New to bass trombone

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Bassposeur1
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2022 9:50 am

New to bass trombone

Post by Bassposeur1 »

Hello All,
I am primarily a tuba player with a tenor trombone background. 8 years of piano in grade school taught me to read treble, bass clef and read scores to some degree. playing trombone and fooling around with bassoon taught me to read(slowly) tenor clef. A vehicle accident a year ago has cost me 40 lbs and several broken back bones. I cannot hold my large Besson tuba comfortably at this time. The local community orchestra I play with has seen fit to move me to Bass trombone to help accommodate my physical limitations until I heal enough to resume my position. My current horn is an F Schmidt (Courtois) .457 f-trigger trombone. This instrument works well enough for 3rd parts but I think a true bass would better serve the orchestra as a whole. To that end I am acquiring a Reynolds Contempora single rotor bass with a 10" copper bell. It has not arrived yet so I cannot make any observations. I didn't want the expense or difficulty of learning double rotor bass at my age (60). I am not enamored of the string linkage on the Contempora, as I much prefer uniball or some other solid linkage.
I need some wisdom from you fine folks on explaining lead pipes, mouthpieces, and perhaps some literature on getting up to speed on bass trombone. This horn appears to have a fixed leadpipe. Does bass trombone use a larger shank than large bore tenor or euphonium? I have a VB 1-1/4, and 1-1/2G for my FSchmidt. Can I use these on the Contempora? The previous owner is sending along several mouthpieces. Thanks, Joe
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BGuttman
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Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:19 am
Location: Cow Hampshire

Re: New to bass trombone

Post by BGuttman »

Hi: Welcome to the Chat.

I am a bass trombonist who migrated to tuba, so I hope I can help you.

First, the Contempora has a soldered in leadpipe. It's also pretty old so removing the leadpipe is an iffy proposition. If the leadpipe is not damaged I'd recommend keeping it.

The Contempora is most at home on smaller bass mouthpieces. The 1 1/2 G or 1 1/4 G would be ideal. For orchestral bass, that's probably as much instrument as you need.

If you are used to playing an F-attachment, the single trigger bass is basically identical. If you are not familiar with the F-attachment you may find a book on how to use it useful. There are a bunch out there, but it seems that one by Brad Edwards is pretty popular now. I used one by Allen Ostrander.

Most orchestral bass trombone is not terribly taxing for range, especially if you can cover the tuba parts in Symphonie Fantastique (Berlioz). You might want to work on some bass trombone parts to develop a feel for the position. Also, work on your intonation. You don't have the assistance of valves any more and you have to learn to put the slide in the right location every time.

Good luck with your recovery.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
"Almost Professional"
hyperbolica
Posts: 2253
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:31 am

Re: New to bass trombone

Post by hyperbolica »

Wow, sorry about the accident. Bass trombone is a bit of an ergonomic train wreck. Worse than tuba. I think there are things you can do for the tuba (like a stand) that make the tuba actually easier to deal with than bass bone. To help you hold up the trombone, there is the ergobone, but it's an awkward thing, and expensive and sometimes hard to get.

If you recently got that Contempora off of eBay, that's a single valve. You can do a lot with a single trigger bass, but if you have a lot of low C and B, single trigger is going to be some extra work. You can pull the slides on the F attachment to get low C at the end of the slide, not sure about B on that horn. That horn looks to have stops for a quick pull, so you can set it up to pull to the stop, and that will give you low C at a predetermined point.

The Contempora will use the same shank mouthpiece as the Schmitt 547. Don't worry about the leadpipe. They are generally removable, but on that horn, it's soldered in, and changing the mouthpiece will give you the control you need. The mouthpieces you mentioned are good bass sizes.

Best of luck, hope you keep enjoying music.
Posaunus
Posts: 2544
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:54 pm
Location: California

Re: New to bass trombone

Post by Posaunus »

Bassposeur1 wrote: Fri Oct 28, 2022 10:14 am ... I am acquiring a Reynolds Contempora single rotor bass with a 10" copper bell. It has not arrived yet so I cannot make any observations. I didn't want the expense or difficulty of learning double rotor bass at my age (60). I am not enamored of the string linkage on the Contempora, as I much prefer uniball or some other solid linkage.
You've already received some good suggestions about mouthpieces (try what you already have first), leadpipes (leave the original one in), and literature. As for valves, I expect that you will be just fine with a single-valve bass trombone with a community orchestra. I've been doing it for years. There's very little orchestral literature (other than some "contemporary" pieces) that requires a second valve, and you will unlikely come across very many low Cs (that are quite reachable on a Contempora bass), not to mention low Bs (very rare) in a community orchestra setting.

Finally, please don't disparage string linkages until you've tried the Contempora. The linkage on my Conn 88H has worked flawlessly and quietly for five decades (I think I may have replaced the string twice), and the quite different string linkage on my King 4BF also works very well. I had a Reynolds Contempora 35 (no longer with me) and recall no issues with its very good string-linkage valve. These linkages are easy to maintain, quiet, keep their adjustment well, and do not require lubrication of ball joints (which can wear and become noisy). Keep a positive attitude and give it a try. :good:
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