Built in Elkhorn, Wisconsin USA, the B-502 trombone came about from a generation of experiments in the Edwards custom shop. Back in the day most Edwards bass trombones were modular like the Getzen 3062AF Custom Series trombones. The Edwards all had axial flow rotors and you could mix and match components.
But most players don't own several bells or change tuning slides and leadpipes. They may want one trombone that's masterfully good and that's designed to play as well as possible. A fully modular instrument has limitless choices, but many of those can be ruled out and some are confusing. When faced with too many choices, some people choose none.
Edwards and Getzen still sell plenty of bass trombones with axial rotors and modular parts, but this trombone is different. Using knowledge gained from the Edwards Alessi model and the new T-396AR tenor trombones, this bass trombone is unlike most others.
The B-502 features a modern rotor valve design, now produced locally by Griego. The ports are open and the airflow feels good. Free and efficient, controllable, not overly big. The hand slide is gold brass, along with many of the other tubes, adding some warmth and ethereal nature to the sound. The main braces between neckpipe and bell are fixed, which adds strength and reduces the need for further bracing elsewhere. They are also made of stainless steel for extra energy transfer. A similar modular trombone with round screw-braces will be weaker without an additional bell brace. The B-502 has no such issues.
The choice of metals shows the attention to detail in the B-502 design. Yellow or gold brass, nickel, stainless steel - they are all used for the very specific harmonic response they give from their hardness.
The Harmonic Brace in the middle of the bell section is patented and is worthy of your attention. With an included selection of small threaded pillars in zinc and copper, you can tune this trombone's response to be exactly what you want. This is a more nuanced tuning of the response than even a leadpipe change will do. This is the same mechanism used on the Alessi models, the T-396AR and the Getzen 4147IB.
This Brace is amazing. We've been play testing Getzen trombones for more than two decades. Trying one of these models without any harmonic pillars installed makes one say, "Oh, Getzen, OK." And then add a pillar or two and try it, then adjust a few times, usually leads one to say, "That is amazing!" You can make the tone more brilliant or warmer and adjust the clarity of attack. It's a great system.
The B-502 has three reverse tuning slides. Some people talk about where the bore gap is located when you pull a tuning slide. We/I surmise (conclusion w/o facts) that more importantly, when more of the horn's mass has a firm (soldered) attachment to the tuning slide, the sound energy is transferred more efficiently through it. By reversing one side of each tuning slide, there's a more secure connection to help project the tone.
The Getzen bells are all hand-spun and use a traditional style bell rim that's unsoldered at the edge. Other notable trombones made in this style were Holton, Martin, '60's Conn, and to this day Kuhnl & Hoyer. A bell like this lets you color the tone to your desires and it feels lighter, more malleable. There may be more noise and color in the sound, not as easily made "clean" as a Yamaha or Bach style build. But it's a whole lot more interesting sound to listen to. If a trombone that responds this nicely will inspire you to pick it up from the stand more often, it's worth it.
Like other Getzen and Edwards trombones, the grip can be difficult. I modified this one a bit; your technician might improve things for you. The throw on the second rotor is longer than needed.
Options - Delivered in 1 Year :-/
Choose the dual bore slide option if you like a broad stable orchestral sound and have extra air. Choose the rose brass bell if you like a snappy, malleable, warm sounding horn with less stable power but more bite. Edwards will match it with the yellow brass valve set for clarity. Choose the stacked rotors if you're a retro-grouch and you appreciate the satisfying pedal tones of a trombone with a long tapered neckpipe. This was a popular option on trombones a generation ago, but also a new generation has arrived. Trombone design and rotors have improved, so most people choose inline in all the brands we represent. That's the primary model we order: inline. straight bore.
Available a la carte or with a Marcus Bonna case.