Buying Your First Trombone

Learning to play a trombone

Trombones are versatile and fun instruments to play. You can play jazz, blues, top 40, classical music and most other music that you can think of. They sound great in lots of different settings. Learning to play any instrument involves regular practice, developing correct techniques and habits and avoiding bad ones. An expert  tutor will be your guide along the way and you should regularly check that you are progressing steadily. Try and make sure that the environment you are learning in, gives you opportunities to perform with others. That’s when the fun really begins! …. Trombone players, even in junior bands often get to play parts that they can “show off” with. The trombone section is normally one of the loudest in a school band – yey!

Which One?

Your first trombone will probably be a Bb tenor trombone, as this is the “standard” in the range of instruments. While most trombones will look similar to a new player, there are many, many types and variations for specific uses. Others include Bb/F tenor, bass, alto, contrabass, dedicated jazz or symphonic trombones and lots more.

Playing the trombone is really fun!  With quality tuition, a reasonable level of desire to play, and a quality instrument, you will have a fun time making great music (and making friends in bands). 

How does a trombone work?

Simply, a trombone is essentially a long tube that is wrapped around. It has a bell shaped flare which points towards the audience, and a mouthpiece where the player’s mouth is. The main “slide” alters the pitch in conjunction with the player’s airstream pressure and velocity. Where a sax or clarinet uses a reed to produce a vibration of the air column, a brass instrument relies on the player’s lips and surrounding facial muscles to support the airstream vibration. Different metal alloys and thicknesses, internal bore sizes, reactivity and resistance factors and designs will respond in different ways to the way each player produces their own individual airstream.

What is the best brand and model of trombone to learn with? 

There are many brands and models of good quality instruments – each one will respond, feel, look, perform and sound different for you personally. The correct choice  is the instrument that is best for you at your stage of learning and playing – irrespective of the brand. It should also help take you to the next or higher levels more easily. Selecting the right, best or most appropriate trombone

Like anything else … the better the tools you use, the easier it is to do the job properly. Better quality trombones are generally easier to play, sound better and the mechanical parts are more reliable. Brass instrument playing relies heavily on a player’s physical effort, so the more help that you can get by using better equipment, the quicker your skills and enjoyment will grow. Be careful – there are many different bore sizes (which are measured in Imperial – e.g. .480”, .500”, .525”, .547” etc etc). Most beginning players will find a .500” bore instrument easiest to learn with as this provides a good balance of airflow and resistance. This is not a “blanket rule” though, and it is important to explore this in person.

An instrument that is made with substandard quality materials or workmanship may be very cheap to buy, but will be very difficult to play in comparison to a good quality instrument. Give yourself the best chance by purchasing a quality trombone. Good quality instruments retain value well and upper echelon instruments become collectable and may appreciate in value over time.  Good quality student and intermediate instruments have improved designs and have become more affordable over the past 10 years.

How do I know which model and brand to buy?

Ideally you will visit The Music Place, South Melbourne or Annandale and take advantage of our personal “fit-out” system which has proven popular and effective over the decades. Allow around an hour for this careful process. We will jointly identify the best and correct options for you and give you a “crash course” in trombones.

Alternatively, if you are 100% sure about what you want or need, you can buy from our online store with total confidence.

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