, and 800 series all have large bores that would fit the bill some of those models include the 448, 641, 682, 610, 882O, 8820R), JP Rath (JP332) or Rath (R400), Courtouis have several copies that are more expensive but sometimes used can be quite reasonable, Schilkes, and even used King 4Bs would be some of the other models to look for (list not exclusive, of course!)

In other words, a Bach 42 isn't a huge upgrade inasmuch as it is just a different horn. That horn might work better, but it isn't going to be night and day other than by placebo effect, which is an important factor. --- Unless there is something wrong with the Blessing, in which case it could probably be alleviated by having it cleaned and fixed up.

There's an element of the 'telephone game' with what is being said about the Thayer valves. Back in the 80s... it wouldn't have been an unreasonable request. It was an odd time for trombone manufacturing in some ways, and there was a trend to go towards heavy instruments as well as make "tight" horns more "open". Thayer valves sort of helped the problem, though there are a number of techs that I know that disagree and insist that this was due to the horns just being assembled right, which happened to be a part of installing a Thayer on a horn. At any rate, that sort of sticks around and unless you're really plugged into all the cool stuff going on, it wouldn't be unreasonable to still have that mindset. But in 2018, there are myriad options and many of them have stellar assembly such that it isn't as necessary as it was 30 years ago. Still, some have that preference. Is it placebo or real? It's really hard to tease that out. There are so many variables in a horn. Thayers do require more maintenance than rotors. Rotors you can get away with oiling a few times a week. Thayers should realistically be oiled every time you play.
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BGuttman
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by BGuttman » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:09 am

Thayers have been touted as the "be all end all" valve. It did help the Bach 42B, which had an undersized rotor (although some really great players have used them to make really great sounds for generations). Some find the Thayer too open. The resistance of the rotor sometimes helps rather than hurts. There are other valves that might also be good. The Hagmann (42A) seems to be a good compromise between the Thayer and the rotor. There's also the K valve, which many find an ergonomic problem but some find very good.

I personally like the Holton 158 (Jay Friedman) better than the 160. I also like the 150 (which was the Frank Crisafulli horn). The 150 has the bell brace set up so you support the horn with it and you wrap your thumb around to use the valve. If your thumb fits it's great. For many it's not.

Note to Matt: The Rath Rx00 horns and not part of the John Packer series. They are true Raths. Generally the most popular options and made to Rath specs in China. Great horns for a student and maybe good forever depending on whether the combination works best for you.
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by Matt K » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:15 am

Yes that's right I always conflate the model numbers. Fixed!
SirJohn
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by SirJohn » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:48 am

Thanks everyone. I have also been somewhat skeptical of a new horn at his age as the Blessing is an Elkhart Conn 88 clone, but the people who have suggested it know a lot more about trombone myself. Maybe they are just Bach fans and expect everyone to have one. I don't know. I do know the Bach 42 is sort of the orchestral standard and perhaps its just a matter that will be the expectation to have when he enters college. The thing is his own instructor is one suggesting it, too. He's been teaching a long time and is currently working on his doctorate on trombone.

My son does get great tone out of the Blessing in my view. It does need a little bit of slide work and the rotor is a bit noisy at times, but that wouldn't affect the type of sound he can get out of it to any great degree to my knowledge. Still trying to find someone locally that I can trust to fix it well. The thayer valve is solely my son's own idea and I doubt he has played one. I want to get him somewhere where he can play a bunch of different horns to figure out what works for him. There are only student 'bones at the local music stores.

My feeling was originally to have the Blessing get him to college where he can then figure out what he really wants and go from there, but then I start getting these comments on moving to a Bach 42, etc. He is pretty advanced for his age and college auditions are still 2.5 years away for him.
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by Posaunus » Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:25 am

SirJohn wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:48 am
Maybe they are just Bach fans and expect everyone to have one. I don't know. I do know the Bach 42 is sort of the orchestral standard and perhaps its just a matter that will be the expectation to have when he enters college.

My feeling was originally to have the Blessing get him to college where he can then figure out what he really wants and go from there, but then I start getting these comments on moving to a Bach 42, etc. He is pretty advanced for his age and college auditions are still 2.5 years away for him.
I don't think it's true any longer that the Bach 42 is the "orchestral standard." These days, you'll see a variety of fine trombones in orchestra trombone sections.

I suggest finding a GOOD tech to fine tune (and refurbish if necessary) the Blessing before you go down the Bach 42 route. Your son is in high school - he really doesn't need to play the same trombone that his teacher - or the other local pros - play. (Or want to sell to him.) Having a Bach 42 will not accelerate his development as a trombonist!
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by SirJohn » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:49 pm

Posaunus wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:25 am

I don't think it's true any longer that the Bach 42 is the "orchestral standard." These days, you'll see a variety of fine trombones in orchestra trombone sections.

I suggest finding a GOOD tech to fine tune (and refurbish if necessary) the Blessing before you go down the Bach 42 route. Your son is in high school - he really doesn't need to play the same trombone that his teacher - or the other local pros - play. (Or want to sell to him.) Having a Bach 42 will not accelerate his development as a trombonist!
Thanks. That's sort of my view, too, but wanted to get some other feedback.

Now the other thing he is begging for is his own bass. Out of the goodness of his heart he volunteered to allow the senior to take lead trombone in the jazz band and took up the bass, partly because he wanted to get experience with it. He's been kind of gungho with it for jazz, also taking it up for the community big band and this summer at his band camp they dug his low register tone on his jazz band audition and decided to place him on it there in the top jazz band. He is borrowing the school horn for now, but wants one he can call his own. Basses are pricey though so it really has not been on my radar and I am not sure if I would be able to swing it any time soon or its even worth getting him anything. He wants independent valves. Beyond that, I have no clue where to go with it. Any suggestions on cheap, serviceable bass trombones that I can keep an eye out for should something come up in the future or whether it is something I should bother with?
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by hyperbolica » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:04 pm

SirJohn wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:49 pm
...Any suggestions on cheap, serviceable bass trombones that I can keep an eye out for should something come up in the future or whether it is something I should bother with?
Wessex has an independent bass available for ~$1000 brand new (https://wessex-tubas.com/collections/tr ... one-pbf562). It's a reasonable horn, I know people who play them and do a fine job. While at the wessex site, you might also shop for a tenor. There are no axial (thayer) valves, but the horns are all decent players.
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by BGuttman » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:31 pm

If you can find one, a nice used Benge 290, King 7B/8B, or Yamaha 613 might be at a reasonable price. I have played a King 7B in all applications for some 30 years and it's a really versatile instrument. Note that there's a Wessex copy of the King 7B (as well as a number of Chinese copies of the King 7B). The Wessex plays OK but some of the other Chinese copies do not. Select with care.
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Matt K
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by Matt K » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:35 pm

Depending on budget and what 'cheap' consitutes, a used Getzen 1052 would be a great choice. I just stumbled upon one and really like it.
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by SirJohn » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:49 pm

The Wessex definitely hits the pricepoint. I've been doing some research on it and I keep seeing people talk about a new version by Chris Stearn. Anyone know when it will be released or the cost
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by BGuttman » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:43 pm

Chris is here. Hs Forum name is Blast. I know he worked on the musical side of the new bass, but did not have any input into the price side.

I think it's supposed to hit the market in the Fall.
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PhilipEdCarlson
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by PhilipEdCarlson » Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:30 pm

Now the other thing he is begging for is his own bass.
Now that's the ticket!
You got the dough to get him a horn, keep the 88 and add a bass! In fact, my suggestion is save the dough for an entry level indy and keep playing the school horn 'till you got enough to get him a good bass that'll get him through college and beyond. I'm not talking boutique, but there are good used 'pro' horns that'll serve him a lifetime that are less than double the new entry level horns.
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by BassBoneWadie99 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:17 am

With good starter basses at reasonable prices, Getzen basses are a good starting points which you can buy used for at a really good/reasonable price (not to mention they have really good resale value.) Also, a little FYI is that they do play sharp and the tuning slide are sometimes pulled a good distance (not that it's a bad thing, it's just something common on these horns.) Their slides are on the short side so finding the slots can be a little getting used to and they're also wider slides (not as wide as the Bach 50 slides though.) I have their 1062FD model, which is dependent with a lightweight dual-bore slide. On mine, it's an older model so it didn't came with three interchangeable leadpipes as they do now.

King/Benge basses are a great option if you're son is going in the jazz path! The King basses whether they be a Duo Gravis SS or regular (6B), 2107 (7B), or 2108 (8B), they really do give you that amazing jazz/commercial sound which tney had been praised for years on this site and the old forum. In my experience with one King bass (Duo Gravis (6B)) is they seem to be a little picky with mouthpiece choice and they really play great on a non modified old Bach 1.5G. Which in fact was being worked on with help of Alan Raph, a professional bass trombonist based in the NY area, had made it with a Bach 1.5G when it was considered to be a big mouthpiece of at the time.
Although Wedge and a couple other brands do make pieces with longer receivers for any size to help accommodate the horns needs. My dream bass was a King Duo Gravis SS for years and still is to this day!

The Benge 290 is a very underrated choice as to me at least, they don't give as much love as from it's cousin (or sister) brand King basses do. It can also interchange from the standard Bb/F/Gb/D set-up to the Bb/F/G/bEb tuning (which Eb isn't quite in first position as it's on the flat side when using both valves) if he wants to experiment with tuning in the long run. My school has one and I used it my sophomore year of high school for both jazz and wind ensemble, also was my first double valve bass that I used (so it's a little special to me!)

Yamahas are pretty consistent overall and is a huge favourite among many schools (at least where I am at) and you can't really go wrong with them. I had tried their Xeno basses (both the 822G, which is the Doug Yeo model and the 830, help made by the recently deceased professional bass trombonist of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Muarry Crewe) and thought they played good. In fact, the 822G was the one along with the King Duo Gravis that made me a convert to dependent basses! :good: The 613 (predecessor of the Xeno 830) is a really good all round bass as someone I know plays on one and sounds greet on it!

I have no personal experiences with Wessex basses or know anyone IRL who plays one, but based on what I have heard, they seem to have good quality control as far as I'm concerned. Which I do live by one of their retail stores which is in Michigan.

A bit of a read, but hope it's a little insightful!

We wish your son for the best, the bass trombone is a big responsibility for not just the trombone section and low brass, but all of bands in all honesty!
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SirJohn
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by SirJohn » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:22 am

So it sounds like most of you think getting him a bass is a good idea. I'll keep an eye out to see if any of these suggestions pop up at a price I can afford. Or if he thinks he may want new, I will have him try out a Wessex to see how he likes it. The school horn is technically shared but since no one else practices, my son can pretty much take it whenever he wants and he brought it home for the summer. While seeming unlikely now, there is the possibility it may not be as available to him in the future. He's got a 1.5 G on it I believe.
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by LarryPrestonRoberson » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:57 am

I don’t have firsthand experience, but I’ve heard favorable opinions about the MACK Brass MACK-TB831L Double Valve Bass Bone. And it’s under a grand new. Supposedly, it’s a copy of the Yamaha YBL-830. The tuba models seem to be regarded rather highly as well. I’ve heard customer service is excellent. Personally, I have played the MACK-EU1150 (3+1) Compensating Euphonium and I contend that it is a great deal for the money; They’ve sold a slew of these for that reason. I’m not advocating for MACK, but I thought I’d present the option. So, perhaps someone will chime in about the MACK Bass Bone.
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by SirJohn » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:24 pm

I got a bit more information after examining the school bass and lending a more critical ear to his jazz concert last night. The school horn is a big ol Bach 50BLG with the 10.5 inch bell and dependent valves. My son gets a surprisingly bright tone out of it. Not sure how much that is the horn and how much is his technique. The complaints I get from him are that he wants the independent valves for more flexibility and that he wants them to be a bit freer flowing. I do think it's a pretty nice horn overall for a school horn, other than not being the best looking. So given that is what he has been getting used to and what his wants are, are there certain models he should look more at? If we look at Wessex, should we look at the King clone or the Chris Stearn Yamaha related model. In researching it, I believe Chris said that his design has a bigger bell and Andy at Wessex told me that it played and sounded more like a Conn or Edwards.

My son also confirmed that he definitely would prefer to get a bass before a new tenor, which he would wait for college to do. Listening to him tonight definitely confirmed in my mind this is something he will need should he continue that focus.
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by BGuttman » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:32 pm

You could look for a Benge 290. Indy valves, larger so they won't be stuffy like the Bach, and 10" bell.

I think if you go Wessex look at the new Stearn model. I love my King 7B, but I trust Chris to make a great horn.
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by SirJohn » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:18 pm

Well, my son and I have been talking and he said he definitely doesn't want to do King so that rules out that and all the clones. He really digs the big bell of the Bach, but doesn't like how stuffy it is with the closed wrap and small rotors. Didn't seem much interested in Conn either and he ruled Kanstul out because of the slide located tuning. He was intrigued by the Chris Stearn Wessex model

In the end, I think I am going to spend way more than I was planning and get an instrument he can use and adapt as needed and just get a Shires Q36GR. I am working out a bit of a discount with WWBW (i've bought a load of stuff from them and their other affiliated websites over the years) and they can finance 36 months no interest which he can then help make the payments for over time. If everything works out where we get the numbers right, that is probably what we will do. Then if he still thinks he wants a big bell down the road or wants to try other things, it's easy to do with Shires.
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Matt K
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by Matt K » Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:55 pm

SirJohn wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:18 pm
Well, my son and I have been talking and he said he definitely doesn't want to do King so that rules out that and all the clones. He really digs the big bell of the Bach, but doesn't like how stuffy it is with the closed wrap and small rotors. Didn't seem much interested in Conn either and he ruled Kanstul out because of the slide located tuning. He was intrigued by the Chris Stearn Wessex model

In the end, I think I am going to spend way more than I was planning and get an instrument he can use and adapt as needed and just get a Shires Q36GR. I am working out a bit of a discount with WWBW (i've bought a load of stuff from them and their other affiliated websites over the years) and they can finance 36 months no interest which he can then help make the payments for over time. If everything works out where we get the numbers right, that is probably what we will do. Then if he still thinks he wants a big bell down the road or wants to try other things, it's easy to do with Shires.
I actually didn't know WWBW did financing. I may have actually used that a few months ago had I known. That's a great plan; the Q series are all really great instruments.

That said, for the sake of your choices (and others) in the future, I'll throw a few things out there to consider:

The first is that, assuming you don't like a trombone, that you cannot identify the reason if you cannot identify the reason. Especially on a school horn. In other words, unless you can take the valves off, put on another set of valves and try those, you can't really determine if the reason that the horn doesn't work is the bell or the valves. And even then, you're not really identifying that, in this case, that closed wraps are superior to whatever set of valves you may put on the horn, but rather just that this particular set of valves/wraps don't work as well. There are myriad reasons, especially on school horns, that could cause this. Poor construction or maintenance are common culprits. (And the rotor size is actually the same as most bass trombones if I'm not mistaken, with a bore of 593" through the tubing, though someone could correct me on that one).

Similarly, you can't always tell the good parts. If I were going to assume anything, I would actually assume the opposite. >9.5" bells can be very broad and, at least to me, I might even describe them as 'stuffy' feeling depending on how the rest of the horn is setup.

That said, these are extremely common assumptions and they aren't totally unwarranted in their origins (see my previous post for that). So there's a kernel of truth, but a lot of nuance, thus this post. I think personally the Shires Q is still a great choice and is consistently at the highest of recommendations for me for someone in a similar situation.

(PS. There are Kanstul without TIS but it isn't necessarily immediately evident, particularly as Kanstul aren't tremendously popular in any of the areas I've lived so I know it definitely isn't easy to find any to try. I think I've only ever known maybe three people who had one).
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by imsevimse » Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:30 am

There are differences between horns in resistance and response but often all it takes is to adjust to them and find the best mouthpiece match. The problem is that when you try a new horn you approach it just as the horn you are coming from. This means you are looking for a horn that is very like the one you currently have. If it responds differently the reaction can be it is stuffy or unfocused.

What I have found is often you just need to adopt to the circumstances. The stuffiness might then go away, not always because there can be physical problems with a horn too, and the more resistent blow might be what gives another, could be better, sound once you've learnt how to make the best of it. It might in the end just be what brings character to the horn and the result is different depending who is playing.

The first thing to do when you try a new horn is to find out where the sweet spot is that makes the best sound. When you find that spot then you know how to approach the horn. I have many horns and they are all good horns. None of them gives me a feeling of stuffiness. I have played atachement tenor and basses by Conn, Bach, Benge, Olds, Kanstul, Yamaha, Selmer and Holton with ordinary rotors. No one feels stuffy today. I do remember I had a feeling of a horn being stuffy until I decided the problem wasn't with the horns, the problem was me. As long it is not a physical problem it is up to the player to find the sweet spot and then make out the most of the horn.

Theyers is not always a good thing. I was in a music-shop and tried about 20 basses. Most of them were rebuilt and had been converted to inline with thayers and by doing so the vintage character of the horns had been changed and lost. I prefer the originals.

For young students and amateurs a horn that is easy to blow is the best horn but that might not be the same choice a professional would make.

I do think a Blessing 88h copy should do fine until a student attends music college or prepares himself to go there.

/Tom
Last edited by imsevimse on Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:51 am, edited 17 times in total.
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by boneagain » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:42 am

I have one of the Mack Brass basses. Tom McGrady, who owns Mack Brass, is a good guy and stands behind his product.

That being said, from what you wrote about your son's current playing, I'd suggest going with the Wessex 7B clone. The Bach 50BGL is a strange animal. I made most of my orchestral living on one many decades ago. It was a lot of work. By that I mean I spent hours every day practicising, and much of that time was to learn and relearn every quirk of the horn. The result of all that work was that I could match whatever my orchestral brass section was doing, or fit in delicately with my brass trio. I could even do a credible job on the bottom of a big band. But all that horn REALLY wanted to do was lay big lines out with an 80 player string section. Keeping usable color in pianissimo sections (think quieter passages in Brahms) was a chore.

The double valve basses are, in general, big ticket items. This early in his career your son would be well served to start on, then KEEP, something like the Wessex. You can search the TTF archives here and find good posts about a professional player who has used one as part of making his living. I am convinced it will play well. I would bet it will play BETTER in big band than most of the other options mentioned.

Your son can use the LESS expensive horn to learn all the hard lessons we all learn about physical weaknesses of our horns. For example, all the used independent double valves I've seen up for sale from younger players have valve problems. The placement of those valves REDUCE the number of points for good bracing, and INCREASE the need for that bracing. The result is damage to casings and, if not corrected, cores as well. And MOST folks would have trouble finding that on first look. Similarly, you mention slide problems on his Blessing. There are ways to MINIMIZE the likelihood of damage from removing the bell from the horn, or from knocking into a music stand, or other obstructions. There is no way to PREVENT slide damage. Only experience can help a player develop the instincts to be on the lookout for slide risk and position the slide away from those risks. One of those instincts can be to take a "beater" horn to the gigs with the highest likelihood of slide knocks. Better to have these kinds of problems with a less expensive horn.

From a playing perspective, something like a Wessex make HUGE sense at a high school level! I've gotten to try many basses in varying conditions. Most of my trombone choir colleagues play more vintage equipment. Eastern (now American) Trombone Workshop always has a great variety, although the ambient sound level makes fine assessment of TONE tough. All these horns play differently not only from maker to maker, but model to model, and even WITHIN models. Getting a REALLY solid foundation on the Wessex would put your son in the position of REALLY knowing what he was doing with an independent bass. This would allow him to make the investment in something like a Shires from a position of knowledge and experience. Frankly, if you are going with new independent rotor Shires you might find it better to include significant travel in the horn budget and GO to a full dealership and try multiple components. Of course, if your son does not know exactly what he is looking for already, that trip would just be confusing. And if so, then maybe it is not yet the right time for that big of an expense.

You could look at it this way: the cost of travel to try Shires or Edwards parts, plus the cost of a "beater horn" are just part of the TOTAL cost of having a top level double valve bass trombone. You seem to be having trouble finding a tech to fix the Blessing. How will you deal with dings on the Shires slide and/or valves? Think of the Wessex as insurance (in several ways.) It certainly does not have to be a "throwaway" horn.

Sounds to me like your son is growing great guns musically. It would be a shame to spend money right now that would be needed later when he is better equipped to make a more rational selection.

Good luck with both horn searches!
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Matt K
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by Matt K » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:46 am

The Q series are around 50% of the cost of a Shires custom though. Unless they decide that the bell, valves, and slide at some point down the road are not what they want, they're still going to come out ahead. Even if the valves get trashed (which by high school that seems to be much less common, especially from those who are smart enough not to march with the instrument), replacing those with something like a Instrument Innovations or Rotax set is still under $1k. I don't generally see a reason to buy a ~$2k bass if a ~$3k one that is modular and adaptable in the future is available and one can swing it. But obviously there have been lots of people who took the other route so it isn't like that is an untenable position by any stretch of the imagination.
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by SirJohn » Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:21 am

He marches with his beater Yamaha YSL-254 usually though he is thinking about borrowing a Benge 165F from the school this year for it. He brought the benge home for the summer just to mess with it. The bass would definitely be used carefully. His instructors have been good about teaching him care and making sure to oil valves and slides regularly. The one previous to his current (she moved away or else he would still be with her) spent time walking through the process with him and also on how to correctly bathe the instrument. He's taken it upon himself to bathe the school bass a couple times.

If we were to go Wessex, he already said he would want the Chris Stearn model which would be $1700 with shipping. That may have been the direction we went if it wasn't for the 36 month no interest financing promotion that brought the Shires into the realm of possibility. I expect with discount to pay a little over $3k for the bass and of course they accept returns so if he just not like it or it does not pass muster with his instructor, we'll just send it back. What we like is the modularity of it so he can just keep adapting it in the future.
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by SirJohn » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:29 am

Been rethinking about this some more. he has his heart set on pursuing trombone and music composition now, but there is always the chance he suddenly changes his mind in the future so perhaps the Shires, even at 3k is too big of investment. Perhaps the Mack Brass or Wessex 7b clone is where we need to go for now. Need to think some more and talk some more. Anyone have any experience with the Mack. The one thing that pops up occasionally on the Wessex in my searches is that there are reports that they deteriorate faster than the traditional brand pro horns. Anyone use one long enough to have any perspective on this?
boneagain
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by boneagain » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:05 pm

SirJohn wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:29 am
Been rethinking about this some more. he has his heart set on pursuing trombone and music composition now, but there is always the chance he suddenly changes his mind in the future so perhaps the Shires, even at 3k is too big of investment. Perhaps the Mack Brass or Wessex 7b clone is where we need to go for now. Need to think some more and talk some more. Anyone have any experience with the Mack. The one thing that pops up occasionally on the Wessex in my searches is that there are reports that they deteriorate faster than the traditional brand pro horns. Anyone use one long enough to have any perspective on this?
One of my students has had a Mack bass for a couple years now. The only real problem he had was one of the rotor stops was malformed and would not hold the bumpers in. Mack Brass sent him a new stop plate.

I have been playing one this year, while I sort out some leaking with my King Silversonic Duo Gravis (I've been sleeving the valves to correct damage from a previous owner's school marching.) It looks to me like they fixed the design of the stop plate, but forgot to tell the assembly crew the proper installation procedure: an edge of one plate is missing, and IT had trouble holding the bumpers. A little careful work with a jeweler's file created the needed edge, and the bumper works fine now.

The older of these two horns is showing some signs of not being wiped down after playing. All of the joints and fittings on that horn, though, are still solid. I have used a bore scope and looked INSIDE the joints on both horns. They are reasonably well assembled. I have seen Bachs and Conns with worse assembly.

I am finding that the slide on mine needs as much attention as my older Bach needed when IT was new. I will likely check it on a flat stone and tweak it. I can play as fast as I need to right now with it as is, but would like it just that bit quieter.

Jinbao did NOT copy the Yamaha link on the 2nd valve. This means the rotor turns in the opposite direction from "optimal." "Optimal" gives a VERY slight improvement getting into and out of the second valve. The improvement is so slight I doubt someone who has NOT spent years on bass could really tell the difference.

The larger effect of not copying the Yamaha is that the 2nd valve MUST be kept very well oiled. The link can easily get into a "top dead center" lock, especially if the "at rest" stopper has been trimmed too far.

Over all, this works well enough that I have back-burnered finishing the repairs on my Duo Gravis. Sixteenth note runs in the "money register" speak cleanly and smoothly. I can play the very lowest non-falset notes as well as I can on my Duo Gravis or the Benge 290 I used to have. Seems to like my Laskey 85MD better than the Rath B 1 1/5W I love so dearly on the Duo Gravis. No complaints about the horn from the big band section I rehearse with every week, or the trombone choir that meets twice a month.

No doubt in my mind that I wish I'd had THIS horn when I was in high school instead of the Reynolds single valve contempora I could afford at that time.
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by SirJohn » Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:22 pm

Well after talking to both his current and previous instructor (a bass specialist) we decided to wait and not do anything for now. They felt that the Getzen was too expensive and that anything coming out of Jinbao and equivalent would not be worth the money. I know people around here disagree but we wouldn't need the possibility of tension with instructors if we purchased the Wessex/Mack, etc. They suggest patience and look for a used deal on a Yamaha Xeno or Bach if he continues to insist on a bass. It's less stress on me and my wife to just let it go altogether for now although disappointing for my son. We did decide on selling our old Buffet R13 clarinet at some point to help cover costs for a future trombone purchase since its not really getting played anymore. It would cover a big chunk of the cost for a trombone.

His current instructor still thinks we should prioritize upgrading his tenor to a used Bach 42 of some sort for his playing level. He sees the Blessing as an intermediate horn, but then he is a bach nut and I found him on Bach's artist page. His previous instructor did mention that in the near future we may need to start thinking to get more serious with his lessons and try to get in with one of the big university professors if one will take a high school student.
boneagain
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by boneagain » Mon Jun 25, 2018 5:04 am

Waiting is a good strategy in general. As is avoiding irritating teachers :)
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Vegastokc
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by Vegastokc » Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:49 am

This is an interesting conversation, and I'm not even a bass player.
Selling the clarinet seems to be the best idea in the whole string. LOL :lol:
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by Posaunus » Mon Jun 25, 2018 5:16 pm

Vegastokc wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:49 am
Selling the clarinet seems to be the best idea in the whole string.
:good:
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by Davidus1 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 5:44 pm

SirJohn wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:22 pm
Well after talking to both his current and previous instructor (a bass specialist) we decided to wait and not do anything for now. They felt that the Getzen was too expensive and that anything coming out of Jinbao and equivalent would not be worth the money. I know people around here disagree but we wouldn't need the possibility of tension with instructors if we purchased the Wessex/Mack, etc. They suggest patience and look for a used deal on a Yamaha Xeno or Bach if he continues to insist on a bass. It's less stress on me and my wife to just let it go altogether for now although disappointing for my son. We did decide on selling our old Buffet R13 clarinet at some point to help cover costs for a future trombone purchase since its not really getting played anymore. It would cover a big chunk of the cost for a trombone.

His current instructor still thinks we should prioritize upgrading his tenor to a used Bach 42 of some sort for his playing level. He sees the Blessing as an intermediate horn, but then he is a bach nut and I found him on Bach's artist page. His previous instructor did mention that in the near future we may need to start thinking to get more serious with his lessons and try to get in with one of the big university professors if one will take a high school student.
I think waiting is a very good decision. Purchasing a horn is a tough decision. I hope the instructors that you are referring to are keeping the student's best interests at the forefront. In my opinion a student is rarely held back by the instrument they play. Best wishes to you and your son.
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SirJohn
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by SirJohn » Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:18 am

Well at his instructor's insistence, we started to look at corporate era Bach 42b's. We found one for about $1200 that my son said played much smoother, easier, and stable in the upper register than his blessing. I did notice an obvious difference in tone. It was much more focused and had a certain pop that the blessing lacked. It was not a looker on the appearance end. His instructor checked it out and said that it played better than any of the new Bach's he tried at his factory visit back in March so that is what my son ended up with. Apparently, his current instructor and previous instructor had a conversation and they both concluded that he is already at a college freshmen music major level.

My son still wants his own bass. We told him he would have to get a job and save money and we'd help for part of it. So for at some point down the road, I'm still curious about the Wessex as is my son. I keep hearing conflicting things about whether they are good or not. Some say they are good at first but don't last long and you are still better off spending twice as much for an old used bach, conn, yamaha, etc. He does not want anything but independent valves with the split triggers. He also says he doesn't want the string linkages. These restrictions kind of limit options which makes the Wessex more appealing.
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by BGuttman » Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:02 pm

I think he ought to get over his aversion to string linkages. They work fine. Only problem I ever had with one was a kid who had one strung with polyester line who put it in front of a space heater. String melted!

Strings need periodic replacement. Mine last 5 years or so with constant playing. They don't clank like Bach ball joints. Work fine.

You can restring a linkage in minutes (some horn players can do it in a 4 bar rest!). I've used fishing line and even dental floss to do the stringing. Note that the horn I strung with dental floss was still working fine 5 years later when I put more conventional line on it due to the embarrassment factor.
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Matt K
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by Matt K » Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:23 pm

Honestly, the string linkages I've used almost universally work better than the mechanical ones I've used. They seem to work for horn players who press them a lot more than we do!
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BassBoneWadie99
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Re: Student upgrade from Blessing B88-O

Post by BassBoneWadie99 » Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:42 pm

I agree that you can't go wrong with a good string linkage!

They really are more quieter than the really loud, clanky mechanical linkages that came with various Bach 50 basses and their 36 and 42 tenors. Although if re-strung incorrectly, it can reverse the tuning on the horn which can happen on some occasion. Other then that one con, they really are great alternatives for linkage! My alma mater high school had those string linkages on their old Conn 88Hs and Benge 290 bass.
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