Super and P-24G Custom Bass Trombones
built the first double-valve bass trombone in the late 1930's. Over the
next three decades, that same basic design remained in production,
eventually becoming the S-23 Super Bb-F-E bass trombone. By the late
1960's, what had been an innovative design achieved a degree of
obsolescence approaching anachronism. Compared to other bass trombones
of the era (both doubles and singles), it was significantly undersize -
almost more an extra-large tenor than a true bass trombone. A change
was definitely in order.
At the same time, Olds was having great
success with their S-22 George Roberts model single-rotor bass. Much
more modern in design, and helped along by the cachet of Roberts' name,
it sold very well; even today, GR model basses are always in demand.
The obvious move for Olds would be to design a double based on the S-22.
new horn could easily have ended up being just an S-22 with a second
valve grafted into the the f-attachment, but Olds decided to try
something new. Technican/customizer George Strucel had recently
introduced the idea of a bass trombone with an inline (or independent)
double-rotor system (possibly inspired by the independent systems that
had been used on some contrabass trombones at least as early
as the 1930's).
Rather than placing the second valve in the f-attachment tubing (where
it could only be used when the f-attachment was engaged), he put it in
the neckpipe, right next to the first valve. He also gave the second
valve a separate, finger-actuated lever in place of the side-by-side
thumb levers used on earlier designs.
Olds placed the new horn
in their "Super" line and gave it the model number S-24G, the "G" being
derived from the tuning of the second valve (G). It was the first
factory-produced independent double rotor bass - and it had problems.
Olds bass trombone rotors had always been on the small side, and
putting two of
them in the open horn resulted in a very stuffy blow. Additionally,
the lever for the second valve tended to bump the player's collar bone
when the paddle was depressed. The undersize valves remained for the
S-24G's production run, but Olds did attempted to address the lever
issue by installing a bracket under the valves to make sure there was
sufficient clearance for the lever, but some players found the bracket
itself uncomfortable (note the horn shown here came to me without a
bracket, though it appears to have had one at one time).
such obvious shortcomings, the S-24G was doomed. Olds went back to the
drawing board, reworking not only the S-24G, but the S-22, as well.
Larger valves and new linkages were obviously top priority, but they
also increased the spacing between the neckpipe and the bell tail,
necessitating a wider tuning slide. The new horns were placed in Olds'
new "Custom" line and given the model designations P-22 (for the
single) and P-24G (for the double); the P-22 also carrying the "George
Roberts" name. Both models sold well, and remained in the Olds line
until the very end. The P-24G was in the Olds line at least as early as
1976, as evidenced by the copyright date on this introductory
that was furnished with the instrument..
Both horns are .562" single bore, of primarily nickel-silver
construction, with red/rose brass bells. This particluar S-24G has a
9½" bell, the
P-24G has the standard 9" bell. The P-24G shown here is the early
version, with a
finger hook under
the mouthpiece receiver and "flat stock" valve levers of solid nickel
silver. Later P-24G's lack the finger hook and have "round
levers made of plated brass.
I've chosen to show the horns side-by-side to make it easier to compare
them. Except as noted in the captions, the S-24G is on the left, the
P-24G is on the right.
flat G /1
Bells - Front
Bells - Back/2
P-24G on top
||The flat G crook is a custom alteration of an
crook; the work was done for me by Bruce Belo.
||This image shows the quickest way to distinguish
an S-22 or
S-24G and a P-22 or P-24G. Note how much more space there is on the
P-24G between the attachment tubes where they attach to the valves.
Also note that on the S-24G, the diameter of the valve casing is the
same as that of the stop plate; the P-24G has the same size stop
plates, but the valve casings are noticeably larger in diameter.