Ergobrass - anyone use one?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by yooflou, May 16, 2018.

  1. yooflou

    yooflou Member

    Messages:
    42
    Hi
    I have searched this website for references to Ergobrass but can't find anything in relation to someone actually using one. I play Baritone and have developed a problem with my Rotator Cuff which is making it extremely uncomfortable to play and do lots of other things I want to do, but I don't want to invest £££ in something that others have used and doesn't really work. I can see it working for Euph, but as the Baritone is smaller it is tucked into my tummy rather than on my lap, so not sure how putting a rod down from a plate on the back of it will work. Has anyone used one and did it work? I know we are all different and hold our instruments differently, but I thought I would ask.
     
  2. HelenPlaysBaritone

    HelenPlaysBaritone New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Gateshead
    I used one for baritone (Besson Sovereign three-valve with compensation) for years before moving to trombone, in order to play with the left hand (I injured my right ring finger whilst playing a very stiff-valved instrument in the cold and it never recovered: morals of the story are "stop if it hurts" and "if the valve guides stick or the springs are too stiff, replace them"). By having the Ergobrass take the weight, I only had to steady the instrument rather than having to lift it.

    I found it exceptionally helpful when used in "pogo-stick mode" with the rubber-tipped pole resting on the seat between your thighs. In "belt mode", it was less helpful because the instrument tended to fall forwards, but still useful for marching when teamed with a sax-style neck lanyard or tuba-style shoulder strap.

    A few tips:
    • When setting it up for the first time, do so at home with plenty of time available to both complete the setup and spend time getting used to the feel, as using an Ergobrass is very different from having to lift the bari yourself.
    • There are several holes on the plate to put the pole top into, try them all. The right one is the one where the bari feels weightless in your hands and isn't trying to rotate itself around the pole top under its own weight.
    • When using it in "pogo-stick mode", either wear a long a-line skirt or wear trousers. Hitching a knee-length straight skirt up to put the pole between my thighs looked rather more suggestive than I was happy with.
    • For the love of dog, take the split pin to an engineering supplier or DIY store and get a few more like it as soon as you get the Ergobrass and also use electrical tape and string to fasten the split pin to the instrument. Members of my band still mock me about the time I had to lower a stand magnet on a string between the floorboards of a bandstand to get the split pin back after dropping it...
     
    2nd tenor and Jack E like this.
  3. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,035
    . . . giving a whole new slant to the question invariably asked of anglers:

    "Have you caught anything?"

    "Just a split-pin!"
    :D
     
  4. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,514
    Location:
    Oxford
    Incidental thought here... Losing the ring finger option doesn’t have to mean writing off valve playing. If you shift your hand over to use thumb, fore and index fingers, that ought to work (I’ve done it myself). Also perhaps strapping little finger to the ring finger?
     
  5. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,284
    Location:
    Chigley
    Helen’s “Stop if it hurts” comment reminds me of some of the, in hindsight, foolish stuff that I’ve done. Yes, toughing it out and having a bit of grit is all well and good but sometimes you do pick up injuries that are, at best, very slow to heal.

    As I recall the Trombone Forum did have a lot of positive comments on it about the Ergobrass, the TF seems to still be off-line ( http://www.tromboneforum.org/ ) but as and when it returns a search there might be helpful.

    It might also be worth a (better than mine) search on TubeNet TubeNet • Search
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
  6. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,035
    @HelenPlaysBaritone
    Helen, this forum seems to have picked up where the Trombone Forum left off, and a search on it for Ergobrass brought this page up, which might be helpful:
    TromboneChat - Search

    With best regards,

    Jack
     
  7. yooflou

    yooflou Member

    Messages:
    42
    Thank you all - I decided to go for the Ergobrass and it works really well. Helen - your tips are absolutely right!
    I have also found that though it has meant I can play a whole rehearsal without being in a lot of pain, I obviously do quite a lot of 'pulling in' to the mouthpiece with the whole instrument for high notes or fast passages which also irritates the Rotator Cuff. I am trying to play with less pressure on the chops, but struggling to get above top A without pressure. Perhaps that will come - no idea how you teach yourself to play with less pressure though! It does get in the way a bit putting the instrument down and up to change music etc., but luckily I don't have to remove it each time I pack my instrument away as it fits in my Bach leather gig bag, just poles out the zip a little, so less chance of losing the split pin! Thank you once again - especially Helen.
     
    2nd tenor likes this.
  8. HelenPlaysBaritone

    HelenPlaysBaritone New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Gateshead
    I don't know which of your arms has the rotator cuff problem nor where you put your left hand. If it's your left arm affected, try adjusting your left-hand position. Prior to my injury I put my left-hand on the valve casing, rather than wrapping my arm around the instrument and putting my hand on the vertical tubing that leads down into the bell crook (the last curve before the bell). Putting the left hand on the valve casing meant I didn't have to stretch the arm so far because I was getting shooting pains through my left shoulder when I tried to put my hand on the tubing that leads down into the bell crook.
     
  9. yooflou

    yooflou Member

    Messages:
    42
    Thank you all for your advice. I have been using the Ergobrass pogo stick for about 4 weeks which included a week of intensive rehearsal and playing and it has made a huge difference to my recovery. It does take a little bit of getting used to, but not much and depending on the surface of the chair it has to be adjusted lengthwise, but it not difficult to do that. I haven't tried it out in the belt contraption yet as that involved cutting it down in size and I haven't got round to that yet! It is my left arm and I have played around with the positioning which has helped.
    I get a few odd looks and questions - but most people are interested in it - and I have noticed it also makes me sit up better - so improved posture too! In fact one chap asked about it for his students as he saw it as a way of encouraging them to sit with better posture while they are playing. I guess the next decision will be to stay with it always or go back to 'normal' hold in the future...
     
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