Because an airtight valve is essential to quick response and centered feel in all registers—and many valve options on the market do not meet our pressure-test standards—S.E. Shires chooses to produce all of our valves in house. We thoroughly test for tight fit and perfect action at every stage of manufacture.
Large- and medium-bore tenor valve sections can be made with a choice of four different valves: the S.E. Shires rotary valve, the S.E. Shires axial-flow valve, the S.E. Shires dual-bore valve, or the S.E. Shires tru-bore™ valve (U.S. Patent 7112735).
Bass trombones valve sections can be made with rotary, axial flow, or tru-bore™ valves. S.E. Shires alto and small-bore trombones are available with our advanced rotary valve.
A gooseneck, interchangeable with the valve section, can be ordered to convert any orchestral tenor or bass trombone to a straight instrument.
The S.E. Shires axial-flow valve is constructed of nickel-plated brass in a brass casing. It has the most open feel and sound of any valve on the market today. Orchestral players, in particular, appreciate its broad sound, pronounced low and middle overtones, and superior blending characteristics.
The S.E. Shires rotary valve is a superior version of the traditional rotary valve design, maintaining the size and shape of the tubing through the valve ports. Many players choose the S.E. Shires Rotary Valve for its secure feel and articulations, stable sound in all registers, and light, quick action.
The S.E. Shires dual-bore valve is our own design. Focused and clear, it maintains a straight tenor sound in all registers. It has the shortest throw and quickest action of any S.E. Shires valve.
The S.E. Shires tru-bore™ valve is our own design, a valve that captures many of the free-blowing, evenly responding characteristics of a straight trombone, with an amazingly continuous response between the open and engaged positions. It combines clear articulations with broad sound and feel.
Bass trombone double valve sets can be ordered with either independent (inline) or dependent (stacked) valve configuration:
- Independent (inline): F and D valves are connected in parallel—each can be used independently. This is by far the most popular bass valve configuration.
- Dependent (stacked): F and D valves are connected in series—D valve can only be accessed if the F valve is engaged. This allows the build of the valve section to include a tapered neckpipe. Some players prefer the sound and stability of this system, and its relatively efficient feel in the low register.
A Straight Neckpipe (no valve—also known as a gooseneck) is interchangeable with the valve section, and can be ordered to convert any orchestral (.525- or .547-inch bore) tenor or bass into a straight trombone. It eliminates the valve altogether for an open feel and brilliant sound, with quick response—a popular option for soloists, principals, and commercial players.
The S.E. Shires company slogan, Quality without compromise,™ is more than simply a marketing tool. It is Steve’s heartfelt conviction and his fundamental principle for both manufacture and design. S.E. Shires Co. builds nearly every part on its custom instruments in its Hopedale, Massachusetts workshop, as it has since 1995. Steve and other members of our team play-test every instrument thoroughly before it ships. Steve’s attention to design—and his keen understanding how it affects sound and playability—is unsurpassed by any other brass instrument maker. He has parallel commitments to the highest standards of modern manufacturing, which make his instruments consistent and mechanically superior, and to the old-world craftsmanship that gives them the distinctively resonant voice appreciated by players the world over.
In May, 2014, Eastman Music Company purchased the S.E. Shires Company. Based in Pomona, California, Eastman is well known for the quality and value of its broad offering of band and orchestral instruments. With the backing of Eastman, S.E. Shires has been able to increase its instrument line, production capacity, and worldwide presence, while maintaining its core commitment to quality, in-house manufacturing.