A Trombone is a musical instrument. It is like an upside-down trumpet. It can be used in jazz, orchestra, band or marching bands.
It’s built with a slide, which is used to produce original notes. Most of them have three valves, but you can find one with four or only two.
There are a few different materials used to make a trombone. The most common material for a trombone is silver-plated brass. However, you can find some that is made of nickel-silver alloy or copper.
Trombones are great instruments to play. But one of the most important parts of playing a musical instrument is choosing the right one.
For trombone players, this means finding a good brand whose instruments not only sound great but also last for many years to come.
In this article, we will discuss some brands that you should avoid when looking for your next trombone and give you an idea of what to look out for instead
How to Spot a Bad Trombone
One of the first things you need to consider when buying a trombone is what material it’s made of.
If it has silver-plated brass, that means that there isn’t much nickel in the alloy. Nickel helps improve durability and tone quality but manufacturers prefer using alloys with less than 18% nickel because it makes the process cheaper and easier.
The more nickel in your alloy, the better tone you will get, while also making a sturdier instrument overall.
A trombone that has over 18% of nickel is often considered high-end by manufacturers while instruments with less than 15% are usually mass-produced ones meant for beginners or even intermediate level musicians.
Avoid getting a trombone that has red brass or cartridge brass because it can cause corrosion and leaks over time, which will require repair work to fix the problem.
If you want to make sure your instrument won’t need any repairs, look for one with yellow (or gold) brass instead. It’s more expensive, but it’s worth the extra money.
There are also two types of plating for trombones: dual and lacquer. Dual means that there is a layer of nickel underneath and on top while lacquer only has one layer of silver finish, which makes the instrument look nicer but will wear off over time, especially if you play outdoors frequently.
Lacquer may be less durable but it makes the instrument look prettier, so if you want to invest in a trombone that looks really nice, get one with lacquered finish.
Another thing worth looking at is how thick your slide is because thicker slides are usually made of better alloys than thinner ones since the latter will bend and warp with time.
The slide should feel thick but not too thick because you don’t want to make your fingers hurt when playing for long periods of time.
You can also check out the bell material, which is usually made of yellow or gold brass if you want a high-end instrument that will last longer compared to ones made of red brass that will require more maintenance.
Another thing worth checking out is the valve action, which refers to how easy it moves when you press it down. If the slide is tough to move, this may be a sign that your trombone was not built well or you need to replace the valves with new ones as soon as possible.
Not so fun fact: Did you know that people have had health issues because of playing their trombone daily without fully cleaning it out?
Sound Testing Your Trombone
The most important thing when buying an instrument is how it sounds. After all, you are buying an instrument to play it. Getting a trombone that sounds like funny cartoon effects will not help you progress as a musician.
You should never buy your trombone online. It’s not that you can’t find good ones online. It’s that you must try out a trombone before deciding it’s right for you.
This is especially important because trombones are not cheap instruments to begin with. Some of the best ones cost over $2000, but you can get good beginner level models for less than that price.
When you are testing the trombone, play a low note first and then trickle up to higher notes while looking at how quickly the slide moves for each pitch change. The faster it goes, the better your instrument is because this shows how well-built it is.
You should also play higher notes to see how bright the sound is. If it sounds dull, consider getting a different trombone because you will have difficulty blending in with other musicians during concerts or recordings if your instrument doesn’t produce good tone quality.
7 Trombone Brands to Avoid
Avoid instruments made by companies you’ve never heard of before because they can’t provide excellent quality control over their products and will probably scam you for more money than what it’s worth.
The consensus is that Bundy’s trombones are awful. While they sound ok, they are extremely frail. They’re mass produced and have a thin slide which can warp.
Avoid it if you want to save money by buying a trombone, but don’t expect it to last long.
They’re an ok choice if you’re new to the world of trombones and are ok with buying something cheap that won’t last you long. The reason is that you don’t know if you’re going to commit. But by the time you do, you’ll have—hopefully—saved enough money to buy an actually suitable instrument.
Not as popular as Bundy, Blessing is still considered an inferior brand of trombones with the same issues as their competitors.
Avoid this brand if you want to buy a trombone that will last long or sound good.
Not recommended at all unless the price is ridiculously low since it won’t be worth your money. You’re just losing out on potential savings by buying an instrument from them when there are better brands out there.
Conn-Selmer is another brand that has earned an evil reputation for producing fragile trombones with thin slides and not much else to offer. Also, the lacquered finish wears off rather quickly, which can discourage if you want an instrument that’s easy on the eyes as well.
Avoid Conn like the plague if you want a quality trombone.
Similar to Conn in terms of quality, Jupiter’s trombones are also mass produced with fragile slides.
The lacquered finish can wear off in certain areas after a few years, which is unacceptable for an instrument that costs several thousand dollars. And while they make good bass trombones, many people say the slide feels awkward when playing it for long periods of time.
Avoid Jupiter trombones if you want to save money on buying a new one in the long run since it will just be a waste of cash.
Not recommended unless you’re already an advanced player with years of experience under your belt, have enormous hands and are looking for good bass trombones that are easy to control.
Tromba makes very durable instruments. The issue is that they sound cheap, which is arguably more problematic than being fragile but sounding fine. This is because playing by ear is a big part of the musician’s growth. But if your trombone sounds weird, learning to play by ear will be much more difficult.
Avoid Tromba trombones if you want something that at least sounds good while also being durable.
They’re ok for beginners who are just starting out and can choose an instrument based purely on how it looks without caring too much about the sound quality or durability yet. But as a serious musician, you should definitely look for something else that sounds like quality and is built to last.
Another brand known for its sketchy products, Merano offers different trombones in its lineup. Much like other brands on this list, they craft poor-quality products with cheap materials that break easily.
Another issue is how hard it is to tune a Merano trombone. Even masters of the instruments find it hard. This is because the instrument doesn’t sound any good to begin with.
People have been having mixed results with Merano products. Some think they are fine; others have had their trombone break down within months of their purchase. Others wish they never got one. It’s very much a gamble, and there’s no way to find out beforehand.
Moz is a newcomer to the trombone industry that has been making its name lately. However, it’s not good news for everyone since they have reportedly had several quality control issues with their trombones being sold all over the world.
The Moz trombones are also known for having an extremely bad sound, which makes them almost unusable in most cases.
Moz isn’t even a brand that’s well known for being good at making instruments, so it’s not surprising that they have issues with their trombones as well. Avoid Moz if you’re looking for anything better than an entry level instrument since these are the only ones worth considering from them, anyway.
They don’t even have a website. That’s all you need to know about them. You can find their products on typical eCommerce sites like Amazon.
Trombone Brands Alternatives
Buying a trombone is an investment in your career as a musician. The last thing you want to do is buy one that isn’t worth the cash. To make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s recommended that you avoid certain brands and instead focus on buying from more reliable brands.
But we realize that not everyone has access to fat stacks of cash to buy an Edwards trombone.
Here are some brands that offer good trombones at affordable prices. They are not on the same level as the top dogs, but they are good enough to get started in the wonderful world of trombones. You can start saving for a bigger purchase down the road if you decide to stick with playing this instrument.
Yamaha is well-known in the music industry for the quality of its instruments. They’re a bit on the pricy side, but they’ll last you for years and sound great. If you don’t mind paying the extra money, you’ll leave with an excellent instrument.
Yamaha could be a brand that will accompany you through your entire journey from beginner to master. If you’re just starting out, go for this one.
Yes, it is expensive. But it’ll hold its value. You’ll be able to sell it for a nice sum even after several years, provided you’ve kept it well-maintained.
If you’re strapped for cash and still want to get started into the world of trombones, then look no further. Mendini has got your back with their Cecilio trombone. Despite its low price, it still offers enough quality to get you started on the right path.
However, you will eventually outgrow this instrument. It’s a great first-step on this journey, but you’ll want to upgrade to a better option somewhat soon. Still, it’s a solid purchase for beginners on a budget who wants to try out a trombone to see if it’s something they want to pursue as a hobby.
Finding a decent trombone that won’t break the bank is a matter of finding the right brands. As a beginner, what you need is a trombone that sounds decent and that will last you about 2-3 years. Enough to figure out if you want to proceed on the path of mastering trombone. But also, not too much as to require thousands of dollars to buy.
The issue with buying a cheap-sounding trombone is that it will make the learning process harder for you. Let’s say you take lessons, and your trombone sounds completely different from your teacher’s. How are you going to deal with that?
And that’s exactly why we made this list. This way, you won’t end up ruining your enjoyment of trombones by buying an awful one.
Picking an instrument is a very personal matter. Avoid from buying them online. You want to try out a trombone before buying it, to check if it sounds “right” for you.