This Yamaha 871 alto trombone is part of Yamaha's Xeno line of trombones. Introduced in 2008, the 871 was designed as an improved replacement for the older 671 alto trombone. The changes are minor, and are effective: The .470/.490" bore hand slide now has nickel outer tubes, with soldered on nickel over sleeves. The crook is brass. Interestingly, the nickel of the slide tubes and the nickel of the over sleeves are slightly different colors. The tuning slide bow has been shortened, which allows a longer hand slide. The 7th position E's and A's can be played in tune with less fear of overreaching and moving the slide off the end of the inner tubes. The short neck pipe looks to be slightly smaller, with a double taper, and a short expansion at the large end. This is smaller than the 671 part, and is probably responsible for a clearer compact tone. The hand braces are brass with nickel trim rather than all nickel, and the tuning slide brace is a larger diameter. The cork barrels are the two-piece Xeno design. We have heard the bell may be slightly heavier, though we're not able to compare. The bell throat is fairly large like the K&H Slokar. It's somewhat larger than a Shires or Voigt bell. The archetype for this Yamaha was the German-made Laetsch trombone. The Yamaha is said to play better in tune, and I could find no tuning abnormalities on any of the Yamahas I've played. Denis Wick manufactures a mouthpiece that is made especially for the Yamaha: the Wick 10CS. The Yamaha allows a smoother, perhaps less apparent attack than the Shires, which will help even out a player's sound. That may be worth a lot, as it's not easy to be a chameleon on the alto trombone. Others say the Yamaha sound is less interesting because of that, as if it requires more effort, or feels heavy. Coming from a large tenor trombone as most players do, this may not be a hindrance. However, it's quite an improvement over the 671, more centered and brassy and colorful. This is not your father's Yamaha. It is a worthy competitor, is fairly priced, and will make many players very happy. It includes a beautiful very sleek case and Yamaha mouthpiece.
This model is also available by special order as the 872 with a half step and whole step (convertible) trill valve. The valve is fixed to the body of the horn, so it's a permanent feature. (Older models had the valve placed in the tuning slide and with an extra slide available for exchange, the rotor could be removed.) For those used to a perfect fourth tuning on the thumb rotor (quart ventil), this may take some time to learn, but it may aid in solo works where a short trill-style tuning rotor will be an aid on many pieces. A prototype of a long quart-ventil style tuning slide in Bb was spoken about, but we don't believe it's ever been in production.
Included: hard case and mouthpiece