eBay is the Devil’s tool.
As many of you know, I have a problem when it comes to bikes. I see bike frames or vintage bikes and I want to own them. Well, the same thing kind of applies to brass instruments. Specifically trombones and euphoniums.
Since I’ve started playing in concert band again, I am rediscovering my love for rescuing vintage instruments and giving them new musical life playing them. Kind of like I’m how I rotate what bikes I ride. And much like my bikes, each instrument plays differently.
Right now I’m back on trombone, and I am very much enjoying it after playing euphonium for a couple years. But. The current horn I use has always felt— stuffy. Hard to get a good resonant sound. Feels like a lot of work to play. And my preferred mouthpiece doesn’t fit quite right.
This mouthpiece fit up led to research on mouthpieces, shank sizes, vintage trombones and lead pipe sizing, etc. Which spiraled into eBay searches for mouthpieces which then spilled over into searches for vintage trombones that might be available.
Naturally I found two trombones that I just had to have!
One was a vintage art-deco 30’s era Conn vocabel instrument. Silver. Deco bell engraving. Comes with old case and mouthpiece. It was kinda too pretty not to bid on— so I did.
The other was a big-boy horn. A Bach 50G bass trombone. I have wanted a larger horn for awhile to give me the versatility. Plus, bass bone is just cool. This isn’t like a bass bass, with two triggers and miles of extra tubing. But it is larger than my current horn by a bit. And should also be a better fit for my mouthpiece of choice… unless I need something bigger and deeper.
So I bid on that one too.
And fuck me if I didn’t win them both. Merry Christmas to me I suppose.
While not cheap, they were both vintage horns with wear and more than a few scuffs, scrapes, pits and missing lacquer. But (again like my vintage bikes) pristine looking horns don’t interest me. I like the patina of age. I like the history. And I like taking a horn that might not look shiny and new and making it sound like a million bucks.
And in the grand scheme of things, they weren’t crazy expensive. Some bass trombones go for 2 to 4 Grand. And a vintage King 2B jazz standard horn (basic trombone) goes for 2000+. And that’s not a lot of brass for a lot of dough re mi. I didn’t pay nearly that and got Two horns. Now let’s just hope they play decently.
Although, a good musician can make even a craptsculat horn sound decent. And these are NOT crap horns. They’re actually very well respected and sought after models from when brass instruments are made by hand in America. They just look a bit careworn.
Once I receive them, I’ll post pics. And give reviews on their playability.