I am thinking of changing my bass trombone. I currently play on a Yamaha 613H. It does what it says on the tin, is reliable, well-made, easy-blowing, but I am a bit of a Jeremy Clarkeson when it comes to trombones, and it just isn't any fun to play. I used to have an Edwards, which was great to play, and I loved it, but I had a lot of trouble with the Thayer valves, and I got rid of it when the valve problems came to outweigh the "fun" factor in playing it. I might be getting a Shires, an American bass trombone which is basically an Edwards but with Shire's own make modified rotary valves instead of Thayer valves. But they are expensive and hard to get hold of (only available from Phil Parkers in London) and I am not sure if they have the same variety of bell options etc as Edwards do (at least not available in Britain anyway). Rath are popular, and Mark Frost (Grimethorpe and the Andy Prior Big band) and Chris Stern (of the Scottish National Opera) both sound great on them, but having come a cropper with Thayer valves, it puts me off trying a bass trombone with unusual valves. Plus I understand that they are expensive. Vincent Bach are notoriously hard blowing. What about the Besson 943? Adrian Hirst (Black Dyke) sounds great on his (you should have heard him tonight at the RNCM), but Besson sponsor Black Dyke and he would sound good on anything. And it has Hagmann valves like Rath and Courtois. Is the Besson 943 any cheaper than other bass trombones? Besson have not had a good reputation for making trombones. Is it still justified, or are they the Skoda of trombone-manufacturers? Any ideas, comments, observations or suggestions welcomed please!