CG Conn Elkhart New York Contrabass Trombone in BBb

This is the crown jewel of my collection! This is the 1902 Conn contrabass trombone in BBb! This trombone has quite the pedigree and lots has been written about it over the years. As legend goes, Conn built three BBb contrabass trombones in 1901/1902. Of the three Conn contrabass trombones One is owned by The Boston Symphony and is featured on Doug Yeo's website, one is in the National Music Museum (although I haven't seen this instrument) and this instrument. Apparently, the other two are smaller bore instruments, this one is significantly larger. As the legend goes, this instrument ended up with Bill Bell in the New York Philharmonic in the 1950s, after being gifted to him from Abe Torchinsky who was in the Philadelphia Orchestra. Roger Bobo purchased this contrabass in the late 1950s and used it at The Eastman School. Upon his move back to Los Angeles to play with the LA Philharmonic, Bobo had the legendary craftsman George Strucel modify this contrabass, adding a FF attachment. Strucel did amazing work, the instrument looks entirely stock, as if this valve was originally on the instrument when it was build by nearly Conn 120 years ago! This contrabass trombone made its regular appearances around LA, in concerts with the Philharmonic, in Hollywood recording sessions (apparently it was played by George Roberts on Jaws!) until Roger retired and sold the instrument to the late (and great) Murray Crewe. Before Murray passed away, he reached out to me to help him find a new home for this special instrument. It subsequently passed hands to Niclas Rydh, prominent collector in Sweden, where it remained for a few years. I was missing this horn after it left for its tenure in Sweden and I had Brad Close build a modern 2 valve replica for me (which I will feature in the museum here soon) and it certainly worked amazingly well! After a short time, Niclas offered this instrument back to me to live in LA at my museum (and find its way back in the the Hollywood recording scene!) and I couldn't wait to get it back here. I'm thrilled to be the caretaker for the next bit of time. So… everyone wants to know about specs and how it plays! Firstly, it plays amazing! It is still a BBb contra, so there is a learning curve, but it is by far the most playable BBb contra I've encountered. The instrument is extremely lightweight, all things considered. The slide has a dual bore .547/.547/.578/.578 and I think this smaller front end helps make it playable. The bell taper and back bow is enormous, it is really stunning to see how large this trombone is. The inner slide tubes are raw brass! but they work incredibly well (I love the sound of brass inner tubes, it makes a big difference). The sound is warm and rich, as you'd expect it takes a lot of air and you have to be efficient with it. I absolutely love playing the foundation of a chorale on this horn. BBb contrabass trombones get a bad reputation, and normally that is deserved… most modern offerings are terrible. That doesn't need to be the case, with a really great instrument and some time, I honestly believe that the BBb contrabass is the real contrabass trombone sound we're all after.