I managed to sell the cliffbut to an instrument collector. I
Motuz, who was the sackbut faculty member at the Amherst Workshop about the
cheap (under $1000) sackbuts on the market, and she thought Nartiss
looked better than the Wessex Tubas (which seems to have fallen
off their website) one. So I bought that.
I thought I should have a better high range (given how high I
can play on other instruments) than I was getting on the
mouthpiece than I could get on the one that came with the sackbut,
so I also ordered an Eggar
mouthpiece, which looks quite similar to the Nartiss one, but does
give me a better high range.
Of course, I sometimes play on Tuesdays,
and the Boston Recorder
Society loud band has people who want to play the high parts
on shawms, so I sometimes play it there. (Otherwise, they’d
rather I played cornetto on the high parts).
But on the whole, the early music desire for everyone to play
one on a part means that for learning to play an instrument,
you’re better off joining a community band with people who already
know how to play. Then you can sit next to them and watch what
So the last two or three summers, I’ve played alto trombone on
the first trombone part in the Wakefield
I started out playing on my red plastic pbone, but I decided
that even on my level, the slide was holding me back, so I got
ebay to sell me the frankenbone, which is a chinese copy of a
famous German alto sackbut, with a lead pipe from the actual
German company. Some of these Chinese copies aren’t anything you
want in your house, but this one seems like a pretty good
I got bored with practicing trombone exercises even faster than
I have on some other instruments. I’m currently playing a lot of
Country Dance tunes. I’m also playing a lot of duets from
facsimile, and I usually read the ones in alto (C3) clef on the
I notice people try to think of other instrumentations when I
bring out the sackbut, but it’s definitely getting better.
My goal is to be playing trombone respectably by the time my arthritic
fingers get bad enough that I can’t play recorder, serpent or cornetto.