What is a trombone?


Trombone facts

trombone playing

What is a trombone?

The trombone dates back to the 15th century. Back then it was called a sackbut. Trombones are brass instruments that produce a deep, rich sound. They are often used in orchestras and bands and can be found in a variety of settings. Read more in-debt about the trombone at Wikipedia.

The trombone is a versatile instrument and can be used for a variety of genres of music. Trombone music can range from classical to jazz, and everything in between.

Some of the most popular trombone brands include Bach, Conn, King, and Yamaha. These brands are all well-known for their quality instruments and offer a wide range of trombones to choose from. There are a number of other trombone brands available, and it is important to do your research to find the brand that is right for you.

The tuning of the trombone can be adjusted by the player, and the most common tuning is concert pitch.

There are six main types of trombones:

  • Alto trombone
  • Tenor trombone (small bore)
  • Tenor trombone (large bore)
  • Bass trombone
  • Contrabass trombone (a rare beast)
  • Valve trombone (valves instead of slide)

The trombone slide

The trombone slide is a vital part of the instrument and is responsible for changing the pitch of the instrument. The slide is made up of a number of different parts, including the inner slide, outer slide, and hand slide. The inner slide is the part of the slide that is inserted into the instrument, and the outer slide is the part that is held by the player. The slide is moved by the player’s hand and is responsible for changing the pitch of the instrument. Take a look at this complete trombone slide chart to learn more.

The trombone bell

Shires trombone bell

The trombone bell is responsible for amplifying the sound of the instrument. The bell is made of a thin sheet of metal, and is typically made of brass. The bell is flared at the end, which helps to amplify the sound of the instrument. The size of the bell affects the sound of the instrument, and larger bells produce a darker sound.

There are a variety of trombone bell sizes available, and some of the most common sizes are 7 inches, 7.5 inches (jazz) 8-8.5 inches (classical trombones), 9 inches, and 9.5 inches (bass trombones). The size of the bell you choose will depend on your personal preference and the style of music you will be playing.


Tenor trombone vs. bass trombone

Tenor trombones and bass trombones are the two most common types of trombones. Tenor trombones have a narrower bore than bass trombones. Bass trombones are larger than tenor trombones and have a wider bore. The bore is the part of the trombone that the player blows into, and the size of the bore affects the sound of the instrument.  Bass trombones also have larger bells and more valves, allowing them to play easier in the lower register.

Trombone mouthpieces

Trombone mouthpieces come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and each one produces a different sound. Mouthpieces can be made of a variety of materials, including silver-plated brass, and plastic. The size and shape of the mouthpiece affect the tone. Mouthpieces can be purchased from a variety of retailers, and it is important to choose one that is comfortable for you to play. Small-bore trombone mouthpieces are typically used for jazz, while large-bore trombone mouthpieces are better suited for symphonic playing. There are a variety of other factors to consider when choosing a trombone mouthpiece, such as the size of your instrument, your playing style, and your personal preferences.


Valve trombone

Yamaha Valve trombone

Valve trombones are a type of trombone that uses valves instead of a slide to change the pitch of the instrument. Valve trombones offer a number of benefits, including the ability to play more accurately in tune. They also have their own distinct sound. Take a listen to players like Bob Brookmeyer to hear the valve trombone in action.

Alto trombone

The alto trombone is a smaller, higher-pitched version of the trombone tuned in Eb. Alto trombones are typically used in orchestras and bands and usually read music written with alto clef. They have a small bore. On the picture you see Anders LArson playing a small bore tenor trombone and custom trombone maker Steve Shires playing a smaller alto trombone.

Famous jazz trombone players

Some of the most famous jazz trombone players include J.J. Johnson, Tommy Dorsey, Frank Rosolino, Jack Teagarden, Kai Winding, Slide Hampton, and Carl Fontana. These musicians are all well-known for their contributions to the world of jazz trombone playing and have helped to make the instrument what it is today.

Famous classical trombone players

Some of the most famous classical trombone players include Christian Lindberg, Joseph Alessi, and Douglas Yeo. They have pushed the limits of what is possible on a trombone and helped evolve the world of classical trombones. 

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