Cheaper Bass trombones

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by ABERDEEN LOON, Dec 20, 2011.



    Hi all, I am looking for some advice. As my band has a fair number of instruments on it's wish list, we have to make every penny count. The top of out list is a new bass trombone. We have about £800 at the most to spend, and I have been wondering about either the John Packer model, or the one from Wessex Tubas. Having said that, I have not been able to play either being up here close to the arctic circle!!!

    We would want to try before we buy, but I am looking for peoples experieces of playing either of them, or any other of the cheaper brands. I would say, that my only requirement is that it have 2 triggers - and preferably independent at that. If there are any good quality used in that price bracket, this would also be considered.

    Any advice would be greatly received.

    Thanyou in advance

  2. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    2nd hand may be an option
  3. Rob Hanson

    Rob Hanson New Member


    Give Steve our brass manager a call on 01823 282386 and we can send one up to you on approval in the new year. Or you can speak to Malcolm at the Windsection as they supply JP products too
  4. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    Heard some good things about the JPs (a friend of mine sells them here), but why go for 2nd class when you can get 1st class 2nd hand at the same price?

    I would rather play a real rath or conn with a few dings then a shiny student/intermediate model.
  5. I have experience of JP brass instruments at my school. Steer well clear.
  6. davejenkins

    davejenkins Member

    You should definitely be able to find a decent 2nd hand Conn or Bach on eBay for £800 (although in this pre-Christmas/New Year period there's not a lot on there right now). Cheap - albeit new - bass trombones are really not nice to play and generally sound poor.
  7. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    JP Brass or John Packer - 2 different things entirely.

    I have to say that in our band we have had over the last couple of years 1 cornet, 3 Horns and 1 Euph from Packers played (All personally owned), and for the level that we play at they are good nice sounding instruments.

    Whilst they might not suit Top Players, I cant make a Sov sound any better than I can make my John Packer.

    That probably says more about me as a player than it does the instruments, but I really like mine.
  8. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    You try buying a decent 1st Class Euph for £600, Horn for £300.
  9. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    You'll have to hit on a proper bargain to get a 2nd hand Conn or Bach bass trombone (let alone a Rath!) in playing shape for £800. A tenor, yes. A bass, not so much - you'll need to be looking in the £1000-£1500 range for the standard models, even for stuff that is in ugly condition. More for fancy stuff like Rath. However - the price scales pretty linearly with the number of valves, and very few pieces that DRB are going to play are going to require low Bs... Why not look at a 2nd-hand single-trigger instrument? They are substantially cheaper than double trigger versions, and you can get a genuinely pro-quality instrument for £800 if you shop around.

    On the subject of own-branded Chinese imports (for these are what all of the cheap models are) - it's more of a lottery on quality. Most such instruments are good enough these days that there's not much, if anything, to complain about soundwise when compared to Western produce. But build quality can be much poorer - I have heard tales of people buying these instruments new, and being happy with them until something unexpectedly breaks, whereupon the repairer finds that due to manufacturing short-cuts, repairing will cost more than replacing the instrument.

    The Packer Rath tenors certainly blow nicely (I didn't realise they had a bass out now?), and have decent slides (another likely problem area) - but then Mick Rath has personally spent time instructing the craftsmen at their Chinese factory, ensuring that their produce matches his personal standards enough that he is happy to put his name to their work. As a result, I would be surprised if these instruments had build flaws - anyone have experience on this?
  10. Rob Hanson

    Rob Hanson New Member

    At the moment the the JPRATH trombone range consists of 2 tenors, 2 Bb/Fs and we have just launched the new alto. We don't have a bass version......... yet!

    The instrument that the OP refers to is the JP232 Bass trombone which has not had the Rath treatment however its still a nice bass trombone, fits in with the OP budget, we have no issues supplying any parts and we have had our own on site workshop for 40+ years
  11. Gtrom

    Gtrom Member

    I know what it's like when you have your heart on an independent double trigger trombone and getting anything less just wont do. I currently play a Yamaha 613B which has done me proud for over 20 years although I do want to upgrade to a Rath at some stage. There was a Bach Bass lurking on e-bay recently for less than you want to pay, although I'm not a fan of their sound. My advise is to hang fire, shop around and aim for a Yamaha...they are exceptionally well made and pretty easy to blow although you may have to settle for a closed wrap model.

    Happy hunting
  12. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    I played on a Weril (Bach copy, double independant triggers and a 10.5" bell) before I managed to get hold of a 'proper' instrument.

    It was absolutely fine, until I had something better.
  13. Chris Hicks

    Chris Hicks Member

    Our Bass trombone has been playing one of the John Packer models whilst waiting on a Rath to come, and he was pleasantly surprised with it i believe. He's on here so may pop in with some opinion on it, or alternatively i think his username is JimboFB i believe.
  14. cockaigne

    cockaigne Member

    I've heard very mixed things about the Packer/Rath trombones - certainly the bunch I've had to teach on recently were a very mixed bag indeed, though that's the advantage of 'try before you buy'.

    I'm currently looking to sell my bass trombone on, which is an independent double-trigger Earlham, copied from the old Bach Stradivarius model. Original thread here: as I don't want to hijack this one. PM me if you want further information or photographs.
  15. JDH

    JDH Member

    Andrew, You would be welcome to try a Wessex bass trombone on two week approval. You will need to see for yourself how well made they are. Out of over 60 instruments we have sold since starting business 8 months ago, none have been returned as unsatisfactory. I have been playing two models of our tubas since August with nothing but good feedback.

    Incidentally, I understand our instruments are made by different factories to the John Packer models. There are literally hundreds of brass factories in China producing instruments of differing standards. Never assume even same looking instruments are from same source, as may well be different.


    Thanks for all the comments that you have put on this post - certainly gives me some food for thought.

    Sorry that I have not responded sooner. I would still be interested in the opinions of those who have played ony of these brands. Our band have bought a number of JP instruments over the last 4 years and have been impressed with the quality. I was particularily impressed with the JP rath trombone that I bought just after they started making them.

    Keep the opinions coming, and a merry christmas to you all!!!:icon_cool:

  17. baridis

    baridis Member

    I must admit, I really liked the JP Rath Bb/F tenors - I had a blow on both the medium and large bore models a few weeks ago. I know that Rath are bringing out an intermediate set of instruments under their own name, but not sure it includes a bass model. They might be worth a look when they do eventually come out!
  18. simonpohare

    simonpohare Member

    I recently recommended a JP232 bass trb for a pupil of mine and it is brilliant for the money. Excellent in the high reg and low reg, though I'd advise buying a Denis Wick mouthpiece though.
    The JP 271 and 371 cornets are a great blow, and the Rath trbs are fantatstic. A great range of instruments which have definitely filled a gap in the market. I suppose the only element of chance is how they last, but I think they're worth the money on performance alone.
  19. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    Look for a King Duo Gravis. It's a dependant beast, but for the money you're likely to spend on one, there's no better value.
  20. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Any old DW mouthpiece?? Not sure from your profile whether you have bass trombone playing experience or not - I'm assuming probably not. The Wick bass trombone mouthpiece range is rather idiosyncratically laid out; the 2AL is a modified copy of the Bach 2G, and is a nice but small mouthpiece with a thick rim (so might work well for kids). The 1AL is a copy of the Schilke 58 - I don't much like it, and neither have I ever seen another in use. The 0AL is a weird mouthpiece - slightly more than averagely wide at the inner rim, but very very deep - never seen anything else quite like it. The 00AL is like a supersized 0AL - a toilet bowl of a mouthpiece.

    So you see that recommending "a Denis Wick mouthpiece" for bass trombone doesn't really narrow down the field much! A more traditional maker to suggest would be Vincent Bach - a 1-1/2G or 2G is the 'standard' mouthpiece for someone new to bass trombone, and their range relates within itself more coherently than does the Wick range.

    Bearing in mind that many people prefer dependent to independent. You get a better quiet response on the open instrument that way (as I'm sure you well know). Thought I'd just point that out for everyone.

    The old Yamaha dual valve basses (613H) are often very good value for money too - you might see one out there at a price you could stretch to. Nice instruments, though you need to get the right mouthpiece to match them.

    Just having a quick peer around the net to see what's out there:

    Shop stock: - way too high prices for the goods in the main, though you might consider the Weril 9.5" bell Bb/F/Gb/D @ £1213 if you like Bach 50s. - sorry Rob Hanson, I would never buy one from you at these prices... - the JP232, as already talked about. The Yamaha - too much money for the goods! - ow!

    Anyway, you get the idea... Buying either new or 2nd-hand from a shop is way out of your budget, unless you are buying an own-branded import. Even if what you want is an old pro-line single valve model! It is a bit crazy... I don't understand why the shops are asking quite so hugely much more than private sellers at the moment.

    Better places to look:

    Trombone Forum classifieds:,65.0.html
    Cheap basses a bit thin on the ground at the moment, but these seem well worth a look (don't forget to add ~25% for import/p&p if it's in the States):
    1969 Holton TR-185 (Bb/F) $1250+pp (~£800 - would probably be £1000-£1050 all in to have it in your hands):,59759.0.html
    Reynolds Contempora (i.e. 2 dependent valves - looks from picture as if 2nd valve is E); no price listed, but these are old and unfashionable instruments now (the original two-valve bass, really) and therefore good value for money. The only one I ever tried had an edge on it like a chainsaw! And this is for brass band use, so that might appeal...,59089.0.html

    tMP classifieds (obviously!):
    Holton TR181, very popular brass band bass trombone, and a bargainous price:
    Always worth keeping an eye on - this was where I picked up my Conn 73H (i.e. double-trigger) for a mere £500 3 years ago...

    eBay (but check that you trust the seller... Too good to be true usually equals not true. And stuff that is direct from China is much more likely to be shonky than a Chinese import sold here.):
    Not seeing anything worth shouting about at the moment.

    Perhaps anyone else who can think of places worth keeping an eye on for a bargain could post them up here too?

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