Company News Trombone

Introducing the 4047DS Custom Reserve

Christan Griego recently designed an new trombone for Getzen. He shares his thoughts about it below.

A while back, I had this idea. As always, it started as the most innocent of thoughts. It was “There’s this mythical ‘Bach’ style of trombone that, while some are great, most are inconsistent. Let’s try to build on this ‘Bach’ style while maintaining what we’ve always done best”. As you are probably aware, we’re known for making the most consistent resonating instruments in the world. So we should be able to make this work.

I knew where to start and I knew where I wanted to end up. That was the easy part. I also knew I didn’t want to re-invent the wheel, but I didn’t want to just rehash the same old things either. And so, by combining time tested ideas with a few new design approaches, I started the journey of creating this dream instrument that ultimately turned into the 4047DS Custom Reserve. Here’s a little insight into the how and why the 4047DS came to be.

The Handslide

This was the easiest part for me, since I knew what I wanted. A large, .547” bore hand slide with yellow brass outer tubes, nickel silver over sleeves, and a yellow brass end crook. The end crook gives us the width of sound needed to offset what is happening a bit later in the bell section. Prior research into end crook bore selection had given me the knowledge needed and the choice was made. The entire design is balanced and offset to each component so that it all works together to achieve the final outcome we are after.

The Bell

The design of the bell took us to the machine shop. The bell shape had to be correct in order for the 4047DS to give us the enveloping quality we were after. This is always the scary part of design as you hope your initial shape concepts are right due to the high cost of bell mandrels. I study history and what has been done in the past to make sure we don’t repeat the mistakes of others. As luck would have it, we hit a winner with our bell mandrel. With the bell shape nailed we moved on to the material choice, yellow brass and that’s all I can say. We have to keep some secrets, but I can tell you it’s not a light bell nor is it a hernia maker. My whole goal was to make an instrument that will fit most professional players without them making the journey to Elkhorn, Wisconsin to work with me on fitting a trombone. It’s okay, no offense taken.

The Rotor

This is possibly the most “oversold” part of any instrument manufacturer’s claims. While I’m not refuting anybody’s self proclaimed valve supremacy, my goal was to make a professional trombone that used a conventional rotor not of a higher deity or bloodline. Listening to vinyl recordings late in the evening, I have heard players from the 1950’s through today that sound incredible on good old, conventional rotor trombones. There are many musicians that I’ve studied with that still play on standard conventional rotors that aren’t at all hampered by the rotor’s design. I did play around with port diameters and rotor passageways to come up with our final design, but with design simplicity I think we have found a great combination.

4047DS rotor

The Wrap

It’s possible to make an instrument play great with a conventional rotor by making sure the overall wrap design is correct. I used my knowledge of wraps and bracing concepts in this area. The “DS” double edge brace design is born of the Edwards B454-D-E bass and it works just as well here on the 4047DS. In addition to the “DS” bracing, the 4047DS utilizes the concept of Asymmetrical Bracing with both yellow brass and nickel silver bracing. This innovative bracing design frees both the F attachment and the bell from diminished resonance and response caused by invasive bracing systems.

4047DS wrap

4047DS bracing

And Finally… The Leadpipe

I’m fortunate to be friends with lots of trombone players with a wide variety of equipment both new and old. One such friend knew about the 4047DS project and offered me a decades old leadpipe to test on the horn. Man did that pipe play well. The second the brass leadpipe slid into the slide, it was an “Aha!” moment. This was the final piece of the puzzle that made the 4047DS something special.

When developing a new instrument, we test things on a daily basis and get to see the improvements made slowly over time. Moving toward a goal only to have the destination cut short is a real drag and I think that many companies do just that. Rushing to launch model after model just hoping to get one to “hit”. That is exactly the approach I wanted to avoid. We have worked on this trombone for a few years and not once was I pressured to get the horn to market. I wanted, and was encouraged, to take my time. Only when it felt right every time I came back to the horn and after hearing the 4047DS played by countless players in house did I feel right taking this new trombone public. Crafting new trombones is fun. Crafting one that plays this well is something else all together. I am extremely proud to finally provide other players with the ability to play and perform on the all new, Getzen 4047DS Custom Reserve. Enjoy!

— Christan Griego

Instrument Specs

  • Bell: 8 ½” Yellow brass unsoldered rim; B Mandrel *
  • Tuning Slide: Yellow brass; Single radius taper *
  • Bell & Tuning Slide Braces: Nickel silver construction *
  • “DS” Edge Bracing: Yellow brass construction *
  • Neckpipe: Taper evens intonation tendencies within the harmonic series. *
  • Inner Handslide: Solid nickel silver construction cork barrel assembly *
  • Leadpipe: Retro brass leadpipe born of historically proven bloodlines *
  • Over Sleeves: Nickel silver providing longer wear points *
  • End Crook: Yellow brass with large inner diameter providing a width of sound & consistent feel *

All in an optional fiberglass shell case with adjustable padding and backpack straps. It is the smallest large bore, tenor case on the market today. Providing more protection than a traditional gig bag while remaining lightweight without the use of expensive carbon fiber. *

* = Designed exclusively for the 4047DS Custom Reserve


Getzen 490 Trumpet Review

Translated from the original article by Andrea Libretti in Strumenti Musicali Magazine

Getzen is an historical brand of American brass instruments started in 1939 by a former Holton employee.  Getzen first started building trumpets in 1947.  Since then, Getzen has gained experience and reliability recognized worldwide.  The 400 Series was created to meet the needs of students who are on a budget, but don’t want to sacrifice the technical features and timbre of upper class instruments.

One of the strengths of the internationally recognized Getzen Company are the pistons.  In fact, the durability and speed of their nickel silver pistons has become legendary unlike the Monel pistons found on nearly all other trumpets.  The outer surface of the piston is shinier, harder, and travels the vertical movement within the casing with remarkable smoothness.  More generally, the Getzen trumpets give a good impression of strength and compactness, as well as being well finished.  The 490 is produced in a medium-large bore size which is ideal for the student.  The entry bore size of the gold brass mouthpipe give a better response to the lower octave.  The weight is on average with other instruments of its class at about 1030 grams.  The first slide has a saddle while the third slide is controlled with a ring.  The one piece gold brass bell improves tones in the lower harmonics.  The trumpet is available in lacquer or silver plate and is available with a good hard case.  Substantially, all of the features described above (except the pistons) are the same as many existing horns tested.  What differentiates an instrument like the Getzen 490 is the quality of the materials used and the accuracy with which the parts are assembled.  In this case, with a craftsman’s skilled hands,  thus providing higher overall sound quality than the rest of the instrument industry.


When you test a horn for the first time, you must have a reference to the class of the instrument.  It should be clear that if I’m talking about a student trumpet and define what is good about it, the review should be analyzed in the scope of the category of the instrument.  If not done, you could be comparing a student trumpet to one costing 5000-6000 Euro.

In the case of student trumpets, it is natural not to expect a very full tone, flexibility, or comfort.  Speaking of the Getzen 490 though, you will be pleasantly surprised by the overall quality of the brand, certainly well above the other horns of this same class.  This means that during studies, the trumpet will increase the efforts of students and, likewise, increase the rewards they see.  It is always more pleasant to play an instrument that one likes and better meets our expectations.

During this test we found a good overall tone with a good coupling of the harmonics.  The fluidity of tone was inline with other trumpets in the test.  The pressure necessary to control the air column required effort slightly above average, but in the transition to a professional level horn, this will help to teach better control.  The pistons, as already mentioned, are extremely fast, accurate, and durable.  There was never any binding on the pistons.  The only negative of the trumpet is that the springs return the pistons so fast and powerfully that it can result in a slight noise from the piston returning.  This is not difficult to work around however.  Simply remove the piston, remove the spring, and compress it by hand until you achieve the desired strength.

In conclusion, we could not be more satisfied with the performance of the Getzen 490; a student trumpet with some professional features and tendancies.  We could call it a semi-professional horn that can fully satisfy the needs of a student in the early years of training as well as those of an amateur musician in any band area.  Of course, you pay for quality and it is natural that this instrument will cost a bit more than similar competing products.  But try to compare the Getzen 490 trumpet with any made in Eastern Europe or East Asia and let me know.

Artist Education/Technique

Becoming the Smart Musician, Part I of Series

by Robert Levy – Professor of Music, Lawrence University
Getzen Artist & Clinician

While I have spoken in previous issues of choosing the more beneficial aspects of playing and selecting a good daily routine, there are some additional thoughts I’m pleased to share. First, I want to thank those hundreds of trumpet students I’ve worked with over the past, nearly forty years, and my many musician friends who have given their time to share their thoughts and ideas in teaching.

I believe we sometimes simply take many things for granted including the belief students will be able to sort through an approach to learning on their own. If learning is, according to Webster, “the acquiring of skills or knowledge” there is a process we must go through to acquire those skills. I’d like to view this whole idea within a framework that leads to developing total musicianship. Yes, we all are continually learning new ways and new skills, and better ways of doing things, but I think we can find easier ways and possibly save time. This is what I refer to as “becoming a smart musician” rather than simply becoming a tongue and blow player. Perhaps this is oversimplification, but I have seen and worked with both types of musicians and seen my students make many mistakes that they could have avoided.

The “smart musician” can learn an approach to playing and practicing that is direct and concise and gets to the heart of the matter. It also ties in with reducing the complex to the simple. One non-musician friend many years ago was sitting in the audience with me attending a symphony concert. He remarked, “how is it possible for all these players to do all which is necessary to play together as they do?” I thought that was a fascinating comment, and as I thought about it, the idea is rather amazing. How many other fields or occupations are there where one person will multi task or think about so many things simultaneously: pitch, rhythm, intonation, balance, blend, style, articulation, releases, hand and finger positions, breathing, embouchure, trying to make a beautiful sound. Add to that phrasing, watching the conductor, and listening to everyone else on stage. When you stop to think about it, that’s truly amazing. Yet, we do it and many do it in terrific fashion.

Now, how might we approach things in the learning process? If an etude or musical composition appears difficult, we want to somehow “reduce the complex” to make it simpler and easier. This begins not just with slow practicing, but also by isolating the elements one at a time. First get your pitches, then get the rhythm (you can even speak it without playing), the work on the articulations, add the dynamics, accelerandos, retards, etc… Finally add phrasing and musicality and begin combining all of those elements while practicing it slowly and gradually increase the tempi as the passage becomes more comfortable for you. Last of all, listen carefully for good tuning and play with your best sound. The key is to isolate and learn each aspect separately when working on something difficult.

With these tips, you’ll learn the piece BETTER and FASTER. It’s another example of how you can become the “smart musician”.