The best trombones. We are taking a gander at ten of the best trombones available online, for those of you who have mastered your craft and those starting.
We have tried to strike a good balance between the two and have provided a dedicated guide – packed full of info to help answer your questions.
Trombones aren’t considered one of the easier wind instruments to learn because there is a degree of movement involved that has to be learned until it comes naturally. With our detailed reviews and guide advice, you will find yourself better informed and be able to make a sensible sale.
We have chosen ten instruments which we think deserve to be in our top selections for different criteria which we will explain throughout our trombone reviews, so let’s take a closer look.
- The 10 Best Trombones in 2021 [Reviews and Buyer’s Guide]
- 1. YSL354 Trombone
- 2. Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
- 3. Mendini Tenor Slide Trombone
- 4. Etude ETB-100 Series Student Trombone
- 5. Kaizer Tenor Trombone
- 6. pBone Jiggs Plastic Trombone
- 7. King Legend 4B Series Trombone
- 8. Yamaha YSL-882O F-Attachment Trombone
- 9. Bach 42BO F-Attachment Trombone
- 10. Bach 36BO Stradivarius Series Trombone
- Trombone Buyers Guide
The 10 Best Trombones in 2021 [Reviews and Buyer’s Guide]
1. YSL354 Trombone
Why We Liked It – It is a student model that offers superior quality, the slide arm is angled perfectly and the action is very smooth.
We are opening with a high-quality student model from Yamaha it is very well manufactured and well priced. Yamaha test every instrument thoroughly which is what gives them a professional level caliber, despite being built for a beginner.
It’s made of brass and has a yellow brass body and bell. The slide is made of silver nickel inside and out. It has a silver lacquer and the rest has been given a gold finish but you can get a completely silver lacquered version if you prefer.
It’s drawn in one-piece and has a medium bore size of around half an inch. It provides an airtight slide with good maneuverability. All joins are fused with lasers, and it features nickel-silver tubular braces for durability.
It is fitted with an SL-48S mouthpiece which is manufactured with a computer-aided design for accuracy. It secures perfectly and is smooth for great playability and importantly very precise. The rim and cup are well balanced making it widely suitable for all kinds of players. It comes with a case and accessories.
2. Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
Why We Liked It – This is a lovely trombone for anyone looking to expand their collection and move onto a different kind of beast. It is very versatile, the triggering is great you can jump around a passage creatively.
Our next choice is a versatile Bass trombone again from Yamaha which gives users a wider range to play with. It is again very accurately manufactured and tried in-shop for quality control.
It is an upgraded version of the YBL 622 bass trombone. Developed with Douglas Yeo from the Boston Symphony. It has a gold brass body and the slides each are drawn in one piece. The outsides are yellow brass and the insides are a silver-plated nickel.
The second slide section is removable. This allows you the choice to play between Bb and F or Bb F and a low D. The rotors are hand-lapped with mechanical linkage and are offset from the body.
The valve register is extremely responsive, all the motion has been refined. It has a large bore size of 5.63-inches. The bell has a diameter of 9.5-inches and the sound of this trombone is very warm.
It has a specially developed Douglas Yeo signature series mouthpiece and comes with a sturdy protective case.
3. Mendini Tenor Slide Trombone
Why We Liked It – Whilst it probably won’t impress a talented trombonist. It is a sensible choice that allows unrestricted access to those with cash restrictions that want to learn.
We are now going to look at a budget-friendly solution from Mendini who are beginning to dominate the lower regions of the market.
It is a medium bore horn made from nickel with a silver-plated mouthpiece that you may want to upgrade if you decide to continue learning to play.
With a larger bore size it isn’t a beginner’s horn, but, it does have an entry-level price. If you are purchasing it for a young user we suggest Mendini’s student model instead with a smaller bore. Older beginners with good lung capacity should be just fine.
The action isn’t as slick as we would like but learning to play smoothly takes practice. With a generous amount of oil, it is manageable and for the most part. People have been very satisfied with this cheaper trombone. It comes with a tonne of starter goodies that add extra value to your purchase such as a case and cleaning accessories as well as a chromatic tuner.
4. Etude ETB-100 Series Student Trombone
Why We Liked It – Although it is not a top-quality piece it is a great example of an inexpensive instrument perfect for band practice come rain or shine. It is competitively priced against other student models and offers a cheap solution.
Etudes ETB-100 series has some great models to offer, like this easy to play student trombone. It is well-made, especially for a budget-model.
It has easy projection and has a lovely tone with reasonable volume levels for a smaller bore size. Typically a larger bore is used for a symphonic instrument so smaller bores tend to be quiet. This one has great presence and resonance.
The outer hand-slide is brass and the inner hand-slide is chrome, it has effortless action. The bell is hand-beaten into shape and all products are tested. It has a centered weight balance and all the joints are well-braced.
It comes with a pretty average mouthpiece that does the job and has a beautiful gold lacquer finish. It sells with a heavy-duty hard-case ideal for student use.
5. Kaizer Tenor Trombone
Why We Liked It – It is priced very accessible and provides an ideal student model to practice with.
This competitive model from Kaizer is solidly-built with yellow brass and designed once again with students in mind. It has been simplified to aid the learning process. The bore size is 5-inches and the bell is 8-inches. It has a bold brassy projection.
The slides have been treated to prevent internal corrosion, extending its durability and shelf-life. It comes in a nickel or gold lacquering and the hand-slides are well-joined.
The weight distribution has been tailored to keep it easy for new players it has great balance. It comes with a 12C mouthpiece, perfect for students and pretty much the go-to mouthpiece for beginners. It has a good-quality, molded hard case to keep it protected and comes with gloves and slide-oil.
6. pBone Jiggs Plastic Trombone
Why We Liked It – It could be the trombone that you are looking for if you are looking to buy for a beginner and don’t want to fork out too much.
For beginners, especially the young this plastic trombone from pBone makes for a sensible idea. Kids notoriously get bored of their instruments and they also tend to rough-handle them a heck of a lot more. So until you’re certain that they have the respect and commitment, this could be a great stepping-stone.
It features a plastic outer shell, the bell is indeed plastic but a high-quality hardened plastic. It has a glass-fiber lockable slide which helps the learner feel where the notes are and develop the instinct that comes with trombone playing.
The slide also has genuine brass slide stockings on the inner slide to help keep the action smooth. It has a plastic proprietary mouthpiece (11C style) but the shank matches an ordinary small trombones bore so you can exchange it for another. The whole thing weighs under 2lbs so it is easy on your arms and it comes with a carry case.
7. King Legend 4B Series Trombone
Why We Liked It – It is a beautiful instrument with a broad range full of dynamics.
This next trombone is a fantastic premium model from a legendary brand. Built to last, it plays with an idyllic glide.
It has a large borehole and holds a professional, symphonic note with brassy resonance and a gorgeous timbre. The hand-slide is standard weight and has a nickel-silver outer slide. The mouthpiece is large and high-quality. The crooks are yellow brass, as is the lead-pipe and bell.
It is gold-lacquered and comes with an F-rotor attachment, It has a superb response and allows for seamless transitions. The whole thing is impeccably crafted and slick.
8. Yamaha YSL-882O F-Attachment Trombone
Why We Liked It – It plays exceptionally well. The F-rotor is very well-made and it switches flawlessly between the keys.
Next, we have another Yamaha for consideration with an F-rotor attachment it is also from their Xeno series.
It is a medium bore trombone with a fixed lead-pipe and a narrow hand-slide. It has been one time drawn so it has no seams. The bell is hand-hammered and measures 8-inches. It plays with smooth, sliding action and has a rich timbre.
It is formed from gold brass and the F-attachment has mechanical valve linkage with an easy response. It is beautifully suited to jazz playing with its extensive range.
It comes with a mouthpiece from the legendary Peter Sullivan replica series.
9. Bach 42BO F-Attachment Trombone
Why We Liked It – It has a beautiful warmth and richer harmonic depth, It slides with next-to-no resistance and the F attachment allows for interesting runs.
The Bach 42BO is a beautiful trombone that has been one-time drawn and hand-hammered into shape. It benefits from a larger bell that measures 8.5-inches and has professional symphony decibel levels. It is a large-bore instrument which is has been lovingly crafted.
The lead-pipe is fixed and has been made with yellow brass. It has an F-attachment from the Stradivarius series which gives you a wider range to play with adding character to your style.
The slide is extremely lightweight and has an open-wrap design. This reduces the resistance and gives it the smoothest motion. The balance is impeccable and it is effortless to play even with when your slide-oil is running a little low.
It has a gold lacquer finish and comes with a sturdy but lightweight storage/carry case to keep it in.
10. Bach 36BO Stradivarius Series Trombone
Why We Liked It – It is a high-quality model, whilst it doesn’t play at symphonic decibels, it does play with a professional edge.
We are leaving you with one final instrument from the Stradivarius series in-case the high-end beaut above is too far out of your price range.
The 36BO has many of the same parts as the 42 models but is not a symphonic model. The slides are instead a medium bore and the bell has a traditional 8-inch diameter as opposed to the larger 8.5.
The F-attachment is open wrap and links with a standard rotary valve with a mini-ball. The outer-slide tubes are brass. It is drawn in one-piece and the bell is hammered by hand. It comes with a 7C Bach mouthpiece. It plays smoothly and has a beautiful upper-range.
Trombone Buyers Guide
What is a Trombone and What Does the Name Mean?
The word trombone is Italian when translated literally the name means large trumpet, which is a fitting description because it is exactly that, a much larger trumpet. They were first designed to bridge the gap between a trumpet and a tuba with their larger forms and deeper register.
A trombone plays in a register between, and in a brass section provides a fuller harmonic between the two instruments. They come with various keys like other orchestral instruments but the most common is a tenor because the soprano range is covered by a trumpet anyway. We will discuss types further in the section below but first a bit about the trombones structure and functionality.
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A trombone, like other wind instruments, features a bell for projection, in this case, bigger than a trumpet a mouthpiece and tubing. Instead of fingered valves and valve tubes like other brass instruments, the trombone notes are operated via the slide.
You shorten and lengthen the slide and this adjusts the journey of the air from your mouth to the bell. The longer the length the lower the note, the shorter the distance the higher the note is. The length of the tubing itself and the way it is curved or coiled is dependent on the type of trombone.
What are the Various Types of Trombones?
As mentioned the typical trombone is a tenor slide trombone that has a straight slide and plays in the key of Bb but there is a variation known as the F-rotor.
The F-rotor tenor trombone has an additional set of looped/coiled slides that can be skipped for regular trombone use or actively used. When triggered it lengthens the amount of tubing you have to play with. This takes the trombones key out out the Bb register and lifts it into the key of F.
Extending the range with an F attachment extends your capabilities providing alternative transitions between notes in scales.
There are also bass trombones that play with a lower resonant tone. They have a larger bell and a larger bore (larger sized tubing) with extra coiling that gives them their impressive depth. They also come with an F-rotor attachment. They have a more extensive range and can switch between D, Bb, and F.
There are also Alto trombones used in orchestras and soprano trombones although they are somewhat redundant as they play in the same register woodwind instruments and are not often written for in sheet music.
There are also valve trombones that have trumpet valves to finger with and play faster melody lines but they are an entirely different kettle of fish.
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Is it Difficult to Play the Trombone?
For many brass players, a trombone is considered more difficult to play. This is because they are a little tougher to learn. Instead of having keys to press which produce the notes distinctly you are relying on sliding the length to the tubes precisely to achieve the note you desire.
The trombone, therefore, needs to be a real extension of the player. You have to learn to feel where the notes are and memorize the arm positioning. This is considered more difficult but in reality, the trombone is no harder to master than any other instrument.
A good comparison would be the difference between learning a guitar with frets and fingering a cello without any. There is a degree of methodology that relies on your instincts.
Would it Be Recommended for Beginners …?
A straight Bb tenor is probably the best starter trombone for a beginner. It is about as basic as it gets and there is a tonne of free advice and online tutorials for how to play and progress with it.
Alto is not a bad starting point either they are used within an orchestra, although they aren’t as common, they are fairly simple. There are fewer free resources widely available so you will need a tutor.
We wouldn’t recommend starting with something unnecessarily complicated. Though an F-rotor trombone has many advantages and an easy progression for a well-practiced trombonist, it adds a whole extra process right from the get-go. This is just silly for a beginner.
We would only suggest a valve trombone if you are a seasoned trumpet player, it could be an easy transition. They are fairly uncommon so if you just fancy something new then go for it.
If you are completely new to brass than we suggest go for a trumpet or a trombone and steer clear of this hybridized horn.
How do you Keep a Trombone Clean?
Like any brass or woodwind instrument, you are going to build up from moisture within your breath. So cleaning after every use is imperative.
They are fairly easy to clean and most sell with cleaning accessories. The bell can be cleaned with a cloth and the mouthpiece usually has its own tiny brush You will need to take your trombone apart to access the tubes for a thorough clean.
From time to time it is suggested to bath the instrument in lukewarm water. The tubes can be cleaned after every use with a trombone snake.
There is a nice step by step guide on Wikihow which you can follow.
What is a Trombone Snake and How is it Used?
A trombone snake is a cleaning tool for keeping your tubes in tip-top condition. It is a long piece of flexible piping that has a brush mounted at either end. The length of the snake is longer than your trombone tubes.
You take your trombone apart and push the brush inside. Then you keep feeding the pipe into the tubes until the brush comes out the other end. Then when it emerges you pull the rest through and the other brush will give it a second whirl.
Read on about: Best Bass Trombones Reviews in 2021
What is the Best Way to Select a Trombone
If you are a beginner we would suggest opting for a student model because they are designed specifically with new users in mind.
The body of a trombone needs to be durably made no matter your playing experience. If you have a good core then you can always upgrade the mouthpiece.
Changing the mouthpiece can change the instrument dramatically. So if you are a seasoned player we suggest focusing on the mouthpiece more than the trombone itself.
To select a decent model you need to go with manufacturing that you can trust. If cash is not an issue we recommend selecting a hand-made company instrument instead of a mass-production model. The slide will generally be better as the focus on a hand made piece gets more attention and the slide is the most vital part. See our expert tip for more.
There are some decent trombones around to try if you are branching into the world of brass. Despite having the reputation of being a tough instrument to learn they are relatively simple to play so don’t be put off.
We have rustled up a range in today’s reviews which each cater to various budgets and think we have found some suitable solutions. So whether you are taking the first step or upgrading your student model we should have you covered.
We trust that our buyers’ guide will have clarified some of the common questions that float around the instrument. Hopefully, the info will have helped you learn a thing or two.
Trombones are a glorious brass instrument with an important part to play in a group. Their register is rich and they are easy once you are know-how. So why not give it a go?
If you have the opportunity, play a friend’s trombone or visit a music store to help select the best trombone for you. You can often get a better deal online than if you buy in-store but it is great to physically try your instrument beforehand.
Did you Know
The first trombones came about as an embellishment on the mid-15th century Renaissance slide trumpets. The oldest surviving trombone that exists today can be traced back to 1551.