This is the archetype for a great medium bore professional trombone. Most every instrument of this style and bore can be compared to, or traced back to, the Bach 36. The Bach features a brass slide with nickel over sleeves, nickel cork barrels, an all brass bell section featuring a one-piece hand hammered 8" bell and nickel trim. It's excellent for orchestras and bands, and for the hobbyist or working player who prefers to use one horn for everything.
The Bach 36 uses many of the same parts as the larger symphonic-sized model 42, but the slide tubes are a medium .525" bore, and the bell flare is cut at an 8" diameter instead of 8.5". That makes this a fairly big sounding medium bore trombone. Some recording players say that the Bach 36 records with a sound similar to the larger bore Conn 88H. For that reason, it can feel a bit too big or dark in some commercial or rock/jazz/Latin situations. But the stronger player might thrive on such a horn. A student who prefers an easier playing horn that doesn't require as large a volume of air a large bore horn does may prefer to use a Bach 36 in wind bands and jazz bands as well.
We don't normally stock the straight Bach 36 here, but it is readily available with yellow or gold brass bell, with several variations of rotary valve F-attachment, or as a straight tenor trombone. We may have a used model or two in stock as a consignment instrument. Please call for current selection, or for the ETA on a new model. We sometimes have the 36 with the open wrap F-attachment, known as the 36BO.
When I/Steve was in college, it was a conservatory atmosphere and most players had specialized trombones like small bore, large bore, bass trombone. To our young minds, the Bach 36 seemed like an ordinary do-everything horn, not worthy of a true professional. Nothing could be further from the truth.
If you look at the history of trombone use in the orchestras, especially in the United States, you'll see that over the last...(thinking)...I mean to say 50 years, but maybe it's closer to 100, trombones have grown in size, especially when comparing the slide bore. It was not that long ago where a principal player in a symphony might play a small Williams 6, the second player might use a Bach 36, and the third might play a medium sized Conn 70H bass trombone. Look back further and the sizes of each horn are even more diminutive compared to our modern instrument selection.
What I mean to say is that there is a lot of historical precedent for playing a Bach 36 in any conservatory or symphonic atmosphere. If you're playing principal trombone, go right ahead. If the principal is playing alto trombone, use a Bach 36 on second.
A criticism from the larger bore aficionados is that the mouthpiece choices are limited on the Bach 36 due to its small shank receiver. Indeed, many players use the ubiquitous Bach 6-1/2AL on this instrument. What we find is that the tone of this great trombone is very mouthpiece dependent. If you are using it mostly in a dance band, go ahead an put a 7C or 11C or whatever in the horn and you should blend just fine. If you are playing mostly symphonic music, there are plenty of larger mouthpieces that will help you get a big broad tone. It's just the music stores don't stock them, so they are rarely seen. (We stock them.) Examples of excellent small shank symphonic mouthpieces include the Bach 5G, 5GS, 4, 3, Schilke 51, Ferguson 1S, Denis Wick 5BS, 4BS, any Josef Klier, and many others I've forgotten. Use one of these mouthpieces and your Bach 36 can sound very much like a 42, thus blending well with any modern trombone section.
I was never a fan of playing large bore tenor trombones. I played bass and small tenor, and the large bore 88H got ignored at some point. Then I discovered the Bach 36. It suited me well, and I used it for several symphony jobs. I now play a similar medium bore custom horn...which was based on the Bach 36. I use a Ferguson 1S mouthpiece, and am glad to play second tenor in an orchestra - and it's not hard to blend with the other players on their larger instruments. A Bach 36 would be fine in my arsenal too, but I know the fellow who made my custom horn, and I like that. Interestingly, you can know the person, or people, who made your Bach 36. It's a group of the several hundred craftsmen who work in the Bach factory in Elkhart, Indiana, USA. The top people there build the Stradivarius instruments.
Where I live in the mountains, there are only a few radio stations that come in clearly. One is KCRW, one of the great public radio stations in the US. Their music mix is very interesting, unlike any other. They play an eclectic mix of new music, and I hear more trombone in groups featured on their music shows than I do on any other station. Mostly the trombone is in a small orchestra like Pink Martini, or some smooth dance/club music. It's usually one trombone, and I always think that a Bach 36 would be the perfect horn on which to play these styles of music. I wish I knew what those players were using. (It's Robert Taylor of the Oregon Symphony who plays in Pink Martini.)
Q: "I want one professional trombone to do everything that will last me forever."
A: Bach 36