Is Shires like an exotic car company?

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aasavickas
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Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by aasavickas » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:51 pm

I used to play on Shires horns. However, I had a bad experience with a horn and did not care for the customer service so I ended up, one by one, getting equipment from a different company.

I watch a lot of Top Gear and I realized that Shires, and other boutique makers, may be like a fancy Italian car maker.

They make really expensive and innovative horns. The downside is that they sometimes breakdown and don't quite have the quality control of some other, more mainstream, manufacturers.

When you get a good one, they work really well but so do all the other high-end horns.

I think sometimes people ignore the downside b/c they drank the cool aid and love their own personal horn.

With Allessi jumping from Edwards to Shires, I'm sure they will get many students buying the horn figuring that it will make them sound like him. Kinda like when people buy Air Jordans and expect to jump higher and make more shots.

In general, I don't think it makes that much of a difference. A strong player with a strong concept of sound will always sound like themselves regardless of what is in front of their face. It really just comes down to which horn makes it the easiest to do what you want so that you can relax and focus on making music.
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Matt K
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by Matt K » Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:10 pm

In general, I don't think it makes that much of a difference. A strong player with a strong concept of sound will always sound like themselves regardless of what is in front of their face. It really just comes down to which horn makes it the easiest to do what you want so that you can relax and focus on making music.
I think even the most ardent of gear-heads, which I'd probably label myself as, would suggest sentences 2 and 3 are 100% correct and draw a totally opposite conclusion about #1.
With Allessi jumping from Edwards to Shires, I'm sure they will get many students buying the horn figuring that it will make them sound like him.
Are you sure? Perhaps the scene in universities has changed since I was last in college a few years ago, but I've never personally met anyone who thought that owning a piece of equipment that someone else played would make them sound like that player. The only thing that I have heard of that even comes close to this is the old anecdote about UNT from maybe the mid 90s where one of the professors would allegedly not graduate students unless they bought the exact Edwards that Joe Alessi played on.
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by JBone » Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:39 pm

Matt K wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:10 pm
Are you sure? Perhaps the scene in universities has changed since I was last in college a few years ago, but I've never personally met anyone who thought that owning a piece of equipment that someone else played would make them sound like that player. The only thing that I have heard of that even comes close to this is the old anecdote about UNT from maybe the mid 90s where one of the professors would allegedly not graduate students unless they bought the exact Edwards that Joe Alessi played on.
Apparently you've never talked to anyone about the harmonic brace on their T396-A. I've met probably ten people who owned the horn at the time, and in that time I've only met one person who fiddled around with the little screws to adjust it, on the theory that "Alessi plays it without adding anything, so I will too".

That's different than making a $5000 purchase because of the name attached to it, and, in itself, doesn't prove anything... but it is suggestive.
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Burgerbob
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by Burgerbob » Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:52 pm

JBone wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:39 pm


Apparently you've never talked to anyone about the harmonic brace on their T396-A.
Well, isn't the harmonic brace a huge piece of marketing in itself? I'm sure people use it, but the horn also does just fine without.
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Matt K
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by Matt K » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:06 pm

Indeed, "If I buy an Alessi T396 I will sound like Joe Alessi" is a lot different than, "I don't want to think about equipment, so I'll use someone good as a proxy, assume they've picked something reasonably good, and practice that until the plating falls off." I think a lot of people fall into that latter category; particularly students. If anything, not using the pillars is suggestive of that, rather than the former as they aren't fiddling around with something they could be fiddling around with.
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by Ndwood » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:19 pm

If people have a Shires they really like and have had no bad customer service experiences is that drinking the kool aid...?
hyperbolica
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by hyperbolica » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:31 pm

People buying something because Joe Alessi does it are idiots.

"It takes the best player in the world to make this horn sound good. I think I'll get me somma dat."

You gotta plow your own groove. I know it's gonna sound good when Alessi plays it. I'm just concerned about what it sounds like when I play it. All the horns that sound good to me (when I play them) are 60 years old, beat to hell and the lacquer is all gone. hey, that sounds familiar...
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by harrisonreed » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:33 pm

JBone wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:39 pm
Matt K wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:10 pm
Are you sure? Perhaps the scene in universities has changed since I was last in college a few years ago, but I've never personally met anyone who thought that owning a piece of equipment that someone else played would make them sound like that player. The only thing that I have heard of that even comes close to this is the old anecdote about UNT from maybe the mid 90s where one of the professors would allegedly not graduate students unless they bought the exact Edwards that Joe Alessi played on.
Apparently you've never talked to anyone about the harmonic brace on their T396-A. I've met probably ten people who owned the horn at the time, and in that time I've only met one person who fiddled around with the little screws to adjust it, on the theory that "Alessi plays it without adding anything, so I will too".

That's different than making a $5000 purchase because of the name attached to it, and, in itself, doesn't prove anything... but it is suggestive.
I play this horn, and I think the harmonic brace is the best part. I change it all the time, so that the blow and projection feels the same to me no matter what accoustic space I'm playing in. They market it as an alternative to bell swaps and leadpipes, but it is really for tailoring what you're feeling and hearing to the accoustic you're in. In practice this means I've got four go to setups -- one for a practice room, one for a large hall, one for boomy churches, and one for large but dead rooms.

Nearly every trombonist I saw using a harmonic brace at ATW had one or two short pillars in, most of them in the center or the bell hole, facing up towards the tuning slide. Some of the guys on stage had plastic pillars or something in there -- they might've been joking around. Didn't sound like it. The principal of the national symphony orchestra has a copper 1 in the center hole towards the tuning slide. The St. Louis crew also have at least two members using theirs.

Are the people you're talking about all college students and non-performer professors? If so, there's the disconnect!

FWIW, the Toby Oft model was something that seemed even better than the 396 I have, especially with the pillars in how I usually have them in dead rooms -- the 396 was the only option that had the brace at the time, so that's what I've got. It's a great horn. The Shires model seems like a step backwards...
norbie2018
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by norbie2018 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:07 pm

The comparison doesn't work for me. Exotic cars are out of the price range of the average consumer, need specialized equipment to work on, are highly expensive to repair, and tend to break down all the time. That cannot be said of trombones made by any major maker I know of.
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by aasavickas » Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:53 pm

Yeah I don't know about that. How many high school or college students can afford to pay 2 or 3 times as much for a boutique instrument rather than a decent pro horn from a typical manufacturer?

I don't know what college cost when you went, but these days it is really expensive and the kids take large loans.

Also, how many serious trombone players make a good living playing a trombone? Lots of great players have to maintain a day job. So the cost of the horn is an important factor. Especially when the young people buying the horns look for celebrity artist endorsements to figure out which one to get.

I think the car analogy makes sense. Kids can't afford these horns and they also can't afford fancy sports cars. Personally, and from what I've heard from other excellent repair guys, they point out that some of the boutique manufacturers are not particularly good and don't really know what they are doing or were never trained properly.

I like fancy cars and I like fancy horns but I don't choose to buy exotic Italian sports cars and I no longer buy Shires horns. Not worth the money or trouble to me. Different strokes for different folks and the choice and options today is great. However, I care about my playing and I care about my finances and I don't offer second chances to folks who charge a premium and don't treat you well. Caveat Emptor.

On the Harmonic bridge. I thought it was nonsense too. However, when I tried it, I thought it made as large of a difference as changing out equipment. Much cheaper to plug in a pillar than buy a bunch of bells. That said, I have not really played around too much with it b/c I've been busy working on other stuff but subjectively, it dramatically changes the feel of the horn in the blow and partial slotting. It also makes a bit of a difference in the sound in the room for folks listening. So who knows.
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by castrubone » Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:05 pm

Burgerbob wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:52 pm
JBone wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:39 pm


Apparently you've never talked to anyone about the harmonic brace on their T396-A.
Well, isn't the harmonic brace a huge piece of marketing in itself? I'm sure people use it, but the horn also does just fine without.
Preach. Now it's the "Scalloped Harmonic Bridge." posting.php?mode=quote&f=13&p=104536#
aasavickas
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by aasavickas » Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:44 pm

Agreed on the harmonic brace. I've never really messed with it. Plays fine like it is.

Kinda like how when i had modular horns, I pretty much found what I liked and never changed anything after that.

I'd rather spend my time working on my playing rather than hoping some magic set up equipment will make a difference.
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by FullPedalTrombonist » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:48 pm

The Shires’ I’ve had weren’t new so I never dealt with the company themselves and can’t speak about customer service. The horns and parts themselves were very well crafted. No issues whatsoever fitting anything together.

I think the exotic car analogy doesn’t quite fit. The expense of having to go to a licensed tech to get an oil change is unique to cars. I can open my Hagmanns and oil them at home. And if I had a little more practice I could do my own soldering or fix dents on my own, but I’d be way to terrified to change an alternator on a Koenigsegg or even newer Porsche if you can even get into the engine bay.
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by Gary » Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:38 pm

I think it's funny that you guys are using Italian sports cars as an example. I bought a Fiat Spyder and was so happy. This was S. California, so the car was perfect for it. After the dealer prepped the car and I went to pick it up, I was so happy and proud, I went to roll the window down and the handle came off in my hand. I hadn't even left the parking lot.

When it worked well, it was great. Only problem is that it spent A LOT of time in the repair garage. :-(
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by Bach5G » Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:55 pm

Fix It Again Tony!
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paulyg
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by paulyg » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:07 am

Gary wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:38 pm
I think it's funny that you guys are using Italian sports cars as an example. I bought a Fiat Spyder and was so happy. This was S. California, so the car was perfect for it. After the dealer prepped the car and I went to pick it up, I was so happy and proud, I went to roll the window down and the handle came off in my hand. I hadn't even left the parking lot.

When it worked well, it was great. Only problem is that it spent A LOT of time in the repair garage. :-(
I had a 1980 Fiat Spider for a while. It was like a great girlfriend. Attractive, peppy, personable, unsafe, surprisingly practical (but still not), and worked great three weeks out of the month.
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Aerospace Engineer & Trombone Player
aasavickas
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by aasavickas » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:41 am

Fair enough.

Horn repair really is not too hard. I've done some basic stuff like removing dents, refinishing, soldering new/different parts, setting up slides etc. Since doing that stuff, I've found a couple really very good repair guys in my area and when I need work done I just take it to them bc they have the tools and the talent(If you happen to live in metro Detroit or Cleveland, PM me and I'll send out their info). Good repair techs are really hard to find. The only problem with doing repairs yourself is that you really need a few expensive tools to do some of the slide work and a bit of the dent work.

Same with cars. I was raised poor so I had to learn to fix cars in order to have one. Now I have a decent day job, so I pay someone else to do most work unless I think it will be a nice way to spend a Saturday.

Owning a Fiat Spyder sounds fun when it working.

I'm probably full of it. I currently own a 11 year old rotary engine Mazda. So far no issues. But when I do have problems, I'm sure I'll need someone will more tools and skills to fix it.

Who knows. Like I said, fancy horns and fancy cars can be fun if you can afford to buy one and keep it working.
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by norbie2018 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:07 am

aasavickas wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:41 am

Who knows. Like I said, fancy horns and fancy cars can be fun if you can afford to buy one and keep it working.
What do you have to do to a so-called fancy trombone on a regular basis to keep it in working order? I've owned an Edwards for about a year-and-a-half now and except for routine slide lubrication and rotor lubrication, there's absolutely nothing I've had to do to that trombone. Same went for the Yamaha, Bach, and Holton trombones i owned before. There is absolutely nothing you have to do to a well-made trombone that requires monthly repair as you would have with an exotic car. Period. So again, the comparison is not an apt one.
aasavickas
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by aasavickas » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:36 am

Fair enough.

My personal complaint was that one particular expensive brand made some incredibly out of tune horns for a time. I bought one. Then when brought to their attention, they made me pay them to fix it, and their repair was still badly out of tune. To me this shows poor quality control and that sometimes these horns are built by folks who don't do the math or check their work.

Anything handmade will likely have problems like this. Just like a small run fancy care. Mistakes happen but bad customer service and treating people rudely after they point it out and making them pay more for a fix that doesn't work is not good enough for me.

I'm not saying all expensive horns are this way, just some.

If you don't get or like the analogy, no worries.

Glad to hear that the Edwards is working out. I think they do better work which is why I have sold all my Shires stuff and started picking up Edwards horns.
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by Bassbonechandler » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:40 am

norbie2018 wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:07 am
aasavickas wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:41 am

Who knows. Like I said, fancy horns and fancy cars can be fun if you can afford to buy one and keep it working.
What do you have to do to a so-called fancy trombone on a regular basis to keep it in working order? I've owned an Edwards for about a year-and-a-half now and except for routine slide lubrication and rotor lubrication, there's absolutely nothing I've had to do to that trombone. Same went for the Yamaha, Bach, and Holton trombones i owned before. There is absolutely nothing you have to do to a well-made trombone that requires monthly repair as you would have with an exotic car. Period. So again, the comparison is not an apt one.
I agree. You only need repairs if you wack your slide on something and dent it or other things like that.
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by WGWTR180 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:44 am

norbie2018 wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:07 am
aasavickas wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:41 am

Who knows. Like I said, fancy horns and fancy cars can be fun if you can afford to buy one and keep it working.
What do you have to do to a so-called fancy trombone on a regular basis to keep it in working order? I've owned an Edwards for about a year-and-a-half now and except for routine slide lubrication and rotor lubrication, there's absolutely nothing I've had to do to that trombone. Same went for the Yamaha, Bach, and Holton trombones i owned before. There is absolutely nothing you have to do to a well-made trombone that requires monthly repair as you would have with an exotic car. Period. So again, the comparison is not an apt one.
Not all exotic cars need constant care. Porsches are very reliable. But I wouldn't call Shires or Edwards exotic instruments anyway. Thein and Haag would be better choices for this discussion.
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Re: Is Shires like an exotic car company?

Post by timbone » Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:23 am

The car analogy is good. People buy trombones like they buy sneakers. If I buy the Michael Jordan shoes I can jump higher right? Everybody complains about trombone prices but they have no problem paying 25k for a car or 8-1000 dollar cell phones. So, all the comfort items- no problem, but the tool I need to possibly make my living on? How cheap can I go?
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