.525 or .547 Bore?

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MAcount10
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.525 or .547 Bore?

Post by MAcount10 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:13 am

Hi, I'm currently a college freshman looking to buy a trombone; it's been about a year since I've played. My current dilemma is choosing between a .525 or .547 bore. Two local musicians have enthusiastically advised me to get a .525 bore horn: they're apparently more versatile and flexible in any playing environment. The recommendations were also based on the fact that I'm uncertain as to which genre of music I'll be playing in. I know that .547 bore trombones are standard in symphony orchestras where a big sound is required, but right now I'm only in a casual orchestra which plays film and video game music. I was in my high school's symphony orchestra though, so I might have an interest in auditioning for my college's symphony orchestra.

At my local music store, I've found a barely used Getzen 3047AFR (.547) for $2200 and a barely used Getzen Eterna II 725 (double bore .525/.547) for $1700. I've researsched online a bit and found the Bach 36B and the JP 331 Rath to be good .525 bore horns; the used trombones on Brass Ark also seemed impressive to me. I'm primarily looking for a professional trombone that can last me a while, one that's preferably around $2500, but the budget's lenient - within reason of course.

I would greatly appreciate any advice for my situation. Thank you!

Edit: as a reply to the first post, I'm an amatuer trombonist that wants trombone to be a lifelong hobby. I'm currently borrowing the Getzen 3047 AFR from my local; it plays a bit heavy to me (I used to play a .525 trombone) and it builds up spit a lot faster than other trombones (I hear spit in it all the time).
Last edited by MAcount10 on Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Matt K
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by Matt K » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:38 am

The safe approach is to get a small bore and a large bore. $2500 is tight, but doable for both. Medium bore are awesome, I personally play one for most of what I do, but I also have a small bore and a large bore and use them contextually and would not bring the medium bore to everything I play. I have done some video game & movie studio sessions within the last year though, fwiw, and in that I actually went really specialized and used a bass slide on my existing bell. Sounded great but 99% I'd never take that setup to a live gig and certainly not for commercial music.

One thing that I can't see is indicating what you're currently playing on (and what you do/don't like about it). Or if you are majoring in music or "just" an amateur (I'm in the latter category by trade as a programmer). That information is going to radically change the answers you get.
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Burgerbob
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by Burgerbob » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:33 pm

Yup... I can only think of a couple things that I have played recently that I would use a 36 for, and the 3B or 42 were a better choice every time.
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Matt K
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by Matt K » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:20 pm

You could "get away" with a medium bore in that case. The advantage to that is that you'd only need one horn. I'd go for something with an F attachment... Yamaha make some good medium bores, the 646 and 630... Bach 36B, Conn 78H, King 3BF+. However, you might still be better suited to getting a small bore and a large bore. If you go used, you can definitely stay in your price range. There are countless options. You can get a decent condition Yamaha 354, which is a student horn but plays very well for what it is, for $100 if you're patient and the parts for it are super cheap if you do need to get it fixed up. But you're probably all-in going to spend $300-400 even on that option, and that starts to open up "pro" small bore horns for which there are countless, awesome options.

That leaves you with ~$1.5-2k for a classical horn which is nearly enough to buy new depending on the brand. But common horns are good used for awhile. If the Getzen builds up spit faster than you're used to, you probably just have a better cork in it than you did on other horns. There's nothing really about a horn that would lead it to condense water more rapidly. Bach, Conn, Courtouis, Getzen, Greenhoe, Edwards, Kanstul, M&W, Rath, Schilke, Shires, and Yamaha (possibly others I'm forgetting) are good... you'll have much more success finding a used horn in your budget from certain brands in that list and less than others (E.g. you'll seldom find a used Greenhoe pre-Schilke acquisition, let alone one for $2k; however, you'll find lots of Bach 42B for within that range).

You might consider going to a festival like ATW, ITF, or similar. Lots of manufacturers and 2nd hand shops demo horns; if you're in the area when one happens, it's generally a good time to buy. If you're near NJ you can stop by Dilllon which has a ton of used horns or Brassark in LA. Otherwise, you'll probably not have a ton of options to physically try out a number of horns. Just too much variety for most places to stock everything, let alone a lot of good priced, used instruments.

Bear in mind you'll probably want a mouthpiece for both. That's something that's impossible to answer over the internet as to what will suit you. A lot of us who double like to use something very idiomatic (e.g. a pretty small piece for small bore and a relatively large piece for large bore)... others use either very similar mouthpieces or very similar rims. Bach 6.5AL is popular for both small and large bore, but is on the edge of large for small bore and small for large bore. Others yet, like myself, play a large rim and something otherwise idiomatic for the horn. Tons and tons and tons of options. I'd maybe leave myself about $200-400 for mouthpieces personally (each one can cost upwards of $200). The horn might come with one you like, which would be great. But sometimes used horns don't come with one. (They also might not come with a case, so check on that too... You can get a decent case for under $200 but better to double check!)
hyperbolica
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by hyperbolica » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:38 pm

Simplify it: Just get a 525. They can do anything a 547 can do, and some stuff smaller bore horns can do. From the audience no one will be able to tell what size instrument you have. 547 is more work. If you're not playing in a pro orchestra, there really is no need to go 547. Even for my 547 horn, I have an extra 525 slide which I use more.
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by JLivi » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:50 pm

A .525 will be more versatile. But I’m a fan of owning two horns. Either find a good/cheap student horn like the Yamaha 354 or find something like a King 3b or Conn 6h. Those usually go for around $500-800. Aim low obviously!

Then you’ll have just under $2k to get a large bore and you should have plenty of options there. Used large bores pop up all the time on eBay and the forum.

A notable “budget” large bore in the Benge 165f (closed wrap) or 190f (open). Those are usually around $400-1000 depending on condition and the seller.

Good luck in your search! Only you know what is best for your situation.
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

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

I'm in the same camp as Burgerbob and Matt K. I have a King 607F .525 bore horn, and I love the thing to death since it's the horn that really got me to start focusing on music when I was in high school, but for what I play now, I don't like the idea of trying to do everything with that instrument alone as a compromise. I had a 3047AFR not long ago, which I sold because our band was on hiatus and I wasn't playing it at the time, and I wish I wouldn't have, but I get that it's not a good fit for everyone. If you play the horn enough and decide you like it you can definitely find better deals on them depending on how picky about condition you are, and you could easily find one cheap enough to leave room in your budget for a small-bore trombone. If you decide to move on to other options, as Matt said, there are a ton of Bach 42s available within your price range as well. As a couple people mentioned above, your best bet would be to look into one of those large-bore options that will leave you with enough left over to have some small-bore options available as well if that is indeed the route you decide to go.
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by Thrawn22 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:47 am

Hell. With a $2500 budget you can get everything minus a bassbone.

I'm in favor of all camps as far as suggestions go.

With a .525 horn, you can pass in almost all genres. A Bach 36 has a wide spectrum of sound that allows it to blend well in classical settings, and when you work it, it can brighten up. Conn 78Hs are hard to come by and 3B+s are imo on the opposite side if the sound spectrum from a Bach.


You can get a good professional small and large bore for your money. For small, Kings 2Bs and 3Bs are plentiful as are Conn 88Hs and Bach 42s for large bore. A trigger large bore can help you get by on easy bassbone parts too if need be.

Like i said to start, with your budget can net you a Bach 36, a Bach 42 and a King 2b/3b if your lucky.
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by Fruitysloth » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:25 pm

I’ve got a Bach 42 that I would let go of for $1100 shipped, giving you $1400 to find a nice small bore AND maybe a medium bore.
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by whitbey » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:13 pm

Fruitysloth wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:25 pm
I’ve got a Bach 42 that I would let go of for $1100 shipped, giving you $1400 to find a nice small bore AND maybe a medium bore.
That is smart.
525 horns are just plain in between. Best to do small and big right.
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harrisonreed
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by harrisonreed » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:20 pm

I don't like any .525 horns. To me, the do all horn is a normal King 3BF. The only thing it won't do well is heavy orchestra stuff, but no one usually can just waltz in and play orchestra gigs anyways.
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by BGuttman » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:20 pm

If I have to take only one horn and I don't know what I'm playing I bring my Medium Bore. If I could only own one horn it would be a Medium Bore. If I needed to play professionally I'd consider large and small as everybody else seems to want.

In most amateur playing opportunities nobody cares what size horn you play -- only what you can do with it.
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Thrawn22
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by Thrawn22 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:41 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:20 pm
If I have to take only one horn and I don't know what I'm playing I bring my Medium Bore. If I could only own one horn it would be a Medium Bore. If I needed to play professionally I'd consider large and small as everybody else seems to want.

In most amateur playing opportunities nobody cares what size horn you play -- only what you can do with it.

Ever since i bought my 78H it has been my go to horn for all things legit unless i absolutely need to pull out my 8H.
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by hyperbolica » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:50 pm

In my quartet 3 of 4 of us play 525. John Swallow, my teacher at New England Conservatory played a 36b. 78h was at one time the standard orchestral horn. I own 6 tenors, 3 of which have 1 or more 525 tube. I challenge you to actually hear a difference between someone playing a 547 and 525.
FullPedalTrombonist
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by FullPedalTrombonist » Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:00 pm

Depending on how serious your university is about music I would take your budget and sit on it for a bit. Play trombones at music stores if they let you or have enough that interest you, ask to play on a section mate’s horn for a rehearsal, take some lessons, read about what epiphanies people have had here and in the TTF archives.

Personally I’d split that budget into finding two good used horns. A large bore and a small bore. I think you could get a 42B and a Conn 6H easy. Just depends on if those are the ones you like.
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by Bach5G » Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:26 pm

I have .525 and .547 Shires bones.

If I had to choose one, it would be the .547. The .525 is the jack of all trades but master of none.

That being said, I’m taking the .525 to play 3rd in a big band swing dance tonight.
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by Bach5G » Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:28 pm

Fruitysloth wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:25 pm
I’ve got a Bach 42 that I would let go of for $1100 shipped, giving you $1400 to find a nice small bore AND maybe a medium bore.
42 or 42B?
Fruitysloth
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by Fruitysloth » Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:31 pm

Bach5G wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:28 pm
Fruitysloth wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:25 pm
I’ve got a Bach 42 that I would let go of for $1100 shipped, giving you $1400 to find a nice small bore AND maybe a medium bore.
42 or 42B?
It’s a 42B, I forgot to clarify, thanks!
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by PaulT » Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:54 pm

[changed my mind on commenting on this topic. Not enough experience.]
Last edited by PaulT on Mon Feb 17, 2020 3:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.
FullPedalTrombonist
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by FullPedalTrombonist » Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:12 pm

There are very prominent players who use larger than “standard” equipment in a commercial setting. Personally I’ve used a large tenor and even one of my bass setups in some big bands and such. I love the sound and what I can do with the horn, but not more than I do with a small bore. Maybe the same. But in a different way. Like how tea or coffee in the morning are both great but for different ways and depending on mood.

With being recorded ( and people listening live ) radically different timbres can come from the same horn. My old SilverSonic 2B could sound darker than the bass bone in the studio or as bright as the altos in a hall or anything in between.

I miss some old large bore Yamaha’s I’ve been able to play in the past. They seemed so expressive and easy on the player.
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by ChadA » Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:49 pm

I really enjoy playing my Greenhoe 88H with the SL2547 slide. I actually prefer it to the stock 547 slide.
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by Jimkinkella » Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:10 pm

No really bad suggestions so far, it does depend on what you want to play.
If you're uncertain I would say that a major concern is picking up a horn that you can get a reasonable return on if / when you sell it.
There are a number of guys (including in this forum) that do a bunch of stuff on a .525, but most of them do have other options at hand.
I personally played a .525 for a number of years, but went with a .547 along with a small bore for a couple of decades.
Now I have a couple of other options.
The 2 big considerations I would look at in your position would be what horn really clicks with you - if you don't like it you won't practice and probably not sound great - and ask what horn would make a reasonable investment if your playing style and interests evolve.
If it's a difference of a few hundred dollars I would strongly lean toward the horn that speaks to you right now.
I always recommend playing as many horns as you reasonably can, and just see how they feel.

My 2cents
YMMV
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by PaulT » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:20 pm

attempt to delete duplicate post
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by Kingfan » Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:58 am

There seems to be a rose brass bell Blessing B88 (.547 bore) open wrap for sale on Facebook in Victor, NY for too cheap - $350. https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/it ... 530768410/. If you could nab that one, you have plenty of money left to buy a really nice small bore. Worth checking out, I think.
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Re: .525 or .547 Bore?

Post by Bach5G » Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:12 am

Adding to my previous post, I played my .525 on 3rd last night. I use a s/s Schilke 51 with it. I do like how fat it can sound in the lower and mid-registers.
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