Conn 36CL - Why not?

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Matt K
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Conn 36CL - Why not?

Post by Matt K »

I was listening to Noah Gladstone's "Trombone Corner" podcast a few months ago when they interviewed Christian Lindberg and one of the topics was how the "Lindberg" valve was created and how he ended up endorsing the 88 and later the 88CL. It just dawned on me though... they didn't, as I recall, mention how he chose the 36H nor why a 36CL was never introduced.

The obvious answers are the 36H has way less market volume and it might have been awful on alto. But... does anyone know if that speculation is correct? No real reason for wondering other than out of pure unadulterated, idle curiosity while I wait fro a script to finish at my job :lol:
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Re: Conn 36CL - Why not?

Post by WilliamLang »

From what I've heard - Lindberg played a custom Minick alto, so maybe the 36h was copied from that? I haven't seen any video of him on a straight alto fwiw.
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ithinknot
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Re: Conn 36CL - Why not?

Post by ithinknot »

Guesses:

No need

Never going to happen - they'd never have tooled up for a specifically-sized new valve that would sell so few units

Alto conical real estate is already at a premium, so a longer-than-normal valve might be specifically undesirable in this context

Neck intrusion would have required a wider slide crook, which was something else they weren't going to make
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Re: Conn 36CL - Why not?

Post by elmsandr »

For amusement/reference, what is the valve bore on a 36H?

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Re: Conn 36CL - Why not?

Post by brtnats »

There was an ITJ article about Lindberg and alto quite some time ago that talked about how he was basically the first person to use a Bb valve, why he did it (The Winter Trombone, if I remember right), and how he used his artist relation platform with Conn to get them to introduce a modern 35H with a valve.

I’d honestly guess there’s no 36CL for the same reason there aren’t tiny Thayer or Hagmann valves for altos: The valve isn’t there for a broader low range so much as it’s there to extend the low range and make lip trills available.
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Re: Conn 36CL - Why not?

Post by Finetales »

On alto, I would argue that the valve is there so that you don't have to touch 6th or 7th (as those positions are often either dicey or non-existent), at LEAST as much as it's there to give you a few extra low notes. On sopranos with valves that is 100% their main purpose.

While I admittedly clicked on this thread hoping that there were going to be pictures of a completed 36HCL, there's just absolutely no need to put anything but a rotor on an alto. Not to mention that the alto would have to have an absurdly wide slide to accommodate both an oversized valve and the player's neck.

That said, would I like to see/try a double-valve .547" Hagmann alto? ...yes, yes I would.
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Re: Conn 36CL - Why not?

Post by CalgaryTbone »

The 36H and 34H (valve version/straight version) were, if I remember correctly from an old interview, adapted from the old 35H. That older Conn had tuning in the slide (I believe it also inspired the Shires alto). The old Conn was a great horn, but had funny dimensions - 4th position was even with or just above the bell - the slide was just barely long enough for a usable 7th position. If I remember the interview, Christian tried one of the old Conns and loved the sound, but wanted the new version that he was going to endorse to have proportions more in line with other trombones, and have a good 7th position. The valve was a nice addition to allow for additional range, better legato in the low range, easier tuning in certain situations (sometimes avoiding 6th & 7th), and more trill options in the baroque repertoire. I put a bunch of alto bore sizes in a post in another alto trombone thread - I think all of the Conns (including the 35h?) are .485/.500 dual bore. Something like that anyway. I used to own a 35H and then later a 34H - nice instruments. One of my colleagues bought the 36H that I almost bought when I purchased the 34H, and I borrowed that once when my horn was getting repaired - also a nice instrument.

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Matt K
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Re: Conn 36CL - Why not?

Post by Matt K »

Finetales wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 3:43 pm That said, would I like to see/try a double-valve .547" Hagmann alto? ...yes, yes I would.
I'm going to try very hard to eventually put a Thayer on my Wessex someday... :lol:

And FWIW, I'm not sure I totally agree that a rotor is the only thing that would make sense, if the idea is that a valve of an appropriate bore could be constructed. It would probably be the only instrument this rotor is used for though, which would probably make it economically infeasible to make it. Although I'd like to know the answer to Andy's question about the rotor bore size. I suspect they "borrowed" the rotor from another instrument but I have no idea what they would have borrowed it from.

I'm just a touch surprised that altos in late 80s and throughout the 90s didn't follow the trend of large bore tenors at least to some degree. A 36CL with a 500/508 and a .530 rotor or something seems like it would blend really well with a larger tenor/bass. I mean, I get why altos didn't go through the super heavy phase, so it's more of an alternative history musing by me than anything else. But on the other hand, an Eb/Bb alto is actually pretty handy instrument outside of its historical use. But I wouldn't have shown up to a brass quintet with my 36H to fill the trombone part. But a slightly bigger "alto" in an alternative timeline that became popular in the 90s? IDK maybe.

Anyway, that's way too many controversial logs on the fire. I don't want to start dousing it in gas.
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Re: Conn 36CL - Why not?

Post by Finetales »

And FWIW, I'm not sure I totally agree that a rotor is the only thing that would make sense, if the idea is that a valve of an appropriate bore could be constructed.
The big reason why I say that is because alto trombones are not generally used for low notes. Large bore tenors certainly are, so having a nice open valve that facilitates an easy low register makes sense. But a good rotor on an alto is more than enough for what you would need it for on alto, and it takes up the least space on the gooseneck. Of course, if you're carving out a new niche for the alto trombone or wanting to make an extra-large Eb tenor (in the same way that we have an extra-large Bb bass), then a small Thayer might make some sense.
I'm just a touch surprised that altos in late 80s and throughout the 90s didn't follow the trend of large bore tenors at least to some degree.
I think the only reason why is because alto was rarely used at all back then. If alto had never fallen out of favor in the first place and remained a standard part of the orchestra, I'm sure we would have had weaponized large-bore altos with Thayers and big bells during that time.
A 36CL with a 500/508 and a .530 rotor or something seems like it would blend really well with a larger tenor/bass.
In my experience, a .547" alto with a valve designed from the ground up to match a modern orchestral tenor/bass is what really works and can keep up and blend at any dynamic. I think .500/.508" would still be much too small honestly. If altos were dragged into the '80s/'90s arms race, we'd probably just have a lot more .547" altos today than the one kind that made it to production (Pfretzschner).
Anyway, that's way too many controversial logs on the fire. I don't want to start dousing it in gas.
Keep it coming, baby!
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Re: Conn 36CL - Why not?

Post by harrisonreed »

Finetales wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 3:43 pm On alto, I would argue that the valve is there so that you don't have to touch 6th or 7th (as those positions are often either dicey or non-existent), at LEAST as much as it's there to give you a few extra low notes. On sopranos with valves that is 100% their main purpose.

While I admittedly clicked on this thread hoping that there were going to be pictures of a completed 36HCL, there's just absolutely no need to put anything but a rotor on an alto. Not to mention that the alto would have to have an absurdly wide slide to accommodate both an oversized valve and the player's neck.

That said, would I like to see/try a double-valve .547" Hagmann alto? ...yes, yes I would.
He honestly needed the valve for lip trills. Low notes a distant second. 6th and 7th? It's Christian Lindberg. He is and was all about playing things in 6th and 7th on tenor wherever possible, sometimes just because it looks interesting.

CL valve would be a disaster on alto, though, for the reasons above, the weight, the ergonomics/narrow slide. Plus a new core would need to be designed for the much smaller bore.
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Re: Conn 36CL - Why not?

Post by harrisonreed »

WilliamLang wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 8:21 am From what I've heard - Lindberg played a custom Minick alto, so maybe the 36h was copied from that? I haven't seen any video of him on a straight alto fwiw.
Yeah, there is one. Bonus, he actually plays two different altos without a valve in this one:



His Minick alto is on the wall in another documentary, worth a watch:

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Re: Conn 36CL - Why not?

Post by WilliamLang »

ah nice find! i knew about the sackbutt playing, but hadn't seen the second video.

he really is a poet on alto
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Re: Conn 36CL - Why not?

Post by harrisonreed »

WilliamLang wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:28 pm ah nice find! i knew about the sackbutt playing, but hadn't seen the second video.

he really is a poet on alto
FWIW, the second video was supposed to be about the composer, but he ends up not being able to really deliver on the music, and can't keep up with Lindberg.

It's a pretty interesting documentary
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Re: Conn 36CL - Why not?

Post by Finetales »

harrisonreed wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 7:48 pm He honestly needed the valve for lip trills. Low notes a distant second. 6th and 7th? It's Christian Lindberg. He is and was all about playing things in 6th and 7th on tenor wherever possible, sometimes just because it looks interesting.
But on many altos, 7th is either very risky (right on the very end of the stockings) or nonexistent entirely. That's what I meant, not just player preference.
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Re: Conn 36CL - Why not?

Post by CalgaryTbone »

In an interview/ad for Conn when the 36H was first being released, Christian said that he liked having the ability to use the valve instead of 6th & 7th for security sometimes. Even he worries about that from time to time. The Conn altos have one of the best 7th positions that I've ever found on an alto, though.

I always wished that they had a detachable valve version. When I bought my 34H, it came down to a choice between a 36H and the 34H - Dillon's had one of each and a few other new and used horns. Both Conns were really good with slightly different qualities. It would have been good to have both options on the same horn. Same for Edwards - they were made with the same detachable braces as the tenors. Christan told me they were considering making a valve for the altos and for the small tenors, but neither was a high priority. Seems like they went in a different way. Oh well.

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Re: Conn 36CL - Why not?

Post by harrisonreed »

I never got to try an Edwards alto. Wish I could have
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Re: Conn 36CL - Why not?

Post by CalgaryTbone »

harrisonreed wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:11 pm I never got to try an Edwards alto. Wish I could have
I responded to this a few hours ago - 2nd time in a week that the Forum ate my response.

Anyway, I have a really good Edwards Alto - picked it out at the ITF in Ithaca, NY. I tried every Alto there, and it was the best that I found except for maybe a Thein (.525/.547 with the long leadpipe and a removable B flat valve). The Thein only seemed to work with their (costly) mouthpiece, and if I wanted my a copy of my rim on that mouthpiece, it would have been , of course even more $$. I ended up buying the Edwards Alto and a .508 small Tenor for less than the Thein Alto.

Some people haven't liked the Edwards Altos, and the other one they had at the booth at the ITF did nothing for me. Maybe the parts that you chose really made a drastic difference in the impression of the instrument (not a big surprise). When I was at the factory getting some work done, they said that a new version of the Alto was in development, but it hasn't happened, and that was a while ago.

JS
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