Bass Bone Choices???

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Razor, Jun 16, 2003.

  1. Razor

    Razor Member

    After a 2+ year period away from playing I'm considering getting back into it again. Problem is I need to buy a new bass bone and since my last instrument purchase, it appears the choice of bass bones has grown with the addition of the Yamaha(Yeo), Rath, Edwards, Bach with Thayer valves/Hagmann valves etc.

    I'd appreciate any feedback from bass bone players on the forum as to why they play on a particular make, Previously I played mostly on a Holton and for a short time on a Bach open wrap dependent.

    I know instrument choice is a very personal one suited to the individuals sound, ability and the type of playing they do but it's good to hear what other bass boners think, both good and bad, about their own set up.
  2. blondie

    blondie Member

    Well I play on a Holton, not through personal choice, and i'm not saying its a bad instrument (that's me), but i don't find the instrument as easy to play on as the Edwards i tried (belonged to a friend-lucky person), as you said its all down to preferences. The Holton is certainly a robust machine and in all fairness i think its broken me in but the edwards was more comfortable to play, and again it depends on the mp used in conjunction. My thoughts, sorry it doesn't help , but its one huge grey area.
  3. JessopSmythe

    JessopSmythe Active Member

    I like the holtons (but that might just be coz that's what I play most on) and I was very impressed with the courtois i had a while ago (thought their tenors were appalling) but the best one i've ever played from my point of view has to be the hand built Rath, just wish I could afford one :?

    YABBGB New Member

    I currently play on a Yamaha 613g which I love to bits. Big sound and nice large bell. Even better is that I bought it in Canada at a much reduced price compared to the UK.

    I have previously played Bach (50-3B0) which I quite liked and the Holton TR181 (hated it and couldn't wait to get rid).

    The Courtois impressed me.
    I haven't tried Edwards but from what I've seen there are many personal preferences which can be taken into consideration before you find the right one for you. They can be tailored to suit you.

    I would love to try the Rath out. The lead player for YABB currently plays the tenor and I have tried this and liked it. Anybody out there prepared to lend me a Rath Bass Trom for the YABB summer USA trip ?............ NO - thought not ! Ah well !! Ha Ha !
  5. Mike Saville

    Mike Saville Member

    I've played a few in my time (Bach, Yamaha, Edwards, Conn, Holton) and 18 month ago actually bought myself a new Edwards.

    My opinions are:

    Bach, both open wrap and traditional wrap were both too stuffy for me and the response at the bottom end of the range was not what I'd hoped for.

    Yamaha - older version (I'm not sure what the new Yeo model is like) I found far too lightweight. It broke up far too easily.

    Holton - I played one of these for a couple of year and I think they are workman-like. I think you have to be careful or the sound gets 'quacky' - also a bit stuffy.

    Edwards - my current instrument :D Nice 'n easy blowing and a great sound but you pays your money for it. You do need to spend time going throught the option (especially bells) to get the setup that's right for you. Some options don't work well with others!! (You can however try them all at The Valve).

    Conn - Elkhart single trigger. This was the best bass trombone I have ever played. Only 2 drawbacks - you can't get them now and you have to pull the slide to E quite a lot for C/B naturals.

    Anyway, just my thoughts.
  6. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    You may find it helpful to dip into some of the discussions on the following site:

    This bass trombone forum was set up several months back by Ben van Dijk in Holland (but it is in English!), and there have been a number of threads comparing instruments.
  7. carlwoodman

    carlwoodman Member

    Bass trombone choices

    What a minefield!
    I've sat next to plenty of bass trombone players in bands & orchestras and most used to use Bach 50B (in various guises) or Holton 181.
    In recent years, it seems that companies have devoted more time, effort and money into trombone valve development than any other facet of musical instrument manufacture.
    You can now by a Bach with a choice of 3 different valves (standard, Thayer and K valve)! I know someone in Bedford who used to play in SunLife Band and now has a double K valve Bach and he swears by it.
    I also know that several people have bought Holton 181's on the strength of seeing the ISB player with one.
    Contrary to that, our corps player, who was in the Welsh Guards band for many years, bought a Holton 181 and couldn't get on with it so swapped it for an Edwards.
    The current Welsh Guards bass trombonist plays on a Rath but has his own Edwards.
    Prices seem to vary depending on what sort of valve you go for be it standard, Thayer, K valve or Hagmann.
    Best bet is to go to a shop that can spare you a lot of time and space and try a few.
  8. neiltwist

    neiltwist Active Member

    I managed to get hold of a sovereign cheap, so that's what I play on, and it's not too bad, nice sound and has haagmann valves, and it is also used by the bass trombone at dyke.

    I can't comment about many others, but the edwards, as nice as it is, can be problematic, it is easy to get all rasp and no sound I find, but that's just my own opinion.

    The Rath is good though. I only tried it for a few minutes, but it was good.
  9. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I'd like to add a dissenting voice on the Rath R9. The open tube was okay, if a little more woofy than I was looking for when I tried it, but adding either trigger created instant bark at higher dynamics, and a corresponding obvious change of tone quality at lower volumes. I played around with it for half an hour or so, but couldn't find a way of coming at it that avoided this problem. Consistency of tone quality across the range is a must, and this instrument just didn't have it. Perhaps I picked a bad specimen. I would imagine that the Tenors are better, as the trigger register is not so important...

    I've tried various Bachs (indeed, I played on one for 8 years), and have gone off these - they just punish you too much for any slightly imperfect blowing. When I moved onto the Holton TR181 that I currently play, I couldn't believe how easy it was to sound good on it. I've tried various Holtons, and been impressed with each of them. Oddly though, I hear that Holton Tenors aren't so good - opposite to the Raths?

    What else? Edwards - I've tried a few of these (though I haven't tried their customisation procedure), and again, been far more impressed with their Tenors (gorgeous!) than their Basses (same problems for me as with the Rath). Not too keen on their Altos either...

    Shires - close to the Edwards (but then, isn't Shires an offshoot of Edwards?), but more consistent, for my money, and also even more expensive. An absolutely massive sound (a bit OTT, maybe), and rather hard work.

    Yamaha - breaks up too easily, but not a bad instrument for brass band stuff. The one I tried really didn't get on with my Bach mouthpieces, but responded much better to one it came with.

    Conn - both modern types 60H and 112H (I think those are the correct designations - one is single trigger, the other double) seemed very nice, and quite similar to the Holtons, though a little brighter, which was quite refreshing in this age of immense Bass Trom sounds.

    Sovereigns I haven't tried for years, although a chap I know owns one of c.1980 vintage, which is quite nice, although the trigger setup is a little odd.

    On the subject of valve types, I have found very little consistent difference in response and tone between different models; perhaps it is to do with the way I blow - I try to play with as wide a lip aperture as possible.

    Why not buck the trend - buy a G Trombone!

  10. Mike Saville

    Mike Saville Member

    I've got my eyes peeled on ebay looking for one of these. I'm thinking of turning up with it to a contest, just to see the look on the MD's face!
  11. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    One of my Dad's ambitions is to do the Whit Contests on G - maybe next year for tMP brass.
  12. Mike Saville

    Mike Saville Member

    It wasn't me - I didn't post 5 times - hoenst!
  13. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    Apologies to people confused by this thread - I've removed about a gazillion duplicate posts, and it seems to be operating correctly again now.
    Was probably due to gremlins during the downtime earlier on.
  14. blondie

    blondie Member

    Slightly off topic i know, but in response to what MoominDave's heard about Holton teonrs, I can honestly say that i find them a completly different animal compared to the bass. Obviously you might say but I would recommend this instrument to anyone, and again its down to preference and it perhaps that this one suited me, but i loved it compared to my bass.
  15. Brassbones

    Brassbones Member

    Go and see Mick Rath in Hudderfield. He will make an instrument to your own specifications, and very reasonably too!!

    How many other makers workshops can you go to and call the shots!?

    Oh, he's a nice bloke as well!!
  16. JessopSmythe

    JessopSmythe Active Member

    Slightly off topic, I know, but I've found the answer to a question Neil T asked about Bass Troms in another topic (forgotten which one sorry)

  17. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    Edit: Dulpicate thread deleted (RT)
  18. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member


    One of my Dad's ambitions is to do the Whit Contests on G - maybe next year for tMP brass.[/quote]

    When I was at Rolls-Royce (Coventry), he suggested this to Dave Lea, with the additional prop of myself playing the same part an octave down. I don't think the suggestion was treated terribly seriously...

  19. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I did something of a similar order a few years ago, a little unwittingly, turning up to a rehearsal for the Warwick University Orchestra on some Tchaikovsky with a G in a spirit of enquiry. Unfortunately, I hadn't realised that that night was a) a brass sectional and b) to be taken by Ken Shifrin, former Principal Trombone of the CBSO, who appeared to think that I was deliberately trying to mock him by this, and made things rather unfriendly for half an hour or so before requesting me to find my usual instrument. I've tended to clear things like this with conductors in advance since!

  20. Despot

    Despot Member

    But for all the advances in the Bass Trombone, all the different valves etc, is it really used to it's full potential in your average band?

    I heard from a repairman that one of the big problems he sees from B.T.'s is the second valve sticking from lack of use!


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