Here’s the story about my new trombone. For 18 years I played a Benge 190F and was very happy with it. I have never been that much of a gear geek, so I didn’t really experiment much, and hadn’t really tried out many other horns – and when I did, I never liked them as much as my Benge. Then, in the summer of 2004, just for fun, I tried out three different instruments for three different performances of Anne of Green Gables, and although I wouldn’t have traded my Benge for any of them, each one had something that I liked better. The instruments I tried were a Conn 88H-CL (Lindberg), a Yamaha YSL682B (Bousfield), and a Bach 42BO. The experience made me realize that there was probably a better horn out there for me, and that I should start looking for it. Very soon after, I saw a Shires trombone listed on eBay, and it was located in Canada – in London, Ontario, to be exact. Now, since I had spent a year studying in London, and 7 years living nearby in Toronto, I thought there was a good chance I might know the seller, so I clicked on the button to ask the seller a question, and sent a simple message saying “Do I know you?” A reply came back from one Justin Bartley, who had attended UWO the same year I was there. His reply: “Yes, you do.” This was great for me, as I was able to ask him lots of questions about the instrument, and since I trusted him, I knew I could bid with confidence. Interestingly, he had bought the instrument from David Martin, who was the trombone teacher at UWO when we were there, so I was able to ask him about it as well. Dave had bought the instrument for one of his stints with the Montreal Symphony! Anyway, armed with information and confidence, I took part in a bidding frenzy during the final minutes of the eBay auction, placing my final bid within the last few seconds. Holding my breath, I refreshed the screen… and then spent several days praying I hadn’t just wasted a huge pile of money. I hadn’t. Um, anybody want to buy a Benge?
There have been a couple of people who have visited my website and have emailed me wondering about the specific details of my Shires, so for anyone who is interested, here it is: Bell: 2RVE. Valve: older Greenhoe. Tuning slide: B. Hand slide: TB47. Leadpipe: 1. (Mouthpiece: Greg Black 5G). These numbers may mean nothing to you unless you visit the Shires website. Interestingly, if I were to piece together my perfect horn, or what I imagine would be my perfect horn, I would start with a 1G bell and a T47 slide. Maybe someday I will make it to the factory in Boston to try the dozens of possible combinations that exist. Oh man – is it possible I have become a gearhead? 🙄
UPDATE: Sept. 12, 2012 – I have lately made some changes to my Shires set-up, and now have a 3GM bell (the “3” series was the predecessor to the current “7” series) and an axial flow valve. I also replaced the crook on the handslide with a tenor crook, so technically I now have a TW47 slide. I am also making the transition to a Griego 5 mouthpiece (New York blank) which seems to require a lot less work, but the rim – which is a little wider than what I am used to – is taking some getting used to.