Trombone Buying Guide

Trombones are simple brass instruments. Anything from a trumpet to the tuba. The name trombone translates from Italian as large trumpet. From the sounds of American military bands to wild brass bands on the streets of New Orleans, the trombone is a powerful instrument that turns up in a diverse range of music genres. Maybe your child is aspiring to the school marching band and you need help in selecting an instrument suitable for their needs and budget. Here are some basics to help you choose the right horn.
Types of trombones
The three most common types of trombone are straight tenor, trigger type tenor and bass trombones. Valve trombones, alto trombones, soprano trombones and marching trombones are less common. Tenor and bass are by far the most common trombone voicings.

Bass Trombone, Model B454-G (trombonelessons.com)

Bass Trombone, Model B454-G (trombonelessons.com)

Tenor trombones
The straight tenor trombone is the simplest with no tubing inside the main section. It's a straight trombone until this tubing is activated with the trigger. This makes the horn longer changing its tuning from Bb to F.
Bass trombones
The bass trombone has a larger bell but the same length as a tenor trombone.
Valve trombones

Bach V16 Stradivarius Valve Trombone(trombonelessons.com)

Bach V16 Stradivarius Valve Trombone (trombonelessons.com)

The valve trombone comes in many sizes but the most common is tenor. In many parts of Europe, South America and India it is more popular than the slide trombone. The valve allows it to play fast tempos with more ease and precision.
Alto trombones
The alto trombone is found primarily in orchestral settings and often used for solos. Though pitched higher than the tenor trombone its range can be covered by the tenor instrument.
Soprano trombones
The small soprano trombone looks a lot like the slide trumpet. It has German origins and is used in jazz settings. Itís less common today and it is often performed by woodwind instruments.
Marching trombones

Vento Marching Trombone  (trombonelessons.com)

Vento Marching Trombone (trombonelessons.com)

The marching trombone or flugelbone looks like a large cornet but produces trombone sounds. It's an innovative compact design easier to carry and march with than a traditional trombone.
The anatomy of a trombone
The trombone is a metal tube bent into an S-shaped. Pressure on the column of air within this to is what creates the unique sounds. The distinctive slide allows musician to extend the column of air lowering the tone. Variations on the tube diameter, length and air pressure allow the trombone to create many sounds. The two components of the trombone to consider before purchasing are the bell type and the bore type. Some trombones include a piece of specialized hardware call the F-attachment.
Trombone bells
These are a major part of the easily identifiable look and sound of the trombone. They can be made of yellow brass, gold brass, red brass or sterling silver. Yellow brass is most common. The other metals change the sound in subtle ways as yellow brass tends to be brighter and red brass tends to be darker due to the copper. Jazz trombone bells are often the smallest and orchestral trombone bells are the largest.
Bell sizes and construction
Trombone Bell size is as important as the bore size when you compare various types of trombones. Different sizes and thickness impacts sound and advanced musicians may have preferences for bells with certain features. Bass trombones have larger bells than tender trombones and there is a difference between a two-piece bell and a one-piece hand hammered Bell. The latter is considered to be higher-quality with higher-quality sound.
Large bore, small bore
The bore of the trombone is the inner diameter of the inner slide and it's expressed in thousandths of an inch. The ranges from .500 to .547(for symphony) to .562 for bass trombones. Smaller bore horns have a brighter sound while larger bore horns tend toward a darker or warmer and bigger sound. Bore size affects horns resistance or back pressure. A smaller bore creates more resistance and a larger less. More resistance is better for student players it as it makes it easier to produce good tone. The amount of resistance is a matter of taste.
Dual bore horns
Another variation is the dual bore trombone. This means that the slide is smaller on one side and graduates to a larger diameter on the other. It gives the player more resistance from the narrower bore but opens up for a bigger sound. Student level trombones will sell them have a double bore. These are found mainly in certain large bore and bass trombones. A feature for more advanced musicians. The largest collection of trombones can be found on ebay. I was able to use $25 eBay Promo Code on my trombone purchase.
The F-attachment factor
an F-attachment adds complexity and extends the trombone's capabilities. It adds notes to the horns low range. It provides alternative ways of playing certain passages. There are two basic types of F-attachments. The open wrap type has fewer bands for a freer blowing trombone. Again resistance is a matter of personal preference.
Cosmetic considerations
Lacquer finishes are the most common and plated finishes are regarded as higher-quality because they have less dampening effect on vibration. Most consider silverplated horns to be flashier but they require more maintenance as they tarnish. A snazzier looking horn may not sound significantly better but good looks can encourage a student to take pride in the instrument. Plastic trombones are relatively new innovation and much more affordable and lighter to carry.
What is the best choice for beginners?
Typically students start with a straight tenor trombone and then graduate to a horn with the F-rotor. You can wait to learn the F-rotor when you are ready and atypical time to upgrade is it high school. Most advanced trombone players use this type of instrument as it provides more flexibility and tones. Start small for the beginning young player. It is best to choose a smaller bore horn in the range from .500 to .525 because it takes less air to support the tone. The type of music you want to play will influence your choice has bore size greatly impacts sound. Use the classifications of student, intermediate and professional for general guidance as to which qualities and features are needed. The biggest factor in choosing a trombone is the amount you can appropriately spend. Consider your musical interests and when you may need to upgrade your horn. A student model is typically more durable. Consider a medium for horn for the intermediate player and a student who has had several years of practice is a good candidate for an F-rotor, dual boar, rose brass or sterling bells and plated finishes.