The JP233 Rath is John Packer's Bb/F Single Valve Bass Trombone and is suitable for musicians who are looking for a single trigger bass trombone. Lighter than the double trigger bass trombone, but with an equally broad sound, developed in collaboration with UK trombone guru Michael Rath. This JP Rath design combines the simplicity of a single in-line rotary valve with a modern open wrap style. The development of the JP233 Rath saw the instrument finely balanced to ensure an excellent playing experience for musicians of all levels.
The JP233 Rath features a .562" bore and a 9.5" bell and is constructed from high grade brass throughout. The instrument also features an exclusive Michael Rath design leadpipe which supports flexibility throughout the whole register. An extremely high level of craftsmanship is apparent throughout, as is to be expected with instruments that bare the Rath seal of approval. The quality of the JP233 Rath has caused a real stir in the industry with glowing reviews from many top players. Garreth Beckwith formerly of Grimethorpe Band recently described it as "a real winner of an instrument".
I was absolutely delighted to be asked to write a review for the latest instrument produced by Taunton based music-meisters John Packer Ltd. I have in my educational capacity bought a vast array of the JP instrument range for my students at beginner and more advanced level. There are many different Bass Trombones on the market today with many different combinations and options available to suit every individual need. In this day and age where there is a tendency to veer towards large equipment and gadgetry it is reassuring to see that a companies like Michael Rath and John Packer create a single Bb/F Bass Trombone set-up that works so effectively – in the JP233RATH Bass Trombone they have created a real winner of an instrument.
Quality of Build: Craftsmanship is something that we come to expect of the JP instrument range and the JP233RATH does not disappoint! I have bought a variety of instruments from the highly successful collaborations between top British instrument manufacturers and John Packers. My first job was to check all the joints that hold the bell section together as this is sometimes an area for improvement. I was massively impressed as they were all neatly finished with excellent high quality (80:20) lacquer work. The quality of the slide is what we come to expect from a Michael Rath designed product – a smooth action with a quality response. The slide width is perfect for both amateur and professional players – great ergonomics that give a comfortable feel when holding the instrument. The weight of the trombone is well balanced, this is aided by a removable counterweight. The instrument is entirely made of dark yellow brass and the finish is immaculate.
Overall: Many student / mid-level Bass Trombones feel light and flimsy the JP233RATH goes against this stigma with a real feel of quality. I consider the build quality of the JP233RATH to be fantastic.
Valve and Wrap: The JP233RATH has a standard traditional style Bb/F rotor married with the more modern open wrap which allows a free blowing valve section with just the right amount of resistance required in a single valve Bb/F bass trombone. The valve has an adjustable trigger lever which caters perfectly for younger players and the valve itself has a lightening quick reliable mechanism, very similar to the popular Rotax valve offered on Michael Rath professional model Bass Trombones. I spent quite a lot of time working on the lower valve register and the ease of blowing really is quite superb. The traditional style valve gives a focused, even core of sound throughout the entire low register.
Leadpipe: The instrument adopts a Michael Rath designed fixed leadpipe that displays terrific flexibility throughout the whole register of the instrument. Flexibilities work smoothly and effectively in each slide position and each and every note slots into place with ease: the high register is effortless as is the low valve and extreme pedal register work very well providing a true sounding instrument with just the right amount of resistance required in the middle and high range.
Quality of Sound: Personally I think the sound this instrument produces is fantastic: focused and warm with a little bite when required - just as it should be. I played a variety of exercises, solos, studies and excerpts at various dynamic ranges and the sound holds well throughout: the instrument does not burst in the louder extremes and it holds a nice focused sound at the more delicate dynamic levels. The fixed leadpipe allows for clear projection and intonation at different dynamics using a variety of different styles of articulation.
Intonation: Intonation is a very individual matter with trombones – many different instruments have their individual little ‘quirks’ and playing characteristics. I tested the JP233RATH against two other brands of professional level Bass Trombones I use regularly and the JP233RATH compared favorably in comparison to both of the other market leaders. The balance within a trombone section was also easy to manage and the adjustments of certain partials I would make naturally all worked and the overtones speak clearly with the JP233RATH.
Accessories Included: The instrument comes with an excellent sturdy case that offers fantastic protection for the trombone it is practical, stylish, compact and protective. The case can be carried as a normal hard case or as a backpack style gig-bag. Also included is a terrific accessories pack including: tuning slide grease, slide grease, a compact water spray bottle, slide grease, a slide rod and a lacquer cloth – all the essentials required at any level of performance. This is great for young students and will get them in to good habits early on.
Value for Money: This Bass Trombone offers fantastic value for money and is an excellent addition to the market for a mid-level / single valve Bass Trombone. The JP233RATH is a serious alternative for the higher level performer who requires a lighter sounding or a single valve Bass Trombone for chamber music. If I had received one of these instruments as my first ever serious Bass Trombone I would have been over the moon! I heartily recommend JP233RATH and applaud John Packer and Michael Rath for providing trombonists with yet another excellent trombone in the JP / Rath range of instruments. Roll on the next one!!! For further information about Garrath, visit http://www.grimethorpeband.com/meet-the-band/garrath-beckwith"
Author: Richard Ashmore - Ulster Orchestra (BBC Northern Ireland), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales
"Well built, well designed instrument. Good balance and alignment, slide works well and nice feel. Feels very easy to play out of the case, slide positions are where you expect them to be. T Tuning and sound quality in all areas is very good. Notes speak easily and are well centred at all dynamics and pitches. Sound quality at this price is excellent - big core of sound. Slide action is very good and build quality and finish is very high. Valve action is good, free blowing with minimal additional resistance at all pitches. Excellent bottom register, but very easy to play throughout."
The JP233 Rath Bb/F Trombone is supplied with a JP mouthpiece, lightweight case and an Ultra-pure Maintenance Pack. The case is well designed to be robust yet lightweight and to provide as much protection to your instrument as possible. It is equipped with backpack straps and a comfortable should strap as standard and also includes a small storage pocket accessible from the outside suitable for storing small accessories and sheet music.
Professional trombone quartet, Slidin About review a variety of JP Rath trombones whilst putting them through their paces. Having met and formed whilst studying at Royal Northern College of Music, Steve Jones, Paul Exton--McGuiness, Matt Denney and Nick Birch formed Slidin About in 2008 and have since compiled a diverse and flexible range of repertoire encompassing every genre of music. With extensive experience and expert knowledge of a wide range of trombones, they shared their thoughts on the JP236Rath Alto, JP230Rath, JP233Rath Bass, JP331Rath and JP332Rath. This range of JP Rath trombones represent a sharing of ideas, designs and ethos between John Packer Ltd and world renowned trombone specialist Michael Rath. Through a shared passion for manufacturing a better trombone at an affordable price the JP Rath Range has been designed with quality and affordability in mind.
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