Conn 88H Review

4.3 Overall
4 Users (6 votes)
Pros
- Good tone quality
- Strong for both symphonic and solo work
Cons
- Newer models are not manufactured to same standards
Summary
This enduringly popular Conn tenor trombone, first produced in 1954, is an evolution on the original 8H, adding a trigger to an F branch and a rose brass bell that darkens the tone. Is 60+ year production run is a testament to its ability to adapt to different symphonic sound concepts - from powering the core of an orchestra to virtuosic solo performances. But competitors such as the Bach 42B have given the 88H a run for its money, especially in America, where orchestras are demanding an even bigger sound than the Conn. Players seeking more balance in both loud and soft playing though may prefer the 88H, however. What about the 88H's design gives it this versatility? According to The Horn Guys, a narrower hand slide vs. competitors such as the Bach 42B helps to give the tone a more stable anchor, especially given its large bell/bore, while the mix of bronze metal adds just the right color to bring out solos beautifully. In the 1990s, Conn added additional options (GEN2) to allow the 88H to adapt to modern playing, such as the open wrap 88HO (open F side gives the horn less resistance especially in lower register - though also more tubing behind the head), the thin-belled Conn 88HT (adds some additional resonance), and the Conn 88HY (yellow brass bell to brighten the sound). While these new iterations are popular, the original may still be the best mix of sound, playability and ergodynamics for most players. Unfortunately, Conn's manufacturing standards have slipped in recent years and the newer models, made in Elkhart since 2015, are not as consistent. For this reason, we recommend finding a good used model.


Tone quality
Playability
Construction
Value for money
What people say... 6 Leave your rating
Enjoy Playing This
I purchased one of the 80s era 88H trombones a few years back and have played it in a variety on ensembles including highschool jazz band, symphonic wond ensembles, put orchestras, etc. My favorite part about the instrument is the impecible tone quality I can produce. A trombone plauer with good air and embochure habits can really make beautiful sounds with this. My only issues have been the trigger spring mechanosm has degraded and have had that repaired; it works like new now! I absolutely reccomend this instrument. Esppecially if you can find one second-hand, a lot of people have no ide awhat theya re selling and you can find great deals.
January 1, 2019, 7:07 pm
Tone quality5
Playability5
Construction4
Value for money5
0
2
Enjoy Playing This
I purchased one of the 80s era 88H trombones a few years back and have played it in a variety on ensembles including highschool jazz band, symphonic wond ensembles, put orchestras, etc. My favorite part about the instrument is the impecible tone quality I can produce. A trombone plauer with good air and embochure habits can really make beautiful sounds with this. My only issues have been the trigger spring mechanosm has degraded and have had that repaired; it works like new now! I absolutely reccomend this instrument. Esppecially if you can find one second-hand, a lot of people have no ide awhat theya re selling and you can find great deals.
January 1, 2019, 7:07 pm
Tone quality5
Playability5
Construction4
Value for money5
0
0
Great, Except for one thing....
I love the tone this thing produces. In all registers, it can pull its weight. I find that it blends extremely well in an ensemble setting, almost to a fault. I think that for its price it is one of the best trombones someone can get on the market. However, I feel that one thing really holds it back. I find that the trigger adds SO much resistance, to a point where it is significantly harder to produce any good tone below an F2. Once you get into pedals its fine, and I find myself hitting Bb1 consistently now, but the F2-C2 partial with the trigger in use just feels so inconsistent and difficult. Upper register is secure, partials slot well. Slide has lasted really well, too. Overall, I'd recommend this horn to anyone, without a doubt, but first I'd make sure they get a chance to try it out first. For the playing I do, the trigger isn't much of a drawback, but for someone else it may be a huge problem. From what I remember, my issues with the trigger are fixed with the CL rotor system on the 88HCL, so that may be worth looking into, as opposed to the 88HO.
December 10, 2018, 4:13 am
Tone quality4.5
Playability4
Construction4
Value for money5
0
0
88H Owner for 52 years.
I have played in jazz ensembles, orchestras, solo work, and studied with the great Lewis van Haney in the 1970s at Indiana University. I have auditioned Bach, Holton, Yamaha, and liked things about each. Overall, NOTHING beats the combination of tone, quality, versatility, and value for my 1964 Elkhart 88H. It was purchased after my senior year in high school, and has been with me to the Orient, Florida, Chicago Area, and Northern Indiana. Occasionally I will substitute
a King Bass for Orchestra Bass Parts, and a smaller bore Conn 14H for Jazz lead,
but for 95+ percent of my playing I rely on my Elkhart 88H, manufactured in 1964.
December 22, 2017, 6:12 am
Tone quality0
Playability0
Construction0
Value for money0
0
1
College student
I bought this horn my senior year of highschool and still love it. I play in both wind ensemble and Jazz Orchestsa with this same horn and he versatility is astonishing. Plus I got it for 1,000.(used) best purchase not looking to really get a new horn.
February 16, 2017, 4:59 pm
Tone quality5
Playability5
Construction4
Value for money5
0
0
Just great
Upgraded to the 88H last year (my freshman year of college) and couldn't be happier. It's got a powerful sound that can cut through with minimal effort with a really sweet core. Recommended to anyone looking to advance their playing.
August 21, 2016, 3:17 pm
Tone quality5
Playability5
Construction5
Value for money5
0
0
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