Yorkshire trombone maker aims to hit the right notes in China

CHINA SALES DRIVE: Rath Trombones founder, Mick Rath, with Chamber
International executive, Lydia Sykes, at the companys workshop in Honley, West
Yorks.
CHINA SALES DRIVE: Rath Trombones founder, Mick Rath, with Chamber International executive, Lydia Sykes, at the companys workshop in Honley, West Yorks.
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SOME of the world’s finest musicians rely on a Yorkshire business to help them hit the right notes.

Rath Trombones, based in the village of Honley, in West Yorkshire, is reviving an art that was once thought to be in danger of extinction in the UK.

The trombone manufacturer’s instruments have been played by celebrated international musicians, including the Count Basie Orchestra, the Berlin Opera and the world-famous Black Dyke Mills band. Now the company has joined forces with the trade specialist, Chamber International, to help it export to China.

Bosses at Rath Trombones, which makes 20 different models of instrument for playing jazz to orchestral works, has appointed Chamber International’s China affairs associate, Matthew Grandage, to help them gain a better understanding of Chinese business culture.

The founder, Mick Rath, and his wife, Nikki, who employ nine skilled crafts people, have already sold their instruments to 25 countries. They have dealers in the US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Europe and export more than 60 per cent of total sales.

Mr Rath, who started playing the tuba when he was 11, said: “Ours are high-quality instruments made by British crafts people. This, and the fact that a modular design enables customers to interchange components to ensure a perfect instrument for most trombone players, gives us wide appeal to players and dealers overseas.

“The trombone market is fairly small and we need to export to keep growing. We cannot rely on the UK alone to sustain business and exporting enables us to take advantage of fluctuating economies and exchange rates.”

Mr Grandage said: “Visiting Rath Trombones’ factory is a privilege.”

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