Trombone lesson: Pedal tones

Trombone lesson: Pedal tones

Trombone lesson: Pedal tones

Get a huge sound right away on your trombone with this pedal tone exercise.

Do you have the feeling sometimes that the instrument doesn’t taste as good as it should (not literally!), and that the lips just won’t buzz the way you want them to? In 92,3% of the time, there is nothing wrong with the lips, and in 148,7% of the time, there is absolutely nothing wrong with your equipment. The problem is airflow or the lack of it. Or that it is restricted or obstructed.

This exercise is a great way to open up your sound and make sure that the airflow is free and effective. It will probably take 10-15 minutes to run through properly. When I practice pedal tones, I make sure to mix it with playing in the normal range as well. If you only play pedal tones for 10-15 minutes, you might start to modify the embouchure a bit and then the normal range can feel a bit weird. 

Check yourself

To check yourself, play a legato etude or a jazz ballad before you try this exercise, and try the same etude/ballad again afterward. Does it feel and sound different (better)? If it does feel and sound better then play this exercise daily for a week or two, and then get back to it once a week or so.

If you feel that this exercise improves your playing immediately – remember that there is NO reason you shouldn’t play and sound like that ALL THE TIME!!! And it’s rarely about the lips, just the air.

If you have trouble getting the pedal tones started, it might be a good idea to play this exercise rubato without a metronome. When the response in the low range improves, I suggest that you try using a metronome. The idea is not to play it as fast as possible but with good control and sound.

This exercise is great for all brass instruments, sheet music is provided in bass clef (c) treble clef (Bb) for undisclosed tiny brass instruments with trombone-envy. 

Here is what happens if you become too good at pedal tones. Marshall Gilkes is Olympic champion in instant trombone deep diving. Very inspiring!

Start pedaling!

There is a wide selection of pedal tone and flexibility exercises in the member’s section – it is part of the largest collection of original trombone content on the web.



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Read more about pedal tones here


  1. yamill hernandez 14 years ago


    I am begining to play a bass trombone and I think this pedal tones will help me to improve my tones.

    All these exsercises in this website are very helpfull for seriuos trombonists.
    How can I have copy of these exsercises?

    Thank You!!!!

  2. Anders 14 years ago

    Hi Yamill!

    Thanks for the kind words! Some of the exercises are available in the webshop – /shop

    If you can´t find what you are looking for, please send me a mail to info@digitaltrombone . com and we´ll work it out!


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