alto that plays like a tenor

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timothy42b
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alto that plays like a tenor

Post by timothy42b » Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:37 am

Yes, I know an alto is supposed to play distinctly differently from a tenor, and you are supposed to buy an alto because you need the alto sound.

But that's not why I want one.

As I age it gets harder and harder to hold a trombone. I've moved from my 42B to a lighter straight tenor in the past couple of weeks, and I think I need to go lighter.

A Butler in alto - that would be a dream! and about $10k.

So what alto is most tenor like, for local community band type stuff? And is there an inexpensive Chinese version of it?
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BGuttman
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by BGuttman » Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:00 am

No inexpensive Chinese version, but the Conn 36H would work.

You need the Bb attachment since community band music regularly goes below the range of an alto; even 1st trombone parts.

Problem is, a 36H weighs about as much as a tenor. So no weight advantage.

If you want light, you need to go plastic. You can get a Tromba plastic that has a metallic finish. Sound? Meh.
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bellend
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by bellend » Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:52 am

Have you tried a P-Bone? From what I've been told , they play surprisingly well

Here's Matt Gee principle trombone Royal Philharmonic Orchestra demoing one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtPApMAm3rc

Cheap too!!
norbie2018
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by norbie2018 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:57 am

timothy42b wrote:
Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:37 am


As I age it gets harder and harder to hold a trombone. I've moved from my 42B to a lighter straight tenor in the past couple of weeks, and I think I need to go lighter.
You may not need a new trombone. Would a support help with the tenor? The trombone supports out there redistribute the weight so it's not so taxing to your hand and wrist. The axe handle, bullet brace, and Neo tech support are just some of the products out there that might help. The neotech is the cheapest if you want to start experimenting.
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by Burgerbob » Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:18 am

Ergobone is calling!
harrisonreed
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by harrisonreed » Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:19 am

The 36H is pretty light to me, but very difficult to hold in the hands so would probably be even more uncomfortable to hold than a tenor for any length of time. Not the route I'd go, if you're having trouble with ergonomics and weight.

Also, it doesn't sound or play like a tenor.
Last edited by harrisonreed on Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
sterb225
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by sterb225 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:22 am

Ergobone. I've seen multiple friends maintain playing while recovering from injuries that would have otherwise left them completely unable to hold a trombone.
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by Kbiggs » Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:33 am

Here’s another vote for the ErgoBone. You might also consider the Get-a-Grip from Sheridan Brass. There are various other grip aides: Bullet Brace, the big-extended-paddle-thingie you see on Thein trombones, and others.

Balance is important: the center of balance in your horn might be off. Have you tried various weights of counter-weights? I remember a few years ago a Trombone Forum member posted a picture of a counter-balance device he made with a metal rod, some weights, and a hose clamp.
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BGuttman
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by BGuttman » Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:47 am

Kbiggs wrote:
Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:33 am
...

Balance is important: the center of balance in your horn might be off. Have you tried various weights of counter-weights? I remember a few years ago a Trombone Forum member posted a picture of a counter-balance device he made with a metal rod, some weights, and a hose clamp.
I believe that was Heinz Griess, and his avatar on Trombone Chat shows his counterbalance.

For experimenting, I've used tape and D batteries.
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timothy42b
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by timothy42b » Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:22 pm

Kbiggs wrote:
Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:33 am
I remember a few years ago a Trombone Forum member posted a picture of a counter-balance device he made with a metal rod, some weights, and a hose clamp.
Yes. Ken, went by Naja...........something.

Interesting design. I built one, and it works. It balances my 42B nicely. The horn becomes weightless, and when I attach it correctly it balances side torque also. I should do a video.

A couple of problems: it has to be disassembled to get the horn in the case, it's very hard to use mutes or let out spit. And it was awkward. The second time I put it on, at a rehearsal, the slide seemed sticky as if the clamp on the barrel was stressing it. Hard to tell. I kind of gave up on it.
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by Mikebmiller » Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:22 pm

The Butler small bore is so light that you barely know you are holding a trombone.
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by mrdeacon » Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:05 pm

Ergo bone is what you want.

If you are really selling yourself on the alto thing an Edwards alto mught be worth checking out. They're pretty giant. A tech could also hack up a small bore tenor for pretty cheap and achieve similar results.
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by harrisonreed » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:54 am

The problem with alto is that, unless you have tons of time to practice intonation and technique, it's likely that you'll stick out like a Buddhist monk at a Harley Davidson convention if you play it in any ensemble. Even with perfect intonation, you'd likely still stick out, because it's really not the right tool for the job.

It may solve a problem of weight, but altos are front heavy to begin with, and they'll create problems in the ensemble even at the best of times.
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by LeTromboniste » Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:27 am

I agree with Harrison here. Even the most tenor-y alto will stick out of the blend and texture in a way that doesn't work in a band setting, and you won't be gaining much in terms of ergonomics. Quite frankly, you'd stick out less with a pBone than with an alto
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by Oslide » Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:41 am

Mikebmiller wrote:
Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:22 pm
The Butler small bore is so light that you barely know you are holding a trombone.
The same goes for small bore Bachs which are so light that (and because) they don't need a counterweight (e.g
Bach Mercury ca. 1120 g, Bach 12 ca. 1170 g, versus pBone ca. 800 g).
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by dukesboneman » Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:59 am

I have a King 2B+ that is incredibly light. The new XO Fedchock horn is very light.
You don`t have to abandon the Tenor world for a lighter horn.
Kai Winding would get a new horn from King and immediately have it stripped and re lacquered so it would be lighter.
Back in the 1980`s I had a Conn 32H that I had over hauled and I found out that it had been over hauled before. That horn was like holding nothing.
timothy42b
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by timothy42b » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:28 am

I have no doubt that in the sophisticated world of the symphony the alto vs tenor is obvious.

Do you really think in an average community band audience there is anyone who can tell the difference? I'm not bein argumentative, I'm really asking an honest question. I've played a pBone alto in rehearsal and it seems to sound like a trombone, even on a recording. If only it had a decent slide I'd be set. Maybe partly altos play like altos because we know what they should sound like and we make that happen.
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BGuttman
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by BGuttman » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:58 am

Given the wide variety of musicianship and eclectic equipment assortment in a typical Community Band I'd expect that an alto would fit in about as well as anything else.

Michael Lake aside, I've never heard anybody who could play Big Band lead convincingly on an alto though.
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by harrisonreed » Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:00 am

Tim, of course you're right about that -- the audience attending a community band concert doesn't care, for certain. But your poor section mates definitely would. Trying to blend with someone who pulls their cool new/fun toy out in any group is not fun. Abstain for the sanity of the friends on your right, left, and in front of you.

If it is really just weight, how about the tiger plastic bone with f att?
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by harrisonreed » Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:06 am

Btw, does Mike actually play lead in a big band on alto? Every video I've seen of his that had him in an ensemble, he was the only trombone and it was more of a combo group.

It's been a while so I'd believe that he did, just haven't gotten to see that!
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by Doug Elliott » Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:25 am

I have played lead in big band gigs on alto. I enjoy playing alto, and others seem to like the novelty, but I'm really not totally sure how well it works in the section - I've never recorded it.

If Mike Lake plays anywhere it's on alto.
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by hyperbolica » Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:31 am

I think we are kind of on the same search. I use an ergobone for bass, but not for tenor yet. I just bought a Festivo euphonium because its more ergonomic. Trombone is an awkward instrument. The only way to fix the trombone is to remove the weight. You can't fix the position. Cimbasso? Valves, no slide. Maybe a euphonium shaped compact tenor cimbasso. Trombonium.

Short of that, I think the answer is carbon fiber if you're going to stick with a trombone shaped object.
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by harrisonreed » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:05 pm

hyperbolica wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:31 am
The only way to fix the trombone is to remove the weight. You can't fix the position.
This is assuming an underlying strength or mobility issue due to age or injury, though (just like the OP says, of course!). I used to get tennis elbow like crazy in my right arm before I switched to only holding the slide with my thumb and index finger. Now there is no pain there ever.

Likewise, I used to hold the trombone with my left arm flat against my side and my forearm perpendicular to the floor when I was around 11 or 12 and had no strength. This is a bad habit that carries over into adulthood for a lot of people, including me into college age. It causes tennis elbow and pain. Once I switched to holding the trombone so that the two slide tubes were in line with my forearm and my wrist, and my elbow was away from my torso, no problems.

I write this only so younger people perusing this thread won't think that the only answer is the ergobone or straps, and that the trombone it's inherently flawed. These are great solutions for older people or people with injuries, but this problem is not insurmountable for younger people who can lift a few weights and work on body awareness and slide technique.
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by Leanit » Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:05 pm

Bigshots I know say the Conn 36H is "very tenor-like".
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by ssking2b » Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:37 am

Tim - check out my XO 1632 the next time I see you at BoneFire. It's the lightest horn on the market. You might do well with that!
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by Trav1s » Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:37 am

dukesboneman wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:59 am
I have a King 2B+ that is incredibly light. The new XO Fedchock horn is very light.
You don`t have to abandon the Tenor world for a lighter horn.
Kai Winding would get a new horn from King and immediately have it stripped and re lacquered so it would be lighter.
Back in the 1980`s I had a Conn 32H that I had over hauled and I found out that it had been over hauled before. That horn was like holding nothing.
I just played the XO Fedchock at my local music store. I was very surprised and impressed with this horn. Is is lighter than an of the horns that I have owned.
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by ssking2b » Thu Oct 17, 2019 2:45 pm

I also have the ergo bone if you want to try it. The hand Grip solutions only redistribute the weight, and not necessarily the balance. The ergo bone takes all weight out of your hands, but has other issues - they won't effect you in BoneFire, and won't be too bad in community band. Call me and we'll set all this up.
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timothy42b
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Re: alto that plays like a tenor

Post by timothy42b » Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:07 am

Thanks all.

I appreciate the feedback, particularly the consensus that an alto may not be the solution.

I've been on a straight tenor a couple of weeks now, a silver .500 Getzen I bought from someone here at a great price years ago. (I no longer remember who.) It is definitely easier to hold than the 42B. I don't really see much future need for the big bore with trigger with the few groups I play with now. I play first in community bands (not because I'm any good, but because I practice enough to make it through a rehearsal up there and most players don't). I play third in Bonefire, but there is much less in the trigger range than you'd think. The Getzen speaks very well in the falset range but I need time to get set just right and there usually isn't. Hee, hee.

Some years ago John Kelly from the UK did a presentation at ETW/ATW on using the alto for school kids and that's what got me thinking. There was an alto soloist playing a concerto that year, and she played very refined, soft and sweet, but also limited in volume, as if you can't push it. John Kelly on the other hand blasted away on a 36H, very impressive fortissimo without losing the tone, didn't seem to be limited at all.
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