Steve Shires brings over three decades of experience as a trombonist and instrument technician to the design and construction of brass instruments of unsurpassed quality and beauty. He has worked with many of the world’s greatest brass players to design new or modify existing instruments to their exacting specifications, and often beyond their most optimistic expectations.
Originally from Iowa City, Steve began working as a brass instrument technician at West Music Company while attending the University of Iowa. He began cleaning and doing small repairs on school instruments, eventually learning enough to build himself an alto trombone from spare parts. His teachers at the university—John Hill and George Krem—encouraged him to move to Chicago, where he studied with Arnold Jacobs, Frank Crisafulli and Edward Kleinhammer, members of the legendary Chicago Symphony Orchestra low brass section. In addition to establishing a successful playing career, Steve worked at the Schilke shop, spinning bells for their world-renowned line of trumpets.
As early as 1986, Steve was experimenting with drawing slide tubes and an interchangeable system of bells of different alloys and thicknesses. He moved to the Boston area to work as a technician at Osmun Brass, where, in addition to doing customization and repair work for brass players from all over the world, he developed the Osmun/Shires line of custom trombone bells, which were highly sought after by professional players around the country. Osmun/Shires bells have been used throughout New England and in such orchestras as the San Francisco Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra.
In 1991 Steve was hired by the Getzen Company in Wisconsin to be in charge of product development and artist relations for the Edwards line, then in the early stages of its development. He was instrumental in developing both the Edwards and newly revitalized Getzen Eterna product lines, establishing relationships with many of their clinicians by designing components and constructing instruments to meet their needs.
Steve moved back to the Boston area to pursue his own personal vision for brass instruments of the highest quality. He founded the S.E. Shires Company in 1995, building the first dozen or so instruments in the basement of his home before moving to the current workshop in Hopedale, Massachusetts. Steve’s reputation engendered immediate curiosity among trombonists, and orders from throughout the country soon followed. Distributorships were established in Germany and Japan and by 1996 S.E. Shires trombones could be heard in concert halls around the world.