Conn 88H Review

4.3 / 5 Overall
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 5 Users (7 votes)
- Good tone quality
- Strong for both symphonic and solo work
- Newer models are not manufactured to same standards
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.

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