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

JimDBB at aol.com JimDBB at aol.com
Sun May 11 22:01:38 PDT 2003

> Answering Rob McCallum's query with my personal spin on trombone size
> Rob,
> 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
> too.
> 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
> mouthpiece.
> 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
> bone!
> 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.
> Cheers
> Brian Towers   (courtesy my wife's P.C. janetshaw at sympatico.ca  !!)
> Toronto
> 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!

   Brian:  You will be interested to know that Jack Teagarden in his later 
years usually played a Reynolds trombone...possibly the same model that you 
have.  He also liked a smaller bore Conn. and the Williams Model 4, I believe 
that the Reynolds was an offshoot of Olds.

  I agree with Brian about the smaller bore trombones being better suited to 
playing jazz.  All of the grat jazz trombonists played smaller bore 
trombones...the King 2B LIberty model was favored by Dorsey, Cutshall, Green 
and many others,  The Martin Trombone favored by many, among them, Jack 
Jenney.  The Bach Model 6 was played by many including Glenn Miller.  And 
many played the Conn smaller bore including Jack Teagarden. 

 And I agree with Brian that you can't get any edge in your sound on larger 
symphonic size trombones.

Jim Beebe

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