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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby Donn » Fri May 17, 2019 4:06 pm

MaryAnn wrote: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!


I'm thinking of expressive effects that happen purely on air - affecting pitch, tone and volume all at the same time. Where a trombone player might take notes a little differently. The blow on the two instruments follows - valve trombones typically have a very small bore, relative to the slide trombone. Where that's less true, like some of the marching trombones, then it seems they're less obviously distinctive (and can be pretty nice sounding.)
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby djwpe » Sat May 18, 2019 11:52 am

I suspect that the hate for valve trombones comes from two places:

- The rational: “a good trombone can achieve amazing chord intonation and blend by careful slide
adjustments and good ears, and while a valve trombone can be lipped to adjust intonation, it
loses the through-the-center of the pitch sound that can be had with slide adjustments.”
- The irrational “If you want to join the trombone club, you have to go through the same learning
curve that everyone else did.”

Don Winston, back on slides after many years away.
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby Donn » Sat May 18, 2019 2:51 pm

If I remember right, in the particular case, it went back to a bad experience with someone who showed up with a valve trombone.

The other slightly more rational side of the second might be "if you weren't willing to go through the learning curve that everyone else was fine with, maybe you don't care all that much about what you're doing."
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby aqualung » Tue May 28, 2019 4:38 pm

The best VT has always been the Elkhart 5G (with the angled braces). Although it has the same .500 bore as the 6H/10H/48H slide, it plays differently. The convolutions of the airway going through a cluster make the lowest overtones less responsive. But what comes out of the bell sounds pretty much the same. I've been switching between both for over 50 years, and nobody has ever commented on the TQ.
I cut a crappy Euro VT to C, and it still plays just as crappy.
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby Worth » Wed May 29, 2019 6:06 am

One of the reasons I started this thread was whether this C instrument would just be a cut down Bb or actually designed as a C.
First off, the John Packer C Valve Bone is a blast to play in the smaller setting. If you are comfortable reading BC above the staff, for a C player it's an effortless read. Although I've brought it twice, I've used it just once so far out in a quartet setting as the trombone player couldn't show that day. I passed my tuba to the horn player who plays most everything, and picked up the trombone folder. This specific group can be unpredictable, and we each often bring a few different instruments for contingency. I'm not a trombone player so I am unable to comment on the relative stuffiness of the valve cluster vs the open slide bone, but what came out of the bell made everyone smile as I was able to control the pitch through careful listening. You can play it sweet and soft or brassy with punch, sounding very much like what it is intended. My one comment is that concert D and C# just below the staff are well in tune WITHOUT kicking out the third slide (there's a ring to do that) or the first (no saddle or trigger which I knew and expected). This, and the fact that first valve only and third valve only notes are slightly flat, leads me to believe that the valve slides are the same length as its Bb counterpart. Very convenient for a no slide manipulation low concert C# or D, but requiring careful listening and tuning to lip other notes into place. I think that with a slight shortening of the valve slides, the intonation would be spot on. Of note there are two main tuning slides, the upper counterweighted one, and one on the end of the "slide" where the spit valve is. That one is really long too, and if you want you can have a great B instrument as well (if anyone really wanted) with manipulating each. Almost long enough with both out to get it to Bb, but not quite. The relatively small bore mates up well with an 11 or 12 mouthpiece IMO so nothing plays flat up high. The bottom line is that the fit and finish of this instrument is excellent. Even the third valve slide (quite a long one) is aligned well and smoothly enough that you can kick it out easily, but with the slide length (presently) you don't have to. My thought is that if I were to cut off a bit of each valve slide and use the third slide the way it's intended (for notes which are supposed to be slightly sharp) it would be perfectly in tune. The way it is is easily playable, but you have to understand what's going on, listen carefully, and roll with it. Overall a great way to be a fill-in trombone player and keep the rehearsal alive and fun when someone can't show up and there are other multi-instrumentalists. The show must go on and it's fun to have the flexibility to make that happen.
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby SteveP » Wed May 29, 2019 2:26 pm

Worth wrote:If you are comfortable reading BC above the staff, for a C player it's an effortless read.

Ok I'm gonna show my ignorance here. I don't understand how a player who usually plays a Bb instrument would find it easier to read the same music when playing a C instrument. If I were playing a C trombone (valve or slide) I'd be thinking about playing each note fingered (or slide position) one full step lower than usual. How is this effortless? What am I missing?
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby Worth » Wed May 29, 2019 7:24 pm

SteveP wrote:I don't understand how a player who usually plays a Bb instrument would find it easier to read the same music when playing a C instrument. If I were playing a C trombone (valve or slide) I'd be thinking about playing each note fingered (or slide position) one full step lower than usual. How is this effortless? What am I missing?


It's OK I probably didn't explain it well. I don't usually play a Bb instrument reading BC, so in that situation I am like you dealing with reading everything one step higher than usual (backwards to your deal). I can do it, but the mental exercise takes away from the enjoyment of it all. I came into the C Tuba world from TC trumpet via TC Euphonium, but as a piano player I read BC and TC fluently. This allows me just read the notes for what they are at concert pitch and just think of it all like left and right hands playing piano. The C Valve trombone therefore uses the similar fingerings as everything else keeping this beautifully flawed system working. Not ideal, but it is something I can wrap my head around and enjoy myself with less introduction of error, especially when sight reading.
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby SteveP » Wed May 29, 2019 7:37 pm

Got it!
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Re: Intonation of C Valve Trombones

Postby Worth » Fri May 31, 2019 7:36 am

For anyone interested, this morning I cut 5mm off the second valve slide and about 15mm off the first valve slide. Rough finished, reassembled, and a big smile! I figure this bone is mine for the long haul so I'm not worried about resale, and it is now very much in tune with itself. The third valve slide I'll leave as is. I read on another forum that Harry James used to set his third valve slide out a bit and just leave it there. This simple modification was just the trick and now I can adjust the slides properly.
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