Duo Gravis Experience

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Gtrom, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. Gtrom

    Gtrom Member

    After years of listening to many waxing lyrical about the King Duo Gravis Bass Trombone I've finally managed to buy one.

    Straight out of the box I lifted it up and was surprised how light and small it felt. It came in the original case which too felt Tenor like. The bell was a standard size 9 1/2 inches and the bore slightly smaller than that of the more modern troms.

    Once I put my 1G mp in and adjusted my grip to compensate for the strange dual valves operated by one thumb arrangement wow was I surprised. The tone was "old fashioned" in the sense that it was a little edgy when pushed and the lower range was awesome, enough to easily rival my R9.

    For the past two weeks the duo gravis has been my first choice as I've found it easier to maintain (no constant hagmann lubing) and even easier to acquire the noise I want to make than the other bones I have in the closet.

    All in all I'm really impressed, the only slight downer being the revised grip required to operate the valves although I realise this can be changed to the more traditional thumb and "Saturday night finger" arrangement.

    Has anyone else any Duo Gravis experiences they want to share?
  2. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Thought I'd just jump in and geekily clarify this despite only having passing Duo Gravis blowing experience... What's meant by the "bore" of a trombone is always the slide bore. By this measure, the Duo Gravis is identical to modern single-bored bass trombones, all having tubing of diameter .562" or so. Where the Duo Gravis differs is that the bore stays at that size for longer - it's .562" until past the valves, whereas all other designs that I'm aware of grow before the valves - Bach 50s, Conns of all sorts and Rath R8/9s are all .594". The Holton TR181 is .585" (not sure about older Holtons?), and I think this is part of what makes the 181 well-suited to brass band style lower register shouting.

    Staying cylindrical longer is a design feature that is shared with ancient sackbutts; it makes it much easier to focus the sound. Nobody makes anything quite like the Duo Gravis these days, more's the pity; a Rath option for it would surely be very popular with banders, and I would imagine that it could be achieved easily enough by delaying the flare start past the valves. When I make time to visit the Rath factory, I intend to ask about the practicalities and cost of this idea.
  3. stevo700

    stevo700 New Member

    I've just bought one after a 10 year break from playing. Brilliant instrument, despite the triggers needing a 'bit of getting used to' Plenty of edge, but takes a bit of taming...
  4. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    I've been playing on a Duo Gravis for over 5 years now and find it's an ideal instrument for a brass band. Very easy to get plenty of focus in the sound which helps me to sound like a trombone in quieter passages rather than a tuba on a stick.

    G trom, you might want to consider a 1.5 sized mouthpiece with this instrument. It was developed with that size of mouthpiece in mind and certainly seems to be a lot more balanced with the smaller piece.

    I had mine adapted to SNF linkage as I couldn't get used to the side by side position of the valves. Mick Rath did the work, from what I remember it was about £300, but that included a slide overhaul too.
  5. Gtrom

    Gtrom Member

    Thank you for your views.

    I mainly do my playing in a Brass Band with some occasional playing with a local Orchestra. Our Band recently accompanied the performers in a local "Stars in their Eyes" night in a Swing Band style and I found the DG ideally suited for it. I've found in the Brass Band environment the DG to be a little "bright" with an amazing immediate "fizzle" (technical expression) on almost every note I play, nice but missing some blend which I like in my sound.

    The DG does seem even more bright in the Orchestral situation so I'll keep it on the bench for these outings.

    Thank you Dave for the anorak response ;). I was aware of the smaller bore before the valves having researched the DG with our Brass playing friends in the States where the DG is more commonplace than over here. The focus can definitely be felt.

    I agree the value triggers are not ideally situated and I'm really torn between keeping the DG original and adapting it for a SNF arrangement.

    As regards the 1.5 mp I do have a spare one and may well have a tootle through it and note any changes to the sound.

    Thank you once again.
  6. Gtrom

    Gtrom Member

    Further to my recent post and reference to the local "Stars in Their Eyes" Event - it appears most of the night has been uploaded to youtube.

    I mentioned the immediate "fizzle" in this thread and it can be heard here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJKxVZNIlxk

    I guess the seating arrangement helped in the sound projection.

    It was a really good night and helped cement my love of the DG.
  7. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Fruity! Sounds great. And fun.

    Not always easy to hide in the band sound at higher dynamics with an edge like that in the basic sound!
  8. Space Cowboy

    Space Cowboy Member

    And very good he sounds on it, too.

    I've never heard the phrase "Saturday night finger" before :) . Must be bass trom lingo.