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Early 1960's Olds TIS Bass Trombones (Jerry Rosa)

Both of these trombones were owned by Jerome "Jerry" Rosa, (1918-2008). Jerry (also known as "Happy") had a long career as a professional trombonist beginning in the late 1930's. I've been able to find information indicating that he played with Van Alexander, Red Norvo, Ray Miller, Jimmy Dorsey, Jerry Gray, Woody Herman, Claude Thornhill, Les Brown, and Dick Stabile. The picture at the left is from a military ID issued to him when he played with Les Brown and his Band of Renown on Bob Hope's Operation Holly USO tour to Vietnam in 1968. I acquired these horns, along with a collection of photos and other memorabilia, from Jerry's nephew (also named Jerry) in 2013.

I spotted the newer of the two on eBay, thinking it was TIS George Roberts model. Fortunately, the seller was close enough (and cooperative enough) that I was able to make arrangements to look it over in person. On closer examination, I discovered that it differed somewhat from the production GR model (more on that below). More importantly, my visit with the seller gave me the opportunity to see the other horn (not yet offered on eBay) and the rest (photos, etc.) and to work out a deal to make an offer on the entire lot once the auction for the one horn ended (assuming, of course, that I was high bidder).
Jerry Rosa
December, 1968


1963 Olds Dual-Bore TIS Bass Trombone
This horn's serial number is 4231xx, which dates it to 1963. It's identical to the TIS George Roberts model with one important difference - the slide is dual-bore .554"/.565". The engraving makes no mention of George Roberts - just "F. E. Olds and Son" and  "Fullerton Calif.". What looks like a mouthpiece adapter is actually the end of a leadpipe - it does not seat all the way in.

Overall View
Front

Engraving

End Crook

Case

Overall View
Back

Braces and
Tuning Mechanism

F-attachment

Valve Detail

1960 Olds TIS Prototype(?)  Bass Trombone
This horn carries a serial number of 3430xx, which dates it to 1960. It has a 10" rose brass bell and a dual-bore .554"/.565" slide.  It's an odd hybrid, clearly derived the then-current S-20 Super bass trombone, but incorporating some features that are not typical of an S-20 but were used on later Olds bass trombone designs (the George Roberts models, the S-24G, and the P-24G). There's residual solder around many of the joints, indicating that it might not have been given a final finish at the factory. The unique design and unfinished appearance make me think that it might have been a prototype of some sort. It's from the time period when the original George Roberts Olds was being developed, so it's possible that this instrument is somehow related to that project.

Features unique to this horn:
Bell: The bell is dimensionally identical (based on mute insertition depth) to the optional 10" bell available on the S-20, but is made of rose brass (like those on the later Olds basses) rather than the yellow brass normally used for S-20 bells..

J-crook: Like the bell, the j-crook is dimensionally identical to the corresponding part on an S-20, but is made of the same material (nickel silver) used on later Olds basses rather than the yellow brass found on the S-20.

F-attachment: As with the j-crook, the S-20's yellow brass has been replaced with nickel silver (as used on later models). Also, rather than the "flat wrap" found on S-20's, this horn's f-attachment uses a "traditional wrap" like the one used on the Olds Opera and later Olds basses.

Bell Brace: On an S-20, the bell brace is postioned so that the player's thumb wraps around the brace to reach the f-attachment lever. This horn's bell brace is placed closer to the back bow, so the player's thumb does not have to reach over it to actuate the f-attachment. This is the arrangement used on later Olds basses.

Tuning Mechanism: Like the S-20, this horn is tuning-in-slide, but it lacks the S-20's adjustment screw and "third brace" (the one between the outer slide tubes). The adjustment screw's function is now performed by a collet-style clamp installed in the lower tuning sleeve. The third brace was simply deleted. These changes were clearly made to lighten the slide - understandable, since the S-20's slide is quite heavy, even by bass trombone standards. While this approach was effective (the slide is about 40 grams lighter), it results in a slide that is less forgiving of rough use. Overtightening the clamp could crush the outer slide, and the lack of a third brace could cause alignment issues. The production TIS George Roberts bass used the conventional adjustment screw/third brace design, and subsequent Olds bass trombone designs abandoned the TIS concept completely.

I'd be inclined to call this instument unique, but I have seen one similar instrument. Back in 2008, someone showed up at Bones West with something that was almost identical; according to my records, its serial number was 418xxx, so it was somewhat newer than this one.

A note about the engraving: Olds used this style for a few years in the late 1950's and early 1960's. I've seen it on Opera trombones, French horns, and bass trombones.



Overall View
Front

Engraving


Braces and
Tuning Mechanism

Overall View
Back

End Crook

F-Attachment
Front

F-Attachment
Back