Which S.E. Shires Trombone Valve is Right for Me? - Houghton Horns

Which S.E. Shires Trombone Valve is Right for Me?

The trombone world has seen tremendous advancement in valve technology over the last few decades. From the standard Rotor valve to the Axial flow valve, or even the new Twin valve system, it may feel overwhelming to choose a valve for the first time. Here's a quick breakdown of the valves that are currently available from S.E. Shires.


Rotor valve

  • The Rotor valve is the most well-known design, and has stood the test of time for many years. It is quick, light, consistent, and produces a stable and secure sound in all registers. More free-blowing than you might expect, this Rotor valve maintains a nice, compact tenor trombone sound.
  • Available on Q Series and Custom Series trombones.

Axial-flow valve

  • Often referred to as the "Thayer valve," the Axial-flow valve produces the most open feel and sound of any valve on the market today. The throw is typically a bit longer, but it achieves a large, resonant sound that blends very  well in orchestral low brass sections.
  • Available on Q Series and Custom Series trombones.

Dual-bore valve

  • Shires' Dual-bore rotor valve changes diameter within the rotor itself, meaning the return tubing and valve ports are larger than the outgoing tubing and valve ports. This results in a compact feel of a rotor valve with the openness of an axial-flow valve. Bonus: this valve features the shortest throw and quickest action of any S.E. Shires valve.
  • Only Available on Custom Series trombones.

Tru-bore valve

  • The Tru-bore valve is designed to provide continuous response between the open horn and the F-attachment, creating equal feel and resistance. Designed to feel like a straight neck pipe, the result is clear articulations with broad sound and feel.
  • Only Available on Custom Series trombones.

Twin valve

  • The Twin valve is S.E. Shires' newest valve innovation. It utilizes two smaller valves that work together in tandem. This prevents the sharp 120 degree bend that occurs in most valves, and reduces it to 90 degrees. The valve feels open and stable while remaining quick and light. The Twin valve is also the only S.E. Shires valve to feature a string linkage, making it the quietest valve as well.
  • Only Available on Custom Series trombones.


At the end of the day, all of these valve designs achieve slightly different sound concepts, but the most notable differences will be evident to the player in feel and response. Individual players will have options to select for their preferred resistance, ergonomics, comfort, and consistency. Come visit us at the shop and see what works for you! 

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