Trombones are relatively simple brass instruments. Still, many parents, students, and beginning adults may need help in selecting a trombone suitable for their needs and budget. The Woodwind & Brasswind staff provides this short course in trombone basics to assist you in choosing the right trombone for your needs.
King 2103 3B Legend Series Trombone
There are 3 major types of trombones: straight tenor, trigger-type tenor (also referred to as F-rotor or F-attachment), and bass trombones. Valve trombones and alto trombones are specialty horns we won't discuss here.
The straight tenor trombone is the simplest, with no tubing inside the main section. The F-rotor trombone has extra tubing within the main loop. It's a straight trombone until this tubing is activated with a trigger. This makes the horn longer, changing its tuning from Bb to F. (More about the advantages of this type of trombone later.) The bass trombone is a larger bore version of the F-rotor trombone that adds a second rotor to extend the horn's low-end even further.
Typically, students start with a straight tenor trombone and later graduate to a horn with the F-rotor, but this isn't a hard and fast rule. If you don't use the trigger, the F-rotor horn plays exactly the same as a straight trombone. You can wait to learn the F-rotor when you're ready. On the other hand, for many applications, even advanced players stay with a straight trombone.
Jiggs pBone Plastic Trombone
One interesting new trend in trombone manufacturing is the pBone plastic trombone. While not necessarily intended for only beginning students, the pBone is usable as a legitimate musical instrument by both students and more advanced players. In addition to the bright eye-catching colors like blue, green, red, yellow and purple the pBone is available in a more traditional black and white finish. Some trombone purists may claim that a plastic trombone can't possibly be a usable musical instrument. But professionals and teachers alike have been impressed by the quality of sound and durable construction of the pBone - plus the fun colors add to the enjoyment of this instrument.
These trombones are machine-made and designed to be inexpensive and durable. They play well, but lack the craftsmanship and high-end materials found on intermediate and professional models. A student model is commonly a tenor model with a small bore. Most are made of yellow Brass, although there are some student models that are manufactured from rose brass. Teacher-Recommended Student Trombones
These horns usually have a .525" or .547" medium-large bore. They utilize better quality materials than student instruments and are often made of rose brass. You can also find intermediate models made with silver/nickel plate and sometimes sterling silver. Recommended Intermediate Trombones
Professional horns are made with the finest materials and craftsmanship. They are usually made of rose brass or sterling silver, to produce a very rich tone. Professional trombones are a lighter weight than intermediate horns; Lighter weight hand slides allow the instrument to respond more freely, especially in the upper register. The sound is also a bit brighter than a regular weight instrument. Recommended Professional Trombones
View Recommended Instruments:
There are certain accessories you will need to clean and maintain your trombone. Slide oil, mouthpiece brush and polish are a just few of the items that you will need to keep your instrument in good working order.
The F-attachment trombone features a trigger that is sometimes referred to as an "F trigger," or an "F-rotor." When this trigger is engaged, it activates extra tubing within the main loop on the bell section of the trombone. This makes the horn longer and lowers its tuning from "Bb" to "F." Until the trigger is engaged, the trombone plays just like a standard tenor.
There are three different types of material used in making a trombone bell. Each material has a distinct impact on how the instrument will sound.
This is the most common brass used in making brass instruments. It produces a rich, full sound. Most student horns are made of yellow brass.
Also referred to as red brass or gold brass, rose brass produces a darker, warmer tone compared to yellow brass. Most intermediate horns are made of Rose Brass.
Silver/Nickel or Sterling Silver:
Used primarily for professional instruments and some intermediate, this material produces a very rich sound.
In choosing an trombone, you need to consider your musician's age and skill level, and the kind of use (school band, marching band, orchestra, etc.) to which they will put their instrument. If for school, consulting with the band teacher is a good idea.
Whatever trombone you select, The Woodwind & Brasswind's 100% Satisfaction Guarantee means you have 45 days to be sure it's right for you. If it's not, just return it for a full refund.* And you don't need to worry about paying too much. Our 45-Day Lowest Price Guarantee means that if you find the same trombone advertised for less elsewhere, we'll make up the difference. When you buy an trombone from The Woodwind & Brasswind, you can buy with complete confidence.
*All returned woodwind and brass instruments are assessed a $10.00 sterilization fee. Instruments priced over $3,000.00 are assessed a $20.00 fee. All mouthpieces are assessed a $4.00 fee.