The best bass trombone!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by casanova, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. casanova

    casanova Member

    Now then team!! :)

    Im am currently playing on the bands Holton TR181 and have been for a couple of years. As much as I love it, the slide is now starting to annoy a bit. Ive had it looked at and cleaned etc but the response was its getting old and wont get any better.

    Ive been dreaming of owning a Rath for quite a while now, but have no real idea about how bass troms such as the Conn and the Bach strad compare to either the Holton or the Rath.

    So its over to you guys to sway me as to what i should be looking at! :biggrin:
  2. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    A sure-fire way of receiving forty replies all contradicting each other!

    Try them all out, buy the one you like. It really is that simple ;)
  3. Robhibberd29

    Robhibberd29 Active Member

    Good advice! I liked the Rath and bought it, they're a beautiful machine :)
  4. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    What Duncan said.....although you seem to have made your mind up on a Rath!

    try as many bass bones as you can, and take into account the kind of playing you will be doing!
  5. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    The alternative route is-

    If you like the Holton, send the slide to Mick Rath and ask him to sort the dings out. Cost me just over £100 a couple of years ago. Slide came back like new.

    Spend the rest on developing the all important Bass Trombonist's beer gut.......
  6. huggie

    huggie Member

    Cant give you any advice on playing em my good friend but the best sounding bass bone I have ever heard was an edwards
  7. In the past I've had an Edwards, a Conn, a Courtois (urgh!) and 2 Holton TR181's but my current Rath is by far and away the best bass trombone I've ever ever played. Recently moved to a Vincent Bach 1 and a quater G gob iron as well which has made it the perfect weapon of choice for me.

    All swings and roundabouts though, what suits some won't suit others.

    Good luck

    EDIT: Why not go down for a test blow? Its a nice drive and they are very accommodating fellas. :)
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
  8. AndyCat

    AndyCat Active Member

    As Doug Yeo says, play what's best for you. For him (and me, irrelevantly) it's a Yamaha.

    Don't be swayed by "boutique" or "current trend" instruments. Try as many as you can lay your mitts on!
  9. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Make sure you have a good idea what you want from your sound before splashing out. It's useful to have an idea of whether you are currently a 'Conn man', a 'Bach man', a 'Holton man', etc. etc. etc. A lesson with a teacher who is a certified gearhead can really help on this front.
    If you're going boutique (i.e. Rath - or Edwards or Shires, come to that), then you can take one of two approaches - i) Rock up open to all possibilities, and let the suggestions of the staff guide you; or ii) Arrive knowing what sound result you want, and work with the staff to achieve that. I suggest that the latter option is more likely to result in long term happiness... I'd also recommend paying that certified gearhead pro teacher to come along and listen to you trial various setups. Or at least, getting a friend along who can do the same job - often instruments don't sound quite the same on the other side of the bell.

    So what would you change about your Holton? The TR181 is in some ways a great brass band bass trombone - the sound it produces at forte is naturally quite broad but also will bite easily, and when the music calls for prominent uncouthness that doesn't go so far as being musically painful, it's right there at your fingertips... However, below forte, the sound tends to the tubby, and it is generally a difficult instrument to make blend well with the Conn 88Hs that many tenor trombonists in bands play. At piano, it tends to the unresponsive. If I were in your position, I might want to turn up with a wish list something like "I want a Holton-like sound and loud end response, but more 'trombone-like' in tone in the quieter dynamics - something quite like the 1960s Holton TR169 model" [the 169 was a belting design - but so few of them were made...]. I have no objection to the 181 valve block response, but others complain of it being too stuffy [they should try my Conn 73H!] - looking at Hagmanns or Greenhoes will make it less so (although considerably more expensive...).

    If you're not going boutique, there are various quality options -
    Bach, Conn, Holton, Thein, Kanstul, Laetzsch, Courtois, Yamaha, Schlagerl, ...

    If you buy second-hand, your money will go a lot further. I'm selling a 3-year-old Conn 62HCL at the moment, offers in region of £2200, you're welcome to have a parp...
  10. BoozyBTrom

    BoozyBTrom Member

    Hi Mate

    I will pop down to the bandroom soon and let you do a rehearsal on my Rath and you can decide if thats the way you want to go.
  11. casanova

    casanova Member

    Nice one gaz - hopefully dave wont try and replace me when you turn up :tongue:
  12. Robhibberd29

    Robhibberd29 Active Member

    A word of caution about that Gareth...while I think that is a very charitable gesture on Gaz's part, remember that Raths are custom build so it may not match your playing/sound requirements. It will, however, give you a good idea of the "feel" of a Rath and the quality of the build etc....

    I would suggest a visit to the Rath factory is still worth a call :)
  13. JimboFB

    JimboFB Active Member

    I'll echo the previous post.

    I've been playing an Edwards for the past few years, which is beautiful, however i'm borrowing a Rath for a gig this weekend and its horrible! Nothing against them specifically, but this one was custom made for someone else and i hate it! Just doesnt suit my playing at all.

    Best thing to do is to try as many as poss and see what you like.

    Btw, i played a holton 181 for years before and i thought the sound was great. The slide on mine was dreadful too!?!?!? Glad to have got the Edwards but a hefty investment!

    Good luck!
  14. BoozyBTrom

    BoozyBTrom Member

    I bought mine second hand and have had done nothing to it. So it wasnt hand built for me and Ive managed to do ok with it.
  15. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Rob's point does make sense though - you won't get a feeling for the range of possibilities available from a Rath by trying a single one - though you may get lucky and run across a second-hand one that suits you well if you buy from a similar style of player.

    An example - I've tried a number of Edwards bass trombones belonging to various people. It wasn't until relatively recently that I tried a single one that did a job that I liked - all the previous ones had been set up by people who wanted a slide tuba - exactly what I'm not after. Does that mean that the Edwards take on the bass trombone is 'bad'? Maybe. Hopefully not. I just don't have the evidence to make that call yet, and won't unless I go for a personal fitting to the Edwards people.

    It's an interesting side point - the Getzen 1062 is a nice bass trombone for me, and is supposedly the "standard" set of Edwards options (I believe? But how does the 3000 series fit in to this?) - but you rarely run across an Edwards bass that feels anywhere close to as compact as the Getzen - and so the workmanship of the Edwards team can be slandered by the strange setups that they are asked to create. The same principle can apply to any boutique manufacturer.
  16. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Paul Applegarth plays (played? not sure if he's playing Bb bass these days) an Edwards; he certainly never sounded like a "slide tuba" ...
  17. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Great, good on him. Doesn't mean that either of
    i) I or someone else wouldn't sound like a slide tuba on his set-up
    ii) We both mean quite the same thing by "slide tuba"
    hold though...

    My post wasn't intended to rag on Edwards, only to point out that judging the quality of design by the instruments that are out there is not easy.
  18. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Well, judging by many of your other posts on the subject, we probably do. In my view, we're talking about a bass trombone that ceases to sound like a trombone when you play quietly. Close enough?
  19. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Oops, I've been spotted as the monomaniac I am...! Yep, I'd say that's the same idea, although there's a pitch component to it too - a bass trombone that sounds too unlike a tenor in the tenor register doesn't blend well in a section. Some extreme used examples of instrument/mouthpiece combinations don't sound like a trombone until they get into ripping territory, at forte and beyond, and then only from low Bb on down.

    An example of someone who doesn't sound like a slide tuba, but plays a set-up that very few people could deal with without getting all sonically tubby, is Mark Frost. Great focussed sound - gigantic equipment - but he's the exception.
  20. baridis

    baridis Member

    I love my Getzen Custom - big sound, that doesn't break or rasp, even at fff. Only reason I'm selling it is because i've swapped instruments permanently and it really is a crime that it's sitting in it's case and not being played and therefore heard!

    By the way, it is still for sale - pm me for details or have a look in the classifieds on here (I think the advert is still there somewhere!).

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