I'm very proud to offer a new project created at the Brass Ark for trombonists looking for a vintage instrument but with the modern features of the latest valve design, wraps and leadpipes. I think we can all agree that Bach 42s and Conn 88Hs have set the bar for orchestral large bore trombones since their acceptance of the standard "tool of the trade" in the 1950s. These designs are almost sacred at this point and have been copied by other makers over and over again... yet there is something that is always missing in a copy, which as good as it may be, it never seems to have the same sound as the real thing.
Trombonists buy Bachs and Conns because the parts and designs are great... but as good as the instruments are, I find that many of my clients at The Brass Ark are always looking to improve upon their venerable classic trombones... whether that's buying the latest and greatest custom trombone or simply looking at modifying their existing instrument to get the most out of it as possible.
I was speaking with my good friend, Don Sawday, and we had the idea of collaborating on a new project to update vintage trombones and see how well we could get them to play. Don is a phenomenal brass technician, working with some of the legends like Larry Minick and Bob Malone. After a few prototypes and valve experimentations we think we have created something special.
We start with a good playing original Bach 42 and disassemble the entire trombone. We then rebuild the slide with new outer tubes, make a custom threaded receiver and install one of the Brassark seamed dual radius bass slide crooks. The bell section is outfitted with an open port oversized rotary valve and we build an open wrap. We do some voodoo spells on the bell flare (sorry trade secret!) and reassemble with no stress. A custom trigger lever is created and we turn a brass thumb paddle, which has a really nice weight to it. The throw of the lever is not short and not long, but medium to give you maximum control over when your valve actuates.
The finish is not always perfect with these instruments as we are starting with vintage pieces, but we're very happy with the way they play and hope that this offers another unique instrument for trombonists to consider when looking for the sound that makes them happy. Please see the dedicated page for more information about this instrument.
Currently working on vintage Elkhart Conn 88H refit Sawday/Ark Trombones. E-mail for more information