1973 P-15 "Custom" Trombone
The P-15 was the first trombone in Olds' "Custom" range. It was
introduced sometime in the mid-1960's (it's not in the 1962 catalog,
but is in
the 1966 catalog) and remained in production into the
(it's on the 1974 price list, but not the 1978 price list). This
particular instrument carries a
serial number of 8355XX, dating it to mid-1973.
specifications were a single-bore .500" slide and an 8" bell.
With the exception of the bell, the entire horn is made of nickel
silver. The description of the bell material is not consistent; in
the 1966 and c.1967 catalogs, it's .018" lightweight
"Lub-A-Loy"; the 1973 catalog just says "lightweight brass".
possible "Lub-A-Loy" was Olds' term for lubaloy, a family of
copper-based alloys containing 3-18% zinc and 0.5-2% tin. At any rate,
the bell of
this particular horn looks slight darker/redder than yellow brass.
some ways, the P-15 broke new ground for Olds. The dual-bore slide,
heavy braces, and duo-octagonal
inner slide tubes that characterized earlier top-of-the-line small-bore
tenors (i.e., the R-15 and R-20 Recording and the S-15 Super) were
abandoned in favor of a single-bore slide, conventional three-piece
braces, and round inners. On the other hand, and in contrast to the
later P-16 Custom
the P-15 borrowed heavily from earlier Olds designs. Based on
my rough measurements, the only parts completely
unique to the P-15 are the end crook of the handslide and the leadpipe.
Some parts, like the slide tubes, are identical to those in other
models, while others, such as the bell, use a different material but
made on "borrowed" tooling.
The "Custom" name seems to have been
meant to imply a higher level of hand work. Whether or not that was
actually the case, the cost of a P-15 would certainly lead the buyer to
expect an instrument of the highest quality. In 1974, it listed for
$520; by comparison, the S-15 Super listed for $370 and the R-20
Recording with f-attachment listed for $500.