When the pandemic hit, I needed something to do. All my music stuff had been canceled. Unlike me, who works remotely, it was apparent that several businesses were going to be negatively impacted.

I contacted Best American Craftsman (aka BAC) in Overland Park, Kansas to see if they’d still be fixing instruments. They would be, but with some staff doing repairs at home, and a smaller staff in the shop at any given time. All good, I was in no hurry.

Trombone Slide Repair

I sent in my Bach 42 trombone in specifically for their “Escape Velocity” slide service. Having sat in the case for at least a decade in the 2000s had not served it well 😞 Also, my F-attachment valve was slower than molasses in January, as they say.

Was it worth it to box up my case and ship it half-way across the country? Absolutely! It was like my slide and f-attachment trigger action were brand new – possibly even better than new 💪

Reconnecting with my people

I’ve had a ton of hobbies over the years – you can read about most of them on this blog. But recently I came to the conclusion that band people are my people. Of all the subcultures I’ve steeped myself in, they are the best. There’s something about band kids (we’re all band kids at heart) that binds us all together.

I’ve even found that some of my old high-school classmates are still active. An Irondale classmate invited me to a jazz camp in norther Wisconsin. Besides being all-around fun, I got to do group lessons with fantastic trombonist Andy Baker, and also actively work on improvisation – which I’ve never been good at. I’ll keep chopping that wood for next year’s camp 🪵🪓

Slide oil, cream, or mix?

Working with River Valley Sound (the winter winds part of 728 Cadets) I met Chris. He’s a band director and trombone player. He was able to help me quickly hone in on what’s new.

Adding Trombotine to my freshly repaired slide left it feeling paste-y. He suggested I try Slide-o-mix – specifically the single bottle stuff with the black cap. To me it almost seems like a semi-liquid pre-mixed Trombotine. Whatever it is, it’s been working great.

Trombone Stand

Being a frequent pit-orchestra guy, Chris also gave me advice on a trombone stand. I initially went with the Hercules hand-slide stand. It is very solid and does avoid the stopper leaving a mark inside the bell. However, I quickly realized that I instinctively want to pick the horn up by the slide handle. And the slide handle is now in the stand 😕 So I switched to a standard style K & M stand. It’s more expensive because it’s made in Germany, but it’s solid and I just do what everyone else does – put a sock on the stopper so it doesn’t leave a mark in the bell 😎

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