Your favorite double?

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MStarke
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Your favorite double?

Post by MStarke »

For those of you who play more than one trombone or low brass instrument:
What is your favorite/which one do you usually enjoy most and why?

(In order to not make this another equipment discussion: Not talking about a specific instrument, but a category like bass vs. small bore)

I myself play and perform on bass, large tenor, small tenor, alto and euphonium. (Constantly trying to NOT add contra to it ;-) )

I generally like playing all of these and try to touch all of them on a regular basis, but generally speaking among them I have some favorites.

Bass trombone: This is where I still feel most at home. Everytime I pick it up, I enjoy it and love the sound. It's this warm, but present sound with a touch of a large growling grizzly bear in the background. If I had to leave all others behind for a while and could only bring one instrument, it would be the bass trombone

Large tenor: While I technically feel comfortable playing it, I don't enjoy it as much as the bass trombone. Somehow it doesn't have that same level of attraction. Also I don't have a "target sound" in mind as much as I would have it for the other instruments. It's just not as special for me, but I like playing it in an ensemble. One thing that I however really enjoy on large tenor is to play Bordogni etudes (and similar things).

Small tenor: I love it almost as much as bass trombone. One reason is probably that it is still relatively new to me (only started small bore playing around 4 years ago), but also the musical styles that it is most suited for.

Alto: I enjoy playing it in certain orchestral and ensemble settings and with Alain Trudel continue to have a great rolemodel sound in my head. But I don't really enjoy practicing it. For me it's not as rewarding to be a little bit more out of tune etc.

Euphonium: It's nice. It's easy to pick it up and make a nice sound. My kids love it - my wife doesn't :-D But somehow I always feel restricted. For me as a 90% trombone player it just never reaches the same level of response, ease and intonation that I feel getting on trombone.

So if I had to pack just one instrument, it would be bass trombone, if two it would be bass and small bore.

What's your favorite(s)?
Markus Starke
https://www.mst-studio-mouthpieces.com/

Alto: Conn 35h, Kanstul, Weril
Tenor: 2x Conn 6h, Blessing medium, Elkhart 88H, 88HT, Greenhoe 88HT, Heckel, Piering replica
Bass: Conn 112h/62h, Greenhoe TIS, Conn 60h/"62h"
chouston3
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by chouston3 »

I am a vocalist who also plays small bore tenor.

For me singing comes naturally but I love trombone.

Going back and forth between the two, I have to really pay attention to my air on trombone. Trombone requires less air but the air needs to be much more intentional with speed and amount.

I have fun combining my two instruments into performances and I think its more interesting for the audience.
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EriKon
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by EriKon »

Small and large tenor are my homebase for sure. I usually feel comfortable switching back and forth between those without any time to get used to it, probably because I need to use both on gigs on a very regular basis.

After that it's probably Euphonium. Although I've just learned it since during the pandemic, I feel super comfortable with it. I need no time to get used it and usually everything works fine once I got my fingers back to work. I also feel quite okay with intonation there surprisingly. The biggest challenge there is reading those weird treble clef transposed (Bb) parts. Although it's basically similar to tenor clef it just always creates a knot in my brain. Write it like a trombone in bass clef without transposing (as it is mostly done in jazz context) and everything will be fine.

After that it's probably bass trombone, although I'm not entirely happy with it at the moment, but working on it and slowly getting there. Preparing a show on it right now, so I put a bit more work in it since a few weeks and it starts to feel a lot better. It's interesting that it's not my favorite atm because when I was 16 I played bass trombone for nearly two years exclusively before changing back to tenor. And back then the bass trombone felt good. But I'm working on it, because I really want to get to the same level or at least as close as possible to my tenor playing.

After that in the following order:
Valve Tbn
Alto
Tuba

That much for the brass instruments. I still feel very comfortable with some other non brass instruments but I can't work it in that list
hyperbolica
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by hyperbolica »

I grew up and went to music school on large bore, but I'm most comfortable on medium bore. I had an accident that damaged my lungs about 20 years ago, and a smaller horn just feels better. I also play bass and euph (and trying to sell my tuba so I don't get called for any more tuba gigs). I rarely get calls for euph, but I wind up playing bass more than anything, although truth be told I don't enjoy it as much as other things. So I guess I'm large, medium, small tenor, and then euphonium as a distant preferred double.

To really answer the question, though, I enjoy playing the Flugabone, although I have never played it for a gig other than solos at church.
Last edited by hyperbolica on Tue Mar 19, 2024 7:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by stewbones43 »

For me it's bass in big bands and large bore tenor in orchestras, but I do like the challenge and pressure of alto in orchestras as well.

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bitbckt
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by bitbckt »

My primary is and has always been large bore. It’s home for me.

My most comfortable double is bass, but the dearth of horn players in my area is pushing me toward spending more time on alto (as a sub for those elusive horn players). That effort is satisfying. Tuba and euph is extremely well covered around here, so not much call for that at the moment.

There are also increasing calls for small bore in dance band and combo situations which I don’t much care for, but I’m not ready to pull a hyperbolica and swear it off. :wink: The rep is new and different for me so while the equipment isn’t really my jam, the experiences are worthwhile.
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by officermayo »

Strickly a peashooter guy, but I also play baritone at church and in pit bands.
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by BrassSection »

Baritone player by birth, following Dad’s footsteps. Switched to euph probably 30 years ago and to this day euph is my favorite horn to play. Next on the list would be my tenor trombone, which actually gets more playtime than the euph. French horn follows, and tuba comes in 4th…primarily due to it being a very heavy Conn 20J. Love the sound from it though! I’ll abide by the rules and leave the trumpet out.
Last edited by BrassSection on Sat Mar 16, 2024 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Finetales
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by Finetales »

MStarke wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2024 5:03 am For those of you who play more than one trombone or low brass instrument:
What is your favorite/which one do you usually enjoy most and why?
This is an impossible question!

On paper, my main instrument is bass trombone. But as small tenor gigs are the most plentiful, my small tenors often end up leaving my house the most, so I tend to think of small tenor and bass as my two primary instruments.

Large tenor leaves the house once, maybe twice a year (excluding trombone reading hangs with friends), so although it is a trombone it's not really even a primary double for me. I do mostly commercial work, so I don't need the big horn too often.

Euphonium never leaves the house, as is usually the case with euphoniums owned by freelancers. But I still consider it one of my "home bases" along with bass trombone, because if my playing ever gets in a rut, practicing euphonium usually gets it back on track. It's what I started on and spent my formative years playing the most, so it still feels like home even if I haven't played it in a while.

After small tenor and bass, mellophone leaves the house the most (believe it or not). It and mellophonium are easily my favorite non-low brass doubles, and one of my favorites overall. This is also reflected in my local reputation...after trombone, most people know me for my mellophone shenanigans, and I'm definitely not mad about that. My Conn mellophonium is my desert island horn.

After that comes trumpet, which you're bound to get a decent amount of work on even if you're only decent at it. Much more trumpet work than trombone work out there! Trumpet is definitely my least favorite instrument I play, but that's only relative. It's still a brass instrument, and therefore still fun. It's just the most difficult and least forgiving for me, but it's also very satisfying to get right.

Flugelhorn and French horn come next, and I love both of them dearly. They're beautiful instruments that I love playing, and are in my standard arsenal for studio sessions along with trumpet and tenor/bass trombones. In addition, flugelhorn is usually my instrument of choice for bebop and R&B improvisation. Apart from sessions they usually leave my house a handful of times per year.

Finally, I use my flugabone quite a bit in a cumbia band I play with, as I can play it with one hand and play keys with the other.

All of my other instruments never or almost never leave the house, but I do use them for my own projects at home. Bass trumpet, baritone horn, alto flugelhorn, corno da tirarsi, etc. I enjoy all of them, especially bass trumpet, which is one of my favorite instruments.

Anyway...

Picking a favorite out of ALL of that? Impossible. The only sure thing is that I like trumpet the least!

But, with a gun to my head, I'd probably say that my favorites are 1) bass trombone, 2) small tenor trombone, 3) mellophone/mellophonium, 4) euphonium, 5) flugelhorn, and 6) French horn.
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by Posaunus »

Finetales wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2024 12:57 pm
MStarke wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2024 5:03 am For those of you who play more than one trombone or low brass instrument:
What is your favorite/which one do you usually enjoy most and why?
This is an impossible question!
...
Anyway...
Picking a favorite out of ALL of that? Impossible. The only sure thing is that I like trumpet the least!
Tiffany,
None of this is surprising.
You are truly one of a kind!
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bitbckt
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by bitbckt »

I was looking forward to your reply, Tiffany. I was not disappointed! :good: :amazed:
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Burgerbob
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by Burgerbob »

Whatever is in my hands, currently... assuming I'm playing well!

Seriously, I love playing them all in the right setting.

I actually ran into this at work the other day, I had a day on bass trombone that felt great and I thought "you know, this is my favorite horn to play here." And then I had a day on 3rd trombone (playing 3B/F) and I thought "you know, this is my favorite horn to play here." I don't think I was lying either time.
Aidan Ritchie, LA area player and teacher
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by fsgazda »

That's tough to say, as I'm not sure what is a double anymore. I played bass trombone exclusively (with a little tuba and euphonium thrown in) for many years, and didn't start seriously playing large tenor until after finishing my DMA. Nowadays I make more money and play my large tenor more than anything, I consider that and bass to be co-primaries. In order of gigs:

Large Tenor
Bass
Tuba
Euphonium
Small tenor
Alto
Bass Trumpet (never been paid to play this, just played on a few faculty recitals)

In order of what I enjoy the most, that varies on the day, the rep, and the phase of the moon. I enjoy playing euph in wind ensemble and chamber music, and tuba in pit, brass quintet, and the occasional German Band more than most. I actually don't enjoy playing alto or small tenor much, but that's probably because I'm not so comfortable on them.
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Posaunus
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by Posaunus »

Burgerbob wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2024 2:36 pm Whatever is in my hands, currently... assuming I'm playing well!
Seriously, I love playing them all in the right setting.
I think I agree with Aidan. I'm fortunate enough to own several trombones, mostly "vintage," all acquired at very favorable prices, all in superb condition, ranging from a 1958 King 2B to a 1972 Conn 88H to a 1969 Conn 71H. I try to rotate playing them through my various ensembles, which means that I am frequently playing a different trombone each day. And - so often - I say to myself "This is my favorite instrument!"

I am truly a lucky guy! :wink:
Pezza
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by Pezza »

Euphonium is my favourite. Followed by bass trom, not that I play it much at the moment. Then tenor trom. Lastly is baritone that I play as an emergency.
Is my yep642 or yep842 my favourite? Close, both great, but it has to be the 842. Bach 12 or Bach 36K? Also close, but I'd have to say the 12.
That's all I can play now due to injuries. Eb tuba used to be between the troms, and flugel before the baritone.
Am I a trombone player who plays euphonium, or a euphonium player who plays trombone? :idk:
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by Chronos91 »

Out of the trombones, I definitely enjoy the bass the most and it's my home base for trombones and brass in general. I really enjoy the sound and way I fit in when playing bass trombone, and being able to play fully chromatically without false tones is super great too. Small tenor is my second favorite, though I can't tell if that's equipment related since my small tenor feels like my best trombone and I really enjoy the sound I get out of mine. When I play a trombone in a local group, it's almost always bass. That said, I took my alto to an orchestra rehearsal recently and that was fun if only for the variety.

Besides trombones, I have every brass instrument you'd find in an American concert band or a British Brass Band minus Eb tuba/bass (collecting and playing became my main hobby and I probably took it too far), plus a few uncommon variants outside of that (like Eb flugelhorn, Eb trumpet, C trumpet, Eb bass trumpets, and a low Eb valved natural trumpet). I think I'd say baritone is what comes easiest to me out of everything, but I don't enjoy it in particular. I think the flugelhorns are my favorite out of the non-low brass.
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by MStarke »

Very interesting to read everyone's perspective!

Some are mostly and understandably oriented towards those instruments that they are getting paid for most, some more oriented on the first instrument they learned, some base it on the playing situations they use the instruments in.

And my favorite and most interesting answer is definitely Finetales!
Markus Starke
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Alto: Conn 35h, Kanstul, Weril
Tenor: 2x Conn 6h, Blessing medium, Elkhart 88H, 88HT, Greenhoe 88HT, Heckel, Piering replica
Bass: Conn 112h/62h, Greenhoe TIS, Conn 60h/"62h"
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EriKon
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by EriKon »

What I actually find interesting: I don't like doubling on large bore tenor and bass trombone within one show. Large bore tenor and small tenor, all good; small bore and bass trombone, also fine. But large tenor and bass trombone just feels weird.
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by CalgaryTbone »

Large tenor is home - alto is my favorite double. I love the contrast and the ability to play lightly and to play long phrases on it.

Jim Scott
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by imsevimse »

Most of what I do is on small bore tenors and after that it's bass trombone. Next is a Bb/F medium bore for wind band and my Bb/G small bore trombone for church-gigs.

All the rest is only for practice in my house. When I was younger I had alto-trombone gigs a few times a year but it has been a while since.

/Tom
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by comebackplayer »

I'm a trumpeter turned euphoniumist and now am really enjoying trombone. I actually was really taken with the discussion of mellophone above. I have one of those and play it for fun, but my transposing isn't good enough to use in performances. (Although I'd love to hear more about how Finetales uses it.)

I would say that euphonium still feels the easiest to me. With trombone I just don't yet have 100% trust in positions and intonation. I'd imagine that this is a danger of doubling. I'm hoping to eventually get some time playing trombone in a community band. I also feel like I can play hymns pretty well on trombone, and I have a kid on euphonium, so I'm hoping to work up some brass duets-trios.
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by HornboneandVocals »

I started on small bore tenor for my first two years playing, then immediately was switched to tuba my freshman year of hs as I was a big kid and we needed more contras on the field. For non marching I hit straight between the two and found my love in bass trombone. I switched frequently developing both my tuba and bass trombone playing throughout HS. Now, my major is bass trombone, but if I need to play tuba for anything I can (and have) picked up a tuba after a 6+ months and have it ready for performing in a few days. So yeah, tuba’s my favorite double. Other than that, I’d choose contrabass sarrusophone or dropping mutes onto a stage floor as percussion, although I’m much better at the latter.

Edit for context: As I type this, I’m in the pit on intermission playing tuba and bass trombone for Crazy For You by Gershwin.
Couch surfing my way through community college and spreading mild amount of chaos at the same time
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by MrHCinDE »

I primarily play large bore tenor trombone, my favourite double is euphonium, which is back to the roots for me and I can pick up and play directly at a gig after months without touching it.

It helps that my euphonium is the very same one I learnt on and has been a loyal companion for decades, even if it stayed put away in the loft whilst I had a dalliance with newer, shinier things for a few years. The intonation may not be perfect and the valves are certainly clanky but it just sounds so sweet and the euphonium parts are always interesting and fun to play.

EEb Bass (tuba) would be a close second, I’ve never owned one nor have I ever played it regularly but whenever I‘ve been asked to help out brass band or orchestras on it, I could get in the groove within a day or two. Several people I‘ve sat next to say they think it is my natural instrument. I have enough capability from my euphonium playing to cover the technical parts combined with the air support from playing BBb tuba for years so that I could get a decent sound. The EEb tuba is for me much enjoyable than BBb. My playing experience on EEb tuba peaked when I was asked to help out on ‚English Heritage‘ at a brass band contest with about 2-3 weeks notice and max. 5 rehearsals having not played tuba for 5+ years at that point. I take some pride in receiving these remarks from Brian Buckley in the adjudication: „250. Superb Eb Bass!! Euph/Bass duo – well presented. Tempo I – this is some of your best playing to 300“. I was reliably(ish) informed in the bar afterwards that I‘d played it as well, if not better than the EEb players from all the other NW area championship section bands on the day. I should probably spend a bit more time on tuba again but to be honest I don‘t enjoy playing it in wind orchestras or symphony orchestras and there aren‘t many brass bands around here.

After that it‘d be bass trombone, I need a bit more time and effort to switch my mindset, it‘s a bit too close to large tenor for me to switch seamlessly.

Next would be a tie between alto,oval tenorhorn and bass trumpet. I appreciate that all add something to the colour of an ensemble in the right contexts and enjoy the sound but have a bit of a battle with intonation on all, for very different reasons.

I didn‘t realise this until I thought about it in this thread but small tenor trombone is probably my least favourite. I may have to sell a couple of my small tenors, they‘re wasted on me!

I should caveat all of this by saying it‘s relative to my level of playing, keen amateur, not pro.
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by harrisonreed »

Alto for me. It's the easiest trombone to play. Small tenor is right next to it. As you might have heard on the Maslanka recording I posted of my first performance on bass, bass is by far the most difficult.
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by walldaja »

I'm torn between my Shires Q and my King 607F. I usually end up playing them both during my daily practice sessions. Then the trumpet begs my attention. I've said many times I want to park it in the closet (especially after hearing Chris Botti play live) but it keeps escaping.
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by keybone »

Keybone here! I guess that answers the question!
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by MStarke »

EriKon wrote: Sat Mar 09, 2024 9:12 am What I actually find interesting: I don't like doubling on large bore tenor and bass trombone within one show. Large bore tenor and small tenor, all good; small bore and bass trombone, also fine. But large tenor and bass trombone just feels weird.
I kind of feel the same. It feels substantially easier for me to switch between bass and small tenor than to switch between bass and large tenor or large and small tenor.
Markus Starke
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Alto: Conn 35h, Kanstul, Weril
Tenor: 2x Conn 6h, Blessing medium, Elkhart 88H, 88HT, Greenhoe 88HT, Heckel, Piering replica
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by deanmccarty »

I play everything low brass, and flugelhorn. Most would say my main axe is bass trombone. But I probably gig more on small tenor. But as for my favorite double… probably tuba. I love my Miraphone 282. It’s a nice little tuba.
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by Jutty »

My favorite double as of now is the bass trombone. I originally was a euphonium player only until my professor told me I should try it out. At first it was a pain but I grew to love it in the six months I have played it.
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by alfonsodiegoo »

chouston3 wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2024 5:50 am I am a vocalist who also plays small bore tenor.

For me singing comes naturally but I love trombone.

Going back and forth between the two, I have to really pay attention to my air on trombone. Trombone requires less air but the air needs to be much more intentional with speed and amount.

I have fun combining my two instruments into performances and I think its more interesting for the audience.
I totally relate to you! I play the euphonium but I feel like the transfer from vocal to the horn comes naturally and makes things more musical!
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by brtnats »

I’m gonna break the rule on this thread. My favorite trombone is my small tenor (891Z), but I picked up an outstanding 648R (.551, 8.5 red brass unsoldered rim, nickel sliver slide, slightly larger throat) that’s really a joy to play. After that, I enjoy bass and alto equally for very different reasons.

BUT…. My favorite non-trombone double right now is the 5-string banjo. I’ve been plunking away at clawhammer banjo for about a month, and there’s just something wonderful and wholesome about an instrument that naturally accompanies itself. The resonance of a string instrument is just different than a trombone; you feel it in your body in different ways. I’m going to start playing it with the trad-jazz band I’m in just as a change of color from time to time.
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by sgreatwood »

I mostly play small tenor, with medium and bass as close equal second.

I like playing French Horn & Tuba when the opportunity arrives, but LOVE Bass Clarinet & Bari Sax. The way the instruments resonate my body is totally different.
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by Kbiggs »

I play a 50B3 bass and a 42B large tenor. I play and practice them equally, although the music I’m working on at any given moment really dictates my practice time. I have a couple of small bore horns, including a pBone. I rarely play them.

For teaching, I also play bass trumpet, and I just picked up an Olds A45 single F horn. Despite being a Chinese POS™️, the bass trumpet is kind of fun. The horn is kind of fun—and humbling!! Despite being very light, the Olds horn is very solid. Olds built some great horns back in the day.

I’ve tried to play the normal B-flat 4 1/2’ trumpet a few times in my life, but I’ve never been able to make it work.
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Re: Your favorite double?

Post by mcphatty00 »

Bass trombone, but only in a big band. I don't have the ability to sustain notes for an orchestral setting.
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