Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

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Bach5G
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Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by Bach5G »

I’ve been spending more time on this recently. Does anyone have any views on this mpc? I understand it’s supposed to be an improved Schilke 59.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by Burgerbob »

I find the BL depth to be a bit "hot." That can be good! I have a friend that uses a 21BL to great effect in the commercial setting.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by bassboy »

Burgerbob wrote: Fri May 08, 2020 5:53 pm I find the BL depth to be a bit "hot." That can be good! I have a friend that uses a 21BL to great effect in the commercial setting.
I second this description.

For me they played with lots of color and energy, without tremendous effort. Karl can make a mouthpiece!

Not sure about others but I preferred my sound on the Hammond to that of corresponding Schilkes.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by GabrielRice »

My observation has been that this mouthpiece is not balanced in a way I like. I think it's because the throat is so large compared to the rim diameter and cup depth that the pitch center is too wide. I find that students have a hard time playing well in tune with a clear sound on it.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by Kbiggs »

GabeLangfur wrote: Sat May 09, 2020 6:03 pm My observation has been that this mouthpiece is not balanced in a way I like. I think it's because the throat is so large compared to the rim diameter and cup depth that the pitch center is too wide. I find that students have a hard time playing well in tune with a clear sound on it.
This was my problem with this mpc. I like the sound I produced on it, the “middle“ of the note, if you will. However, without a good flow to the airstream, the ends of notes can drop off quite easily. Also, initially starting notes can be a problem if the embouchure is not set before blowing. I think the thinness and the rim profile added to those tendencies.

I remember Randall Hawes played the 21BL (mostly the 21 BXL) for a while, maybe still. If I could sound like him on my Hammond 20 mpcs., I’d still be playing them!
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by Finetales »

I had a group of Hammonds (19BL, 20BL, 20BXL, 21BL) that I switched between for years, and I always came back to the 20BL. It was the Goldilocks bass piece for me. I used it for everything and loved it. I eventually got fitted for a 2-piece Warburton that was even easier to play, or I would still be using the 20BL.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by jph »

GabrielRice wrote: Sat May 09, 2020 6:03 pm My observation has been that this mouthpiece is not balanced in a way I like. I think it's because the throat is so large compared to the rim diameter and cup depth that the pitch center is too wide. I find that students have a hard time playing well in tune with a clear sound on it.
I have to say that you have nailed it here. Still a fine piece, artfully crafted cup, but the throat could use a reduction from .316 to the .302 to .306 range. Intonation is indeed impacted. The comments on consistent air flow maintenance requirements are also valid, but that one wouldn’t fly as an excuse with Jacobs or Kleinhammer.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by tbonesullivan »

The throat on the Hammond bass mouthpieces definitely is quite large. Even looking at it when comparing it to my Laskey and Ferguson JR shows it is visibly larger. I like the sound I get, but I really need to be air conscious when playing on it. Looking around, some of the Griego offerings have throats that large as well, mainly the David Taylor and Brian Hecht pieces. Looks like the Schilke Symphony Series, which I believe Hammond designed, have .316 throats as well.

I haven't noticed any intonation problems with my 20BL, but I definitely can use too much air if I am not careful. Need to get back into my breathing exercises. I didn't feel that the rim was thin though. I definitely like the feel of the rim on the 20BL over my Laskey 59MD. Right now I'm mainly using my JR when playing.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by hornbuilder »

" However, without a good flow to the airstream, the ends of notes can drop off quite easily. Also, initially starting notes can be a problem if the embouchure is not set before blowing"

Neither of these issues are caused by the mouthpiece.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by boneberg »

Yep, the rim feels great, the throat is large.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by GabrielRice »

hornbuilder wrote: Thu May 12, 2022 8:50 pm " However, without a good flow to the airstream, the ends of notes can drop off quite easily. Also, initially starting notes can be a problem if the embouchure is not set before blowing"

Neither of these issues are caused by the mouthpiece.
I don't disagree, but issue #1 can certainly be made harder to deal with when the mouthpiece is an air hog.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by hornbuilder »

I've personally never had any issues with any of the Hammond pieces being too "open", having spent most of the last 10 years playing nothing but 21BL, 21BXL, 21BLL, 22BLL, and now 22/23 BXL (this is a 21BXL that I threaded to accept Elliott 115 and 116 XB rims).

I've also been playing for the last few months a standard GB 1/2G, with no issues of uncentered sound, lack of focus or range.

I really don't practice, so I must just be very fortunate to be able to play such pieces.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by GabrielRice »

hornbuilder wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 8:33 am I've personally never had any issues with any of the Hammond pieces being too "open", having spent most of the last 10 years playing nothing but 21BL, 21BXL, 21BLL, 22BLL, and now 22/23 BXL (this is a 21BXL that I threaded to accept Elliott 115 and 116 XB rims).

I've also been playing for the last few months a standard GB 1/2G, with no issues of uncentered sound, lack of focus or range.

I really don't practice, so I must just be very fortunate to be able to play such pieces.
:pant:
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by imsevimse »

Hammond 20BL is my preffered mouthpiece.

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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by Bach5G »

Any thoughts on how these compare with Schilke Symphony Series, also said to be designed by KH?
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by GabrielRice »

Bach5G wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 12:20 pm Any thoughts on how these compare with Schilke Symphony Series, also said to be designed by KH?
There is no equivalent to the 20BL in the Symphony Series. The only rim size there is like the 21 Hammond rims.

I do see that they've added the M6.0d, with a smaller throat, to the Symphony Series.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by hornbuilder »

I have been thinking about this topic since my previous reply.

At one point, I heard mention of the concept of having the lips be the primary point of resistance in the instrument "equation".

I found that this did considerably change the equipment that I was able to use. Mouthpieces with larger throats are no issue, but pieces with tighter throat/backbore (GB .312 #2 combo for ex) I found to really "back up" on me in loud playing. Great for light, soft playing, but quite restrictive in playing broader, richer styles.

This approach does mean that focus in soft playing really has to come from your chops, since the more open mouthpiece doesn't help as much. I also find that leadpipe choice is much less critical.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by ithinknot »

hornbuilder wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 1:02 pm At one point, I heard mention of the concept of having the lips be the primary point of resistance in the instrument "equation".

I found that this did considerably change the equipment that I was able to use.
Reminded me of this, from the archives:
ttf_blast wrote: It seems to me that there has developed a distinct technique for playing large bass and small bass mouthpieces.... the embouchure is developed in different ways to get the best results from each type... big mouthpiece players having an almost 'trumpet' type setting, whilst small mouthpiece players adopt a more relaxed, 'big tenor'setting. This makes it very hard to move from one extreme to the other.. but also, for me, makes the mid-sizes a waste of time.
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This is partly a diameter question - except, of course, the archetypal cups/throats/backbores have traditionally followed suit. The same seems to be true for me. One version comes much more naturally than the other, but I can see how either could be made to work. In the middle, you're either depleting the 'focus included free' virtues of the small, or there's still not enough space to make The Other Way work.

There seem to be a lot of people permashopping in the 1.25 range, some of which is big Small, and some small Big... the diameter might be ideal for some of them, but perhaps the direction of resistance management is uncertain. (I'm not aiming this at anyone in particular - just an observation from the interwebs.)
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by Bach5G »

GabrielRice wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 3:27 pm
Bach5G wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 12:20 pm Any thoughts on how these compare with Schilke Symphony Series, also said to be designed by KH?
[/quote

I do see that they've added the M6.0d, with a smaller throat, to the Symphony Series.
Also M6.0. Shallower cup but .316 throat. I tried all three variants. Quite different from one another.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by GabrielRice »

hornbuilder wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 1:02 pm I have been thinking about this topic since my previous reply.

At one point, I heard mention of the concept of having the lips be the primary point of resistance in the instrument "equation".

I found that this did considerably change the equipment that I was able to use. Mouthpieces with larger throats are no issue, but pieces with tighter throat/backbore (GB .312 #2 combo for ex) I found to really "back up" on me in loud playing. Great for light, soft playing, but quite restrictive in playing broader, richer styles.

This approach does mean that focus in soft playing really has to come from your chops, since the more open mouthpiece doesn't help as much. I also find that leadpipe choice is much less critical.
Yeah...interesting topic. I went after this approach for quite some time as well, and I do think I tend to play with a smaller aperture than some bass trombonists (but maybe not as small as others). But I had to back off from some of that, as I was finding the initial articulation to be delayed in soft playing sometimes. I no longer try to start with the lips together.

Also, since working through more of the concepts I've learned from Doug Elliott about the angle of the airstream in the mouthpiece, I manipulate the aperture for range much less than I used to, resulting in a more consistent tone color I believe.

I never found the GB .312 #2 combination to back up for me, and I think I was able to do some of my loudest orchestral playing with that mouthpiece (I've got recordings :twisted: ). I DID find the standard large bass GB .316 throat and #3 backbore to limit my sustain and dynamic range, and I never liked the way it gave me so little feedback with the pitch slot. I think Karl Hammond's mouthpieces have a backbore that helps that, but for me the .316 throat is still problematic.

Now I play a Doug Elliott M cup and M8 backbore...which is a MUCH smaller throat at .295, but the backbore is designed such that it does not feel restrictive to me at all. I am able to play as loud as I want - which admittedly may not be as loud as I used to want - with better control of the tone color. I am also able to play quite softly without needing to consciously create extra resistance at my chops.

In the end it's really not about right or wrong but about finding the best balance of elements for your body and the way you play.

All that said, I stand by my comments above about the 20BL, not so much based on personal experience as what I heard from a few students I worked with. To my ear, it was a not a good balance of elements for any of them.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by tbonesullivan »

This really is an interesting discussion. It make me wonder where exactly the Small and Large mouthpieces begin. I've been investigating the Markey Series from Griego lately, and James Markey uses the 87 and 90 most often, and I don't know whether those would be considered "Medium" or "Large".

I also have run into the feeling of "backing up" on a horn setup, though I don't know whether it's due to actual air resistance, or a resistance in that setup to the amount of vibrational energy I am trying to put through it. I can easily empty my entire lung capacity through just about any mouthpiece if I am not buzzing, so I would think that the embouchure is always going to be the primary source of resistance, but things down the line like the throat and leadpipe venturi also affect this. Then there is also the question of whether more air always equals more volume potential. I don't know if anyone has ever really gotten out an SPL meter to test things like this.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by harrisonreed »

The embouchure and tongue (and, in mostly a bad way, the throat) create more resistance or can create more resistance than the throat of the mouthpiece ever could. I wonder if the (to me) comically undersized throat on the 5G is partially stemmed from trombone players trying to sound "orchestral" and being too open on everything.

I have a feeling it's just wishful thinking though on my part. Bach intended to have players size the throat on their own, and using that as an excuse he used the same small throat on all mouthpieces of one type to save on tooling.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by tbonesullivan »

harrisonreed wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 7:01 pm The embouchure and tongue (and, in mostly a bad way, the throat) create more resistance or can create more resistance than the throat of the mouthpiece ever could. I wonder if the (to me) comically undersized throat on the 5G is partially stemmed from trombone players trying to sound "orchestral" and being too open on everything.

I have a feeling it's just wishful thinking though on my part. Bach intended to have players size the throat on their own, and using that as an excuse he used the same small throat on all mouthpieces of one type to save on tooling.
It's interesting that the Bach 5G all the way down to the 1 1/4G all have the same .276" throat and backbore. Then the 1G does up to .319 with the "800S" backbore, which is huge, and they made the GM versions like that. I guess they wanted to compete with the Schilke 60.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by modelerdc »

A small point, but the Bach 1 1/4GM that I have has a .749 throat, not the .319 like the 1G. I think the catalogue listing of .319 for the 1 1/4GM may be just an error.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by Burgerbob »

modelerdc wrote: Mon May 16, 2022 12:37 am A small point, but the Bach 1 1/4GM that I have has a .749 throat, not the .319 like the 1G. I think the catalogue listing of .319 for the 1 1/4GM may be just an error.
It's not. Mine has the largest throat of any piece I've ever had.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by modelerdc »

Mine doesn't appear to be modified, but it is one of the older ones. So what gives?
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by Burgerbob »

The GM designation means the 1G throat and backbore. Not sure what a piece marked GM but without those aspects would be.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by harrisonreed »

.749 throat? Really?? That's larger than the bass bore.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by BGuttman »

0.749 cm is 0.294 inches. Maybe that's Metric? And in that case the bore is in between the standard and large values described above.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by tbonesullivan »

modelerdc wrote: Mon May 16, 2022 12:37 am A small point, but the Bach 1 1/4GM that I have has a .749 throat, not the .319 like the 1G. I think the catalogue listing of .319 for the 1 1/4GM may be just an error.
I've never seen a listing for a Bach mouthpiece wit ha .749 throat. If that's metric, like what Bruce said, that's a .295" throat, which is about the size of the throat on a Laskey 85MD. However I've never seen Bach mouthpiece specs given in metric, just imperial.
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Re: Any opinions on Hammond 20BLs?

Post by Kbiggs »

GabrielRice wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 7:15 am
hornbuilder wrote: Thu May 12, 2022 8:50 pm " However, without a good flow to the airstream, the ends of notes can drop off quite easily. Also, initially starting notes can be a problem if the embouchure is not set before blowing"

Neither of these issues are caused by the mouthpiece.
I don't disagree, but issue #1 can certainly be made harder to deal with when the mouthpiece is an air hog.
This is a very interesting thread/discussion.

Thinking back in my personal history, I started playing a Hammond 20BL and 20BXL when I played an Edwards 454 with a dual-bore slide. Since that time, I was diagnosed with asthma. I have no doubt had it for many years before diagnosis, but that may have played a factor in my experience with the Hammonds.

And yes, that’s not due to the mouthpiece, but the player—the soft machine.
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