December 21, 2010 12:10 PM   Subscribe

Trombone-filter. My husband recently re-took up the trombone (which he played from ages 8-18). What can I get him for Christmas to help him along?

He's VERY good (IMHO), and has been practicing his new trombone diligently every day since he bought it in September. He's definitely partial to jazz music, especially books that come with CD's that he could play along with.
posted by roomthreeseventeen to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total)
A mute?
posted by Zozo at 12:18 PM on December 21, 2010

Seconding a mute, and to clarify, that's to make it sound different, not to make it quieter, so he won't be insulted when he opens it!
posted by Grither at 12:21 PM on December 21, 2010

This is no help at all, but your question reminded me of this quote:

"Never look at the trombones. You'll only encourage them." - Richard Strauss

More on topic, a nice music stand might be nice, if all he has is a basic wire stand. I have a slightly older model than this one, which is nice because it breaks down for transport and is much more stable than a wire stand.

Maybe a gig bag?
posted by dforemsky at 12:21 PM on December 21, 2010

Slide treatment, polishing cloth, gift certificate to music store (maybe he would like to get a different mouthpiece?), Bonerama CDs....
posted by gatsby died at 12:36 PM on December 21, 2010

A trumpet?

More seriously though, if he's missing any of the essential stuff (slide grease, snake brush, metronome, music stand, trombone stand, etc.) they're cheap and make nice stocking stuffers. (well, for a suitably big stocking.)

The mute is a good idea (and there are several kinds, if he's into jazz he might like a plunger mute). Depending on the budget, a portable recorder would be nice too, so he can listen to himself, or even a multitrack recorder - he could play duets and make cds.
posted by mrgoat at 12:36 PM on December 21, 2010

A friend of mine bought a mute that's wired up to a set of headphones, so you can practice without blasting out folks in the next room, but can still play and hear everything at normal volume. Unfortunately, I don't know a brand/model.

Relating to Zozo and Grither, you could get him a plunger. :) If you just use the rubber part, you can use it to make really cool wa-wa sounds. I don't know if this is really cheaper than buying the mute, but it's what my mom did when I was playing trombone in highschool and needed one.
posted by specialnobodie at 12:36 PM on December 21, 2010

Actually, I was thinking a mute, but one that would make it quieter, like the Yamaha Silent Brass system. The advantage is that he can practice anytime, basically anywhere. One doesn't think of the trombone as an instrument you can close your office door any play for a few minutes, or practice while the family is asleep, but this would do the trick.

If you go for a standard mute, though, get the whole set -- cup, straight, harmon, plunger -- so he can play around with the different sounds.
posted by supercres at 12:39 PM on December 21, 2010

On non-preview-- yep, that Yamaha system is what specialnobodie was thinking of.
posted by supercres at 12:39 PM on December 21, 2010

The Jamey Aebersold books are the classic play-alongs for jazz musicians. It's a series that's been published since 1967 so there's lots to choose from. The books come with the charts and a CD to play along with. Any instrument can play from any book.
posted by kyla at 12:44 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think it's possible a mute came with his trombone, but I'm not sure. Is that the kind of thing that might come with a trombone?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:44 PM on December 21, 2010

Seconding the Abersold books. Just fantastic, fun, easy to use.
posted by Buffaload at 12:49 PM on December 21, 2010

A mute might come with the trombone, yes. I wouldn't necessarily expect it, but it wouldn't be especially unusual. Sneak a look at it, and compare to google images or the wikipedia page zozo linked. Even if a mute did come with it, there's many kinds of mutes and they have different and sometimes dramatic effects on the tone. It's a bit like effects pedals on a guitar - it doesn't hurt to have a bunch.
posted by mrgoat at 12:50 PM on December 21, 2010

Perspective of a serious classical horn player here.

No, don't get a (straight, cup, harmon, plunger) mute for him. If he's really good or hanging out with really serious musicians, he might have very specific preconceived notions regarding what makes a "good" mute versus the cheap mutes that all the high school kids have. It's also possible that he might never ever need some of the fancier mutes. You getting a mute for him without asking about it or knowing more about what his inclinations are like are like getting a hot-rod enthusiast some gear for his car. Could be awesome, but could also fall really flat. (ba-dump THUD).

I have one of the Yamaha Silent Brass mutes; they are neat gadgets but I never use mine. There are some people who swear by 'em and use them frequently. If practice space/time is an issue, than this might be a great idea.

If you can't suss out your husband's 'bone preferences or needs, I'd suggest a trombone stand (a place to put the instrument down safely/securely, while at a gig, during breaks, long rests). It's a nice accessory and don't have the sound-affecting issues that the mute has.

Also, FWIW, I thought the Richard Strauss quote upthread was about the horns, not the trombones.
posted by QuantumMeruit at 1:17 PM on December 21, 2010

Trombonist here!

If you want to get him a mute and he's into jazz, check out the Softone
mute - you can hang it over the bell for a muffly sound or you can completely stretch it over to use as a practice mute.

I do NOT recommend the Silent Brass that supercres mentioned - it's very heavy and expensive, and doesn't sound very good with the headphones.

PM if you have other questions!
posted by rossination at 1:18 PM on December 21, 2010

I would go to a shop that knows it's brass and get him a selection of maintenance items like slide grease. Or you could go a totally different direction and buy him some sheet music. Perhaps you could ask a high school music teacher what sort of solos they prefer to give trombonists and purchase a few for him.
posted by Foam Pants at 1:52 PM on December 21, 2010

nth-ing the Jamey Aebersold. On the classical side, I really like Rochut's Melodious Etudes for Trombone. I've also been enjoying playing orchestral excerpts along with youtube recordings. Many excerpts (and recordings) can be found at the aptly named tromboneexcerpts.org and full scores and parts to many public domain compositions can be found at imslp.org
posted by mathtime! at 2:50 PM on December 21, 2010

Harmon mute! For Charlie Brown good times.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 11:42 PM on December 21, 2010

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