Bass Trombone Mouthpieces for a Tuba Player

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HoosierTuba
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Bass Trombone Mouthpieces for a Tuba Player

Post by HoosierTuba » Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:32 pm

Hello all, I'm a tuba player in high school and last week I decided to rent my school's bass trombone. I'm going to try to learn it as best as I can on my own within the next couple of months so I can audition for the jazz band. I'm playing an older YBL-612 with a Yamaha 51DL mouthpiece. I've never played trombone before now so I'm not sure if bass trombones have their own mouthpieces of if people usually just use tenor mouthpieces on them. This mouthpiece seems like it is harder than it should be to hit low notes, however I'm not sure if this is just my embouchure that needs to get used to the mouthpiece or if I need something different. I also play really sharp on almost every note; again, I don't know if this is due to the mouthpiece or if I just need to keep working on the one I have. If this mouthpiece isn't something I should be using on a bass trombone, please let me know. If it isn't, what's a better mouthpiece that would help a doubling-tuba player? The Bach 2G and 1.5G look like they would be much better for me, but I want to make sure it's a smart move before I purchase one. Any other mouthpiece suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! :D
Eastman EBC632 CC Tuba
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BGuttman
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Re: Bass Trombone Mouthpieces for a Tuba Player

Post by BGuttman » Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:33 pm

Hi and Welcome!

A 51D is a deep tenor trombone mouthpiece. Bass trombone requires a much bigger one.

Most of us start on a Bach 2G or 1 1/2 G. But as a tuba player you may find a large bass trombone mouthpiece like a Bach 1G or Schilke 60 to fit better. You might even find a contra size like a Bach 32E (very small tuba mouthpiece).

You need to learn the slide positions both on the Bb side and on the F side. Plus the double valve positions for low C and low B natural

Get a bass trombone method book. I like Allen Ostrander's "F-Attachment and Bass Trombone". It's an older method but can get you started. Then you can move on to more extensive methods.

Good luck.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
jpwell
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Re: Bass Trombone Mouthpieces for a Tuba Player

Post by jpwell » Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:04 pm

I have “The double valve bass trombone “ by Alan Raph if your interested pm me. The price would be right for a student.
I play bass and tuba. When I started bass it was on a Schilke 58, as I got better moved to a Schilke 59, 60 was too big. 1 1/2 g might be a good place to start. It’s smallish.
So on a trombone the tuning slide is in your right fingers. Don’t try and lip your pitch like on tuba.
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robcat2075
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Re: Bass Trombone Mouthpieces for a Tuba Player

Post by robcat2075 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:36 pm

I play bass trombone but have dabbled on a number of tubas over the years.

A real tuba mouth piece is so much bigger than a bass trombone mouth piece that some re learning of the embouchure is going to have to happen no matter what you get. But I think going big makes sense.

Something Schilke 60 sized... but the actual Schilke 60 they make today isn't the best version of that anymore. A Yamaha Doug Yeo "replica" (the one that isn't gold-plated) or a Laskey 93D or whatever Bach is that size is probably better.
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sirisobhakya
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Re: Bass Trombone Mouthpieces for a Tuba Player

Post by sirisobhakya » Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:17 am

51D is not a bass mouthpiece at all. It is not even a large mouthpiece for tenor.

I agree that the embouchure for tuba and for bass trombone is so different you have to relearn. From my experience I have to use a new embouchure entirely. So in my opinion, tuba player does not have to use a big bass trombone mouthpiece.

1 1/2 G is a good starting point; you can hardly go wrong with it. Yamaha 59 and Schilke 58 is in the same size range. However, for jazz I would recommend something smaller, maybe Bach 2G or even 3G.

The most important thing is: try as many sizes as possible if you can. If you can try it for an extended period (30min+) that’s the best. Find what you like the most and can comfortably play what you would play in an audition.
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islander
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Re: Bass Trombone Mouthpieces for a Tuba Player

Post by islander » Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:32 am

I might also add that 1.5G or 2G are good mouthpieces to play your entire career. Don't feel obligated to try bigger just because others do.
Crazytrombonist505
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Re: Bass Trombone Mouthpieces for a Tuba Player

Post by Crazytrombonist505 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:11 am

As other have said, starting with a Bach 1 1/2G or 2G sized mouthpiece will probably be your best option. You can always move to a bigger size if you feel that these are too small, but I would start with one of those first.

Good luck!
marccromme
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Re: Bass Trombone Mouthpieces for a Tuba Player

Post by marccromme » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:41 am

Well, coming from a tuba over to bass trombone, I think it's natural to approach the bass trombone from the large side, but not larger than easily giving a trombone sound (not tuba-on-slide). Bach 2 or 1 1/2 probably feels way to small for the OP.

Probably a starting point is something not smaller than in the Bach 1 1/4, Schilke 59 or Laskey 85MD range. Probably not something larger than the Greg 1 1/8 or Yamaha Yeo size.

For me, these work just fine, and I can switch in the middle of a practice session to Eb tuba on a DW Ultra AT3U: Laskey 85MD, Yeo. Your mileage may vary ...
Doug Elliott
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Re: Bass Trombone Mouthpieces for a Tuba Player

Post by Doug Elliott » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:46 am

Many tuba players don't like the thin rims that are typical on larger bass trombone mouthpieces. I offer wide rims as an option on all of my bass mouthpiece sizes.
BflatBass
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Re: Bass Trombone Mouthpieces for a Tuba Player

Post by BflatBass » Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:50 pm

HoosierTuba wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:32 pm
Hello all, I'm a tuba player in high school and last week I decided to rent my school's bass trombone. I'm going to try to learn it as best as I can on my own within the next couple of months so I can audition for the jazz band.
I'm in a situation that is the opposite of yours. I've been practicing my bass trombone mostly and trying my best at playing tuba parts on my bass trombone in one of the bands I'm in. I just bought my 1st tuba so I can play those tuba parts on the correct instrument and I'm experiencing what a few people are stating in this thread and that is that you need to re-learn your embouchure when switching to the different horns. Mainly because of the mouthpiece size.
For me making that jump in size less drastic really helps. At least for now while I learn the basics on the tuba. Therefore I recommend a larger bass trombone mouthpiece to start on. I normally use a Shilke 59 and I find the transition fairly comfortable. I would like to try some smaller tuba mouthpieces to see if that doesn't help the transition even more. So I say start big at first and go from there. I think it will speed up the learning process. And a Shilke 60 is a pretty big bass bone mouthpiece. A Bach 1 1/2G is ok but a 1 1/4G would be better.

Cheers,
Robert
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marccromme
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Re: Bass Trombone Mouthpieces for a Tuba Player

Post by marccromme » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:01 am

BflatBass wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:50 pm
... I'm experiencing what a few people are stating in this thread and that is that you need to re-learn your embouchure when switching to the different horns. Mainly because of the mouthpiece size. ...
Ugh, ugh, I never said that. Psycologically it's a bad idea to focus on the differences which then become problems. Better focus on the similarities which help your transition.

The air and buzz you need to play a nice sounding f :bassclef: :line4: on a tenor trombone, bass trombone or Eb tuba are the same. After all, it's the same tone on all instruments. So I regard it as the same embouchure.

The feel will be different, due to different mouthpiece sizes and the conical versus cylindrical thing, as will be the sound. Just don't get upset over the different feel, concentrate on the same nice air and buzz, and enjoy the changed sound color. And practice switching between instruments every day.

You will be fine on both in few weeks ...
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Kingfan
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Re: Bass Trombone Mouthpieces for a Tuba Player

Post by Kingfan » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:54 am

HoosierTuba, I have a 1 1/2 G I'm not using right now so if you want to try one out for a while I will loan it to you for the cost of shipping both ways. PM me if interested.
I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are still missing! :D
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BrassedOn
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Re: Bass Trombone Mouthpieces for a Tuba Player

Post by BrassedOn » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:17 am

marccromme wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:01 am
BflatBass wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:50 pm
... I'm experiencing what a few people are stating in this thread and that is that you need to re-learn your embouchure when switching to the different horns. Mainly because of the mouthpiece size. ...
Ugh, ugh, I never said that. Psychologically it's a bad idea to focus on the differences which then become problems. Better focus on the similarities which help your transition.
Righto! I agree. More the same among horns than different. Many many many successful doublers. And many many have picked up bass bone to play in jazz band. And there will be days where you're feeling lost, but there is little that good warm up routines and practice can't help.

My mouthpieces for tenor, euph, bass bone, and tuba differ. A lot. For me, the mouthpiece cup and throat choices are to a large degree about the horn and classical or jazz playing context. If I'm doubling on a gig, it might be tenor and bass bone, or bass bone and tuba. But for each, I have one main mouthpiece. I did not go with anything oversize for bass bone.

Similarities? Much in how I approach playing: I always have tried to center the embouchure horizontally in the same place for all. I play with a downward airstream for all, high to mid-high vertically, but relative to the size of the mouthpiece. I have a little overbite, so I angle my bass bone to my face in a way that matches how I angle my tuba to meet the tuba leadpipe in the same way. Bass bone takes more air than my tuba, so when getting started, I had to do a lot of work moving enough air and bridging the midrange into the pedal range on bass bone. If you overly oversize the bass bone mouthpiece (big throat), you might miss a little helpful resistance on bass bone. And in Jazz Band, you might want a little "bark" in your sound.

I suggest making friends with any local pros or instructors for Bass Trombone. They may have a bucket of pieces to test out. Would be worth the price of a lesson.

The middle of the road mouthpiece selections above like Bach 1 1/2 are good choices to start. One advantage is a common point of reference with other players. I would guess that someone in your band room or in the teacher's office, someone has Bach 1.5 and Bach 1 and maybe a 1 1/4.

Once I was close to what I wanted, 1 1/4 G, and was in shape enough and had played long enough to know, I invested in Doug Elliot's setup, which gives you some modular flexibility. I tried several combinations and I found a set up that worked for me and my horn, and in two+ decades on the same horn, no real changes. Now a DE LB 111, J, 8, which is like a 1 1/2G 1 1/4G combo.

As your new mouthpiece is settling in, when it comes to doubling, overall, don't over-think it. Same as above, more similar than different. I'm guessing that you'll be playing both horns on the same day. To start, you might have separate practice sessions for tuba and bass bone, but if you're a doubler, later on, it'll be good to practice both horns in the same session to get used to switching. You also might want to pull out the tuba on some big band piece. I'll sometimes play some Walter Sear tuba etudes and then pick up the bass bone and play the same passage. That might also help you use your ear, relating what is coming out of your bass bone to your tuba as you're locking in new trombone position.

Best!
"Do less, better."
1973 King 3B Silver Sonic
1987 Bach 42BO
1994ish Getzen Eterna 1062 Dave Taylor (stacked)
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