What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

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BellBent
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What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by BellBent »

I have a late ‘40s Buescher 400 trombone. It has a slide lock. I recently bought an early ‘40s 400 trombone, same model, and was surprised to find it didn’t have a slide lock and apparently never did. Looked up a ‘41 Buescher catalog, and discovered that the lock was a $5 dollar option. It hadn’t occurred to me that slide locks weren’t standard since forever.

So, other than be very careful, what did they do back in the day when the bone has no lock and, say, you’re putting the horn on a stand? Just let the slide down and rest on the floor? Seems like there would have been a common accessory, some kind of removable slide-hook or something.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by robcat2075 »

BellBent wrote: Sun Sep 18, 2022 10:09 am
So, other than be very careful, what did they do back in the day when the bone has no lock and, say, you’re putting the horn on a stand?
I have no specific historic knowledge but I suspect a "trombone stand" back in the big band age was... your chair, while you went out the backstage door to have your cigarette. Other that that they must have just held the horn.

I've seen many old pictures of trombone players that tell me they may not have been all that concerned about their slides... (From Doug Yeo's pictorial history of the BSO trombone section) :horror:
ArmRest.jpg


I wonder when real trombone stands became common. I don't recall seeing one until the 80s.

Anyone have a historic photo of a classic player with a trombone stand?

I think trumpeters had stands first so they could switch between trumpet and flugel and piccolo... and then you couldn't stop the trombones from wanting stands, too.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by BGuttman »

The picture shows M. Alloo, who was 1st Trombone in the late 19-teens. Notice that he is simply pulling the trombone to him to keep it from falling.

I had a trombone stand from the 1940s. It had a very thin stem that made for a rather wobbly hold. Tipped very easily. It saw very little use. About the only good thing was that the bell was held by a cris-cross of steel fingers with felt pads that allowed the instrument to dry out while on the stand.

My Olds from the 1920s has no slide lock and what I do is simply get in the habit of holding the slide brace with my left pinkie when manipulating the horn. Many trombones from the 1920s and earlier had no slide locks and I'm sure the players adopted the same technique I did. Also, some slides were so atrocious that a slide lock really wasn't needed :amazed:
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by robcat2075 »

BGuttman wrote: Sun Sep 18, 2022 12:04 pm The picture shows M. Alloo, who was 1st Trombone in the late 19-teens. Notice that he is simply pulling the trombone to him to keep it from falling.
For that to be the case he has to be holding his arm up in mid air.

Nope. He is resting his arm on the slide. And even without that he is resting the whole trombone on the slide, something we are careful not to do these days.

Damn, here's another guy doing it. Bill Russo. I bet we could find a lot of these.

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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by brassmedic »

I rest the end of my slide on the floor all the time. It has never caused my slide to go out of alignment. I don't think I would want to lean on it, though.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by Doug Elliott »

Me too.
Somewhere I have one of those stands Bruce described.
I'm quite sure I had a Hamilton in the 70's. More than one, the legs tended to break.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by officermayo »

When I play my '39 Olds Super (friction fit - no slide lock) I set it on a old style Hamilton stand and ease the crook down to the floor. First few gigs using that set up I had to remind myself there was no slide lock to keep from whipping the horn off the stand and have the slide fly over the sax line.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by OneTon »

None of my slide crooks on slides with slide locks ever see the floor, on purpose. If I use a horn with no slide lock, I follow Officer Mayo’s method. I keep a Hamilton trombone stand in each vehicle I own in case I forget a stand. Yes. They break. That is why they are last ditch use only. That practice came after I borrowed a stand from the 1st Chair Symphony player and president of the musician’s union who finished his set ahead of mine, after I forgot my stand. I bought him a case of imported beer and returned the stand the next day. I position the trombone stand legs away from where an errant slide crook would hit if it fell. Howard Hughes hasn’t got anything on me. Well, I hope that my personal hygiene is better.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by officermayo »

I've used Hamilton stands since '75 and never had one break.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by BGuttman »

Remember that Alloo and Russo are posing for pictures. We really don't know what they did while playing or while waiting to play.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by TriJim »

My 1923 Conn 6H (mfgr date per serial number) has a slide lock, but interestingly only a friction fitting between slide and bell sections (no threading / screw lock). So, for what it's worth, slide locks were known and available in early 1920s (and perhaps earlier).

And if anyone is curious, the slide lock appears identical to our 'modern' trombones.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by robcat2075 »

Painful stock photo, probably not real trombone player...

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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by BellBent »

Well, so far the theme of practical solutions is “Hold carefully” and “when on the stand, let the slide down to the floor”, so I guess the obvious response to no slide-lock is the obvious!
TriJim wrote: Sun Sep 18, 2022 4:11 pm My 1923 Conn 6H (mfgr date per serial number) has a slide lock, but interestingly only a friction fitting between slide and bell sections (no threading / screw lock). So, for what it's worth, slide locks were known and available in early 1920s (and perhaps earlier).

And if anyone is curious, the slide lock appears identical to our 'modern' trombones.
I don’t know a lot about trombones - only started playing a couple of years ago. I just figured universal mandatory slide-locks had happened a bit before 1941, and the 400 was supposed to be Buescher’s flagship line.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by BGuttman »

Conn were the first with slide locks and bell locks in the 1920s. I believe they were actually patented, so other makers either had to pay a royalty or wait for the patent to expire (17 years).

There are still players today who remove the slide locks because they claim they affect response.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by LeTromboniste »

My 1913 small Conn (pre model numbers) has a slide lock already, but of course still friction fit slide receiver.

None of the instruments I regularly play have slide locks. You should always be holding the slide securely even when you have a lock, so it really doesn't make much of a difference, you just get used to it. I don't use a stand very often anymore. When using one, I try to set it up at a height where the slide will rest on the floor without being extended when the bell is securely on the stand. Not always possible with instruments where the bell is in 4th position though as even the lowest setting is often too high.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by harrisonreed »

robcat2075 wrote: Sun Sep 18, 2022 12:29 pm
BGuttman wrote: Sun Sep 18, 2022 12:04 pm The picture shows M. Alloo, who was 1st Trombone in the late 19-teens. Notice that he is simply pulling the trombone to him to keep it from falling.
For that to be the case he has to be holding his arm up in mid air.

Nope. He is resting his arm on the slide. And even without that he is resting the whole trombone on the slide, something we are careful not to do these days.

Damn, here's another guy doing it. Bill Russo. I bet we could find a lot of these.
Dude in the first picture looks like he is resting his elbow on the back of his chair and has his arm through the bell section. Not resting his weight on the slide.

Bill Russo looks like he could afford a new slide every other week...
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by CharlieB »

Back in the Dark Ages when I began playing trombone, I was taught to always use the little finger on the left hand to control the slide when the horn was not on my face. Young and stupid I was...... I got in the habit of depending on the slide lock. I paid the price. At a concert, I had an extended slide position forte entrance after a very long rest. I grabbed the horn off of the stand, put it to my face, and totally blatted the entrance. The slide was locked. No more slide lock for me after that. Now the horn stand is adjusted so that the bell bears the full weight of the horn, and the slide just barely kisses the floor.
I guess a slide lock is essential for the trombone flipping shenanigans that some marching bands choreograph, but my marching days are way behind me now, and my little finger is still doing its job.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by stewbones43 »

Title asks "What did they do?" but for some of us it is "What did WE do?"

I started playing in the late 1940s on a pea-shooter trombone which was much older (Probably a Besson , Boosey or Hawkes (before they joined in the early '30s) My dad was my teacher and he showed me how to hold my trombone with my thumb around the first bell stay and my little finger hooked onto the outer slide cross brace. It was a stretch for my young hand but it ensured that my trombone was safe even without a bell or slide lock. I still hold my trombones like that even with slide and bell locks.

I vaguely remember something about the Salvation Army patenting the first slide lock in the UK but I don't know the date.
I do remember my first trombone stand in the 1960s; a hard rubber ball at the top, a wooden shaped cone and a tripod arrangement for the legs which people walking past would trip over and the trombone came crashing down!!

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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by Pudding »

Most of my playing over the last few years has been on a 1940s 70h with no slide lock (yes I just let the slide rest on the floor when it is on a stand).

When I started playing a different instrument again I kept forgetting to use the slide lock.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by robcat2075 »

Here is the application for a US patent for an "improved" slide lock, much as we know today.
This invention relates to certain new and
useful improvements in locking devices for
locking the inner and Outer sliding members
of a trombone and it has for its objects
among others to provide a simple yet effi
cient lock for locking the outer slide or slid
iing member to the inner One when not in
use, SO as to guard against mishap, or bend
ing or denting the Outer slide in falling off.
which Very often occurs when not in use.

The text also discusses previous devices that had drawbacks such as hooks that might tear your clothing.

Patent issued 1910

PDF:
US977026.pdf




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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by BellBent »

stewbones43 wrote: Mon Sep 19, 2022 11:38 am Title asks "What did they do?" but for some of us it is "What did WE do?"

I started playing in the late 1940s on a pea-shooter trombone which was much older (Probably a Besson , Boosey or Hawkes (before they joined in the early '30s) My dad was my teacher and he showed me how to hold my trombone with my thumb around the first bell stay and my little finger hooked onto the outer slide cross brace. It was a stretch for my young hand but it ensured that my trombone was safe even without a bell or slide lock. I still hold my trombones like that even with slide and bell locks.

I vaguely remember something about the Salvation Army patenting the first slide lock in the UK but I don't know the date.
I do remember my first trombone stand in the 1960s; a hard rubber ball at the top, a wooden shaped cone and a tripod arrangement for the legs which people walking past would trip over and the trombone came crashing down!!

Cheers

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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by wnlqxod »

The only time I would use a slide lock is when I would put the horn on the stand, both of which are relatively new inventions. Otherwise, I would use the following steps to hold my horn at rest in ensemble playing:

1. Put handslide into 1st position with right hand.
2. Rotate the horn so that the bell points to the ground.
3. Gently make contact with the ground with the rubber put on the tip protruding from the crook of the handslide ( :o ); careful not to bang the crook on the ground.
4. Pull the horn upwards with left hand while holding the outer slide, so that I am pulling out the inner handslide tubing from the outer slide.
5. Rest the bell on my thigh.

No slide lock, no pinky, no problem.

Before I bought a trombone stand, I was taught how to put my horn on the ground. This is how it should look. I would guess that this way of putting the horn on the ground was passed down through generations.

Basically, pull out the mouthpiece, and position the horn so that the mouthpiece receiver, upper portion of the tuning slide, and the flare edge of the bell makes contact with the ground (the picture is not quite the ground, I know :weep: )

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FJT9m- ... p=drivesdk
Last edited by wnlqxod on Fri Oct 20, 2023 9:19 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by Burgerbob »

The 3B/F I use at work has too many corks, so the slide lock doesn't work. I actually forgot that was the case, I'm so used to dealing with it on that horn.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by DougHulme »

I have a Reynolds Contempora bass that if my memory serves me right is a late 1960's and it does not have a slide lock (special order?) I Have a Boosey and Hawkes G-D trombone from the 60's that doesent have a slide lock either. My first trombone was a Salvation Army 'pea shooter' from the 1920's and it does have a slide lock (perhaps suggesting Stewbones thought about the Salvation Army patenting a slide lock in the UK might be right). I never saw a commercial trombone stand until the late 1970's but I was given a home made stand in about 1964, the whole section of the 'senior band' had them made for them and had an extra made for the youngster too young to join. The stands were all made from old music stands and had wooden bodies turned down by one of the bandsmen but they looked remarkably like the commercial models I would see in later years so someone somewhere must have had an example to copy (they were still a bit wobbly by modern standards). Yes those early Hamilton stands always broke usually after someone trod on the leg and bent it and the owner then straightened it out and it would later break - I've seen dozens retired in that way. But to answer the OP's question it becomes a second sense instinct to hold the slide whether you have a lock or not 'just in case' i dont notice the difference with or without. Maybe its kind of like a mustle retention memory thing, like none of us think where is third position every time we play (maybe 5th position but not third!!)... Doug
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by SteveM »

I have an Olds Standard from the late '40s that does not have a slide lock (it's also friction fit). When I needed to keep it on a stand, I wrapped a little Velcro strap around the top two braces to keep the slide from falling.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by AtomicClock »

robcat2075 wrote: Sun Sep 18, 2022 11:40 am I have no specific historic knowledge but I suspect a "trombone stand" back in the big band age was... your chair, while you went out the backstage door to have your cigarette. Other that that they must have just held the horn.

Anyone have a historic photo of a classic player with a trombone stand?
Here's Glenn Miller (at 2:30) using a stand. Makes sense for a bandleader to want one.

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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by bcschipper »

Almost all of my trombones have no slide lock because they were built before that time. I automatically hold the outer slide with my fingers when taking my trombone. My trombone stand is adjusted to a height were the slide barely opens and rests on the ground.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by imsevimse »

brassmedic wrote: Sun Sep 18, 2022 1:01 pm I rest the end of my slide on the floor all the time. It has never caused my slide to go out of alignment. I don't think I would want to lean on it, though.
Me too ,as long as it is a trombone without a valve and I wouldn't lean on it.

When I hold a horn I always use the pinky to secure the slide. If I see someone do the same it's also how I know I could lend my horn to that person. I wouldn't want anyone who do not secure a slide with the pinky to borrow any of my horns. Too risky :clever:

What did they do in the past? I know when I grew up, before I had ever seen a stand my friends let their horns rest on a chair with the slide down resting against the floor and the bell resting on the seat. The teacher got real upset when he saw that. This was in the late seventies. I never did that. I placed it flat on a table or on the floor or placed it in the open case. Some place their trombone on a grand piano That is a big "no-no" and you will learn that as the piano player enters the room. When I hold the trombone but still need both my hands hands then I hang the horn on my elbow from the tuningslide. I only do this with horns were I know the tuningslide will stick in place or TIS horns. Note: I always play with the tuningslide pushed in all way and never move it so it is mostly stuck there.

/Tom
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by Drombone »

stewbones43 wrote: Mon Sep 19, 2022 11:38 am I do remember my first trombone stand in the 1960s; a hard rubber ball at the top, a wooden shaped cone and a tripod arrangement for the legs which people walking past would trip over and the trombone came crashing down!!

Cheers

Stewbones43
I think you gave one to me! Long since gone to whatever heaven trombone stands go to, but I have at least one Hamilton from the mid 80's still going strong...
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by ghmerrill »

SteveM wrote: Sat Oct 21, 2023 12:21 pm I have an Olds Standard from the late '40s that does not have a slide lock (it's also friction fit).
Interesting. Here's my '47 Olds Standard (#21201: apparently late 1947). It has both a slide lock and nut. Both appear to be original. Nice horn, but I almost never play it. :roll:
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by TromboneTiger »

They held it. with their hands.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by calcbone »

DougHulme wrote: Sat Oct 21, 2023 3:29 am I have a Reynolds Contempora bass that if my memory serves me right is a late 1960's and it does not have a slide lock (special order?)
My Contempora stereophonic bass also does not have a slide lock… the slide and bell are mismatched, one is late 50’s and the other is early 60’s…can’t remember which is which off the top of my head!
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by ryebrye »

My son has recently decided he doesn't like slide locks and has unscrewed them all. He does use a stand and adjusts the height so the slide rests on the ground just right. Maybe it's from when he was needing to switch quickly when doubling in a pit band recently? :idk:
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by BGuttman »

ryebrye wrote: Fri Dec 01, 2023 6:42 am My son has recently decided he doesn't like slide locks and has unscrewed them all. He does use a stand and adjusts the height so the slide rests on the ground just right. Maybe it's from when he was needing to switch quickly when doubling in a pit band recently? :idk:
There are big name pros who remove the slide locks. Some claim they can hear a difference, while others have had that awkward experience where you put the trombone to your lips, go for 3rd position and yank the trombone from your mouth. :shock:
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by AndrewMeronek »

Just to do some research: this image shown is of Jimmy Lunceford's orchestra posing. Here, the trombones look to me to be in the classic "bell on the knee" sitting position. Also: I would have problems trying to play with a wide-brimmed hat like that.

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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by BGuttman »

Notice that one of the trombones appears to have a Conn 44H.
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by imsevimse »

BGuttman wrote: Fri Dec 01, 2023 7:52 am Notice that one of the trombones appears to have a Conn 44H.
Yea, the trombonist at the right, his horn ooks like it's a "Vocabell".

/Tom
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Re: What Did They Do Before Slide Locks

Post by normaday197674 »

The information here is great..
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