The S.E. Shires custom shop in Massachusetts has been making beautiful modular tenor and bass trombones for a many years now. For several years they've also offered an incredible alto trombone. It's pricey, but it's a true work of art and an instrument you'll be proud to own. It has a beautiful warm tone, an immediate response, excellent pitch, and it's a joy to play. There is hardly a better alto trombone anywhere. You know we represent many brands of alto trombones. But, this is truly a contender for being the best one. The most salient feature is this horn's tuning mechanism in the hand slide. The slide is lightly built, so we think you won't notice any weight penalty, especially when compared with the slide-tuning vintage Conn 35H or the Weril, all of which were over-built. Mr. Shires chose this style of tuning in order to make the slide long enough for a comfortable E and A in seventh position. With bell tuning, he couldn't get the bell section taper quite right, and it didn't play in tune with itself. With the one-piece bell branch, all problems were solved, and an artful new instrument was born. The 7" bell also includes the beautiful engraving that Shires trombones are known for. Bells are available in many weights and colors, but we've found the most popular to be medium weight in red brass. We usually pair it with an nickel hand slide in .485"/.495" bore. The horn is now sold with an Italian-made Shires case and a mouthpiece.
Over time, we found the Shires to be the favorite of most of the staff here. The Shires is a larger .485/.495" bore than some other altos, but has a smaller bell throat than the Slokar or Yamaha. Though it has tuning in the slide, making the outer slide heavier, no player has found it to be detrimental. The Shires plays a bit louder for your effort, feels very lively, and is slightly more nimble than some of the gold brass German altos. The front of the note attack is more apparent on the Shires, and it may amplify other noise that is in your sound due to its remarkable resonance. It's a work of art and a joy to play and own. Those who appreciate the true art of brass making will be thrilled to own a Shires alto. Played by Mike Hoffman in the Pacific Symphony and many others.