By Nic Gowans
Have you ever wondered what all the fuss over these ‘modular’ boutique trombones is about? Edwards, Rath and Shires (and others, I’m sure) offer trombones with enough component options to satisfy the most particular preference. But do the different options make any real difference and are they worth it? These are some questions I sought to answer with a bass trombone fitting at the Edwards Instruments Pro Stop workshop in Elkhorn, Wisconsin USA.
After arriving fashionably early for my 8:30am appointment, I got the important part of the trip out the way and snapped a photo of myself squinting though the blinding morning sunlight in front of the Edwards Building.
As the clock ticked over to 8:30, I walked in the door to be welcomed by a woman at the front desk who greeted me with a friendly “Come in. Go right ahead to the fitting room, Christan has been expecting you.”
I was led into a room filled with immeasurable quantities of trombone bells, slides and valves hanging from the walls. Every colour of brass and size of bell that could be dreamed up was there. Towards the back of the room was a whole stack of trumpets and I even spied the new Getzen Custom Reserve 4147IB trombone, which had only been announced on the day of my visit. I couldn’t believe my eyes. “So many combinations,” my mind screamed, “I must try them all.”
I met a man called Mike Clobes, who told me he’d be guiding me through the fitting and gave me a bass trombone as well as 10-15 minutes to myself to get warmed up. I was that impressed with the ‘warmup’ horn I could have quite easily walked away with it.
Mike returned and we had a bit of a chat about the sound concept I was looking for, any kind of preferences I already had, the styles of music I play and so on. I mentioned a preference for yellow brass bells, so that was an element we didn’t alter during the fitting. In hindsight this probably saved me hours.
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