Brian Hecht is one of those guys that makes you remember why you love music. Not only is he an incredible bass trombonist and passionate musician, he is a dynamic and supportive educator/clinician who loves to share his enthusiasm for music with others. We're incredibly lucky to work with him here at Shires, and we're thrilled that you get to hear from him on this blog!
We thought it would be fun to feature him this month and announce his new Brian Hecht Artist model, the Lonestar Bass Trombone!
"The first Shires I ever played was after I had been offered a one-year position with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in the Fall of 2013. Colin Williams, Nate Zgonc and George Curran had developed this incredible section sound by all performing on Shires instruments and it was clear that my Edwards was not fitting in. At first I made a trip out to Newell Sheridan’s house in Alabama and a few weeks later he met me at Colin’s house in Atlanta. Together we found the perfect setup for me. The blend I was able to achieve with Colin and Nate was immediately apparent. The variety of colors that are available to me in every dynamic and range of the instrument was astonishing. I have played the same setup ever since and haven’t looked back.
Last year I approached Steve Shires and Samantha Glazier about the possibility of a personalized Artist model. It was clear to me what this model needed to embody. Growing up in Texas it is near impossible to escape the live music scene. Whether it be classical, pop, rock, indie, marching bands or any other form, live music is a huge part of Texas’ culture. This is a big reason I have a career in music today. In high school, I was in a marching band 300 strong who won top honors in the state for both marching and stage performance back to back years. This was the State Honor Band competition and the UIL State Marching competition. I continued my studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where Texas music became even more a part of who I am. It is because of my beloved musical experiences growing up and the experiences of all my Texas raised colleagues that I knew, Texas deserves its own model. Thus the “Brian Hecht Lone Star Model” was born.
The model is still in its development phases, but, the beautiful bell design is complete. Hand drawn by a Texas artist, the design incorporates a few Texas elements. You’ll find the “Yellow Rose of Texas” beautifully surrounded by the iconic Shires brand leafing. Above it, in an Old Western font reads the words “Lone Star” accompanied by the traditional “S.E. Shires, Boston, Massachusetts". Atop this inscription sits two vines of ivy that can be found in nearly every wooded area of Texas. Most familiar to me, found in the vast backyard of my childhood home in Dallas, TX. Finally, at the top of the design, the Lone Star of the State of Texas.
The model specifications are those of my personal model bass trombone:
Yellow Brass Dual Bore B62-78 slide
Dual Axial Flow Valves
“B” Gold Brass tuning slide
B2L Brass leadpipe
A few additions that the Shires company and I are working on and will be releasing in the near future include a wooden G-flat paddle to accompany the wooden F trigger paddle. Also, we will be introducing the first line of American made trombones to have a water key button on the hand slide cross bar.
Thank you so very much to Steve Shires, Sam Glazier, and everyone part of the S.E. Shires team for this amazing opportunity and for always crafting the best quality professional line trombones right here in the United States. I hope everyone reading this will have a chance to try one of these outstanding instruments."
-Brian Hecht, Bass Trombone, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Greetings fellow brassoholics and lovers of the great S.E. Shires company!
So happy and proud to announce the release of my 11th album as a solo artist, Hip-Bone Big Band! The project features a dream team line-up of musicians playing ten of my original compositions and two arrangements I did on a couple t’bone classics: 76 Trombones and Sentimental Over You. I hand picked my favorite jazz trombonists to help out with the solo work including Marshall Gilkes, Conrad Herwig, Michael Dease, Bob McChesney, Andy Martin and Bill Reichenbach. Considering I’m fortunate enough to play the finest small bore tenor trombone ever made, I couldn’t resist playing a few of the solo spots myself.
The ensemble is rounded out by a who’s who of the New York jazz scene including Vanguard Jazz Orchestra veterans Dick Oatts on lead alto, Nick Marchione on lead trumpet and Scott Wendholt handling the jazz trumpet chores. Steely Dan bari-man Roger Rosenberg and Paul Simon tenor-man Andy Snitzer come along for the ride while our big band bus was expertly driven by the Yellowjacket’s virtuosic drummer Will Kennedy. I feel incredibly fortunate and grateful to have all these brilliant musicians record this music.
This is the second album I’ve been privileged to record on my Shires MD and MD+ model trombones. Last year, I recorded my Bone Alone CD in which I layered all the parts myself starting with duets all the way up to tentets. To say these are the best trombones I’ve ever played is an understatement. I only wish I had them for all my previous solo efforts! One thing I can say for sure is, they will be with me on every project I do for the remainder of time.
Come check out the Hip-Bone Big Band CD at Hip-Bone Music and, while you’re there, check out our acclaimed bone2pick interview series, our Hip-Bone U online/video lessons, and all of our books for every level of brass player. Lots of cool projects on the horizon so stay tuned. Long live the Hip-Bone Big Band and S.E. Shires!
p.s. You're all invited to check out our CD Release Concert on December 4th, 2016 at SubCulture in New York City's East Village. Stay tuned for more details, we'd love to see you there!
Extra Extra, read all about it! S.E. Shires is adding a new line of instruments to the family!
“We understand not every musician may be ready for a Shires custom instrument or may find those costs prohibitive, so the development of the Q Series with Eastman allows the best aspects of our custom instruments to be at a very affordable price; certainly worthy of the Shires name.” - Steve Shires
When you purchase a Q Series instrument you join the S. E. Shires family, a family that includes some of the finest professional musicians in the world. The Q Series line of instruments represent the philosophy of Eastman to produce the finest musical instruments at every price point and embody the reputation of Shires: to produce the highest quality hand crafted instruments for every player.
How do we do it? It's international commerce at its finest. S.E. Shires fabricates the Q parts in Hopedale, Massachusetts, USA, then ships the parts to the Eastman factory in China where they are assembled, and then the instrument is sent back to Shires. The final finishes, quality checks and play-tests are then done in Hopedale before shipping to dealers. And that's how you get a custom quality trombone/trumpet at a moderate price!
And the best part? Q Series Instruments are compatible with S.E. Shires Custom Instruments! So that means that you can purchase a Q Series trombone and purchase additional Shires Custom components over time if you would like to upgrade or change your specifications!
The Q Series instruments are set for a Fall 2016 release and will be available at S.E. Shires Authorized Q Series Dealers.
- Large-Bore Tenor Trombones – TBQ30YR, TBQ30GR, TBQ30YA, TBQ30GA
- F/Gb Rotary Valve Bass Trombone – TBQ36YR and TBQ36GR
The Q Series Model Tenor Trombone is available with the following options:
- Choice of Valve
- Rotary Valve - fast response, short lever throw, lighter weight
- Axial Valve - free blowing with an even feel between Bb and F
- Choice of Bell
- The yellow brass bell offers the best projection and stability. Its tone is similar at all dynamic levels.
- The gold brass bell has a warmer, broader tone, with more malleability.
The Q Series Model Bass Trombone features your choice of yellow or gold brass bell with a rotary valve.
It's an exciting process... turning raw materials into a beautifully hand crafted instrument. We've been perfecting our process for over twenty years and we're proud of the work that we do, the skilled craftsmen and craftswomen that choose to be a part of our team, and our desire to continually strive to create an instrument that our customers will cherish.
Maybe you've had the chance to visit us in person: you made an appointment to come and have a custom trombone or trumpet fitting with one of our experts. You've toured the shop, you've seen Steve Shires spin a bass trombone bell, you've seen our team building a trumpet right in front of your eyes.
Maybe you've watched one of the TV segments we've been featured on in the past few years. Discovery Channel and Science Channel have both come to us directly to document the process...How Its Made-Trombones How Does a Photo Copier Become a Trumpet?
But maybe you haven't had the chance to really see the inside of a custom brass factory. The whirring machines, the determined look on our craftsmen's faces as they solder and assemble a delicate part of an instrument, the giant rolls of brass that will be sculpted into your future alto trombone bell.
We pride ourselves on designing and creating custom brass instruments that give musicians more than just a tool to use for music making. Our handcrafted approach to instrument building combines the highest standards of modern manufacturing with the practices of old world craftsmanship to create a unique and handcrafted instrument that is built just for you.
We fabricate, assemble, and finish every instrument onsite in our Massachusetts factory because we know that every stage of building affects the way that an instrument plays. The taper and weight of the bell, the alloy of the metal, the shape of the valve ports and the size of the bead wire...and hundreds of other considerations. By controlling these processes in house, we gain an intimate knowledge and mastery over every facet of our instruments.
Tours are always available if you're in Massachusetts and you'd like to see the factory for yourself. We're proud of what we do and we love to share that with our brass playing friends!
Hello to everyone in the blogosphere! My name is Michael Morrissey, and I am a freshman trumpet performance major at the University of North Dakota. I have been asked to write a blog on the recent activities in the University of North Dakota trumpet studio, and I am glad to do so. I have been performing on a Shires B-flat trumpet for several years now, and I am experiencing a newfound love for playing as my sound and flexibility has become significantly easier! Blending with the trumpet ensemble is much easier, and changing sounds with different styles is easier to execute.
Anyway, this year the UND Trumpet Ensemble was selected for the semifinal round of the National Trumpet Competition. This marks the third year in a row we have made the semifinals! Since this was my first year at UND, needless to say I was very excited. We performed a work that the trumpet studio commissioned specifically for the competition by Dr. Christopher Gable, professor of composition at UND. The countless hours we rehearsed really paid off.
After the competition we received notice from the International Trumpet Guild Conference that we would be playing at this year's conference in Anaheim, California. Performing a prelude concert for an international conference is nothing that I imagined even a year ago. We are all excited to perform at such a prestigious event, and to be heard by hundreds of people! It will indeed be an honor.
We have had several guest artist here at UND in my first year, including Dr. Dennis Edelbrock, founder of the National Trumpet Competition and Professor of Trumpet at George Mason University (who performed and conducted masterclasses and lessons at our annual "Trumpet Volunscary" in October), and Jeff Jarvis, Professor at California State University Long Beach, to name a few. In the meantime, my trumpet Professor Dr. Ronnie Ingle has been extremely active over the past year as a performer. He has performed several concerts in Shanghai and Beijing, China, performed at the North American Saxophone Alliance in Texas, conducted several guest artist residencies at universities throughout the United States, and performed recitals in the region. He works tirelessly for the studio, helping us all enter competitions (and win!), enter graduate school (over the past two years members of the studio have been accepted to New England Conservatory, CSULB, University of Arizona), and being recognized at UND with awards and leadership positions. I am so very proud to be a part of this extremely active trumpet studio!
I cannot begin to explain how eager I am to see what transpires in the trumpet studio over the next three years. This summer I will be attending the Rafael Mendez Brass Institute in Denver and a trumpet seminar with Boston Brass in Wyoming. I am also on the wait list for Brevard Music Center, and am crossing my fingers for a call! Thanks so much to Samantha Glazier for asking me to write this post. Happy trumpeting to all!
Freshmen Trumpet Performance Major, University of North Dakota
"S.E. Shires instruments are ideal for who? Everyone!"
I am currently working on my DMA in Trombone Performance at the University of Texas at Austin. While finishing my doctorate I have the privilege of working part-time at Music & Arts in Austin, Texas.
In the past year Music & Arts has been incredibly fortunate to begin stocking several models of S.E. Shires trumpets and trombones in our store in South Austin.. and wow the word is out! I frequently get inquiries from fellow musicians and colleagues from around the country and also from Europe!
Music & Arts serves the musical needs of all level of players; ranging from young musicians in school band programs all the way to career professionals seeking the finest of handmade instruments. But the majority of the store’s customer base is school age musicians and their families.
So do I only speak about S.E. Shires instruments to professionals? Heck no!
While the sublime character of our Shires instruments may not yet be appropriate for most school-age musicians, these young players always have one placed carefully in their hands! What fun it is to see their expressions transform when the Shires' trademark engraving catches their widening eyes! I say, “Practice everyday, prove to yourself, and to mom and dad that you love music and love playing your instrument, then come see me when you’re ready!"
So yes! Everyone! Everyone is the ideal person for our S.E. Shires Instruments!
I am so grateful to be able to work closely with the Shires team in Boston and with my Eastman reps locally—always so amazing and helpful! The people at S.E. Shires are truly looking out for you! The company's logo "quality without compromise" is more than a slogan; it is truth.
-Jamey Van Zandt
Music and Arts-Austin, TX
Have you ever wondered how some of our amazing craftsmen get started with instrument building at Shires? Paul Chadbourne works in the trombone valve finaling department, a job that requires precision, patience, and perfection.
"I started in this field of making instruments by apprenticing doing brass instrument repair at Rick's Musical Instruments in Cumberland, RI. When the apprenticeship was up I then began to do repair on the side for fellow classmates while I attended Rhode Island College to get my Music Performance degree on tuba. A year later I decided to reach out to S. E. Shires to see if they had any openings or if I could shadow anyone to learn more about repair.
They got back reasonably quickly and offered me a part time job since I was still in school working in the buffing room. From there I then began to bounce around a lot from job to job doing everything to making trumpet pistons and bells to building hand slides and trombone valve sections. Three years later I now am the main valve pre-fitter and also do valve section and handslide final assembly.
Some cool projects I have been apart of building was 2 alto hand slides for Colin Williams of the New York Philharmonic and two single valve bass trombones for George Curran also of the New York Philharmonic."
Keep up the great work Paul! Trombonists all over the world are depending on you!
Two shows in one week means a lot of planning, a lot of organizing, and a LOT of instruments! The team at Shires has been prepping for the past twelve weeks for these shows…meticulously building instruments, arranging exhibit space, booking travel, coordinating with artists, play-testing instruments, boxing/wrapping/shipping, etc
Our S.E. Shires blog features articles and photos on the craft of making handmade trumpets and trombones. If you are curious about the process, this is the place to go! We will discuss methods, materials, options, design, and many more topics. We'll also answer your questions and encourage you to join in the discussion!