Stepping Up the
Stepping Up the TROMBONE
The trombone is a popular choice in low brass instruments and beginners who continue to play past the first year are likely to start considering an upgrade in their equipment. While a new mouthpiece can improve the sound initially, it may eventually be appropriate to consider a new horn altogether. If a student is taking private lessons or playing more advanced music, it might be time to consider stepping up to the next level. Designed for sound projection and better response, most step-up trombones feature a yellow or gold brass bell and larger bore. An F Attachment makes it possible for players to reach low notes they couldn’t before and play other notes more easily. An open wrap design allows air to flow more freely through the trombone.
Characteristics to Consider
F Attachment: The addition of the F attachment is one of the most common characteristics found in a step-up trombone. The F attachment consists of extra tubing to extend the lower range and a trigger to add alternative positions to the trombone. This allows players to reach extra notes and also play harder pieces with greater ease.
Open Wrap: An open wrap trombone is designed with fewer bends in the tubing than a trombone with a traditional wrap. This allows air to travel through the trombone with less resistance, making it feel more free-blowing.
Bell: Most upgraded trombones will have a bell made of yellow brass or gold brass. Yellow brass is popular because it allows for better sound projection, while giving the player a resonant, bright tone. Gold brass has a higher copper content which gives it a brighter sound. It still provides good projection, and some musicians choose it because of its broader, fuller tone. Upgraded trombones may also have what is called a one-piece, hand-hammered bell. This means that the instrument’s bell was constructed with a single piece of brass. This gives the instrument a clearer sound because it can vibrate more uniformly.
Bore Size: The bore size of the trombone is the internal diameter of the tubing. A step-up trombone will often have a larger bore than its student-level counterpart. This requires a greater volume of air from the player but it also provides a more powerful sound.
It is important to decide which of these features is most valuable to you as a player, and the best way to verify this is to try a wide variety of step-up trombones. At Menchey Music Service, we have upgraded trombones from Yamaha, Eastman, and Bach and we are ready to help you find the right fit!