My stable of Horns
My latest adventures have been with lead pipes. I bought an Edwards slide on ebay, a 547/562 dual bore slide. The lead pipe was a lot shorter then the new lead pipes that Edwards makes. at least for the 525 bore slides. And the funny thing is that it seems to play really good for me. That got me thinking about how the length of the lead pipes effect the sound. I tried to research them on the Internet but there is not much out there. The brass Edwards pipes are a little over 9 inches, the silver ones are around 10 1/2. I have one bach pipe from my 16 and it is a little over 7 inches. I then started figuring out the wave length of different notes, especially G, Ab and A and the length I figured is between the length of the Bach pipe and the new Edwards pipes. The old Edward pipe was just longer then 8 inches, which is on the short side along with the Bach pipe of the G node wave lengths. So I called Edwards and had a conversation with their production manager, Ron, thank you, and he told me that there is no acoustic reason for the lengths, just tried and true lengths developed over the years and the latest is going for the longer pipes that seem more focused. So I asked him about shorter pipes and he said he would make me one, but since I had several extra pipes, just cut them off and try them out. I proceeded to cut one of my pipes to approximately the same length as the old Edwards pipe (8 inches). It did seem a little more flexible, so I then took another pipe and cut it to the same length as the Bach 16 pipe (7 inches). This one plays the best of all of my 525 pipes. I think I could optimize by trying some variations on the 7, but for now the seven is the one I am trying it does pretty good for me.
I have been using gold plated Schilke mouthpieces for some time. Some years ago, the legendary Art Sares came up and played at Harrahs Tahoe for a couple of months and I had a chance to talk about mouthpieces with him. At that point I was playing a mouthpiece that Burt Herrick had made for me. This was a mouthpiece that was loosely based on a Bach 4c, which was the required mouthpiece at my college. Art convinced me that the funnel shaped Schilkes were the greatest things on earth, and I started a long career playing a Schilke 42b on my jazz tenors. On my Edwards I was playing a shilke 47, but I have been trying other mouthpieces lately, looking for a better match. I have a 51b that I really like on a Holton 159, but it doesn't seem to match up well with my Edwards either. I tried a copy of an Al Cass mouthpiece for a while, lately I have been switching back and for between the 51b and a Mark Curry 5c, but life still isn't perfect. On my TR180 Bass Trombone I switched from a Bach 1 1/2 G to a George Roberts Model. I played in a band with George for a couple of years when he was still playing Bachs, but he signed with Yamaha and the horn they made for him was more like his original Olds that made him famous. The mouthpiece that he had made for his Bach didn't work as well on the Yamaha. So he gave me the last of his Bach sized mouthpieces and started using ones that worked better with the new horns. The one I still play with is the one that he last used on his Bach.
Conn Alto Trombone, 35H 1970 Vintage, it has the tuning in the slide. I had Burt Herrick build a mouth piece for the horn and Mark Curry has given me a couple to try out. At this point I am used to the Herrick but every time I get out the alto I try everything.
Tenor Trombone (small bore)
King 2B (Urbie Green Model made in the early 70's) - King made a series of these horns when they wanted Urbie to be one of their guys. He must have never signed up because this never became an official model. The horn is I think a basically standard dual bore 2B but a light weight version. This is the horn that I played for years when working in the show rooms in the Reno/Tahoe area. It is the perfect horn for playing lead in a small two or three trombone section and has the perfect sound.
King 2B - This is my backup 2B ( early 60's vintage), although I haven't been playing these horns lately.
Bach 6-VI - this is one of my current jazz horn, the serial number is 2003. and early 40's horn. This horn came from a retired Bach employee and has been through a lot. The bell section has been extensively rebuilt. the neck pipe is not a regular neck pipe, and the slide is a combination light weight slide and standard slide. The reason I am playing this horn and not my King is that in big bands with four or five trombones the King was too light weight. The Bach sounds spectacular in large sections, and this horn plays as good as it sounds. I have played other 6's but they didn't have the same sound, maybe there is something to the story I heard about the Chicago trombone section getting new horns that they then crushed the bells and then had straightened before they actually played them.
Bach 16 - this horn is my practice horn. It is the standard dual bore 16 with a custom leadpipe and has the same great playing characteristics as the 6. The overtone series slots really well just like the 6. I would like to play this horn more but it doesn't seem to be able to blend (or project) into a big trombone section like the 6 can, but I like to play it in small combos.
King 3B (silver sonic) - This was a horn I used to play lead on when I was in college, but gave it up when I started playing in the small trombone sections where the 2B was a much better fit.
Tenor Trombone (big bore)
Edwards - I went to the factory a couple of years ago and ended up with a .525 / .547 dual bore horn. Yellow brass bell and the heavy weight slide. Recently I have added a single bore .525 slide for playing in a brass quintet and a different tuning slide. Now I have a Conn type, and a Bach type tuning slide. I use this horn for playing in the High Desert Brass Quintet and when playing in the Carson City Symphony or subbing in the Reno Phil.. I think I have finally decided that the Bach style tuning slide works better for me then the Conn style. I also have bought two 81/2 inch bells on ebay. A 320CF which I really do like and a 266 (I think) which is a very heavy yellow brass bell. And the latest addition is a Edwards 547/562 slide that I have been using with the Symphony. It's really an old one ( for Edwards) and the lead pipe that came on the horn was a lot shorter then the new pipes you get from Edwards.
Holton TR180 - This is my bass trombone. I bought it new in the 60's to replace a Conn 88H. This is a nice horn that I can just pick up and play. At one point in my music career I was playing a lot of bass trombone, and I switched to using a Larry Minick altered Conn inline bass, but this was a horn that you had to play all the time to be able to make it sound. The Holton is a much friendlier horn and it is the horn I kept..
Misc Low Brass
Yamaha Baritone - this horn is the regular 4 valve brass bell horn. This must have been some test horn because there is no name or serial number on it.
Mirafone Tuba - this horn is a small five valve BBb horn that I got from the factory in the early 70's. I played Tuba for close to ten years in a brass quintet and used this horn in many shows. The horn has played Neil Sedaka, Burt Bacarach, Sammy Davis and many others.