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Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby Worth » Thu May 09, 2019 7:42 am

Can anyone shed some light on the intonation and tendencies of C Valve trombones? I know, a wide open question considering the many brands and vintages. Seems a nice comfortable alternative in smaller settings for many when the need arises. I'm in a C/Eb mindset lately (both TC and BC) and although I can deal, I've had issues for years with BC Bb fingerings. That separate issue aside, obviously there are a few different Chinese versions (even one with a Bb C tuning slide on the end of the "slide" which isn't a slide). Also there is the infamous Chinese Bb/C rotary euphonium with the two different length MTS that some like and others have had issues with.

Sometimes older American ones like this Conn Pan American on EBay come up for sale. These offer a different cool factor and I wondered what the experience out there is, mostly intonation and sound quality produced of vintage American (or European) vs modern-day Chinese offerings.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Conn-Valve-Tro ... Sweg1cp-es
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby Art Hovey » Thu May 09, 2019 11:08 am

Last time I looked, Weril was still making C valve trombones, still popular in Brazil.
Juan Tizol played a C valve trombone in Ellington's band.
I sure that they must have the same intonation issues as any other brass instrument and the same variability from one make/model to the next, so generalization seems pointless.
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby Worth » Thu May 09, 2019 12:03 pm

Art Hovey wrote:I sure that they must have the same intonation issues as any other brass instrument and the same variability from one make/model to the next, so generalization seems pointless.


Understand and thank you. I get where you are coming from but suppose I was hoping for some generalizations, as it’s very hard to find a place to try such a small niche instrument like this before buying. Then to possibly get wowed with a diamond in the rough, or just as likely get stuck with a dog.... such is how things change hands. I do thank you for those cool side notes on players and Weril. I didn’t know that was another option.
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby bloke » Thu May 09, 2019 12:46 pm

I'd also be curious regarding a serious review (of any of them) by some really good/critical player.

me (equally in the dark about them)...??
I've always thought of them as "polka-gig instruments"...whether or not my perception is valid.
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby SteveP » Sat May 11, 2019 12:22 am

A quick look at the Conn Loyalist website tells us that there were no Conn (or Pan American) valve trombones with an "H" suffix on the model number. In fact, the last listing for valve trombones on that website is 13G (Conn) which is described as being in C with a Bb attachment. Maybe that's what we have here? It's a beautiful instrument but it probably isn't a 14H as the seller claims. It sure doesn't look like a Pan American.
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby Doug Elliott » Sat May 11, 2019 2:51 am

Yamaha sells C valve trombones in Europe. I'm sure it's possible to order one.
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby Davidus1 » Sat May 11, 2019 9:07 pm

Yamaha and Jupiter are making them as well as some Chinese made models. They are popular in latin bands. Seeing more of them on eBay than in the past.
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby bloke » Sat May 11, 2019 9:11 pm

...yet the actual topic is...(not the availability nor history of, but the)

intonation and tendencies of C Valve trombones?
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby Ace » Sun May 12, 2019 12:26 am

I have a Jupiter valve trombone in C and it is my favorite horn to play here in my own home. It's more fun than my tuba, slide trombone, French horn, or trumpets in various keys. As would be expected, the low notes fingered 1-2-3 and 1-3 (F# and G) are quite sharp as are, to a lesser degree, the C# and D above. To cope with this, I leave the third valve slide extended all the time by one and a quarter inches. This, of course, forces me to lip up all the notes that are fingered 2-3, but this is easily done with my Schilke 40 mouthpiece. The pedal notes on this horn are outstanding but, sadly, there is no usable low F which is a note often called for in the quintet literature. It would be great if someone would design a way to get that low F---------fourth piston valve; rotor assembly; trigger to kick out the third valve slide several inches. (?)

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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby Worth » Sun May 12, 2019 7:03 am

Thanks to all for your responses. Ace's review is exactly what I was looking for, and I thank Bloke for the top cover in helping solicit it. The two best asian import C Valve Trombone options out there seem to be Jupiter and Yamaha. This info from someone reputable who owns and plays the Jupiter is very helpful. The special order Yamaha YSL-354VC runs 2K ballpark new and a new Jupiter about 1K. Offerings from Berkeley Winds and Rossini on EBay come in sub $500. I would assume that Jupiters are made by KHS (Taiwan or China) which is another plus vs. the other Chinese offerings. Trying to save that $500. doesn't seem worth it, nor does paying 1K additional for the Yamaha, unless it's light years beyond Jupiter (Antares?). Now a used Jupiter, Yamaha or mint vintage would be sweet.
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby greenbean » Sun May 12, 2019 8:33 am

I think the best C valve trombone is not a Yamaha or Jupiter but a King 3B valve trombone CUT to C.

C valve trombones are used by a lot of Latino players here in California. Most of these guys are playing banda or other types of popular Mexican music. They typically buy King 3B's and have them cut. Great playing horns! You will have an easier time selling a 3B in C than the others, too. And... you will have a 3B bell section that you can use with a 3B slide... You could even sell the King valve section and bell section separately. Easily.
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby bloke » Sun May 12, 2019 9:03 am

I'm not seeing this one listed on the main John Packer website (JP134), but I wonder if it's still available. It shows a #3 slide finger saddle which - depending on the size of someone's hand - could address the D/C# G/F# sharpness. Someone could also install a #1 slide saddle, obviously.

Most any valve trombone can be shortened to C fairly easily, and without messing with the bell section at all.

It seems to me that all that is really accomplished (assuming good intonation) is the loss of a couple of available-on-a-B-flat low range pitches.

Hey...If it's available, at least (unlike one of those more-expensive ones you mentioned) the water keys won't be made of pot metal, and will actually be made of nickel silver.

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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby Worth » Sun May 12, 2019 9:32 am

Horn Guys web site has a JP-134C listed in stock new for $749. Another idea, thanks!
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby Worth » Sun May 12, 2019 2:05 pm

Just as an update, Bloke networked with John Packer, on a Sunday, and found a singular brand new unopened JP-134 C Valve Trombone in the warehouse and beat The Horn Guys' price hands down. I'm taking the plunge and will report back for whomever is interested after it comes and the honeymoon, etc. Oh and I did it all via PM and email... thinks of other thread. Bloke is quite the model of efficiency on-line as well, and a pleasure to deal with, but quite scary to even think about talking to! :shock: :lol: Seriously, service just as personal on-line, convenient and efficient. Thanks very much to Bloke, a special mention of thanks to Ace, and to Tubenet!
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby bloke » Sun May 12, 2019 2:51 pm

whoops...I just now saw the price quote in one of your previous quotes.
I was just shooting you a quote, and not really trying to "win". :oops:

THE MAIN THING: Report back on it, so we (in particular: I) will know more about a product I've never before sold.
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby Ace » Sun May 12, 2019 4:16 pm

[quote="greenbean"]I think the best C valve trombone is not a Yamaha or Jupiter but a King 3B valve trombone CUT to C.

C valve trombones are used by a lot of Latino players here in California. Most of these guys are playing banda or other types of popular Mexican music. They typically buy King 3B's and have them cut.

Exactly what the famous Bay area craftsman, Dick Akright, told me some years ago; i.e., he often cut valve trombones Bb to C for Latin players. My guess is that they may have been trumpet players and didn't want to learn Bb bass clef fingerings.

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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby MaryAnn » Fri May 17, 2019 9:41 am

Ok since the answers to this thread seem to have covered it all, maybe I'll steal the thread and ask does a valve trombone sound any different than a slide, other than the slide-y-ness you might want sometimes? I jump around in bands on whatever instrument they need but don't know slide positions well enough to do tbone although I do fine on euph. Key doesn't matter to me, but I'd want to sound like a trombone. ??
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby Donn » Fri May 17, 2019 10:50 am

Reasonably like a trombone. You might check with the trombone players. There are opinions, usually not favorable and sometimes hating beyond all reason - at least one trombone player I've played with was uncomfortable with the idea of playing in the same band with a valve trombone. It is not a type of trombone, more of a big trumpet. I didn't do much with it, but in my uneducated opinion it's at its best when played like a trumpet.
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby MaryAnn » Fri May 17, 2019 2:26 pm

Hokay....you have me at "played like a trumpet." I'm also uneducated but have an ear....and this statement is baffling me as I can't figure out what you mean!!! And I don't think I'd ever be in a band where someone's shorts were so tight that they had a problem with someone playing a valved trombone in tune and on time.
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby Worth » Fri May 17, 2019 2:38 pm

The JP C Bone came yesterday, drop shipped from JP in the UK unbelievably fast. I have to say, what a blast to be an instant trombone player. No wonder some slide masters are haters, I get it. Spend a lifetime mastering the slide and some tuba or blowhard trumpet player (LOL) thinks they have it covered. I've got a lot of ground to cover before a real review, but suffice it to say that it seems to play best with a smaller tenor shank piece (comes with a generic 12C and I'm using a Bach 12C for now). Of note, you can definitely sing and wail on it gloriously like a trombone, and it has that trombone punch when you drive it, way unlike a bass trumpet (a piston Lidl) I had at one time which was stuffy and quite unsatisfying to play. It definitely sounds like a trombone, no doubt. The C key is super convenient for me, and intonation is workable. I must say that the JP pistons are smooth, fast and quiet out of the box, unlike what I dealt with (even after cleaning) with a Schiller (Jinbao) 3 valve baritone I got 4 years ago and have sold. I'm not sure which factory these JPs come out of, but the quality is excellent for the price. Strangely though, the counterweight has no logo so you can get creative or leave it be. A funny thought, EBay sells King adhesive domed medallions for the counterweight, but that's sort of like filling a Patron bottle with Montezuma tequila, not too classy. I found a Bach Mount Vernon 11C on EBay and the next review will have more on that. I've also worked on intonation with some play-along worship CDs and will take it to quintet tomorrow AM (where two will be absent and I can give it a whirl hopefully in this small ensemble). Having fun, and that's what life is about when you can. More to come... thanks Joe!
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