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Slide Straightening

Slide Straightening

Scott demonstrates one of the critical stages of handslide production.

In this video, Scott demonstrates one of the more critical stages of handslide production — slide straightening.

In order to achieve the finest action, tubes of a trombone handslide must be as straight as possible. Several production steps help achieve this "straightness", but none are as important as the hand-straightening itself.

First, the slide is placed on a piece of granite that has been ground and polished to be as flat as possible. By using this flat, back-lit surface, the tube can easily be checked. Any light shining between the slide tube and the granite indicates a tiny bend in the tubing that needs to be removed. This is where things can get tricky.

The only way to remove these tiny bends is to massage them out by hand. This is achieved based solely on feel and experience. If too little pressure is applied, the bend will not be removed. Too much pressure will cause a bend in the opposite direction and just compound the problem. Scott makes the straightening look easy, a result of his many years of experience.

This process of checking, massaging, and checking again is repeated until the tubing is straight. Both the inside and outside slide assemblies are given the same treatment to ensure the best action possible. Every trombone handslide — from student to high end professional — receives this same attention and scrutiny.