Change of instrument

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Andy Cooper, Jun 27, 2006.

  1. Andy Cooper

    Andy Cooper Member

    Due to a number of players leaving to go to Uni etc etc staffing crisis etc we have had a bit of a swap round tonight at band, and ive swapped from bari to B flat bass. I was knackered, couldnt blow the B**ger, couldnt reach the low notes below C and struggled at that. Im determined to give it a good try, any (sensible please) tips for breathing and getting my lip into the bigger mouthpiece?
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2006
  2. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    Many (many!) moons back, due to shiftwork, I went from principal cornet, to bumper, to 3rd man down, to 3rd (!) Eb Bass in about 7-8 weeks.

    So I didn't play/practice for a month ('cos I couldn't play the beggar at all....)

    And, by not practising, I got the top seat in less than 6 months.... (and stayed there for about 10 years - and never got lower than E below the stave.... :) )

    So, take a week or three off, and only practice if you have to... :clap:
  3. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    Try playing scales using just 'breath accents' with a breath between each note & no tongue at all. Start off playing very short notes & gradually work on lengthening the notes each time. The 'breath accent' forces you to open up and push the air through better and the lack of tongue control forces you to centre the notes.

    And work at pushing your bottom jaw forward / down for the lower notes.

    TIMBONE Active Member

    I have moved over to Bb Bass from tbn a couple of times for the Areas', (4 tbns and only 1 Bb). Don't worry about it, give it a few weeks and it will start happening. Our 2nd horn moved to Bb Bass permanently a year ago, she struggled for a few weeks, but you should hear her now. My only tip (from personal experience) is don't get obsessed with trying to open up your embouchure too much.
  5. horn-girlie

    horn-girlie Member

    havent had any personal experience as i've always been on horn ... but i think generally its just getting used to the new instrument, and after a while it should feel easier! within under a year, my little sister moved from cornet to baritone to Bb bass, and each time she struggled for a little while but soon got used to it! good luck with it!
  6. Euphanasia

    Euphanasia Member

    I've gone from being a Euph/Bari dep to BBb bass dep (just for the summer - not sure I want to make a career change out of it..) to help a band out.
    The one thing I would suggest is don't try and get away with a small mouthpiece to conserve your lip for the higher instrument - I tried to play BBb with a Denis Wick 4, and couldn't get below a G above the stave with any ease, so have had to go down to a DW 2, which opens it up a bit....even though the mouthpiece looks scarily big to a Euph player......

    Good luck!
  7. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    Well i was once asked to move from Baritone-Bb Bass i told the conductor to take a running jump NOWAY was i GOING TO PLAY THE Bb BASS:mad: .
    That was over 20 years ago i dont play with that band anymore as a result of that by the conductor at the time
  8. Andy Cooper

    Andy Cooper Member

    Thanks for the advice folks, just about to put some of it into practice - Ive got to say I was getting very frustrated at band last night with complete mispitches and wondering whether it was the right move - and thats before i tried to get it into the car for the drive home!!!!!!

    i shall persevere and hopefully it will come good - I must admit that having looked and atempted the parts i quite like the idea of being in the engine room!
  9. vonny

    vonny Member

    Hi Andy

    How's it going? I have read your post - and now i am going to reply ;)
    I have recently moved on to playing baritone and i previously haven't even blown one. I was quite suprised but i sounded good even though i was mis-pitching and the tuning was dire in places, but 3 rehearsals later and practice i am sounding almost brilliant. I can see why you get frustrated as i have done especially when i know what note i am supposed to be playing and it dosen't produce...
    Glad you have settled with a band, i am kind of on the move as i had to leave my last band because of distance and my work etc... but eh it's all fun in the world of brass banding - usually!!!!

    Yvonne x
  10. Andy Cooper

    Andy Cooper Member

    Thanks Yvonne

    Yeah Im reasonably happy over at Greenfield now - despite the fact its technically (from a traditional viewpoint ) in Yorkshire! Its getting better a bit and amusing my colleagues at work as ive brought the mouthpiece in and trying to get my lip in on it!



    Hi andy.

    I moved to BBb Bass from tenor trombone about 7 years ago as the band were short of basses. You just have to be a bit patient. I found that long note practice was invaluable as it helped with the tone, tuning and just getting used to the bulk of the instrument.

    I enjoyed playing BBb bass for the higher section bands 2nd, 1st and champ, as the parts were more interesting. However If you play in the lower sections you may well be bored stiff: I was! There is nothing wrong with Frank Bernhearts(SP!) music, but the tuba parts are all naff.

    HAve now moved onto Euphonium and am loving it... TUNES!...

    The good thing now is that it only takes about 5 minutes for my lip to adjust to the bass if I need to play BBb bass for a band job!

    Here comes the arguement of "Jack of all trades and master of none!" but that is another debate.

    I think what I have truied to say through the inane drivel above is that you really have to want to play the bass to enjoy it.

    Is it what you want to play?...
  12. matt_BBb_bass

    matt_BBb_bass Member

    i play for camborne youth band and i moved from euph to BBb bass when i join them. i praticed it everyday and in 4 months when we went to Manchester for nationals i could play fine. Just keep playing and playing. You will get use to it!
  13. Andy Cooper

    Andy Cooper Member

    An update and thanks - Cheers for all the tips etc, the good (orbad depending on your view) news is it worked, Im starting to get comfortable down to low F sharp and Ive become converted to the cause of bass players and actually enjoy playing the parts.

    I have also now seriously started to work on cultivating a beer gut as well, just to look like a real Bb expert !!


  14. :mad: :mad: :mad: Grrrrrr Nowt wrong wi' Yorkshire folk!!!

    Back to topic, I also moved from playing baritone (in bass clef) to playing BBb bass (in treble clef). I did find it quite tricky to start with, but you will find that it does get easier as time goes by. The other point is the one from the view that it is easier if you don't go at it hell for leather at the start. What I mean is, if it don't come naturally in the first couple of weeks, don't get downhearted. There are precious few bass players around at the moment and we need all the bass players we can get! (I mean this in the "bass players union" sense.)
    All the best and enjoy the "kudo's" associated with playing the biggest biffer in the band (ie: not having to set up contest stages, first to the bar after concerts / contests etc)...

    Andy, permanently semi-retired
  15. glidng_slide

    glidng_slide Member

    I am thinking of playing BBb for a band for the Nationals. Have only done 2 practices and its a lot different to blowing my trombone, I can get a note out of it, well several in fact. So am making good progress concidering I have only had 2 practices and it is 15 or so years since I did a 6 months spell on Eb.
    I am struggling to get low notes, have a range down to about A below the stave, but expect that to come. One thing I am concerned with is the fact I have no idea what valves to press for the really low notes, I know G below is 1+3 and F# is 123, or 4+2, if I could reach the 4th valve :-(, but what about below this, there are parts that go to F, E and below.
    Much as I know I couldn't even get there yet, I don't know what to put down even if I could

    Much appreciate any help any valve players can offer me. You never see any notes like that on a trombone (thankfully)
  16. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Chris, you are doing a great job - just stick at it! Will be worth it - drinks on me at the nationals! :cool:


    Pressing down the 4th valve is like using the f trigger on a trombone, only more in tune when you go lower! So you can play the notes as follows

    G = 4
    f#f = 4+2
    f = 4+1
    E = 4+1+2
    Eb = 4+2+3
    D = 4+1+3
    Db = 4+1+2+3
    c = Pedal open (takes ages to get this one!)

    Hope I got the name of the notes right! As I first learnt trombone in bass cleff, I have a nasty habit of reverting to concert pitch and confusing everyone (including myself!:redface: )

    As you get lower, don't wory 'bout the volume, just give them plenty of air.

    What type of bass is it that you have trombone reaching the 4th valve?
  18. glidng_slide

    glidng_slide Member

    Many thanks for that, I am gonna print this out. Never had a F trigger on a trombone, have always played a Bb only, so will also come in handy if I ever play trombone again, or upgrade my Conn.

    Its not a problem with the bass and the 4th valve, its a problem with both the length of my arms and the need to hold on tightly otherwise the fear of this Bass flying across the bandroom takes over. I remember playing Eb where the Bass had a nipple on the bottom which sat snuggly in a groove on the chair. The Bass I am playing is nice and smooth and has a tendancy to slide about.

    I am sure Blue Peter would have some ideas around the use of sticky back plastic or velcro to solve my situation.
  19. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    Just use the same valves as you would for the notes the octave above, plus the 4th valve!


    I uses to have trouble with this at my last band as the chairs were tiny (and I am of usual BBb bass stature!);)
    You could try a couple of things to sort this out. Try turning your seat about 45 Degrees so that when you sit down and open your legs (ooer mrs...:sup ) the corner of the seat is there. This should give you more room to position the bass. If the seat is a but slidy, put a towel or cushion on the seat before you sit down.

    The other option is getting hold of a tuba stand. They are quite hard to get hold of though and a wee bit poncy! No offence to anyone who uses them!:tongue:

    hope this helps.