Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Ditchda, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. Ditchda

    Ditchda New Member

    Just looking for some decent advice here:

    I used to be a tenor trombonist but I switched to bass trombone a year ago. However, I'm a fifteen-year-old girl and I'm relatively small and I just can't fill it and get a proper bass trombone sound. Should I stick with bass as there's such a shortage of players or go back to tenor, with which I can make a much, much better sound? :confused:
  2. Beesa

    Beesa Member

    I thought the days of the stereotypical bass trombonist being the heaviest guy with the widest head in the band were gone.

    I'll leave it to more experienced people on this forum but I would suggest that getting a good sound is more to do with technique rather than your physical size. Practising good long notes, sometimes with a mute in to force you to fill the instrument, that sort of thing, might help.

    Hope you stick with it. It' s about time there were more lasses on Bass Trom.
  3. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

  4. Ditchda

    Ditchda New Member

    Thanks. It might be worth mentioning that I've been playing Ebb bass for a year and can get a decent sound out of that... maybe you're right, thanks for your help.

    Okay, so forget that i'm a girl etc. for the moment,
    Realistically, should I be sticking with an instrument that i still sound **** on after a years' hard practice?
  5. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    That's not Lorna, that's Camilla. Can't remember her second name, but she moved back home to Norway and Lorna joined BA after that.

    But in answer to your question, you should stick to whatever gives you the most satisfaction. There is no point switching to an instrument you don't like as much because you won't want to play it as much.

    The best way to improve your low register is to practise down there. Sounds silly, but it's true. Pick your favourite hymn and play the melody in the register you want to improve (I.E. All registers ;)) but don't practise quietly. Make it a good mf at least both with practise mute and open.

    If you're up for it, a good way to improve breath control and breathing is to do 20 star jumps and then play a hymn. Maintaining a nice and steady sound after that is very hard work but it is beneficial to you.

    Happy practising.
    Good luck.
  6. LittleEuph

    LittleEuph Member

    Before I moved onto euph I played bass trombone for 20 years, starting at about 15. They can be big instruments to fill, and I sympathise, but please do persevere with it.

    I agree with the comment about practising with a mute to add resistance, I found that helped me. Also, I don't know how much scope you have to investigate other instruments, but some are definitely easier to blow than others. For instance, if you have a bass trombone with a tight wrap on the triggers, it can add resistance and make blowing more difficult. Also, there are lots of options in terms of size (bore and bell being the main two that spring to mind) that can make life easier.

    Hope this helps?
  7. Ditchda

    Ditchda New Member

    The mouthpiece I have feels really natural to me, it's a nice bit o' schilke :) I;'d like to try other instruments actually. I have a very old, battered closed wrap holton with a wonky slide xD
  8. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member


    Had a feeling I was gonna make a mistake like that.....

    Ditchda, I note you say that you can get a good sound out of a tuba. The thing to bear in mind here is that you get more help on a tuba because of all the bends in the thing slowing the air down, which helps you fill it. Whereas with BT it's straight in and out. Keep on practising though, you just need to adapt to the different way you need to blow the 2 instruments to get the best out of them.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2010
  9. Elliebone

    Elliebone Member

    Just a quick thought from my own experience. I am okay on tenor trombone - it is my instrument and I have played it for over 30 years. I can get a good lower register on my Rath 4 large bore. I have put lots of effort into playing bass trombone for the good of various bands and ensembles over the years but basically I am a tenor player and on balance prefer the high register and that is where my sound is sweeter. We are all different, but I have accepted that bass trombone is not where my heart or my talents lie. It's a great-sounding part, but despite my best efforts I can't do it justice. As someone said earliler, play the instrument you love. If it's bass T then keep persevering with it. If it's not...get back on your tenor and enjoy it.
  10. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    Camilla Tveit, plays with Manger now, both cracking players though :)
  11. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Holton bass trombones do take more air to fill than the average bass trombone. If you don't work hard to fill the tube from side to side with air, the danger is that the sound becomes anaemic at piano and tubby like a euphonium at forte - in which case there's very little point in using a bass trombone in the first place! Being perenially short of as much air as you'd like is an occupational hazard on the instrument. What Bayerd says about tubas and air is worth remembering - nothing in a brass band takes as much air to play well as the bass trombone, not even (quite) the BBb bass. If you want something worse, the contrabass trombone is pretty much it...

    Which Schilke mouthpiece are you using? It may be that it's too large for your current state of playing development if you are struggling to make a full sound. I've heard great bass trombone results from a Holton 181 with a mouthpiece as small as a Bach 2G before.
  12. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    p.s. Second after practising, nothing will do as much good for your bass trombone playing as getting cardiovascularly properly fit. This might seem odd, given what terrible physical specimens many of us are, but if you are struggling to deliver enough air, it will really help.
  13. DMBabe

    DMBabe Supporting Member

    You'll regret saying that when I get you to attempt my Zumba dvds......;)
  14. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    Our 19 year Old Bass Trom Player (Ex Tenor Trom)switched about 2 years ago. He has only started producing a good sound within the last 6 moths.

    Prior to that he always quacked. Stick with it.
  15. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    +1 to both of these, it takes time for the sound to develop and being fit will certainly help your breath control.
  16. BoozyBTrom

    BoozyBTrom Member

    I can confirm that. Having recently lost 5 stone my Power and Stamina have doubled. Much to the annoyance of most Conductors hahahah
  17. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

  18. Basstiger

    Basstiger Member

    Stick with it! The more girly Bass trom players the better......I'm playing a Holton too but find it much easier after taking the dog for a walk....
  19. towse1972

    towse1972 Active Member

    I'm waiting patiently for it to start!
  20. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    Oh sweet Jesus, I can't say you had much of a problem with power and stamina before.......