I’m a doubler, meaning I don’t play bass trombone as my main instrument. I’ve been playing only since 2005 and thus don’t have the decades of experience as I have on other instruments, namely euphonium. So it’s a little intimidating going to the Edwards factory, knowing that they’ve worked with the world’s finest players in outfitting them with world-class instruments. Joe Alessi, Dave Taylor, et. al. come to mind.
We spent better than three hours in the Edwards factory in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, and playtested almost every option available in bass trombones. I settled on a 454E (the “E” stands for “edge bracing”, which is a concept about which only the Edwards people can speak coherently). The dual-bore hand slide gave me the darker sound I was looking for, and a 9.5 inch bell (no bigger, TYVM) double-buffed, tempered, 22 gauge rose brass bell softens up the sound even more. This makes things a good fit for Harmonium Brass and it slows down my tendency to bark when I shouldn’t bark.
Both Mike and Christan at Edwards, along with Larry Bennett of Harmonium Brass who I dragged along on the trip, kicking and screaming (I kid, I kid!) went out of their way to help me find the horn that works best for me. Their patience, knowledge, and expertise is well worth the money spent and, frankly, spelled the difference between considering a Shires bass and an Edwards bass. You just don’t get that kind of personal service every day, but the Edwards people make it sound like they take great joy in outfitting people of all skill levels with the horn that works best for them.
Many thanks to Edwards and Getzen for a wonderful business model that worked very well for me. I have a horn that I suspect I’ll keep the rest of my life and I can only hope to develop enough as a bass trombone player to do this horn justice.