The trombone, a member of the brass family, is a relatively simple instrument, both to play and to purchase. As with most brass instruments, there are several different varieties of trombone, from the high-pitched Soprianino trombone, to the Bass and Contrabass trombones. However, many of these are only applicable for specialized orchestras or the highly advanced, so here we will focus on the three main types of trombones: the Straight Tenor
The straight tenor
|Trigger-Type Tenor or F-Rotor (or F-Attachment)|
The trigger-type trombone
There are two different types of F-Attachments:
Traditional (Standard) Wrap: More compact, fits inside the main turning slide, and has more bends which increases resistance.
Open Wrap: Has fewer bends and makes for freer blowing.
The bass trombone
If you are buying a trombone for your beginner child, it is important to remember that the overall quality of the instrument you purchase will not likely make or break his or her musical future. If your son decides the trombone is not for him and you are left £600 in the hole, well...you can imagine he'll have more than his musical future to worry about.
In light of children's mercurial tendencies, trombone manufacturers produce instruments based on standard classifications - student
For a slightly graduated trombonist, a good parameter of the trrombone's relative difficulty is its "bore," which is the inner diameter of the inner valve, not a description of the entertainment value of the instrument. These measurements are expressed in thousandths of an inch, with 481" being a student appropriate size, and 547' being appropriate for professionals. Smaller bores produce more resistance, which is ideal for students, as more resistance makes it easier for the player to hold a tone. Bass trombones, which are usually played by experienced trombonists, have large bores.
If you're shopping for your child, it may be in your best interest to buy your own trombone. An entry level trombone is your best bet. More expensive trombones do not guarantee the quality of the instrument, as the price may be higher for other reasons. Professional trombone player, Douglas Yeo, suggests the Yamaha YSL-354 tenor trombone
A new trombone may excite a child new to music more than a slightly used one, but it's possible to find an excellent used trombone for a fraction of the price. Music stores allow their customers to come in and try out instruments for themselves, so take advantage of this! Naturally, the sales force will pressure you into buying something in the store, but if they can't give you a discount on the list price of something you liked, keep shopping.
Also, if you find yourself suddenly irritable now that your child has taken to the trombone, consider buying a trombone mute