Holton Superbone

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greenbean
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Holton Superbone

Post by greenbean » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:37 pm

Anyone played a Holton TR395 Superbone?...

I remember there were a few TTF threads about them...
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by BGuttman » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:48 pm

What I remember from the TTF threads was:

1. Only 6 positions on the slide.
2. Really tiring to hold.

I believe there were a couple of great players using them (Ray Anderson?).
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by dukesboneman » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:27 pm

Ashley Alexander was the 1st serious player to make this horn really work. Not as a gimmick but as HIS Horn
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by BGuttman » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:30 pm

Thanks for the correction, Dave. I guess I was having a "senior moment".
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by Neo Bri » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:48 pm

dukesboneman wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:27 pm
Ashley Alexander was the 1st serious player to make this horn really work. Not as a gimmick but as HIS Horn
What is HIS?
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by baileyman » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:59 pm

dukesboneman wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:27 pm
Ashley Alexander was the 1st serious player to make this horn really work. Not as a gimmick but as HIS Horn
,,,
What a great link!
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by imsevimse » Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:45 am

Ashley Alexander was the best. Unfortunately he died young in his 50-ies. My Holton TR395 superbone has seven positions. It can be heavy to hold but you can get some support from your body. You can lean the instrument on the first valve tunngslide against the torso and it gets easier.

/Tom
Last edited by imsevimse on Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:36 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by Vegastokc » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:33 am

Ashley was amazing!
Went to a jazz summer camp he was teaching at in Hemet, CA a few years before he passed.
Learned a ton.
Still have a signed copy of Power Slide. :good:
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by Matt K » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:04 am

Neo Bri wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:48 pm
dukesboneman wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:27 pm
Ashley Alexander was the 1st serious player to make this horn really work. Not as a gimmick but as HIS Horn
What is HIS?
I think he meant that he was familiar with the instrument at a very high level, not necessarily someone who picked it up just to be different.
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by Neo Bri » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:06 am

Matt K wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:04 am
Neo Bri wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:48 pm
dukesboneman wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:27 pm
Ashley Alexander was the 1st serious player to make this horn really work. Not as a gimmick but as HIS Horn
What is HIS?
I think he meant that he was familiar with the instrument at a very high level, not necessarily someone who picked it up just to be different.
Right. I would like to know what the acronym stands for.
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by mrpillow » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:25 am

Organologique et plus!
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by Matt K » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:53 am

:lol:

FWIW, I interpreted it as emphasis (such as this) but I might be wrong:
Ashley Alexander was the 1st serious player to make this horn really work. Not as a gimmick but as his horn.
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by BGuttman » Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:49 am

imsevimse wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:45 am
,,,My Holton TR350 superbone has seven positions.....
/Tom
Are your arms long enough to reach all 7? The valve cluster occupies the space between 1 and 2 on a normal slide.

Of course 7th position is not a problem since you can combine a piston valve with the slide to shorten movement.

In the clip, Alexander doesn't go too far out on the slide (he's mostly playing in the upper register of the horn).
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by NorthernEuph » Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:06 am

I had the distinct privilege to work at a summer music camp in Canada with Ashley for several years. During that time I sat with him in the euphonium section in the concert band, and in the trombone section in the jazz band. Many of the charts written by Frank Mantooth that were subsequently published or appeared on Ashley's albums were played in manuscript form during the 80's. Frank also directed the big band for a number of years.

In addition to the SuperBone, Ashely also played bass bone, tenor sax and trumpet. His technical prowess on low brass instruments was absolutely astounding. His masterclasses and his demonstrations left most of us in the room speechless. He had very clear ideas for practicing and never sugarcoated the amount of hard work and dedication it takes to be a professional musician. You can hear Ashley playing euphonium on the Rich Matteson/Harvey Phillips albums. If my memory serves, his Superbone had a few modifications - he had a screw bell, he had had the bell annealed after he purchased it, and the left hand bracing had been modified with an additional piece to help hold the horn. It's too bad that Maynard got all the attention for the Superbone - Ashley played circles around him. Somewhere I have a copy of the booklet for the Double Trombone that Ashely wrote for the Holton Corporation. It includes some interesting strategies to get used to the valves. He was ambidextrous so playing the valves with the left hand was not an issue.

For someone in their 20's at that time, it was the opportunity of a lifetime to play and hang with Ashley. He was immensely popular with the students at the camp and larger than life in all respects.

August 18 of this year marked the 30 year anniversary of his passing. RIP, Ashley.
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by imsevimse » Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:47 am

BGuttman wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:49 am
imsevimse wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:45 am
,,,My Holton TR350 superbone has seven positions.....
/Tom
Are your arms long enough to reach all 7? The valve cluster occupies the space between 1 and 2 on a normal slide.
Have you played a Holton Superbone?

The explanation is the upper outer slide near where the mouthpiece sits is longer than the lower upper outer slide. This leads to first position with the slide in closed position is about the same distance from the mouthpiece as other horns. No BIG difference anyway. The valve section does not add to the length.

1:st position is easy found and so is 6:th position. Since I play with long positions I'm used to 7:th position on the tip of my slide. The same on this horn. I find 7:th at the tip of my fingers just before the slide falls of.

/Tom
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by imsevimse » Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:31 pm

NorthernEuph wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:06 am
I had the distinct privilege to work at a summer music camp in Canada with Ashley for several years. During that time I sat with him in the euphonium section in the concert band, and in the trombone section in the jazz band. Many of the charts written by Frank Mantooth that were subsequently published or appeared on Ashley's albums were played in manuscript form during the 80's. Frank also directed the big band for a number of years.
That's cool! I've heard a few recordings he did with his own band as a soloist and that was outstanding. The youTube clip is not at all close to what he did on those records.
NorthernEuph wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:06 am
It's too bad that Maynard got all the attention for the Superbone - Ashley played circles around him. Somewhere I have a copy of the booklet for the Double Trombone that Ashely wrote for the Holton Corporation. It includes some interesting strategies to get used to the valves.
I guess that book is impossible to buy today.

/Tom
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by Vegastokc » Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:37 pm

NorthernEuph wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:06 am
I had the distinct privilege to work at a summer music camp in Canada with Ashley for several years......He was immensely popular with the students at the camp and larger than life in all respects.
NorthernEuph: Thanks for sharing that recollection. I always enjoyed Frank Mantooth's charts. I was in high school when I attended that Idyllwild camp in CA and Ashley certainly left an impression on me. I wore a deep groove in his albums listening to them. :)
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by Neo Bri » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:52 pm

Matt K wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:53 am
:lol:

FWIW, I interpreted it as emphasis (such as this) but I might be wrong:
Ashley Alexander was the 1st serious player to make this horn really work. Not as a gimmick but as his horn.
Oh. Now I see.
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by greenbean » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:26 pm

I am glad we got THAT cleared up!
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by greenbean » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:27 pm

Anyway, a Superbone will arrive at my house in a few days!...
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by dukesboneman » Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:16 am

Wow, I meant my comment to be that Ashley made that superbone really work for him. With Maynard , I always felt that it was a gimmick. Ashley made it into a viable musical instrument.
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by Vegastokc » Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:48 am

Yeah, but wasn't everything with a Maynard a gimmick? :lol:
(Sorry, I could not resist... :D )
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by doctortrombone » Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:27 pm

I played a gig with a guy who had a superbone. I was surprised at how trombonish it sounded. It uses an odd combination of features--a narrow bore, and a large bell--which for some reason results in a really bright tone without much of that "valve bone" sound to it.
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by mrpillow » Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:42 pm

Since we are on the Superbone topic, I have a few fun pictures to share -

1) Holton horn-designer extraordinaire, Larry Ramirez, with his original personal prototype valve "Superbone" valve cluster. Made from parts for a Holton bass trumpet, 1962.

Image

2) Closeup of the prototype valve cluster.

Image

3) The original Holton prototype bell section, made with the bell from a TR-150 series mandrel tenor trombone.

Image

4) Larry later experiment with a four-valve, bass trombone "Superbone" made with various TR-180 series pieces. He said that it became clear it would be too much work for the four rotors and a handslide, so he abandoned the project partway through.

Image

Larry hated the term "Superbone." He said Maynard thought it was a hilarious innuendo, and it stuck, much to his chagrin.
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by elmsandr » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:14 pm

That bass is a beautiful instrument. To bad there is almost no way it would be a functional horn, but it is gorgeous.

Thank you for the great pictures!
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by Davidus1 » Sat Aug 25, 2018 8:37 am

dukesboneman wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:16 am
Wow, I meant my comment to be that Ashley made that superbone really work for him. With Maynard , I always felt that it was a gimmick. Ashley made it into a viable musical instrument.
Having seen Maynard perform on Superbone many times I would disagree that it was a gimmick. It was a viable instrument. Maynard prior to the Superbone used Valve Trombone often in his recordings and concerts. Sure, he's a trumpet player but his playing on both the Valve Bone and Superbone was top notch. Not a gimmick in my opinion.
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by Davidus1 » Sat Aug 25, 2018 8:40 am

NorthernEuph wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:06 am
I had the distinct privilege to work at a summer music camp in Canada with Ashley for several years. During that time I sat with him in the euphonium section in the concert band, and in the trombone section in the jazz band. Many of the charts written by Frank Mantooth that were subsequently published or appeared on Ashley's albums were played in manuscript form during the 80's. Frank also directed the big band for a number of years.

In addition to the SuperBone, Ashely also played bass bone, tenor sax and trumpet. His technical prowess on low brass instruments was absolutely astounding. His masterclasses and his demonstrations left most of us in the room speechless. He had very clear ideas for practicing and never sugarcoated the amount of hard work and dedication it takes to be a professional musician. You can hear Ashley playing euphonium on the Rich Matteson/Harvey Phillips albums. If my memory serves, his Superbone had a few modifications - he had a screw bell, he had had the bell annealed after he purchased it, and the left hand bracing had been modified with an additional piece to help hold the horn. It's too bad that Maynard got all the attention for the Superbone - Ashley played circles around him. Somewhere I have a copy of the booklet for the Double Trombone that Ashely wrote for the Holton Corporation. It includes some interesting strategies to get used to the valves. He was ambidextrous so playing the valves with the left hand was not an issue.

For someone in their 20's at that time, it was the opportunity of a lifetime to play and hang with Ashley. He was immensely popular with the students at the camp and larger than life in all respects.

August 18 of this year marked the 30 year anniversary of his passing. RIP, Ashley.

Thanks for sharing. Tremendous musician. Never saw him live but have heard him play on YouTube and recordings. He was a great musician.
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by btone » Sat Aug 25, 2018 2:47 pm

I used a superbone in my 20's, when my slide technique for improv had yet to catch up with my valve technique. I played in a big band for 2 years every Monday night at a bar over a downtown restaurant for very little money and all the beer we could drink.i played lead on the slide and soloed on the valves right-handed usually. I'd like to express my respect for Maynard, Ashley, and also Rich Matteson, who played euphonium and double-bell euphonium with Ashley in the Matteson/Phillips Tubajazz Consort. They were all monsters .
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by Finetales » Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:27 am

mrpillow wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:42 pm
Larry hated the term "Superbone." He said Maynard thought it was a hilarious innuendo, and it stuck, much to his chagrin.
To Maynard's credit, what else would you call it? I think Superbone is a lot better than "Valide", which was a Superbone precursor.
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by Matt K » Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:01 am

slide cimbasso!
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by mrpillow » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:30 am

The Valide was rather a footnote to a blip. Conn and Besson had already taken their stabs at the idea in the late 1800s, neither with much success. Conn simply called theirs a "Combination Slide & Valve Trombone" or some variant thereof. Besson coined the elegant "Duplex Trombone." To Larry's credit, he was never given the option to name it - even though he did all the development and was using it for a decade before Maynard knew it existed.
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by Davidus1 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:36 pm

btone wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 2:47 pm
I used a superbone in my 20's, when my slide technique for improv had yet to catch up with my valve technique. I played in a big band for 2 years every Monday night at a bar over a downtown restaurant for very little money and all the beer we could drink.i played lead on the slide and soloed on the valves right-handed usually. I'd like to express my respect for Maynard, Ashley, and also Rich Matteson, who played euphonium and double-bell euphonium with Ashley in the Matteson/Phillips Tubajazz Consort. They were all monsters .
Loved those recordings of the Matteson/Phillips group. Great musicians!
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by greenbean » Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:15 pm

Davidus1 wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:36 pm
Loved those recordings of the Matteson/Phillips group. Great musicians!
I only have one of those recordings. It is truly wonderful.
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by greenbean » Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:23 pm

Well, I got my hands on the Superbone tonight. Mint condition! I only had 10 minutes to play it. (I have a self-imposed curfew to keep the neighbors happy!). It plays well! Better than most valve bones I have played. And the slide side of it sounds great, too. Very interesting. Looking forward to playing it a bit tomorrow.

Anyone know the bore size of this horn?
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by imsevimse » Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:33 pm

greenbean wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:23 pm
Anyone know the bore size of this horn?
.485

/Tom
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by NorthernEuph » Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:14 pm

This is a little off topic and the moderators may choose to move it, but....
A good deal of this thread has had to do with Ashley Alexander who was undoubtedly the world's finest proponent of the SuperBone. Like Larry Ramirez, he tried to have the instrument referred to as the Double Trombone but the name just never took hold. I was looking through a number of boxes to try and find the Holton Double Trombone method booklet that Ashley wrote, but have been unsuccessful thus far. What I did find, however, was a page of notes that Ashley created during a euphonium lesson that I had with him in 1981. Pictures of him on the TubaJazz albums show him holding his euph by bell with his left thumb under the lead pipe. It works really well and it's what I did until I owned a compensating horn that made that impossible. Clearly, he was a big proponent of free buzzing and could easily free buzz four different Bb's. He always believed you should have a couple of sheets of music in your case that you could practice at any time and in any place. Here, N.T. refers to the patterns for jazz that, as far as I know, was in common usage at North Texas U. at the time. The finger warmups were done on a table top with a pencil held above your knuckles to ensure that your fingers lifted to a sufficient height. The lesson took place on the bus that he had converted to a motor home. What memories - it was considered an honour by everyone at the camp to be invited on the bus.
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by imsevimse » Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:42 am

NorternEuph - thank you for sharing. I could not believe my ears when I some years ago found the recordings of Ashley Alexander as a soloist with his own band. :good:

/Tom
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by mrpillow » Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:15 am

We have a copy of the Double Trombone pamphlet, I think I scanned it before, maybe I can track that down.
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Re: Holton Superbone

Post by whitbey » Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:02 am

The first valve is the one that gives you the speed. The rest are there if you want a total valve bone. I used an older Edwards F valve on my Edwards small bore to make a first valve or Ab valve. Easy and fast for the thumb. Get good at your alternate fingerings and away you go. Pics are in my profile. Nice thing is no one seems to notice the valve like they do a Superbone so I don't get the negatives from the eyes before I play.
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