Nov 13, 2017

Equipment Notes

Being a Conn-Selmer artist who plays Bach trombones, I am always interested in instrument design and manufacture. We are currently working on a new signature model, featuring a thin red-brass bell and new valve. My preference is to emulate the sound and playing characteristics of the best of the older Bach instruments. The new Bach 42BOF model will feature a European designed “Open Flow” valve. This is the most responsive valve on a Bach trombone that I have ever played. It will be available as a “42CUSTOM” in the Jay Friedman configuration, with a lightweight gold brass bell, and an option for a lightweight nickel 42 or 50 hand slide. This trombone will be available in early 2018, and will be a great addition to the Bach trombone line!

I would also like to see the reintroduction of the Bach model 45. The model 45 had a 9 inch bell and some had a dual bore slide. I am not a fan of dual bore slides because the overtone series of each inner slide tube will be different and this will cause each octave to be in a slightly different slide position, and we already have enough of those variants don’t we?

The 45 would serve both tenor and bass trombones players as a doubling instrument. There are many ensemble pieces calling for one trombone. Many times it is difficult to discern whether the part is meant for a tenor or bass instrument. Then there is the occasional “tenor-bass” delineation, which both Wagner and Stravinsky have called for, and which seems to be a fitting description of the model 45. The 45 would be a perfect doubling instrument for a tenor player who doesn’t play bass trombone, and the perfect doubler for the bass trombone player who doesn’t play tenor.

The 45 would also make a perfect 2nd trombone in a modern band/orchestra low brass section, because it would correspond to the old German formula of progressively larger sized descending voices; i.e. alto, tenor, bass. This concept is the same idea as a choir of voices comprised of S,A,T, B as opposed to identical sized instruments, which would emulate the T,T,B,B color. While the latter’s advantage is more blend, the former has the advantage of both blend and color.

This brings me to the concept of matching the instrument to the type of music being performed. I enjoy playing different sized instruments for different styles of music. Playing the Bolero on a 547 bore instrument may be a feat of strength, but unless you have the uncanny ability to get the sound of a small bore “pea-shooter,” which few do, it’s the wrong sound. Also playing large bore instruments on classical era parts which were meant for an alto trombone is an affront to the music. Let’s be historically accurate rather than seeing how many high notes we can play on our big, bad blunderbusses! You’ll have a lot more fun in the long run.

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