An ultra lightweight carbon fiber slide can give you much more speed and accuracy in your fast playing. It also means way less stress and more focus on the music and less on your instrument. As a point of reference these slides weigh 85 grams. A PBone slide weighs in at 132 grams and a standard Conn 6h outer slide weighs a whopping 242 grams.
These slides feature all carbon fiber construction including the slide crook, brace and even the slide lock! They also feature an innovative Speedyflo water key or optional Saturn water key for quick release of moisture and ease of maintenance.
Here is JT with the Dallas Horns playing a Butler trombones all carbon fiber outer slide.
Joakim Toftgård – Dallas horns
“I’ve been playing exclusively on carbon slides from Butler Trombones for over a year, and I won’t ever go back to a metal slide. The slide is so light that it requires minimal effort to switch directions, which really helps with my fast playing. It’s amazingly durable and won’t bend or dent. I’ve been using the slide both in the studio and for live performances, with no noticeable difference in my sound or in how the horn plays. I would absolutely recommend this slide to anyone who is looking to be more agile and effortless in their playing.”
Joe Jackson – Williams 6 – former lead trombone with the Airman of Note
This was an outer slide replacement of Earl Williams Model 6, serial #1128 – manufactured in Burbank circa 1966. Received the slide yesterday afternoon, played it for 20 minutes at home then took it to the show:
– Weight: Obviously this outer is the lightest I’ve ever played. I don’t know how many ounces it is, but it can’t weigh but 1/4 (or less) what the stock brass outer slide does.
– Speed: Easily the fastest slide I’ve ever played in a 42-year playing career. 10/10. Enough said.
– Feel: I usually determine this by moving the slide slowly, simulating teensy-weensy adjustments. This test is deceptive, because the feel is so different from a metal slide. A metal slide has heft, which gives it inertial potential, and in an optimum metal slide allows for a glassy feel that provides little drag. No “glassy feel” here – obviously – because we’re not evaluating metal-on-metal with some intermittent viscous fluid. We’re evaluating straight-on carbon fiber on metal.
This slide is just do damn light, the “smoothness/slickness” factor isn’t really comparable and is barely determinable. It’s like the normal evaluation rules don’t apply, and I found myself not *wanting* to evaluate it by traditional methods. In other words, this slide changes my preferences.
– Treatment: It seems to like to be dry, because whenever I add any of the (recommended) Yamaha lubricant to it, it incrementally slows down – which takes away from the superior slide speed. The whole thing with this slide is speed, not slickness, and adding anything diminishes the speed just a bit – which is the whole point of the slide.
I guess what I’m getting to with this whole Speed/Slickness analysis is that the classic slide feel is out the door with this one. It doesn’t have the traditional slickness of a metal slide, but after playing it you just don’t care, because it’s SO damn fast.
So fast in fact: this show I’m playing requires a lot of fast 1st-to-6th and 7th-to-2nd technique which I normally use a trigger on (was using an Elkhart Conn 79H), and this is a straight horn and I had NO problem cleanly playing the phrases. I will finish the run with this horn.
– Air Feel: I cannot determine ANY differences in air feel from the stock metal slide.
I am a painfully picky player in this regard – I just had new (metal) tubes drawn for another horn, and I sent the slide back because even though the slide felt amazing and the construction was perfect, the tolerance between the inner and outer was JUST a micron or two too loose and it (incrementally) changed the blow.
Nothing like that here. Nothing. Air feel is identical to a stock, mid-60s Earl Williams 6.
– Sound: this was the truly surprising & exciting part – I cannot determine ANY differences in sound quality from the stock metal slide. None whatsoever, not even low Bs/Cs/Fs/Es where a third of the trombone is carbon. All the resonance qualities that I love metal horns for – and have had problems with all-CF horns – are absent here. It projects, resonates and rings just like any good mid-1960s Williams.
– Disadvantages: the only thing I can think of is the inner has to be widened to accommodate the carbon fiber outer, so once you convert you can’t switch back and forth.
Based on playing it about three hours yesterday, it’s safe to say this is my new primary gig setup that I will use on all but large-bore gigs, no question.
Absolutely excellent. Flawless construction. Real game-changer. Highly recommended.
Zach Steele – King 2b+
“It’s awesome! I was able to get my horn fitted with it the morning we left for tour.
5 shows in and it’s already settled sound-wise, I can hear everything and I’m getting point to my sound when I want it. Playing in the staff is like playing a tank now. Before I was actively holding back to not crack notes in the staff but the slide really lets me rip.
One of the other guys in the section could fit it straight onto his horn. His sound was immediately more full and resonant. It was pretty awesome to hear such a positive affect to his sound with it, the only negative I’ve heard of when using carbon fiber is a reduction in sound quality but that pretty much debunked the theory.
So far I’m loving it, enough so that I’m finally practicing daily because it’s fun to play!”
Dwight Stone – Kanstul 1606
“here’s the feedback on the slide…It is #$@% great…LOL… one advantage I didn’t even think of. When you are out in 5th,6th,7th position the weight of a metal slide puts strain on your left hand…plus… you tend to start using your right hand to help support the horn (a no-no). Through all positions it’s light and just floats… The repair guy really was impressed… then there was a pause and he asked…”Does it dent”… and I said no… he got a forlorn look and I patted him on the shoulder.”
Matt Hettwer – Bach 16
“I got the slide and I was amazed by it. It’s exactly what I wanted and I have zero regrets in buying it. I haven’t played my Bach in a while but from what I remember it sounds pretty much the same tone wise but with just a far superior slide. Maybe in terms of its sound it has lightened up a bit. Either way, I can play my old Bach again and that’s reason enough to be happy about it. The major thing that I appreciate though, is that the slide moves so efficiently now that my chops are not moving around and my buzz isn’t being interrupted as a result of unnecessary movement from a laggy slide. And that’s exactly what I was hoping it would do. My slide arm can move much more independently from the rest of body. Not to mention all of the outer positions are much more accessible which gives me a lot more choices as an improviser. Of course, playing on a traditional slide is not really a problem for me (I’m just high maintenance) but I guess because I like to constantly push my limits of what I can play, it’s really great to have a slide that will help me play freer. Thanks for the slide and for getting it to me so quickly! ”
Ray Mason, Taylor Swift, Laddy Antebellum – complete 6h custom slide
“I must say I am LOVING my brand new Butler Trombones carbon fiber slide for my Conn 6H bell. Still resonants well and is 1/8th the weight of my regular weight original slide…plus all the parts fit perfectly with my original slide from the 60s, so it’s like four slide in one each with slightly different characteristics!
Peter Dahlgren, lead trombone player in Norrbotten Big Band and Stockholm Jazz Orchestra – complete 6h custom slide
“I got the slide today and used it today at rehearsal. It works great, so easy to play on! So far I’m more than satisfied! It kind of transformed my old Conn into a very modern instrument.”
Dave Panichi – Buddy Rich – lead bone 82-85. Bob Mintzer, Blood Sweat & Tears, Slide Hampton’s World of Trombones.- King 3B
“I like knowing the slide is gonna be where it needs to be every time.
I think ballad playing is a little smoother & creamier due to the mechanical superiority of the slide.
The slide action helps fast line execution & clarity of sound.
Congrats on a great product ! Best of all I’ve started enjoying practicing again !”
Alex Jeun – Lawler – NY,NY
“Apart from getting an entire tongue transplant, fast passages seemed to be more fluid and natural. Perhaps that was the initial goal of the slide. However there’s another coincidental/incidental benefit: I was expecting some sound loss with the lightweight slide. But something about it has warmed up the low register, and the dreaded 5th, 6th and 7th position notes in the mid register seem to be more resonant, something I’ve been fighting with for a long time.
And you know what? All this time, I had not re-creamed or watered the slide yet (partially because I had just lost my last spray bottle). Imagine the best time you’ve Superslicked your slide (to me it’s the law of averages if I get it right, or horrible overdosed on gunk). Without even doing anything, the initial test felt like the best time I had done my slide…times 10!
Perhaps the price of admission is reading that it won’t dent or bend. I am a chronic slide end-meets-music stand smasher. And my current gig bag isn’t the safest, but very light and practical for subway travel. Having an impervious outer slide calms my mood.
People on the gigs thus far have said it sounds good, I was really testing its boundaries with volume and speed, and it was taking it like a champ.
Well done, David Butler. I say it’s worth it.”
Yamaha Doug Yeo model bass trombone – Former bass trombonist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 30 years.
Doug picked up his slide at the TCU trombone summit and liked it so much he played it on the concert that night!
“I’m crazy about your slide and am really looking forward to the bell and tuning slide and seeing how that goes.”
A quote from Doug’s blog:
“At the International Trombone Festival in 2017, I came across the booth of Butler Trombones. They had a display of small bore jazz trombones made out of carbon fiber. Always interested in new things, I pulled a small shank mouthpiece out of my bag and gave it a try. I was stunned. It sounded like a trombone. I fully expected it to sound like a glorified pBone, a high tech plastic trombone. I thought to myself, “This is not a toy.” What shocked me was that it sounded like – well – a trombone. And then this: the weight of the instrument was miniscule. I realized right away that the hand slide weighed virtually nothing and that the inertia caused by moving my normal brass slide was nearly eliminated. This was not a usual “lightweight slide” of nickel that often sounds cheap and thin. This trombone sounded great, holding it was virtually effortless, and moving the slide was something completely new. Completely new. My mind was reeling. And then my thoughts began to race and wonder, “If this small bore trombone sounds so great, could a bass trombone be made that sounds great, too?”
To read Doug’s entire blog post about the modifications to his horn go here: The Last Trombone
Kevin Jones – King 3B – Florida State University Associate professor of jazz trombone
“Playing on a regular slide is like driving a dump truck after getting used to a Corvette.”
We currently offer custom outer slides for .490, .500, .508, .547 and .562 (and .578 for dual bore bass trombone) bore instruments. The price for custom outer slides for small bore and .547 bore is $800 US. Bass trombone outer slides are $850.
The price for a complete custom 6h slide with carbon outer is $1,500 US (this slide can also fit Edwards horns). We can also make a complete hand slide for the Bach 50 bass trombone. A complete Bach 50 slide is $1,750.
We have built custom outer carbon fiber slides for Bach, Conn, Kanstul, Shires, Williams, M&W, Yamaha, Edwards, Rath, Lawler, Cortouis and King. Give us a call or email us from the button below to discuss your project! 214.356.8002.
Lawler trombones offers a .500 and a .508 Butler trombones CF slide as an option on their horns.
One note on lubrication. The carbon slide is best when it is dry and clean. I don’t use water at all as it slows it down from the surface tension between the outer and inner slides. I use a small amount of the Yamaha slide lubricant and run it all the way up and down the inner slides. I also frequently use a rod with a teary cloth sleeve to make sure the inside of the outer slide is clean and dry.
Please note: These slides are built perfectly parallel between tubes, however every horn is slightly different in the width between tubes and most likely will require an adjustment of width between your inner slides. This normally is not a very expensive adjustment that can be made by your instrument repairman. The ID of the outer tube is .540 for the .500 bore horn and .560 for the .508-09 bore horn. It is generally acceptable to have a gap of between .01 and .007 between your stocking and the ID of the outer tube. Before ordering it would be a good idea to measure with a digital caliper the OD of your stockings.