Yamaha Xeno Trombones

Discussion in 'theMouthPiece.com User Reviews' started by Okiedokie of Oz, May 7, 2007.

  1. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    I've gone and done a baaaaaaad thing:eek:

    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?
  2. basebonetone

    basebonetone Member

    Hi, just a quik reply to say the tenor guys at YBS have been playing exclusively on Yamy Xenos for a few years now and seem to be more than happy with them. Having played in the section and seen /heard them in action I can recommend them as one of the most versatile trombones around.
  3. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Glad that you like the Xeno. One of my students has one and is very pleased. It's quite interesting to note that in the banding world, any instrument will do, but in the UK, orchestrally, pretty much everybody uses a Conn 88H. I tried the Xeno and found that it was a little lifeless for my liking. Rather like the Yamaha 682B 'Bousfield' I used to own. I don't think Yamaha have got it right just yet.

    Glad that you're happy with your Xeno, I'm not convinced, myself, but horses for courses!
  4. Chris Thomas

    Chris Thomas Member

    Hi Chris,

    If it sounds right and feels right for you, you don't need anyone else's opinion - go for it!

  5. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    My opinion entirely. Just a shame that we all have to use the 'industry standard' instead of experimenting. In the professional world, I would say that 85% of pro players use the 8/88H, the rest use either Edwards or Bach. Don't know any pros who use the Xeno, but that said, it's a relatively new instrument. A good opportunity for Yamaha, perhaps?

    Also it depends on what's available!
  6. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    I've tried other trombones over the years, but I still prefer my 8H.
  7. yorkshire_lass86

    yorkshire_lass86 New Member

    A year and half ago it was time for me to get a new trombone, I used to play on a Yamaha student model trombone and thought it was great but my teacher in college told me i needed to get a proper trombone! And so I tried out a Yamaha Xeno and a Conn88HT for a few weeks and have to say that I completely fell in love with the Xeno, it was a very "safe" instrument to play on and from previous experience of Yamaha I knew that it was a very well made instrument but my teachers in college said that the sound was too bright and afterall i am doing the orchestral course and so I ended up with the Conn88HT. I am very happy with the Conn because it blends into a section very well and I able to make a nice soloistic sound on it too and in all registers its very responsive. However, I am completely unhappy with the craftmanship on it, for example the wear on the laquer is completely beyond its years, the trigger is constantly falling to pieces or seizing up and it seems that all i have to do is breathe on the bell and it dents, in comparison to my old Yamaha that went through 5 years of school rehearsals and transportation on buses, trams and aeroplanes which even now does not have a scratch or dint on it.
    I would suggest when looking for a new trombone that if you decide to go for a Conn then to try out several because each one is different and I always found the open-wrap models better, if you go for the Yamaha then Xeno is the way forward and I suppose at the end of the day the decision is whether you want to compromise slightly on sound for a well made instrument such as the Yamaha, if it was down to me then the Conn88h would win every time just a shame they aren't a bit more sturdy!
  8. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    When I bought my first "own" trumpet, I went and got the Conn Semi pro - played beautifully, but I had a lot of issues with the maintenance. Lacquer, slides seized, and corrosion on the valves after 2 weeks!!

    So when I think Conn, I still think "semi-pro" and "not as good." I admit the sound is gorgeous, and the slide action is lovely (just like the Yamaha), but I am scared that I am only getting a "student's" model (not to be confused with Student).

    The Xeno still has the hint of Yammie sound, but is BIGGER than it has been in some time (all the Signature Yamahas have all be rather small, except the Doug Yeo Bass, and even that is small to me in comparison to an Edwards), and the sound and response is more my liking.

    I don't play orchestras often these days, I just need something that will lay for me. The Yamaha meets the requirements at the moment.

    But I haven't played an Edwards Tenor yet ;)
  9. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    I agree with you there. Despite evidence to the contrary, we always go for the 'once bitten, twice shy' approach. Probably why I never drink brandy! It is a strange paradox that the more 'conservative' brass band world is more open-minded to instrument choice that the pro world.

    I left GUS last year, but I'm back in for the Grand Shield sitting in on 2nd trom. The 1st trombone player swears by his Coutois trombone, but I can't stand the sight of it! Might have something to do with trying out a mate's Courtois euphonium some years back and finding it awful.

    I think that, working as a freelance player, it's important to be able to fit in very quickly to the sound of an established section. I think that everybody uses Conns simply for that reason. Also, when British trombone players first started moving over to large-bore instruments in the 1960's, there was only Conn and Bach to choose from. As the banding world lagged behind (in the 1960's many bands were still in high pitch), it's actually given band players more scope to evaluate all the different brands that subsequently came on to the market.

    If I manage to secure one of the 2 jobs I'm currently 'on trial' for, I may consider moving over to an Edwards instrument, as I tried Brian Raby's a couple of weeks ago and loved it.
  10. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    Cant beat a black Yamaha in my opinion Duncan!!!

    See you at the shield buddy!
  11. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Is that why you sold yours? Traitor;)
  12. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    How does the black affect the tone?? Is it a custom job I should consider?
  13. BoozyBTrom

    BoozyBTrom Member

    You blend with a section Jo! ha ha yeah right :tongue:

    But seriously I have had a toot on one of our Xeno's and they are a very safe and secure unit to play. You feel fully in control. However having seen and had a toot on the Greenhoe Conn 88H i would lean that way a great trom enhanced by a top quality valve and actually put together properly. which is a massive plus point considering some of the rubbish conn has been banging out for the last few years.

    Im sure Mr Walker (Bones) will wax liyrical about his Greenhoe on here.
  14. Bones

    Bones Member

    Build quality of the Greenhoe is superb. Sound production and tone, gorgeous, production through the valve clear and very open. Problem, waitng 15 months for it, cos it was a custom purchase and paying off the credit card.
    But worth it. :)

    But taking on board some of Duncan's point above. I personally with the majority of my playing, played on Conn's but as Gaz has inferred the quality has been nigh on terrible. The Greenhoe was the last chance for me to get a quality built instrument that was a Conn. You get's what you pay for. Yamaha's have always blown really well for me, but I find them a bit soulless. They are good from day one, but never "mature". I think this is down to the high quality production techniques Yamaha have invested in. So you do get in essence a series of clones, with neither one being better or worse. Which for the occasional trom player is probably better.

    A friend of mine is a gigging pro trumpet player. He plays Bach and Schilke, but his Flugel and Piccolo are Yam. I asked why. He said he plays then so infrequently that when he does they need to work from day one. Yam are the only manufacturer to achieve, everything else has slight imperfections or overperfections which suit or don't suit certain players characteristics.

    My advice, if you are an occasional trom player. Yam is a good benchmark. If not, stick with Conns.
  15. BrotherBone

    BrotherBone Member

    Im using the Xeno at Band at the moment, still undecided. I like it.. but have found it to be lacking inbetween mf and ff lol. Having tamed it with one of Gareths resistance balancers it seems a bit better. My own trom is an 88HCL but after playing on a friends new 88H im tempted to sell and try out a couple of new ones. Anyway, yeah i think the Xeno's nice, still has that kinda Yamaha sound though, but seems a great trombone to cover any type of playing to a decent standard rather than being the ideal trombone for one particular role or another.
  16. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    You could always think about an Elkhart! Anything pre-1970 is going to be a great trombone, it just depends on how well it's been looked after. Take a look at ebay's US site, there's always a handful of Elkhart 88H's around. Much better in my opinion than newer ones, and there's a certain kudos...
  17. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    A lot of trombone friends and pros down here are also saying Elkharts and Greenhoes are superb. But I have to remember
    1) I don't play trombone all the time)
    2) When I do, I've come from BBb bass, or clarinet, or (gasp!) soppie cornet. It's nice to know that your instrument will work for you without having to "relearn" how to play.

    If I am lucky enough to find a good Elkhart, no doubt I'll pounce!! However, the Xeno tenor (and an Edwards bass trom) will do the job just nicely for me.....
  18. andybt1984

    andybt1984 Member

    I know I'm a Bass trombonist butmust mention my new Rath trombone I got recently as its a dream to play even able to play tenor trombone parts on it with little trouble. I have played a few different trombones over the years from Yamaha-Courtois and none of these have got anywhere near the Rath.
  19. Bunnymonster

    Bunnymonster Member

    My band are planning on buying 2 new tenor trombones and I'm the lucky soul who has a say in what we get. I've had a Bach 42B for the last 15 years and it has seen me through orchestras, music college and now banding: I adore it! I appreciate that what you're used to is what you like, but which instruments would you all suggest I try? I want to stick to a large bore and a trigger, (always had negative experiences with Conns in the past)!
  20. Chris Thomas

    Chris Thomas Member

    If you're happy, don't change!

    The whole instrument thing is VERY subjective and advice from anyone is a complete waste of time. Get a pile of good instruments and take your time.

    Then buy an Edwards - reassuringly expensive!


Share This Page