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Thread: Trombone Doubling Issues

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Pickering, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    12

    Unhappy Trombone Doubling Issues

    Hey all! I'm in quite a pickle here, but I'll try to best explain my situation without this turning into too large of a wall of text.

    Some background.

    I'm a fairly young euphonium player, certainly not pro by any standards. I've been playing for about 12 years, and up until very recently did not have a private teacher. Finding my current teacher has helped me set what I feel are reasonable goals.

    The issue:

    Several months ago I switched from a mouthpiece I was using for about 2 years. I'm not a gear guy by any stretch of the imagination; I think it's fascinating, but I generally just use what works. Well, I THOUGHT the mouthpiece I was using was great. Every every show though, and after about an hour of playing, my lips always...burned? I know now that it wasn't a normal burn from exhaustion; it actually stung. My lips went through a cycle of bruising, swelling and fire and I assumed it was because I needed to build endurance. That all changed a year ago when my teacher let me borrow one of his. I'll never forget when I used it for the first time; it felt like heaven! Apparently my face didn't really like the rim. Who knew!

    The point to all of that is now I'm experiencing the same symptom, but for a different reason. I've recently tried to integrate trombone playing into my practice routine. I felt I couldn't call it a double instrument at the level I play it at. I found a horn I really liked and...

    My sound is not at all characteristic of the trombone. If I get lucky on somedays, I get 5 minutes of the brilliant, bold, brassy trombone sound that I want and then it becomes airy, unfocused, and quite woofy. This is especially exaggerated at quieter dynamics. I feel as if I can't even begin to work on articulation or slide technique because I am constantly at war with the sound coming out of the bell. And now after a week of playing it, my upper lip is bruised, swollen, and quite sensitive. When I go back to euphonium it feels so easy, but even long tones are a struggle to work through on the trombone. And although I'd like to blame the instrument, it's in perfectly good repair.

    My main question is; does anyone have any tips on how to integrate trombone playing into my practice routine? (which is on average, 2-3 hours a day.) I really do enjoy playing the trombone, but I feel as if my sound is the epitome of "Euphonium player playing trombone" right now. Not pleasant at all.
    1981 B&H Round Stamp Sovereign / Wick 4AL
    Early 70's King 3B w/ F Attachment
    Conn 88HCL

  2. #2
    Let's start with a little background.

    What mouthpieces are we discussing? Are they all the same finish (i.e. silver, gold)?

    Are the trombone and euphonium mouthpieces the same?
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Pickering, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    12
    The mouthpiece I had used prior was an SM4U. Both in silver (I had tried a gold 4AL before and didn't like the feel on my face.)

    Right now I'm using a Yamaha 53DL on Euph. I tried that in the trombone at first and figured it wasn't a good fit. I have a 48L on hand too that helps a bit, but the airiness (and the pain) eventually return.

    Thanks for responding Dave!
    1981 B&H Round Stamp Sovereign / Wick 4AL
    Early 70's King 3B w/ F Attachment
    Conn 88HCL

  4. #4
    Maybe Doug Elliott will chime in here, too.

    That mouthpiece would be too large for me to manage easily. I'm not sure I would ever get comfortable with it.

    If you go back to the SM4U does it clear up the issues?
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  5. #5
    The whole approach needs to be different on trombone. Air stream, sound concept. It's really not possible to describe in a forum post. I would listen to recordings of good players and try to emulate, if you're not going to be able to work with a teacher on it.

    But also, most euphonium mouthpieces will not work for most people in trombone. I know a few players for whom something like a 51D actually works in trombone, but you're talking about a mouthpiece that is both larger in diameter and deeper than that.

    I think a 48L is about the same size as a bach 6.5al. That's on the small side for orchestral trombone, but it's not too far out of the mainstream. But if you are used to using a much bigger rim, it's not going to be right for you. Wick 4AL was designed as a trombone mouthpiece and works pretty well as one, if the rim size is right for you. I would not try to use a SM-series mouthpiece on trombone.

    What kind of trombone are you using?
    --
    Barry

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Pickering, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    12
    I feel really comfortable with the 53DL. Despite it being slightly wider than the SM4U I find it digs into my face quite a bit less.
    I don't use the SM4U at all any more. It hurts to play for any longer than 45 minutes.

    It's really the introduction of the trombone that I think is causing my issues. Unless, is it common for a mouthpiece to present issues 7 or 8 months into use?

    The main reason I brought up the old mouthpiece switch is because my face feels like it used to. I feel relatively happy in my 53D right now. I'm open to suggestions (especially coming from Dave Werden or Doug Elliot!) I feel like it works well on euphonium, but I'm having no success with it (or a 48) when I stick it in a trombone. The horn I'm using right now is a YSL448.
    1981 B&H Round Stamp Sovereign / Wick 4AL
    Early 70's King 3B w/ F Attachment
    Conn 88HCL

  7. #7
    If indeed the 53 rim is what fits your face, what you need is something with the Yamaha 53DL rim (or something closer to it) that works on trombone. This is the big problem I have as a doubler with most of the mouthpiece lines out there, is that they just don't do this. As the rims get bigger, the cups get deeper. Sounds like even though the 48L is a more appropriate trombone mouthpiece, the size is a problem for you.
    --
    Barry

  8. #8
    FWIW, I used the 4AL on euphonium and large trombone, although a 4BL would help me on trombone in some music (same rim, shallower cup).

    The SM4U has a sharper rim, which is probably why it is not as comfortable.

    Anyway, you sound like an ideal condidate for Doug Elliott's help. He could, if it is the best idea, make a rim you like with a deep cup for euphonium and shallower for trombone, as one possibility.

    But it may also be a problem in your playing style. A teacher may be able to help you out of it.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  9. Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    FWIW, I used the 4AL on euphonium and large trombone, although a 4BL would help me on trombone in some music (same rim, shallower cup).

    The SM4U has a sharper rim, which is probably why it is not as comfortable.

    Anyway, you sound like an ideal condidate for Doug Elliott's help. He could, if it is the best idea, make a rim you like with a deep cup for euphonium and shallower for trombone, as one possibility.

    But it may also be a problem in your playing style. A teacher may be able to help you out of it.
    I have also found the SM4U rim to be sharp although less sharp than the SM4X I like the size so is there an alternative that is the same size but with a less sharp rim

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Pickering, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    12
    Good points by all. I'll definitely bring it up with my teacher (who doubles regularly) and give the 4al a shot. I've got one on hand. I find almost every rim to less sharp than the SM4U, so hopefully the 4al agrees with my face.

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