Carbon Fiber Trombone Slides Into Japan!

A happy customer is a thing of beauty and this one makes me smile. Here’s a guy who’s a freelancer in NYC, heading off to Tokyo, and he’s just gotta have a carbon fiber trombone slide to take along with him. At the risk of asking you to hang in here a bit too long, I am going to pass along his letter in full – well, because it’s just too AWESOME!

For those of you who don’t know, Patrick Spurling is the founder of SpurlingPL, located in Zurich Switzerland, and is the inspiration behind the slides. I manufacture them for him and we send them all over the world. Here is the most amazing letter we’ve ever received:

Mr Spurling,

Greetings from Japan. We are currently running the second week of shows here at the Orb Theater in Shibuya, Tokyo. Since receiving the Spurling slide last month, I’ve had a healthy amount of time to break it in and get a feel for it. In short, the slide is a game-changer; never before have I had so much control over my instrument, nor have I ever been able to play with such ease. I feel as though the carbon fiber slide’s weight allows trombonists to finally match the speed and dexterity of other wind instruments that use on keys and valves. This makes for a far more enjoyable experience when blending and matching articulations. The slide simply feels amazing.

Obviously, most of my positive feedback relates to the weight and speed of the slide in relation to traditional metal slides.

I performed the first 10 shows last week only on the Spurling slide, while my horn’s original lay neglected in its case. This morning I warmed up with both slides and felt, for the first time, how remarkable the difference in weight truly is. My Conn’s standard silver plated SL slide feels as heavy as a brick and seems like it is fighting me even during simple warm-up exercises. How I ever played the vivace section of Blue Bells of Scotland is now beyond me.

Because I use a very light embouchure, I have always struggled with making fast playing sound effortless. A large part of my struggle has been quickly changing positions without the inertia effecting my embouchure and air stream, especially in the low range. The carbon fiber slide eliminates so much of the effort in changing positions that I feel my embouchure is never compromised. I can focus less on countering large movements with my face, and more on everything else.

I was surprised to find that the carbon fiber slide reacts as well if not better to the lubricants I use on my other slides. For the road I use Slide-O-Mix: Rapid Comfort, and the carbon fiber moves just as easily as metal. Complete with the feather-light weight, it is truly the most comfortable slide I’ve ever played on. After a period of time, when the lubricant begins to accumulate near the base of the inner tubes, the carbon fiber is just as susceptible to the gradual stickiness as any other material. If anything, the lightness makes the sticky feeling a bit more apparent, but it is a condition easily mended.

As for my opinions regarding the Spurling slide’s auditory characteristics, I have to resort to mostly anecdotal information.

In comparing the carbon fiber slide’s resonance, vibrancy, and timbre, I have to say it is surprisingly pleasant and not at all “plastic” sounding like the P-Bone. Compared to the Conn SL4747 slide, the Spurling actually sounds more “open”, without changing the resistance. I have found, however, that some of the brilliance of the tone is tempered the smallest amount from a standard metal slide. Soft attacks are round and smooth, where as hard attacks are flat but full. Volume is not effected, although I’ve noticed the low range seems to speak easier.

Overall, the positive aspects of the Spurling carbon fiber slide far outweigh an negatives. As a freelance musician that works primarily in musical theater, I have found nothing to dissuade me from using it every day. I believe the Spurling slide can be an excellent option in jazz, musical theater, solo, and general ensemble playing. I might be hesitant to use it primarily in an orchestral setting, depending on if I found there to be blending issues in the timbre. I would like to continuing working with before I make a serious determination regarding its application in a major orchestra.

I want to thank you again for bringing such a find product into the trombone world. I believe in it whole-heartedly. I would recommend it to EVERYONE. So long as I have the choice, I will always choose the Spurling slide over any other including factory equipment.

Tao Guthrie

About randyjmueller

Sr. Instrument Repair technician
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