Friday, June 29, 2007

Trombone Trouble: The Final Chapter

"So, Craig, whatever happened to your $15 trombone?" you ask.

Well, first a word about that old trombone of mine.

You'd think that $15 wouldn't buy much of a trombone and you'd be right.

This trombone was actually low-grade scrap metal posing as a musical instrument. As far as I can determine, the Cavalier brand was sold through the Sears catalog. I haven't been able to pin down a date of manufacture, but my suspicion is that this might have been the third or fourth trombone ever made. Oh, hell, it was probably a prototype and a rejected prototype at that!

The metal plating was such that a really strong fortissimo blast would project a shower of silver-plating out of the bell. It was like watching the punchline to one of Rip Taylor's jokes!

Now, I can't really vouch for the tone of the instrument, as I am the only one I ever heard play it. The few times I tried to record my trombone-tooting with my old Wollensak T-1500, it sounded like an asthmatic humming through a kazoo.

A cheap kazoo.

The kind of kazoo that gives kazoos a bad name.

Also, during one of these recording sessions, I caught the historic moment when my brother stepped on the damned thing! Unhappily, the slide was not damaged, but this incident left some cracks in the "U" leading to the bell. The solution? A few winds of friction tape and the problem was solved!

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. But what happened to the trombone?" I imagine you asking. "Do you still have it?"

"Happily, no," I answer.

I managed to pass along the monkey's paw to the next generation of hapless trombone tormentor.

Pictured here is a child actor by the name of Robbie Rist. Perhaps you remember this John Denver look-alike from his role as "Cousin Oliver" during the death-rattle season of the Brady Bunch.

Well, I put an ad in the newspaper: "Student trombone, poor condition. $15."

A telephone call later, a man appeared at our front door with his blond, mushroom-topped son, the Rist-wannabe.

I showed them the trombone, resplendent with the electrical tape patch job.


Mr. Moneybags obviously was shopping price ahead of quality.

The son's name?


With the purchase of this instrument, the dorkification process was complete.

Ah, the circle of life...



Blogger Gale said...

I watched the show "How its Made" and they were making trombones. Quite the process, evidently not how yours was made. Great story!!

July 01, 2007 7:41 AM  
Blogger Craig D said...

gale: You really need to see "MISTER B NATURAL" on Mystery Science Theater 3000 to fully appreciate the process. (Check YouTube - it's probably there!)

July 01, 2007 6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

aahhh... like a fine wine. your blog is one of thew best things on the web. thanks, egg-sitentialist

July 02, 2007 3:03 PM  
Blogger CS said...

The poor, poor child. But the trombone itself is kind of cool (without duct tape, of course). My younger son is switching now from French horn to trombone, partly because it will allow for the option of jazz band. (Weird aside - I played french horn in jazz band by using trombone music and transposing as I played. How's that for surreal?)

July 03, 2007 12:18 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Bravo, Craig. Only on your blog will I get references to Rip Taylor. This is why I read.

July 03, 2007 12:55 AM  
Blogger Craig D said...

dorky dad: I call 'em as I see 'em!

cs: That's great that your son wants to play the trombone! (Somebody's gotta do it - better it be someone who is INTO it!) Now you have me wanting to hear some french horn jazz. Such a distinctive tone!

scott: I can never thank you enough for stepping on that #$@* trombone!

July 03, 2007 10:13 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This post has earned you a button, Craig.

July 04, 2007 1:42 AM  
Blogger furiousBall said...

I can sleep now, thanks for completing the Trombone Saga for me...wait, does Melvin have a blog? Eh GAAADS!!!

July 05, 2007 10:51 AM  
Blogger the blogger formerly known as yinyang said...

You passed it on? Hopefully they tossed it or used it for scrap parts.

July 06, 2007 8:41 PM  
Blogger Craig D said...

dorky dad: Thanks for the button! Watch this space...

furiousball: If you do find Melvin's blog, be a pal and don't let on you know me, OK?

yinyang: With any luck, Melvin left the trombone unattended and it was stolen by gypsies while he was at a chess club meeting.

July 06, 2007 9:20 PM  

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