This post probably has more meaning to me than anyone else, because I have played trombone for eleven years, but this is really cool regardless of if you like trombone or not. If you don’t, you probably will after watching these videos. The first video is from a guy named Darren Kramer. He plays a song called “Heavy Metal Paperclip” where Kramer uses an electric trombone setup with FX pedals.
Is that sweet or what? The next video is by a guy named Erik Hughes, playing a song called “Hysteria” by Muse. He uses a loop to play the bass part.
These two guys have different sounds, but they use the same pickup. Yamaha makes a mute called the Yamaha Silent Brass. Essentially, the Silent Brass is a trombone mute that has a microphone inside. It seals all sounds inside the instrument, converting the sound into digital information, while making it feel natural while playing. This piece of equipment is quite versatile, doubling as a practice mute (no noise comes out, but you can listen through headphones) and a pickup.
The fact that the two trombonists use the same pickup but have different styles reminds me of electric guitars. The Silent Brass allows trombonists to run their instruments through amplifiers, and to employ FX pedals such as distortion, reverb, and delay to create a whole new sound on a classical instrument. There are so many different pedal options, the possible combinations are basically endless.
This makes me wonder what this could mean for orchestral music as a whole. Could we be looking at hard rock orchestra? It would be interesting to see how that would turn out. All I know is that as a trombonist, I am seriously considering investing in one of these bad boys.
P.S. I feel like I should clarify further that this is not a MIDI instrument. It’s just a regular trombone with a Yamaha Silent Brass pickup mute.