Tuesday, July 04, 2006

For the select few this is real cool.....

As a trombone player I was always amazed and green with envy to see people like former Tower of Power horn player Mic Gillette pick up his trumpet, play a few notes and then switch to his slide trombone with little or no effort. What's amazing is that Mic Gillette played a slide trombone and then a trumpet with valves. Big deal you say, but consider this. Learning to play something with valves and then something with a slide can literally make you crazy don't you think? In my younger days I did make such an attempt, but trying to remember the trumpet fingering made me real frustrated. It was totally un-cool for me. It was practically like learning a totally different instrument. Fellow Greenwood member Mark Silva can play a trumpet and a valve trombone and he doesn't seem to have any problems with that, but then again it was going from valves to valves. But then isn't there a problem of the mouthpiece? From small to big you would think there would be some adjustment problems. But ah.....the solution to all slide trombone players who are never satisfied with just playing the slide trombone. The answer? The slide trumpet!!!! Now that's cool!!!! Here's something taken from Mal Webb's website (www.malwebb.com). Good read on something real cool for any trombone player. Hey.....that includes me!!! Very, very cool.

Here's a picky of me (Mal Webb) going nuts on my ever faithful Jupiter slide trumpet. Yes, it does look like a trombone, but if it were a trombone, I'd be a giant! It's really just a trumpet (same mouthpiece, length and bore) that instead of having valves to make the tube longer, it has a slide. There is such a thing as a soprano trombone, which apparently has a larger bore, mouthpiece and price tag than a slide trumpet. In the days before valves there was the soprano sackbutt (the sackbutt being the precurser of the trombone). The slide trumpet is now rarely played with any serious intent: The only player of note that I know of is in a band called Sex Mob. Oh, and James Morrison plays one that has both valves and a slide! The Jupiter Slide Trumpet is the only one I've found available and at only $300, it's the kind of instrument that people buy as a novelty and never get around to playing. For the trombonists, I should mention that 5th position is at the bell (rather than 4th) and the positions change when you change the tuning slide, which keeps things entertaining. To cut down on cases when travelling, I've managed to fit my slide trumpet into my guitar case, which required me hacking off the end of my guitar's headstock, giving it a lovely flying V appearance (which Doug DeVries tells is a bit of a modern trend in guitar making... how hip am I? By mistake, of course).


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