February 21, 2014
March is a month for relaxation, as I have fewer performances than in February. So far I have booked the following performances in the month of March. Hope to see you at a few of them!
- March 2, 2014: The Mission Gold Jazz Band is the featured band at the Monterey Hot Jazz Society. 1-5 PM at the Monterey Elks Lodge, Monterey California.
- March 15, 2014: (PRIVATE EVENT) The Fog City Stompers are playing for a wedding reception in San Francisco, California.
- March 20, 2014: The East Bay Stompers will play at Bronco Billy’s Pizza Palace, 41200 Blacow Road, Fremont California. from 7-9 PM.
For more details, please visit my website or my Facebook artist page.
February 21, 2014
I came home from work a few days ago to find a large cardboard box in my front hall. Not expecting anything, I was mildly surprised until I noticed that the box had the word ‘Trombone’ prominently displayed on the side, just under the stickers marked ‘FRAGILE’. At that point I recalled my recent conversation with the guys at The Horn Guys. They import a JinBao-made alto trombone that they then sell under the name of ‘Meister Hans Stauffer’. In the course of that discussion, i had asked to have my name placed on the list for the next shipment of alto trombones. But I had not expected it to arrive so soon!
I unpacked the horn and proceeded to try it out. My initial comments are as follows:
- The horn is very well-made. Finish is very good, and the laquer looks to have been applied in an even manner. I didn’t see any bad soldering, and the brass feels substantial – not too thin. The gold brass bell is particularly nicely made.
- The tone is very respectable – in fact it is surprisingly rich. I played it at a gig last night and was pleased with the results. Full, and dark (that is the gold brass bell), but with plenty of bark when I need it.Good replacement for the tenor in places where there isn’t much need for the bottom range, and the upper range makes it a great little solo horn.
- The horn came with a mouthpiece, but I haven’t used it yet. I first tried the Schilke 51D1D that I used on my euphonium and my tenor trombone but it proved to be too deep – the sound was a bit muddy. I then tried my Denis Wick mouthpiece and was pleased with the results, as the shallower Wick proved to produce a better overall sound.
- The positions are a challenge. I was expecting to have a relatively easy adjustment due to my experiences on EEb tuba, but this horn is really different, and I haven’t quite mastered it yet. I’ll get there, but it is a completely different experience from the tenor trombone.
- The range on this horn is…interesting. The horn bottoms out at around a low A-Ab in the octave below middle C, and then there is a complete lack of the chromatics down to the pedal tones. However, the upper end is nice – I easily attained a high D in the octave above middle C which is about the upper end of my normal range on tenor trombone without too much effort and with practice could probably do even better.
Overall, I am pleased with the horn and the price was excellent. I had The Horn Guys install a custom leadpipe from Stauffer Brass, but even with the custom leadpipe, shipping and tax, the horn came in under US $500. I would definitely recommend it for anyone who is interested in getting into alto trombone, but doesn’t want to spend the US $2-3,000 dollars that a professional model would cost.