Edwards began selling the first working production Axial Flow Thayer Valve trombone in 1989. Since then, Edwards has helped countless trombonists by fitting each of them to the perfect instrument. Customizable Edwards trombones are ideal for concert halls, recital stages, jazz clubs, and every other trombone-centric environment.
Recently, Edwards developed a new offering for symphonic tenor trombonists, the Alessi Model T396-A. Coupled with "traditional" customizable instruments, the Alessi model is proof that the Edwards team is constantly evaluating the needs of their customers and giving them the best tools for the job.
When Joseph Alessi is not playing in the back row of Lincoln Center, he can be found performing solos in front of orchestras and in recitals. His music versatility requires an instrument that will meet his needs. The T396-A meets those needs, and then some.
First and foremost, Mr. Alessi is a principal orchestral player. His instrument must crown the low brass section while blending with the orchestra. This balance was of the utmost importance when designing his signature trombone. But Edwards also could not ignore Mr. Alessi's considerable solo capabilities.
So Edwards set out to provide Mr. Alessi with a horn that gave him the correct timbre and feel no matter the musical setting. This is more difficult than it sounds. A lot of timbre comes with having an instrument that is tonally flexible without becoming unstable in different registers. Edwards feels that they achieved their goals due to the fact that the T396-A is the first "acoustically-tunable" fixed instrument. They are excited to make an instrument available that is as unique as each and every one of our customers.
SLIDE AND LEADPIPE
Once again Edwards exhausted all possibilities when coming to a consensus on a slide. Mr. Alessi played on several end crooks searching for the one that not only balanced the instrument, but also gave him the correct amount of feedback.
Edwards places a lot of emphasis on feedback. It's important that a player has the proper amount in order to assess an instrument. Edwards doesn't subscribe to, "It's there, trust me." That just takes away from a musician's ability to make his/her own musical decisions.
It's no secret that minor changes in the leadpipe and mouthpiece can have a major impact on playing. Mr. Alessi worked through myriad options before picking a sterling silver custom leadpipe with numerous proprietary elements. The leadpipe will be fixed into the slide.
The final result includes a slide with nickel oversleeves, specially-treated rose brass outer tubes, a yellow brass end crook and Mr. Alessi's Signature Silver Leadpipe.
After years of development -- and countless flights from Wisconsin to New York -- Edwards are extremely proud of the Alessi Model T396-A. They are indebted to Mr. Alessi for taking the time to help us make the next great Edwards Trombone. Breathe into this horn and it will come to life.
The Alessi bell is the result of Mr. Alessi trying countless combinations of mandrels, gauges and materials. The payoff is a bell that not only sounds wonderful in the New York Philharmonic, but also allows Mr. Alessi to play solo recitals at the levels he demands.
The bell is constructed of yellow brass (70% copper and 30% zinc). The rim is unsoldered yet maintains a depth of sound. There are many proprietary elements that will not be discussed here for obvious reasons. To all the equipment junkies, Edwards apologizes.
The tuning slide has a single radius and is rose brass. It is designed with unique trim points and construction materials to strike the perfect balance between sound and feel.
Throughout the years, Edwards has taken pride in building horns that have allowed many trombonists to win auditions and be successful in their jobs. There's no question that the T350 has become the benchmark instrument for orchestral tenor trombonists.
That being said, Edwards are committed to building instruments that fit every trombonist, some of whom may not mesh with the Axial Flow Valve. The Alessi Model was built around the Rotax Valve by Willson. This valve provides a great sound and feel for the player and is constructed using solid brass manufacturing principles.
Edwards did their homework when deciding on a valve for the Alessi T396-A. Seeking the sound and feel he was after, Mr. Alessi tried every available valve on the market. Some provided a great tone or a nice feel, but rarely delivered on both. Other valves had build and playability issues.
The Rotax valve is an integral part of the Alessi Model design. It is machined to the standards demanded by Willson Instruments; as a result, the Rotax is the highest quality rotor we've seen. From a player's perspective, it responds quickly and helps produce a wonderful large bore tenor sound.
Consumers (and even some manufacturers) often overlook the importance of bracing. It's vitally important for two reasons. First, a solid brace design allows manufacturers to build stress-free instruments. Second, an instrument's playability and response will be exponentially better with braces in the correct nodal positions on the instrument. This means the Alessi Model will sing for you.
The T396-A utilizes the Harmonic Bridge (US Pat No 8,247,675) and Harmonic Pillars (US Pat No 8,247,675). More information on these will be coming in December.
Some of you will undoubtedly recognize the wrap that shares similarities with the Minick wrap. Used by instrument companies since the 1970's, the Minick wrap concept provides a smooth transition in and out of a conventional rotor.
The material within the wrap is a combination of rose and yellow brass. Blending alloys helped us achieve the unique sound Mr. Alessi was after. Construction allows the air to maintain its direction without hidden gaps or spaces. The F tuning slide has a single radius.