Vincent Bach Mt Vernon Model 42 in Red Brass

The Vincent Bach Model 42 trombone, probably the most famous and ubiquitous orchestral trombone design of the 20th century, began entering the market around the late 1950s. Bach’s rival, C.G. Conn, had been making waves in trombone sales by solidifying their “88H” model as part of their regular catalog and securing many prominent orchestral players by offering this large bore .547″ trombone as a standard order (previously it was available as a special order 8H only). To keep up with market trends, Vincent Bach decided to create an instrument of similar size using the tooling and parts he already had available. Using the mandrel of his Model 36 but spinning the bell to 8.5 inches, using the 36 tuning slide and neckpipe, and the slide crook from the Model 50 bass trombone, he combined these parts to create the Model 42 Bach trombone. This trombone became the industry standard for professional trombonists and can be argued as the basis and design inspiration for many boutique makers today.

In the Mt. Vernon era of Bach production (around 1955-1964), the factory had moved to a state-of-the-art facility in Mt. Vernon, New York, expanding from the shop in the Bronx, New York. It was here that the “Golden Age” of Bach brass instruments were built, a time where all the stars aligned with old-world craftsmanship, materials, modern tools, design refinement, and market share to create something legendary in the brass world. Mt. Vernon instruments are some of the most coveted and valuable in the world and are the benchmark for tone and playability. Even today, makers try to copy these legendary instruments, and they truly have a mystique and something special about them.

This particular Mt. Vernon 42 is the oldest 42 in my collection, hailing from the mid-late 1950s and is one of the earliest Model 42s I’ve seen. It has the old style “swoopy” Bach Bronx style signature stamp on the bell, which is a neat quirk, but it also has a red brass (not gold brass) bell, which is very unusual as gold brass was offered as an upcharge, but the red brass was only used on a handful of instruments and not in the regular catalog. Additionally, it has a flat wire rim bell, and the bell construction is tooth-seamed but much more uniform and regulated than other 42s I’ve seen from this period. The slide also has unusual gold brass outer tubes with a yellow brass crook and is standard weight with nickel oversleeves. I added a generation 2.0 René Hagmann valve with the double O wrap to modernize the F attachment and it integrated seamlessly into this trombone. Most interesting is the original asymmetrical tuning slide. I think it was probably a mistake in the bending process, but it works well and gives another unique feature to this particular Model 42.

One of my best playing trombones in my arsenal, this one gets used by me quite often and always garners a lot of attention at work.