You are on page 1of 3


Trombone Basics
Most beginning trombonists start out on a beginner tenor trombone
without the F-attachment (trigger). Common brand names are: Bach,
Conn, Getzen, King, and Yamaha. Avoid purchasing an inexpensive
trombone made in China.
Intermediate and advanced trombonists (typically those with 3+ years
experience) can upgrade to a tenor trombone with F-attachment
(trigger). This instrument has a larger bore size, allowing for a deeper,
fuller tone. Common brand names are: Bach, Conn, Edwards (Getzen),
King, and Yamaha.
An intermediate trombonist can choose to specialize on the bass
trombone. The bass trombone has a larger bore size and bell size
than the tenor trombone and typically has an F-attachment and Gb
attachment (independent valve bass trombone). The sound of the
bass trombone in the ensemble can be sonorous as well as add the
bite or growl to the bottom end of the


Beginning trombonists typically begin on a size Bach 12C mouthpiece
or equivalent.
When switching to an intermediate (larger bore) trombone, they
typically play on a 5G mouthpiece. The bass trombonist will play on a
Bach 1 G mouthpiece. (A wide variety of mouthpieces are available;
consult with a professional trombonist and a local music store for other
Trombone in the Ensemble
In the concert band, symphony band, wind ensemble, and orchestra
trombone parts are labeled 1st trombone, 2nd trombone, and 3rd
trombone. The 3rd trombone part is typically played by a bass
trombonist, unless one is unavailable.
In the jazz ensemble, the parts are labeled first trombone (lead), 2nd
trombone (solo chair), 3rd trombone, and 4th/bass trombone. The 1st and
2nd trombonists typically play small bore tenor trombones, the 3rd
trombonist can play a tenor trombone with F-attachment, and the 4th
trombone plays bass trombone.
The trombone slide must be lubricated to operate efficiently. Trombone
slide oil is common. A better choice is to use Trombotine or
Superslick slide cream and water in a spray bottle. Put a dimes
worth of cream on your finger and coat the bottom few inches of the
inner slide (known as the stocking.) Spray the entire slide with water
and you are good to go. Lubricate the slide a few times each week.
The tuning slide should be lubricated with tuning slide grease. This
is a thicker substance. Put about a dimes worth on the dull part of
the tuning slide or bell section and spread around the entire section.
Insert the tuning slide and move up and down a few times to spread it
further. This should be done a few times each year.
Trombones with the F and Gb attachments should be lubricated
using valve oil. Take the bell off the slide, turn upside down, and put
a few drops of valve oil (Al Cass Valve Oil works well) in the tube

leading to the valves. Move the valves back and forth. Lubricate the
valves a few times each week.