Trombone Buying Guide

If you’re an aspiring musician that has recently decided to take up the trombone, then you’re far from alone. The rich, golden sound of the trombone helps to round out the sound of orchestras, jazz ensembles, and marching bands alike. It’s also a wonderful instrument with a rich history and a wide variety of different applications.However, knowing that you’ve been playing trombone long enough to finally make the jump from simply renting or borrowing an instrument to actually owning one of your own is one thing.

Making a wise purchasing decision is quite another. Here we’ll take a closer look at some of what you should be considering if you’re in the market for a trombone of your own in order to make sure you get the most possible bang for your buck.

Best Trombones - 13 Top Contenders

There are three basic grades of trombones: student, intermediate and professional.  Below is a quick summary of some of the top rated trombones in each category.

Trombone

Grade

BIG Rating

Price

Etude ETB-100 Trombone

Student

4.4

$

Prelude TB711 Trombone

Student

4.3

$$

Blessing BTB-1280 Trombone

Student

4.5

$$

Getzen 351 Trombone

Student

4.8

$$$

Yamaha YSL 354 Trombone

Student

4.9

$$$

Yamaha YSL 447G Trombone

Intermediate

4.8

$$$

Getzen 525F Trombone

Intermediate

4.8

$$$

Yamaha YSL 640 Trombone

Intermediate

4.9

$$$$

King 3B (2103) Legend Trombone

Professional

5.0

$$$$

Getzen 1036F Eterna Trombone

Professional

5.0

$$$$

Conn 88H Trombone

Professional

5.0

$$$$$

Yamaha YSL 882O Xeno Trombone

Professional

5.0

$$$$$

Bach 42BO Stradivarius Trombone

Professional

5.0

$$$$$

What Size Trombone Do You Need?

The first thing you should consider before actually investing in a trombone is the size that would be the most appropriate. If you’re a beginning student player, then you’d probably be best off with a B-flat tenor trombone. Not only are these trombones manageable even for young people or beginners, but they are more affordable than many of the other options out there on the market as well. There will be plenty of time to consider other sizes and options later on in your studies.

Bore size is another really important consideration when buying a trombone. (For those not already in the know, the bore size refers to the diameter of the trombone’s tubing.) Bore size affects a number of different factors when it comes to the way the instrument will ultimately sound including the richness of the sound, as well as the overall playability. Beginners are generally advised to go with a smaller bore size and work their way up to other options as they grow in skill level.

What Budget Are You Working With?

While pretty much any trombone player will naturally be interested in purchasing the best possible instrument for their money, budget is going to be a key concern regardless. That’s why it’s important to have some idea of what you can afford to spend before you begin the shopping process.

The following are a few of the factors that affect the price of a given trombone.

Trombone Finish

Even when dealing with an instrument that tends to be constructed from the same materials across the board like the trombone, the selling price can be affected drastically by the type of finish applied to the exterior of the instrument. When it comes to trombones, the most commonly applied finish is going to be lacquer. Lacquer also happens to be the most affordable finish out there, so it represents an excellent option for beginners or musicians on a budget.

Those looking for something a little fancier may want to consider a metallic finish like silver or gold. Silver finishes are less expensive, but silver’s proneness to tarnishing means a high level of maintenance that gold doesn’t require. Metallic finishes in general are often preferred over lacquer because of the way they don’t dampen the sound of the instrument the way lacquer finishes do. That said, it’s not uncommon for beginning or casual trombone players to choose instruments with a lacquer finish to begin with only to upgrade to a silver or gold finish once they become more serious.

Trombone Bell Material

The bell of the trombone can also be made of different materials that can affect not only the price, but the sound quality. The most common trombone bells are constructed from utilitarian and affordable yellow brass. Yellow brass is also the most common material used in the construction of student level trombones.Intermediate instruments very often utilize rose brass instead.

Rose brass is only marginally more expensive than yellow brass. However, it lends a considerably richer, warmer tone to the sound of the instrument making it an excellent alternative for people that are on a budget, but nevertheless interested in a better quality trombone. The most expensive bell materials – those used on professional and premium grade instruments -- are going to be nickel and silver. The sound that you’ll experience with these materials is going to be drastically richer and better rounded than those you’ll experience with brass.

Trombone Brand Name

As is the case with any other important item, the cost of a trombone is going to have a lot to do with who manufactures it. Better brands are going to cost more, of course, but they’ll also represent a more sensible investment. Always go with recognized names that are known in the industry for producing trombones that not only produce great sound quality, but that really stand the test of time.

Brand name becomes even more important if you’re considering a used instrument, as better brands are less likely to deteriorate with frequent use and age.If you stumble across an excellent option made by a manufacturer that is unfamiliar, do your homework before you make a purchase. After all, nothing prepares you for your own potential experience with a given product quite like the experiences of the people that have used it before you. This is no less the case when it comes to musical instruments.

Where and How to Buy Your Trombone

The days when you absolutely had to buy your new trombone from a brick and mortar store are long gone. These days, you also have online music shops to consider when it comes to the actual buying process. Each type of shop comes along with its own unique advantages and drawbacks, of course.

At a brick and mortar shop, you’ll have the opportunity to actually handle the instruments before you buy. You can accurately assess their size and weight, as well as play them. You also will be able to ask shop attendants for advice. However, buying online will probably allow you more different choices and possibly also price breaks. If you’re torn between the two, consider browsing offline and then finalize your informed decision online. You’re sure to be glad you did.


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