Your own or band supplied instruments?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by simonium, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. simonium

    simonium Member

    I have in the past come across an issue with a band where the MD has insisted upon a certain brand of instrument for (as far as possible) the whole band which has contradicted my own philosophy. I own my own euphonium after extensive auditioning and would not be entirely happy being coerced into using an alternative instrument. For one reason band instruments are very rarely cosseted in the same way that privately owned ones are. Any thoughts? The reason given to me was that the band needed the same quality of tone throughout. I didn't give in however and in a band consisting entirely of lacquer ______ instruments I played by BSP Besson euph with no ill effects.
  2. Bassbones

    Bassbones Member

    I don't think I would like to be told what brand I have to play my own instrument has taken a long time to develop and get to sound like it currently does and is far removed from what I bought. Some might play it and think it's awful!, instruments are a very personal thing and I don't really buy into the one size fits all thing . As for tones you only have to go along to try new instuments identical models in the factory only to find no two play the same so I think the tone argument can be a little floored.

    All of that said the whole one colour thing combined with good uniform deportment does look great on the contest stage and I can understand the argument that one SP instrument may asthetically stick out and interfere with the "look", depends what the band are looking to achieve. The top military bands use all one colour and are drilled to look great but I think it's fair to say the only band I know to use all silver plate trombones are the Royal Marines and the majority of trombone players generally speaking to them over the years aren't fond of them so you will always be stuck with laquer troms.

    So seeing both sides of the coin I think it's resonable to say it's really down to you as to how much you want to join this band. They have set out their stall in terms of standards for whatever reason although I don't buy the tone one particulary and if you decide to join them I would say you have to adjust to that way of thinking to fit into the team. If not keep your an eye out for another seat but good luck with it.
  3. Bassbones

    Bassbones Member

    God I really need to wake up and read the other posts before I add to it in future sorry. I now see it isn't a band you are looking to join my opinion remains the same though. They aren't forcing you to take their seat so if they are you want to join you abide with their rules.
  4. simonium

    simonium Member

    I was also invited to discuss choice of mouthpieces with the MD who had his own ideas what euphonium players should use, but I declined to be involved in that particular conversation!
  5. Basstiger

    Basstiger Member

    My band were fortunate enough to win lottery funding for a complete new set a few years ago, they went for BSP Sovereign cornets, horns, euphs, baris and basses but ended up with a yamaha flugel and bass trombone (the latter in lacquer) but since then new players have joined who out of choice are using their own instruments so we have a right old mix. Our MD is just grateful to have decent kit to play on but that's probably because we are entirely amateur!

    In response to the comment previously about Silver trombones, at the same time they bought one large bore Sovereign tenor trombone which the player it was bought for hated and reverted to a yamaha tenor and I must say having played it myself I can see why!!
  6. Rhonda

    Rhonda Member

    Hi there,
    I can see pros and cons. If (financially) possibe I would always go for my own instrument. New, if possible with my own fingerprints on and bacterias in it. Buying your own instrument can save your band quite a bit of money that can be invested in sheet music. On the other hand, going back to the beginnings of brass bands and the idea behind it all, being provided with an instrument by the band will enable young players to start without having to invest a lot of money into the first steps and will help beginners to find their place in the band and their favourite instrument because they can try without having to buy and sell their instruments. The argument I have often come across, that buying one brand of instruments for the entire band can only be an advantage for the band, to me is more about sponsoring or commitment to a company than about sound. A good player can adjust to a particular type of sound, a bad player will be bad even with the most expensive of all brands if not prepared to practise.
    Even as a non brass player I can say that same brand instruments will never sound the same and may have similar but never identical "touches" to them.
    It's no different with pianos, recorders, violins, you name it.
    Major argument for MDs or band committee members may be personal advantages/percentages they get from such a single brand deal.

  7. tubbytuba

    tubbytuba Member

    Well Mr P i cant see that Mr T would get it wrong,especially over mouthpieces lol
  8. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    My old band have a policy that if you don't have your own instrument you play one of theirs which is a courtois.

    But if I joined a band and they told me I had to play a certain trombone, I'd tell them where to shove it.

    My trombone is my trombone and I won't swap for a band.

    I payed £3000 for my trombone so why should I play another trombone because my band wants me to?
  9. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    I play the instrument that I think suits me best.. Same with mouthpieces. I've played Boy Wonder's Smith Watkins, had a Xeno but the one I love for sound and ease of play is a war horse of a 928 on a DW 4 1/2 and it's the best decision I've made in years of playing :tup It was gold, but the plating was almost non existant and looked as though someone had thrown acid over it, so had it replated BSP - you'd never know it was a respray!
    If a band doesn't like the colour/make of your cornet, that's tough - either get them to relacquer it at their expense or tell them to get a life.. No two players get the same sound out of a tooter.. :D
  10. simonium

    simonium Member

    In response to Tubby it wasn't Mr T! He wouldn't go that route even though he knows a thousand time the amount I do about playing the euphonium...
  11. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    To be frank, this particular MD sounds like he needs sacking. Who was it who said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing? That's very applicable here.

    That said, to a certain extent, matching of instruments with uniformity of sound in mind is well worth thinking about - but it's a subtle effect, and one that is much less obvious to the listener than it is to the player. You can make things less hard work for yourself this way - but unless somebody is resolutely doing something that really doesn't work (e.g. playing a smaller bore instrument on the 2nd part than the 1st), there really is very little to be gained from pushing people into playing particular models.

    As for prescribing mouthpieces - well, I think you were very wise not to get involved in that conversation...
  12. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    As to whether I'd be happy to be asked to play a band instrument in preference to one of my own... Well, it all depends... An instrument is simply a tool to create the right noise. I can create one of a range of different takes on what a bass trombone sound should be between the instruments and mouthpieces I own and play on. I would be extremely surprised if what was desired by the MD and/or band was so far outside of the mainstream that I did not have the equipment to produce the sound that they wanted. So I'd be pretty surprised to be asked, and would think that they didn't quite know what they were talking about. But... If they were offering me the use of a Rath R9DST (say... ;-) ), I'd be happy enough to try it. But but... If they were trying to push me into using something a bit less classy, I'd be arguing...
  13. simonium

    simonium Member

    I normally welcome any advice or thoughts volunteered, but as I work in a shop that specialises in brass instruments and have access to a huge variety of mouthpieces and instruments which I have auditioned and tried extensively, I would have thought that my experience counted for something! The guy in question is a very experienced and successful MD but does like to run the show entirely one handed, but this was interference too far for me. The most worrying thing is the number of players who don't have an opinion on instruments and mouthpieces etc and blindly accept what they're told. I see on weekly (probably daily) basis players that don't know which mouthpiece they use!
  14. Despot

    Despot Member

    In a situation where the incoming player's instrument may not be up to the same standard as the band instrument, I could see the point. By having it's own set, a band can ensure a certain minimum standard. Players have arrived at our door with some real rubbish!

    But you do see it in some bands, especially of wind bands, where players are often expected to have their own instrument. They sometimes arrive in with the cheapest piece of junk they can get away with.

    But where the instruments are have similar qualities and say the brand or finish is the only difference…it's possibly overkill…but it does depend on the band and the level you're at.
  15. nomperism

    nomperism Member

    I always thought that regardless of what instrument you play on, everyone's sound is different. I sound completely different on my flugel to someone else playing the same instrument.
  16. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Definitely true. However, the flavour of the sound can be distinctive to one manufacturer. I sound like me whatever make of trombone I use - but much prefer the sound and feel I get from Conn instruments; three Conn trombones in a section together blend so much more easily than when somebody has something else.
  17. HorniKaz

    HorniKaz Supporting Member

    I'm guessing that the MD is an 'employee' of the band & so I would have thought that he/she wouldn't have any say as to what instrument a player plays. If the MD is willing to put their hands in their pocket & pay for the instrument of choice.........

    Players need to be able to play the instrument that they prefer to play. Simples!! :tup
  18. tubbytuba

    tubbytuba Member

    Just bought myself my 2nd Bb bass since i started playing,i can be an expensive hobby lol.I have noticed though that those who own their own instruments tend to care for them better!
  19. simonium

    simonium Member

    Having said all that about using your own instrument, I would welcomed a band euphonium to use at Whit Friday. Mine's not totally cleaned up yet...:oops:
  20. Belltrouble

    Belltrouble New Member

    privately owned instruments and so on

    After having studied all the coments posted here there´s a question to me turning up:

    I´m playing EEb tuba in one of the few german british style brassbands ,we have a mixture of old Imperial 15 " EEb,modern Courtois style EEb,which is my private one ,Besson 994 BBb and older 992 BBb,
    sometimes it´s hard to blend with all those different instruments
    so are there known problems in section blending ? if you have a certain mix of instrument makes and models ,not only regarding bass rows...................

    regards from germany