Bottom 'C' on bass bone

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by merv, Jul 26, 2017.

  1. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Can you find it on the trigger with E pull and approx 6th pos the octave up?
  2. John Yate

    John Yate New Member

    Don't assume that if you can't get flat enough with the target slide position playing a C or B-natural on the F extension an octave up, you won't be flat enough playing the actual note. Sadly, you seem to have a tuning meter that really works well low down...
    Of course, everyone knows that if you drop to an instrument a fourth lower, the slide, or the valves if it's not a trombone, need to be fully a third bigger - thirty-two inches of slide needed for a B natural on the F side, instead of the twenty-four needed for an E on a straight B-flat bone. Some single-valve trombone players do "get away with" those long position notes on the F extension simply by virtue of the fact that a lot of brass instruments play badly flat down low - cornet players are often advised NOT to trigger when playing their 'lowest-note' F-sharps even if they need to to play an in-tune C-sharp/D-flat a fourth above.
    'Closed-wrap' 88H trombones, and some Besson single-valve bass bones I have seen, appear to have a huge F-extension tuning slide going down the middle, that might be over eight inches long...
    If you are really desperate to get the low concert C in, would you be prepared to pull out the main tuning slide as far as it will go, in addition to pulling out the f extension's slide right to the 'sticking it in place with blu-tack' zone as well?
    The price is avoidance, where possible, of short-positions for notes for a little time before, then, once the ultra-low passage has passed, quickly pushing everything back to normal settings.
    You can check with a ruler to see if the two tuning slides add up to the eight extra inches you (theoretically) need. I've tried it with my R400, a big bone but not a bass bone, which although it has quite a lot of tuning give on both the F extension and main slides, being more of an 'open-wrap' design, still doesn't really have the theoretically necessary extra reach in the two tuning slides combined, so if I ever get a bottom B natural in tune playing in anger, and I'm not really sure I'll ever be asked to, it will only work because I am going beyond instrument's 'comfort zone'. Something you won't be doing if you have a proper bass trombone.
  3. merv

    merv Member

    Sorry Dave haven't tried as have been away from home. Back tonight so will try. Thx for reminder.
    john that's a very impressive treatise, takes some digestion. Might be easier to go back to BB flat tuba.
    This note only appears twice in the first two staves of a four page test piece, Ravenhill Suite. Is it worth all the hassle one asks. Thx for your comments will study carefully
  4. MHubel

    MHubel New Member

    Hi Merv,

    MoominDave and I know each other from another forum. I play more tenor trombone these days, but I still play bass at a high level in a big band. I own both a Yamaha Xeno 830 double plug F/Gb independent set up and my recent acquisition is a Yamaha 322 single plug. I had been wanting the single for some time, particularly an older Yamaha, for a number of reasons, some of which I'll describe here.

    Firstly, older single valve instruments use a traditional valve wrap that allows for a long tuning slide on the F attachment. This allows for a full E pull to get the low B. Newer single plugs like an
    R8 use an open wrap that does not allow for a long enough valve slide to get anywhere near the low B. The single plug is lighter and much easier to hold than a double plug.

    I have long arms and I can get a low C in tune in a flat 7th. I played a Yamaha 321 from '78 through '90 and loved the horn for brass band and even recorded a solo on it. Eb basses supply the note, Bb supply the weight, and the bass trombone supplies the edge. I had little issue giving the edge. To "2nd tenor", I offer an opposing opinion of the desirability of the bass part over 2nd, and I invite him to sit in front of me. :p

    Bass bone in a brass band in one of the most fun things one can legally do. While I now sit in the solo chair, I often sorely miss playing bass trombone. A well played bass trombone will make your section mates smile! I read all clefs, as that was part of my classical trombone training.

    Depending on the age of your repertoire, low Cs and Bs are not needed too often. For example, Eric Ball mostly wrote for the G bass, so Db was the lowest note. That said, newer literature will have low Bs and Cs, and the E-pull is a pain. That's why I bought my Xeno. For double plugs, you can discuss ad nauseum the merits of dependent versus independent.

    I hope this is helpful.
    Jack E and 2nd tenor like this.
  5. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Another great response from one of the experts that I was hoping would join in the conversation, and a great thing for tmp that you have joined up. Thanks, I've certainly found your comments helpful.

    No slight or adverse comment on any model or manufacturer intended. It seems to me that if you want what I'd consider to be a 'proper' Bb/F Bass Trombone then you have to be very careful in your selection to ensure that you get a 'suitably long' slide and a full length E pull on the F section. The old Imperial Bb/F Bass Trombone perhaps fits that bill?

    As in my own post bass clef didn't work for me, just couldn't get my head around the pitching and the many ledger lines above the stave (played in a wind band ...... seemed a good idea at the time). I can well imagine it being great fun to put the edge on some notes, enjoy. Perhaps strangely I think that the Bass Trombone, with its bigger bell, can be more melodious than the tenor so you potentially have the best of both worlds ...... don't think I'll risk sitting in front of you though it's a very kind offer. Thankyou.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017
  6. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Hi Martin, nice to speak again, it's been a while! Hope you got the musical matters we were discussing some years ago squared away to your satisfaction.

    My personal recommendation on this would be to get hold of an old Conn 72H. Great-sounding single trigger bass bones that play beautifully, don't cost the earth (though you may have to be a little patient to get hold of one), and as intended design features have both an extra long valve pull and an extra long slide in order to facilitate low C (and B with the pull). Bass trombones in the 50s and 60s didn't get better than these, and in some respects they haven't since.
    2nd tenor likes this.
  7. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

  8. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    I dunno . . . whatever happened to the spirit of adventure?
  9. MHubel

    MHubel New Member

    I agree, Dave, and the Yamaha 321 /322 are essentially copies of the 72H. I paid an incredibly low price for my 322. (hint: 1/10 of the cost of my 830 that I purchased new).
  10. MHubel

    MHubel New Member

    Another thought, Merv. I have a friend who is also struggling with the low C and B. He has gone through a lot of gear changes looking for the magic bass that contains these notes. On the other hand, it could be an issue of technique and practice.

    While practising, start on the 2nd line Bb and gliss down to the F. Ensure the F sounds the same as the Bb in strength and tone. The glissando should make this a continuous event. Next, get the same low F using the valve. Similarly, gliss down to the Low C. Work to have the low C sound as good as the F.

    The purpose of this small exercise is to eliminate any of the issues that might be introduced by just starting on the low C. After a while, the low C should be obtainable on its own.
  11. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    I had in mind and by chance later came across a video of this chap playing:
    He has several other videos of him playing to enjoy too.

    At the back of my mind too was the conversion that one professional trombonist had done on his instrument to help him with the low range E pull.
  12. andhenderson

    andhenderson New Member

    I've been playing Bass Trombone now for some years but started on Brass Band tenor in Treble Clef. My first Bass Bone was a single plug and was always a problem on the lower registers. Doug Yeo suggests that when the plug is used the positions should be flattened and I find this works (need long right arm though). Many current BB Test Pieces ask for low C's and B's so they have to be played, often as parts of runs so no time for faffing about pulling slides etc. My current Bach 50B is double plug and plays all the notes, though low C's are still quite difficult to centre. Very important to have all the tubes warmed up fully to make note production easier. Keep blowing through with triggers engaged even during rests. Hope this helps.
    2nd tenor likes this.
  13. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    I guess that that reflects the reality of contesting and the expectation of composers both that the Bass Trombone will be a double plug model and that they will test the skill of its player. I wonder whether that double plug expectation applies to all sections, when that expection arrived and how necessary a double plug is for the stuff we play in the park and during Christmas Concerts?

    Thank-you for all your points and welcome to tmp.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
  14. merv

    merv Member

    Well I had a double plug for about 9 months and it was really heavy. Also practising with the older Silent Brass Mute in made it very tiring to hold. So I thought I rarely use double plug so traded in against a single plug which is a breeze to hold. Then Murphys Law crept in and a test piece appears with bottom C. Anyhow I am now getting bottom C thankfully on the single plug with a really extended right arm. Also practising Martin's technique of glissing down fro Bb and F and that definitely helps
  15. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Murphy's law, tell me about it!

    If you are not using them already then there are techniques to holding the slide in a very extended position that might help you, they're a bit hard for me to explain but 'griping' the upper leg of the slide between a couple of fingers helps as does turning the shoulders. Hopefully someone will come along and explain better than me, a search on the Trombone Forum might also throw up results for you too.

    Edit. There is a danger of the slide falling off and heading into the distance where it will as likely or not damage itself. A shoelace tide around the side brace and looped around the wrist might look naff but it don't half save you from a lot of bother and expense getting a slide sorted out - they damage soooooo easily. Other variants on the same stop it falling off theme exist.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
  16. merv

    merv Member

    Yes turning the shoulders does help, right shoulder forwards. You talk about 'griping', I'll leave that to the wifeYes, joking apart, I see what you mean. I'm stretching OK but not enough to let the slide pop right out! God forbid.
    Off to tuba tonight
  17. mr_tuba

    mr_tuba New Member

    Although I personally prefer to play everything in Bass Clef, treble clef transposing music is OK with valves, but on a slide it just fries my brain.

    Low C on any Bb /F Trombone should be available without pulling the valve tuning slide out, it will be in "Long" 6th which is usually a bit beyond normal 7th. You may need to practise low notes, that's where using tuba studies can be a big help, the other thing that helps may be irrelevant, but don't grow a moustache, the clean shaven top lip helps make a good air seal without too much pressure and really helps the low register. My first trombone was Yam YBL321 and on that bottom C was quite easy, only needing the extended tuning slide for B naturals; indeed I only switched to a professional double plug orchestral model to get the extra power without cracking the sound.
  18. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Thank you for that clear explanation, Martin - I'd often wondered about "Why Bb and Eb, as well as bass trombones?" Now I know! :)

    With best regards,

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