Journal: July 3, 2015

Hello BrassArk fans. My sincere apologies for not updating this section of the website in a long time. I have been incredibly busy performing but also keeping up with the emails, shipping, designing, fabricating and customer service needed to keep the Ark running smoothly. I sincerely thank you all for the support and I’m excited about bringing new and interesting products to market that help brass players around the world find the inspiration and equipment to produce the music they desire.

The entry today is about a rare early Bach New York bass trombone that recently came to the shop here from one of my friends and clients. It is quite unique and because of the interest in vintage Bach trombones, I thought it was a good one to share with you all.

So, without further delay, I present to you the model “B” New York Trombone, circa 1936 :

So… what is it? Turns out, this is an early model 45B before there was a designation as a model 45. It has a narrow .547″ straight bore slide, 9.5″ bell flare and a German made rotary valve. The model 45B was originally designed for the “third (bass trombone)” in medium to large sized orchestras. I’ll let Mr. Bach give you the description himself in this excerpt from an original Bach New York catalog.

Some notable details on this instrument. There is no model number stamped on the bell flare (only a “B” is stamped on the slide), but rather the bell mandrel #451 is stamped below the maker’s mark. Like other early New York trombones, this one has a nickel silver neckpipe. The F attachment is all hand bent tubing (and assembled a bit crooked) and uses expensive solid nickel hex stock for the brace but also uses less bracing than a later model 50, a nice detail. The bell section is a wide as a model 50 (a 50 tuning slide would fit on it with the exception of the tubing size), but the tuning bow is a narrower bore. The bell taper is in between a model 42 and a model 50, it is a tighter bell despite being a 9.5″ flare at termination. It has a steel rim wire and a small fully rounded bead. How’s the sound? Very light bass trombone, wider than a 42 but retains many of the qualities of a 42. I love the blow of the slide, and it really works with this combination.

Because this slide is an early .547″, I can only hypothesize that this slide uses the leadpipe mandrel that would become the model 42 leadpipe, however, upon measuring it, there is some variation on this pipe and we’ll be offering it as a replica as part of our leadpipe line.Interestingly, you’ll notice that production model 45Bs feature a 9″ bell and a dual bore .547″/.562″ slide which more fits into the line of instruments in between the model 42 and the model 50… which leads me to believe that this particular instruments was probably one of the earliest bass trombone designs that Vincent Bach developed, it being sold to a music store almost a year after completion leads me to believe that this instrument was a work in progress and eventually sold to a store as a “one off” . Because the slide is stamped “B” and not a model number, I can only speculate that the “B” stands for bass. You’ll notice on the shop card that it was at a later date that someone added “45B” in pencil to the top of the card. I’d like to thank, my good friend, Benn Hansson, for all of the help figuring this one out and for his assistance obtaining the shop card for me to share with you all.

I’d love to hear about other early model Bach large bore and bass trombones that exist out in the world, so if you have something of interest, please Send me an email as I’d love to hear about your oddities and continue to piece together some history on these wonderful instruments. Until next time! Cheers- Noah