Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

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Dc2019
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Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by Dc2019 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:58 pm

I played either my mom’s vintage Buescher Aristocrat or my own vintage Holton Special from grade school right on through till about four years ago - school band, community concert band, marching band, quintet, quartet, solo, played the same straight vintage horns for them all.

Around four or five years ago, I was talked into getting an F-attachment, large bore horn, both to have a horn that would blend better in community band and also to have the purported advantages of the F attachment (better and lower low range, alternate positions for faster and easier jumps). I got lucky with a Royal Artiste trombone on eBay that had a rather unsightly bell dent that scared other bidders off but only cost me a few bucks to get fixed. It was a risk because I couldn’t find any real info on the brand but turned out okay. Several more experienced trombonists tried the horn out after I got it and confirmed my own impression that it was actually a pretty good horn. If it was a straight horn, I probably wouldn’t be horn-shopping again but it’s not.

I can’t get used to the F-attachment and, after four years of trying, I’m ready to pack it in. I rarely remember to use the alternate positions, no matter how much I practice, and I don’t like playing low notes no matter how much I work on my low range (which has always been weaker than my high range). I see absolutely no point in playing an F attachment trombone when I never use the F attachment. The F attachment adds weight both when playing the horn and when carrying it in its case and the trigger is a nuisance if I’m not going to actually use it.

So, looking for a straight horn, probably large or medium bore, intermediate to professional. Needs to be light or at least very well-balanced as my shoulder isn’t happy with a heavy or poorly balanced horn. Other community band trombonists mostly have Bachs or Kings. Some are F attachment, some are straight. I’d like to try a variety of horns to help me figure out what I want but that’s easier said than done.

One community band member has an F attachment King 3B that I can borrow to try. Unfortunately the only local music store that stocks trombones has a very limited selection. Even though they only had the F attachment versions, I tried both a Bach Stradivarius 42 and a Yamaha Xeno. Much to my surprise (I’ve harboured a possibly unfair dislike of Conns and Yamahas since having to play them anytime I didn’t have my own horn at school), I actually quite liked the Xeno (though the Bach was okay too) but new is really not in my price range.

So, I have a few questions for the more experienced trombonists - can I make a fair comparison of trombone brands if not models by playing F attachment versions of the straight horns that I’m interested in?
If I play, say, a Bach Stradivarius 42, is it fair to assume that a Bach Stradivarius 36 will be similar?
If I liked a Yamaha Xeno YSL882OR, what might I find in an equivalent used straight horn?
How big a difference is there between the Xeno and the YSL 600 series horns? I find Yamaha models particularly confusing since they seem to change numbers more frequently.
Should I stick to a large bore or would a medium bore make more sense?
Suggestions for a good quality horn (most likely used) that won’t break the bank but will feel and sound like an upgrade?
Suggestions other than Reverb or eBay to find used straight trombones, which seem to be an endangered species?

I primarily play with the local community band, which plays a pretty eclectic variety of music (pop, classical, show tunes, movie themes, etc). I used to play with a brass quintet, which shrank to a quartet then finally folded. Would probably join one again if an opportunity opened up. Sometimes play with a small mixed group from the community band or at church. Occasionally a solo at church. Plan to keep playing indefinitely, probably join another concert band or two in ten or fifteen years when I’m retired (jealous of the folks I know who already are retired and have the time to do that).

I still have both the Buescher Aristocrat and Holton Special if I need a small bore horn for some reason. Probably will sell the large bore Royal Artiste if I can get back what I put into it, unless I’m given a convincing argument otherwise.
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by norbie2018 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:10 am

You may find the straight version blows differently from the f attachment version of a trombone due to the absence of the valve.

You may find a medium bore trombone fits the bill. Look for Bach 36 or a number of Yamaha instruments. There are other quality medium bore instruments on the market, but the names escape me at this time.

Dillon Music and Brass Exchange are excellent sources of used instruments.
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by tbonesullivan » Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:07 am

There are quite a number of good straight horns on the market. The Bach 42 is nice, but the 36 is honestly nicer, IMHO. Just a great horn.

There are also used Conn 8H and 78H horns from the elkhart era. VERY nice horns. Also the Selmer Largo, King 3b and king 4B. There also is a king 3b+ with a .525 bore.

Benge made some nice straight trombones for a while. They are somewhat similar to King trombones. Almost like a hybrid of a King and a Conn (and made in the same factory as both).

Yamaha has made a lot of nice straight horns. The currently 610 and 620 are very nice, solid horns. I think the predecessors were the 681 and 683.

For a community band, I think a .525 "medium-large" bore is probably the best.
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by BGuttman » Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:44 am

Just a small correction to tbonesullivan: the 620 is large bore with F. The Medium Bore straight is 630. The Benge he is referring to is 175.
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by mfellows821 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:59 am

Ralph Sauer once said "The more stuff you put on a trombone, the worse it plays" He would support your lack of affection for F attachments and he frequently played a straight large bore 8H.

I would urge you to actually play some horns and pick what feels and sounds the best to you. I have played in several community bands and there is usually a broad assortment of brands and models there. I have played a brass quintet for a lot of years and my go to horn has always been a large bore (with F but that is just me) but I pull out a small bore every once in a while to play some of the pop or jazz tunes.

All the main brands make good trombones- Conn King Bach Getzen Yamaha Holton Benge Olds. I would stick to these and avoid the Chinese made horns. Go play as many as posssible and find what YOU like. Local music stores should have several to try. Keep an eye on Craigslist and Offerup. Ask to try the horns of players in your community band. Conventions have the most at one time.

Good luck
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by mfellows821 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:01 am

One other idea. When you buy used at a good price, it gives you the chance to play a horn for as long as you like and if you decide it is not the horn for you, it is usually possible to sell it for about what you paid for it and move on to the next. You might even have several at a time before making a decision
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by Vegasbound » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:43 am

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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by Vegastokc » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:52 am

mfellows821 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:59 am
Ralph Sauer once said "The more stuff you put on a trombone, the worse it plays" .....
I'm just going to second everything mfellows said. :good:
I bought my first F a year ago when I joined my local community band after 20+ years of not playing at all. I had played a couple F's many years ago but was more jazz/big band so small bore Kings worked for me at that time. :wink:

One of the guys in the section just swapped his beautiful silver Bach 36 F-attachment for an equally beautiful silver straight Bach 36 and he loves it. We usually swap books from concert to concert so he stays away from 3rd most of time but otherwise he couldn't be happier. He only misses the trigger once in awhile. :D

With as many good choices there are out there, I am sure your can find something for what ever your patience and budget can afford. Happy hunting. :good:
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by HawaiiTromboneGuy » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:49 am

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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by BGuttman » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:57 am

HawaiiTromboneGuy wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:49 am
Williams 8.
Ain't gonna be cheap :wink:

Also, there's the Chinese (Taiwan) XO models. Won't find many used, though.

My feeling is that an older small bore will feel bigger. I have a Conn 40H from 1930 that seems to play as big as a Bach 36.
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by Matt K » Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:08 pm

In fairness, Ralph Sauer now plays an F attachment exclusively from what I've been told, though how much of that is because of the relationship between Shires and his signature instrument is not known to me. He likely said that at a time when the offerings of F attachment instruments were not nearly as robust as they were today. Which isn't to say that F attachments are inherently good, rather that the present disadvantages they have are now almost exclusively weight and possibly ergonomics.

Note that I am not saying that a straight horns play identically to F attachment nor that one is incapable of preferring the sound of a particular straight horn over a horn with one. What I am saying is that there are substantially more options now that make it much easier to find a horn with an F attachment that works and suits your needs than there was in 1980 if you have the desire to find such a horn.

One of my favorite horns that fills this niche is the YSL645, which is currently not in production. The 630 is also a really nice horn but more expensive, obviously, since you're more likely to be buying new. There is no Xeno medium bore at the moment but the Xenos are also great horns if you want a large bore. And actually, the 400 series are fine too. Yamaha are as follow:
300 = "Student"
400 = "Intermediate"
600 = "Professional"
800 = "Custom"

The funny part is the custom horns are really not custim although they do custom work from what I've been told... only known a few horns that were actually custom. And even the "student" horns are really high quality. You'd be hard pressed to go wrong with a Yamaha.

King 3B+ is a medium bore, King 4B is a large bore... I don't recall if the 4B has a straight version but they'd both suit your needs.

JP Rath has a straight medium bore hat might also work but isn't too expensive though you're less likely to find a used one.

Conn 8H has a medium bore slide and the Conn 78 has a straight option if I'm not mistaken... also a very popular Horn.

Bach 36 or 42 would work. The 36 is a really great horn too.

Note that if you go medium bore there's about a 90% you'll need to switch to a small shank mouthpiece. Shires, Rath, and certain Conn 8H are the only medium bores I'm aware of that have a large shank option for their medium bore offerings.

I've never heard of Royal Artiste? Is it one of the new eastern exports? Those companies pop up and go down rather quickly. If it is, you aren't likely to get much money out of it so I'd plan on not being able to sell it. If it's an antique or a stencil you might have the same issue... but it might be something else too... sometimes people put engravings on stuff and it turns out to be something else.

Your name has "DC" in it... does that mean you're local to DC by any chance? If you are and can make a trip up to New Jersey, Dillon Music has a room filled with used trombones... and some new ones too. You're likely to come away from that happy!
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by tbonesullivan » Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:23 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:44 am
Just a small correction to tbonesullivan: the 620 is large bore with F. The Medium Bore straight is 630. The Benge he is referring to is 175.
I always get those mixed up. The 175's are nice, and there are also straight Benge 190s out there. I think there was a .508 bore trombone they made as well, but I can't remember the model designation.
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by BGuttman » Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:32 pm

The Benge small bore was the 170, 0.500" bore.

The Benge models were:

170 0.500" straight only.
175 0.525" bore. Available with F as 175F
190 0.547" bore, available with F as 190F and convertible as 190C
290 0.562" bore dual indpendent trigger bass.

Note to Matt: the Conn 78H is a straight horn 0.522" bore. The version with F attachment is 79H
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by Jimkinkella » Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:47 pm

Matt K wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:08 pm

King 3B+ is a medium bore, King 4B is a large bore... I don't recall if the 4B has a straight version but they'd both suit your needs.

Conn 8H has a medium bore slide and the Conn 78 has a straight option if I'm not mistaken... also a very popular Horn.

Bach 36 or 42 would work. The 36 is a really great horn too.
There is a straight 4b, nice horn.
A straight 3b+ is a very nice horn, super flexible.

Most 8Hs come standard with a straight .547, with the dual bore .525/.547 or straight .525 as options. The smaller slides do come with the X leadipe which fits large-bore mouthpieces.
The 78H is a straight .525 (.522 in the old days), the 79H is the model number for the version with a trigger.

For me it's been easier to find a 36 that I like than a 42, they both work with or without triggers, Bachs to me seem super inconsistent from horn to horn, good ones can be great, but really hard to find.

YMMV
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by bimmerman » Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:57 pm

For the most part, I prefer open horns. The F attachment sure is useful sometimes, but I like using the open horn as much as I can.

Check the classifieds here, there are always some quality open horns for sale (shameless plug-- I have a .525 Edwards without F for sale in the classifieds). Check for 3B/+, Bach 16/M, Bach 36, Conn 78, and some less common but still excellent brands like Holton. You may also like a straight large bore horn like a Conn 8H, Bach 42, King 4B.
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by davebb » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:24 pm

Dc2019 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:58 pm
..., and I don’t like playing low notes no matter how much I work on my low range (which has always been weaker than my high range).
I'm wondering if you've tried some different mouthpieces. Some people are best-suited to large mouthpieces, maybe as large as a 3G for large bore tenor. Might be worth a try before giving up on the f attachment completely
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by Dc2019 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:34 pm

norbie2018 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:10 am
You may find the straight version blows differently from the f attachment version of a trombone due to the absence of the valve.
I was afraid of that. Unfortunately, straight horns other than very basic student models are hard to find around here. Only one store with horns in stock and they only had about 6 total, of which I think there was one small bore straight. They could bring in a horn or two from another location but I think there was literally one or two medium to large bore straight horns in stock Canada-wide. The community band has a couple of players with small bore straights but everything else is medium to large F attachments. Will have to see if the community band’s director has access to anything else (but she teaches at the high school which I think has mostly F attachment horns).
Dillon Music and Brass Exchange are excellent sources of used instruments.
Unfortunately, I live near Windsor, Ontario (about as far south as you can get in Canada, but still Canada), which makes purchasing online more challenging. Even if a store is willing to accept a return without a restocking fee or at least a minimal charge, shipping, duties, and taxes make the whole thing more complicated than it needs to be.

Cosmomusic.ca has way better prices than the local shop but a new horn is still pretty steep, even if I took an overnight trip up to Toronto area to try some out. Assuming that they even have any straights in stock, which may be a big assumption.
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by Dc2019 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:43 pm

tbonesullivan wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:07 am
There also is a king 3b+ with a .525 bore.
...
For a community band, I think a .525 "medium-large" bore is probably the best.
I’ve seen a few used King 3B+ trombones listed in various places at prices that were quite reasonable, which made me wonder if that model wasn’t so great so it’s good to hear that it might be worth investigating.

I’m also glad to hear that a .525 medium-large bore may be the best fit. I’ve been nudged towards the large bore horns by a couple of people but my research left me wondering if that wasn’t entirely suited for the situations I play in.
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by Dc2019 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:14 pm

Vegastokc wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:52 am

One of the guys in the section just swapped his beautiful silver Bach 36 F-attachment for an equally beautiful silver straight Bach 36 and he loves it. We usually swap books from concert to concert so he stays away from 3rd most of time but otherwise he couldn't be happier. He only misses the trigger once in awhile. :D
This sounds like my community band. Rarely does anyone play strictly one part on all pieces. We’ve got a couple of trombone players who even “fill in” for bassoon or bass clarinet or anything else that is missing. Often, my folder will have two or even three parts for the same piece, especially in the summer when I might get to a concert in the park and find out that someone left early for vacation and I need to play something other than what I’ve been playing in practice. Sometimes, we have a trombone army. Other times, not so much. I managed fine without the trigger for a few years before I got it and I rarely actually remember to use it now, so I imagine that I won’t miss it very often either.
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by Dc2019 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:14 pm

Matt K wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:08 pm
One of my favorite horns that fills this niche is the YSL645, which is currently not in production. The 630 is also a really nice horn but more expensive, obviously, since you're more likely to be buying new. There is no Xeno medium bore at the moment but the Xenos are also great horns if you want a large bore. And actually, the 400 series are fine too. Yamaha are as follow:
300 = "Student"
400 = "Intermediate"
600 = "Professional"
800 = "Custom"

The funny part is the custom horns are really not custom although they do custom work from what I've been told... only known a few horns that were actually custom. And even the "student" horns are really high quality. You'd be hard pressed to go wrong with a Yamaha.
It seems to be surprisingly difficult to find used 600s or 800s, though. And most that I’ve found haven’t been enough cheaper than new to be worth it by the time that I add shipping, exchange rate from US to Canadian, etc. If I’m only saving 10 or 15%, I might as well wait and save up some more for new. I’m still looking - just not finding much.

I quite liked the Xeno that I tried, despite the fact that the store needed to clean the slide properly, not just wipe off the dried up gunk with a paper towel before giving me a rather old bottle of oil to use.
King 3B+ is a medium bore, King 4B is a large bore... I don't recall if the 4B has a straight version but they'd both suit your needs.
And another point for the King 3B+...

I’m leery of the less common horns like the JP Rath simply because I don’t know anyone with one nor of anywhere reasonably local where I could try one out.

Conns, other than the old Director models which I definitely don’t care for, don’t seem very common locally either.
Bach 36 or 42 would work. The 36 is a really great horn too.
The Bach 42 wasn’t bad. I think they said there was a 36 at another location that they could bring in for me to try if I wanted, though I think it was an F attachment as well.
Note that if you go medium bore there's about a 90% you'll need to switch to a small shank mouthpiece. Shires, Rath, and certain Conn 8H are the only medium bores I'm aware of that have a large shank option for their medium bore offerings.
I have several small shank mouthpieces that I like in with my vintage horns so that’s not really a problem.
I've never heard of Royal Artiste? Is it one of the new eastern exports? Those companies pop up and go down rather quickly. If it is, you aren't likely to get much money out of it so I'd plan on not being able to sell it. If it's an antique or a stencil you might have the same issue... but it might be something else too... sometimes people put engravings on stuff and it turns out to be something else.
Not really sure. It came from back room stock at a store that closed and I got it from the store that had bought their leftovers. They thought it was a stencil but really didn’t know for sure. I got it very cheap - around 300 Canadian including shipping and paid around 25 or 30 to get the rotor adjusted and the huge bell dent fixed. It looks nice and plays pretty well, so for around 50 bucks a year, I really didn’t lose anything and could possibly get most if not all of my money back out of it.
Your name has "DC" in it... does that mean you're local to DC by any chance? If you are and can make a trip up to New Jersey, Dillon Music has a room filled with used trombones... and some new ones too. You're likely to come away from that happy!
No, I’m actually from near Windsor, Ontario. Music stores in general are few and far between and those that carry trombones are even rarer!

{Edit by Moderator: Fixed quotes}
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by Dc2019 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:21 pm

Talked to the community band director tonight and she does have access to a handful of straight medium bores of miscellaneous makes that I can borrow to try. They just may not be in the best of shape as they were high school student trombones that have been languishing in storage for a while. I just have to remind her before the next practice and she’ll see what she can dig out. She was in agreement that a medium bore was most likely the way to go.
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by tbonesullivan » Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:10 pm

Dc2019 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:43 pm
I’ve seen a few used King 3B+ trombones listed in various places at prices that were quite reasonable, which made me wonder if that model wasn’t so great so it’s good to hear that it might be worth investigating.
There's nothing "wrong" with it. It just isn't a "normal" 3B, which is the "legendary jazz horn". Part of that is the smaller bore, so people looking for that specific horn don't consider it. That is probably why used prices aren't as high: demand.

New, the 3B and 3B PLUS are the exact same price.

That said, the Bach 36 is what Vincent Bach envisioned as the "Ideal Symphonic Trombone". The 3B used to be the "Concert" model, while the 4B was the "Symphony. Bach also had the model 45, with a 9 inch bell, similar to the King 5B.

As I heard it, after the 8H/88H hit the scene, a .547 bore horn with an 8 1/2 inch bell was desired. So they took the valve section of the 36, used the same mandrel to make a bell a half inch wider, and grafted on the slide from the Bach 45 with that big Bach 50 bass crook. That is the Bach 42.
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by Vegastokc » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:01 am

Dc2019 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:14 pm

This sounds like my community band. Rarely does anyone play strictly one part on all pieces. We’ve got a couple of trombone players who even “fill in” for bassoon or bass clarinet or anything else that is missing......
I am sure that is very common in most or even all community bands. The only one that doesn't change is the bass T-bone player. Although depending on the pieces he either uses his single trigger Reynolds or his double trigger Holton "bazooka" bass bone. There is also two bone players covering euphonium, another one on tuba, a trumpet player on French horn, etc

Wonder if it would be worth a day trip into Detroit or Cleveland (one of the historic "holy lands" of brass manufacturing) to find better selection? :idk:
Sounds like Canada is hurting for supply. (And a possible business opportunity :D )
I say this knowing nothing of how customs and taxes would work bringing horns into country. :lol:
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by Vegastokc » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:08 am

davebb wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:24 pm

I'm wondering if you've tried some different mouthpieces. Some people are best-suited to large mouthpieces, maybe as large as a 3G for large bore tenor. Might be worth a try before giving up on the f attachment completely
That is a good point. I bought a Schilke 51 (approx. same as a 5G) this summer and am loving it. It is the biggest piece I have owned. (6 1/2 AL being the previous biggest which of course is not really that big). Sure not as big as a 3G of 4G, but the 51 really opened up my lower range on my medium bore trigger horn. Now I just have to work on rebuilding the higher. :biggrin:
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by mwpfoot » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:10 pm

I was happiest playing "band music" on a straight Bach 36. I'm sure many .525 would have made me just as happy.

Not too big, but still could bark. Not too small, but still could sing.

:good:
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Re: Looking for a new straight trombone to play with community band

Post by stanzabone » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:58 am

Slide Hampton used to play bebop all night long on a straight King 4B. That was when I heard him way back in the 80's. IIRC, he is now playing an even larger horn, essentially a bass trombone with no trigger.
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