A Deeper Understanding of Brass Musical Instruments: Trombone FAQs

Did you know that the oldest surviving trombone was made in the mid-sixteenth century? This feat is mind-blowing as it took two more centuries for the trombone to become an official orchestra instrument. Trombones are initially from Europe and are the only brass instruments that use slides to alter pitches. All other instruments in the brass family use valves to alter their pitch. This design is an outstanding trombone feature that warrants a deeper understanding.

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the trombone.

Table of contents 

What is a Trombone?

How does a trombone work?

How long does it take to learn how to play a trombone?

How much Does a Trombone Cost?

The bottom line of trombone FAQs

What is a Trombone?

A trombone is a brass instrument that is commonly played in orchestras. Trombone loosely translates to a large trumpet (Tromba-one) in French and Italian. It is designed using a cylindrical tube that bends twice at the back and front of the bore. The bore is the large, bell-shaped outlet at the end of the trombone. It amplifies the air vibrations that pass through the tube and out of the bore. Generally, trombones are made of larger mouthpieces compared to other brass instruments. This is because of their lower register characteristic produced by vibrating lips.

A significant difference between a trombone and other brass instruments is the slides. Trombones have two slides; an inner slide and an outer slide. Trombonists use these slides to change pitch. 

The most common type of trombone known to people is the tenor trombone. It is light and straight in design. However, there are two other types of trombones. These are the trigger-type tenor and bass trombone.

With its golden or silver-colored coating and a pair of slides, it is effortless to identify a trombone when you see one.

How does a trombone work?

Unlike other instruments in the brass family, like trumpets that use valves, a trombone has slides to alter the pitch. As you play, you will move the slides to seven different positions, each with different sounds. The first position is the closest to you, while the 7th lies at the very end when the slide is fully extended. But this does not mean a trombone has only seven sounds; each position can produce infinite sounds; it depends on your skills. 

Interestingly, the pitch can also be altered by how you blow into the trombone. A high pitch is produced if you tighten your lips while blowing. Loosen your lips, and you have a lower bass-like pitch.

How long does it take to learn how to play a trombone?

It is generally accepted that 10,000 hours of practicing anything creates skill. Implicitly, this saying refers to constant practice and frequent engagement in any activity. When it comes to playing trombones, it is not any different. It would help if you dedicated some of your time to learning how to play the trombone.

The time it’ll take you to learn the trombone entirely depends on you! The internet has simplified the process a lot. Instead of hiring a personal instructor, you can download a few tutorials on how to play the trombone. From there, you need to practice the trombone consistently, and with time you will realize how skillful you will become.

How much Does a Trombone Cost?

The cost of trombones depends on the level of the player. A beginner-level trombone costs between $400 and $1000. Intermediate-level players use trombones priced between $1000 and $300. Finally, entry-level pro trombone players use trombones that cost between $3000 and $5000.

Online retailers have added an option to lease trombones; the cost differs depending on the store.

To save on cost, other than leasing one, visit online wholesalers like Alibaba.com. They have some of the cheapest all-level trombones. 

The bottom line of trombone FAQs

We cannot exhaustively answer all trombone questions, but it is the only brass instrument that uses slides to produce different pitches. If you want to learn how to play it, a couple of USDs to buy one and 10000 dedicative hours will make you a pro.

By Sakshi Gupta

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