How to Buy a Beginner Trombone


Trombones come in a wide array of styles functions and sound qualities, being a main part of many different types of musical groups (ex. orchestras, symphonies, ensembles, etc.). Whether you are starting a new musical hobby yourself or deciding what to buy for your child, it is important to purchase the best fitting trombone for your use. This wikiHow will help you through the process of buying a beginner trombone, from examining the different trombone types to financing and purchasing the trombone and trombone accessories.

Part 1
Deciding Between Trombone Types

Deciding Between Trombone Types on How to Buy a Beginner Trombone

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There are many different factors to consider when looking for a first time trombone. Beginner trombones (also called student trombones) are an affordable version of the tenor trombone (the mid-range trombone voice). The student trombone is the most common starting trombone because these models are made with newer players in mind. There are in total four different "voices" (relative pitches the trombone is partial to): bass, tenor, alto, and soprano.

Deciding Between Trombone Types on How to Buy a Beginner Trombone

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There are also different trombone types, called F attachment trombones, bass trombones, and valve trombones. The F attachment and bass trombones should be considered only after playing a standard tenor trombone. Valve trombones are only recommended if you already have the ability to play a valve instrument.

Deciding Between Trombone Types on How to Buy a Beginner Trombone

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Student, Intermediate, and Professional are the three classifications for different qualities of trombone. A beginner trombone will be in the student trombone class, the cheapest of the three classes.

Deciding Between Trombone Types on How to Buy a Beginner Trombone

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Most student trombones are priced from $500-$1000. If you are on a tight budget or are not sure if you will want to keep the trombone, consider buying a used trombone. Some instrument shops even finance trombones so you can make manageable payments overtime.

Part 2
Visiting an Instrument Shop

Visiting an Instrument Shop on How to Buy a Beginner Trombone

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It is usually a better idea to buy from a small instrument shop than a big box store; the trombones sold at these "budget" stores will usually be lower quality and leave the user wanting more in the long run. If you are having trouble locating a store, ask any musician in your area; searching online will help narrow down where to go.

Visiting an Instrument Shop on How to Buy a Beginner Trombone

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At most small shops, all you have to do is ask and they will let you hold and feel the trombone. Make sure you mention the type of trombone you would like to see, based on your observations of the form and pitch types.

Visiting an Instrument Shop on How to Buy a Beginner Trombone

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Lookout for any dents or cracks in the trombone; if it is a used instrument, you should expect to see some small denting around the tuning slide and bell.

Visiting an Instrument Shop on How to Buy a Beginner Trombone

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Take the outer valve slide off and inspect for any small dents. If you see any dents there, ask to see another trombone. A dent in the valve slide will, over time, damage the inner coating of the valve slide and stop the trombone from sliding effectively.

Visiting an Instrument Shop on How to Buy a Beginner Trombone

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If the trombone comes with a mouthpiece, consider using that one until they require a new one. If it does not come with a mouthpiece, a standard starting mouthpiece would be either 12c or 11c. The shop may have an option to get the new owner of the trombone a mouthpiece fitted to them for an extra cost; this may not be worth it if the person in question is young, since as they grow, they will need a bigger mouthpiece.

Visiting an Instrument Shop on How to Buy a Beginner Trombone

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See how it feels to hold and if it seems like an appropriate weight for you. Ask the attendant about hearing what the trombone sounds like. If you already know how to use a mouthpiece you may be able to try it; otherwise, see if someone in the store could test it for you.

Part 3
Making a Purchase

Making a Purchase on How to Buy a Beginner Trombone

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Most shops will have a financing option to spread out the payment into more manageable amounts. Some shops will even let you rent the trombone until you pay it off, meaning that the trombone will be considered purchased when the rental payment reaches the value of the trombone plus interest. This option is recommended if you are not sure if you will continue playing the instrument in the future.

Making a Purchase on How to Buy a Beginner Trombone

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If the store doesn't provide a rent-to-buy option, purchasing a warranty may be a good idea. If something should happen to the instrument and you have a warranty, they will either repair the damage themselves, pay for the repair or even replace the trombone.

Making a Purchase on How to Buy a Beginner Trombone

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Find the different lubricants and cleaners. Trombones may use many different types of lubricants; it all depends on personal preference. To start, use a simple slide oil and cream combination. Cleaning equipment is also very important for maintaining the use of your new trombone. Be sure to get a mouthpiece cleaner and a trombone snake to clean out the inside of your tubing.