Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

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Burgerbob
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Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Burgerbob »

I went through a bunch of setups today after work. Bad idea but you can't stop me!

I'm comparing everything to the Curran on the right stand-

Image

I have three Bach 50 bells- 1981, corp, and corp screwbell. I also have three slides at the moment, Edwards DBN (dual bore, nickel crook), Shires B62/78 (dual bore, nickel crook), and a stock '81 Bach 50 slide that was rebuilt for me. All is played on my Olsen axial setup, seamed copper reverse Hoelle tuning slide.

'81 bell pairs well with my 50 slide (the slide it came with, actually) and to a lesser extent my Edwards DBN. With the Shires slide it gets a little thinner, nasal perhaps. It's still a good sound but just not it. I was playing this recently against the Curran and really wondering if I should keep the monster at all. Turns out it was just a bad match.

Corp bell matches perfectly with the Shires slide. It's by far the closest sound and playability to the Curran model, though with more color and I think a bit less dynamic headroom before the color takes over. I'd need to play them more though. It also works with the other slides, though the Edwards makes it a bit tubby, something less refined.

Screwbell does NOT work with the shires, it's more of the same with the '81 bell- thinner, nasal, the broadness is lost. I've noted this in the past so it's no big surprise. DBN is ok with it, probably the easiest to play. 50 slide works surprisingly well too.

What did we learn? Setups can be ultra picky. You cannot just throw components together and get a good instrument, even if everything is good by itself. The Curran is a great example, you can piece together a random Shires with all good parts that SUCKS. And i can do the same thing with my monster bass. Finding a combo that actually works is really worth the time and effort
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by harrisonreed »

Honestly try the harmonic bridge from Edwards. You can tailor the instrument to the room or section and not think about swapping parts or walking home with a horn that sounded great in the showroom but sucks pond water where you need to play it.

I love the central long pilar - big hall, need to project? Screw all the way out. Dead room or too much going on to hear myself? Screw all the way in.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by ithinknot »

So the slide that never sucks is the stock Bach.

How rebuilt is rebuilt - still a Bach leadpipe, or did you sneak in something made from francium and ivory?
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by MrHCinDE »

Interesting observations, what are the differences between the two dual bore slides? On the face of it pretty minimal differences. Which leadpipe(s) did you use?

As an aside, I have a pretty much standard Bach 50 slide (though with nickel crook, maybe that was a retrofit?) and I like how it plays with any combination of bass or tenor bell sections I tried it with. It’s a bit too much effort to play regularly on tenor and frankly I don’t need that volume for any groups I play in but it is fun to play. Is the Bach 50 the universal .562” slide?
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Matt K »

Sounds to some degree like the leadpipe paired with the bell section is also predictive assuming it’s stock or similar. The Bach leadpipe design seems to be a panacea for a lot of builds
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Crazy4Tbone86 »

I occasionally do experiments like this and find that the mouthpiece and leadpipe are the components that really determine the success of a modular combination. My two favorite mouthpieces (both Doug Elliott) for bass trombone are very similar: LB115N and XB115N. I also have five shanks with throats that graduate by .002 inch that work with both of these mouthpieces. I have a couple of other mouthpieces that sometimes work best for certain modular combinations. Throw about ten .562 leadpipes into mix and the number of mouthpiece/leadpipe variations can be in the hundreds, all of which have the potential to be slightly different.

I find that I must maintain records that describe how the different combinations play. I keep a folder full of files on my computer that describe all of the pairings. Otherwise, it is easy to forget what I have done in the past. Most of the time I don’t find an improvement over what I am presently using…..and that is OK. It just validates that I am currently using the best combination.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Burgerbob »

harrisonreed wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 12:31 am Honestly try the harmonic bridge from Edwards. You can tailor the instrument to the room or section and not think about swapping parts or walking home with a horn that sounded great in the showroom but sucks pond water where you need to play it.

I love the central long pilar - big hall, need to project? Screw all the way out. Dead room or too much going on to hear myself? Screw all the way in.
Yeah, but then I'd have to play an Edwards... :pant:
ithinknot wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 2:16 am So the slide that never sucks is the stock Bach.

How rebuilt is rebuilt - still a Bach leadpipe, or did you sneak in something made from francium and ivory?
Just a new crook, the old one was totally bashed in. It never sucks, but it's also the hardest slide to play by a large margin. There's a reason I've gone through probably 15+ 50 slides and kept 0 of them over the years. This one does seem to play better than most though.
MrHCinDE wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 2:55 am Interesting observations, what are the differences between the two dual bore slides? On the face of it pretty minimal differences. Which leadpipe(s) did you use?

I should have mentioned that. Both slides are the "same" with nickel oversleeves, yellow tubes, nickel crook. Shires uses different length oversleeves and Edwards uses same length. And of course there are many other small differences. I use the 2 leadpipe from each manufacture.
Matt K wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 6:28 am Sounds to some degree like the leadpipe paired with the bell section is also predictive assuming it’s stock or similar. The Bach leadpipe design seems to be a panacea for a lot of builds
I use the 2 leadpipe from each- I have a 50 leadpipe that I can put in my dual bores but it straight up does not work with any of these setups. Maybe if I had a single bore or put it in a 50 slide it would.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by sterb225 »

The fixed Edwards horns with harmonic bridges are not for everyone. If you connect with one that truly speaks to you, it can be a game changer. Eliminating the temptation to fuss with parts makes me think a lot harder about my role in the body/horn system when a challenge arises. I spent a decade on the modular carousel and hope to never go back.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Bach5G »

Maybe you have too many choices?
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Burgerbob »

Bach5G wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 10:02 am Maybe you have too many choices?
Oh absolutely. I have 4 more basses as well... That's part of the fun :)
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by harrisonreed »

Burgerbob wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 8:27 am
Yeah, but then I'd have to play an Edwards... :pant:
The key word being "an" Edwards! :cool:
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Burgerbob »

harrisonreed wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 4:03 pm
Burgerbob wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 8:27 am
Yeah, but then I'd have to play an Edwards... :pant:
The key word being "an" Edwards! :cool:
Yes, which is boooorrriinnngg
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by harrisonreed »

:weep:
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Posaunus »

Burgerbob wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 4:44 pm
harrisonreed wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 4:03 pm
The key word being "an" Edwards! :cool:
Yes, which is boooorrriinnngg
Because Edwards trombones are consistently good instead of all-over-the-lot samples from Bach?
[A surprise inside every Bach trombone case!]
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Matt K »

That makes sense, I’ve been using the 2 on my 562/578 for almost a year now too. Meaning to try a 50 pipe but they come a little to big for 562 stock and haven’t gotten around to having it sized appropriately.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by norbie2018 »

I'd rather go to the factory, spend 3 hrs getting a horn fit to me, then spend years sampling dozens of trombones only to sell them off after a couple of months. Just saying.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by JohnL »

norbie2018 wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 5:33 pm I'd rather go to the factory, spend 3 hrs getting a horn fit to me, then spend years sampling dozens of trombones only to sell them off after a couple of months. Just saying.
Where's the fun in that?
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by harrisonreed »

I think the factory trip might even be misleading. The showroom is not going to be like a concert hall. Unless you're performing in a showroom or large practice room, you aren't getting a good idea of how the horn will be at work.

That's the last thing I'll put in for the HB. I don't know about the basses, but with the T-350 you can build a horn that is great in a small room, and can be adapted for playing huge in a concert hall with one screw. I think the bass is completely stock though.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Bach5G »

JohnL wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 6:05 pm
norbie2018 wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 5:33 pm I'd rather go to the factory, spend 3 hrs getting a horn fit to me, then spend years sampling dozens of trombones only to sell them off after a couple of months. Just saying.
Where's the fun in that?
Back in 2005, I spent an enjoyable day at the Shires shop trying out horns. It was less a matter of taking horns for a test drive and more like a restaurant or bakery: “Here, try this. It just came out of the oven.” I had thought I’d get something along the lines of an Elkhart 79H but instead, put together a combination that was more like a super 3B, based on what Gabe and I thought worked/sounded the best. With a Trubore, a straight gooseneck, and a counterweight, it came to about $3500.

Subsequently I acquired a 8.5” bell and a .547 slide from Trombone Forum classifieds, which gives me several combinations. I do use various setups on a regular basis depending on the circumstances, or my mood.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by TheBoneRanger »

Bach has been making custom instruments for decades. They just forgot to tell anyone...
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by norbie2018 »

harrisonreed wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 6:33 pm I think the factory trip might even be misleading. The showroom is not going to be like a concert hall. Unless you're performing in a showroom or large practice room, you aren't getting a good idea of how the horn will be at work.

That's the last thing I'll put in for the HB. I don't know about the basses, but with the T-350 you can build a horn that is great in a small room, and can be adapted for playing huge in a concert hall with one screw. I think the bass is completely stock though.
Edwards fits you in a large room and the acoustics mimic a concert hall.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Burgerbob »

Posaunus wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 4:51 pm

Because Edwards trombones are consistently good instead of all-over-the-lot samples from Bach?
[A surprise inside every Bach trombone case!]
No maker is perfectly consistent. Bach is right in the middle, IMO. Edwards would definitely be better in that regard but "consistency" is also not synonymous with "good."
norbie2018 wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 5:33 pm I'd rather go to the factory, spend 3 hrs getting a horn fit to me, then spend years sampling dozens of trombones only to sell them off after a couple of months. Just saying.
I think this is the right choice for many people. But simply enough, I think it's boring and expensive. Yup, I've gone through a lot of horns, but I haven't paid anywhere near full price for any of them. I also get lots of experience all over the spectrum- it's much easier for me to pick something up and understand it quickly, which is a pretty handy skill.

I also have seen more than a few people get fitted, pay full price, then switch brands or get something new within a couple years. It's not an endgame for everyone.

Since I am a freelancer, versatility is the name of the game... and playing just 1 or 2 instruments just isn't in the cards.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by norbie2018 »

Burgerbob wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 7:07 pm
Posaunus wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 4:51 pm

Because Edwards trombones are consistently good instead of all-over-the-lot samples from Bach?
[A surprise inside every Bach trombone case!]
No maker is perfectly consistent. Bach is right in the middle, IMO. Edwards would definitely be better in that regard but "consistency" is also not synonymous with "good."
norbie2018 wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 5:33 pm I'd rather go to the factory, spend 3 hrs getting a horn fit to me, then spend years sampling dozens of trombones only to sell them off after a couple of months. Just saying.
I think this is the right choice for many people. But simply enough, I think it's boring and expensive. Yup, I've gone through a lot of horns, but I haven't paid anywhere near full price for any of them. I also get lots of experience all over the spectrum- it's much easier for me to pick something up and understand it quickly, which is a pretty handy skill.

I also have seen more than a few people get fitted, pay full price, then switch brands or get something new within a couple years. It's not an endgame for everyone.

Since I am a freelancer, versatility is the name of the game... and playing just 1 or 2 instruments just isn't in the cards.
Of course you need the right tool for the job, which is why many trombonist have a small bore, large bore, bass, and perhaps a contra. But that is one of each that they tend to hold onto for several years.

Are you actually insinuating that Edwards does not make a good horn? Maybe you don't like them and prefer to search forever, but your dislike for them doesn't make them a bad instrument.

You complain boutique instruments are expensive, but I'd wager you've spent enough on your used horns and mods to have bought Edward's. SHIRES, M&W etc. several times over.

Look, spend your money the way you want to, but it is rather easy to put together an instrument that works with relatively little hassle, and it doesn't take much to tweek said instrument when the need arises.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Burgerbob »

norbie2018 wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 8:00 pm
Of course you need the right tool for the job, which is why many trombonist have a small bore, large bore, bass, and perhaps a contra. But that is one of each that they tend to hold onto for several years.

A
Some do, yes. And it's not as if I want to replace my contra!
norbie2018 wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 8:00 pm

Are you actually insinuating that Edwards does not make a good horn? Maybe you don't like them and prefer to search forever, but your dislike for them doesn't make them a bad instrument.

They make horns that I'm not particularly interested in. I've owned a few. Honestly, just many people around here play them.
norbie2018 wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 8:00 pm


You complain boutique instruments are expensive, but I'd wager you've spent enough on your used horns and mods to have bought Edward's. SHIRES, M&W etc. several times over.
I don't lose money buying and selling, so I've definitely spent less than someone who has bought 3 boutique horns.
norbie2018 wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 8:00 pm

Look, spend your money the way you want to, but it is rather easy to put together an instrument that works with relatively little hassle, and it doesn't take much to tweek said instrument when the need arises.
Yup, which is why I have a good setup for every occasion- but also some more fun stuff that I can try out.

The point is, I both really enjoy the music side of things- improving, playing beautiful lines, playing chamber music, all of that... but I also enjoy the hard side of it, the equipment stuff. I try not to let the equipment side interfere with the music part, for what it's worth, but it's a significant part of trombone for me. I am a little jealous of those like yourself that can just own an instrument and play it all the time, trust me!

Many people have expensive hobbies (I have a friend that just bought a $6000 mountain bike)! I just buy trombones instead.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by harrisonreed »

norbie2018 wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 6:51 pm
harrisonreed wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 6:33 pm I think the factory trip might even be misleading. The showroom is not going to be like a concert hall. Unless you're performing in a showroom or large practice room, you aren't getting a good idea of how the horn will be at work.

That's the last thing I'll put in for the HB. I don't know about the basses, but with the T-350 you can build a horn that is great in a small room, and can be adapted for playing huge in a concert hall with one screw. I think the bass is completely stock though.
Edwards fits you in a large room and the acoustics mimic a concert hall.
That room is not a concert hall. It's not even a recital hall. It seems like a pretty good room to get a good test in though.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Burgerbob »

harrisonreed wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 9:22 pm
That room is not a concert hall. It's not even a recital hall. It seems like a pretty good room to get a good test in though.
Yup, it's nice that they give you a nice space... but you never know until you're in the real world. I've had many horns that felt and sounded great in my studio, or even playing quartets, then fell apart in the real world.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by craign »

Burgerbob wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 8:26 pm Many people have expensive hobbies (I have a friend that just bought a $6000 mountain bike)! I just buy trombones instead.
You seen how much an EMTB costs? The few trombones I have at the moment cost less than my cross country race bike. What about dirt bikes, ski passes, Jet Skis, Boats… For someone on professional/tech worker wages Trombones actually seem like a relatively cheap hobby to me within some reasonable bound of instruments. Also I bet in 10 years time that Elkhart/Corporation is actually still worth something unlike my mountain bike.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by GabrielRice »

Finding a good modular setup is a lot easier if you're working within one manufacturer's options.

Just sayin'... :wink:
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Burgerbob »

GabrielRice wrote: Mon May 29, 2023 7:08 am Finding a good modular setup is a lot easier if you're working within one manufacturer's options.

Just sayin'... :wink:
Yes, and part of my post is in appreciation to those like yourself that set people up at Shires and Edwards- that is a very cool skillset.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Finetales »

norbie2018 wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 5:33 pm I'd rather go to the factory, spend 3 hrs getting a horn fit to me, then spend years sampling dozens of trombones only to sell them off after a couple of months. Just saying.
$6k+ per horn plus plane tickets, or much less $ than that and if it doesn't work out you can sell it for at least as much as you paid for it. The used revolving door method is massively more affordable if you're smart about it.

I currently own 34 brass instruments (and get paid to play most of them), and the total amount I paid for them is probably less than one new Edwards bass. I couldn't do what I do if I bought shiny new boutique horns. Besides, I like my modded indy 72H I got for $2k more than any modular horn I've tried (including when I got them setup for me at ITF).

Would I love to roll into the M&W/Shires/Rath factory and walk out with a full set of small tenor, large tenor, and bass custom fitted for me? Obviously, they're wonderful instruments. But total cost of 3 new modular horns is as much as a nice late-model used car.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by norbie2018 »

Finetales wrote: Mon May 29, 2023 11:27 am
norbie2018 wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 5:33 pm I'd rather go to the factory, spend 3 hrs getting a horn fit to me, then spend years sampling dozens of trombones only to sell them off after a couple of months. Just saying.
$6k+ per horn plus plane tickets, or much less $ than that and if it doesn't work out you can sell it for at least as much as you paid for it. The used revolving door method is massively more affordable if you're smart about it.

I currently own 34 brass instruments (and get paid to play most of them), and the total amount I paid for them is probably less than one new Edwards bass. I couldn't do what I do if I bought shiny new boutique horns. Besides, I like my modded indy 72H I got for $2k more than any modular horn I've tried (including when I got them setup for me at ITF).

Would I love to roll into the M&W/Shires/Rath factory and walk out with a full set of small tenor, large tenor, and bass custom fitted for me? Obviously, they're wonderful instruments. But total cost of 3 new modular horns is as much as a nice late-model used car.
If you're a pro you can write off nearly all expenses associated with procuring a boutique instrument including the instrument itself. 34 instruments for less than $5500? That's about $160 per instrument.

The OP made the point that it is harder than you think to find a good modular set-up. That's simply not true, if you go certain routes.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Finetales »

norbie2018 wrote: Mon May 29, 2023 1:29 pmIf you're a pro you can write off nearly all expenses associated with procuring a boutique instrument including the instrument itself.
That means nothing. You still have to pay the money, and you don't magically get that money back come tax time. I write off all my equipment purchases and I still owe thousands in taxes every year. "You can write it off" doesn't make it not cost over $6k.
34 instruments for less than $5500? That's about $160 per instrument.
You need to check your prices. An Edwards B454-E is over $6k, a Shires Bollinger or M&W 929 is over $7k. And yes, some of my instruments were that cheap, often being worth 10+ times what I paid for them. Patience and eBay is a combination that can go a very long way. But that's not the point...the point is that buying and selling used horns is massively cheaper than buying even one new modular horn, especially if you're smart about it. And the results, when you find the gems, are at least as good.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by hyperbolica »

Finetales wrote: Mon May 29, 2023 3:42 pm Patience and eBay is a combination that can go a very long way. But that's not the point...the point is that buying and selling used horns is massively cheaper than buying even one new modular horn, especially if you're smart about it. And the results, when you find the gems, are at least as good.
Totally agree. My horns may not shine, but some of them are really unbeatable players. I'll get much more out of practice time than extra money on brand new horns.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by RustBeltBass »

Burgerbob wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 4:44 pm
harrisonreed wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 4:03 pm

The key word being "an" Edwards! :cool:
Yes, which is boooorrriinnngg
Or, as some might say, consistent. :tongue:
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Burgerbob »

RustBeltBass wrote: Mon May 29, 2023 4:34 pm

Or, as some might say, consistent. :tongue:
Yes, so but so is this Curran... and it's not boring!
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by LIBrassCo »

Interesting read. I can't say I've have many issues matching up different components. As long as the tapers work out, and you don't do anything wonky, it typically turns out alright. As to whether it matches up with your sound concept, well that's really more impacted by personal taste.
Last edited by LIBrassCo on Tue May 30, 2023 4:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Burgerbob »

LIBrassCo wrote: Mon May 29, 2023 8:08 pm Interesting read. I can't say I've have many issues matching up different components. As long as the tapers work out, and you don't do anything wonky, it typically turns out alright. As to whether it matches up with your sound concept, well that's really more impacted my personal taste.
All of these setups "work," but it's the little details that matter in the end.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Wilco »

Burgerbob wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 9:29 pm
harrisonreed wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 9:22 pm
That room is not a concert hall. It's not even a recital hall. It seems like a pretty good room to get a good test in though.
Yup, it's nice that they give you a nice space... but you never know until you're in the real world. I've had many horns that felt and sounded great in my studio, or even playing quartets, then fell apart in the real world.
This….

Wouldn’t it be great to have a specific procedure to test horns in a shop or at home knowing afterwards that it will work in the real world aa well?
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by LIBrassCo »

Burgerbob wrote: Mon May 29, 2023 8:23 pm
LIBrassCo wrote: Mon May 29, 2023 8:08 pm Interesting read. I can't say I've have many issues matching up different components. As long as the tapers work out, and you don't do anything wonky, it typically turns out alright. As to whether it matches up with your sound concept, well that's really more impacted by personal taste.
All of these setups "work," but it's the little details that matter in the end.
So in reality the ass for every seat principle applies, we're just dealing with personal preferences. I don't say that as a bad thing, that's the whole reason for modular horns anyhow.
Check out our new Pollard Sarastro line of mouthpieces: https://www.librassco.com/pollard-signature-series
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by brtnats »

Burgerbob wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 8:26 pm I am a little jealous of those like yourself that can just own an instrument and play it all the time, trust me!
Can’t ever get to that point if the solution is always replacing components.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by elmsandr »

Wilco wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 4:12 am
Burgerbob wrote: Sun May 28, 2023 9:29 pm

Yup, it's nice that they give you a nice space... but you never know until you're in the real world. I've had many horns that felt and sounded great in my studio, or even playing quartets, then fell apart in the real world.
This….

Wouldn’t it be great to have a specific procedure to test horns in a shop or at home knowing afterwards that it will work in the real world aa well?
A couple of factors go in here.. first, “one factor at a time” is TERRIBLE engineering that leads to sub optimal combinations. Gets lots of folks into trouble trying out pieces and parts. As aiden notes, there is a skill and a knowledge base to get to what will work.

Second, and perhaps the biggest issue, is agreeing on the gage. Human ears are quite variable and we can’t even agree day to day what good is… having those ears be consistent and understanding what translates from one room to the next is a skill. I would say that most of use are not good at that at all and need some help. I know I am really susceptible to the small room problems and just need to hear myself in a group.. that is a lack of training of my ears in trials, I can do better FOR others in that regard, I’ve had better practice with better players there.

Cheers,
Andy
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by pbone3b »

Something to consider, @burgerbob creates a lot of interesting content, here and on youtube. Also, think about all the instruments he's acquired over the years, then passed on (sold) to someone who either had a need or was better suited?
Think of all the smelly cases disposed of!
"You blow in this end of the trombone,
and sound comes out the other end and
disrupts the cosmos."
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http://pbone.org
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Matt K »

In some ways, it’s an impossible feat to actually get something optimal because 1) two components may by slightly off and even small tolerances can make a setup really sing but to do that to every component one tries is quite expensive and there’s no guarantee that getting something in perfectly alignment won’t cause it to be misaligned with another part.

2) I find that what is optimal changes based on what other types of playing I’m doing. If I do a lot of tenor, I tend to gravitate to shallower pieces and likewise if I’m doing a lot of bass, I gravitate deeper. That also affects which horn I might pull out of the case. Easier for me to switch to my 8.5” setup than my 8” setup if I’ve been playing a lot of bass if I want a tenor, for example. But the more I play that, the more I want to go to a smaller setup too. Id say I probably have 4-7 day cycles like that where I might feel like i sound best on anything from my 562/578 bass down to me 500/525 which is the smallest thing I regularly play, and from Doug’s “c” depth down to an L depth cup.

If I introduced two more valves and two more similar, large tenor bells in the mix? Who knows!
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by harrisonreed »

Andy I don't think it's a matter of training your ears -- in a small room the sound will slap off the wall and go back into the bell, at nearly the same frequency but a few milliseconds off. So it's almost like you inverted the phase on one of your speakers. In a small room the note bouncing around is working to cancel out what you're playing, and any longer note is partially cancelling itself out.

Playing in these kinds of rooms might be a contributing factor for some strange gear choices and a lot of frustration for a lot of people. I'm lucky -- I get to play in a 60ft cube every day. If I practice in a 8ft practice room, I have to adjust to give myself more feedback behind the bell and back way off.
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by Burgerbob »

LIBrassCo wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 4:47 am
So in reality the ass for every seat principle applies, we're just dealing with personal preferences. I don't say that as a bad thing, that's the whole reason for modular horns anyhow.
I mean, yes, the setups work... but they just don't sound as good as some others. There's no reason you would choose them.
brtnats wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 6:02 am

Can’t ever get to that point if the solution is always replacing components.
Which is why I play the same horn almost all the time in most settings- this kind of setup chasing does not happen often. It's just fun!

It's also worth pointing out that the "best" setup of my monster bass is the exact same one I landed on a couple years ago, and the same setup I've been using for legit bass basically that whole time.
Wilco wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 4:12 am

This….

Wouldn’t it be great to have a specific procedure to test horns in a shop or at home knowing afterwards that it will work in the real world aa well?
Which is why I don't consider a test over until I try it IRL.
Aidan Ritchie, LA area player and teacher
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by elmsandr »

harrisonreed wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 9:55 am Andy I don't think it's a matter of training your ears -- in a small room the sound will slap off the wall and go back into the bell, at nearly the same frequency but a few milliseconds off. So it's almost like you inverted the phase on one of your speakers. In a small room the note bouncing around is working to cancel out what you're playing, and any longer note is partially cancelling itself out.

Playing in these kinds of rooms might be a contributing factor for some strange gear choices and a lot of frustration for a lot of people. I'm lucky -- I get to play in a 60ft cube every day. If I practice in a 8ft practice room, I have to adjust to give myself more feedback behind the bell and back way off.
Fair enough… I suppose I should have said ‘of a sufficient size’. FWIW, above a medium sized bedroom (say 12’x12’) I think the effect is quite minimal. So, in my opinion, pretty much any size room that you would have multiple others listening to you in. Above a reasonable size, I do believe there is a bit of knowing how a feel and sound will translate in various size halls. That is, I do not believe that one has to hear a horn in a 100’ deep hall to know if a particular horn won’t fill that hall.

Cheers,
Andy
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Re: Finding a good modular setup- harder than you might think

Post by gbedinger »

Well, this is one of the more interesting discussions, second perhaps to the “who plays a 1 1/2g anymore” that Chris started on the defunct TTF forum that is undoubtedly headed to the Trombone Hall of Fame, wherever that is.

I’ve had my own personal journey, not as extensive as Aidan’s, but encouraged by all I’ve read on this (and its predecessor) forum since 2008 which, for better or worse, made me want to try some of the new, and old, classics. While I haven’t had the chance to test as much hardware at one time, I have over the course of a few years, with the assistance of a few like-minded individuals here on the forum that have encouraged a “swapping or selling” of hardware, I’ve been able to try some classic hardware and have my own thoughts…though I should admit the impressions made on me by my first bass trombone, a brand new Conn 62h purchased in 1972, has been lost in the cobwebs of my memory amongst the naïveté and inexperience I possessed at that time. But at least I knew enough about myself that I sold it for a slightly used Holton TR185 in 1975…that was love at first sight, I went for it and never looked back.

I am not always able to make snap judgements on an instrument in the heat of the audition room at an ATW; I have to live with them i.e., purchase. Currently I play an early Corp 50b that I think is a pretty special instrument even though it has its quirks that, after more than 50 years of trombone playing I am able to wok around most of the time. Its sound is eminently colorable and would be at home in a jazz band even though I hear much about them being good for classical rep. So much for stereotypes eh?

What’s my point? Not sure but I’m still a hacker at this trombone stuff and maybe that’s the fun of it. I can’t do much of the stuff Aidan does and reports here but I’m glad he does.

There, I said it, back to regularly scheduled programming.
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