Durand Durand….E.F. that is…

by Jon

So I finally got the E.F. Durand Trombone.  Fed-ex delivered it VERY late in the day today.  It arrived on the exact day they said it would.  The packaging was decent considering how cheap/affordable the horn is.  The case is not as tough as an American made case usually is.  I could probably chop the case in half with just my hand or even easier….a crowbar.  It’s just not built to take a beating.

The horn itself had only 2 extremely minor dents in the bell section under the etched logo but otherwise is in new condition…as I’d expect.  I won’t harp on the two dents, but they ARE there.

The mouthpiece is very cheaply made and would only work for a beginner.  Since this is a large bore horn and I’m not a beginner I’ll be using my Benge 6.5A MP and putting the ‘stock’ one in a drawer.

The slide is not prelubed and so I’ll do that later but the slide itself is cosmetically fine and will likely lube up okay.

I don’t like where the slide lock is placed….on the bottom side of the right-side slide tube.  but again…it’ll be fine for the amount of time I’m gonna use it, only a few months.

The metal is kinda on the thin side and while that is not neccesarily a sign of bad construction….on this horn it just feels cheap.  I wouldn’t trust a young kid with this instrument….feels like it might dent too easily.  The first few notes I blew didn’t sound so bad but then, I’m comparing to a Benge 190F on one hand and a King 606 on the other.  This falls in between leaning towards the Benge.

I didn’t honestly expect much from the case or MP of this purchase.  Decent MP’s go for about $50 and a good case for at least $100….even used ones.  The horn has a good sound compared to the King 606 but is obviously of lesser quality than the Benge 190F.  The construction of the horn is not so bad but I don’t like the way the F attachement tuning slide is constructed…without a good ringed joint where it meets the other part of the tubing (on either tube).  That shows a bit of cheapness.  The slide lock should be on the side of the tube….not the bottom.  At least, I’ve never seen one on the bottom and I find it awkward to use.  It shipped fine but the two little dents on the bell should not have been there.  They should have caught that in QA.  The screw ring holding the slide to the bell section is very narrow and I think it should be widened and the threading re-evaluated….doesn’t seem to easily stay in position.  All other horns I’ve played in the last two years have had solid connections this way…including my two King 606′s.  I really don’t like the water key (spit valve) design.  It works so I won’t complain much for now but it’s definitely not a traditional nipple.  The valve itself seems okay and, like the slide, I won’t give my full opinion on it until after Steve tweaks both for me.

My first impression of this horn was that it’s a bit on the cheap side….especially when compared with Steve’s Benge.  My second impression has been shaped by actively comparing it to my King and to Steve’s Benge and trying to adapt to the horn.  On the second impression it’s not so bad…even with some of the mechanical quality lacking.  I think this is a good beginner .547 horn but for any player willing to take their playing to the next level…and probably eventually toward a college degree in performance trombone, this horn is probably only a stepping stone.  Maybe a Jr. or Sr. high student would use this to good effect, but I can’t see a person aimed at becoming a competitive, serious player living with this horn for more than a couple of years.  By then it’d probably be worn out anyway (assuming 8-15 hours of playing time a week minimum).

As for me, right now….I’m just thinking of using it for 3-6 months as a learning tool and investing in something like a used Benge 165F or 190F.  Maybe something even better if I can scrounge up the money to do so.

nice looking open wrap