May 04, 2021
What's on TJ's Bench? A Double Rotor Bass Trombone
This week I have been working on a vintage Reynolds Contempora double rotor bass trombone.
What's interesting about this particular horn is the dependent rotor system - something we don't see every day, and it's the first time I've seen one at all! As can be seen in the pictures, one rotor will not turn without the other rotor being depressed, so they must be level with each other and work in perfect unison - which is tricky to figure out the first time around.
I read some of the history on this design at yeodoug.com. A quote written by a trombonist named Dennis Clason reads: "Dependent systems were developed first as a response to a few composers treating the bass trombone as a completely chromatic instrument from low B (rather than low C). (Bela) Bartok figured prominently among that group."
An interesting horn and a little bit of trombone history from Teej's bench!
I owned a King Duo Gravis in the 1970s that was like this. I had my Navy band instrument repairman silver solder a bar to the F trigger to make both valves open when needed. The F key could be pressed at will, but rotating the thumb forward would activate the second valve key to bring in the extra plumbing to put a D in 1st position. Without the extra bar on underside of the F key it was possible for the F valve to close slightly when rolling my thumb forward to the second valve key to bring in the D tuning, which destroyed the free airflow. Great playing horn once that mod was in place!
Doug Goldsmith May 11, 2021