Trombones - Medium & Medium/Large

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Despot, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. Despot

    Despot Member

    Hi Guys,

    I remember reading an old book by Denis Wick a few years back in which he stated the 1st Trombome always plays a medium bore trombone. However, since it was written the large bore seems to have taken over.

    Is there a place for the medium - medium/large bore trombone in bands anymore? Does anyone use them?


    Some of the best trombone sounds I ever heard was in the late sixties when Brighouse were using 2 medium bore tenors and the straight G trombone, they later used a G/D bass trom in their line up,but in my opinion it was nt the same.Give me the old instruments any day.Bands also sounded better when the instruments were in high pitch !
  3. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    INHO the .525 bore such as Bach 36 trombone is the perfect size for brass bands, bands play a wide variety of music from show/pop tunes to heavier/classical transcriptions works and it is one of the most versatile trombones.

    Also it is easier for the bones to sound distinctive as opposed to being lost among the euphs/bari's
  4. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    There seems to have historically been some confusion over what the terms "medium" and "medium-large" mean. Nowadays, "medium" = .525" bore (Bach 36(B), Conn 78/79H, Besson 10-10, etc.), whereas, when Denis Wick was writing (1970s?), I understand that this size was referred to as "medium-large", with "medium" reserved for instruments of King 3B size (.508"). So I believe (somebody do correct me if I'm wrong) that DW was advocating the use of what would today be thought of as a small-bore instrument for 1st parts in the brass band.
    In many ways, this old-style labelling makes more sense - now there's no obvious way to distinguish between the old peashooters (varying in size from something like .440" to .485") and the 3B size.

    That aside, playing on smaller equipment in the band can work - but is harder work, and, unless you're careful, more likely to result in really nasty noises through overblowing to try to match the modern-day volume of the rest of the band, who are also on bigger equipment than they used to be.

    I agree with VB - I'd really like to see more brass band 1st trombonists playing on .525" bores; they just 'ping' better at lower dynamics. But part of the problem here is the need for section balance - too many brass band bass trombonists get obsessed with supersizing their equipment, and once the bottom of the section is on an oversize dual-bore axial-flow monster w/ 10.5" bell, no leadpipe, and a cornet bell for a mouthpiece, it is musically impossible for the 1st and 2nd players to go any smaller, as any section blend would be totally lost.

    An 88H or 42 with two dependent free-flow valves and a 2G mouthpiece would make a really good bass trombone in a brass band, and give the tenors room to go smaller if desired. A project for when I have more money...
  5. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    Dave...I know you and I are in agreement over this topic having discussed it before, also the number of players going to music colleges may have something to do with it, studying with teachers who primarily play in orchestral settings.

    If you only play within a brass band do you really need a set up for playing Mahler 3, and is it not making life hardr for yourself using something that size for a 2 hour rehersal where the horn is hardly ever off your face?
  6. Daniel Sheard

    Daniel Sheard Member

    I agree to some extent Dave, but with bands getting louder I can't see the widespread use of .525's becoming likely. It isn't just bore size, either - there's a world of difference between a Bach 42 on 1st and an 88H.
  7. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Do you think bands are still getting louder? It seems to me that that particular trend might be timing out a little.

    I've made the volume point before on the trombone forum - and been greeted by scorn from (extremely good) jazzers with powerful chops who point out that smaller bores cut through better. I suppose it comes down to what kind of tone quality one is looking for.
  8. Daniel Sheard

    Daniel Sheard Member

    Cutting through is rarely what's required in a band though.

    You may be right about the volume thing in the top section, but I suspect the upper echelons of the lower section tierage may still by trying to increase volume to mimic the big boys.
  9. 08cbinns

    08cbinns Member

    Cant disagree with Dennis Wick's statement, but it should just be what you personally feel comfertable with, and what you get the best sound out of
  10. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    In the sense of some of the names I was pointed at (e.g. Gary Valente), you are most definitely right - that tone quality, while impressive, is not what people are after in a brass band. In a broader sense, though, I'll have to disagree... There's very little point in having trombones in a brass band if they are not able to stand out tonally in a bright way - other instruments do dark better, and the slides hamper nimbleness. For me, a trombone section that can be heard simply because of a brighter tone quality when a band is playing mp adds something valuable to the mix that has been thoroughly lost now we use larger instruments.
    Listening to old recordings, it is clear how far we have travelled in terms of what we expect as the routine trombone sound in the brass band - now we play massively loudly in order to achieve the edge that is now not so naturally present in the trombone sound. It's impressive (and I am as guilty as anyone of doing it...), but is it the optimum way of doing it?
  11. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    Having said that, Chris. The band I am currently depping for has the 2nd trom on a dual bore tenor.

    I play a Rath R4 and the bass trom is on an old King 9b and the second trom sticks out like a sore finger.

    But when I play my 88h, I can blend more with her because it doesn't sound as big as the Rath but is still big enough not to make the King sound like a Euph on a stick.

    The section has to be taken into consideration as well.
  12. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Absolutely. Do you mean a smaller dual-bore or a larger dual-bore tenor? I assume smaller after rereading your post, but it wasn't obvious to me?

    - Btw, do you mean a King 8B? The one with the 10.5" bell? Fairly sure there was never any such model as the 9B.
  13. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    Yes, smaller dual. And it's probably the 8B, you know more about bass troms than I do, Dave. I just thought is was a 9. Awesome instrument though.
  14. Daniel Sheard

    Daniel Sheard Member

    Yes, I think that's probably the case. When I referred to cutting through it was in the context of you referring to the trb forum and the type of playing those Jazz/Latin players do. Don't think that would go down too well in most brass band pieces, although it might work with some. The rest of your post I do agree with - one of the reasons I now play an 88h or R4 rather than the 42B I used to use.
  15. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    King Duo Gravis is the answer Dave, no need to reinvent the wheel ;)
  16. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    King Duo Gravis with free-flow valves would be very interesting... But actually, I'm thinking smaller than that - the Duo Gravis slide is still .562", and the bell flare is still definitely modern bass in style despite the smaller valve bore. I'm not sure that retaining the slide bore for as long as the Duo Gravis does (until after the valves) is quite what I'm after - it makes the instrument a bit too shouty at high dynamics - the same kind of design as other modern basses, but all somewhat downsized, strikes me as more likely to be optimal. Hence - 88H... Maybe 88HK (the 9" bell version based on the King 5B).
  17. Despot

    Despot Member

    I'm interested in using "smaller" bore rather than a peashooter I suppose I should point out!

    We're currently using Conn 88H's and a 62H bass - I think. I'm beginning to think we should at least try out a .525. The band is relatively young and never gets the "super volumes" of some bands, and for the lighter programmes it may work better. Worst case scenario - the youth band gets a new instrument!!

    Any suggested models - or even better - what to avoid?
  18. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    Conn produce dual bore.525/547 slides they also do a .525 or of course bach 36 or 36B and you can still use the 5G size mouthpiece.
  19. Despot

    Despot Member

    Anyone any thoughts on the King 3B/3B+? Or the cheaper alternative the Yamaha 446?
  20. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    3B and 3B plus are pro level instruments, the 446 is aimed at advanced student level

    3B is .508 bore and probably too small more for pop/jazz, the 3B+ at .525 is more the size, although would still go more towards the Bach 36.

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