[Dixielandjazz] Slide/valve

Ministry of Jazz jazzmin at actcom.net.il
Tue Jun 20 09:02:54 PDT 2006

Shalom Jazz Fans,

Having played slide bone for nearly 45 years now, and I enjoy it and am
pretty good at it, necessity has led me to switch to a valve bone. I started
playing trumpet/cornet a few years ago, and in the absence of other
alternatives, I am fronting the band on them. Since we appear mostly in trio
format (banjo, clarinet and me), I generally double (triple?) on tuba and
bone along with the cornet. This gets confusing for me if I play slide bone
because I have to switch horns and therefore keys in the middle of many
songs, sometimes even switching back and forth within the same song. The
slide/valve thing doesn't bother me as much as the transposing. I found the
problem solves itself if I play a valve bone in Bb (using the same
fingerings/keys as the trumpet and tuba). Of course, I lose the slide. I
have learned to half-valve notes to get a sort of similar effect ... sort of
... but it's not the same.

Another reason is that, after stumbling onto an Olds marching bone on eBay,
I found it much easier to handle and to transport than a traditional valve
bone. It's not much bigger than a trumpet, and the sound is nearly identical
to a valve bone. I liked the thing so much that I bought several more of
them, and they are all gems -- slick valve action, the tuning slides work
smoothly, and the sound is nice, great for jazz.

In our 4 and 5 piece configurations, where I don't have to play tuba, I
still use my old slide horn. I still have to switch off between it and the
trumpet, but for some reason the key changes are more manageable than when
the tuba is in the mix too.


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