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Trombones are an attractive and enduring brass instrument that is popular with players of all ages. Finding the right trombone is ultimately a matter of personal preference, though there are some important things to consider while shopping to help you find an instrument that is the right fit for your budget and skill level.

Types of Trombones

One of the first things to decide when shopping for a trombone is the style of the instrument, with bass, alto, soprano, and tenor trombones comprising the primary options. These vary in their size, shape, and sound, and players tend to gravitate toward certain styles over time. In general, it is best for beginners to start on a tenor trombone and then decide which sound and style they prefer once they have more experience.

Skill Levels

Like all musical instruments, trombones can vary greatly in terms of their craftsmanship and price. Manufacturers frequently break down their products by recommended skill level. A beginner trombone is the least expensive option and comes without advanced design features. Notably, beginner trombones also tend to have a smaller bore horn, which means that they require less air to produce attractive tones. Intermediate and professional trombones have larger bore horns and consequently require more force from the player to sound their best; however, larger bore horns also give the instruments a fuller, more powerful sound.


Basic brass trombones have a lacquer finish, while more advanced and expensive options use plated finishes. Lacquer trombones have a dampening effect on the brass, which slightly mutes the sound of the instrument. An inexpensive and rugged alternative to brass is a plastic trombone. These instruments can sound very much like brass instruments and are a good option for both beginners and young players.


The F-attachment is an important addition to a trombone that enables the playing of new notes on the instrument's low end as well alternative ways of performing passages. The addition of an F-attachment does add weight to the instrument and can also make it harder to hold, so for these reasons, an F-attachment is usually best left as an option for experienced players only.


Maintaining a trombone ensures that the instrument continues to look and play its best for years on end. Slide cream is a special oil specifically made for use on trombones that helps to keep the slide movement smooth and quick. A mouthpiece brush prevents buildup of dried saliva and other material in the mouth of the horn, and a cleaning snake runs through the length of the instrument to eliminate blockages.