Small Bass

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hyperbolica
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Small Bass

Post by hyperbolica » Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:12 pm

We've had the discussion about small bass vs light bass, and small bass vs big tenor. I think I've heard more from pros at least owning a bass with a 9" bell, not necessarily as a main ax, but as one available option. If you're looking at new horns, the 9" bell is an option on modular instruments, and I think someone found an Amati with questionable playing characteristics with a 9" bell. There are a number of tenors with 9" bells, and there are more options if you include horns from a couple of decades back.

I'm a tenor player who has been reluctantly dragged into playing bass to keep some favorite groups going. I've been searching for "the one" bass that fits my style, and it has been a long, expensive search. An Olds P24g has been the one stock horn that most closely got where I was going, but they don't really make a modern equivalent of that any more. Everything is just too big, too woofy, too heavy, too cumbersome. I don't really want to change the way I play tenor just to occasionally pick up a bass.

I did play a Holton 159 that I really liked, but it was missing that second valve.

So I decided to put together specs that I thought would get me where I wanted to go - knowing, of course that specs aren't everything, but just not having the resources or access to try out all horn models past and present. This is what I came up with:
Bell: 9"
Slide: 547/562 dual bore, TIS
Valves: double with removable second valve

Well, I got everything except the removable 2nd valve, but I had to hack together horns to do it, and I had to use stuff (old junk) from FleaBay to do it. The slide I used is on paper a 0.554" - 0.565" bore, according to the documentation I found.

First, I found an Olds S-20. It had the 9" bell, dual bore slide, and TIS. It also had a terrible single valve, which was scrapped for parts. The Olds played well as an original horn, with a nice big sound, so it was a good starting point.

Next I found a valve section from a Duo Gravis. This was cool because the DG has a smaller bore through the valves than most basses, but it matches the bore through the S-20 valve, so it was a good replacement.

I guess I could have salvaged a Yamaha YBL622 valve set to get the removable valve, but that just wasn't available.

The S-20 on its own was called a bass in the marketing materials, although horns from Holton with the same specs were called tenors. I measured the bell throat diameter right in front of the rear ferrule - the smallest diameter on the bell - for 4 horns I have available: 88h = 0.890", S-20 = 0.902", 72h = 0.978",and Kanstul 1662i = 1.010". So, yes, the throat of the Olds is bigger than a typical tenor (but not much) and not nearly as big as something described as a "smallish" bass by some people.

This altered Olds/King to me plays like a real trombone. It could give a clarinet player a concussion with its low C. It also has a good high range. It plays everything nicely with a 2G, although a 1.25G gives low notes serious power, and a Schilke 60L really rocks the pedals. For a guy who's not a bass player, and not a low note king. The Kanstul by comparison sounds dull and woofy.

Anyway, I think I'm happy with my Frankenhorn. It sounds good, and I can play low and high with it. I can play loud and soft, and it sounds like a trombone. The Kanstul is supposed to be a very light bass, and weighs 2.31 kg by my scales. The Olds/King is 2.24 kg, and the Conn 1.69 kg (the Olds/King slide is 25g heavier than the Kanstul - both TIS).

I just feel that the smaller horn is far more versatile in range and sound. I wish something were available commercially without needing to hack one together yourself.

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Last edited by hyperbolica on Thu May 16, 2019 4:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
walldaja
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Re: Small Bass

Post by walldaja » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:34 pm

I presume your "small bass" is the one on the Hamilton style stand? Sounds like an interesting project, especially since you managed to get just what you were wanting. What was the total time to completion once you determined your specs? Have you had a chance to play a Yamaha 822 which has the removable second valve? I'm intrigued with your dual bore slide. Did you do the work yourself or did you have a go to guy? Enough questions, it looks super and I would have never guessed its heritage and I'm glad it works for you.
Dave

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Yamaha 421G Bass with Bach 1 1/2G
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1967 Olds Ambassador with Yamaha 48
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Re: Small Bass

Post by Mikebmiller » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:50 pm

Check out the Wessex supertenor. 8 3/4" bell and dual bore 547/562 slide.

https://wessex-tubas.com/collections/tr ... ier-pbf555
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Re: Small Bass

Post by hyperbolica » Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:22 pm

@Walldaja, yes, the one on the right is the Olds, Kanstul is on left.

I've never played the 622/822, but I've heard that they are kind of heavy playing. Yeo seems to like big heavy equipment for big orchestral playing. It makes sense for him I'm sure, but I can't drive that stuff. That's the only drop-in valve set already set up for removable valve that I know of.

It took a couple of months to accumulate the right parts cheap enough to make sense, and several months to get the work done. I didn't do the work myself, but that's all I really want to say about that part of it.

The dual bore thing saves a lot of wind. I've played other small dual bore basses/big tenors and I like the extra weight in the sound without making it like blowing through a screen or dull and woofy.

@Mikebmiller , yes, the Wessex supertenor was on my list of potential starting points, as was the Holton 159, and the Conn 88hK. I was just going to get a plug-in valve made. The Olds just was a little cheaper and had the right combination of stuff, and I just happened into a cheap set of Duo Gravis valves by accident. The newer horns would have been cleaner, and probably cost about the same, but I wouldn't have had the TIS.

I'm not completely sold that the TIS is worth all this bother, but I've loved the sound of the few TIS horns I've played. Plus, the Horn Guys really sell the TIS in these couple of links on the Kanstul 1662 and 1688 descriptions:
https://www.hornguys.com/products/kanst ... trombone-1
https://www.hornguys.com/products/kanst ... trombone-1
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elmsandr
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Re: Small Bass

Post by elmsandr » Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:57 am

First, I'm a big fan of smaller basses. My "go-to" horn that I prefer is a 9 1/2" flare Bach 45 (smaller throat and tuning slide than a 50), a .562 slide, and either a single or dependent valve section (currently I have this set up with Shires Bass Trubores). I have also owned an Olds similar to yours, but with a single Thayer. Fun horns.

BUT, not for everybody. On all of these 'tweener' bell types, the intonation is... different. Some find them hard to adapt to. For example, my Fs are all flat, not sharp. Hard to remember when you also play a big bass and large bore Tenor.

One thing I want to note, ignore the flare diameter, it is the throat and rate of taper that makes it 'smaller'. I also somewhat want to ignore the bore as well. The leadpipe venturi diameter and taper matter more than the bore. The only smallish bass that has really survived in a workable manner (to my general eyes) is the 70/72H. The others, the 5B, the 45, and Olds all seem to not be as 'standard' if I were to throw that around. I think this is a market, which maybe should exist, but does not seem to exist for new products. If I were to be king of the world, I would like to see some basses with smaller thoats/tapers that are more refined to help with intonation. I'd probably look for a slide that is .562, just because I think keeping options with more "bass" leadpipes is better than working with "tenor" designed leadpipes.

I think there is also a lot of opportunity for matching 2G to 1.5G mouthpieces to leadpipes to flare sizes, which will have a dramatic impact on the intonation of the horn, which really has to be at least consistent with other models. Not sure why this size of horn never got enough design time to get corrected, but that is probably due to the lack of popularity. When the larger horns worked, these just got skipped over is my guess.

Cheers,
Andy
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Re: Small Bass

Post by hyperbolica » Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:39 am

Andy,
Yeah, mostly agree with you. I do think things like the bell flare diameter and the bore do add up for sound and especially for weight, and I'm measuring the "smallness" both ways. I've played dual bores enough that I just prefer the way they play for the bigger horns. Age has kind of crept up on me, and I can't fill the 562 slide anymore.

I wish we had a better way to characterize the throat and taper on horns. This especially became evident to me when I started looking at tubas. The range of throat/taper/bell size and flare size is staggering on tubas, and has a wild effect on sound, punctuation, focus, clarity, ambiance, and a lot of other non-tangibles.

The other thing I didn't mention was the difference between the dependent and independent valves. I like the flexibility of indy valves, but this one came together with stacked. Playing the dependent valves has much more the feel of a single bass, and that helps it seem smaller, even if there's no actual measurement that can be said to be smaller.

A few years ago I bought a prototype from Wessex that had an 8.5" bell and 2 valves. I swapped the bell for a lighter, larger, more colorful 5B bell, and that thing was a great tenor/bass killer cello suite kind of horn. I should have kept that. The only other horn I've played that kind of simulated that feel was either the Holton 159 with a single valve or the Olds P24g, with 2 valves, red bell, and everything else made from nickel silver. Yes, the material makes a small difference, but it's a difference you can feel. I really like the combination Olds uses on several horns of red brass bell and nickel silver everything else. The S-20 is all yellow brass, but still has a lot of presence for a tenor, and a lot of focus for a bass.
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elmsandr
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Re: Small Bass

Post by elmsandr » Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:10 am

Having multiple slides, I feel there is a better balance to the sound with the right leadpipe than with the correct bore. I would love to have a variety of bass intended pipes made for a .547. If they came out like how I imagine them, I'd love to have a stealth .547/.562 bass.. even for my bigger cannons. I do not think anybody would notice with the correct pipe. Similar to a some folks using large shank .525 pipes... covers for the listen with the eyes crowd and the sound is much easier.

Cheers,
Andy
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Re: Small Bass

Post by Tbarh » Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:40 am

elmsandr wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:10 am
Having multiple slides, I feel there is a better balance to the sound with the right leadpipe than with the correct bore. I would love to have a variety of bass intended pipes made for a .547. If they came out like how I imagine them, I'd love to have a stealth .547/.562 bass.. even for my bigger cannons. I do not think anybody would notice with the correct pipe. Similar to a some folks using large shank .525 pipes... covers for the listen with the eyes crowd and the sound is much easier.

Cheers,
Andy
Large shank 525 pipes?? Who makes them?... And 562 size 547 pipes?... Available?

Thanks!

Trond
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Re: Small Bass

Post by JohnL » Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:42 am

Tbarh wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:40 am
Large shank 525 pipes?? Who makes them?... And 562 size 547 pipes?... Available?
Lots of companies make large-shank .525" pipes - but you can't just plug one into any old .525" bore instrument. It's got to be set up for it. Gotta have room for that large-shank receiver, and it's too big to fit into a .525" ID tube.

As for .562" pipes for .547" horns? Since the mouthpiece receiver is the same size, it's just a matter of having a thinner wall at that end and not expanding the far end quite so much. If you have an existing .562" pipe, you could turn down the OD to fit - though you'd probably end up shortening the pipe a bit, since there normally isn't much meat at the far end.
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Re: Small Bass

Post by elmsandr » Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:42 am

JohnL wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:42 am
Tbarh wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:40 am
Large shank 525 pipes?? Who makes them?... And 562 size 547 pipes?... Available?
Lots of companies make large-shank .525" pipes - but you can't just plug one into any old .525" bore instrument. It's got to be set up for it. Gotta have room for that large-shank receiver, and it's too big to fit into a .525" ID tube.

As for .562" pipes for .547" horns? Since the mouthpiece receiver is the same size, it's just a matter of having a thinner wall at that end and not expanding the far end quite so much. If you have an existing .562" pipe, you could turn down the OD to fit - though you'd probably end up shortening the pipe a bit, since there normally isn't much meat at the far end.
Whoa there... I don't think you would get there by turning it on a lathe. Don't think many, if any leadpipes are turned on a lathe. They are usually drawn on a mandrel through a die. For most .547 and .562 pipes, the length of the pipe is a completely separate variable from where the taper ends, there is a large straight section at the end of the pipe.

Getting a bass taper and venturi size in a .547 could be as easy as just putting the mouthpiece receiver in at a different depth (it is a separate operation). However, I haven't bothered to blue print the tapers of leadpipes and that information isn't readily available (most won't say much, or even give the venturi diameter). For example, we know Edwards and Shires both have different venturi diameters for their 1, 2, and 3 pipes. But between them, is the rate of taper the same for all three? That is, are they drawn on the same tool? Is the rate of taper on the Bass mandrel the same as on the Tenor? I have no idea. Haven't measured them or tried to pry to get exact information. I really am trying to not be on the leadpipe merry-go-round as it really hurt my head last time I was there. Of course, I also just found out that I had a pipe bend because it sat in a drawer too long. Maybe something was on top of it, but either way it isn't functional right now.

My engineering guess is that you would need/want to make a new mandrel, and that is somewhat pricey and usually involves a lot of experimentation that nobody is going to do for free.

Cheers,
Andy
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Re: Small Bass

Post by Tbarh » Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:48 pm

JohnL wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:42 am
Tbarh wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:40 am
Large shank 525 pipes?? Who makes them?... And 562 size 547 pipes?... Available?
Lots of companies make large-shank .525" pipes - but you can't just plug one into any old .525" bore instrument. It's got to be set up for it. Gotta have room for that large-shank receiver, and it's too big to fit into a .525" ID tube.

As for .562" pipes for .547" horns? Since the mouthpiece receiver is the same size, it's just a matter of having a thinner wall at that end and not expanding the far end quite so much. If you have an existing .562" pipe, you could turn down the OD to fit - though you'd probably end up shortening the pipe a bit, since there normally isn't much meat at the far end.
i was actually thinking of having a 525 pipe to fit in a 547 bore with a large shank mp.. And, small 547 pipes that fit a bass trombone 562 slide :good:
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Re: Small Bass

Post by 2bobone » Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:29 pm

When I first "posted" on TTF, it was in response to an article I stumbled across online about the reason I played a King Duo Gravis bass trombone in a symphony orchestra setting. The suppositions were entirely off-base, but I felt I had to clarify the reasons for my choice, and I did !
One of the basic approaches to playing ANY brass instrument is to achieve a balance between the player and the instrument. If the requirements of the instrument far exceed the capabilities of the player, then a nasty-sounding buzzer should go off to alert the player to the mismatch. This works in reverse as well. My huge King 8B requires a lot more air to "prime" it for action than my King Duo Gravis, but once either one of them is "primed", the rest of the action is confirmed and reliable. It cannot be denied that it requires more concentration from the player to maintain that "balance" and that it will demand more energy to sustain the effort, but there it is!
I think that the ingenuity and hard work "Hyperbolica" has invested in his "FrankenBone" is time well spent and a clever solution to the problem. I applaud his accomplishments !
Having spent my career in the midst of the "Bigger is Better" craze, I almost never heard anyone who could fill the ever increasing size of the bass trombone "du jour" convincingly. When tenor players in my orchestra started using bass trombone slide sections on their tenor trombones, I thought to myself, " How in Hell can I balance THAT" ! "Just HOW big a bass trombone would I need to have to balance THAT" !! If I did find an instrument that could provide the sound I needed, then how many years would it decrease my playing career by destroying me physically ? No hysteria here --- those were REAL concerns.
I am heartened to see a slight interest in a more sane approach to the bass trombone sound. Perhaps the awareness that "trombone" translated means "Large Trumpet" , not "Little Brother to The Tuba" will make more players take a glance down the path that Hyperbolica has taken. Perhaps not ------------ Cheers to all !!
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Re: Small Bass

Post by Mikebmiller » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:48 am

Tbarh wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:40 am
Large shank 525 pipes?? Who makes them?..
My Rath R3 (525) will accept large or small shank lead pipes. I have one of each. With the large shank and 8.5" bell, nobody can tell it is not a .547 horn. With the small shank and 8" bell, it is a great Bach 36.
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Re: Small Bass

Post by JohnL » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:23 am

Tbarh wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:48 pm
i was actually thinking of having a 525 pipe to fit in a 547 bore with a large shank mp.. And, small 547 pipes that fit a bass trombone 562 slide :good:
What, exactly, are you trying to achieve? A pipe for you .547" horn that blows more like a .525"?
Last edited by JohnL on Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Small Bass

Post by hyperbolica » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:38 am

Yeah, Conn makes a large shank 525 pipe which it calls the X. Never really liked it in an 88h. I like the 525 bore for the balance of more nimble feel, which you don't get in 547 and weightier sound that you don't get in the 50x sizes.

Back on topic, though, thanks to 2bobone for summing it up. I'm just a tenor player who wants to play some low notes from time to time without sacrificing high chops. Maybe I'm more in tune with the origins of bass bone than with current bass bone thinking, which is ok with me.

I met Alan Ostrander at Ithaca College several times. He used to live around there. He was a tiny little guy. The recordings of him in the NY Phil are still classics. He was also a user of a smaller Frankenbone, with a Reynolds double valve section grafted to "an old Conn 9½” yellow brass bell and .547/.562″ dual-bore" according to Contempora Corner (http://contemporacorner.com/company/arc ... ostrander/) That's him in the middle of the NYP low brass section - recognize the Reynolds valve section.

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Re: Small Bass

Post by sf105 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:48 am

Wasn't there a story about him bolting a Reynolds valve section onto to a Conn?
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Re: Small Bass

Post by hyperbolica » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:13 am

Yeah, that's the Reynolds valve section in the picture.
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Re: Small Bass

Post by Tbarh » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:41 am

JohnL wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:23 am
Tbarh wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:48 pm
i was actually thinking of having a 525 pipe to fit in a 547 bore with a large shank mp.. And, small 547 pipes that fit a bass trombone 562 slide :good:
What, exactly, are you trying to achieve? A pipe for you .547" horn that blows more like a .525"?
yes! :good: and a 547 leadpipe to make a bass sound smaller.. Bottom line is that i would like to know how difficult it is to modify pipes to fit the next adjacent bore size up or down?

Trond
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Re: Small Bass

Post by 2bobone » Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:31 pm

When I joined the National Symphony Orchestra in 1967, I purchased from the retiring bass trombonist, Edward Gummell, a Conn 70H with the double valve section of a Reynolds Contempora bass trombone attached. I never got the history of the why's, when's and where's, but I wouldn't be surprised if that horn had previously been one of Allan Ostrander's. During one run-out to NYC to perform at Lincoln Center, I ran into Mr. Ostrander who proposed that we find a room and play a few duets, which we did. It strikes me now that he might have mentioned the fact that I was playing that very instrument at the time. The last I heard of its whereabouts, someone mentioned seeing that it had been sold to someone in California and noted that my name was still on the case ! The combination Conn 70H/Reynolds was a great marriage at a time when no one else offered anything similar, but the popular adoption of "D" valves soon made it obsolete ! I must have a picture or two of it around somewhere ? Cheers !!
Last edited by 2bobone on Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Small Bass

Post by hyperbolica » Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:38 pm

2bobone wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:31 pm
When I joined the National Symphony Orchestra in 1967, I purchased from the retiring bass trombonist, Edward Gummell, a Conn 70H with the double valve section of a Reynolds Contempora bass trombone attached....
Wow, that is a great story. That's a horn I would love to play.
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Re: Small Bass

Post by LeoInFL » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:25 am

My small bass is still a work on progress. I have an Olds P-24G bell section that's mostly complete. It's missing the slide receiver and bell nut.

My original plan was to pair this bell with a Conn SL4562 slide I have.

Revised plan:
I'm planning to install a Bach slide receiver so I can use an Edwards TDBAN slide (dual bore 0.547/0.562", all-nickel) with it instead of the Conn. I decided on the change for several reasons: an all-nickel slide was what was originally offered on the P-24G, the Edwards slide is wider than the Conn (so it's what I'm familiar with on my Getzen tenor), and with the TDBAN I would be able to go through my collection of large bore Edwards leadpipes to find which one works best.

Pending issues:
the typically available Bach slide receivers and bell nuts are brass but the Olds parts would have been nickel - it's a cosmetic thing but it could perhaps be an acoustic thing as well, the bell section still has the original split paddles and I'm still undecided on whether a modern lever setup would be worth it.
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Re: Small Bass

Post by PSJ » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:28 am

I am amazed at the picture of the NYP section. Even the Tuba is not a giant as they are today.
And they sounded great without giant instruments......hmmmmmm......
Last edited by PSJ on Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
Paul

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And many, many others..........
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Re: Small Bass

Post by JohntheTheologian » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:45 am

No F attachments on the tenor horns either in the NYP section.

My trombone teacher, when I was in High School, was Jaroslav Cimera, an old school player and teacher, and he clearly discouraged me from buying a horn with an F attachment. He said it was unnecessary, but his false tones sounded great. With his advice I avoided getting an F attachment for years, but never could play good false tones.

As an adult, I became friends with George Krem, who played in a number of orchestras and finished his career teaching trombone at the University of Iowa. He played a straight Bach 42B unless absolutely forced to get out his back-up horn with the F attachment-- it was actually a convertible model, so even if his horn was in the shop he could avoid the F attachment.. He also studied with Cimera as a teen-ager, and I wonder if there was some influence.
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Re: Small Bass

Post by hyperbolica » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:06 pm

@LeoinFl:
It's interesting to me how many Olds horns figure into plots to create small basses. Even Reynolds and Olds were closely related. And If I can think of a single manufacturer today who might take up something like this (other than Wessex), it would probably be Kanstul, again, closely related to Olds and Reynolds. I think your choice to go all nickel was the right one to get the best sound from the P24g. Was that a 9" bell on the P24g? Some of them had bigger bells.

About the P24G levers, you'll probably want to rework those to some extent if you're going to spend time on this horn. I had a hard time with mine.

@PSJ, JohntheTheologian

That photo was said to be taken in 1964. The 88h became a real model in '56 or '57. Smaller horns all the way around.
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Re: Small Bass

Post by JohnL » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:54 pm

hyperbolica wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:06 pm
...it would probably be Kanstul, again, closely related to Olds and Reynolds.
Pretty much zero common DNA between Kanstul and Old or Reynolds. Zig was never involved with trombones at Olds and, when he started making his own basses, he looked to Conn and Bach for inspiration. When I toured the shop a few years back, they pointed out some mandrels that they said were from Olds, but they did not appear to be using them. For that matter, Olds and Reynolds basses aren't particularly close to each other in design, either (with the notable exception of the V-25 Super Star, which was pretty much pure Reynolds with the Olds name stuck onto it). When Olds and Reynolds merged in 1964, the Olds was already producing the GR model (which was the progenitor of all subsequent Olds basses) and Reynolds had been building Philharmonic and Stereophonic basses for several years.

As for the P-24G levers? I learned on them, so I find most other systems awkward. The S-23 levers, OTOH? Ouch! The S-24G levers are pretty uncomfortable, too.
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Re: Small Bass

Post by hyperbolica » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:03 pm

JohnL wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:54 pm
Pretty much zero common DNA between Kanstul and Old or Reynolds. Zig was never involved with trombones at Olds and, when he started making his own basses, he looked to Conn and Bach for inspiration.
That might be true, but I got a very Olds kind of feeling from the 70h I had for a number of years. It had a feel in common with the S-20. Certainly not the valve, but the heavy dual bore TIS slide (from the early 70h, although not the Fuchs) is probably the main actual spec in common.

JohnL wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:54 pm
As for the P-24G levers? I learned on them, so I find most other systems awkward. The S-23 levers, OTOH? Ouch! The S-24G levers are pretty uncomfortable, too.
Well, the levers and of course that clock-spring valve were the first to go from my S-20. I had some custom built levers made. Very light action with the worn-in duo gravis valves.
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Re: Small Bass

Post by hyperbolica » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:50 am

Just as a follow up, while I think I got the horn I want with the custom Olds frankenbone, every time I play the pair of instruments for other trombonists, they pick the Kanstul. Objectively, yes, when you listen to me play both, the Kanstul is the one you prefer to hear. It seems like I'm sloppy with the sound and articulations on the frankenbone. But it's hard to characterize the velvety sound of the Kanstul as bad. Maybe it's just hard to drive.

Actually, the Olds dual bore slide fits the Kanstul bell, and it also sounds pretty good while being easier to drive than the full bore slide. The nut doesn't thread on, but if I wedge it well enough and don't jerk around, I can play it that way. Might be a good compromise.

Just goes to show, no matter how much you plan and design and project, reality is just a little bit different from what you're aiming at.

The thing is, I agree, the Kanstul sounds nicer on slow or medium speed stuff, and definitely on lower range, like pedals. But if the line moves around a lot, it's so much easier to do on the Olds.

Maybe I'll try to make a recording here and see what y'all have to say.
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Matt K
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Re: Small Bass

Post by Matt K » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:28 am

Lots of talk about leadpipes that I didn't get to read on this thread: It looks like you are using the stock pipe? I'd probably swap that out before trying other things. Articulations can be made much cleaner with a leadpipe swap depending on what you're going for. Either a change of material to something like copper to "cover" articulations more, somethin gwith a little mroe resistance, or perhaps something else can make a horn that is woofy sound quite crisp.
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Re: Small Bass

Post by hyperbolica » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:35 am

Matt K wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:28 am
Lots of talk about leadpipes that I didn't get to read on this thread: It looks like you are using the stock pipe?
Yeah, this is kind of a sticking point. I provided the people that did the work with a Bach 42 pipe, noting that the existing Olds pipe receiver was too small. They claim they put the Bach pipe in, but the mouthpiece still fits the way it did before. So, i'm out my Bach pipe, and I believe I still have the original mal-fitting Olds pipe. I'm a little annoyed at the people who did this. They made at least one other really ugly blunder, but the horn plays well, even if the work is questionable.

This was a low budget project, because all of the parts were old and used, and not really in top notch condition. I tried to use a local shop, since it was really just a valve swap. But obviously, I'm going to have to take future custom jobs to a better pro horn shop.
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Re: Small Bass

Post by Matt K » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:21 pm

I'd probably consider replacing the upper cork barrel depending on how much money you want to sink into it. A new part from Shries with a collar was around ~$150 a few years ago (including the labor from my tech to swap out). It may well be the Bach pipe if the receiver was worn and it doesn't necessarily sit flush with the top of the existing receiver. If you go that route, you can pick up collars for ~$15/20 to install on a leadpipe. If you're in an area with a tech who has access to Kanstul parts you could also go that route too, might be a touch cheaper and match the aesthetic of your Kanstul too. Note that the Kanstul pipes work on Shires but not the other way around though.
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Re: Small Bass

Post by JohnL » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:00 pm

I don't think I've written about this in detail on the new forum, so here goes...

The Bach mouthpiece spec calls for a shank OD of .546" at the 1" from the end, tapering down to .496" at the very end. Now, if the OD of the shank is .546" and the ID of the inner tube is .547", there's no room for a leadpipe. You either have to expand the receiver end of the inner tube or not have the inner tube extend all the way to the receiver.

Olds took a different tack. They used a .554" upper tube that went all the way to the receiver end and didn't have any flare, then sized the mouthpiece shank to allow for a reasonable wall thickness for the leadpipe, plus a little clearance for fitup. Thus you have the undersize Olds receiver. The outgrowth of this is that the receiver end of most .547" leadpipes is larger than the ID of the Olds tube at the receiver.

(In case this seems a bit odd to you, consider that large-shank receivers were not standardized back when Olds started building S-20's and S-23's. Conn, Bach, and King were all different.)

I've only had to replace the pipe on one Olds dual-bore bass. It came to me with a slip-fit pipe that stuck out from the cork barrel about 1/2". I ended up having a .547" pipe turned down as much as I dared, trimmed back so there was maybe 1/8" stick out from the cork barrel, then having a double-wide collar put on it to hide the part sticking out. A standard mouthpiece inserts about 5/8" or so -but it's in the right place relative to the leadpipe, it's just that there's about 1/4" less leadpipe.

Honestly, I would suggest working with Doug Elliott on a mouthpiece rather than trying to remake the horn.
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Re: Small Bass

Post by harrisonreed » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:08 pm

TheBoneRanger
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Re: Small Bass

Post by TheBoneRanger » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:47 pm

Am I the only one who finds this concept of a "small bass" a little odd?

Now granted, if your main axe is on the larger/heavier size, there are occasions where your horn will be too much. My main horn is a dual bore Edwards, and I've been in this situation. But is there really a need for a horn between a large bore tenor and many of the more compact basses around?

I'm lucky enough to have access to a lot of good equipment. I have a Bach 50 I can use, with a smaller mouthpiece, which is nice and crisp. I have a Bach 42T, which with a 1.5G or similar on board shares many characteristics with a good bass trombone sound.

And if I weren't satisfied with those options, there are many great horns with more compact bell throats on the used market ready to go. Conn 72h, perhaps? Less than $1000, ready to go.

The times I've mix and matched tenor and bass equipment have not been successful. Bass slide on a tenor? Doesn't have the right sound quality. 547 slide on a bass? Yuck. 547/562 on a bass? Nope, feels unsettled, like they weren't designed to work together. Funny that.

Bach 45? I've not personally played one, but I've known many to buy them, keep them for a few years, and move them on. Perhaps that says enough.

Given there are such a wide palette of sounds out there being produced on standard tenors and basses, I wonder why some have the need to reinvent the wheel?

Andrew
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Re: Small Bass

Post by hyperbolica » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:03 pm

Andrew,

I just wanted a smaller horn with 2 valves. Sorry I didn't get it approved first.
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Re: Small Bass

Post by TheBoneRanger » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:22 pm

hyperbolica wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:03 pm
Andrew,

I just wanted a smaller horn with 2 valves. Sorry I didn't get it approved first?
Don't confuse a difference of opinion with a personal attack. This is a discussion forum, not an echo chamber.

Andrew
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Re: Small Bass

Post by Burgerbob » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:24 pm

Yup! Even after reading all of this, I am still a little confused as to "why"

I'd like to play what you have put together.
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Re: Small Bass

Post by Matt K » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:20 pm

I mean, Gerry Pagano isn't a nobody and sees a reason; that doesn't mean us mortals necessarily need one but it isn't like something that is totally out of left field.

Having done similar projects myself, my original intention was to make something that would be capable of being my everything horn. Didn't work for me. (At the time that configuration was a dependent 562 rotors, 9" bell, tenor tuning slide, 562 and 547/562 slide). Even with the bass slide... still sounds, and basically feels, like a tenor. The tuning slide, throat, and slightly more 'open' taper of bass bells makes a tremendous amount of difference. Here's the interesting part... I also had a 508/525 slide at the time. When I put that on a Shires bell section, because the bell tenons actually were compatible, I was quite surprised to find that it actually still played basically like a bass. It was weird; not something I would recommend, but it did not feel like a tenor despite being so small.

Likewise, I currently use a 562 slide on that bell section when I'm doing recording sessions. For about 6" (~as far as the microphone), it works tremendously well. I prefer smaller slides for acoustic settings but you would not mistake it for a bass, at least for what I'm using it for. There's a possibility if I told you you'd notice if it were acoustic and it were further away from the bell as at a distance it can be slightly less vibrant.

So in other words, the bell section and particularly the tuning slide, bell throat, and bell taper are far more important than most of the other components in making something feel like a tenor or a bass (within reason). So the idea of coming up with a horn that is an 'intermediary' is not really the intention in the sense that I don't think you can really achieve something that is half one and half the other. Its going to basically be a small bass, at least by today's standards, which means having a very similar feel and timbre but be on the smaller side of things, just as one might have a medium bore slide for their Conn 88. Or perhaps having a 'commercial'/small bore tenor and a large bore tenor. The difference between these is actually very subtle when you compare only the bell sections.

And then when you get smaller, you seldom hear similar questionings about 'why' despite having a tremendous amount of variety. For example, people commonly play horns that are as small as .481 and as large as 508 slide wise (and actually 525 too, anymore) and on bell sections that are quite small (like a 2B) through sections that are sometimes identical or very, very similar to large bore offerings (such as the Bach 36, which is literally identical to the 42 save for the .5" on the flare).

When you think about it, basses are actually pretty consistent in sizing. There's not nearly the same degree of variation in bell section unless you're counting the valves (which are usually .593 now, regardless of the shape of the air inside them). And you almost exclusively have people playing 562 and 562/578 slides. (578-562 = .16; 508-481=.27; 525-481=.44!).

So when you think of it from that perspective, perhaps the bass world is merely blossoming in the same way the tenor world in the last century. Or perhaps that's all nonsensical. Probably the latter :shuffle:
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Re: Small Bass

Post by hyperbolica » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:20 pm

I wanted a lighter instrument that uses less air. I don't expect bass players to get it. The fact that I had to make it myself shows that. But clearly some people do get it. I just made it for my own use, so it really doesn't matter if anyone gets it at all. I want a certain sound on low notes without hyperventilating or damaging my left elbow. All I really did was add a valve to a stock horn, not very radical, really.
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Re: Small Bass

Post by hyperbolica » Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:36 pm

The experiment continues. It didn't seem to go over very well in the quartet, where they need more control, and a weighty underpinning of sound. But in a small orchestra, it's just the thing. I'm subbing in an orchestra with a good tubist, and a relatively strong brass section in general. The tuba doesn't need any help with down low, he supplies the "dark" underside pretty well. I do help him with a little bite to the sound. We're playing a couple of pretty aggressive tunes for chamber orchestra, and it needs some bass bone bark. With a 1.25-ish mouthpiece, this experimental horn I think has a lot to offer. And it definitely packs a lot of punch per pound. In a jazz or rock band, wow, this thing would kick it.
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