On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

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ttf_anonymous
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_anonymous » Thu May 18, 2017 6:52 am

Disclaimer: heavy dosage of subjectivity ahead. Pretty much prepend "in my opinion/in my experience" to every sentence. Also, by "large-bore tenor", I am primarily thinking about those with heavier bells and a wide hand slide- Bach 42s, Edwards with heavier bells, Shires with a TW/TB47 and a bell at least as heavy as "M", etc.

Something like a 6.5AL on a small-bore or a medium-bore instrument can mimic the "large bore" sound very well for the most part, and for much less effort as well- an important factor for youngsters. In fact, I believe that most youths in grade school are not grown enough to truly squeeze the most out of a large-bore tenor- physically, musically, etc. For gear progression, a larger mouthpiece ought to be enough at first, and then only the most serious should get higher-end gear from there, and not until they are about 17 or 18.

The thing about "orchestral players use a large bore tenor because it offers a full sound" gets shoved down teenager's throats much too early. I have dealt with teenagers that sounded worse as a result of their new equipment. Their piano had the focus of a car exhaust, and their forte was underwhelming.
With their previous equipment, their piano had clarity and density, and their forte actually packed a punch.
At least in my case, none of these teens were older than 16.

If first year conservatory students, who are pretty much at the tail end of physical growth and have had intensive drilling from the professors, can sound underwhelming on large bore tenors, then grade school youths, particularly those younger than grade 12, can too- with an even higher chance.

Large-bore tenors do offer great benefits. They allow for strong acoustical presence in spite of dull halls or bad recording equipment. They also aid with fortissimo in a certain way. You know how choirs never sound "screamed" or "strained", and have this clean, spiritual sound that holds you in awe without making you wincing in pain, even at the loudest dynamics? The large-bore tenor can help you achieve that kind of fortissimo. It is extremely difficult to produce a "painful" sound. You can certainly sound very metallic and very brassy on a large-bore tenor, but it almost feels like the horn does not "let" you produce an "ugly" or a "painful" fortissimo. Heck, your lungs will be at your limits if you do manage to push a large-bore tenor to the "ugly" point.

This is where the limitations of the "small/medium bore horn with 6.5AL" come into play. It is much easier to reach that "ugly" point. Also, you can readily explore a few degrees beyond that "ugly" point, unlike on a large-bore tenor. In that "beyond ugly" zone, the sound actually starts to fall apart- where you had solidity and focus, you now have glasses breaking apart, and those sharp pieces seriously shred your tympanic membrane. Unpleasant, both aesthetically and physically.

However, most youths do not have the training to truly reach that "ugly" point on a small bore instrument, let alone a larger one. Is it any wonder that despite the "large bore = full sound" dogma, they actually sound worse on larger equipment? (EDIT: In light of Matt K's information on anatomy, let's focus on training. Speaking of which, how often do youths diligently practice their long tones, and not just the "hold the b-flat for 20 seconds" kind? Playing long phrases, where you are breathing with the horn on your face, is how your chops and air support are truly challenged in my opinion)

When teaching the ambitious youth about the "large-bore trigger horn" that orchestral players use, rather than telling them something about "They offer a fuller, richer sound", I think we ought to tell them something along the lines of "They can help you sound better in acoustically poor environments or at loud dynamics, but if you as a player are not up to par, you will actually sound worse on them."

In fact, I think that parents need to be advised that for the most part, you do not really need to buy a horn in the thousands for a grade school youth. If the said youth is auditioning for serious engagements (youth ensembles with national auditions, conservatories, professional solo opportunities, etc), then yeah (youths competent enough for such occasions often do have the maturity to handle large bore instruments properly), but otherwise, no. Some 50 odd dollars on a new toilet bowl ought to be more than enough to keep their teens at bay for a while.

What are your thoughts on this? (If this had been done to the death before, sorry!)
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Matt K » Thu May 18, 2017 7:09 am

It has been discussed at length, but querying for it is admittedly difficult. 

I typically recommend 525 horns to high school students myself but treating 547 horns as though they are physiologically unplayable until you are in your mid 20s is not particularly logical in my estimation.  Especially since people play the bass trombone and tuba at the same ages successfully.

In my personal experience, I switched to a 547 horn sometime around sophomore year of HS and I was fine. I suspect things would have been better had I not stayed on such small mouthpieces though. I stuck to 6.5ALish - 5Gish pieces throughout most of college and it wasn't until Doug handed me an XT104N rim that I really felt like I was able to truly make a characteristic sound that I was happy with. 

How far in my development I should have waited is perhaps up for debate, although I did dabble in bass trombone in high school. I purchased a 1.25G because that was all that was offered at my local shop (this was after insisting that my 6.5AL "bass trombone" mouthpiece as it was marketed as by them was just a little too small for me).  I accidentally left my normal 6.5ALish piece in the case when a horn was being worked on so all I had was my 1.25G for a few days (on large bore tenor).  My band director was unusually pleased with how I sounded despite not knowing that I had made a temporary switch.  I dismissed the comments at the time because he thought that every brass player ultimately should be emulating the euphonium... or at least that's what he said... which I thought was ridiculous. If you want a band full of euphs, just have everyone play euphs... But in hindsight I wonder if I hadn't got my hands on a 2G or something instead of the 1.25G if my progression wouldn't have been radically different for the better.

EDIT: Also to the first point, insisting that 547 requires a certain lung capacity to play is also insinuating that women are physiologically less likely to be able to play a large bore horn as well as their capacity is somewhere between 10-20% smaller than men (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12773331) and

Quote Maximum lung growth is complete in females early in adolescence
while male lungs continue to develop into early adult life (source: http://digitalcommons.hsc.unt.edu/cgi/v ... ext=theses)
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Thu May 18, 2017 7:13 am

Meh.

Bad teachers are bad teachers. I think it was Peter Moore who played on a large bore as a twelve year old and sounded truly fantastic. The whole "you grow into a large-bore" is a load of crap, in my opinion. Plenty of high school tuba players and euphonium players sound fantastic on equipment larger than a Bach 42. Now, if you SWITCH from a bundy to a Bach 42 ... and approach the Bach the same way -- here's your sign.

Bad teachers are bad teachers. If a kid wants to play a Bach 42, he doesn't need to grow into it any more than a kid needs to grow into a tuba. The teacher just needs to know how to diagnose problems and teach them.

I could see if it was an 8 year old. Give that kid an alto, cuz the Bach (or Bundy) ain't happening yet.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_hyperbolica » Thu May 18, 2017 7:39 am

Most trombones are built for adults. Lung capacity and strength to support instrument weight are factors that change with growing. Generally, teachers put the bigger kids on the bigger instruments. This says to me that size and development state do matter. I got an 88h when I was 11. It was too big for me.

Further, there is nothing that makes a 547 "better" than a 508 or 525. There's no reason to rush. I just don't get that part. There are a lot of pros who don't play 547 instruments. Why push kids into big horns? The smaller horn will be less work, and more enjoyable for the kids.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Thu May 18, 2017 7:39 am

Quote from: jongjup on May 18, 2017, 06:52AMDisclaimer: heavy dosage of subjectivity ahead. Pretty much prepend "in my opinion/in my experience" to every sentence. Also, by "large-bore tenor", I am primarily thinking about those with heavier bells and a wide hand slide- Bach 42s, Edwards with heavier bells, Shires with a TW/TB47 and a bell at least as heavy as "M", etc.

Something like a 6.5AL on a small-bore or a medium-bore instrument can mimic the "large bore" sound very well for the most part, and for much less effort as well- an important factor for youngsters. In fact, I believe that most youths in grade school are not grown enough to truly squeeze the most out of a large-bore tenor- physically, musically, etc. For gear progression, a larger mouthpiece ought to be enough at first, and then only the most serious should get higher-end gear from there, and not until they are about 17 or 18.

The thing about "orchestral players use a large bore tenor because it offers a full sound" gets shoved down teenager's throats much too early. I have dealt with teenagers that sounded worse as a result of their new equipment. Their piano had the focus of a car exhaust, and their forte was underwhelming.
With their previous equipment, their piano had clarity and density, and their forte actually packed a punch.
At least in my case, none of these teens were older than 16.

If first year conservatory students, who are pretty much at the tail end of physical growth and have had intensive drilling from the professors, can sound underwhelming on large bore tenors, then grade school youths, particularly those younger than grade 12, can too- with an even higher chance.

Large-bore tenors do offer great benefits. They allow for strong acoustical presence in spite of dull halls or bad recording equipment. They also aid with fortissimo in a certain way. You know how choirs never sound "screamed" or "strained", and have this clean, spiritual sound that holds you in awe without making you wincing in pain, even at the loudest dynamics? The large-bore tenor can help you achieve that kind of fortissimo. It is extremely difficult to produce a "painful" sound. You can certainly sound very metallic and very brassy on a large-bore tenor, but it almost feels like the horn does not "let" you produce an "ugly" or a "painful" fortissimo. Heck, your lungs will be at your limits if you do manage to push a large-bore tenor to the "ugly" point.

This is where the limitations of the "small/medium bore horn with 6.5AL" come into play. It is much easier to reach that "ugly" point. Also, you can readily explore a few degrees beyond that "ugly" point, unlike on a large-bore tenor. In that "beyond ugly" zone, the sound actually starts to fall apart- where you had solidity and focus, you now have glasses breaking apart, and those sharp pieces seriously shred your tympanic membrane. Unpleasant, both aesthetically and physically.

However, most youths do not have the training to truly reach that "ugly" point on a small bore instrument, let alone a larger one. Is it any wonder that despite the "large bore = full sound" dogma, they actually sound worse on larger equipment? (EDIT: In light of Matt K's information on anatomy, let's focus on training. Speaking of which, how often do youths diligently practice their long tones, and not just the "hold the b-flat for 20 seconds" kind? Playing long phrases, where you are breathing with the horn on your face, is how your chops and air support are truly challenged in my opinion)

When teaching the ambitious youth about the "large-bore trigger horn" that orchestral players use, rather than telling them something about "They offer a fuller, richer sound", I think we ought to tell them something along the lines of "They can help you sound better in acoustically poor environments or at loud dynamics, but if you as a player are not up to par, you will actually sound worse on them."

In fact, I think that parents need to be advised that for the most part, you do not really need to buy a horn in the thousands for a grade school youth. If the said youth is auditioning for serious engagements (youth ensembles with national auditions, conservatories, professional solo opportunities, etc), then yeah (youths competent enough for such occasions often do have the maturity to handle large bore instruments properly), but otherwise, no. Some 50 odd dollars on a new toilet bowl ought to be more than enough to keep their teens at bay for a while.

What are your thoughts on this? (If this had been done to the death before, sorry!)

FWIW, I happen to agree with you. However, when a child sees an upperclassman playing a larger horn, it's hard to imagine that child not petitioning his parents for a larger horn. Call it "size matters". Call it "hero worship". Call it "peer pressure". But nine chances out of ten, it will be THE determining factor in what size horn he thinks he wants. Add to that anyone who praises a larger sound over a more focused sound and it becomes inescapable.

 "We begin by coveting what we see every day." - Hannibal Lechter

Now - if somehow - that same child could be shown that he could also produce a large sound, but on a smaller horn (it can be done), then that child might pride himself on the accomplishment and strive to show up the big kids with their big horns.

...Geezer
ttf_bonenick
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_bonenick » Thu May 18, 2017 7:56 am

Quote from: harrison.t.reed on May 18, 2017, 07:13AMBad teachers are bad teachers.

I tend to agree. No matter what the instrument, or the bore, lack of control is not likely to be cause by any pipes, but lack of intelligent practice.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Burgerbob » Thu May 18, 2017 11:23 am

My problem with .525s is that they end up being a white elephant after that growing period. Yes, yes, yes, the .525 isn't useless by any means, but it ends up being a horn not suited for anything after a student has moved on to a .547 (or more likely, stopped playing... another discussion!).

As Harrison said, bad teaching is bad teaching. I'm not disagreeing with the OP entirely, either- I think the bad teaching extends to teachers that force middle school students to use large bore instruments too.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Bimmerman » Thu May 18, 2017 2:38 pm

I have never liked .547 tenors. They have never been as fun to play, for me, as a small to medium bore horn. I enjoy playing orchestral excerpts and melodic etudes but I prefer livelier trombone sounds over the dull broad sounds I have ever gotten from any .547 I have tried. Similarly, Bass isn't my thing.

Honestly, I'm a big proponent of the .525/.547 horn. I have found that setup to be far more fun and versatile in all playing situations I have encountered than the .547s. Sure, if I studied music in college, or tried to earn rent money by playing, I'd have a different opinion. But, as an amateur hobbyist, my Edwards .525/547 has served me very well from high school through grad school.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_bigbassbone1 » Thu May 18, 2017 3:10 pm

Quote from: harrison.t.reed on May 18, 2017, 07:13AMMeh.

Bad teachers are bad teachers. I think it was Peter Moore who played on a large bore as a twelve year old and sounded truly fantastic. The whole "you grow into a large-bore" is a load of crap, in my opinion. Plenty of high school tuba players and euphonium players sound fantastic on equipment larger than a Bach 42. Now, if you SWITCH from a bundy to a Bach 42 ... and approach the Bach the same way -- here's your sign.

Bad teachers are bad teachers. If a kid wants to play a Bach 42, he doesn't need to grow into it any more than a kid needs to grow into a tuba. The teacher just needs to know how to diagnose problems and teach them.

I could see if it was an 8 year old. Give that kid an alto, cuz the Bach (or Bundy) ain't happening yet.

 Image well said.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Max Croot » Thu May 18, 2017 5:43 pm

Hi. I agree. I think that a lot of young people are playing equipment that they can't handle. When I was a student way back we were not even allowed to use a trigger until we mastered the slide and could use the 7th position. How times change.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Ellrod » Thu May 18, 2017 6:04 pm

So I guess bass trombone is out of the question for a young player?
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_schlitzbeer » Thu May 18, 2017 6:38 pm

Quote from: Ellrod on May 18, 2017, 06:04PMSo I guess bass trombone is out of the question for a young player?


Well, as your approximately 4'11"-5'4", needing 3 seat cushions just to SEE over the dashboard, yes. For those of us that were 6'3" or higher at 16, we drove full sized trucks, tractors, and started to pick up the bigger horns at this age.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_MrPillow » Thu May 18, 2017 6:40 pm

I guess I should stop trying to play bass trombone, I'll never hit 6'3"  Image
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Ellrod » Thu May 18, 2017 6:42 pm

Many people don't know this but Doug Yeo is 7 feet tall.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_schlitzbeer » Thu May 18, 2017 6:45 pm

Quote from: MrPillow on May 18, 2017, 06:40PMI guess I should stop trying to play bass trombone, I'll never hit 6'3"  Image

Nope. You probably had one of those genetic markers, indicating that you were trainable.... A CT release limits me to a single valve. And I have to duck to get through every door.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_schlitzbeer » Thu May 18, 2017 6:50 pm

Quote from: Ellrod on May 18, 2017, 06:42PMMany people don't know this but Doug Yeo is 7 feet tall.

Yeah, I can look him straight in the eye, with a firm handshake....
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Exzaclee » Thu May 18, 2017 6:51 pm

Quote from: schlitzbeer on May 18, 2017, 06:38PM
Well, as your approximately 4'11"-5'4", needing 3 seat cushions just to SEE over the dashboard, yes. For those of us that were 6'3" or higher at 16, we drove full sized trucks, tractors, and started to pick up the bigger horns at this age.

i liked to beat guys like you up when i was that age ( I was 5' 8 and weighed 108 soaking wet then.) It ain't the size of the dog in the fight...

of course I was a wrestler. And the trambone is ultimately a beast that needs wrasslin' regardless of the size or flavor.

Quote from: Ellrod on May 18, 2017, 06:04PMSo I guess bass trombone is out of the question for a young player?

I don't think so - I've had great bass trombone players who were tiny. A trigger does make certain things easier. Keep in mind, a bass trombone is a different instrument despite just being the same instrument with a larger bore and stupid-big mouthpiece.

I personally think a .547 isn't the right horn for many regardless of size. I played a 4BF my sophomore year, but I also did so on a 6.5AL - I think I sounded better on large horns then than I do now. Mouthpiece is a big part of the equation as well. You try putting someone on a 5G or larger who should be on something smaller it'll sound like crap. If you put someone on a 12C who should be on something larger it'll sound like crap. Most band directors don't know what the hell they're doing anyway so leaving the matter up to them is about as smart as assuming that size has a g******* thing to do with it.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_schlitzbeer » Thu May 18, 2017 7:03 pm

Quote from: Exzaclee on May 18, 2017, 06:51PMi liked to beat guys like you up when i was that age ( I was 5' 8 and weighed 108 soaking wet then.) It ain't the size of the dog in the fight...

of course I was a wrestler. And the trambone is ultimately a beast that needs wrasslin' regardless of the size or flavor.



No kidding. I was 5' 8 in the 6th grade. El Rado has no sense of humor. Yes, Bach had several children despite his shortcomings.....
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Ellrod » Thu May 18, 2017 8:43 pm

This caught my eye.

"Well, my mother, in Des Moines, Iowa asked if I wanted to go see my brother play baritone saxophone in the junior high school band. I said that would be fine. We went to Washington Irving Junior High School in Des Moines, Iowa where the band was playing and my mother asked me if I would like to play one of those instruments on stage. I told my mother that I would love to play one of those things that “goes up and down with your hands”. Mother said that we should go ask the teacher. The teacher informed my mother that I would never play trombone because my arms were not long enough. The teacher put me on clarinet. I quickly replied that I did not want to play clarinet – I wanted to play trombone! I could smell the slide oil already. Anyway, I ended up playing clarinet in the school band for two years. It was really kind of funny, the way I ended up on clarinet but I just hated it!
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_anonymous » Fri May 19, 2017 2:03 am

For youths aspiring to play bass, making them play the third, fourth, and bass parts on a carefully selected mouthpiece with an "intermediate" 0.525" bore instrument, or maybe a 0.547" instrument depending on the said youth's development, ought to do it. This is also reminiscent of how those bores were wide enough to function as bass instruments in the past, when people were smaller, halls were smaller, etc.

Yeah, I meant to primarily address the "mover-uppers". Those who happened to start on a large bore and sounded reasonably good on it from the start do not have adjustments to make, and are probably used to the demands of a large-bore. I think cases of starting on a large-bore and having reasonable facility from the start are the exception rather than the norm, though. Many youths start on something small and "move up"; depending on the technical maturity of the said youth, it can be just too much of a jump.

I would think that youths typically like playing loudly, but also in bursts- like, blasting a low F and taking the horn off the face for 5 minutes. In my opinion, this does not really develop the kind of breathing needed for properly supporting a large-bore tenor. What compounds the problem I think is that not too many youths actually like to play long, flowing melodies, or truly exert themselves for an extended period of time. Maintaining a beautiful sound where you take breaths with the horn on your face is actually not as easy as it sounds, and youths often do not appreciate/respect that fact.

I have a case study: teaching students to play "caro mio ben". The E-flat major version of the song only uses the range Eb3 - F4, does not have crazy rhythms going on, and is in a nice, slow tempo (by the way, it is a very beautiful song, I encourage you to go listen to it. A rendition due to Malena Ernman, in E-flat, is available on YouTube. She is a woman, so she would obviously sing this an octave higher than what is natural for the trombone). Youths can typically sight read this without much problem, so they get cocky. When I introduce some quality control (most notably *hold the notes to their full value* among others; by the way, in the score, the note values are actually lot longer than what the recordings may imply), it quickly becomes "the hardest thing I ever played". They are sweating, their faces are flushed red, and "oh my face is on fire! oh my back is so sore!"


As for arms, any grown adult, even those standing at about 5', have long enough arms to reach 7th; sitting slightly sideways and tilting the shoulder does it.
Yamaha has manufactured student-grade trigger horns (these triggers actually raise the key to C rather than lowering it to F) to address this for the growing youths.


QuoteI personally think a .547 isn't the right horn for many regardless of size. I played a 4BF my sophomore year, but I also did so on a 6.5AL - I think I sounded better on large horns then than I do now. Mouthpiece is a big part of the equation as well. You try putting someone on a 5G or larger who should be on something smaller it'll sound like crap. If you put someone on a 12C who should be on something larger it'll sound like crap. Most band directors don't know what the hell they're doing anyway so leaving the matter up to them is about as smart as assuming that size has a g******* thing to do with it.
Appropriate mouthpieces are also a factor, yes. I would also think that ambitious youths should be introduced to bigger mouthpieces first, rather than bigger horns first.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Pre59 » Fri May 19, 2017 4:35 am

Quote from: Ellrod on May 18, 2017, 08:43PMThis caught my eye.

"Well, my mother, in Des Moines, Iowa asked if I wanted to go see my brother play baritone saxophone in the junior high school band. I said that would be fine. We went to Washington Irving Junior High School in Des Moines, Iowa where the band was playing and my mother asked me if I would like to play one of those instruments on stage. I told my mother that I would love to play one of those things that “goes up and down with your hands”. Mother said that we should go ask the teacher. The teacher informed my mother that I would never play trombone because my arms were not long enough. The teacher put me on clarinet. I quickly replied that I did not want to play clarinet – I wanted to play trombone! I could smell the slide oil already. Anyway, I ended up playing clarinet in the school band for two years. It was really kind of funny, the way I ended up on clarinet but I just hated it!
.


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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Fri May 19, 2017 5:17 am

Personally, I started on a conn director with a 12C when I was 11 and sounded like crap. I "moved up" to a Bach 36 when I was a bit older and played a 6.5AL and sounded like crap. On an 88H with a 2CL I sounded better. On an Edwards with the Alessi abomination, I sounded the best I've been able to sound. In my opinion and perspective, I feel like the smaller stuff only STARTS working once the player gets really strong.

of course I am 12 ft tall and I weigh 4 metric tons so, who knows. It could just be practice.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Matt K » Fri May 19, 2017 5:28 am

Given that one of the former bass trombonists of the Pittsburgh symphony was a rather short individual (I dont' want to assume but I heard perhaps a dwarf?) the idea that someone shouldn't play tenor trombone because their facility on four notes unaided by an F attachment might take a little extra work is so unbelievably absurd.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Exzaclee » Fri May 19, 2017 5:55 am

Quote from: jongjup on May 19, 2017, 02:03AMAppropriate mouthpieces are also a factor, yes. I would also think that ambitious youths should be introduced to bigger mouthpieces first, rather than bigger horns first.

That's an interesting idea, and one that may have a lot of merit to it. For years I thought I should be playing a smaller mpc but I never could make anything below a 6.5AL work for me. Apparently my embouchure doesn't like small stuff. Doug got me on something bigger and it works wonders. If it were possible to have some sort of diagnostic to find something closer to a student's true size in the beginning...

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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Fri May 19, 2017 6:13 am

Quote from: Exzaclee on May 19, 2017, 05:55AMThat's an interesting idea, and one that may have a lot of merit to it. For years I thought I should be playing a smaller mpc but I never could make anything below a 6.5AL work for me. Apparently my embouchure doesn't like small stuff. Doug got me on something bigger and it works wonders. If it were possible to have some sort of diagnostic to find something closer to a student's true size in the beginning...


5'7"; 165 pounds. Ding!

They started me out on a 12C on a peashooter and I sounded like crap. It hadn't trickled down yet in my neck-of-the-woods when I was a youth as to that there even WERE different tenor mouthpiece sizes! Of the three instructors I had at the time, NONE of them thought to have me try a somewhat larger mouthpiece and they ALL carped at me over my lousy tone. I probably could have greatly benefited from a 7C or the like on most any size horn. It wasn't until recently that I could handle a 12C. That's a specialty mouthpiece and contrary to popular opinion, it apparently takes a more well-developed embouchure and sound concept to handle; clearly NOT a beginner piece. Anyway, that's how I perceive it. So yeah, check the box for a correctly-sized mouthpiece trumping a horn of any size/shape.

Would we start a rank beginner clarinet player - on any size clarinet - on a pro reed? Duh!

...Geezer
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_BGuttman » Fri May 19, 2017 7:08 am

Quote from: Matt K on May 19, 2017, 05:28AMGiven that one of the former bass trombonists of the Pittsburgh symphony was a rather short individual (I dont' want to assume but I heard perhaps a dwarf?) the idea that someone shouldn't play tenor trombone because their facility on four notes unaided by an F attachment might take a little extra work is so unbelievably absurd.

That was Byron McCollough.  He admitted he didn't have a 6th position and that's why he took up bass.  There is a famous picture of him with his double trigger bass next to Lew Van Haney (who was a large person in all dimensions) holding an alto.  McCollough was short, but I don't think he suffered from dwarfism.

The original reason that Emory Remington used to start his students on large bore horns was because bass trombone was not recognized as a specialty or a separate instrument.  His students played "trombone" and could be asked to play any chair in the orchestra.  You can do that on a large bore like a Conn 88H.  Once you get the chair you could then gear up with the appropriate size instruments.

I don't think kids should be excluded from large bore horns nor should they be forced into them.  A youngster who can't fill a large bore tenor does a disservice to one (and the horn does a disservice to the student).  But some do great on large bore trombones.  Have the kids play instruments they find comfortable and work on their technique.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_anonymous » Fri May 19, 2017 7:34 am

Quote A youngster who can't fill a large bore tenor does a disservice to one (and the horn does a disservice to the student).  But some do great on large bore trombones.  Have the kids play instruments they find comfortable and work on their technique.
Wise indeed, although I am tempted to assert that the under-fillers are much more common.

The clarinet reed case reminds me.
For the most part, youths are started on softer reeds, and then moved up into stiffer ones. However, there is "that" kid. "That" kid sounds bad on a softer reed because her/his cheeks are clamping down like a pit-bull and s/he is blowing apart the reed into oblivion. Getting them something stiffer right away immediately mitigates the problem, and they develop a truly magnificent sound.

Speaking of mouthpieces, I would think that your dental structure could play a role. Certain mouthpieces just do not sit right against my teeth.

On the note of jacking up mouthpiece sizes as a youth, I have a tale to share on that front.


When I hit grade 12, I was playing large bore tenor with 5G. I was being taught by a local symphony player, who thoroughly trained me on breathing and support. However, 5G began to feel "cramped". I got curious about "the beyond".

Rebelling against common wisdom (i.e. "tenor trombone teens should not play 4G or bigger- that's for music school and professional level players with huge chops"), I secretly tried a 4G, and then a 3G. I had enough training on forming a healthy embouchure, so I successfully avoided pitfalls like excessive pressure against the teeth. My sound did not "deteriorate"; however, it did acquire a certain width that was almost reminiscent of a bass trombone.

The transition was definitely not a walk in the park, though. My face was burning in ways that I did not even anticipate on the 5G. More room with the mouthpiece meant I had to be more conscious about my embouchure- how much of my lips was contributing to actual buzzing, how much of my lips was sealed for embouchure-level support, really trying not to stretch my lips excessively across my teeth, really being aware about the pressure that the mouthpiece is exerting (IMO, with smaller pieces, even if you don't know what you are doing, the mouthpiece can help support your embouchure quite a bit; not a chance on bigger ones) etc.  

It certainly opened up a new dimension in the way of thinking about embouchure, and was a great learning experience. In retrospect, the adults were right though- big pieces surely take a lot out of you. Because so much is under your control with a bigger mouthpiece, if you do not know what you are doing, a big mouthpiece can be nothing but detrimental. However, for frustrated or ambitious students, it just may well be what the doctor ordered.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_bonenick » Fri May 19, 2017 7:51 am

Ah...the joys of a Brass teacher. The instrument should not be a hindrance or an obstacle. After all, what counts is how it sounds and how much fun the kid have with it.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Ellrod » Fri May 19, 2017 8:08 am

If I were king of the world, I'd have kids on .508 horns with sensibly built F triggers (that rules out King 3B/Fs). Yamaha has a dual bore about that size, as does Kanstul I think. .547s by special permission to NYO types only.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Fri May 19, 2017 8:19 am

Quote from: Ellrod on May 19, 2017, 08:08AMIf I were king of the world, I'd have kids on .508 horns with sensibly built F triggers (that rules out King 3B/Fs). Yamaha has a dual bore about that size, as does Kanstul I think. .547s by special permission to NYO types only.

No it doesn't, King Ellrod. lol It just means you have to raise a callous on your left thumb!  Image

...Geezer
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Ellrod » Fri May 19, 2017 8:48 am

Why King persists in this design baffles me, especially when the valves on, for example, the 88H are excellent.
So, no 3B/Fs until King smarten up.  A shame really. A decent valve and they'd be great horns. IMHO YMMV.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Fri May 19, 2017 9:03 am

Quote from: jongjup on May 19, 2017, 07:34AMWise indeed, although I am tempted to assert that the under-fillers are much more common.

The clarinet reed case reminds me.
For the most part, youths are started on softer reeds, and then moved up into stiffer ones. However, there is "that" kid. "That" kid sounds bad on a softer reed because her/his cheeks are clamping down like a pit-bull and s/he is blowing apart the reed into oblivion. Getting them something stiffer right away immediately mitigates the problem, and they develop a truly magnificent sound.

Speaking of mouthpieces, I would think that your dental structure could play a role. Certain mouthpieces just do not sit right against my teeth.

On the note of jacking up mouthpiece sizes as a youth, I have a tale to share on that front.


When I hit grade 12, I was playing large bore tenor with 5G. I was being taught by a local symphony player, who thoroughly trained me on breathing and support. However, 5G began to feel "cramped". I got curious about "the beyond".

Rebelling against common wisdom (i.e. "tenor trombone teens should not play 4G or bigger- that's for music school and professional level players with huge chops"), I secretly tried a 4G, and then a 3G. I had enough training on forming a healthy embouchure, so I successfully avoided pitfalls like excessive pressure against the teeth. My sound did not "deteriorate"; however, it did acquire a certain width that was almost reminiscent of a bass trombone.

The transition was definitely not a walk in the park, though. My face was burning in ways that I did not even anticipate on the 5G. More room with the mouthpiece meant I had to be more conscious about my embouchure- how much of my lips was contributing to actual buzzing, how much of my lips was sealed for embouchure-level support, really trying not to stretch my lips excessively across my teeth, really being aware about the pressure that the mouthpiece is exerting (IMO, with smaller pieces, even if you don't know what you are doing, the mouthpiece can help support your embouchure quite a bit; not a chance on bigger ones) etc.  

It certainly opened up a new dimension in the way of thinking about embouchure, and was a great learning experience. In retrospect, the adults were right though- big pieces surely take a lot out of you. Because so much is under your control with a bigger mouthpiece, if you do not know what you are doing, a big mouthpiece can be nothing but detrimental. However, for frustrated or ambitious students, it just may well be what the doctor ordered.

Back on topic, it's true; some guys have DNA for Herculean chops. I hate them. lol But until an instructor can identify a young student as one of "those", it makes sense to start them out on a medium-size mouthpiece for the specific size of horn they will try to play.

Note that this has changed over the years! Some 60+ years ago, when I got my first trombone, a 12C was probably considered a medium-sized mouthpiece for the ultra-small bore 1940's horn I was handed. You should see the original mouthpiece! A French horn player today would think it was about right. But today is today and everything is sized differently - including a lot of the players!

A small-bore horn is probably a dinosaur. And the requests for them in ensemble or band work is probably very diminished and/or very specialized. I can't blame band directors and students for gravitating to larger-bore horns that could work in a variety of settings. To err on the size of larger is probably better these days than to err on the size of smaller.

...Geezer
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_ddickerson » Fri May 19, 2017 9:21 am

My first instructor, Houston Symphony principal trombonist, advised me to get a King 3B and a Back 6.5AL. He said it would last a lifetime. I had to work through the summer as a dishwasher in a bowing alley to be able to come up with half the money, and Christmas my parents kicked in the other half. LOL!

I've gone through a lot of horns since those days, but I have settled in with the Kanstul 1550, which is basically very close to the 3B - .500 bore instead of the .508, but both have the 8" bell.

So, theoretically, he was right.

Work on your software is my advice.   
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_robcat2075 » Fri May 19, 2017 10:09 am

I'm always surprised at how big a deal the bore size seems to be since the difference in the geometric volume of the air column of a .547 over a .525 is only 8.5%.  It would seem trivial compared to the difference between a trombone and a euphonium.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Sat May 20, 2017 4:38 am

Quote from: ddickerson on May 19, 2017, 09:21AMMy first instructor, Houston Symphony principal trombonist, advised me to get a King 3B and a Back 6.5AL. He said it would last a lifetime. I had to work through the summer as a dishwasher in a bowing alley to be able to come up with half the money, and Christmas my parents kicked in the other half. LOL!

I've gone through a lot of horns since those days, but I have settled in with the Kanstul 1550, which is basically very close to the 3B - .500 bore instead of the .508, but both have the 8" bell.

So, theoretically, he was right.

Work on your software is my advice.   

But the Kanstul 1550 has a fixed lead pipe. What if someone buys a 1550 and doesn't like the lead pipe? To my knowledge, Kanstul uses three different styles of lead pipe. Unless a buyer calls the factory, how would he know which one the 1500 has? It would be a little pricey to have it pulled and a threaded one inserted after-market. Perhaps a special order, called in to the factory could yield a 1550 with the type of lead pipe the buyer wants, instead of whatever comes stock? Did you test-blow yours before you bought it?

When someone buys a used vintage horn, they presumably are doing so b/c they know it and want it. Kanstuls aren't vintage and aren't yet considered classic - like Shires, Edwards, Bachs, etc - so unless you are familiar specifically with their line - having played them in the past - as a new buyer, might you be buying a pig-in-a-poke?

Quote from: robcat2075 on May 19, 2017, 10:09AMI'm always surprised at how big a deal the bore size seems to be since the difference in the geometric volume of the air column of a .547 over a .525 is only 8.5%.  It would seem trivial compared to the difference between a trombone and a euphonium.

So? What does this have to do with educators pushing large-bore vs small-bore trombones for youths?

...Geezer
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_ddickerson » Sat May 20, 2017 5:03 am

Geezer, from what I understand about the 1550, is that the fixed lead pipe is the middle one. I don't remember now the name that they have for it. It plays well for me, and when I was at the factory, I tried all three lead pipes on the model that was similar, 1555, and I was very satisfied with the lead pipe that they use for the 1550.

Besides, I spend all my time improving the software.

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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_bonenick » Sat May 20, 2017 5:27 am

Guys,

Once in the so called Eeastern block (Europe) students would just get whatever was available for them at the beginning and make it work. I read in few places that Timofei Dokschitzer started on 7E mp (trumpet, if not obvious) because that was the only thing available to him. I am pretty sure that similar experiences can be found in the early days of early jazz/blues street bands.

Now we are pampered, so much choice. I started on a ****** amati trumpet.

Because of lack of knowledge and experience in trombone stuff, I got a large bore chinese tenor. Still sound pretty decent (yes of course, my high school days are gone long time ago)

Physical limits can and should make you put a student on lighter, smaller instrument possibly with a shorter handslide.
How we sound is more a function of our "software" Even if I get the biggest tenor available, I will still sound like me.

The right equipment in my philosophy is the one that makes me sound like the best of me with the least effort possible.
Conventions are another story - you don't go in an orchestral audition with a King 2B...
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Sat May 20, 2017 6:23 am

I think you guys make a good point. Whatever is handed to you, play it like it was 1999!

We oftentimes get hung up on so-and-so playing a whaty-what. Good for him. He's at the point where he can milk every drop out of specialized equipment to a point where probably only he or someone of his caliber could even detect a difference. And if thrown a piece-of-crap horn, would probably still sound like a million bucks on it to the rest of us. Also, he's probably gigging his butt off and prefers equipment that does what he wants it to do with minimal effort on his part.

Therefore, what I look for in equipment also is ease in getting the sound and technique out that I want for a specific purpose, so that I don't have to blow my brains out as hard to get it either. I'm not sure that middle school and junior high school students are anywhere near that point, so it probably doesn't matter if they play a medium-bore or a large-bore horn; as long as they can fill it and/or reach with it. And as was previously mentioned, a correctly-sized mouthpiece is probably THE most important part of it anyway. If a  given senior high school student is at that point, then they are probably serious about it and a specialized horn or two could be a could long-term investment for them. I know a fellow who, in high school, decided he was serious about bass trombone and got the best he could get. He still plays it, some 20 years later.

...Geezer
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Bob Riddle » Sun May 21, 2017 2:46 pm

The two Kanstul 1550  models I have played had very large tones for the bore size(.500).Both had the copper bells. Both had interchangeable lead-pipes. For my money one of the most under rated pro horns available.Very easy horn to play and get a good sound on.
  I also believe that every teacher should think of development over a period of time as the student grows,not just physically ,but also efficiency-wise so they may be better able to handle the larger bore instruments/mouthpieces.
  I don't know if this is the best way.I have seen it work for the benefit of students more often than not.

VHY
Bob Riddle
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Tue May 23, 2017 4:22 am

In Soviet Union, large-bore chooses you!
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_bonenick » Tue May 23, 2017 4:39 am

Soviet Union does not exist anymore. As I said, once in this corner of the world you would just play what was available. Now all big cities have decent brass dealers where you can get many different instruments.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Tue May 23, 2017 5:44 am

In Soviet Union, Nesterov plays you!

Sorry, couldn't help it. I am fascinated with Eastern Europe. Anywhere where borscht and pelmeni and paprikash chicken are consumed -- those places are OK in my book!

What is too bad is that in the places which gave us all the greats from Kalashnikov to Kasparov, you couldn't buy foreign goods easily or exchange ideas freely until after 1992.

And now it's reversed -- in the USA you can't buy many Russian goods now ...
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_anonymous » Wed May 24, 2017 11:36 am

For whippersnappers like me, could anyone tell what's wrong with the King 3B thumb trigger? I take it it is not ergonomic at all?
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Wed May 24, 2017 11:52 am

I like mine!
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_BGuttman » Wed May 24, 2017 11:53 am

Quote from: jongjup on May 24, 2017, 11:36AMFor whippersnappers like me, could anyone tell what's wrong with the King 3B thumb trigger? I take it it is not ergonomic at all?

It's plenty ergonomic for me.  I actually like that arrangement.  It was designed for people used to holding straight tenors with the thumb around the bell brace.  Here's an F-attachment you hold exactly the same way.  It's also good because you can support the weight of the instrument in the webbing between your thumb and first finger.  This will avoid tendinitis when you overuse the two smaller fingers of the left hand to support the weight of the trombone.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Matt K » Wed May 24, 2017 12:09 pm

I actually prefer the 3B style as well personally.
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On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors

Post by ttf_Matt K » Wed May 24, 2017 12:09 pm

I actually prefer the 3B style as well personally.
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