Archive for the 'Trombone' Category

Improving from Start to “Finish”

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

At Getzen, we pride ourselves on our industry leading quality and we are constantly striving to find ways to improve our products even more. In that effort, we have made two key advancements in our production.

First is a new, cutting edge, aqueous ultra sonic cleaning system. This process uses a combination of special cleaning solutions and ultrasonic tanks to remove oils and other surface contaminates left behind during manufacturing. The process leaves the surface clean and prepared for lacquering or plating. A clean surface is key to bright plating as well as preventing acid bleeds and other lacquer defects.

The second advancement is an all new silver plating system. Our constant strives for improvement led us to create a new solution and implement new plating methods. Together, this provides a stronger, more durable bond with a brighter, richer silver finish.

What Does a Trombone Leadpipe Do For You?

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

Everyone knows that trombones have a bell and a handslide. What a lot of players don’t realize is that all trombones also have a leadpipe. However, the majority of leadpipes are fixed (soldered) into the handslide. This is because most manufacturers do not want to offer options to the customer. To the manufacturer, options mean building more complex components with additional parts. This adds time and money to the construction of the horn. On the contrary, at Getzen we believe in offering the player a wide variety of options. These options are all intended to better fit each instrument to each specific player.

Getzen offers a large number of trombones featuring three interchangeable leadpipes included as standard equipment with the instrument. In fact, every Getzen Custom Series trombone model is designed with the added flexibility of interchangeable leadpipes. This flexibility gives the player more control over response and timbre by custom fitting the leadpipe to their specific playing needs.

The Getzen Custom Series line of jazz, tenor, and bass trombones were derived from the industry leading Edwards Instrument line. Edwards trombones were the first to provide interchangeable leadpipes as a standard feature with their instruments nearly two decades ago. The interchangeable leadpipe system fit perfectly with the modular design of Edwards trombones. In essence, the Edwards design allowed players to custom build a trombone for themselves in an affordable and timely way by simply choosing the components that worked best for them. Over time, the Edwards technology made its way into the Getzen line. Now, three brass leadpipes are included with all Getzen Custom Series trombones as well as with Eterna bass trombones.

Many players do not understand the basics of the interchangeable leadpipe system. Why are they used? What are the differences between the three? How do players properly choose which leadpipe is right for their situation? To answer these questions, you must understand the physical characteristics of the leadpipe and why it is built the way it is. There are only three parts to a Getzen leadpipe, but each is crucial to the overall performance of the trombone.

1) Receiver
Simply put, the receiver accepts and connects the mouthpiece to the horn. Great care is taken to ensure the proper fit between the mouthpiece and receiver. The fit is crucial because it allows for proper vibration transfers into the instrument. An incorrect fit would result in not only an annoying “buzz”, but also in a less efficient blow caused by air leaks between the mouthpiece and receiver tube.

Leadpipes Click image for larger view

The receiver also has an external portion known as the threaded nut. It serves two purposes. First, the threaded portion screws into the handslide and “fixes” the pipe to the horn eliminating any vibration or buzzing. The threaded nut is also used to denote the different sizes of the leadpipes. Each receiver nut has either one, two, or three decorative cut lines in the knurling. This tells the player if they are looking at the smallest, medium, or largest size pipe.

2) Venturi
The venturi is the smallest diameter section of tubing after the receiver section. Since the diameter at the end of the leadpipe is the same for all three sizes, the initial diameter of the venturi dictates the rate of taper over the length of the leadpipe. With a smaller venturi, the rate of taper will be faster from start to finish in order to match the bore of the instrument. On the flip side, a leadpipe with a larger venturi will have a slower rate of taper into the instrument. The venturi is what gives the player the feeling of compression or something to push against to start a note. Think of the venturi as acting like your mouthpiece throat. If the venturi is too large for a player the horn will feel woofy and lack clarity. If the leadpipe is too small the instrument can back up and feel tight. The three venturi sizes we have chosen to use are the result of many years of development and experience with thousands of players.

Leadpipes Click image for larger view

3) Tapered Tube
The tapered section of tubing within the leadpipe determines the sound characteristics of the leadpipe. Generally speaking, a faster taper will produce a more compact sound. A slower taper will create a broader sound and resonate with more width near the player’s face. As previously mentioned, it is easy to distinguish which leadpipe is which based on the cut lines in the receiver’s threaded nut.

When selecting an instrument, it is very important to find a compression level in your instrument that is right for you. When testing an instrument or trying to find the right leadpipe, you should be thinking of this compression. Compression within the instrument should be right at the chops. If compression develops too far into the instrument, you will have to correct it by tensing your chops in an effort to get clarity back into your sound. This will make any articulations much more difficult as you battle against yourself and the horn. If there is too much compression, it will begin to back up into your throat. You may feel a tightening in your throat because of this, which can/will cause tightness in your sound.

When testing leadpipes you should play a lyrical etude that covers most registers. This allows you to get a better feel for the leadpipe across a wide spectrum. It also gives you the chance to better study the sound differences between each pipe. You will also want to try a scale and a more articulate work that covers most registers. This is a great way to study how the leadpipe effects the articulation. All the while, you should be paying close attention to what you are experiencing with each leadpipe. Some differences are dramatic while others may be more minor and hard to notice right away. It is important to note that every player is different. The best sounding and most comfortable leadpipe should always be chosen, regardless the specifications of the leadpipe or what size one’s colleagues may prefer. Allowing a player’s preconceived notions to come into play may prevent him/her from choosing the leadpipe that fits best. Therefore, it is imperative that an individual “blind test” each leadpipe in the beginning. This creates an open mind and prevents a biased opinion from the start. It can also be very helpful to do a blind play test for someone else. Let them listen to an etude and scale on each leadpipe without knowing which is which. Get their input and opinions from the bell end.

Once all of this is done, you can put the information together to find the leadpipe that gives you the best compression, tone, and feel. Keep that leadpipe in the instrument. While experimentation is never a bad thing, you will generally not need to retest or change leadpipes unless you make a change to your mouthpiece. If that is the case, the same technique should be used to find the right pipe again.

The purpose of these leadpipes is to properly match the instrument to you as the player. While working with musicians as I have over the years, I have found that making a small change close to the face will result in a large change to both sound and overall response. Each person has his/her own resonating characteristics that make the matching of the horn to the player necessary. Everything from oral cavity, chest cavity, dental structure, and overall height/weight will determine how much air volume each player has and how that air works for them. An individual may be over 6 feet tall, but if they are not efficient with their air they may need a smaller diameter venturi on their personal leadpipe in order to give them the best compression, articulation, and sound.

At Getzen and Edwards, we know it is important to find the perfect instrument for you. An instrument that not only matches your playing style, expectations, and needs, but one that matches you physically. Matching your mouthpiece and personal playing characteristics to the leadpipe can give you a much better overall playing experience. Getzen has made the conscious decision to let you decide what is best for you. We want to help you find the perfect instrument for your playing style.

So what does all of this mean to you? It means that you now have the knowledge and tools to find a better instrument. One that can work with you instead of against. Finding a great instrument is not only important to you, it is also important to us at Getzen. We strive daily to provide you with that instrument. Why limit yourself musically? Give yourself the tool to do the job and find the enjoyment of a great instrument resonating with you.

About the Author
Christan Griego studied music performance at Texas Tech. under the tutelage of Don Lucas. He has worked as the Director of Development & Marketing at Edwards Instrument Company for the past 8 years. In that time he has fit thousands of trumpet and trombone players to their instruments. Some of which are: Joe Alessi, Dave Taylor, Mark Lawrence, Leonard Candelaria, and Christian Scott. Christan also owns Griego Mouthpieces which produces trombone and tuba mouthpieces.

Photo Album

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

Getzen Display 2006 Musik Messe
Once again, Getzen proudly displayed the full line during the 2006 Musik Messe in Frankfurt, Germany. Long time fans and first time Getzen buyers visited the booth during the 4 day event.
Mike Lekrone and Mike Vax
University of Wisconsin marching band director Mike Lekrone visits with Mike Vax after a jazz performance in Madison, WI this past May.
Music Messe Dinner
Tom Getzen (front left) treated Swiss distributor Peter Marcandella (far right) along with Getzen’s Dave Surber (rear center) and Brett Getzen (far left) to dinner at Claudia’s in Sachsenhausen, Frankfurt. All four were sure to thank owner, Eisa-Mohammed Solaimaukehel (front right) for another fantastic dinner.
Dave Allison
Dave Allison worked with the Brea High School Marching Band during a clinic sponsored by Getzen and Pecknel Music. Dave is a well regarded player/clinician and has worked closely with Pecknel all over South Carolina.
Jack Long and his Getzen 900 Eterna Classic
Jack Long shows off his new custom made 900 Eterna Classic. The trumpet was presented to Mr. Long to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Long & McQuade Musical Instruments in Canada. The trumpet featured hand engraving, custom etchings, and a gold trim kit. As Mr. Long put it, “I can’t think of a gift I would have appreciated as much.”
Tom Getzen and Haim Attias
In Frankfurt, Tom Getzen gladly welcomed Haim Attias from Getzen’s Israeli distributor Hamusica Musical Instruments. Haim wanted to learn more about Custom Series trumpets to meet the growing demand in Israel for quality instruments.

News from the Road

Saturday, March 4th, 2006

Goteborg Brass Band in Elkhorn
Tom Getzen (far right) welcomed the Goteborg Brass Band to Elkhorn in October. The band members toured the factory and spent time play testing Getzen and Edwards instruments. The band and its members purchased several 3850 Bb and 3892 Eb cornets and 3895 flugelhorns to add to their impressive inventory of Getzen small brass.

For more information on the band visit www.goteborgbrassband.org.se.

ike Vax, Tom Getzen and Johnny Brit
Mike Vax (left) and Tom Getzen (center) listen on while Getzen artist Johnny Brit test drives the new 3001MV trumpet during the 2006 NAMM show in Anaheim, CA.

Mail Bag

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

Dear Getzen,

I am the director of the Clovis High School Trombone Ensemble from Clovis, CA. I enjoyed meeting Tom Getzen and the rest of the team at the Getzen booth during this year’s NAMM show.

I have included a picture of the kids with their trombones and a little info on the choir and myself. All the members of the choir are playing Getzens including myself and we really love them. It would be great if the kids got their picture in the Getzen Gazette to show them off with their great horns.

Thank you so much for your wonderful trombones.

Les Nunes
Clovis, California

Clovis High School Trombone Ensemble
The Clovis High School Trombone Ensemble is under the direction of Les Nunes. The group was formed in the fall of the 2003-2004 school year. Since its beginning, the Ensemble has received Superior ratings at the FMCMEA Solo and Ensemble Festival and has performed all over the state of California with several well known professional musicians.

The Birth of a Handslide

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

Learn more about Getzen slide production by viewing our factory videos.

Have you ever wondered how we earned the reputation of manufacturing the finest trombone handslides? It took years of experience, extremely high standards, and countless hours of handcrafting. We’ve also thrown in a few trade secrets for good measure. It’s a process that has taken decades to perfect and now you can get the inside scoop on exactly how it’s done. Just keep it between us.

Step #1: Proper Material
This is where it all begins. In order to end up with quality finished products, you have to start with quality raw materials. We use only the finest nickel silver tubing available for our inside slides. The raw tubing is milled to our exacting standards and to our precise specifications. Each piece of tubing is inspected before use to ensure there are no inclusions or other imperfections in the tubing. Even the tiniest nick will spell disaster later on down the road.

Step 1

Step #2: Drawing
After inspection, the raw tubing has to be drawn down to the proper size. This is the trickiest part of the process. If the tubing is not drawn correctly the finished pieces will be curved or “banana-ed” as we call it. If this happens, the tubing is thrown out and we start over again. As the tubes are drawn they are inspected in batches to ensure they are up to par. This may sound wasteful, but if you don’t start straight, you won’t end up straight and that is the key to a smooth slide.

Step 2

Step #3: Straightening
This is the first time the tubes make their way to our slide room for treatment. Each drawn tube is hand checked for straightness. This is done using a large piece of flat steel and a backlight. When a tube is placed on the steel plate any light that shows between the tube and the plate indicates a tiny bend in the tubing. These bends need to be removed and are “massaged” out by hand. A time consuming practice that takes years to master.

Step 3

Step #4: Plating & Buffing
After being straightened, the loose tubes head back to the plating room for a healthy layer of chrome plating. This creates an incredibly hard, durable, and slick surface. Hard plus durable plus slick equals years of lightening fast, trouble free action. From there, the tubes make a stop in the buffing department where each is polished to a high shine. This is done to reveal any surface imperfections as early as possible, when the tubes can still be easily repaired or replaced.

Step 4

Step #5: Mounting
This, like every step before it, is crucial to ensuring a top quality handslide. The slide tubes and other parts are mounted together using special fixtures designed to hold the various parts of the slide square and true while the mounter solders them together. It is very important to be certain that all parts fit together correctly with as little tension as possible. No matter how well the individual parts are built, they are useless if not put together just so.

Step 5

Step #6: Straightening Part Two
That’s right, after all the pieces of a handslide are put together, they head back into the slide room for a second visit. This is to true up both inside and outside slide assemblies. Both are checked for absolute straightness using the same technique mentioned earlier. However, this time a specially ground granite block is used instead of the steel plate. The granite is ground, polished, and measured to be as flat as humanly possible guaranteeing a perfect straight edge for creating perfectly straight slides.

Step 6

Step #7: Slide Prep
After the second straightening, outer and inner slide assemblies are paired together before undergoing slide prep. The outside assembly is treated with a process known as trip and lap. Basically, a two step technique that polishes the inside of the tubes to a mirror finish. The smoother the better. Both inside and outside assemblies are then cleaned. The final prepping step involves lubricating the slide and giving it a final check for proper action. The slide is then corked and stored in the slide room until needed.

Step 7

Some Secrets Revealed
Specially designed mandrels\dies are used only for drawing slide tubes. While more expensive than standard mandrels\dies, these precision tools draw much straighter tubing. 2) Before plating, each inside tube is barrel shaped at the stocking end. This reduces the amount of metal on metal contact between the inner and outer slides resulting in less friction and smoother action. 3) At the end of the prep stage, inner tubes are sprayed with non-aerosol Pledge furniture polish. This creates a thin layer of lubrication without any build up. Best of all, as the Pledge dries it can be easily reactivated with a simple spray of distilled water.

A Valuable Air and Breathing Exercise

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

by Mike Vax

The most important aspect of playing any wind instrument is getting air through that instrument. I believe that one of the best ways to practice proper use of the air is to do it away from the instrument. When you are practicing with your instrument there are too many other things to do, therefore you don’t concentrate enough on your airflow.

I have some exercises that I really believe will improve the student’s conception and use of the muscles of the diaphragmatic area. These exercises are designed to make the student completely aware of how to obtain the best use of the air column.

Please remember that when breathing, we make use of the diaphragmatic area to facilitate the in and out of the air. The diaphragmatic area includes the muscles of the upper abdomen, but not really the lower abdomen. The diaphragm muscle is located just below the center of the rib cage. It follows around the contour of the rib cage and connects with the back muscles. This is why a player who is breathing properly will have their back expanding when they inhale. When doing the exercises discussed here, I try to think of the center of my diaphragmatic area. This is the area just below the sternum. I try to center all my thought and feeling right in this area. Also remember that the lungs don’t do anything by themselves. The diaphragm makes the move. You should not think of breathing from your chest area. The lungs are only reservoirs that hold air and filters to clean the blood, not the means of getting air into the body. The only sensation you should feel in your chest is that of “filling up” with air.

Now that we have learned how we breathe, let’s work on how to control the air to make it work for us as wind instrumentalists. The following exercise must be done with complete concentration. Forget everything around you and just concentrate on proper breathing.

There are five steps to this exercise. I call one time through all five of these steps one cycle of the exercise.

  1. Lie down on the floor on your back with your legs straight out and your arms at your side.
  2. Concentrate on isolating your diaphragmatic area from the rest of your body. At first, you can put a heavy book on it or have someone apply light pressure with his\her foot over the center of your diaphragmatic area. Later, you can just put your hand over the area and use that to push against. Work toward the point where you can really feel the location of the center of the muscle. When you can feel this area and have it isolated, you are now ready for the third step.
  3. Take air in slowly through a small hole in your mouth by raising the center of the diaphragmatic up towards the ceiling. With your hand on it you can actually see the movement. Keep taking air in slowly until you feel as if you are full, and then make yourself inhale even more air. In essence, stretching your lungs. Another way to think of raising the center of the diaphragmatic area is to pretend that there is someone standing above you with a string attached to your diaphragm and they are pulling on the string.
  4. When you are completely filled up with air, don’t hold this air in for a long period. Start slowly pushing it out through the same small hole in your mouth. You need to do this by keeping the diaphragm muscles flexed. Even though you have raised the center of the area to take the air in, you still keep the raised sensation going. Still think of raising it up toward the ceiling as you push the air out. Try to stay flexed and remember that flexed does not mean tense. Try not to tense up during the exercise. You flex the muscles for control, but try not to over do it and overtax your muscles. The only difference in the exhaling process is that you should now get a feeling that the upper abdominal wall is pushing in to force the air out. After you think that you have pushed all the air out that you possibly can, make yourself push out even a little more. Really empty your lungs. When you have done this you are ready for the final step.
  5. This is another relaxation step. It is not the deep relaxation of the first step, but simply a relaxing of the diaphragm as well as the whole body to let your diaphragmatic area rejuvenate itself and get ready for another cycle of the exercise

When you start this regimen, go through only 4 or 5 cycles at any one time. Doing any more may strain your muscles. As you progress, gradually increase the number of cycles. You will get the most out of the exercise if you do it twice a day. Ideally doing five cycles in the morning and five at night. Since the technique gives you a greater amount of oxygen than regular breathing, you’ll notice a nice energy boost in the morning and you will actually wake up faster. No more need for the coffee kick start.

If you do this exercise faithfully everyday, it will help your sound, endurance, flexibility, and even your range. Don’t be too impatient with the exercises since improvement will not happen overnight. Nothing worthwhile comes without hard work and constant practice. Remember too, your diaphragmatic area is always there with you so there is no excuse to skip the exercise. Also remember that your breathing while playing will not match exactly the way you do during the exercise. However, aspects of it will creep into your playing making your use of air much easier and more efficient as well as expanding your overall lung capacity.

How to Choose the Right Student Instrument

Saturday, March 19th, 2005

Adapted from NAPBIRT publication

At Getzen, we understand the early years are the most crucial in the education of a young musician. The availability of a quality instrument is key to the development of their skills. However, it is unrealistic to expect parents to spend several hundred or thousands of dollars on an instrument for a child that may or may not stick with it. There are several things parents need to consider before making the decision to purchase a new instrument for their son or daughter. Here are just a few questions and answers that may help you with this decision.

Q: My 12 year old decided to join the band. Should I buy a brand new horn or rent one from the local store?

A: Rental or lease programs are often great choices for many parents. With low initial investments, flexible payment plans, and included maintenance plans a rental program is very attractive for equipping the beginning player. They are a great way to get started until your student advances to the point of knowing that he or she is going to stick with the band. Also, many dealers offering rental programs work side-by-side with the local educators ensuring that you will be receiving a quality instrument that is approved by the school’s band director.

Q: Before I decide what to do, what should I look for in a student horn?

A: When considering what qualities to look for there are two things you need to remember. First, this is a tool for your child’s education. Making a decision based solely on price could be a considerable handicap to your youngster. The second thing you need to consider is that this instrument should be able to last at least three to four years. This is due to the fact that after that long, most students have advanced to the skill level that they are ready to move up to an intermediate or even professional level instrument. There are three basic issues that need to be addressed to determine the quality of an instrument.

  1. Playability – This is first and foremost on the list. The most important thing your child needs is an instrument that he or she can actually play… and in tune. Unfortunately, there are some “instruments” on the market today that are built so poorly that they cannot be played at all. It is unfair to expect a student to learn how to play if they are learning on an instrument that even a highly trained professional couldn’t perform on.
  2. Durability – As every parent knows, if it can be broken a child will find the way. This is true with musical instruments as well. When you consider the daily trips to and from school, rehearsals, concerts, parades, and pep band performances there is a never ending stream of potentially dangerous situations. That is why it is important to put an instrument in your child’s hands that is built to stand up to this. Strong bracing, tube joints, and solid bell construction are all key points to look at.
  3. Fix-ability – As mentioned above, kids will be kids and their instruments will need repairs. However, some low end instruments out there are so poorly built that repairs cannot be made. In fact, there are some instruments that reputable repair shops won’t even touch. The key question to ask when looking at a new instrument is “Can it be fixed?” You want an instrument that can be easily repaired at your local music store using parts that are readily available from the manufacturer or a company such as Allied Supply. Ideally, you want an instrument that is backed up and covered by a comprehensive manufacturer’s warranty. Something hard to find on professional instruments let alone student horns.

Q: I decided to buy a horn, now where should I go shopping for it?

A: While some parents find internet auction sites attractive for finding good deals on used instruments, a great deal of caution should be taken. It is difficult to determine the actual condition and quality of a used instrument without actually touching, playing, and looking it over in person. If you do decide to go with a used horn, have it looked over by a quality repair shop in your area. When shopping for a brand new instrument parents have basically three options. They can buy from their local music store, from an internet retailer, or from a discount store. There are pluses and minuses to all three. The least expensive of the three is generally the discount retailers. However, often times they lack any kind of service and only offer low, low end student instruments. When considering quality as well as price, online retailers are very attractive. Great deals can be found online for quality student horns, however, they lack some of the service advantages found at local music stores. At your local music store, your child can hold and play test the instrument before you buy it. You can also take advantage of the knowledgeable sales staff for advice and recommendations. The local store is also the ideal location to take the horn for future repairs and maintanence. In the end, parents have to weigh all three options and decide what is most important. Price, quality, service, or a balanced combination of all three.

If you’re looking for a brass instrument that meets these criteria, look no further than the Getzen 300/400 Series line of trumpets, cornets, and trombones. Our student horns are built by the finest American craftsmen to the highest possible standards while keeping retail prices low. With features not found on other student instruments such as hand spun bells, precision honed nickel pistons, hand lapped slide tubes, and manually straightened handslides it’s plain to see why they are slightly more expensive than some import “instruments”. However, as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for and every Getzen 300 & 400 Series instrument is built to last and is backed by our 5 year Gold Warranty and legendary Lifetime Valve Warranty. Most importantly though, each is built to perform and to grow along with your young musician.

Visit the Getzen Buyer’s Guide

Mail Bag

Friday, July 2nd, 2004

Gentlemen,

Please find attached a photo of the trombonists of the 76th Army Band (V Corps) holding the Getzen poster of Mr. Jeff Reynolds. The photo was taken last May at LSA Anaconda near Ballad, Iraq just outside “the wire” of our camp. I thought it would make for an interesting photo, so I had my wife send the poster down to us in Iraq.

Though pictured with other manufacturers’ horns, the unit owns several Edwards and Getzen trombones. One of my personal horns is also an Edwards. The environment in Iraq was harsh, so we took the oldest horns the unit had for the year we spent in Iraq. No sense in ruining the good ones in the desert.

Tom Bauer

Mail Bag - Trombones in Iraq
Taking a much needed break — Members of the 76th Army Band take a few minutes to offer a little thanks to Getzen and Edwards while stationed in Iraq. No, gentlemen, thank you.
Pictured from left to right: SSG Chris Eschenfelder, Syracuse, NY (kneeling); SSG Tom Bauer, Clemson, SC (standing); SSG Eric Burger, Davis, CA (standing); SGT David Bretz, Mineral Springs, AR (kneeling)

The Badger Band Gets More Getzens Yet Again

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2003

UW Receives Getzen Trombones
Mike Leckrone (l) takes delivery of the new trombones in custom Wisconsin cases from Tom Getzen (r).
(Click image for larger view)

Following the order of 100 Eterna Classic trumpets a year ago, the University of Wisconsin Badger Marching Band continues their love of Getzen instruments with an order of 75 new Getzen trombones.

Mike Leckrone, the Badger Band director, took a break from early season band practice to receive the delivery of the 75 silver plated 351 trombones with Amado waterkeys. As with the Eterna Classic trumpets, each trombone included a custom soft sided case in Badger crimson with the band’s logo embroidered on the outside of the case. In addition, Mr. Leckrone ordered several soft briefcases matching the cases for use by his assistant directors.

Any high schools or universities interested in Getzen instruments in custom cases featuring school colors and logos can contact the Getzen Company at 800-366-5584 or via our contact form for more details.