I've gone and done a baaaaaaad thing Well, it isn't that bad... just bad for the bank account. I've fallen in love with the Xeno. I am normally a Bass and Bass trom player, so when I got asked to play top seat for the recent Queensland Band Championships, in Northern Australia (right at the lower part of the reef, in Turtle hatchery country!), I fought to adjust to the equipment. My band had two toys to offer me, a newer Bach 36, and an older, uglier, 42. Now while both these trombones were mechanically superb to play (the 42 was, after I serviced it!), I found it took me some adjusting to the upper range requirements of the top seat for our test piece On Alderley Edge and own choice Harmony Music. The 36 was a tight fit for the amount of air I am used to putting through an instrument, whilst the 42, more for my blowing needs, meant I had to work harder.... which gave a sound my conductor didn't really want. In the end, it was the 36 (with a 7C mouthpiece) that did the gig. And it did well.... But while I was at the contes,t I visited the local trade stand, and got to player a new Xeno. I took it, and a new Bach 42 into the carpark for some compare/contrasts........... The xeno has a hint of the typical Yamaha sound...... but not so much as the older ones did, which would straight away give this instrument a better reputation. The slide mechanics were imaculate, but the positions were more "true." Anyone who's gone from a student model to a Bach would know what those deeper slides are like.... and the effect it as on finding positions for the ill-prepared. The trigger was nicely placed, and very responsive.... and blew nicely too (force of habit, I did mention I was a BASS trombonist, right???) The thing that won me over, however, was the response. Raths, Edwards and Bachs are all BIG trombones. Real trom players (those who specialise) are used to this, and get those silky smooth sounds we all admire. I can too.... to a point!!! At the level I play at, I need a trombone that is as flexible as I have to be... one week I am playing trumpet in school bands (I'm a band teacher), tuba in junior brass bands, and then all of a sudden.... sitting in the rafters in Harmony Music!!! The Xeno offered just enough resistance to mak me feel safe. The sound wasn't compromised in any way. I honestly thought I had found the ultimate midway between the 36 (which is a peashooter for me) and the 42 (nice trom for 2nd seat.....). So after doing scales, excerpts and pushing the trom in every way I could think of, I decided I need some money. The xeno is the ideal trombone for me.... what about you?