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Author Topic: King Duo Gravis History & Info  (Read 18331 times)
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king3b78
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« on: Sep 10, 2008, 10:24AM »

I have been watching Alan Raph's instructional tips for trombone on You Tube. I noticed that he uses a Silver Sonic King Duo Gravis Bass Trombone. I have been searching for historical information on the development and production of this model. This model was developed after the HN White Company became King Musical Instruments. So the HN White Company website does not have any information. I am looking at getting a Duo Gravis in good condition with the triggers in the original side by side configuration.

Are there any web sites that tell the Duo Gravis story? 

Why did the company cease production of this model?

As always, I appreciate any feedback.
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Dan
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« Reply #1 on: Sep 10, 2008, 10:29AM »

The Duo Gravis (dependent) setup was developed in the 1960s, and was still in production when I bought my King 7B (independent) in 1983.

Because the market was going to independent valves, the 6B Duo Gravis was replaced by the independent 7B and 8B (which differed in bell diameter).  I don't think I ever saw one with a modern "split" setup that wasn't a modification.  There were two Duo Gravis setups: a side-by-side with rollers and an over/under.  I can't tell you what dates go with what configuration, though.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #2 on: Sep 10, 2008, 11:28AM »

There is quite a bit of info on the Duo Gravis if you search around this forum a bit.  Bruce can be forgiven for being brief.... a lot has been said already.

BUT there are still big holes in the story.  I have the good fortune to live about 30 miles from the man who designed the horn.  He and the player behind the horn (the same Mr. Raph you have sen on Youtube) have agreed to cooperate on documenting the development of the horn.  At this point I've only had time to get some of the environmental timeline down, to frame the discussions.

I suspect the story will come out first on this site.  Stay tuned, and enjoy the info that already exists here.  Silver 3B was kind enough to post some old catalogs.  Good info there.

I'll be posting pictures of my transformed triggers before long also.  Shifted around by, of course, the man who designed the horn!
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Dave Adams
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« Reply #3 on: Sep 10, 2008, 02:09PM »

My 6B that I used for three or so years in high school was from the mid-late '70s. It had the side by side triggers, but no rollers. It also had the finger ring next to the receiver (which I never used). I loved/love the thing, and I wish I could have kept it. It was a really really good player, especially for 30 years of school abuse.
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king3b78
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« Reply #4 on: Sep 10, 2008, 07:48PM »

All of the replies are excellent. They add more information to the little amount that I have on this model. I look forward to learning more.

Thank you all.
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Dan
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« Reply #5 on: Sep 10, 2008, 11:07PM »

All I know is that it is one of my favourite horns of all time.
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« Reply #6 on: Sep 11, 2008, 08:45PM »

BUT there are still big holes in the story.  I have the good fortune to live about 30 miles from the man who designed the horn.  He and the player behind the horn (the same Mr. Raph you have sen on Youtube) have agreed to cooperate on documenting the development of the horn.  At this point I've only had time to get some of the environmental timeline down, to frame the discussions.

I assume you are talking about George McKracken. George was Chuck Wards Mentor/predecessor at King.  Chuck has given me some interesting info on subtle changes to the Duo Gravis in the early 70's.

Please send Regards to George from Cleveland.  I have not seen him since shortly before he left and I haven't talked to him on the phone in about 4 years.

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« Reply #7 on: Sep 12, 2008, 03:37AM »

I assume you are talking about George McKracken. George was Chuck Wards Mentor/predecessor at King.  Chuck has given me some interesting info on subtle changes to the Duo Gravis in the early 70's.

Please send Regards to George from Cleveland.  I have not seen him since shortly before he left and I haven't talked to him on the phone in about 4 years.

You assume correctly! I'll pass on your regards. Can you add your notes from Chuck to this thread?  Chuck has also agreed to add what he can to the Duo Gravis history project.  I want to gather what I can before taking up any time from any of these folks. And, of course, it's easier to frame questions if I have more background too :)

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Dave Adams
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« Reply #8 on: Jul 14, 2010, 05:40AM »

Just a note that this topic isn't quite dead yet.  It's just taken more time than expected to collect pieces, and some alternate avenues had to be explored.  But I should be able to create a draft soon, for review by the principals, then find a way of posting. 

I CAN say, at this point, I find the story VERY interesting.  I have no idea how closely it parallels other trombone development stories.  I haven't been able to find documentation to compare to.  So stay tuned, but do NOT remain glued to your seats!  Hi
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Dave Adams
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« Reply #9 on: Jul 14, 2010, 08:13AM »

1460 views on this post so far, so somebody is interested in the DG.

There is a big difference built into the Duo Gravis not attempted on other horns. The diameter of the tubing in the valve section is still .562, not .590.

Other makers used the outer diameter of the slide to determine which size to make the valve section. Think about it. The handslide on ANY trombone is a dual-bore, .562 on the inside and .590 on the outer to accomodate the need for lubrication and allow the outer to slide over the inner. As you move the handslide out from 1st position to 7th the proportion of .590 tubing in the horn increases. The inner slide remains .562, but there is more .590 tubing in play the longer you reach with the slide.

ex. An 88H has a .547 bore. The valve tubing is .562.
    A 60H has a .562 bore. The valve tubing is .590.

   The F and Gb attachments on a Duo Gravis are .562, so you have a reverse dual bore. The horn isn't conical, it is more cylindrical than other trombones with valves.
   Consider a low Db in 6th position with the F attachment.
1. The air passes through a .562 slide upper into a .590 outer.
2. There is a slight gooseneck/leadpipe effect when the air re-enters the slide lower and re-enters the .562 tubing.
3. The air passes into the valve tubing and stays .562.

The air in the Duo Gravis, and the blow of the thing, is mostly .562. Still a bass trombone, but its not a dual bore conical bass trombone. If you play a low F with the trigger in 1st position you have a decidedly different feel and sound quality on a Duo Gravis than you do on a low F in 6th position.

When I had mine as a kid I preferred a larger mouthpiece with a Duo Gravis. A Bach 1G made it a monster.
A Conn bass of the same vintage needs a 2G or 1 1/2G mouthpiece to make it play to its best.
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Stretch Longarm
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« Reply #10 on: Jul 14, 2010, 09:18AM »

1460 views on this post so far, so somebody is interested in the DG.

There is a big difference built into the Duo Gravis not attempted on other horns. The diameter of the tubing in the valve section is still .562, not .590.

Other makers used the outer diameter of the slide to determine which size to make the valve section. Think about it. The handslide on ANY trombone is a dual-bore, .562 on the inside and .590 on the outer to accomodate the need for lubrication and allow the outer to slide over the inner. As you move the handslide out from 1st position to 7th the proportion of .590 tubing in the horn increases. The inner slide remains .562, but there is more .590 tubing in play the longer you reach with the slide.

ex. An 88H has a .547 bore. The valve tubing is .562.
    A 60H has a .562 bore. The valve tubing is .590.

   The F and Gb attachments on a Duo Gravis are .562, so you have a reverse dual bore. The horn isn't conical, it is more cylindrical than other trombones with valves.
   Consider a low Db in 6th position with the F attachment.
1. The air passes through a .562 slide upper into a .590 outer.
2. There is a slight gooseneck/leadpipe effect when the air re-enters the slide lower and re-enters the .562 tubing.
3. The air passes into the valve tubing and stays .562.

The air in the Duo Gravis, and the blow of the thing, is mostly .562. Still a bass trombone, but its not a dual bore conical bass trombone. If you play a low F with the trigger in 1st position you have a decidedly different feel and sound quality on a Duo Gravis than you do on a low F in 6th position.

When I had mine as a kid I preferred a larger mouthpiece with a Duo Gravis. A Bach 1G made it a monster.
A Conn bass of the same vintage needs a 2G or 1 1/2G mouthpiece to make it play to its best.


Very interesting view of things...makes sense. It does indeed seem to explain first position F (w/trigger) versus 6th position F. Also may explain the horn's "laser" effect - you know, how it can peel paint on the far wall...it projects very well, and maybe your theory explains that focus.
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« Reply #11 on: Jul 14, 2010, 10:20AM »

Kevin and Stretch,

I can confirm that the bore size of the valve sections were chosen pretty much for the reasons you noted.  Keep in mind, though, that the bell on this thing was not a copy of another bell... it was a ground-up design, and intended for SilverSonic production right from the beginning.  All of that also contributes.  Along with a bunch of other details I'll pull together when I get on that draft :)
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Dave Adams
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« Reply #12 on: Jul 14, 2010, 11:14AM »

...The F and Gb attachments on a Duo Gravis...
There is a bit of confusion about the Duo Gravis in that it seems to exist two different versions, the original with dependent valves Bb/F/E or D with the optional extension, and also maybe an independent version?

When I had mine, when I unfortunately was too youngt to realize what a remarkable instrument it was, and the thing I regret most in my tromboneing life, sold it, it was the dependent version. I think about 1974-75 or something. It still lives in the hands of another trombone player that did buy it back then and never let it go away. He likes it very much.

...When I had mine as a kid I preferred a larger mouthpiece with a Duo Gravis. A Bach 1G made it a monster...
Quite a difference to the King 29 that came with mine. I did not think back then that the 29 was so useful, but today I realize that it is useful if only knowing how to handle it, especially with the trend of using smaller stuff.

Conclusion is, never sell a DG if you have a good one and like it. You may never find anything like it or another one.
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John Lingesjo
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« Reply #13 on: Jul 14, 2010, 11:42AM »

There is a bit of confusion about the Duo Gravis in that it seems to exist two different versions, the original with dependent valves Bb/F/E or D with the optional extension, and also maybe an independent version?

When I had mine, when I unfortunately was too youngt to realize what a remarkable instrument it was, and the thing I regret most in my tromboneing life, sold it, it was the dependent version. I think about 1974-75 or something. It still lives in the hands of another trombone player that did buy it back then and never let it go away. He likes it very much.
Quite a difference to the King 29 that came with mine. I did not think back then that the 29 was so useful, but today I realize that it is useful if only knowing how to handle it, especially with the trend of using smaller stuff.

Conclusion is, never sell a DG if you have a good one and like it. You may never find anything like it or another one.


Duo Gravis DID get some number confusion later in its life (I think it appeared at different times at the 6B and 7B.)  The horn named "Duo Gravis," though only existed as a dependent trigger horn.

It was very much designed with the acoustics of a 1 1/2G in mind, and Alan Raph (the player behind the creation of the horn) STILL uses a 1 1/2G on his.
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Dave Adams
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« Reply #14 on: Jul 14, 2010, 11:51AM »

...The horn named "Duo Gravis," though only existed as a dependent trigger horn...

Approximately between which years did the real or original DG exist?

...It was very much designed with the acoustics of a 1 1/2G in mind, and Alan Raph (the player behind the creation of the horn) STILL uses a 1 1/2G on his...

So, how come they were delivered with the 29?
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« Reply #15 on: Jul 14, 2010, 12:38PM »

The King 29 was a large tenor mouthpiece, if I recall correctly.  Why you would get one with a bass trombone is beyond me.

At the time King could not supply instruments with Bach mouthpieces, although later ones did come with Bach-style mouthpieces.  My 1980 King 7B came with a 1 1/2G but it had a Benge name on it and was shaped like a Bach mouthpiece.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #16 on: Jul 14, 2010, 12:41PM »

Approximately between which years did the real or original DG exist?

So, how come they were delivered with the 29?


Like Bruce said, it's a mystery why they would ship with the 29. Since the first horns came from 1968-1969, I can see why pre-Benge/UMI King would follow a marketing line.

As far as the date of the last Duo Gravis... don't know.  For beginnings, the 1969 date is from a Forum member who still has his receipt. The 1968 date is from Alan Raph.
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Dave Adams
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« Reply #17 on: Jul 14, 2010, 12:56PM »

They were still available when I bought my 7B in 1983 (new old stock) but the "sexy" bass was an independent.

Even though some people called my 7B a "Duo Gravis", the only engraving on it is "King 7B 2107".  I never considered it a D-G.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #18 on: Jul 14, 2010, 01:27PM »

Going back to design...

Did they intended for Bach style mouthpieces to go farther in the mouthpiece receiver? or did they design it with the intention of use with a certain mouthpiece brand? 

I have used a regular Bach 1 1/4 with the horn and the shank goes all the way in.  I have since moved to a DE setup with a "K" shank that have the mouthpiece fit farther out in what seems to be the "normal" length like other horns.  I find that Schilke shanks fit like the "K" shank also.
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« Reply #19 on: Jul 14, 2010, 01:28PM »

See... Dillon has two SS bell'd duo gravis horns up right now, one silver plated and with modern linkage, and one original. If I keep reading this thread, I'm going to end up buying one.

I wonder how much I could get on the YBL-612RII as a trade in...
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