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Author Topic: Reynolds Tromhorn  (Read 619 times)
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Tbonedude

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« on: Sep 09, 2017, 04:39PM »

Apparently the Tromhorn was Reynolds' answer to the King Trombonium.
I've seen a couple float through Ebay (like this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-F-A-Reynolds-Marching-Trombonium-Tromhorn-Outfit-Ready-To-Play-/162447156685?hash=item25d29ae5cd:g:EiAAAOSwzgBY2Ydb),
but I've never heard much about them. How do they compare to the King and Conn counterparts?
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JimClendenin
JimClendenin

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« Reply #1 on: Nov 27, 2017, 07:52AM »

I originally thought these were a copy of the King Trombonium, but someone mentioned a different wrap. I can see that the tubing is a different distance from the valve cluster, so it must be an original Olds/Reynolds design. Does anyone know the bore of the Reynolds? Olds/Reynolds valves would be a good thing, I think. Do the Olds/Reynolds Tromhorns have the intonation issues I read about for the King Trombonium?  The Conn 90g has a .547 bore, so I'm sure that horn will sound different. Just wondering about the Tromhorns.
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Tbonedude

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« Reply #2 on: Nov 27, 2017, 09:30AM »

I've done some research regarding the Tromhorn. The earliest catalog I've seen it in is 1958. There are two listed on Ebay currently, both made in the 1961-1963 period, signified by the RMC shield on the bell. Thus, they were produced for at least 5 years, from 1958 to 1963. They may have been produced longer, but the 1966 catalogs do not show the Tromhorn, and neither do the catalogs from 1953.

The maximum possible time frame of the Tromhorn is from 1954 to 1965, 11 years at most. Compare that to the King Trombonium's massive 40-year run from 1938 to 1978. The King Trombonium had already built a reputation by 1958, JJ and Kai having played them on their Jay and Kai + 6 album two years earlier. The Tromhorn would've needed some good marketing or a significantly better design to compete with King, neither of which it had. From what I can conjure up, it looks like Reynolds did the same thing that King did and based the design off their Eb Altonium, which would ultimately lead to the same intonation problems (in my personal experience, I find that the curved bell is the source). Nearly identical in design, it would've been nearly identical in sound and indeed it is- there's a French group that uses a Tromhorn and it sounds very much like a Trombonium. The Tromhorn, it can be concluded, was not a rousing success in the shadow of the King Trombonium.

There is no info anywhere on the bore size, but Contempora Corner can shed some light. The Reynolds valve trombones grew in bore size over the years, and multiple models of similar valve trombone from a certain era seem to share a bore size. In the late 1970s, the Contempora model TV-28 and TV-29 (Valve trombone and Marching Trombone) both had a 0.515" bore. Contempora Corner shows the Model 75 having a 0.500" bore in 1959, around the same time the Tromhorn is assumed to debut. I'm using this logic to assume the Tromhorn has a .500" bore. The weird thing here is that the Tromhorn was marketed as a member of their Baritone family, and thus it was the Model 95.

The Conn 90G sounded much warmer and darker than the King and Reynolds uprights. The straight bell and large bore alleviated intonation issues and made playing easier, a good thing for the OSU Marching Band, which that horn was designed specifically to replace the Tromboniums they had been using since 1938.
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Driving Park

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« Reply #3 on: Nov 27, 2017, 09:57AM »

From what I can conjure up, it looks like Reynolds did the same thing that King did and based the design off their Eb Altonium, which would ultimately lead to the same intonation problems (in my personal experience, I find that the curved bell is the source).

This is all fascinating info, thanks.

I have seen the altonium described as an "alto trombonium", and the trombonium being based off of it would make sense. However, I recall that the King 1147 and 1148 Altoniums had a French horn receiver, which would make the normal trombone mouthpiece I assume you use with a trombonium (or tromhorn) incongruous. I've always been confused about that, and it doesn't help that at that time people sometimes threw around the word "altonium" to mean any Eb/F alto horn. (I have enough problems explaining to people that my mellophonium is kind of a mellophone, but not THAT kind of mellophone.) I wonder what the story behind that discrepancy is, if the two are in fact related.
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Tbonedude

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« Reply #4 on: Nov 27, 2017, 05:27PM »

This is all fascinating info, thanks.

I have seen the altonium described as an "alto trombonium", and the trombonium being based off of it would make sense. However, I recall that the King 1147 and 1148 Altoniums had a French horn receiver, which would make the normal trombone mouthpiece I assume you use with a trombonium (or tromhorn) incongruous. I've always been confused about that, and it doesn't help that at that time people sometimes threw around the word "altonium" to mean any Eb/F alto horn. (I have enough problems explaining to people that my mellophonium is kind of a mellophone, but not THAT kind of mellophone.) I wonder what the story behind that discrepancy is, if the two are in fact related.

A Trombonium isn't truly an Altonium in Bb. The similarities are in the shape, layout, and bell. The removable bells are exactly the same and can thus be swapped flawlessly, but that's where the shared components end. The tapers and tubing are differently sized, especially the main bore- The earlier Altoniums (pre-French Horn mpc) have a bore around 0.484" and Tromboniums are 0.500". An interesting quirk of this relationship between the two horns is that every time the Altonium was redesigned, the Trombonium was as well. When the Altonium was revamped to accept a Horn mouthpiece in the mid 1970s, the Trombonium got a new, fixed bell and a longer leadpipe setup with the main tuning slide before the valves. Theoretically, this would make it play more trombone-like with the long leadpipe, but the intonation issues related to the curved bell remained on the 1144... that is, unless you got the 1143 model with a straight bell. I have yet to see an 1143, and the Trombonium was killed off in 1978, so I can't imagine that the 3rd generation was a success. Or maybe it was simply that King had a different idea in mind... the model number 1144 was recycled to label the Flugabone. I guess the Flugabone was designed to replace the Trombonium as a marching-style valve trombone.
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