Holton TR180 Advice

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by petejackson1983, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. petejackson1983

    petejackson1983 New Member


    I know there are a lot of Bass Trombone fanatics on this forum, so I would like to pick your brains/thoughts etc.

    I have today on a whim (the devil does indeed make work for idle hands) bought myself a 1980's Holton TR180. I have been looking for another instrument for some time as I currently play an Edwards which is slowly killing the entire left side of my body. Whilst it's a great sound, for the playing I do these days it really does feel a bit heavy duty.

    I have always been a fan of the vintage instruments (Conn 62H, Holton 180, King Duo Gravis etc.) but never owned on, so hopefully this one is not a dud (I will find out in about a week when it arrives!).

    If it's not a dud (it was owned by a pro so should be alright...), the plan is to get it customised. It looks in good condition all round and is totally original (with a Glanz bar *cringe*) and the all important D slide. So my mind is now on to possible customisation;

    What are your views on this? Should an instrument like this be kept as original as possible, or would you modernise it?

    My thoughts are firstly to have the triggers split to the modern configuration, and then possibly open up the valve wrap. Has anyone had this done and do you know roughly how much it would cost?

    Appreciate your views...
  2. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    I'd give yourself time to get to know the instrument as it is before thinking of changing anything.

    I also prefer the older instruments and currently play a Duo Gravis. I couldn't get along with the side by side valves, so it has been customised to the modern setting. I like the closed wrap though, so wouldn't change that.

    Another thing to bear in mind is that the older instruments were designed with 1.5 sized mouthpieces in mind and can become unbalanced if you try using anything much larger in them and you'll lose the more classic sound.
  3. petejackson1983

    petejackson1983 New Member

    Good advice.

    Probably getting a little carried away with myself! I have seen your Duo Gravis (we did a joint concert sometime last year in a church if you remember) it's a beautiful instrument.

    I'm pretty sure at least I will need to change the triggers to the standard setup. If you don't mind my asking, since you have had it done what is the rough cost of doing this?

    Noted your point on the mouthpiece. I have a Stork 1.5 which is about the same as a 1G so it's not far off. Got an old 1.5G lying around somewhere so will try both see what works best.

    Thanks :)
  4. MoominDave

    MoominDave Active Member

    I'd definitely split the triggers. You're probably looking about at about £100 for this, maybe a little more. I would not bother considering making it open wrap - the Holton valves are well laid out as they are, and it's only tight bends that make any noticeable difference to the stuffiness of the valve tubing. How big is the radius of curvature at the end of the D slide? If that's tight and the D valve is very very stuffy (as on an old Conn 62H, for example), it might be worth having an alternative slide made with a wider radius (would guess ~£250), but that's the only tubing modification I would consider.

    The TR180 is a nice model - blowingwise it's like a 181 with less difficulty at low dynamics. Definitely a broad-sounding instrument, but with a lot of life in the sound.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012
  5. petejackson1983

    petejackson1983 New Member

    Really? That's good I would have thought it would be more than that. It's quite a wide D slide actually so probably be fine, however it does curl back on itself quiteb sharply.

    Picture might help!


    It should be an interesting change from the Edwards beast anyway!
  6. MoominDave

    MoominDave Active Member

    Tasty looking! You're right, that double bend back in the D tubing is a little tighter than you'd like on the second leg of the double bend - and also quite unnecessary - why not just make the D slide slightly longer so that it protrudes an inch or so behind the main bend? So that the case wouldn't need to be altered, maybe? Mind you, having that straightened out won't make a huge difference to the blow on the 2nd valve - some, but not lots.

    Edit: Although I suppose that second bend is foreshortened in the picture - is it actually any narrower than the two bends leading out of the 1st valve tubing?
  7. petejackson1983

    petejackson1983 New Member

    Thanks, it certainly is a beauty! The old ones always looked better if you ask me.

    The D slide is stupid though, I think they went through as stage of making instruments with as little sticking out as possible to minimise accidents maybe?

    I guess the key is try it, and then if after a while it seems stuffy explore the options. Thing is it is definitely going to seem a bit stuffy to begin with anyway as I am used to Thayers.

    I am hoping that the extra resistance will colour the sound a bit more and allow for more sustain. Other people have also commented on opening up the leadpipe on these (something to do with the wrong one being installed to begin with and it being a little narrow but left on anyway) but that's just speculation i guess - and probably expensive.

    I do like the idea of this though :)

  8. MoominDave

    MoominDave Active Member

    Ironically, whoever did that left quite a sharp bend through the 1st valve exit... No point taking out a lot of relatively minor bends in the actual valve tubing, and then making the air perform a quick 180 as it traverses the valve on the way out!

    What you say about colour and sustaining has a lot of truth to it - making an instrument more free-flow doesn't always change it in good ways.
  9. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    Of course, you saw it after I'd just got it back from the repair shop following its Whit Friday accident.

    When I got the valve action altered it was about £200. Rath did the job. They'd probably want the instrument for about a week and you'd need to book in so they can fit it into their schedule.
  10. petejackson1983

    petejackson1983 New Member

    That's right yes. £200 is about what I was expecting so that's good. Rath's is who I has in mind for sure.

    Moomin - I see your point...look cool though ;)

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