Petestack Blog

31 December 2015

To be fair to the pBone…

Filed under: Music — admin @ 11:56 am

I seem to have finally got that damned slide working properly just weeks after the ‘brass trombone in my future’ quickly became reality with the arrival of my lovely new Yamaha 354. So (touch wood that the pBone continues to behave) I now have two very playable trombones, though nobody should be surprised to hear I still prefer the Yamaha!

So what got the pBone slide working in the end? Perhaps all those repeated baths with snake brushes and cleaning rods had something to do with it and perhaps the four magic words are Yamaha Trombone Slide Lubricant (the bottled ‘liquid’ rather than the cream in a tube) because it was still sticky as hell last night after yet more cleanings till I decided (with glorious synchronicity?) there was nothing more to lose by trying. Now you might think lubricant is the obvious answer, but I’m pretty sure the original pBone instructions clearly stipulated just water and guess its addition to the current online FAQ is a more recent development driven by countless reports (just Google it!) of its necessity. Whatever, I’ve now got a pBone slide that’s falling under its own weight over its whole length for the first time and currently probably as effortlessly playable as its still much quieter Yamaha counterpart. While there are still things I don’t like about the pBone (e.g. the changing push-fit slide receiver and almost-square slide bow that just won’t take snake cleaners), it blows OK, now slides OK and can be played/left in places I wouldn’t dare take my otherwise preferable Yamaha.

Happy Hogmanay! :-)


  1. Since the condensation released by the water key now seems clear instead of the hitherto dark gunk, it seems likely that finally getting the slide more or less clear of running-in residue and lubricating it may indeed be a happy accident of timing. It’s also occurred to me that the reason for the ‘square’ slide bow could to be accommodate more inner slide length, though I’m still not sure why this should be a necessary design decision. And I’ve put the slide lock back on because 1. it’s now necessary to hold a surprisingly slick slide and 2. I seem to have sussed out how to stop it spontaneously rotating and reengaging.

    Comment by admin — 1 January 2016 @ 2:19 pm

  2. Two days later and it’s binding, dripping black gunk and clearly needing the same treatment (clean *and* lubricate) again. An improvement on two seconds or two minutes, and enough to suggest it’s getting there, but not yet remotely dependable!

    Comment by admin — 2 January 2016 @ 10:10 am

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