Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

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boomski
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Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by boomski » Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:53 pm

I'm sure there is a wealth of knowledge from those more experienced than I am on the subject... so I'm hoping you guys can fill me in (since I can't search ttf for it anymore...).

I'm looking at getting a bass trombone sometime in the next 6-9 months, and for me the hunt is half the fun. I've never played a bass trombone before, and currently play either a Bach 42 or King 3b. I would like to expand my trombone horizons and I love the bass trombone sound. That said, I have no idea what to get, what to try, how to try, etc. I haven't found any in the shops near my house (though I've only been to 2...) so at some point I'll venture out and see if any other shops have some to try. My budget will be somewhere between 2-3k, but I'd like to stay closer to the low end.

Talking about (and learning about!) these things is fun, so I'm hoping you'll indulge me in this discussion.

According to the internet, single valve's are easier to hold (lighter), can be more free blowing, but can't play all of the notes. If you believe Doug Yeo's page, 90% of the Bass Trombone rep can be covered by a single valve. I just don't know if a single valve could be the only bass trombone in my stable... you know, for those times when you need to play the notes it won't cover.

So I've narrowed it to a dependent or independent double valve (I think, still open to the idea of single valve). This is where I could use your infinite wisdom... what have you played? what did you like about it, what do wish it could do differently? What would be your pick of available options in the price point?

Thanks for playing along!
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Neo Bri
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Neo Bri » Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:08 pm

Well - Just because 90% of the rep CAN be played with a single doesn't mean it SHOULD be.

I also believe that these days a dependent system has no benefits over an independent system. And really the only benefits of a single are weight, and sometimes ergonomics.

Independent all the way.

Also - I have a bunch for sale if you're interested. Look in the Classifieds or email me. I don't have them all listed.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by PhilipEdCarlson » Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:10 pm

I've played a 72H single valve bass with my community orchestra for a couple of years now. It's been great. I've never had a note I couldn't reach (B) presented yet.

That said I've just gotten my first double valve horn (a TR-181) at my instructor's advice, and that's a lot of fun too. It's an independent and I'm working on using the valves as much as is practical. Not sure my teacher would approve of thinking this way, but I think of it as playing a valve trombone, I guess like a Bass Superbone! Only two valves and they're not the same ones as as one THE "Superbone". It's like having a euphonium 4th valve plus a valve combo 2nd/3rd (D-/G-) plus the slide.

Aadded latter: oh, look! My instructor already commented about it!. He really does have some great horns!
Last edited by PhilipEdCarlson on Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by BGuttman » Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:50 pm

You will hear a chorus of people swearing by one option and swearing at the other. They are all correct. :evil:

I bought an indie. I've learned how to use it. The 2nd valve alone can sometimes be very useful. For example, if you tune so C is in tune in 1st F is usually just too flat for the slide springs (and worse if you don't have slide springs). So you can play F on the 2nd valve and it comes in almost where 2nd is on a straight horn. There are times when a Gb or Db is followed by an F. Having the 2nd valve lets you "cheat".

There are some advantages to different dependents. For example, the old dependent with the 2nd valve being equivalent to the E pull lets you play the Bartok Gliss (low B to low F and back down) by starting on both valves and releasing the 2nd valve while you move up and re-engaging it while you move down. There are probably uses for other setups but not owning one I can't describe them.

Whatever you buy, you will get used to it and will love it.

Note that there are other parts of the horn than the valve arrangement that can make you like one over another.

Don't go overboard on mouthpiece size. Most of us start out on a 2G or 1 1/2 G. If you play it a lot you can explore larger ones, but when you are having problems with notes above the staff being flat you have gone too big. And a lot of the music goes above the staff, even for bass trombone.
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Matt K
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Matt K » Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:03 pm

Single Valve
[*]Pro: Lighter than other offerings
[*]Pro: Extra few inches of tapered tubing (where on an independent a rotor/valve would be in that spot)
[*]Pro: Often much cheaper than two valved instruments
[*]Con: C and B natural need special tuning and extra effort to play


Dependent
[*]Pro: Extra few inches of tapered tubing (the tubing is inside the F attachment wrap so it is the same bore size from start to finish)
[*]Pro: Additional facility in the lower register including closer access to D, Db, C, and B and sometimes Eb, but at the expense of the low B.
[*]Con: Not as many valve combinations as an independent
[*]Con: Heavier than single

Independent
[*]Pro: Extra valve combinations! There can be many with varying alterations. Bb/F/Gb/D, Bb/F/G/Eb, Bb/F/bF/Db, etc.
[*]Pro: Extra valve combinations!
[*]Pro: Did I mention extra valve combinations!? For real though, the implications of this go beyond the dependent and let you play things like middle staff Db in 1st or basically 4th position in 1st if you elect for a G attachment.
[*]Pro: Flexibility in choice for tunings. It is possible to make the 2nd valve G pullable to Gb giving more tuning options as the music suits needs.
[*]Con: Heavier than single.
[*]Con: Particularly for larger valves, like Thayers and Tru-bores, the entire neckpipe might be largely untapered. See below for more details.
[*]Con: Particularly on horns with stuffier valves (or valves not installed properly) there is more room for error; twice as many opportunities for leaks, etc.

So as you can see, one isn't wrong for choosing any options. There are very reasonable pros and cons for each. I just picked up a single that I need to pick up from the shop actually because I'm low on bone funds right now. (Bach 50B). If I like it, I may keep it. I doubt it though. Even my tenor has two rotors (in the dependent configuration). But there are definitely times where I just want a physically lighter horn. (When I'm walking around the apartment in my robe playing flexibilities on my silent brass...)

The tapered tubing is actually something that you won't notice unless you're quite a seasoned player and I wouldn't consider it a factor in your first bass. However, when you do get there, you are likely to at least notice a little bit of a difference. Is it enough to make you choose one over the other? Maybe. You do lose some flexibility in valve offerings. AND you may even prefer less tapered tubing! There's lots that goes into what makes a horn tick for you.

If I were choosing a first horn, I'd stick with independent and then later you can go a different direction. When you're learning low range flexibility, the G or Gb valve makes a huge difference and if you're not spending a decent amount of time trying to get those fingerings under control, then it is harder to learn them. I know because that's what I did. I played all dependent up until well.. okay I've actually only owned an independent for maybe 2 months total in my life. But my next bass will be a Bb/F/G (pullable to Gb) / (Eb/D) independent for sure.

There are lots of models you can choose from with that budget. If you want new, I'd urge you to save a few hundred more and go for a Shires Q. They're currently ca. $3600ish. That's a heck of a deal. But that is also the low end of a botique bass too so you're only a few hundred away from some really stellar options. It is n't unusual for a Yamaha Xeno to fall into your current budget used too fwiw. You can get a really good horn used though well within your budget and that's probably what I'd do, especially if you can play it first. Although even if you don't, if you get it at a low enough price you can still come in under budget with some well aimed repairs and have it be a great horn.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by elmsandr » Mon Mar 26, 2018 7:42 pm

So, I am a bass trombonist at the decent amateur level. I mostly do Band stuff, occasionally orchestra, jazz band, and musical stuff. If you only have one horn, get a double. Sure 90%+ can be done on a single, but there always seems to be one number on the concert where I would feel more comfortable with the double. Note, I often don’t use the double there, but that’s really only because I have a couple of great single valve horns and I prefer to play them. And on that rare occasion where you absolutely need the double, you would be hosed if you don’t have one.

Now for dependent versus independent.... I’ve played pretty much as many valve types as exist in the world... I have never played any type that doesn’t sound better as a dependent than it does as an indi. How big is the difference? Insignificant, mostly. I’d probably make more of a change by brushing my teeth before playing. That said, I’ve owned dependent rotors, Thayers, and Trubores. There are a few little tricks that are kinda handy on dependents as well, provided you aren’t set on using those G or Gb alternates a ton. That said, I still have a set of indi Thayers that I haven’t yet converted because it can be just that convenient to have those extra few notes in the staff.

So, all that typing aside, get the best horn you can afford. If you are looking blindly, I’d say pick any decent independent double. Don’t sleep on the dependents, sometimes they can be undervalued and you can get a better horn for the money.

Cheers,
Andy
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Dennis » Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:17 pm

I'm going to put out a slightly different opinion. I think at the learning stage you need to pick a layout and tuning and stick with it.

There are plenty of fine players who play stacked (dependent) systems, and plenty of fine players who play in-line (independent) systems. I think there is a generational difference, with younger players tending towards in-line systems but I wouldn't bet my next paycheck on it.

I think what you choose depends on the literature you intend to play and your personal preferences. If your focus is on the orchestral and wind ensemble canon you may not need a double at all. As Doug Yeo put it, "Show me something [in that lit.] I can't play on a single!" There are a very few works that can't be done on a single (two by Bela Bartok). That said, no student of the instrument today can afford to go all-in on a single.

If your focus is on new literature (say, since 1980 or so) you'll have to have a double. Composers assume that the bass trombone is chromatic from somewhere around D0 to D4 (or higher). The money register is from D1-F3 or so, but composers are prone to write stupid stuff (e.g. a B1 with a plunger) because they don't understand the instrument.

I play an in-line (tuned Bb-F-sharp Gb), but I started out on a stacked system (tuned Bb-F-Eb). Getting used to the in-line took some time, not least because I was accustomed to being able to engage the finger valve while on the Bb horn and go directly to Eb without having to synchronize 2 valves. It took a while to become accustomed to playing Db/Gb, C/F, B/E, Bb/Eb on the finger, too. Now when I pick up a stacked horn, I go looking for those notes and nothing happens when I engage the finger valve... The in-line can make some very technical passages easier, but you'll still have to practice them. The in-line eliminates the vexing question of tuning the F attachment to F or C.

My guess is that you'll end up on an in-line system because they are more commonly available. But I wouldn't rule out stacked horns, either. Just pick one, and stick with it.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Neo Bri » Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:53 pm

As far as I can see it, it's about options. And an indy gives you every option.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Basbasun » Tue Mar 27, 2018 3:19 am

The most easy bass to get to know and be able to play all the tones is a stacked, I think Bb-F-D is the most practically. There is some practically and most usefull tricks using the stacked that does not work on the indy. The indy does have lots possibilitys that are good, if you can use them, that does take some practise, if you start with just learning how to play the low C and B, you can get by until you have time to learn the rest. Many basstrombonists do have more then one horn. Yes you can play everything on a single, but it does take more effort. But lighter horn. And more feeblowing.
I played singles, independants, dependants over about 50 years, fo now I own four singles and one dependant, I do much prefer single, but to get to be able to gig in short time the stacked is the easiest way. Get a good used one, you may get another horn in a few years anyway.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by boomski » Tue Mar 27, 2018 6:32 am

These responses are great! I love reading about other's experiences, preferences and suggestions.

Are the Shires Q series worth busting the budget for a new one? or am I better off looking at used?

Neo- I saw the bass trombones you have in the classifieds, but assumed they are out of my budget. I'll email you to take the discussion off-line.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Matt K » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:34 am

boomski wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 6:32 am
These responses are great! I love reading about other's experiences, preferences and suggestions.

Are the Shires Q series worth busting the budget for a new one? or am I better off looking at used?

Neo- I saw the bass trombones you have in the classifieds, but assumed they are out of my budget. I'll email you to take the discussion off-line.
The ones that I've played, absolutely. They're really good horns. And they're fully modular with the other Shires components. So you can trade around if you later decide that one component doesn't work as well as another. But those components are a collection of the more popular components at Shires so it isn't as likely that you'll need to do that. The rotary Shires Q is among the best playing basses I've played. But I really like Shires stuff!

Is it "worth it"? That's harder to answer. It will depreciate in value almost immediately if you go new. A used horn tends to stay roughly the same value. You can get a really good playing horn if you're lucky for $1200, though it would probably be dependent. A better lower estimate for a good horn is $2k or so. I the additional $1600-$2400 worth an extra couple % on the top? Lots of players think so. But then again lots of other players don't think so. You can also calculate the cost over the intended time span. Lets say you play the horn for 20 years and never fiddle around with it because you got something good right out of the gate. That's, worst case scenario, $120 a year. Does it get you a single gig a year? Or more importantly if yo'ure getting into this full time, is the extra bump what got you the full time gig over someone else? Then it payed for it self a million times over!

Another scenario, lets say you pick the Q up (or another used Shires at a similar price point) and end up swapping the slide out. You can usually sell those for $600-900 maybe even more depending on condition. So your swap only cost a few hundred... but you could also do that with Bach or maybe some other basses (though it becomes more difficult on some horns because of the receiver). What about bells? Same deal with Shires bells although I've yet to see a Q for sale so who knows how much it would fetch. Let's say you can sell it. Well, you're still only down $1300ish vs. if you wanted to do the same thing on a fixed horn.

Some argue that you shouldn't really play around with the equipment. Just practice until the plating or laquer wears off because equipment is largely or perhaps exclusively a mind game. My observations are to the contrary but it isn't an unfair point. The placebo effect is extremely powerful, even if you know that you are receiving the placebo! (Sidenote: good use of science, related to the trombone). If you're of that persuasion... just don't swap out the equipment! :biggrin:

I'm an amateur at the moment in the sense that I make my money almost exclusively from doing something totally not music related. Yet I still play mostly Shires instruments because they're a lot of fun to play and they seem to get in the way least out of any other instruments that I've played. So to me, they're worth it. Your calculus may be different! Ideally you'd try something before buying to figure out if it is worth it and then go through the dollar figures and see if you can make the same choices or if it doesn't make sense for you.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by hyperbolica » Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:17 am

I'm a tenor player who went through the whole bass selection thing myself a year or so ago, so I'm familiar with the question and the trepidation all the options brings. In the end, I wound up with a Kanstul 1662i independent double.

First, I thank God every day that I'm not a tuba player. Those options are truly head-splitting.

The only real downsides to independent are: weight, blowing through 2 valves instead of 1 (again reference tuba), and the added confusion of a second valve and all the alternate positions.

The downsides to the dependent are: sometimes the trigger layouts on the older horns are pretty wonky, you don't have all the second trigger alone options (although that could be a plus or a minus).

There are other options, however, but they're a little off the beaten path.

Plug in valve replaces the tuning slide of the F attachment. You need a strap-on lever, and it;s a little wonky, but it can work.
Image

The Yamaha YBH622 and I think 822 have removable second valves, so you only put it on when you need it, and you have a dependent system.
Image

I had a 70h (single) and had an Eb slide made for it. That is the only tuning that will give you full chromatic access. But, (and a lot of double plug players can't stand this) you have to use all 7 positions to get all the notes. So E natural is 7th position. Eb is first. F is 6th. On the upside you have only one trigger, and a better balanced horn.

I saw on Brass Ark a "Bartok valve". This replaced the second valve with a linkage mechanism that pushed the slide out for the F attachment to Eb tuning. I personally have never played this, but it sounds like the best of both worlds. The Thein price might be a mitigating factor, however. The one I saw on Brass Ark was a Shires modified Yamaha.

Image
Last edited by hyperbolica on Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by elmsandr » Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:29 pm

Dennis wrote:
Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:17 pm
....
I think what you choose depends on the literature you intend to play and your personal preferences. If your focus is on the orchestral and wind ensemble canon you may not need a double at all. As Doug Yeo put it, "Show me something [in that lit.] I can't play on a single!" There are a very few works that can't be done on a single (two by Bela Bartok). That said, no student of the instrument today can afford to go all-in on a single.

If your focus is on new literature (say, since 1980 or so) you'll have to have a double. Composers assume that the bass trombone is chromatic from somewhere around D0 to D4 (or higher). The money register is from D1-F3 or so, but composers are prone to write stupid stuff (e.g. a B1 with a plunger) because they don't understand the instrument.
...

My guess is that you'll end up on an in-line system because they are more commonly available. But I wouldn't rule out stacked horns, either. Just pick one, and stick with it.
With all due respect to Doug... Playing in a community band that often plays high-school age targeted arrangements of remotely current movie scores: every single one 'requires' a double to be at all comfortable. They all seem to have some big run and moving line that has a couple Cs & Bs running up into the staff. Could it physically be done on a single, maybe, but you wouldn't be happy. Heck, even older movie stuff (Star Wars, for example) Has a couple of monster Cs adjacent to other stuff that just isn't easy on a single. Doable? again, maybe, but it is simple on a double.

I'm not playing a bunch of out there avant garde music, just the occasional new release. They just assume that you have a double these days.

I do, however, greatly agree with your conclusion. Pick one and stick with it.

Cheers,
Andy
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by JohnL » Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:39 pm

hyperbolica wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:17 am
I saw on Brass Ark a "Bartok valve". This replaced the second valve with a linkage mechanism that pushed the slide out for the F attachment to Eb tuning.
I believe the Bartok "valve" is just an E extension, not Eb. Just enough to be able to glissando between F and low B. I'm not sure how useful it would be for any other application. Certainly not as quick as a valve.

This is one of those discussions that will never reach a consensus. There's certain things that will always be brought up, like the fact that the vast majority of orchestral rep is entirely playable on a single, or that George Roberts used a single on all those great recordings. The "playing through two valves all the time" on an indy horn. The question of how important those couple inches of tapered neckpipe is to a horn's sound and/or feel. People will suggest a single for a starter bass (lighter, simpler, cheaper), but others will point out that it's tough to get though some of the rep without some sort of second valve, so someone should probably have some sort of double if they're only going to have one bass trombone.

This is where we miss the history of the old forum; we could just link to those old discussions and be done with...
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Dennis » Tue Mar 27, 2018 3:24 pm

elmsandr wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:29 pm
Dennis wrote:
Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:17 pm
....
If your focus is on new literature (say, since 1980 or so) you'll have to have a double. Composers assume that the bass trombone is chromatic from somewhere around D0 ...
...
Playing in a community band that often plays high-school age targeted arrangements of remotely current movie scores: every single one 'requires' a double to be at all comfortable. They all seem to have some big run and moving line that has a couple Cs & Bs running up into the staff. Could it physically be done on a single, maybe, but you wouldn't be happy. Heck, even older movie stuff (Star Wars, for example) Has a couple of monster Cs adjacent to other stuff that just isn't easy on a single. Doable? again, maybe, but it is simple on a double.
(emphasis added)

I think recent movie scores are probably written after 1980 or so ...

With that said, being a bass trombonist is not an excuse for poor slide technique. Do I want to minimize slide movement? Of course I do, but sometimes I have to move the slide and in that case having good slide technique is helpful.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by boomski » Tue Mar 27, 2018 6:18 pm

JohnL wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:39 pm
This is where we miss the history of the old forum; we could just link to those old discussions and be done with...
While I 100% miss the history of the old forum as well, sometimes it’s nice to get a fresh perspective. Since we don’t have access to the old forum, I’m glad everyone is responsive to answering questions that I’m sure have been asked many times before! I’m still enjoying reading everyone’s input.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Schlitz » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:53 pm

@
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by blast » Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:41 am

The modern bass trombones in my collection are into double figures and I have been playing bass for over 50 years (just context)......
I can play much of the orchestra rep on a single for sure, but a double would be my choice if I only had one bass.... for those times when you need one.
More than that, as a matter of choice, it would be an Indi. I have never felt a downside compared to stacked rotors and the extra possibilities make the Indi a no-brainer.
Buy used.... there are some great old trombones out there. At the moment I am playing Indi rotors tuned Bb/F/Eb/bC..... Some real fun stuff possible... low C and B on one valve... pedal Bb,A,Ab as second harmonics. First had that setup back in 1980....great if you can hold it up !

Chris
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Neo Bri » Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:21 am

blast wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:41 am
At the moment I am playing Indi rotors tuned Bb/F/Eb/bC..... Some real fun stuff possible... low C and B on one valve... pedal Bb,A,Ab as second harmonics. First had that setup back in 1980....great if you can hold it up !

Chris
That does sound like fun. I'd like to try that myself.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by gbedinger » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:55 am

OK, I'll add to the pile on. I agree with Chris...most parts can be played with one valve, but there are notable (and significant) times when you'll want two.

I've played bass trombone for many (...many...) years. I had a Holton TR-185 with plug-in second valve like Dave Taylor's pictured earlier in this thread, an independent Getzen 1052, a Chuck McAlexander-modified two-valve independent Holton 169 (a great instrument), and now a Yamaha 822g with dependent, removable second valve.

I was intrigued by the independent valve thing, but in practice, didn't use it that much - don't let the 20-plus slide combinations overwhelm you...it's only for two or three notes in real world use. The oft talked about Bartok gliss is also a red-herring, so don't get wound up about that either.

I've had the Yamaha 822 for six years now, and am very happy with it. I only have one bass trombone, so with the Yamaha I can plug in the second valve when I need it, and when I don't, the horn's much lighter for my 60-plus year upper body and arms. The Yamaha slide is the best slide I've ever used, and that includes a large-bore Shires lightweight slide I wish I could use instead for bass trombone parts...but that's another story for another time.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Basbasun » Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:23 am

gbedinger wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:55 am


I was intrigued by the independent valve thing, but in practice, didn't use it that much - don't let the 20-plus slide combinations overwhelm you...it's only for two or three notes in real world use. The oft talked about Bartok gliss is also a red-herring, so don't get wound up about that either.

. The Yamaha slide is the best slide I've ever used, and that includes
Yes I feel the same about the indy, I only had two, the Old's 24 and a Benge. I did feel the urge to have all the possibilitys of all the slide positions, I did experiment a lot, the Old's was actually the only bass at the time with independent valves. The Benge was a great horn actually. You can agrue about if the sound is less good on a andy, I wont say it´s worse. Byt is is different. Some may like the sound better in the indy, but I prefer the dependent, or the singel. The singel is the most difficult horn to get by with, I don't recomend that as the fist bassbone. It does take time to master. In the old time you did not have the choise, there was only singel basses. Very many of fantastic bassplayers played only singels, as there was no double around. Lots of low C:s B:s.


I have tested hundreds of horns. The yammy slides are outstanding in most cases.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by edgrissom » Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:10 am

Try to find a good condition used Yamaha, Jupiter, Eastman, etc. and play them yourself. There is no way to know what you want without putting them to your face.
Get something with two valves (either configuration) - this way you can gain experience with bass trombone. There is no need to drop a lot of money into something you are not sure you are going to be doing long term. If you have the patience you can find something for $2000.00 or maybe slightly less.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Mv2541 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 11:35 am

Being mostly a tenor player, I would definitely opt for a double of some flavor. You don't want to be stuck needing it when you don't have it and it is expected you have one on most modern music. It also significantly lessens what would otherwise be very long slide movements down in the valve register (think pedal Bb to trigger C).
+1 for the flexibility of an independent setup- I find myself using the second valve alone as often as I use first valve alone.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by greenbean » Thu Mar 29, 2018 11:43 am

It is true that independent horns have more options. But dependent horns allow you to play every note you want in a position that not hard to get to. So, for me, there no real need to move from dependent to independent. I am pretty sure if I did learn to use an independent second valve, I would try using it on my dependent horns!
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by tbathras » Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:19 pm

It's very rare, but I've come across some things like glisses (in one case it was a very slow, exposed gliss that 'faking' would have sounded dreadful) that were only possible on the Gb side of my horn. I wouldn't use that as a determining factor alone, but things like that added up with other factors people have mentioned makes indy my fist choice, but if I came across a stacked setup that blew me away, I would not turn away from it.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by elmsandr » Thu Mar 29, 2018 1:01 pm

Basbasun wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:23 am
...
You can agrue about if the sound is less good on a andy, I wont say it´s worse.
...
Emphasis added.

/nods knowingly

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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by whitbey » Thu Mar 29, 2018 1:21 pm

My Bass is dependent Bb/F/C. The big advantage I took on the dependent is the second valve tubing is larger so with two valves the horn still blows easy.

My Bass Bach 50 was bought in the 70’s from Giardinelli in New York. The sales guy I worked with said the horn was originally a single valve Mount Vernon horn that Giardinelli sent to Bach to add a second valve. He said it had been in there store for over ten years before they sent it back. There was a solder mark in the receiver. The same guy told me that was where the original lever was. With the new valve the new style twin keys were put on the bell brace. The bell was stamped Elkhorn and Corporation at that time on an angle to the original engraving. There is no serial number; it was lost when the horn was reassembled. The bell is very soft and thin and plays like a dream. The second valve was set up as a dependent Bb/F/E. I had a new tuning slide made with larger tubing in C so now the horn is Bb/F/C. Low C with both valves is in first position and plays very open. Peddle BBb is in a long 3rd and plays easy too. Low B in two trigger long 2nd position is an easy hit. So in the key of C and the sharp keys the horn is easy to play as the positions are close to the same as with the F valve for C, B, Bb, and A.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by AussieBoneCollector » Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:32 pm

On the ergonomic side, my Olds P22 George Roberts Custom is light enough but so slide heavy it hurts after a while, especially with mutes. My Yamaha 830 Xeno independent is heavy but perfectly balanced, mute work is so much easier.
The Yamaha was my first bass, so learning the second valve as needed hasn't been an issue.
On valves and slide positions, I only bought my first trigger tenor, after 25 years of playing, as a step into bass trombone. With both my basses I use the open horn as much as possible and triggers when absolutely necessary for the low stuff and in faster passages as a cheat. I double small bore tenor and bass so using all seven positions is still 'normal'.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Finetales » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:53 pm

I have both single (stock) and independent Elkhart 72H bell sections that are identical other than the valves. Before I got the double I spent about a year playing exclusively on the single. I will say that except for modern pieces with glisses only possible with a double like tbathras mentioned, everything was playable on the single. Low Bs (or a lot of low Cs)? Pull to bE and go. Was it hard work? Ohhh yeah! But even some nasty licks such as low F to pedal Bb to low B (6-1-long trigger 7th) in an 8th note triplet were all playable. Playing just the single for that long did a lot for my slide technique, especially in the outer positions. But I will also say that I was very happy to have a double again.

What I can also say from having essentially the same horns, one with an extra valve, is that there are more differences to single vs. double (I have no experience with indy vs. dependent...only ever played indys) than just slide position options and weight. My double section sounds very different to my single. They both sound like Conns and they both work very well in both commercial and orchestral settings, but they sound very very different. The single section is a sports car, the double section is a muscle car. Yet the double still has a leaner, livelier sound than the giant Thayer cannons most people are using nowadays. The double is a real chameleon...but when I can get away with it I use my single in big bands because there is absolutely nothing more satisfying than that sound in that context. Even the same horn with an extra valve can't get there.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by sf105 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:41 am

blast wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:41 am
More than that, as a matter of choice, it would be an Indi. I have never felt a downside compared to stacked rotors and the extra possibilities make the Indi a no-brainer.
Buy used.... there are some great old trombones out there. At the moment I am playing Indi rotors tuned Bb/F/Eb/bC..... Some real fun stuff possible... low C and B on one valve... pedal Bb,A,Ab as second harmonics. First had that setup back in 1980....great if you can hold it up !
Interesting point, given how much time you spend with vintage horns.

I once spent an hour or so at John Packer's comparing stacked and indy new 62Hs (thanks for their forbearance). There was definitely some interference from the valves, with the Indy it felt like it was evenly spread whereas with stacked it was saved up for the double trigger notes.

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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by salsabone » Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:23 am

Boomski,
I am guessing that you are somewhat now in about the same place I was 25 years or so ago. At that time I was mostly a commercial(jazz, community bands, etc) player. My main trombones were, just like you, a Bach 42 and a King 3B. My bass trombone choice ended up being a new Yamaha 613H. It is an independent set up. Over the last 25+ years I have never encountered a situation where I found this bass lacking in any way. On the plus side it seems to me to be lighter than most other indy basses that I have tried. I think we may be on the same type of playing path. Your budget would allow for a nice used Yamaha 613 or similar model. Just my 2 cents.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Neo Bri » Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:45 am

Salsabone - I've never played a Yamaha bass that wasn't a great horn. Don't know why - they just know how to make 'em.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by blast » Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:21 pm

Neo Bri wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:45 am
Salsabone - I've never played a Yamaha bass that wasn't a great horn. Don't know why - they just know how to make 'em.
I've played a few dogs... very old ones... and a couple of bad xenos but on the plus side I've played some new student basses that were delicious !


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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Tooloud » Sun Apr 01, 2018 1:17 am

I had been in the market for a new bass trombone for over a year. Tried a lot.

What I found was that the sound I get from a dependent/stacked setup was always superior to the independent equivalents. These unobstructed cm's of neckpipe tubing make a difference I think I can hear and feel. I admit, there were just rotors an Thayer-type valves to try, no fancy new types like Hagman (just played a few notes on such an instrument, too few to judge, for the instrument they were on was very bad to hold) and Rotax.

Don't forget the possibility, like Mr Yeo already hinted, of keeping the D-lever pressed for smooth transitions between open horn and valved notes making jumps in the low register a bit easier for me.

But: Hard to get hands on a new stacked horn today for trying, because most beginners tend to buy what's in store. Would have liked to try a Shires with stacked Trubore-valves. Sounds like ist must be a great sounding horn judging from the tenor. But they are hard to come by in europe...
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Matt K » Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:59 am

The benefit isn't the obstruction of a second rotor, per se. As bear in mind the F attachment then also has the obstruction, if that were the cause of the difference. So the open side would play different than the F side vs. having them be consistently blown through the same obstruction on an independent. It's the taper in the tubing that makes it more cylindrical vs. conical. You can test this with modular instruments on the F side. If the F side plays differently on an independent than it does on the dependent, then you can attribute the difference, at least in part, to the neckpipe taper (as if they played the same, it would mean that the obstruction is at least in part causing the difference). Of course there are other variables so it isn't quite that simple.

To some extent that taper can be applied an independent setup; Hagmanns have a "progressive" bore valve set for bass that has the Gb valve being slightly bigger than the F valve so you still have the benefit of a taper and the independent at the same time. I'm not a huge fan of Hagmanns and never tried them personally but such a thing does exist.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by BassBoneWadie99 » Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:27 pm

I will be completly honest, having used both single, dependent, and independent; I personally find dependents to play better (for me at least) and don't care for the extra alternates that independents have (yes, even with the G tuning.) They honestly don't benefit me at all and I personally am not too keen on how they play from playability to blow, but that's just me. Now with dependents, I always liked the sound they produced and loved how they felt when playing them when playing low C with both valves in 4th position and Low B in flat 5th, it felt so effortless for me and just loved how it blew even in the pedal register playing pedal F to pedal C! I would when warming up play a pedal D in sharp 5th position using the F valve and would just demolish the band if I wanted to and could get a fair job with pedal Db and C and barely get a pedal B (but almost.) In summary for dependents, I love how they play and sound and jist prefer to move the slide more, they also work best for me! Just my $00.02 :mrgreen:
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by blast » Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:23 pm

It's strange.... must be a lack of something in me, but after more than 40 years of professional playing and swapping between dependent and independent for all that time, I cannot say that there is any lack in sound or feel that I have detected in indy trombones as a general rule. What I can say is that the indy valve setup has on many occasions allowed me to play with more ease and allowed a more musical result. I use valves as little as I have to, which at times can be a lot. I can see arguments for using a single (and I often do) but if you have to use two valves, get best value out of them.

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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Neo Bri » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:03 pm

blast wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:23 pm
It's strange.... must be a lack of something in me, but after more than 40 years of professional playing and swapping between dependent and independent for all that time, I cannot say that there is any lack in sound or feel that I have detected in indy trombones as a general rule. What I can say is that the indy valve setup has on many occasions allowed me to play with more ease and allowed a more musical result. I use valves as little as I have to, which at times can be a lot. I can see arguments for using a single (and I often do) but if you have to use two valves, get best value out of them.

Chris
Such great insight. It's funny - in one way I'm sort of opposite of you. I love using the valves and tend to use them a lot by preference. Particularly the Gb valve by itself. Pretty much every horn I've played I've noticed that the Gb valve plays better than the F valve. Not sure why. Maybe it's sort of like what Matt K was saying about where the valve lies on the gooseneck.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Matt K » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:05 pm

Well, another consideration is that when you play an F in 2nd position, you've added a few inches of larger bore tubing to the equation from the slide. What is it, .590 usually for .562 inner bore slides? That's going to make a big difference!
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Neo Bri » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:05 pm

It certainly does. IT'S AWESOME.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Basbasun » Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:37 am

Well I think the only way to find out what you like is to try all kinds of set ups. As I said before, I much prefer singel, but that is me. I do handle low C and B on my singles. With doubble valves I like the dependant, that is just me. I never said that the indy has a bad sound. But I claim it is different. Especially in very soft playing. I started my carrier as a proffesional bass tromboneplayer 1969. I tried many horns. I can see the benifits in a indy, if I hade more time and money and was not so old I might have one.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by JohnL » Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:42 am

Matt K wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:05 pm
Well, another consideration is that when you play an F in 2nd position, you've added a few inches of larger bore tubing to the equation from the slide. What is it, .590 usually for .562 inner bore slides? That's going to make a big difference!
Playing the F in second-ish position on the Gb valve (or in third-ish position on a G valve) would use less of the larger-bore attachment tubing and more of the handslide than playing it in first position on the F valve (though obviously still significantly less than playing it in sixth position on the open horn). I would think that the result would be that Gb-2 would be more like playing it on the open horn compared to F-1.

There might have been something to George McCracken's idea of using .562" attachment tubing on the Duo-Gravis. It's more work when you have both valves down and the handslide most or all of the way extended, but the single valve notes where you don't have the handslide that far out might just play/sound a bit more like playing them without a valve at all...

As far as dependent vs. independent? Indy all the way for me, but I do consider it a matter of personal choice. One thing I believe very strongly is that, if you move from an indy to a dependent and aren't at least a little put out at losing that extra set of positions, you weren't using the indy to its full potential in the first place.

More food for thought...
Consider the evolution of the double-valve bass. In the beginning, there was just an F-attachment (a few horns were built with E-flat valves). Then someone had the bright idea of giving it a long pull so you could tune it to flat E, which allowed you to play the low B. The next step was to add a static valve in place of (or in addition to) the long pull. Finally, a lever and spring were added so the player could engage the second valve "on the fly".

But what if someone had leapfrogged all of that and built a bass trombone inspired by the inline-valve contrabasses that were in use in some of the opera houses of Europe? Would anyone have even thought to move the second valve from the main horn into the f-attachment?
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Matt K » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:31 am

Yes, actually I think you might be correct, since of course the tubing is often the same bore as the outer bore so it might be less of the large tubing. In either case, I do agree with Neo. On an independent, I'll very frequently use a G or Gb attachment for the F more than the F attachment, though I still heavily utilize the F attachment such that it's in no danger of being replaced by something more unorthodox like an Eb or something!
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Finetales » Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:52 pm

JohnL wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:42 am
But what if someone had leapfrogged all of that and built a bass trombone inspired by the inline-valve contrabasses that were in use in some of the opera houses of Europe? Would anyone have even thought to move the second valve from the main horn into the f-attachment?
Meaning the old school F/Eb/Bb valve type right? Last time I checked Jurgen Voigt offers at least one of their bass trombone models in this relative whole step/perfect 5th valve tuning (so Bb/Ab/Eb).

If I understand it right, the contras were made that way because the slide was too long to reach at least 7th position so they put the Eb valve on to compensate for the lost positions, and then the other valve to reach the lower notes. I don't know how useful a whole step valve would be on a Bb trombone except as a trill valve, but to be fair I've never used one.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by sf105 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 2:52 pm

When I was in college I experimented with a "rational" Bb/G/E/D combo. I could play 2 octaves up from trigger C barely moving the slide. I gave it up because I couldn't remember all the combinations. Nowadays, I seem to be spending most of my time on single trigger horns...
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by elmsandr » Thu Apr 05, 2018 6:40 pm

sf105 wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 2:52 pm
When I was in college I experimented with a "rational" Bb/G/E/D combo. I could play 2 octaves up from trigger C barely moving the slide. I gave it up because I couldn't remember all the combinations. Nowadays, I seem to be spending most of my time on single trigger horns...
The most succinct summary I’ve ever seen about why I want this combination so much but have never taken the time to build one, even though I pretty much always have enough extra parts on hand.

Cheers,
Andy
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by JohnL » Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:40 pm

Finetales wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:52 pm
Meaning the old school F/Eb/Bb valve type right? Last time I checked Jurgen Voigt offers at least one of their bass trombone models in this relative whole step/perfect 5th valve tuning (so Bb/Ab/Eb).

If I understand it right, the contras were made that way because the slide was too long to reach at least 7th position so they put the Eb valve on to compensate for the lost positions, and then the other valve to reach the lower notes. I don't know how useful a whole step valve would be on a Bb trombone except as a trill valve, but to be fair I've never used one.
If someone had tried building in indy bass in the late 1930's, I would expect they would have gone with a fourth rather than a fifth for the longer valve. Too much of an installed base with f-attachments. Since the low B was always the goal, the other valve would probably have been just long enough to make that possible - a whole step, giving you Bb/Ab/F/flat E. Pretty much the same tuning as the early dependent doubles, but with an indy valveset.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by Basbasun » Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:13 am

Yesterday I tested lots of horns, about 15 before I get feed up. One thing that makes a differns between dependent and independent, that I have notice before is that on the dempendent ( and singel ) the BBb, pedal Bb you can start the tone ppp and it is absolutely steady. On all independant without exceptions the is a bit unsecure in the start. Unless you have to play that tone extremely soft (like in Verdis requiem) you may not notice that. I adress that to the shorter gooseneck. Does that make the independent a less good horn? Hell no. But I stand with my saying, depndent and independent does respond slightly different, not better or worse just slightly different.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by blast » Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:27 am

Basbasun wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:13 am
Yesterday I tested lots of horns, about 15 before I get feed up. One thing that makes a differns between dependent and independent, that I have notice before is that on the dempendent ( and singel ) the BBb, pedal Bb you can start the tone ppp and it is absolutely steady. On all independant without exceptions the is a bit unsecure in the start. Unless you have to play that tone extremely soft (like in Verdis requiem) you may not notice that. I adress that to the shorter gooseneck. Does that make the independent a less good horn? Hell no. But I stand with my saying, depndent and independent does respond slightly different, not better or worse just slightly different.
Very interesting....a specific claim. So, my first notes today were therefore pedal Bbs..... 3 indies and a single. On the rotary Indies against the single you are right, but Indi Hagmanns worked just fine on my R9. Five minutes in and everything seemed to work well, whatever the setup, but first off I noticed a difference.... you live and learn. I have an exposed pedal Ab pp after 18minutes rest tonight.... the single is tempting....

Chris.
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Re: Bass Trombones- Single vs Dependent vs Independent

Post by blast » Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:00 pm

Took the single in. Played the show.... some stuff easier... some stuff harder.... at the end of the show I asked the principal trumpet if he heard any difference.... basically, no.
These are therefore very fine details that we are talking about. Splitting hairs.
Ah well......

Chris
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