The Brass Ark is proud to be a dealer for the exciting new custom crafted instruments from Matt Walker and Michael McLemore or M&W Trombones out of Jackson, Wisconsin. Matt and Michael started honing their craft building the original Greenhoe trombones and curate their attention to detail with their new musical offerings from their own brand. These trombones are stunning, being built with only top tier materials and craftsmanship the results are impressive!
Well, how do they play??? The first thing I notice about M&W Trombones are how solid they feel in your hands. Everything is in the right place, feels exactly how it should. There is weight here, its not a lightweight design, but it is a solid design, I appreciate that. The next thing you will notice is how easy and comfortable the instrument is to play. The valve is balanced, the bell is thin and responsive and the slots are well defined. When you blow a centered sound you are rewarded, when your air isn't as focused the instrument helps guide you back to the center. At the heart of this design is an orchestral trombone, that's the sound it makes and it does this extremely well.
I will endeavor to keep one of these instruments in stock at all times, but as demand increases I expect new instruments to arrive every 3-4 months. Custom specs and special orders are welcomed, I will gladly offer my expertise to help tailor an instrument to your tastes
The Brass Ark model 1213 "Vintage Orchestral" Trombone was designed by trombonists Thomas Zsivkovits and Noah Gladstone to finally fabricate a modern trombone that captures the essence of the "classic American orchestral trombone sound" but improves the playability and stability that contemporary bores and valve technology offer. Departing from Noah's personal collection of important vintage trombones, we carefully selected and meticulously recreated the components that work in harmony with each other to yield an original sounding instrument. This is not a worn out copy of a Conn 88H or a Bach 42 or the like, but something new and exciting to play. A trombone that creates nostalgia and is an instrument to be passed on for generations. The model 1213 is built in Germany exclusively by Stephan Schmidt for The Brass Ark and is only available through this website. Please see the dedicated page for more information about this instrument.
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.
Handmade alto trombone in Eb fabricated by Markus Leuchter at his small shop in Germany. This alto trombone is the next generation of the famous model originally designed by the famous trombone maker Herbert Glassl. The Glassl alto trombone is well known around the world for being a fabulous instrument for orchestral and soloistic playing. This new instrument from Leuchter uses the original design but improves the instrument in slide construction, leadpipe design and bell fabrication. The results, one of the finest alto trombones in the world.
Handmade professional bass trombone, fabricated by Markus Leuchter. This beautiful instrument has many features not found on a variety of factory produced instruments. Each bend is handmade to fit perfectly without stress on any joints. The instrument is fabricated out of high quality very thin German red brass (including the valve wraps) and German nickel silver. This instrument is designed to be a good balance point between traditional German trombones and the American style Trombone, incorporating aspects of both. Each instrument is built to order, so it can be set up any way desired.
I was playing a Mozart Requiem a few months back and as per usual, the orchestra had a very small string section. Playing alto trombone with small strings in a live acoustic is always a challenge and I found myself working extremely hard to get the clarity that I was after without overpowering the small ensemble. Three modern trombones versus 12 strings... we're always going to win.
In the end, I decided to use one of my vintage alto trombones, my 1920s Kruspe alto trombone, which has tiny specs but makes a great sound! Since it is a historic instrument, it was quite a challenge to get it to blend with modern trombones (not to mention the no tuning slide thing) so I had to be on my toes which was rewarding but exhausting.
I began to ponder... no one really makes a small alto that is well suited for this kind of situation. So, with the help of my friend Thomas Zsivkovits and in concert with master builder Stephan Schmidt, we began to brainstorm an alto with some rather unusual (but exciting specifications). This instrument was born. (You'll notice I went with a friction fit. I personally prefer the feel of that in my hand when playing alto (got used to it on my sackbuts) and since I've yet to find extensive plunger work in the alto repertoire, I decided to roll with it. Glad I did, I think its cool. I know I may be in the minority.)
Introducing a new high quality line of sackbuts from my shop mate and friend, Brad Close. These instruments are very exciting and have many players in the early music community very impressed. These are 100% handmade instruments built in our La Crescenta shop. They are hand hammered, burnished and scraped like the originals and the bells are extremely thin and responsive. Based on historical examples, these new line of sackbuts from Brad tick all the right boxes and offer a playable instrument with an authentic sound and feel for a reasonable price. Details on the models below.
Delivery times between 4-6 months. All instruments are unlacquered and do not include a case. They do include a Brad Close sackbut mouthpiece in silver-plated finish. A Kariso hardcase can be sourced for your instrument for an additional fee.
High quality Eb alto sackbut made by Markus Leuchter in Germany. Designed with input from sackbuttist, Harry Ries, as well as incorporating elements from other makers and original instruments, Markus has been able to create a fabulous playing alto sackbut. The sound and playing characteristics of this instrument are both of high quality and the craftsmanship is top notch. As with all of Markuss historic brass instruments, you get a lot of horn for you money. Playing as well as some of the most famous and respected current historic makers but for a bargain price for a handmade instrument. The standard model features a hand-engraved bell garland, ornamented bell stay and a 3rd position bell. A tuning slide has been incorporated into the design because it is useful and easy to integrate. Recommended in raw brass finish.
On a side note, I personally own a Leuchter alto sackbut and Im very satisfied with it. A classical trombone bell section based on an original Johann Schmeid alto trombone from the late 1700s will be offered shortly and will be compatible with the sackbut slide.
Handmade Bb tenor sackbut made by Markus Leuchter. This tenor sackbut is designed using historic instruments and incorportating some of the upgrades of modern trombones without sacrificing the integrity of the sackbut. Modern chrome slide tubes give a smooth slide action, tuning slide allows for the player to adjust to their surroundings and a water key allows for you to empty condensation quickly. These design elements enhance the playability of the instrument and allows for the musician to fully realize the potential and beauty of the sackbut. Each piece of the instrument is handmade by Markus, the level of craftsmanship and detail is high. Recommended in raw brass finish.
A classical trombone bell section based on an original Johann Schmeid trombone from the late 1700s will be offered shortly and will be compatible with the sackbut slide.
Finally, A high quality bass sackbut in F that wont break the bank. This is a fabulous instrument with everything a trombonist needs to play the low parts and look good doing it (this large sackbut will certainly turn heads). This instrument is an original design by Markus using other F bass trombones and incorporating some of his own ideas. For a bass sackbut, this is a user friendly instrument being easy to play and integrating some nice features to allow the modern trombonist to feel comfortable on a period horn. A kruspe style water key is standard and actuates when placed on the floor.
Pierre Ribo makes some of the finest serpent instruments in the world! This unusual instrument was invented in France inthe late 1500s and was played consistently up until the 1800s. PIerre's shop is in Brussels, Belgium and he has dedicated himself to not only preserving this historic brass instrument, but improving it as well. I must say, the quality and craftsmanship on Pierre's instruments are some of the finest I have ever seen. His serpents are true playable artwork. When you play it, the sounds will immediately excite you, as the resonance and arcane beauty of the sound will certainly strike at the core of what makes brass playing so obsessive. Pierre offers his serpents in C and can make them from maple or walnut. They are covered in calf leather and can be left natural, dark brown or traditional black. Crooks are available in A-440,430 and 415. Optional keys are available as well (B Natural, F sharp, E flat, C sharp)