Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: Your Opinions Are Valued about what I should do next-

  1. #1

    Your Opinions Are Valued about what I should do next-

    May is my Anniversary Month. I started lessons on my plastic euphonium in May 2019, with an amazing teacher.

    I began playing in a community band around the same time. Then of course, the pandemic.

    I have had what I estimate to be about a yearís equivalent in lessons because of pandemic disruptions, and since late January Ď22 have added a very good local college wind ensemble to my experiences.

    My present playing level allows me to play Holstís 2nd Suite not quite at tempo but very close.

    My original interest was to play tuba. All of my best experience prior to what Iím doing currently was on bass clarinet, which Iíd still be playing if my hands werenít riddled with arthritis.

    My question- Iím truly thrilled to have gotten as far as I have on euphonium in 3 years, but I continue to long to play true bass parts. I know how to be the lowest voice, drive a tempo, and all that goes with bass instruments. As an avid score reader and by watching local instrumentation trends Iíve JUST realized that bass trombone MIGHT be a better match for me than euphonium.

    As old as I am (decades and decades) I want to be playing the instrument that will give me at LEAST 5 more years of active playing, and more if my health holds out.

    Should I take a wack at bass trombone? Iím currently playing an amazing uncompensating large bore euphonium, and ergonomics definitely count in whatever I do moving forward. Thanks in advance for your input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    NYC metro area
    Posts
    454
    Bass trombones can be heavy. My arthritis led me away from piano and back to euphonium. I took up trombone to play with a local orchestra, and I play a medium-bore Bach 36B, a tenor trombone with an F-trigger. I mention this because the weight put strain on my arthritis-afflicted left hand. Even with a hand strap, it's difficult for me to hold the trombone in place for extended periods (one advantage of playing in the orchestra is that the conductor is a string player, and he frequently picks pieces where the brass lays out for measure after measure, so I get some rest). I mention this because you may have a similar problem with the bass trombone. Perhaps consider tuba? If you don't want to play a BBb tuba, maybe an Eb tuba? Or CC or F tuba if you play more with an orchestra than with a band. In any event, best of luck.
    Dean L. Surkin
    Mack Brass MACK-EU1150S, BB1 (DE 101XTG9 mouthpiece in the drawer)
    Bach 36B trombone; Bach 6.5AL mouthpiece (pBone on loan to granddaughter)
    Steinway 1902 Model A, restored by AC Pianocraft in 1988; Kawai MP8, Yamaha KX-76
    See my avatar: Jazz (the black cockapoo) and Delilah (the cavapoo) keep me company while practicing

  3. I've been playing euphonium for less than three years. I've always wanted to be a bass player for all the things you mention. I bought a Conn 10J tuba and started playing three weeks ago. Ergonomically it is like a large euphonium. I tried another tuba with the valves in the front and my hand just didn't like the position. Anyway, after three weeks I can play the tuba/bass part with my trad jazz band. I'm used to reading treble clef on trumpet so treble clef euphonium didn't require learning a new clef. I play treble clef tuba with the same fingerings, so nothing new there. It is a blast. I can fashion a bass line to just about anything and do solos on the melodies.

    I would think asking too much in terms of learning a new instrument can be daunting. People ask my why I don't play trombone too as I've got a marching trombone. Again, I play it with Bb treble parts. Learning slide technique just seems a bit to much of an ask.
    Richard

    1935 Conn 64I Baritone
    King 1130 Flugabone
    King 2280 Euphonium

  4. #4
    There are two easy paths to learn tuba after playing euphonium. The path I chose was an Eb tuba, which allows me to read bass clef music the way I read treble clef euphonium.

    The other path is a BBb tuba, which is a double-sized euphonium. If you read bass clef now, it's an easy switch mentally (you just think in a different octave for fingerings).

    The next question is your strength. If you have a strong frame and can lift heavy weights, then it's one less barrier. But if you are concerned about being a weight lifter, you'd look for a light version of a BBb or Eb (or CC if you want to learn a new language, note-wise). Miraphone makes some sweet small tubas, for one. I think Wessex also has a fairly light Eb tuba.

    The caution above about bass trombone was going to be my first point before they beat me to it. Needing to work the single or double trigger while holding the horn with the same hand could easily cause you problems.

    Final consideration is front-valve tuba or side-valve tuba. I assume you are familiar with the comfort factors for those 2 choices.

    I think there are old Conn tubas around that have short-action valves, which could be handy (so to speak). Probably BBb only.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay Area, CA, USA
    Posts
    46
    Primarily euphonium through college, but tuba for the last ~16 years (after an almost-20 year instrumental hiatus) because no one needed a euph. I'm back on euph now and have been delighted with its portability compared to the tubas I'd griped about lugging around.
    4/4 BBb is a great fit for the groups I support, but the two concert horns that I liked & owned for most of that time (Miraphone 1291 & King 2341) were big & heavy - cumbersome and hard on my lower back (playing is fine; the transporting got to me).
    I continually sought smaller horns, owning at various times multiple Yamahas & Werils (ybb-103s & ybb-621s, Weril j690s) along with Olds O-99, an Amati, Conn . . .
    I knew the small form factor would trade off dynamic volume and tonal breadth, but I couldn't reconcile what I wanted to hear with what emerged from the bell.
    Bottom line: If you're okay not being "the" bass voice in a good-sized group, or your playing is mostly smaller ensemble, then the ybb103 (3-valve) & ybb621 (4-valve) are about as small, light, and playable as a brass BBb gets (the Lidl is supposed to be nice, too). I found the Yamaha vertical valve alignment a bit odd - I call it "accordion style" because my elbow sticks out & up to keep my wrist straight - but you might find it comfortable.
    I own an Eb sousaphone & am ok with Bb treble, so I tried some Eb tubas, but the ones I liked (Willson & Besson) were considerably heavier than the mini Yamaha BBbs. Miraphones play great & might have something that would sweet-spot portability, sound, and playing quality, but I've only owned a 186 - haven't tried their smaller horns.
    BUT, if you're ok with plastic euph, have you considered plastic tuba? A community band tuba colleague picked one up in BBb, and I was surprised with both its feather weight (I was practically cackling the first time I hefted it), and its playability (shouldn't have been surprised, I guess - fiberglas 'phones have been around forever). Its sound was "real" contrabass, and if it hadn't been bright, beacon red, no one outside the section would've suspected it wasn't a brass horn from the way it sounded.
    I haven't seen her in years, so I don't know how well her horn has held up, but iirc, her outlay was just a few hundred, so it's practically disposable. I haven't googled around, but perhaps someone's making a sousa-style brass valve-set mated to a plastic concert tuba. That would be very attractive to me, and I imagine to a whole lot of other aging tuba enthusiasts, as well.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    2,071
    Quote Originally Posted by ann reid View Post
    Should I take a wack at bass trombone? Iím currently playing an amazing uncompensating large bore euphonium, and ergonomics definitely count in whatever I do moving forward. Thanks in advance for your input.
    I would warn you about the bass trombone.

    A single-valve relatively small bass trombone might be manageable for you. I think you would find a "real" bass trombone -- i.e., a double-valve that could play in the true tuba range, to be very unpleasant and discouraging.

    It took me well over six months to configure my King 7B clone to the point where it was possible to hold it without some degree of pain. The double valve bass trombone, as Doug Yeo remarks somewhere, was not designed to be held and played by humans. It was probably a year, with great effort in terms of several modifications, that the instrument finally became a pleasure to play. Balance is critical, the size of your hands is an issue (mine are not large even though I'm 6'2"), the position of the second valve paddle can result in torture. You have to be willing to physically adapt the instrument to you rather than thinking that you can adapt to the instrument.

    So ... while not wanting to be discouraging, you should know what you're walking into even at the level of just holding the beast long enough to get theough a rehearsal. But again, a non-large single-valve bass might be quite manageable in short order.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba (with std US receiver), Kellyberg
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  7. #7
    Another issue is that the bass trombone is a difficult instrument to simply sound good on. It just doesn't resonate easily like a tuba or euphonium.

    An F tuba might be worth considering as well.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay Area, CA, USA
    Posts
    46
    Cimbasso?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    2,071
    I don't see things that way, but I understand why you're saying it.

    One thing I struggled with was getting a decent sound on the trombone after years of playing tuba (and some euphonium). I wouldn't say that it's "less resonant", but if you try to get the sort of "rich" sound out of a trombone that you get out of a tuba, it's not going to happen. That's just the conical vs. cylindrical bore difference.

    Once you understand and embrace that difference, you can play the trombone well -- because you've identified the sound you want out of it, and the sound that it can best produce. It took me quite a while to reach that point. A trombone -- and particularly a bass trombone -- is very resonant. But the timbre of the instrument is fundamentally different from that of a tuba or euph. That's a strength and not a weakness. And it's a real kick to play. That timbre will throw you for a while though, because it affects your sense of the pitch of the notes you're playing, and it doesn't sound and feel quite right to a conical bore player. Different overtones and different response. I love it. But it's not a tuba. But I love the tuba too.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba (with std US receiver), Kellyberg
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    2,071
    Quote Originally Posted by tokuno View Post
    Cimbasso?
    That would be very cool, though possibly pretty expensive. But here's one of the fundamental issues ...

    If you've got significant hand arthritis, then it seems to me that nothing with valves or keys on it is what you want. But what would be better? I don't know. For the trombone you still have the problem of holding it (probably worse than a tuba that you can at least rest on a stand -- though there are stands/supports for trombones as well). And a bass trombone has the problem of the two (or at least one valve). Plus, if you have arthritis in your hands, do you also have it in your shoulders and maybe elbows? It's a really tough condition to deal with.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba (with std US receiver), Kellyberg
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •