This is a rare custom bass trombone (re)built by Larry Minick in Santa Monica, California. The Minick began life as a Holton 169 single valve bass trombone made in Elkhorn, WI. Produced to Edward Kleninhammer's specifications, the Holton 169 was built from 1962-1964, with later versions of the design built through 1971. One option on the 169 was a second rotor with Eb slide that installed into the F tuning slide. Called the "Bird's Nest" it allowed for the full chromatic scale on the bass trombone, it was removable, and required only a small investment in tooling from the maker. It also had a very long awkward linkage from the player's hand to the second rotor.
This particular 169 was sold new to California State University, Northridge. I don't know if it originally included the Bird's Nest rotor, but at some point one was located. Maybe; there's enough room in the case for it. I suspect this trombone was damaged and sold to someone who took it straight away to Minick's shop. Minick's creative rebuild work included:
The previous owner of this trombone has passed into the ethers, and his friends are donating the profits from the sale to a local charity organization. So here it is on consignment.
The hand slide has returned from John Sandhagen's shop renewed. It has some years on it, but it's fast and quiet. Some chrome wear at end of stockings. The leadpipe is currently stuck...we shall see.
The rotors are tight enough; use thicker oil on the end bearings. The linkage sockets have been packed with some cotton so they are tight and silent. The lacquer is mostly intact though it's faded and marked from use.
The grip is unusual. The hand brace on the slide may be too small for larger hands. My medium-large hands fit fine. The second trigger paddle feels good. The thumb paddle is very far out and is a long reach. If this were mine, I might have the paddle moved closer in.
The bell profile is an unusual large throat design with a distinctive curve as it transitions into the flare.
The Minick Holton plays very nicely. The bell is fairly light and the response is fast and super light. This could be a fun commercial horn. It's not as ferocious as a Conn 62H, the tone is deeper and tempered, partly from the large bell, partly from its Holton heritage. It's fast and clear, but it also gets big when it's loud, not blatty. Pedal Bb is very good, open and stable. Low B is more resistant but not out of character. The very low range around pedal F or below that, the volume peters out somewhat. Tested with a Minick L mouthpiece.
If you'd like to make an offer on this trombone, please send me a note. -Steve