This Edwards bass trombone was introduced in 2015 and it's still rare enough that real ones and photos of them are still hard to come by. The attached photo is not exactly right, but it's something like that.
Built in Elkhorn, Wisconsin USA, the B-502 trombone came about from a generation of experiments in the Edwards custom shop. Back in the day most Edwards bass trombones were modular like the Getzen 3062AF Custom Series trombones. The Edwards all had axial flow rotors and you could mix and match components.
But most players don't do that. We don't own several bells or change tuning slides and leadpipes. We want one trombone that's masterfully good and that's designed to play as well as possible. A fully modular instrument has limitless choices, but many of those can be ruled out and some are confusing. When faced with too many choices, some people choose none.
Edwards and Getzen still sell plenty of bass trombones with axial rotors and modular parts. But this trombone is different. Using knowledge gained from the Edwards Joe Alessi model and the new T-396AR tenor trombones, this bass trombone is unlike most others.
The B-502 features a modern rotor valve design, now produced locally by Griego. The ports are open and the airflow feels good. Free and efficient, controllable, not overly big. The hand slide is gold brass, along with many of the other tubes, adding some warmth and ethereal nature to the sound. The main braces between neckpipe and bell are fixed, which adds strength and reduces the need for further bracing elsewhere. They are also made of stainless steel for extra energy transfer. A similar modular trombone with round screw-braces will be weaker without an additional bell brace. The B-502 has no such issues.
The choice of metals shows the attention to detail in the B-502 design. Yellow or gold brass, nickel, stainless steel - they are all used for the very specific harmonic response they give from their hardness.
The Harmonic Brace in the middle of the bell section is patented and is worthy of your attention. With an included selection of small threaded pillars in zinc and copper, you can tune this trombone's response to be exactly what you want. This is a more nuanced tuning of the response than even a leadpipe change will do. This is the same mechanism used on the Alessi models, the T-396AR and the Getzen 4147IB.
This Brace is amazing. I've been play testing Getzen trombones for more than two decades. Trying one of these models without any harmonic pillars installed makes me say, "Oh yeah, Getzen, OK." And then I add a pillar or two and try it, then adjust a few times, usually leading me to say, "Holy fark that is amazing!" You can make the tone more brilliant or warmer and adjust the clarity of attack. It's a great system.
The B-502 has three reverse tuning slides. Some people talk about where the bore gap is located when you pull a tuning slide. I surmise (conclusion w/o facts) that more importantly, when more of the horn's mass has a firm (soldered) attachment to the tuning slide, the sound energy is transferred more efficiently through it.
The Getzen bells are all hand-spun and use a traditional style bell rim that's unsoldered at the edge. Other notable trombones made in this style were Holton, Martin, '60's Conn, and to this day Kuhnl & Hoyer. A bell like this lets you color the tone to your desires and it feels lighter, more malleable. There may be more noise in the sound, not as easily made "clean" as a Yamaha tone. But it's a whole lot more interesting sound to listen to. If a trombone that responds this nicely will inspire you to pick it up from the stand more often, it's worth it.
Choose the dual bore slide option if you like a broad stable orchestral sound and have extra air. Choose the rose brass bell if you like a snappy, malleable, warm sounding horn with less stable power but more bite. Edwards will match it with the yellow brass valve set for clarity. Choose the stacked rotors if you're a retro-grouch like me and you appreciate the satisfying pedal tones of a trombone with a long tapered neckpipe. This was a popular option on trombones when I began selling them, but a generation has passed. Trombone design and rotors have improved, so most people choose inline in all the brands we represent.
It takes some time, I always have one on order. If you'd like to be first on the list, let me know.