Conn 44H Connqueror
Date: 1941. Owner unknown. Photo by Dan Kuhn
The 44H is a "Vocabell" instrument. Similar to the Connqueror trumpets and long cornets of the 30's and 40's, it doesn't have a bell rim-wire. I am told the angled braces are solid metal, not hollow. It has a #2½ bore (0.485"), and was produced between 1932 and 1951.
Two people who have played the 44H describe it like this:
"To me the Conn 0.485s [bore trombones] play compact but fat, with a dark resonant sound until you really lean on the horn, then it gets pretty bright. They tend to play much more open than you would expect such a small bore. "
"It sounds bigger than what you would expect from that small of a horn. You can color the sound immensely on that horn. Rather heavy construction for a small bore, heavy slide. When you push it it gives you the edge you need to cut. If you can get your hands on a V cup mouthpiece, you have got a perfect match. The high register just leaps out and the response is great. If you are ever in the market for one, try to find one of the silver ones. I've heard the gold brass ones just aren't up to par with the silver ones. Shoot for the 30's models, not the later ones produced in the 40's or 50's."
What Conn said in 1937:
The 44H Connqueror trombone with new principle Vocabell marks a new era in trombones. Never before have trombone artists experienced such ease of blowing, such power, and such beauty of tone. The Vocabell vibrates freely and in sympathy with the vibrating column of air in the instrument. Delicate harmonics, formerly dampened out by the stiff bell on conventional trombones, can now be reproduced to enrich tonal coloring. The upper register now speaks out with surprising power. The whole scale, from bottom to top, is smoother, more even, more flexible, and more resonant than on any other trombone. Delicate radio tests prove it. Made at Columbia Broadcasting Studios, New York, under supervision of Nathaniel Shilkret and without Conn's knowledge, these tests showed from 12 to 15 decibels more power for the Vocabell. Used by the great trombone virtuoso of the Metropolitan Opera, Simone Mantia; "Pete" Beilman, first and "hot" trombone with Ted Weems; Caroll Bates, star with Jack Denny; Irvin Verrett, first chair, Phil Harris; Jack Lacey, first trombone with Andre Kostelanetz on CBS; Joe Harris, first chair and "hot" trombone with Benny Goodman; and many others. Marvelous slide action, with extra long carriage for lower positions. Standard bell 7 inches. Slide lock, bell lock, tuning in bell. Modern styling at its best. Bb medium bore. Now made lighter so it weighs the same as other trombones.
What Conn said in 1950:
The famous Vocabell, whose new principles of tone production are described [here], is available on the 44H Connqueror trombone and the 48B Connqueror trumpet. Both of these models are tremendously popular because of the great power available with so little effort and because of the richly brilliant tone. The trombone is Bb medium bore, 7-inch bell, with bell back for ease in muting. Long slide bearing for smooth 7th position. Solid bell brace gives perfect balance. Bell and slide locks.