P-16 "Custom" Trombone
The P-16 was the final small-bore model to be introduced by Olds,
appearing sometime around 1977. As with the other "Custom" models, it
was situated as the top of Olds
line; in 1978, the P-16 listed for $550, compared to $475 for the S-15
Super. Sales literature claims that Burt Herrick, an LA brass tech best
known for his mouthpieces and leadpipes, was involved with its design,
and that "special alloys selected for resonance and workability in very
thin gauges have been used"; a magazine ad from '77 mentions Wayne
Andre, along with Eddie Bert, Harry DiVito, Sy Berger, and Bill Porter,
and uses the pitchline "Five great trombonists. One great trombone."
Great or not-so-great, the P-16 didn't save Olds from shutting down in
July of 1979.
From a styling and materials standpoint, it looks rather "generic" as
compared to iconic Olds designs like the Super, Studio, and Recording..
It's almost as if the
designers went back to the early thirties in the pre-WWII
Self-Balancing model; a yellow brass horn with nickel trim and
conventional, three-piece cylindrical braces - but I think it more
likely Olds was looking to the contemporary Bach 12, Conn 6H, and
Martin Committee for inspriation (the single-bore .500" slide and
7½" bell would certainly support that theory). Take away the
characteristic Olds slide lock and tenon joint designs and the only way
to tell that a P-16 is an Olds is to look at the engraving. One
interesting design feature is the elongated flange on the lower end of
the handslide brace; possibly intended to provide some protection for
the lower slide tube from corrosion due to contact with the player's
skin (the Conn 100H employs a similar design)..
As previously mentioned, advertising implies that the P-16 is a light
horn, and it is certainly lighter than any other Olds tenor trombone of
the same period. The outer slide does not have any added mass
(oversleeves or increased wall thickness) at the brace end; in
comparing it to a to an early post-WWII Olds outer slide with
oversleeves and conventional braces, the P16 slide is about an ounce
lighter - and that's comparing to a slide with a .485" bore.
This particular horn dates from mid-1978. It came to me without a
counterweight, but there is wear on the tuning slide brace indicating
that it had one at one point. Images in Olds literature indicate that
the counterweight was similar to the one used on late A-15 Ambassadors.