Christan Griego recently designed an new trombone for Getzen. He shares his thoughts about it below.
A while back, I had this idea. As always, it started as the most innocent of thoughts. It was “There’s this mythical ‘Bach’ style of trombone that, while some are great, most are inconsistent. Let’s try to build on this ‘Bach’ style while maintaining what we’ve always done best”. As you are probably aware, we’re known for making the most consistent resonating instruments in the world. So we should be able to make this work.
I knew where to start and I knew where I wanted to end up. That was the easy part. I also knew I didn’t want to re-invent the wheel, but I didn’t want to just rehash the same old things either. And so, by combining time tested ideas with a few new design approaches, I started the journey of creating this dream instrument that ultimately turned into the 4047DS Custom Reserve. Here’s a little insight into the how and why the 4047DS came to be.
This was the easiest part for me, since I knew what I wanted. A large, .547” bore hand slide with yellow brass outer tubes, nickel silver over sleeves, and a yellow brass end crook. The end crook gives us the width of sound needed to offset what is happening a bit later in the bell section. Prior research into end crook bore selection had given me the knowledge needed and the choice was made. The entire design is balanced and offset to each component so that it all works together to achieve the final outcome we are after.
The design of the bell took us to the machine shop. The bell shape had to be correct in order for the 4047DS to give us the enveloping quality we were after. This is always the scary part of design as you hope your initial shape concepts are right due to the high cost of bell mandrels. I study history and what has been done in the past to make sure we don’t repeat the mistakes of others. As luck would have it, we hit a winner with our bell mandrel. With the bell shape nailed we moved on to the material choice, yellow brass and that’s all I can say. We have to keep some secrets, but I can tell you it’s not a light bell nor is it a hernia maker. My whole goal was to make an instrument that will fit most professional players without them making the journey to Elkhorn, Wisconsin to work with me on fitting a trombone. It’s okay, no offense taken.
This is possibly the most “oversold” part of any instrument manufacturer’s claims. While I’m not refuting anybody’s self proclaimed valve supremacy, my goal was to make a professional trombone that used a conventional rotor not of a higher deity or bloodline. Listening to vinyl recordings late in the evening, I have heard players from the 1950’s through today that sound incredible on good old, conventional rotor trombones. There are many musicians that I’ve studied with that still play on standard conventional rotors that aren’t at all hampered by the rotor’s design. I did play around with port diameters and rotor passageways to come up with our final design, but with design simplicity I think we have found a great combination.
It’s possible to make an instrument play great with a conventional rotor by making sure the overall wrap design is correct. I used my knowledge of wraps and bracing concepts in this area. The “DS” double edge brace design is born of the Edwards B454-D-E bass and it works just as well here on the 4047DS. In addition to the “DS” bracing, the 4047DS utilizes the concept of Asymmetrical Bracing with both yellow brass and nickel silver bracing. This innovative bracing design frees both the F attachment and the bell from diminished resonance and response caused by invasive bracing systems.
And Finally… The Leadpipe
I’m fortunate to be friends with lots of trombone players with a wide variety of equipment both new and old. One such friend knew about the 4047DS project and offered me a decades old leadpipe to test on the horn. Man did that pipe play well. The second the brass leadpipe slid into the slide, it was an “Aha!” moment. This was the final piece of the puzzle that made the 4047DS something special.
When developing a new instrument, we test things on a daily basis and get to see the improvements made slowly over time. Moving toward a goal only to have the destination cut short is a real drag and I think that many companies do just that. Rushing to launch model after model just hoping to get one to “hit”. That is exactly the approach I wanted to avoid. We have worked on this trombone for a few years and not once was I pressured to get the horn to market. I wanted, and was encouraged, to take my time. Only when it felt right every time I came back to the horn and after hearing the 4047DS played by countless players in house did I feel right taking this new trombone public. Crafting new trombones is fun. Crafting one that plays this well is something else all together. I am extremely proud to finally provide other players with the ability to play and perform on the all new, Getzen 4047DS Custom Reserve. Enjoy!
— Christan Griego
- Bell: 8 ½” Yellow brass unsoldered rim; B Mandrel *
- Tuning Slide: Yellow brass; Single radius taper *
- Bell & Tuning Slide Braces: Nickel silver construction *
- “DS” Edge Bracing: Yellow brass construction *
- Neckpipe: Taper evens intonation tendencies within the harmonic series. *
- Inner Handslide: Solid nickel silver construction cork barrel assembly *
- Leadpipe: Retro brass leadpipe born of historically proven bloodlines *
- Over Sleeves: Nickel silver providing longer wear points *
- End Crook: Yellow brass with large inner diameter providing a width of sound & consistent feel *
All in an optional fiberglass shell case with adjustable padding and backpack straps. It is the smallest large bore, tenor case on the market today. Providing more protection than a traditional gig bag while remaining lightweight without the use of expensive carbon fiber. *
* = Designed exclusively for the 4047DS Custom Reserve