Yuen Li's Discontinued Trombones Page

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Discontinued Trombone Models

This is a list containing the specifications of non-custom trombone models from various manufacturers that have been discontinued. I hope to add to and continually update this list - please do let me know if you spot any errors or omissions.

Please take a few moments to read my copyright notice and disclaimer if you haven't done so already.

 

Discontinued Trombone Model Specifications

Manufacturer (Parent Company) Model Bore (in.) Bell (in.) Valve(s) Other information
Amati-Denak          
 
Vincent Bach (Selmer) Vincent Bach began producing mouthpieces in New York in 1918 and trumpets in 1924. Trombone designs were finalised in 1928, the same year Vincent moved factories to the Bronx, New York. Hence, I don't think there were any trombones produced at the previous site (I haven't seen any evidence to suggest the opposite), but don't quote me on this! In 1953, Bach moved factories again, this time to Mount Vernon, New York where production continued until the early 1960s. Vincent Bach sold his company to the Selmer Corporation in 1961. Selmer had all the tooling and machinery moved to Elkhart, Indiana, and production resumed in 1965.

Mount Vernon-era instruments are highly-prized by collectors, particularly those rare examples that are in good condition. Elkart instruments have also been very good until the late 1980s. Sadly, the previously high standard of quality control declined in the 1990s - there have been complaints of instances of shoddy workmanship. Bach aficionados will generally keen to point out that most Bachs are good instruments, however. The trick, it seems, is to play test a few examples to make sure you're getting one of the good ones.

New! Gordon Cherry has very kindly given permission for his Bach trombone serial number list to be reproduced on this site. Click here here to view it.

 
Benge (UMI)          
 
Blessing B-98 .562 9.5 F/Gb Bass. Independent valves. Believed to be a clone of the Bach 50B3. Mixed reviews - some people believe it's great, others think it's a dud.
 
Boosey & Hawkes (Besson) Boosey & Hawkes has for many years been the sole large-scale producer of brass instruments in the UK. This company was formed from the merger of Boosey & Co. with Hawkes & Son in the 1930s. The former began life as a bookstore founded by Thomas Boosey in the 18th century. It only diversified into instrument manufacture about a century later. Hawkes & Son was originally founded in the 1860s by William Hawkes as an importer of muscial instruments, later venturing into music publishing and instrument manufacture. After WWII, the B&H group acquired the British arm of Besson, a company founded by the Frenchman Gustave Auguste Besson in the mid-19th century. The resulting profusion of brands and models have been rationalised over the years, and today, B&H brass instruments are principally produced under the Besson brand name. Strangely enough, despite the early diversity of brands and models, B&H apparently did not possess a large bore (ie 0.547) tenor in its range until around the mid-1950s. Early .547 instruments were apparently expensive and disappointing compared to American counterparts. B&H were apparently good at making F attachment linkages however - all the references I've seen consistently describe F attachment action as being favourable compared to that generally found on American instruments.

Note on serial numbers: If you're looking to date your Besson instrument by looking at serial number lists available on the internet, you should be aware that there are two different lists. One relates to Besson (London) instruments and the other to Besson (Paris) ones. Additionally, it seems that Kanstul and The Allied Company (I'm not familiar with the latter) in the USA produced Besson instruments for which serial numbers are not available (but which were similar to that used on instruments produced by B&H at their Edgware plant).

Gordon Cherry has very kindly given permission for his B&H trombone serial number list to be reproduced on this site. Click here here to view it.

New! Stewart Stunell has recently e-mailed me some information about the 10.10, Besson International, Besson Stratford, Besson New Standard, Besson Academy and Sessionaire ranges.

  The 1.10 series Student models, 1960s-1980s
  The 10.10 series 1960s-1980s. One source, Stewart Stunell, believes that the 10.10 series were top-line professional instruments designed for orchestral use (as opposed to B&H's traditional market, ie brass bands). He says they were regarded as being better than the Imperials: the 10.10 clarinets in particular are still highly prized, especially as a matched pair in Bb and A. In contrast, the brass range "didn't quite take off". This he attributes to the (then) fashion of using American trumpets and large bore trombones.
  The 20.20 series Intermediate(?) instruments, 1960s-1980s
  B&H 400 series Student instruments, manufactured in Czechoslovakia. Some also contract-manufactured by Kanstul, USA.
  B&H Emperor series Intermediate models, equivalent to Besson Concorde but differing in trim and fittings.
  B&H Imperial series Professional models. Superceded by B&H Sovereign range during early 1970s.
  B&H Oxford Professional instruments.
  B&H Regent series Beginners instruments, equivalent to Besson Westminster but differing in trim and fittings. Superceded in early 1990s by Besson 600 series.
  B&H, later Besson, Sovereign series Professional models. Replaced Imperial series. Current Sovereign range is also known as the Besson 900 series.
  Besson Academy series According to Stewart Stunell, this was a complete family of professional trombones. Members ranged in size from "Alto through medium/small Tenors, medium bore Tenors, medium/large Tenors to large bore Tenors and Bb/F Bass trombones". Model numbers were 401 thru 409.
  Besson Class A "Class A" is a designation denoting professional-quality instruments. I believe this designation was only used pre-B&H era and am seeking to confirm this. Further details also being sought.
  Besson Concorde series Intermediate models, equivalent to B&H Emperor but differing in trim and fittings. Evolved into current 700 series.
  Besson International series Some contract-manufactured by Kanstul, USA. Stewart Stunell says that the Besson International range were professional models considered equivalent to the Sovereign Cornets and Imperial trombones (Bb/F tenor and Bb/F bass). Bells had distinctive engraving; available either lacquered or in burnished silver plate.
  Besson New Standard series According to Stewart Stunell, these instruments were Brass Band professional instruments equivalent to the B&H Imperials.
  Besson Stratford series According to Stewart Stunell, the Besson Stratford range was an intermediate one equivalent to the B&H Emperor.
  Besson Westminster series Student models, equivalent to B&H Regent but differing in trim and fittings. Now sold as 600 series.
  Lafleur series Student line. Evolved into 400 series.
  Sessionaire A collection of top-line professional jazz trumpets and trombones, according to Stewart Stunell. He says they have "a neat caliper tuning slide mechanism". Stewart is the proud and happy owner of a Sessionaire trombone, medium/small bore (0.487in) with 8 inch bell, which "sings like a dream".
 
Blessing           
 
CG Conn Charles Gerard Conn started manufacturing brass instruments in Elkhart, Indiana, during the 1870s, and his company proved to be a great success. On Conn�s retirement in 1915, the company was sold to Carl Diamond Greenleaf. Under Greenleaf�s direction, the firm prospered, expanding still further through both organic growth and purchase of other companies. During his stewardship also, many instrument models and various innovations were introduced some of which are still around today, eg the system of numbers and letters for designating instrument models, vocabells (rimless bells), the renown Conn 88H series (it is rumoured that Vincent Bach modelled his famous Stradivarius 42 trombones on the 88H). This period, the following one under the administration of Paul Gazlay (1949-1958) and a third led by Greenleaf�s son Leland, are today considered to have been the golden years of the Conn Corporation. Conn trombones of this fabled era have a legendary reputation amongst the classical musicians and instruments manufactured in the 1950s and 60s are particularly prized by collectors.

In 1969, the Greenleaf family sold the company to the MacMillan Company, a publisher of books. The years under MacMillan ownership were something of a disaster, a dark age for Conn. MacMillan relocated Conn�s headquarters in Illinois, deliberately destroying historical records in the process, leading to loss of a (now) priceless and irreplaceable treasure trove of information about older Conn instruments. A fine new instrument factory in Elkhart was sold to Selmer (Vincent Bach instruments are now produced there) while Conn�s own instrument manufacturing was largely moved to Abilene, Texas, to take advantage of lower labour costs. However, MacMillan failed to appreciate that instrument manufacture is a labour-intensive process requiring a skilled workforce not to be found in Abilene. The first few years in Abilene were essentially learning ones for the new staff, and hence quality of output was very variable. Generally, Abilene-produced instruments have a poor reputation, although it is possible to find examples of good quality.

In 1980, the former Conn employee Daniel Henkin purchased the Conn Corporation from MacMillan. Amongst his achievements were to bring the company back to Elkhart and the purchase of King Musical Instruments. Conn and King were sold in 1985 to Skane Gripen, a Swedish conglomerate, which formed a new parent company, United Musical Instruments (UMI), under whose umbrella Conn and King remain today. The Abilene plant was closed the following year and production of Conn-badged instruments moved to Eastlake, Ohio, where King instruments were being made. Both King and Conn instruments produced in the following decade are generally considered by enthusiasts to be ordinary in terms of quality and character. In the late 1990s, however, UMI has made great strides in improving its manufacture of instruments. The updated Conn 88H models (�Generation II? in particular have come in for considerable praise, being likened by some professionals to be every bit as good as (if not better than) their Elkhart counterparts (click here to read a review on the 88H Gen2 series). It also appears that Conn may be reintroducing or improving old Conn favourites, eg the 62H.

Note: Older Conn trombones had Remington-style leadpipes which will only accept mouthpieces with Remington shanks. Newer instruments and retrofitted older instruments have leadpipes with a (Bach-style) Morse taper and hence will accept modern mouthpieces with standard shanks.

New! Gordon Cherry has very kindly given permission for his Conn trombone serial number list to be reproduced on this site. Click here here to view it.

New! According to Don Bilger, Conn also manufactured trombones under the Pan American and Cavalier brand names. He wasn't sure of the dates for Cavaliers, but Pan American production apparently ran from around 1917 to 1954 and the Pan American serial numbers don't mesh with the Conn serial number list (no source that correlates Pan American serial numbers with production dates is known). The Pan Americans he saw were all small straight tenors with .485" bores and 7" bells. There was a basic model sometimes called a 64H, and a more deluxe model with nickel trim termed the 68H. Both were reportedly modelled on the 4H professional-grade trombone.

  2H       According to the Conn Loyalist trombone list, this was a #1 1/2 Bore Artists' Small Bore with 6.5" or 7" Bell (Wurlitzer Special). 1919-1927, discontinued 1929.
  3H       According to the Conn Loyalist list, this was a #1 1/2 Bore Artists' Small Bore with 6.5" or 7" Bell (Wurlitzer Special). High and low pitch. 1919-1927, discontinued 1929.
  4H .485     Small-bore, favoured for jazz, often compared with King 2B. Historical notes: according to the Conn Loyalist list, this designation was used for a #2 1/2 Bore Artists' Medium Bore with 6.5" or 7" Bell (Wurlitzer Special) from 1919-1939. A #2 1/2 Bore Artist Special with Nickel Trim was introduced in 1936 and discontinued in 1941. A #2 1/2 Bore Medium Bore Artist with Light Weight Slides was introduced in 1940 and discontinued in 1954. A #2 1/2 Bore Medium Bore Artist Special with Light Weight Slides was introduced in 1940 and discontinued in 1941. A #2 1/2 Bore Victor was introduced in 1954 and discontinued in 1958. A #2 1/2 Bore Victor with Light Weight Slides was introduced in 1954 and discontinued in 1958.
  5H       According to the Conn Loyalist list, this was a #2 1/2 Bore Artists' Medium Bore with 6.5" or 7" Bell (Wurlitzer Special). High & Low Pitch. High and low pitch. 1919-1932.
  6H .500     Small-bore, favoured for jazz, comparable to (but brighter than) King 3B. Historical notes: according to the Conn Loyalist list, this designation was used for a #3 Bore Bb Symphony Small Bore with 7.5" or 8" Bell introduced in 1918, discontinued 1928, and reinstated in 1937. Discontinued 1985(?).
  7H .525 8.5   The 7H/78H series were possibly cloned subsequently by Blessing as their B-7 and B-78 models. The "new" 78H model introduced in the 1970s (ie the model number reused) was essentially a 7H with F attachment. Information about the 7H was kindly provided by Don Bilger. Historical notes: according to the Conn Loyalist list, this designation was used for a #3 Bore Bb Symphony Small Bore with 7.5" or 8" Bell (high and low pitch) introduced in 1918, discontinued 1928.
  8H       According to the Conn Loyalist list, this was a #4 1/4 Bore Large Symphony from 1919-1934, and a #4 1/2 Bore Artist Symphony with red brass bell from 1954 to approximately 1974.
  9H       According to the Conn Loyalist list, this was a #? Large Bore Symphony from 1919-1934.
  10H       According to the Conn Loyalist list, this was a #1 1/2 Small Bore from 1919-1930, and a #3 Bore Victor with Coprion Bell and Light Weight Slides from 1955 to 1963.
  11H       According to the Conn Loyalist list, this was a #1 1/2 Small Bore from 1919-1930.
  12H       According to the Conn Loyalist list, this was a #? Bore Bass with Piston Valve to F&E, 8 1/2" Bell and tuning in slide from 1919-1923, a #2 1/2 Bore Coprion from 1938-1955 and a #2 1/2 Bore Coprion with lightweight slides (available only on special order) from 1949 to 1955.
  14H       According to the Conn Loyalist list, this was a #? Bore Bass with Piston Valve to F&E from 1919-1923, a #4 1/2 + #3 1/2 Bore Medium Bass with rotary valve to F & E with tuning in slide from 1927-1932 and a #2 1/2 Bore Bb Director from 1954 to 1974.
  16H       According to the Conn Loyalist list, this was a #1 1/2 Bore Alto from 1919-1948.
  17H       According to the Conn Loyalist list, this was a #1 1/2 Bore Alto (high & low pitch) from 1919-1948.
  18H       According to the Conn Loyalist list, this was a #3 Bore (Tait Model Tuning Device and Slides?) from 1919-1924, a #3 Bore "Frisco" Artist with 7", 7�" or 8" Bell from 1924-1931 and a #2 1/2 Bore Bb Director with Coprion bell from 1954 to 1974.
  19H       According to the Conn Loyalist list, this was a #3 Bore (Tait Model Tuning Device and Slides?) in high and low pitch from 1919-1926.
  20H       According to the Conn Loyalist list, this was a #? Bore Combination Slide and Valve trombone from 1919-1926, and a #2 1/2Bore Connquest from 1954-1955.
  21H       According to the Conn Loyalist list, this was a #? Bore Combination Slide and Valve trombone from 1919-1926, and a #2 1/2Bore Connquest from 1954-1955.
  22H       According to the Conn Loyalist list, this was a #? Bore Alloo Model from 1919-1924, and a #? Bore Alloo Model from 1928-1932.
  23H       According to the Conn Loyalist list, this was a #? Bore Alloo Model (high and low pitch) from 1919-1924.
  24H       According to the Conn Loyalist list, this was a #? Bore Large Symphony Model from 1919-1924, a #2 1/2 Bore Medium Bore Artist Ballroom Model with tuning slide in bell from 1928-1951, and a #2 1/2 Bore Bb Medium Bore Artist Ball-room Model with tuning slide in bell from 1958 to 1970's.
  25H       According to the Conn Loyalist list, this was a #? Bore Large Symphony Model from 1919-1924, and a #2 1/2 Bore Medium Bore Artist Ballroom Model with tuning slide in bell from 1928-1951.
  Connqueror 44H .485     Small-bore, vocabell.
  Connstellation 48H .500 8   Small-bore, comparable to (but brighter than) King 3B. Lightweight slide, bell may be nickel-plated.
  Director 50H .525 8.5 F Medium-bore, student model. This instrument was in continuous production from the Elkhart era throughout all the changes of company ownership, only being discontinued recently (one or two years ago) to make way for UMI's new 52H (a .525/.547 "basic pro" horn with an F-attachment and 8-1/2 inch bell). Information about the 50H was kindly provided by Don Bilger.
  60H .562 9.5 F Bass trombone. Tuning in the slide, rose brass bell. Highly regarded.
  62H .562 9.5 F/E Bass trombone. Closed wrap, dependent valves (possibly may be pulled to Eb/D, but I'm not sure about this), tuning in the slide, rose brass bell. Very highly-regarded. A number were converted to open wrap by the legendary Larry Minick.
  70H   9.5 F Bass trombone. Tuning in the slide. Very highly-regarded - favoured by the legendary George Roberts.
  71H .562 9.5 F Bass trombone. Yellow brass bell. Highly regarded.
  72H .562 9.5 F Bass trombone. Highly regarded.
  73H .562 9.5 F/E Bass trombone. Yellow brass bell, dependent valves. Highly regarded.
  Connquest 77H .522 8   Medium-bore intermediate model, poor relation of 78H.
  78H .525 8.5   Elkart era instrument was medium-bore, professional model, yellow brass bell. Discontinued shortly after Conn was purchased by CCM. In the 1970s, a new 78H model was introduced (ie the model number reused) which was essentially a 7H with F attachment. These were possibly cloned subsequently by Blessing as their B-7 and B-78 models. The 7H/78H series was discontinued around the time that Daniel Henkin bought the company from CCM. Information about the 78H was kindly provided by Don Bilger.
  79H .525 8.5 F Elkart era instrument was medium-bore, professional model, yellow brass bell. Discontinued shortly after Conn was purchased by CCM. Information about the 79H was kindly provided by Don Bilger.
  98H .547/.562 9 F Essentially an 88H with a larger bell and dual bore slide, played by George Roberts in the later stages of his career.
  111H .562 9.5 F/Eb Bass, rose brass bell, dependent valves.
 
A Courtois          
 
Getzen Co          
 
  Holton (G Leblanc) Many years ago, Holton bass trombones were once regarded as amongst the very finest instruments you could buy and so were highly sought after. They were played by luminaries such as Edward Kleinhammer, Ray Premru, Frank Mathieson and Dave Taylor.

New! Gordon Cherry has very kindly given permission for his Holton trombone serial number list to be reproduced on this site. Click here here to view it.

  TR169 .562   F Bass, 9.5 (sometimes 10) inch red brass bell. Said to have been designed by the legendary Edward Kleinhammer, based on his Bach 50B. A very highly-revered instrument. Production ceased sometime in '60s.
  TR269 .562   F/E Bass, double-valved version of TR169.
  TR180 .562 10 F/D Bass. Designed by Lewis van Haney. Well regarded, but nowhere nearly as highly as its predecessor, the TR169. Throat of bell, leadpipe and gooseneck are said to be tighter than that of the TR169. Customised version with different leadpipe played by George Roberts.
  TR185 .562   F Bass, 9.5 or 10 inch bell. Well-regarded.
 
Jupiter (KHS)          
 
 
King Henderson N White ran an instrument repair shop in Cleveland, Ohio, in the late 19th century. He became friends with Thomas King, a leading trombonist, and the two men collaborated to produce a trombone with superior slide action and tone quality. White named the model "King", and the instrument proved a great success. The HN White company continued to develop new trombone models and gained an outstanding reputation for quality and innovation. The company was reputed to have pioneered sterling silver bells. Instruments with these bells were initially named "Silvertone", and later, "SilverSonic" (scuttlebutt has it that the former name was owned by Sears, Roebuck & Company, and that White had either licensed the name for a period or infringed on it and hence had to stop using it in the mid-1900s). Today, King SilverSonic instruments continue to be highly sought after.

Henderson White passed away in 1940, and his wife took over the running of his company for the next 25 years. The company flourished under her direction, and in 1964, opened a new factory in Eastlake, Ohio. When Mrs White retired in 1965, the company was sold to a group of investors who sold it on to The Seeburg Corporation (then a major electronics manufacturer). At this point, the HN White Company was renamed King Musical Instruments. In 1985, King was sold to its current owners, UMI, who appear to be positioning the King marque as their jazz line (with Conn as their "symphonic" line).

The 1930s to the 1960s are considered to be vintage years for King trombones. Consensus is that quality dipped between from the 1970s thru the late 1980s or early 1990s, although well-made examples from that era can be found. In recent years, the quality of King trombones have improved to the point that the most recent King 2Bs and 3Bs, like their 30s-60s counterparts, are once again being regarded by many as being premier jazz instruments. The Duo Gravis bass trombone was is also prized by collectors, albeit not for use in modern symphonic music. Many legendary trombonists (eg Tommy Dorsey, JJ Johnson, Kai Winding and Jiggs Whigham) used King trombones for a significant part - or even all - of their careers.

Some of the information below was obtained from scans of 1932 and 1939 King catalogues very kindly provided by Michael Shoshani.

1939 King regular bell finish options:

Finish II "Silver Gold": Silver-plated, inside of bell gold-plated. Richly-engraved. Inside of bell, ferrules, engraving design, braces, points, cork rings and water key are hand-burnished.

Finish III "Silver Gold Trimmed": Silver-plated. Inside of bell, engraving design, ferrules, points, water key are gold-plated and hand-burnished.

Finish IV "Gold Satin Finish": Heavily gold plated, special engraving design. Inside of bell, ferrules, engraving design, points, cork rings and water key are hand-burnished.

Finish V "Brass Highly Polished": Highly polished brass. Ferrules, points, trimmings, cork rings and hand-held parts of nickel-silver.

Finish V-G "Brass Gold Lacquer Finish".

Finish V-T "Brass Transparent Lacquer Finish".

Artist Special: Very heavily gold-plated, extremely richly engraved. Entire bell, handgrip, cork rings, ferrules and trimmings on slide burnished.

De Luxe: The most highly-decorated finish - heavily gold-plated, richly and intricately engraved. Bell, handgrip, ferrules, trimmings on slide and cork rings burnished.

1939 King sterling bell finish options: Finishes II, V (also V-G, V-T) and Artist Special, as for regular bells.

Note: UMI-produced Kings are not burnished. The process of burnishing, accomplished by rubbing metal with a burnishing stone, makes the metal smooth and shiny.

  American Standard Model No. 210       Old HN White line.
  Cello-Tone Model No. 1407 .481/.491 7   Old HN White line. Designed in conjunction with trombonist Gardell Simons. Three bore sizes were available: .480, .500, dual bore .460/.480.
  Cleveland Model No. 604   7   Old HN White model, intermediate. Dual bore nickel-silver inner slide. Valve trombone version available.
  Concert       Later renamed model 3B. The great JJ Johnson played 3Bs for a significant portion of his career.
  C Trombone .461 6.5   Old HN White trombone pitched in C.
  Gladiator       Old HN White student line.
  Liberty Model No. 1406 .481 7.25   Old HN White line. Model No. 1456 (Silvertone) has sterling silver bell.
  Liberty 2B Model No. 1407 .481/.491 7.25   The classic trombone favoured by Tommy Dorsey. Model No. 1457 (Silvertone) has sterling silver bell. Nickel-silver inner and outer slides. End bow (crook) expanded to fit outer slide tubes - this eliminated need for connecting ferrules, reduced soldered joints from four to two and reduced weight at end of slide.
  New Proportion Model No. 1400 .461/.481     Old HN White line, Artist Solo Model No. 1400 has 6.5 inch bell, No. 1401 has 7 inch bell, No. 1450 (Silver Tone) has sterling silver bell. Intended for solo work and lead playing in dance bands and small orchestras.
  New Proportion Model No. 1405 .481/.508 7.25   Old HN White line, Model No. 1455 (Silver Tone version) has sterling silver bell. Designed as a medium-large bore for use in orchestras or "dance, ballroom, theatre or 2nd trombone in band".
  Symphony Model No. 1410 (1932 specs) .508 9   Originally designed for use in symphony orchestras or third trombone in band. Gold brass bell and slide, with sterling silver funnel. Optional bell entirely of gold brass. Model No. 1460 (Silver Tone version) has sterling silver bell.
  Symphony Model No. 1410 (1939 specs) .546     Some modifications made to 1932 specifications: bore size increased to .546, and two bell diameters made available: 8 or 9 inch. Model No. 1460 (Silver Tone version) has sterling silver bell.
  Symphony Model No. 1480 (1932 specs) .508 9 F The No. 1480 is a No.140 with F attachment, flat (I think) wrap. Model No. 1485 (Silver Tone version) has sterling silver bell.
  Symphony Model No. 1480 (1939 specs) .508 9 F Unlike 1939 Model No. 1410, 8 inch bell not offered. Wrap design has been changed, now closed wrap. Model No. 1485 (Silver Tone version) has sterling silver bell.
  Tempo       Student line, later renamed model 606.
  5B .547 9 F Essentially a 4B with larger bell and throat.
  6B Duo Gravis       Bass. Dependent valves. Legendary professional-quality instrument. Much-prized by admirers, considered too bright by detractors (hence used mainly in symphonic and jazz settings rather than in orchestras). Default side-by-side trigger setup may be difficult for some to operate.
  7B (2107) .562 9.625 F/Gb Bass. Independent valves. A legend making the rounds is that the (tighter and brighter) 7B and (more open) 8B leadpipes were accidentally switched in the prototype 7B and 8B instruments (designed for jazz and symphonic settings, respectively) and that henceforth, production versions of the 8B had 7B leadpipes and vice-versa. In spite of that, funnily enough, the 7B has a reputation for being very bright (overly-so for symphonic use).
  8B (2108) .562   F/Gb Bass. Independent valves. A legend making the rounds is that the (tighter and brighter) 7B and (more open) 8B leadpipes were accidentally switched in the prototype 7B and 8B instruments (designed for jazz and symphonic settings, respectively) and that henceforth, production versions of the 8B had 7B leadpipes and vice-versa.
 
Martin (G Leblanc) The Martin Company was established in Chicago by the German emigrant John Martin (1835-1920) in the late 19th century. The company was destroyed in a fire and shortly afterwards, he moved to Elkhart, Indiana, to work for Conn. Circa 1906, the Martin Band Instrument company was formed in Elkhart, Indiana, by his sons. In 1928, they acquired the Indiana Band Instrument Company, but this company continued to operate independently until 1942, when it was integrated as Martin's student line. The Martin Band Instrument company was bought in 1964 by the Wurlitzer company, and sold on in 1971 to Leblanc.

The only Martin model currently in production is the fabulous Urbie Green tenor trombone. Previous Martin pro ranges included the Committee and Imperial. Indianas were all student models, to the best of my knowledge. Martin trombones have distinctive "straight" (single diameter) bell braces.

           
 
FE Olds The "real" FE Olds shut up shop in 1979 or thereabouts. Vintage models like the Recording and Super manufactured in California during the heyday of the company remain highly-prized even today. Established circa 1915 in Los Angeles 1915, initial Olds trombone models all had in-slide tuning. Bell-tuning models were introduced in the 1920s. In 1953, Olds moved from Los Angeles to Fullerton. Circa 1961, Olds was sold to Norlin. Norlin concentrated on production of the Ambassador student model, but were eventually forced to concede the student trombone market to Yamaha, resulting in the liquidation of Olds circa 1977. The Olds name was bought and is currently being used by a New Jersey company. These newer instruments are not as highly thought of. The descriptions below refer to instruments of the older variety.

Early in the history of FE Olds, there were essentially two ranges: Standard and Military. Towards the middle of the century, the number of ranges proliferated. In ascending order of prestige (generally-speaking), they were the: Ambassador, Special, Studio, Super, Recording, Opera, Custom. Amongst the bass trombones, the Super and Custom were considered the superior lines, particularly the George Roberts model.

A significant amount of the information about Olds trombones below was very kindly provided by Eric Burger.

New! Gordon Cherry has very kindly given permission for his Olds trombone serial number list to be reproduced on this site. Click here here to view it.

  Ambassador series Excellent quality student instruments, assuming manufactured in the 50s and early 60s or earlier. Quality suffered thereafter due to over-emphasis on fulfilling production quotas.
  Ambassador A15 .485/.500 7.5   Chrome-plated nickel-silver inner slide tubes. Silver finish available.
  Ambassador A20 .510/.525(?) 8.5   Student-quality bass trombone with flat-wrap F attachment. Chrome-plated nickel-silver inner slide tubes. Bore size smaller than would be considered "bass bore" today.
  Custom series Top notch professional instruments.
  Custom P15 .500 8   Thin-gauge bell, possibly yellow brass. Nickle-silver outer slide.
  Custom P16 .500 7.5   Heavy-weight bell, lightweight brass outer slide.
  George Roberts P22 .565 9 F Professional bass instrument. Light yellow brass bell, .585 F attachment.
  Custom P24 .565 9 F Professional bass instrument. 9 inch bell, .585 F attachment.
  George Roberts P24G .565 9 F/G Professional bass instrument. 9 inch bell, .585 bore independent attachments. G trigger on first finger.
  Military 6, 6.5, 7, 7.5 and 8 inch tenor bells with four bore sizes. Bass model has F attachment.
  Military S6 .485 6    
  Military S6.5 .485 6.5    
  Military M7 .485/.500 7    
  Military LM7 .495/.510 7    
  Military LM7.5 .495/.510 7.5    
  Military L8 .510/.525 8   F attachment available.
  Opera series Professional instruments.
  Opera O15 .547 8.5   Symphonic bore instrument. Nickel-silver thin-gauge bell.
  Opera Fanfare O115 .547 8.5   Symphonic bore instrument. Yellow brass bell.
  Opera O23 .547 8.5 F Symphonic bore instrument. Nickel-silver thin-gauge bell.
  Symphony O25 .554 8.5 F Red brass bell.
  Valve O20 .500 7.5   Valve trombone.
  Marching O21 .500      
  Radio  
  Radio R7 .510/.525 7.5 Compact.  
  Radio R7.5 .510/.525 7.5 Compact  
  Recording series Popular professional-quality instruments, with red brass or bronze bell. Dark and lively sound.
  Recording R15 .495/.510 7.5   Medium bore jazz horn, comparable to King 3B. Dual bore nickel-silver outer slides, chrome-plated nickel-silver inner slide tubes, may be fluted. Red brass bell.
  Recording R20   8.5   Professional bass trombone with flat-wrap F attachment. Bore size smaller than would be considered "bass bore" today.
  Self-Balancing Tenor bell sizes 7, 7 1/2 or 8 inches and three bore sizes.
  Self-Balancing M7 .485/.500 7    
  Self-Balancing LM7 .495/.510 7.5    
  Self-Balancing LM7.5 .495/.510 7.5    
  Self-Balancing L8 .510/.525 8   F attachment available.
  Special series Marketed as intermediate instruments, but said by many to play very much like professional instruments. Developed from the Military series.
  Special L15       Dual bore, chrome-plated nickel-silver inner slide tubes, may be fluted.
  Standard Tenor bell sizes 6, 7, 7 1/2 or 8 inches and four bore sizes. Tuning in slide. Bass version has F attachment.
  Standard M7 .485/.500 7   Tuning in slide.
  Standard LM-7 .495/.510 7    
  Standard LM7 .495/.510 7.5    
  Standard L8 .510/.525 8   F attachment available.
  Studio series Professional instruments. Nickel-silver tuning slide and bell, yellow brass neck resulting in dark sound normally associated with heavy bells, but without the corresponding weight.
  Studio T15 .485/.500 7.5   Brass outer slides, chrome-plated nickel-silver inner slide tubes, may be fluted. Nickel-silver tuning slide and bell.
  Super series Professional instruments. Pure bronze bell (very heavy) with tone control ring, rest of instrument nickel silver. Bell design results in a very dark and centred tone.
  Super S15 .485/.500 7.5   Jazz horn. Dual bore, inner slide tubes fluted. Pure bronze bell with tone ring (or possibly heavy red brass bell according to Eric Burger), rest of instrument nickel silver. Click here to read a review on a 1930s Olds Super.
  Super FW SF15 .485/.500 7   Jazz instrument. Dual bore, inner slide tubes fluted (although Steve Close, who has "a completely original Featherweight", says his instrument "uses standard inners with shorterned stockings"). Possibly a light red brass bell (according to Eric Burger), rest of instrument nickel silver; Steve Close says his example "is all nickel with the exception of a red brass bell" and that "Olds referred to this alloy as Bell Bronze and it is the same alloy used in the S15 Super".
  Super S20 .547(?) 9 F Professional bass trombone with flat-wrap F attachment. Pure bronze bell with tone ring (or possibly heavy red brass bell according to Eric Burger). Tuning in slide.
  Super S22 George Roberts .565 9 F Professional bass trombone designed by the legendary bass trombonist George Roberts. Tuning in slide.
  Super S23   9/10 F/E Professional bass trombone with F attachment and dependent E valve. 9 or 10 inch bell. Tuning in slide.
  Super S24G .565 9 F/G  
  Superstar series  
  Superstar V20 .495/.510 8.5 F Silver-plated.
  Superstar V25 .565 10 F Silver-plated.
 
Yamaha The Yamaha company was established by Torakusu Yamaha as Nippon Gakki (Musical Instruments of Japan) in 1887. The first wind instrument to bear the Yamaha name appeared in 1965 following a joint development effort by Yamaha and the wind instrument company Nippon Kangakki (Musical Instruments of Japan). The latter was absorbed by Yamaha in 1970.

Early exports did not impress, but eventually, the firm gained a reputation for sterling quality control and cheap student trombones that represented excellent value-for-money. In the 1970s, Yamaha began producing clones of popular Western professional models. These instruments which were widely regarded as almost as good but significantly cheaper than their Western counterparts. By the mid-1980s, however, Yamaha had started to design (utilising advice from professional Western musicians employed as consultants) and introduce their own top-class instruments into the market. By all accounts, these have been very well received by trombonists all over the world.

  YBL-321 .563 9.5 F Bass. Introduced 1969, discontinued 1979. Replaced by YBL-421G.
  YBL-322 .563 9.5 F Bass. Introduced 1975, discontinued 1994. Replaced by YBL-421G.
  YSL-352 .500 8   Introduced 1969, discontinued 1976. Replaced by YSL-354G.
  YSL-356G .500/.525 8 F Introduced 1996, discontinued 1998. Replaced by YSL-446G.
  YSL-356R .500 8 F Introduced 1969, discontinued 1976. Replaced by YSL-446G.
  YBL-611 .563 10 F/Eb Bass. Introduced 1976, discontinued 1985. Replaced by YBL-612R.
  YBL-612 .563 10 F/Eb Bass. Introduced 1976, discontinued 1992. Replaced by YBL-612-II.
  YBL-613 .563 10 F/Eb Bass. Introduced 1982, discontinued 1994. Replaced by YBL-613H.
  YBL-613G .563 10 F/Eb Bass. Introduced 1985, discontinued 1991. Replaced by YBL-613H.
  YBL-613R .563 10 F/Eb Bass. Introduced 1983, discontinued 1985. Replaced by YBL-613H.
  YBL-621 .563 9.5 F Bass. Introduced 1978, discontinued 1985. Replaced by YBL-622.
  YSL-641 .547 8.5   Introduced 1969, discontinued 1976. Replaced by YSL-681G.
  YSL-643 .547 8.5 F One-piece gold brass bell, Yamaha's version of the Conn 88H, professional model. Introduced 1972, discontinued 1992. Replaced by YSL-682G.
  YSL-645 .525 8.5   One-piece yellow brass bell, nickel-silver outer slide, professional model. Introduced 1976, discontinued 1998.
  YSL-646 .525 8.5 F One-piece yellow brass bell, nickel-silver outer slide, closed wrap, professional model. Introduced 1976, discontinued 1998.
  YSL-647 .547 8.5   One-piece yellow brass bell, nickel-silver outer slide, professional model. Introduced 1976, discontinued 1985. Replaced by YSL-681G.
  YSL-648 .547 8.5 F Introduced 1976, discontinued 1984. Replaced by YSL-682G.
  YSL-648R .547 8.5 F One-piece red brass bell, nickel-silver outer slide, closed wrap, professional model. Introduced 1993, discontinued 1998.
  YSL-651 .500 8 F Introduced 1969, discontinued 1975. Replaced by YSL-691.
  YSL-653 .500 8   Introduced 1976, discontinued 1989. Replaced by YSL-691.
  YSL-841 .551 8.5   Introduced 1982, discontinued 1984.
  YSL-842 .551 8.5 F Introduced 1982, discontinued 1984.
  YSL-843 .525 8.5   Introduced 1982, discontinued 1984.
  YSL-844 .525 8.5 F Introduced 1982, discontinued 1984.
  YSL-851 .500 8   Introduced 1982, discontinued 1984.
  YSL-852 .500 8 F Introduced 1982, discontinued 1984.
  YSL-871 .470 7.35   Alto. Introduced 1982, discontinued 1985.
 
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