Trombones, like trumpets can be made of many different materials that all contribute significantly to the sound and response of the instrument. Yellow brass is a common material, providing a bright and crisp tone- it also has a low copper content so it’s a hardy brass. Gold brass has a slightly higher copper content for a warmer, rounder tone.

A trombone’s finish adds another personality. Clear lacquer and gold lacquer. Silver plating is popular for orchestral work, adding a brilliant bright projection. It can also provide a better lasting finish for student models.

A trombone’s bore size can make a huge difference to the response and feel. Generally, smaller bore trombones are popular for Jazz styles, medium large are good for general solo or group playing and large bore is good for a big orchestral sound.

Trombones without a trigger are referred to as Bb Tenor, while those with a trigger are referred to as Bb/F Tenor Bass. The trigger mechanism switches the trombone from the key of Bb to the key of F. It does this by lengthening the slide to the 6th slide position, and allows the player to reach lower notes unavailable on the Bb trombone.

It is important to note that trombones are available in small/medium bore and large bore configurations and will require a small or large shank mouthpiece respectively. The range is from about .481″ (for students) to .547″ (for symphonic use), on up to .562″ (for bass trombone).

Buying Tips

Tip 1: Test the action of the slide. Is it smooth, with no discernable bumps or dents?

Tip 2: 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.

Tip 3:  Beginner trombones should be easy to blow and have accurate intonation (pitch).  The trombones’s bore size affects how resistant it is to blow. All student trombones have a medium bore.