Is it me or is there a mass shortage of BBb bass players?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by matt_BBb_bass, Oct 29, 2006.

  1. matt_BBb_bass

    matt_BBb_bass Member

    Hi My name is Matt and i play BBb bass. I look on other bands websites and you always see that there want BBb bass players! Why does know one play them? i am 15 and play one there great. But i just don't understand why know one plays them?
  2. Craig_Baritone

    Craig_Baritone Member

    Kirkby in Ashfield
    I used to play BBb till i moved on to Eb i think most people dont play them because of the size when i spoke to people they say they are too big for me !
  3. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    I imagine there popssibly is a shortage of players across all sections on all instruments - that's if you compare the number of players who are available to play v's the number of bands around for them to play in. There are more bands with positions vacant than there are players available - and this is endemic across the banding movement.

    Yes of course, you get bands who most of the time have a full compliment of players, but that's a diufficult position to get to and all credit to those bands who find themselves in that position.
  4. JDH

    JDH Member

    Many people do not want to play BBb bass because:

    1) They are so big and heavy to carry around.
    2) The Besson ones used by most bands are built to be played by giants with high mouthpiece and quite a s t r e t c h to the 4th valve.
    3) Generally the part is not as interesting as the Eb bass part.
    4) The Eb bass is more adaptable if you want to play solos, quintets, wind band, or in an orchestra.

    However, against all that, there is a great satisfaction playing the bottom of the cord on the BBb and they certainly enhance the sound of a band.

    Good luck to you on BBb bass - you will never have problems finding a band to play with!
  5. Vickitorious

    Vickitorious Active Member

    Have you auditioned for nybb? We've had a huuuuge shortage there for the last 2 years!
    Theres meant to be 6 of them, but we only have 4 at the moment! So If you haven't already, get an audition quick before the time goes!!! :)
  6. Bungle

    Bungle Member

    East Sussex
    I used to play to play Bb bass when I was struggling with playing after a two year break, got a chance to move to a first section band after moving house and played some great pieces which I would have not had a chance to play if I'd stayed at a lower level band on baritone. Moving to Bb Bass is not a step down if you move to a higher level band.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2006
  7. MrsMosh

    MrsMosh Member

    Maybe as the Bb part gets more demanding, the apparent shortage of players is more to do with the shortage of able players? The Bb certainly seems to have once been the retirement home of the band but let's face it, with modern music placing more demands on the basses (and the other seats in the band), perhaps this is where the shortfall is stemming from?
  8. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Hadleigh, Essex
    There have been some good points made above,and there certainly seems to have been a reluctance in the past to start young players on BBb bass. It is good to see this changing, and I was most encouraged at Enfield Citadel's pre-contest concert on Friday night to see two youngsters just recently moved into the band, one on EEb & one on BBb. It is an instrument that not everyone can take to, but it's up to each of us to spread the word, and show just what the instrument is capable of.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2006
  9. SuperMosh

    SuperMosh New Member

    Excellent point.

    Also, :clap: to Mrs Mosh, didn't realise she cared :biggrin:
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 29, 2006
  10. Hoss

    Hoss Member

    There has been an incessant dearth of Double B players who can produce a warm and full sound for as long as Ive been asscoiated with the blunderbass. The instrument itself doesnt help as there has yet to have been a compensating B flat used by british bands that is on a par with its E falt siblings. If you attack a B flat it bites back like an angry walrus, edgy and hard. Not good. They can be tamed with tons of practice on fundamentals and good breath control.
  11. MartinT

    MartinT Member

    Highworth, Wilts
    Too right. I found that Bb is not a soft option. The runs and pedals require technique, and the whole thing requires stamina - which is a major reason why I eventually swapped places with the 2nd Eb player!

    Eb and Bb are two different jobs, to my mind. The Eb line contains more melodic material, while the Bb is more about sound, very often the "carpet of sound" effect. I think of them as bass and contrabass, respectively.
  12. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Brighouse, Yorkshire
    Having played both, I reckon the major difference is the effort required to play it. Eb bass gets more difficult and technical parts to play, but it's so much harder to produce a nice sound on BB. Everything that was bread-and- butter technique on Eb bass I always find that step harder on BB. I think this is mainly because the air takes that fraction of a second longer to get round all the tubing, so the fast stuff is monstrously hard to play cleanly and with definition.

    I think another reason is that no-one writes any BBb Bass solos, so anyone with a bit of flair and showmanship about them usually plumps for Eb as it gives them a chance to express that.

    Someone write a decent BB solo... Please....
  13. SuperMosh

    SuperMosh New Member

    Decent solo you say? Forty Fathoms, Tuba Smarties...
    I'll get my coat.


    all of the bands up here have a problem with BBb players. Has to be said that out of the tubas, I prefer playing the BBb comfort wise: it is just great when you get a part that allows you to open up and fill the bandhall with sound (and drown out the horns! ;) Please don't tell the wife that I said that) But as I am playing with a 3rd section band at the moment, the parts tend to be duller than watching reruns of corrie! You also have the problem that the younger less experienced players who come in on EEb don't have the technical ability to provide the clarity for contesting fast parts. So what happens, I play EEb and cover the BBb part whenever possible.

    I swear that the biggest problem with the BBb is Psychological. I moved to it after playing tenor trombone and to be honest took to it like a duck to water. Bit of a hastle taking it back and forward to band. anyway , enough wittering, back to work.
  15. matthetimp

    matthetimp Member

    South Wales
    I think what hasn't helped the cause with the shortage of players is that bands are now allowed to sign 40 players onto their books. If this was reduced to 33-35 players, think how many more players there would be about and how it might benifit the movement more than the current system!
  16. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    For want of a better term, I have regressed from BBflat to as far as CORNET over the past few years in the quest for a lighter instrument to play- being disabled it seemed like a good idea - I ended up playing cornet and getting carpel tunnel syndrome due to holding the damn thing & triggering) and am now gradually descending back to lower brass seats as the opportunity arises, all along wishing I had stayed put & suffered the backache and the chipped car and front door paintwork!
    BBflat is NOT an instrument for the frail of body though, the difference between Eflat and BBflat is very evident when you are not so fit. Wheels or not, when it is in it's case, facing up 12 steep stairs shows how cumbersome it is, not just awkward when out perched on the seat. Just how many players give up on BBflat and drift to the comparatively featherweight Eflat leaving it to the younger & fitter on BBflat to wear their backs out and crack their front teeth when it slips!
  17. Hilary Mateer

    Hilary Mateer Member

    I actually learnt to play a brass instrument on BBb bass and played it quite happily for about 6 years, I bought my own and even learnt bass clef fingering so I could play it with my wind band.
    I then moved to a contesting band where the conductor very rapidly switched me onto EEb saying that BBb was not my instument ( nothing to do with him having 2 BBb bass players at the time ;) ).
    I very quickly realised that is was much easier to play, I did not need a playing stand as I did with BBb, I could march with it, and it was much easier to cart around - why do most contests seem to involve large flights of stairs? It also gets more interesting parts.
    I soon sold my BBb and bought an EEb and have stayed with it ever since.
    I do still enjoy depping on BBb though and I do miss those lovely low notes.
  18. 24aw

    24aw Member

    There is a number of reasons for this current lack of kaiser bass exponents. The main one is the general lack of brass players, so statistically the numbers of bass players reflect this. The instrument is no longer something you play when you cant play anything else, at the top level you genuinely have to be on the ball to stay in a competitive bass section, people who are persuaded to forget the cornet due to talent shortage now find the more likely alternative occupation is driving the van, sweeping the band room or playing drums (something remedial like that) The third reason is a strange modern day phenomena, as a top flight BB player, the amount of attractive nubile groupies constantly hanging around you after contests is becoming off putting, the modern day blunder-bass player should really be spending 3 hours after a performance warming down with a specificaly designed warm down routine, devised to keep the players lip in tip top form just like a highly tuned athlete spends time after a workout in a ice bath or with a SPORTS masseuse. The amount of gorgeous women who seem to find the BB players the most charismatic and attractive people on the banding scene seems to have exploded out of all proportions recently. And this frankly unwanted attention is starting to somewhat corrupt the talent of this country's huge array of gifted BB players. Now please forgive me if i have to stop writing i have to get changed, I'm taking that Angelina Jolie out this evening.
  19. dikkezeug

    dikkezeug New Member

    I first started to play on baritone when I was abuot 10. On the age of about 15 my then musical director of a windband in Holland (Late Simon Butter) encouraged me to play double B as he was in need of a bass player for the band. I tried it and took to it big time. Transport never used to be a problem as I used to carry it about on my little classic Honda Moped on me back. Not something I would be able to do now anymore. Many people I think shy away from the Bass with the thought of it being a umpa umpa instrument which it can be used for but there's so much more out there then just that especially in Brassbands. Havnig played in s windband, sousaphone in a streetband and now in Carltonbrass my skills have much more developed in the latter and I for one cannot even imagine how to play any other instrument.

  20. tubagod

    tubagod Member

    Holstebro, Denmark
    some of you have mentioned the size of the BBbs but have any of you tried the Courtois ones, we have one in my band not much bigger than an EEb, and it have a nice sound to, i Think it is the best BBb i have ever played (yet).
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