Packers JP230 tenor trombone

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The JP230 is a collaboration between Packers and British trombone manufacturer Michael Rath – hence the ‘R’ insignia on the weight. This is a really well made (Chinese manufactured) trombone, which is solid and expertly finished to a very high standard – the lacquering is exceptional. We were also really impressed with the precision aligned slide that fits like a glove and gives the impression that it will carry on offering a good service for many years. There are also some nice touches: the water-key lug is designed so that it doesn’t bite too hard into the cork and a hard rubber plug has been fitted to the slide guard to prevent unwanted damage. In fact, we thought that the slide was every bit as good as a slide that you might find on one of Rath’s own hand-built British made instruments. The tuning slide is also a good fit and very airtight and the weight is well supported and has a near perfect mass for forward torque balance.

With a seven and a half inch bell, the JP230 comes with what could perhaps best be described as a copy of the Vincent Bach 12C mouthpiece. This would however seem to be a perfect match for the horn, making it a free and easy blower that plays in tune with a round, compact and warm sound. It’s also an instrument that is very consistent across the full range and will blow at several levels, holding the sound together even at extreme volumes.

The semi-rigid black nylon denier covered case is ’bone shaped, has a three-quarter nylon zip, grab handles to both the top and side, hard rubber feet to the bell end and base and a large zippered front pocket. The close cell shaped, plush lined interior has also been well considered, with twin mouthpiece holders kept well away from the bell end of the ’bone (steady on – Ed). Retailing at just over £400, we reckon the JP230 is not only the real deal – but a total steal.