Whether you are an inspired beginner or an experienced professional, the thought of buying a new musical instrument is very exciting. You may imagine yourself on the stage playing with an orchestra or a band, and the audience is going crazy for your talent. Therefore, choosing the correct trombone is probably as important as going to lots of rehearsals. You should choose an instrument that corresponds to your style, taste and of course, capabilities. Don’t get confused in your search for the perfect trombone for you. Let our vital information help guide you. So, consider the following observations before making a decision.
The most commonly known type is the straight trombone or the standard Bb tenor trombone. It first appeared in the 17th century with little changes in its design since then. The central section has no tubing in it. If the tubing is activated with a trigger, the trombone is considered a straight one. Further, it results in lengthening the horn, with the tuning changing from Bb to F. However, you would have to lengthen your hand as well to reach the 7th position. From orchestras to pop music, as well as swing bands, the straight trombones can be found in every kind of music. Providing the most open sound and considered to be lightweight, this trombone is good for both beginners and experienced players. In addition, thanks to two bends on it, the instrument makes the most perfect blowing feeling for the musician. Some, consider this the most basic type of this instrument and the easiest to start with.
The trigger type tenor trombone is treated as a non-transposing instrument. The musicians use 7 chromatic slide positions, because the trombone has no valves, crooks or keys for the lower pitch. As a result, the positions increase the length of the air column. Quite often performers use alternate positions to reduce slide movement during the fast parts. In addition, the highest range of the trigger trombone is open ended.
In comparison with the straight trombone, the bass trombone is slightly larger. Usually bass trombones have two valves, but some still have only one valve like the tenor trombone. The second valve can be dependent, engaging the first valve in the work. If independent, it has more positions for the musician to make easy slide changes. It is also more expensive and heavier than one valve instruments. Having larger bores requires more air and is particularly good if you prefer playing low notes. However, the bass trombone is not the best choice for a beginner, if it lacks the second trigger.
The valve trombone has different sizes and a widespread usage. The performer can play fast tempos easier and more correctly with this type. The valve trombone has three valves that are located in short or long form. The instrument has a huge fame in countries like Austria, Portugal, South America, Bohemia, India and Moravia. Cimbasso, mostly played in works of Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini, is the contrabass version of the valve trombone. Moreover, Duke Ellington, Maynard Ferguson and other jazz legends used tenor valve trombones in their music.
The alto trombone is used for solo playing, because it is pitched higher than the tenor trombone. It was used as the highest sound in brass choir from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Alto trombones have different positions, from the tenor to the bass trombones, due to its short slider. Moreover, an alto trombone provides a better tone. Presently, professional trombonists have to play alto trombone for orchestral music.
The soprano trombone appeared in the 17th century. The first trombone part was written for a “diskant-posaune” and was used in German speaking countries. Johann Bach had written his compositions for the soprano trombone using four trombones. Instead of seven positions, the soprano trombone has six positions and again the short slides like the alto. In case the performer isn’t very familiar with the soprano he might have problems in damaging the intonation or choosing wrong notes.
The marching trombone is the perfect instrument for baritone players or marching bands. This instrument produces real trombone sounds although looks like a cornet. With the weight of only 1.8 kg, this trombone is lighter and more convenient for marching than the straight trombone.
When buying a trombone, it is important to consider its bell shape, diameter, material and thickness. First of all, the bell shape directly influences the sound made by the instrument. For instance, fast tapers make dark and pleasant sounds, when slow ones produce rather bright tunes. Therefore, if your trombone has bells with slower tapers, it is more suitable for brilliant jazz music. Trombones with faster rate tapers have exquisite symphonic tone qualities. Secondly, the diameter of the bell can be from 6 ½” to 10 ½”. In contrast to a small bell, the wide one produces a big and open sound. Note that trombones with small bores make a more straightforward than the ones that have big bores. Moreover, you should also consider the brass of the instrument when choosing a trombone. For example, yellow brass offers a clear tone, while the gold one makes a more comfortable and “creamier” music. Besides, bells that are lighter and thinner make an immediate response.
Further, take into account the type of the rotary valves of the instrument. Usually, there is often a small “pop” when a rotor is involved. During the course of time, different rotors have been introduced to provide a “free blowing”. Mostly, they are designed as a big rotor with internal airways and a straighter airflow. Know that these rotors are more expensive than the standard variant. That’s why standard rotors are more frequently used.
In most cases the F section is wrapped in the trombone making it more comfortable and protected. However, you can choose an “open wrap”, where the larger bends are located in the tubing. If a closed wrap provides a secure blowing, the open wrap makes a more free-blowing.
Finally, take into account the size of the instrument you are going to buy. For beginners it is more advisable to choose a B-flat trombone, because it is both more available and comfortable than other types. Moreover, trombones with a small bore make it easier to master the instrument for the beginners. Once you become a professional try other options as well.
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