English Slide Trumpet Replica
Boston trumpeter Chris Belluscio approached me with the request that I make him an English slide trumpet, although I balked at first, knowing that they are available from other makers. These were very popular with English orchestral players through most of the 19th century and like the orchestral valve trumpet of that era, are most often pitched in F with crooks to C.
Chris wanted one made that was more like original instruments than others that he has tried. The biggest obstacle would be the bell profile, no modern instrument is the same. I spent quite some time measuring bells in hopes that I would find something close that I could modify. The closest that I found was Kanstul's copy of Thibouville's four valve C/D trumpet. The time that I spent manipulating this bell might have been better spent making a mandrel, if I thought that I might make another, but that's the risk taken on my chosen path. Once invested, I was motivated to complete the project and the balance of the work was fairly straightforward, although I had to devise a method of making the ball.
I had never made the slide mechanism for one of these before, but it is quite a simple design. The handle on the tube in the center of the instrument is pushed back with the fingers of the left hand, pushing the slide back past the jaw of the player. An elastic cord stretched from the slide brace to the brace at the other end of that tube pulls the slide back in when released by the fingers.
The trumpet is pitched at A=440Hz with three tuning bits and I also supplied Chris with a shank to lower the pitch to A=430Hz. The crooks lower the pitch to E, Eb, D and C. The combination of the C and Eb crooks tune it to Bb and other combinations are also possible. The overall length of the instrument is 23 3/4", the bell rim diameter is 4 3/8" and the bore of the cylindrical tubing is .426".
The last photo on the left shows the instrument that was copied for this project. Itwas made by Kohler & Son in London before 1890. At the time I photographed it, it was in the Fiske Museum, Claremont, California and now is part of the Joe and Joella Utley Collection of the National Music Museum.