[Dixielandjazz] trombones - how big the bore/bell?

Janet janetshaw at sympatico.ca
Sun May 11 13:15:37 PDT 2003

Answering Rob McCallum's query with my personal spin on trombone size

I prefer a smaller bell for a trombone - for about the past three years I
have been playing a Reynolds Emperor- 7 1/2 inch bell, this is a horn not
made any more but I have two.    I also have a Bach Stradivarius model 16,
which is also a good horn.   The smaller bore works better for me because I
find it gives me that brassier sound I seek - it is brighter and more
direct, the sound seems to come out quicker and punchier.   I also use a
shallow mouthpiece to help me with my weaker upper register.   I also have
an elderly Olds Ambassador, with a 7 1/2 inch bell and this works for me

I played King 3B's (bigger bell) for a while.  For me they have a warm tone
but somewhat woolly for my personal taste.  The bigger bells seem to need a
lot of work to make them ring and sparkle .  I hear a lot of small group
trombone players whom I think would sound livelier with a smaller horn.   I
suspect the larger bore trombones are more suitable for trombone sections in
large jazz orchestras or symphonic stuff.

One of these days I would like to get hold of a used King 2B and try it out.
I have heard others playing thatt horn and it often sounds the way I like.
Of course Jim Beebe is right, much of the sound has to do with the choice of
Also the type of embouchure, one's teeth and lips, lung capacity etc affect
the sound of the bone probably as much as the actual type and make of the

I was recently in the News Orleans jazz museum and was struck by the
smallness of the horns played by the greats, both trombones and
trumpets/cornets..   I also noticed that from the old photos too - the bell
of Jack Teagarden's horns looks small to me - unfortuately I never got to
see him live so I cannot really comment on Jack T's horns.

Brian Towers   (courtesy my wife's P.C. janetshaw at sympatico.ca  !!)

P.S. I am sending a copy of this e-mail to Joe Showler  - I am sure he must
have one of Jack's old horns in that museum/shrine of his!

----- Original Message -----
From: "Rob McCallum" <rakmccallum at hotmail.com>
To: "djml" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Saturday, May 10, 2003 7:22 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] trombones

> Hi everyone,
> This question is directed to the trombone players.  It's time for me to
> a new horn, but because I've, literally, played the same King student
> for 25 years, I've really got no idea what to look for.  I'm curious as to
> what trombone models  you've played professionally and why.  When I first
> started thinking about a new horn a couple of years back, I was looking at
> the King 2B and 3B models.  At $1500 though, I'm wondering if they sell
> more because of the hype of the so-called "jazz trombone" and if they're
> really worth it.  I'm looking for a straight tenor trombone with no F
> attachment, and one that I can, hopefully, produce a fuller tone on.  I
> haven't been happy with my tone lately, and part of that is my horn which
> falling apart (getting air loss).  I'm not a very loud player to begin
> and I'm looking for a horn that may help add some bite and volume as well.
> Curious also about bore size; I play a very small bore horn now.  Does
> size automatically impact the fullness of tone??
> Any thoughts would be appreciated.
> All the best,
> Rob McCallum
> www.solarjazz.com

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