The Mental Militia Forums

Arts & Liberties => Music => Topic started by: slidemansailor on October 31, 2009, 10:04:26 pm

Title: making music
Post by: slidemansailor on October 31, 2009, 10:04:26 pm
A nearly irresistible opportunity for a thread jack was avoided by this thread hop. 

That is a problem for sure. When I sold my business my "gold watch for 22 years of dedicated service" was a good trombone and a good rifle. I'd never had either. I was just plain lucky on the trombone, but the rifle was more that I had a serious rifleman for a friend. Both turned out to be just what I wanted.

Which trombone did you get, slideman? I'm still playing the King 3B with an F-attachment that I bought in high school in 1972. Has a few dents, and the slide needs water spray more often than it used to, but it still sounds good.

The 3B is a highly-regarded horn, particularly the older ones. I'm betting yours will be hard to improve on other than treating yourself to an appointment with The Slide Doctor ( The dents are character, but a good slide is fundamental. I suspect you will be surprised how good it can be and how affordable top-of-the-line slide action is.

Apparently there is a shockingly wide range of quality in trombones, and other brass instruments.  Each and every one has such a distinct personality that good musicians can play dozens of them before finding one satisfactory... or find none satisfactory.  The standard mantra at the Trombone Forum is that you cannot know without playing the individual horn. Fortunately I didn't know this when I ordered mine... well, either that or I am easily pleased.  Doesn't much matter, does it?  I either got lucky or don't know what I'm missing.

I had a good idea what "voice" I wanted to have, read a bunch and ordered a Conn 88HCL with .525 upper and .547 lower thinking it might play more like a medium bore rather than sucking the wind out of this non-serious returning trombonist.  I read good reviews of this horn, this particular valve, decided on the livelier 'rose brass" bell and my special touch, the rare dual bore option.  I ordered it from the local music shop who came quite close to the best Internet price I saw. My first at bat was a home run.

It is gorgeous to my ears, which of course, are the only ones that really matter... the rest of the audience can leave... I can't.  Turns out others like the sound. I've played some with a community band, a combo I had for a year, a couple of church groups, but mostly my version of the karaoke trombone... my little collection of Jamie Aebersold Play-A-Longs (

Through his Jazzbooks site/business, I recently found some his Minus One ( series that are even more fun than the Play-A-Longs as they are played like a stage band or studio band would actually play it, but the lead part is simply removed, waiting for you (me actually) to read the part.  Real cool with the stereo cranked up.
Title: Re: making music
Post by: Junker on November 01, 2009, 03:48:42 pm
Cool, Slideman. It's a pleasure to hear of
someone just enjoying.
Title: Re: making music
Post by: slidemansailor on November 28, 2014, 01:43:11 pm
In a story a hair longer than I should share here, I leapt out of my lifetime trombone rut to embrace the bass.

Worse (?) I will be strumming my stuff in a bluegrass fashion - a style I haven't even liked much before.

This is what they play around here.
They are wonderful people and good musicians.
I have been enjoying both for over a month.
Now I am getting off the couch and into the circle.

Making music is so much better than the alternative - that is, not making music.

The whole story: Conner Combo (

NO, I will not be changing my name, nor forsaking my first love.
Title: Re: making music
Post by: Scarmiglione' on December 02, 2014, 08:18:30 am
Jumping out of music styles is, IMO, one of the best things one can do to re-inspire a love and engagement of music.  Congratulations, and what a beautiful lady you have there!
Title: Re: making music
Post by: slidemansailor on December 02, 2014, 08:32:24 pm
Yeah. That's about as close to dancing as I like to get.
Title: Re: making music
Post by: Moonbeam on December 02, 2014, 10:51:04 pm
Did you name her? :)
Title: Re: making music
Post by: socalserf on December 03, 2014, 11:36:23 am
Congratulations on the new instrument.
One of the lovely things about most string things
is that the can play most any genre.

Making music, even if badly, is tonic for the soul.
(No aspirations cast except at myself.)
Title: Re: making music
Post by: slidemansailor on March 18, 2015, 09:05:27 pm
The bass and I have been getting along handsomely. Everyone around, including me, is impressed at how easily it is coming to me.  In two months of jamming with the locals every Thursday, I am starting to get pretty comfortable and confident. 

Last Thursday I was really throwing a lot of notes into the mix, smokin' the fingerboard for over two hours ...
Ouch. Shut Down.
Hands sore for four days.

This is a serious problem... urgent... crisis.
I ordered new, softer strings.  They arrived along with installation instructions AND instructions for modifying the bridge to bring the string height down.

It was a bit scary, but I pulled the whole thing off today... and love the change.
Title: Re: making music
Post by: socalserf on March 19, 2015, 06:46:17 am
Some thing that helps my hands is to warm them up before playing.
A bag of rice heated in the microwave is ideal.
After playing I run very cold water over them.
Title: Re: making music
Post by: slidemansailor on September 23, 2016, 12:58:52 pm
Recent events sent me hunting for a thread on self-inflicted music. Wow, a lot of notes have passed since this one was updated... and many changes, most of them in the last couple of weeks.  The extended family arrived in our small burg with a couple of instrument-less musicians and a couple potential beginners.  Mrs Sailor and I have been shopping the WWW and setting up our family, or community band. I have been here 3.5 years with no success at playing my horn with other musicians in my area. I now have some willing victims - if I just put instruments in their hands.

The Internet is a dangerous place. With all this shopping, I tripped over a potentially awesome vintage trombone and accidentally won the auction for $68 ... making it my 4th trombone for my personal use!  My Yamaha will be at the family band HQ. My favorite retirement-treat Conn 88 and the 1958 Conn 6 are hanging out for regular use.  I may have to build a third hanger, depending on how I feel about the 65-year-old newcomer once it arrives and I service it.

I will post here if my dream gets real... be positive, WHEN my dream becomes reality.

I am, by the way, still playing the upright bass with the weekly bluegrass jam. I really enjoy the bass, but it merely makes bluegrass interesting ... not exciting. My skill level on the bass has grown, but I still almost never take a solo.  If I really loved it, I would be practicing and much better than I am. I merely enjoy it, but that is a good thing.
Title: Re: making music
Post by: Bill St. Clair on September 23, 2016, 01:31:33 pm
I've been playing my trombone since I moved to Vermont, first with a American Legion marching/concert band, then, this past summer, with a more accomplished concert band. I've also been singing with the local 50-member choir, with an amazing director.
Title: Re: making music
Post by: knobster on August 03, 2017, 12:21:43 pm
that's really nice

I am like this thread and thank you very much.
Title: Re: making music
Post by: slidemansailor on August 04, 2017, 12:06:35 am
Tonight we went North to the Hamilton bandshell for a performance of the Missoula Trombone Choir. Lovely music, awesome instruments and some nice chatting with fellow trombonists.

I offered to take my 14-year-old beginning trombone student along, but instead inspired his whole family to join us in the bleachers (which was definitely my preference). 

I told his mom and dad, my friends, that they had enough family to put together a trombone choir. Mom said they were one short, but I raised my hand and reminded her I figured to have a role in it.
Title: Re: making music
Post by: Bill St. Clair on August 04, 2017, 05:58:31 am
A trombone choir. Neat idea. Maybe I should make it so here in southern Vermont.

Today, though, I play with the Washington County Band, a pretty-good concert band that plays in the summer. First choir rehearsal is in a week, but I'll be in Tennessee, visiting my son.
Title: Re: making music
Post by: slidemansailor on December 18, 2017, 08:35:48 am
In a flash of breakthrough thinking, I conjured up a scheme for assembling a band in the backwoods.

Over the last few years I have taught/led/facilitated a number of classes through the local Adult Ed program. They send mailers out to every postal customer in the area ... thousands. The classes are cheap and widely varied. My Growing Without Pests Or Pesticides was a big hit. I have taught radio overviews and segued into study groups resulting in over a dozen ham licenses.

My brainstorm was to take advantage of the mailer and school facilities to create a band that would welcome my trombone.  I posted fliers all over Grangeville, Idaho attempting to re-invigorate an big band I could play 3rd trombone in, but ended up one of two lead instruments in a small jazz combo.  That was good. If this ends up like that, I'll be happy.

Here is the current draft of my 'class' offering:

Bitterroot Blues Band
Blues begat country. Rock came from blues. Swing, Dixieland and jazz also evolved from the blues. Blues is a familiar form of music to most of us, even if we don't know it.

The best part of music is making it; playing your own instrument.  That is what we will be doing Saturday evenings this semester. Our foundation will be the blues, but we will drift into one or more of its offspring.

Experienced performing musicians are welcome as are beginners and everyone in between. Dust off that instrument of yours and give it some outings. We will play, learn, share and make music for the sheer joy of it.

Participants will be expected to pay for copying expenses to build their own books. None of the original sets of sheet music will go home with you.

Though scheduled for one hour every Saturday, we may run over if we are having too much fun, and some absences are fine.
Title: Re: making music
Post by: slidemansailor on February 01, 2018, 10:09:12 am
The Adult Ed Blues Band project is working.  Not exactly as I had imagined, but it doubled the minimum number of 5 signups in order to go forward as a class.

I went to the first night prepared for ten horn players of various skill levels, but all with a foundation of music reading and some familiarity with their instruments.

I found myself in front of ten guitar players, one who could read music, two who could read TAB and the rest auditory learners who just have to hear a song over and over to get it. 

Week two I had guitar-friendly music, having discarded the  F, B-flat, E-flat keys horns normally use in exchange for the keys of C, G and D that the string guys live in.  I ended up working one tune for half an hour, discarding three and touching on two more that seemed to work.

Next Saturday evening we will continue to evolve that pattern. I have four more songs that are similar to the ones that we were able to play tolerably last week. I am thinking this can be made to work.

I also continue to attempt recruitment of a second or more lead instruments.  It is way too lonely at the top.
Title: Re: making music
Post by: slidemansailor on April 19, 2018, 11:37:05 pm
I tugged, pulled, pleaded and cajoled, but could not keep the Bitterroot Blues Band project alive.  Darn spectator society anyway.

Tonight I packed my upright bass off to the regular Thursday evening bluegrass jam for the first time in a year.  I was pleasantly surprised to hold up my end of the bargain. It came right back to me, and my fingers lasted as long as the jam did.  There is something to be said for working with a really simple musical form.
Title: Re: making music
Post by: slidemansailor on August 26, 2019, 07:33:33 pm

Trying every creative marketing trick I could come up with ... no joy.  Been in the boonies since 2013 without finding a group to share trombone music with.

Until now.  I have just formed a Trombone Quartet ... could become a Trombone Choir.
I have three other trombonists and a place to practice on a weekly schedule.
Title: Re: making music
Post by: Bill St. Clair on August 27, 2019, 03:11:41 pm
I have just formed a Trombone Quartet ... could become a Trombone Choir.
I have three other trombonists and a place to practice on a weekly schedule.

Cool. I just finished the summer season for the concert band I play trombone in. Choir starts in a couple of weeks, for winter (Luigi Cheubini's Medea in Italian) and spring concerts, then back to the band in the summer of 2020.
Title: Re: making music
Post by: slidemansailor on September 07, 2019, 06:23:21 pm
The nearby Presbyterian Church gave me the keys to a practice venue.
I've passed out the charts to our designated 1st, 2nd and bass trombones...
I own 3rd cuz it's my choir and that is where I want to be.
Interestingly, there was no contesting at all.
1st wanted to be 1st, 2nd wanted to be 2nd, my dream is 3rd
and far away our best musician is a bass trombonist with extreme range.
Charts I bought look like a lot of fun:
Amazing Grace, Danny Boy, The Entertainer, Star Spangled Banner, St. James Infirmary and William Tell Overture
I get enough solos to express my sound, but am not asked to spend a lot of time above F.  I'm working on getting the Gs and A-flats, but that is a growth area for me.
Title: Re: making music
Post by: Bill St. Clair on September 28, 2019, 02:23:21 pm
It looks like I may start playing in a swing band next week. Will post here if I do.

I've been playing the second part in the summer concert band. I like it, because it rarely goes above G. When I used to play first, I was comfortable up to C an octave above middle C.
Title: Re: making music
Post by: slidemansailor on October 01, 2019, 10:48:30 pm
I am now inspired by the trombone "choir" (quartet for now) I have started. That motivates me to practice more which, in turn, improves my skills.  I also bought a Wedge mouthpiece that I believe helps my range and stamana. 

Whichever part or combination is hard to prove, but Gs and As are starting to come to me like Fs used to. An occasional B-flat is in reach... which used to be unobtainable.

I've always been attracted to the low, sweet notes of the trombone. Those scoring trombone music want some high notes too.  I hope to have such range someday.