Mar 6, 2014

Consumer Retorts Retort

Here are the results of last months call for consumer feedback on favorite trombone related products. Contributors names have been left out to protect the innocent.
I will entertain more opinions next month if anyone would like to share their preferences.


Opinion 1:
Straight Mute - Wallace TWC – 311 – Aluminum, Wallace TWC – 312 – Aluminum with Copper bottom
Cup Mute – Wallace – TWC – 411 – It’s adjustable, plus if you remove the cup it makes a great v-shaped straight mute too!
Practice Mute – Wallace TWC – M19 Studio Practice mute and TWC – M19C – Compact Mute that fits in your horn in the case. Bremner Shhhhhh is also very good.

Opinion 2:
Practice; Best Brass warm up mute - perfect for travel, warmup before concert, lightweight, fits into bell in the case - My absolute favourite. I had tried several different ones before, but the Yamaha silent Brass is to big and heavy - although good resistance and good with the walkman and earplugs. Others I send back after trying them, because they didn't provide a good sound, were too heavy, or too much resistance.
Straight: Tom Crown, Aluminium with Copper Bottom - warm sound, low resistance, enough muted sound with minimum resistance. Also good in low register. My preference.
Cup; Dennis Wick - nothing spectacular, but serves the desired passages.


Opinion 1:
Slide Lube – Yamaha “Slide Oil.” Though not really an oil!
Valve Oil – Al Cass Fast for Thayer Valves, Hetman No. 11 Rotor Valve Oil for rotary valves.
Tuning Slide Grease – Schilke Tuning Slide Grease

Opinion 2:
On the topic of slide oils, I have experimented with many different slide oils and creams. I have found nothing compares to Slide-O-mix (separate bottle variety). It works well on tight or spacious slides, as well as heavy or lightweight. However, with the more light weight slides it is important not to put too much Slide-O-Mix on. Obviously it evaporates quicker than some slide creams, but reapplying it every few days or so is definitely worth the pay off.

Opinion 3:
I have tried a lot of different slide lubricants, but the final outcome: Yamaha Slide lubricant is very good (and has a nice fragance.) I use it on my silver brass slides. For my yellow brass slide the Slide-o-mix rapid comfort works best. Why that is - I have no idea. The Heyday permanent Slide product - I have bought it, but not yet tried. I don't really want to change a running system that works for me.
For valve oils, Yamaha Rotor Spindle oil and Yamaha Lever oil are the best I have tried on my valve so far. For the tuning slide I use a Heyday slide cream, which is a very thick but constant cream. Keeps the tuning slide movable a long time.

Gig Bags

Opinion 1:
Cronkhite – Double Leather
Cronkhite – Single Leather or Reunion Blues Single Leather
Flight Case – Tank Double Tenor

Opinion 2:
Gigbags I think are not the right thing for trombone. Of course they have a plus in carrying as a rucksack or additional clip on bags for equipment, etc. I guess that everyone's view is different on that. The case that comes with the Yamaha Xeno is very good. Slim, easy to carry, very protective for the instrument. I'm tempted to purchase an extra one for another trombone.

Trombone Stand

Conn/Selmer Heavy Duty Black – most sturdy and solid stand.

Stand Light

Aria Brio – Rechargeable – This light is amazing! Lights up the entire stand from top to bottom with LED strip lighting.

Alto Trombone

Opinion 1:
I play a Shires alto and it is the best alto I've ever played. After conversing with Steve Shires, he told me his influences in designing my modern alto trombone were a Conn alto from not long after 1900 (similar to what Ralph Sauer played) and a Glassl. His whole line of altos are designed with the tuning in slide feature (Conn)and the weight of it is a non-issue. My handslide is all nickel silver and not what would be considered lightweight (I don't think)-- it's very durable. My bell is made out of red brass and is abundant with color, but projects more sound than any Conn alto I've played.

Opinion 2:
When I was younger, I didn't think I'd ever have an alto, considering their price, rarity, and infrequent use in the music I was playing. Only recently have the Chinese cheapo's made altos available for all. I recently purchased an E.F. DURAND silver alto, which is one of the brand names for these generic Chinese models. I never played an alto before, so not a lot to compare with, but it seems to play in tune well and has what I think is a good sound. The slide needs work. I'm planning to purchase an optional lead pipe, which I understand may help even more with the playability. I spent right around $100, which seemed the right price for something to experiment with. The lead pipe is another $60 or so, so a brand new instrument for less than $200. I think a lot of players have tried these Chinese models out if only to play an alto for the first time, and then decide whether to shell out the money for a professional model.


I like the Josef Klier mouthpieces, USA Line. Very well manufactured. I use a 6 1/2 AM-L which I had customized with a screw rim, rim more flat, cup a millimeter deeper and slightly different shape on the bottom and slightly bigger backbore. Works very well with my Yamaha Xeno 882G Trombone. I also recently bought a 881G with silver brass slide - which works very well with the same mouthpiece. I also have a small bore trombone Yamaha 651 (which is 30+ years and still in pristine condition.) I use the same rim on that with another customised JK mouthpiece.


Pbones are for fun use only. The slide is a bit of a nuisance. When played with a normal 6 1/2 AM-S mouthpiece, the sound is okay, but still not for serious use. I sometimes take one with me on business travel if I have no space for my normal trombone. Just to keep the embouchure going for a few days.

Mouthpiece Buzzer

Buzzzmaster by David O’Neill

This article has been translated into Polish by Lukasz Michalski.

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