Thursday, July 15, 2010

Slog Gaps and Trombone Talk

Sorry about the long gaps between entries. The past two weeks have been a bit fraught, because after returning from band camp with my trombone technique much rehabilitated (I've even basked in unexpected acceptance from some good musicians), my horn was stolen.

Which was not necessarily the worst thing in the world. My first trombone was a magical Bach 42 that I always considered to have a soul (it certainly played soulfully). But after literally playing it to death, I bought another, which never felt as good. It wasn't a bad instrument, but it lacked that spark. And I never got around to replacing it. But now I've been forced into it, which may be for the best.

Not that it's a simple thing. While anyone with $6000 can go out and buy a really good saxophone, and anyone with $100,000 can go out and buy a really good violin, the most expensive trombone is around $3500 and is of variable quality. You can't just go buy a trombone; I tried about 30 of the exact same brand and model to find my previous soulless horn (which at least had nothing particularly wrong with it).

So after trying several dozen trombones all over the NY Tristate area, I've settled on the bell from an old second-hand smashed up $900 Bach 42 at Sam Ash in Manhattan, coupled with the $900 slide of a bass trombone at a store out in the wilds of New Jersey. By Wednesday, my repairman will have refurbished the bell, and the Jersey guys will have mailed me the slide. And I think I'll have found magic again. Then back to yet another band camp, this one for two full weeks. By its end, I should be close to my old form. Phew!

Meanwhile, in the event of long gaps here, please bear in mind that most of the entries in this Slog are timeless (in terms of continued relevance, if not quality). So feel free, if you're bored and looking for something to read, to dip deeply into the archives. Have you read all the Popular Entries indexed to the left?


Val in Seattle said...

Congrats on the new horn. Your story of band camp and of recovering your skills and joy... I find it very inspiring. It gives me hope. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Happy to see you've got your horn on, in terms of both rekindling your playing, and replacing the stolen one.

Jim Leff said...

Thanks to both of you!

Anonymous said...

you can almost hear the trombone

James Leff said...

Wow! Thanks!

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