How do I make a sampled trombone?

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OldManZatchmo
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Post 05 Mar 2023

I’m a professional trombone player, but have a wife and four kids, so it’s not practical to keep honking away every time I make a beat. I also only have access to a bass trombone from work, and I’m retiring in a few years.

How can I turn my trombone and bass trombone into sampled instruments, capturing all the nuances of long/short, soft/loud, etc? I’ll be making “orchestral hip hop” as the kids are calling it these days.

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jam-s
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Post 05 Mar 2023

It involves a lot of work. First you have to sample all the notes in the different articulations (long, short, muted, ...) and with various strength/loudness multiple times in a pretty dry environment with a good microphone. Then you have to clean up the (possibly a few thousand) samples and map them into (different) NNXT (or Kontakt) patches with velocity mappings and round robins for each articulation. In Reason you might then want to put the different articulation NNXTs into a combinator and add some key switches between those in the lower octave where no notes are playable by the instrument.

robussc
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Post 05 Mar 2023

Have you rejected Silent Brass as an option to continue playing?

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical ... index.html
Software: Reason 12 + Objekt, Vintage Vault 4, V-Collection 9 + Pigments, Vintage Verb + Supermassive
Hardware: M1 Mac mini + dual monitors, Launchkey 61, Scarlett 18i20, Rokit 6 monitors, AT4040 mic, DT-990 Pro phones

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DaveyG
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Post 06 Mar 2023

OldManZatchmo wrote:
05 Mar 2023
I’m a professional trombone player, but have a wife and four kids, so it’s not practical to keep honking away every time I make a beat. I also only have access to a bass trombone from work, and I’m retiring in a few years.

How can I turn my trombone and bass trombone into sampled instruments, capturing all the nuances of long/short, soft/loud, etc? I’ll be making “orchestral hip hop” as the kids are calling it these days.
I'm going to be blunt.

Don't bother trying. Getting even mediocre results will take days of recording and weeks of editing and you'll never be happy with the resulting sounds. Even experienced, professional sample library creators struggle to make realistic brass libraries, because brass is so expressive and nuanced. You can't get away with just sampling individual notes. You need to record little phrases, bends, slides and whatever else a trombone does that I don't have the words for. And you have to do all of those things in different keys/scales and maybe at a few different tempos.

Instead I would suggest writing and arranging stuff using any old sampled brass sounds, either from the Reason factory soundbanks or from a purchased library. Once your song/track is sketched out then record yourself playing the brass part(s) for real. That way you limit the family's exposure to your "honking" but take advantage of your skills (skills that not many other beat makers have).

And, regardless of what you do sampling-wise, when you retire you should definitely buy yourself a bass trombone!

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visheshl
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Post 06 Mar 2023

Im pretty sure theres already a professional properly sampled trombone instrument vst out there somewhere...maybe native instruments...not sure....but it must be there....as someone said its a lot of work to sample the nuances of any instrument, even a kazoo...plus theres factors like the acoustics of the room its sampled in,the microphones used etc etc...try searching for an already sampled trombone before embarking on this quest of sampling it yourself

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selig
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Post 06 Mar 2023

If you’re trying to make a professional product with all the features users would expect, I’d agree with the comments to not bother.
But OTOH, if you’re only interested in making an instrument that satisfies only your specific needs, and is intended to capture YOUR sound - there’s hope.
There are many phases of the work (see below) you’ll need to do, but it’s doable if you don’t mind putting in the work.
If you’re already recording yourself and happy with the results, you’ve already checked one common limitation off the list.
Sounds like you also already know what you need from the samples as well.
From there you’ll need to start planning, and being as meticulous as possible. You’ll need to know how many pitches you’ll want to sample, based on how far you can accept pitch shifting. You may not need to sample every semitone, but do you sample whole tones, or every minor or major thirds, etc? Then you’ll need to figure out how many dynamic levels you need (I have resources for mapping dynamics to samples effectively with the NNXT if you need them). Plus you’ll need notes to hold as long as possible (for flexibility in looping), and then deciding how many “performance/fx” type samples you’ll need for what you commonly do, and so on.
Tools you may need included a good sample looping product, with basic sample editing to clean the start/end, normalize, name, add meta data for pitch, remove DC offset if present, etc.
If you can record multiple mics for options, that’s good to do. If you record two mics you can record/edit/loop as a stereo pair so you don’t have to edit each mic separately (which would double your work!). You could even use the stereo files in the sampler, and pan between them to select/blend the two microphones.
Then once you have all the samples ready to go you’ll start building the instrument and figuring out if it can all be in one device or you need to split things across multiple devices. You’ll also need to choose which controls make sense, and which additional tools you’ll need to build the instrument of your dreams. Luckily the Combinator 2 will give you much more control than the older version, so it’s possible to create a full featured instrument entirely in Reason.
Which brings us to the UI, where you lay out the control and ranges and functions and choose how you’ll interface with the samples for the best user experience.

All in all, if this is just for you there will be fewer considerations for what any other folks think or want, so all you’ll need to do is make sure it fulfills your specific needs. And THAT could be the one thing that would make it possible to pull off and worth your time.
FWIW, I did a similar thing with my vintage 70s Gretsch drum kit many years ago, just for me and with no consideration of what others may need/want. And I basically followed the plan I laid out here, so I’m happy (as are many others here) to give your further/specific feedback if you choose to go down this path.
One more suggestion if you go this route: start with the Bass Trombone because your access is more limited and you don’t want to loose access before finishing the recording stage.

The steps I followed:
Planning
Recording
Editing
Building
UI polishing
Selig Audio, LLC

OldManZatchmo
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Joined: 17 Mar 2019

Post 06 Mar 2023

Wow. Man I love you guys. It might be less trouble to save up the money and get myself a bass bone. Lol.

I recorded a cinematic beat before and loved it, loved the way it sounded. But of course, I recorded the trombones outright.

Besides, here I am, a professional trombone player, talking about sampling because of the "inconveniences" of recording at home. Just writing that sentence down makes me realize how ridiculous the idea is. Definitely more trouble than it's worth. Thanks everyone.

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visheshl
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Post 06 Mar 2023

you could very simply record a few notes and spread them on the keyboard range in any sampler like nnxt and be done with it.
Use that patch as a dummy for when you don't want to disturb others.
Then you could play the parts later with the actual instrument when you want to do a real take.

That could work...what do you think ?

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joeyluck
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Post 06 Mar 2023

robussc wrote:
05 Mar 2023
Have you rejected Silent Brass as an option to continue playing?

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical ... index.html
I was going to suggest SWAM, but I'm not sure of any trombone style controllers. This looks really cool for using your actual instrument.

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DaveyG
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Post 07 Mar 2023

OldManZatchmo wrote:
06 Mar 2023
Besides, here I am, a professional trombone player, talking about sampling because of the "inconveniences" of recording at home. Just writing that sentence down makes me realize how ridiculous the idea is.
Yep, I reckon you should work on minimizing those inconveniences and play for real whenever possible. You have a talent that most of us don't have and it would be a shame not to use it. :thumbup:

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selig
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Post 07 Mar 2023

visheshl wrote:
06 Mar 2023
you could very simply record a few notes and spread them on the keyboard range in any sampler like nnxt and be done with it.
Use that patch as a dummy for when you don't want to disturb others.
Then you could play the parts later with the actual instrument when you want to do a real take.

That could work...what do you think ?
That sounds like an excellent idea, just get enough sampled so you can put ideas down quietly!
Selig Audio, LLC

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Quarmat
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Post 07 Mar 2023

joeyluck wrote:
06 Mar 2023
robussc wrote:
05 Mar 2023
Have you rejected Silent Brass as an option to continue playing?

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical ... index.html
I was going to suggest SWAM, but I'm not sure of any trombone style controllers. This looks really cool for using your actual instrument.
I am no trombone player but I have been a mediocre trumpet player and I can confirm SWAM can do almost all the articulations and tymbric nuances as the real instrument.

In the little video below I am using a trumpet and a trombone vst from SWAM and, albeit the track is short and it was just an experiment I wanted to do to to find a use for my musical sketches that will 99% never become a finished track, it gives you the idea of how SWAM sounds.

I would also like to thank Joeyluck who introduced me to SWAM.

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/_zx8GLgm8Eo

OldManZatchmo
Posts: 10
Joined: 17 Mar 2019

Post 07 Mar 2023

I've used Silent Brass for when I want an "electric trombone" sound (guitar pedals and wacky stuff) to simulate a line-in as much as possible.

But as far as pure playing (warning: horn player talk), I don't feel like I can blow all the way through to get the sound I'm used to play with.

I like the idea of making an "ideas sampler," but the horns I have now are fine for that. I'm writing my first orchestral beat now - using the software brass for hits, and playing long, almost French horn sounding long tones to off balance all the activity in the beat.

This is a fun conversation. Thanks for indulging the band geek!

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selig
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Post 08 Mar 2023

OldManZatchmo wrote:
07 Mar 2023
I've used Silent Brass for when I want an "electric trombone" sound (guitar pedals and wacky stuff) to simulate a line-in as much as possible.

But as far as pure playing (warning: horn player talk), I don't feel like I can blow all the way through to get the sound I'm used to play with.

I like the idea of making an "ideas sampler," but the horns I have now are fine for that. I'm writing my first orchestral beat now - using the software brass for hits, and playing long, almost French horn sounding long tones to off balance all the activity in the beat.

This is a fun conversation. Thanks for indulging the band geek!
I’m a band geek too - started on Trombone in 5th grade because grandad had one. Mom promised if I didn’t like it I could switch to drums, which I did in the 7th grade (sorry, trombone fans). But can probably still blow a decent note to this day, fwiw. I’m a long time fan of all the bass versions of instruments, from bass trombone to bass flute to contra bass clarinet. Such rich and lovely tones!
Selig Audio, LLC

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joeyluck
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Post 08 Mar 2023

Quarmat wrote:
07 Mar 2023
joeyluck wrote:
06 Mar 2023


I was going to suggest SWAM, but I'm not sure of any trombone style controllers. This looks really cool for using your actual instrument.
I am no trombone player but I have been a mediocre trumpet player and I can confirm SWAM can do almost all the articulations and tymbric nuances as the real instrument.

In the little video below I am using a trumpet and a trombone vst from SWAM and, albeit the track is short and it was just an experiment I wanted to do to to find a use for my musical sketches that will 99% never become a finished track, it gives you the idea of how SWAM sounds.

I would also like to thank Joeyluck who introduced me to SWAM.

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/_zx8GLgm8Eo
This sounds great! :thumbup: What are you using to control it?

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Quarmat
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Post 08 Mar 2023

joeyluck wrote:
08 Mar 2023
This sounds great! :thumbup: What are you using to control it?
Thank you. Best results i guess would come with a breath controller, but I do not own it, so I use modwheel of a M-Audio keyb + an expression pedal. If you know how a horn player would play, the breathing, sforzando, glissando, and so on you can get very believable trumpet/trombone/tuba with the SWAM bundle I got. I even tricked some brass players making them believe it was a real instrument playing. I am on the fence with buying the SWAM saxophone V-3, atm.

Here's another example, trumpet solo, i was trying to get my hand with the pedal controller, somehow counter-intuitive if you are a brass player, so you have to force yourself. Another thing a brass player might notice in this example is that the breathing space is very tight, sometimes quasi non-exsistant: that's another thing derived from my trumpet experience: at the end of a phrase, I used to hold the pistons down even if I stopped breathing into the instrument, but of course, on a midi keyboard this means that the note is still being sustained.

But if one considers that this solo was a one take of an unexperienced SWAM user, it shows how awesome these VST are.

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