Although underrated, the trombone is one of the most interesting brass wind instruments out there. Instead of relying on standard valves that we see on most brass instruments, it comes with a slide, allowing for a perfect glissando and requiring players to train perfect pitch. However, one of the main problems these days is finding a good trombone for your needs. This is exactly why we decided to do some digging and bring you the list of the top 10 best trombones available on the market these days. Aside from the list of the best trombones, we’ll also go through a brief trombone buying guide that will help you make the best choice for your needs. Without further ado, here’s our pick.
- 1 Top 10 Best Trombone Reviews
- 1.1 Best Overall: Bach TB200
- 1.2 Best Trombone for Intermediate Players: Jupiter JTB1100S
- 1.3 Best Trombone for the Money: Jupiter JTB730
- 1.4 Best Budget Intermediate Trombone: Mendini MTB-40
- 1.5 Best High-End Trombone: Bach 42BO
- 1.6 Best Budget Option: Mendini by Cecilio MTB-L
- 1.7 Best Student Trombone: RS Berkeley TB704 Elite Series
- 1.8 Best Trombone for Beginners: Eastar ETB-330
- 1.9 Best Trombone for Kids: pInstrument Plastic Kids pBone Mini Trombone
- 1.10 Most Versatile Trombone: Yamaha YSL-445G
- 2 Best Trombone Buying Guide
- 3 Conclusion
Top 10 Best Trombone Reviews
Best Overall: Bach TB200
Vincent Bach trombones have been some of the most respected on the market for decades now. Looking into their collection, we can’t help but put their TB200 model as the best overall trombone today. This particular tenor trombone model comes with a .525-inch medium bore as well as an 8-inch hand-hammered two-piece yellow brass bell. The bell is also accompanied by a soldered bell wire. These particular features make a significant impact on its tone, giving it a very broad sound, great response, and nice projection.
The inner handslide tubes are chrome plated nickel silver ones, providing a very smooth operation and an overall great feel. Playing the Bach TB200 trombone will feel pretty easy, which is one of the things that makes it popular among advanced and advanced intermediate players. What’s more, the instrument features a clear lacquer finish which not only adds an aesthetically-pleasing twist to the design but also adds some warmth to the tone.
Overall, this is one of the best investments that you can make. However, the instrument is not exactly cheap and it’s the best choice for very experienced players or those who are aiming to become professionals.
- Impeccable build quality
- Loud projections
- Very consistent tone quality
- Easy to play, slide design makes things really smooth
- It’s expensive
Best Trombone for Intermediate Players: Jupiter JTB1100S
Another great brand of wind instrument is Jupiter, a subsidiary of KHS Musical Instruments Co. that was established in Taiwan back in the early 1980s. These days, the company is well-known for their brass instruments and related equipment, including their amazing line of trombones. These are mostly intermediate-oriented instruments, although we’d argue that they’re also very useful for higher levels as well. A great example comes with a piece like Jupiter’s JTB1100S model.
This particular trombone is marketed as an intermediate level instrument. Sure, it could also come in handy for advanced players, but considering its price, qualities, and features, we’d put it here as the best option for intermediate players who are serious about their musicianship and who are aiming to become professionals. It comes with a medium-large bore of .525 inches. The instrument model also has a brass bell that’s 8.07 inches in diameter, as well as a nickel silver outer hand slide. With such a formation, you not only get a full and resonant tone but also a great response from the slide. It’s fairly easy to play, although it requires some experience with such a sensitive and responsive slide action.
It’s also worth noting that the instrument comes with a lacquered body, giving it a pretty-looking aesthetic aspect, as well as great tone. Of course, its overall build quality also makes it durable and less likely to get any unwanted indents or other damages.
- Great build quality
- Very durable
- Really easy to play
- Intermediate trombone that can also come in handy for advanced players
- It might not be the best choice for less experienced trombonists
Best Trombone for the Money: Jupiter JTB730
But in case you’re looking for a great deal for the price, we can’t help but mention yet another Jupiter trombone. The model in question is their JTB730 from the company’s 700 Series. The first important thing to note here is that this is a beginner instrument. However, its qualities are quite surprising, making it also a great choice for advanced players who are keeping things at a budget-friendly level. The JTB730 is, in our humble opinion, probably the best deal for its price.
This trombone comes with a .5-inch bore size, as well as an 8-inch bell. This is all accompanied by well-made chromed inner slides, allowing for fairly easy operation. Being an instrument marketed for beginners, it’s really easy to play but the slide is not as sensitive compared to some professional-oriented trombones.
Going further into it, the instrument features a one-piece lead pipe design which allows for a quick response. This is especially useful for younger and less experienced trombonists. But even with mostly beginner-focused features, you’ll get a pretty great tone and solid projection. If you’re a beginner or an intermediate player striving for greatness, this is the one that you’ll want to get your hands on.
- Marketed as a trombone for serious beginners, but it can be great for advanced players
- Great combination of price and qualities
- Great tone and projection
- Easy to play
- Nothing at this price level
Best Budget Intermediate Trombone: Mendini MTB-40
Of course, trombones are not exactly the cheapest instruments out there. However, there are some pretty decent budget-friendly examples for beginners and enthusiasts. Mendini by Cecilio is one of the best cheap brands for many instruments, including trombones. The one that we’d mention here is their MTB-40 which is a fairly cheap one considering its qualities and considering the fact that it’s an intermediate-level trombone.
Contrary to some other examples here, this is a small-bore trombone, with a bore of only .488 inches. It also comes with an 8-inch bell and a standard 12C mouthpiece. However, what’s also really important to note here is that this is a valve trombone. It’s essentially played like a trumpet, although it goes an octave below and features all of the same sonic features of a trombone, except for the perfect glissando.
- Great deal for the price
- Good option for intermediate players who prefer valve trombones
- Great choice for those who are transitioning from a trumpet to trombone
- Solid build and tone quality
- Some may not prefer the valve formation
Best High-End Trombone: Bach 42BO
But in case you need a professional level trombone with an impeccable build and sonic qualities, we’d recommend looking into Vincent Bach instruments. After all, the brand has been present on the market since the first half of the 20th century, making it one of the longest-running instrument producers of all time and a company that set the standards with modern brass instruments. From their vast arsenal of great trombones, we’d single out the 42BO model as one of the best examples of great high-end instruments.
This one comes with a large bore of .547 inches, as well as a hand-hammered yellow brass bell that’s 8.5 inches in diameter. Such a build gives a boost to the instrument’s projection. And the hand-hammered bell with its impeccable design makes it one of the best choices for orchestral trombonists. The instrument also comes with an open-wrap F attachment and chrome-plated nickel silver inner handslide tubes. If you’re an experienced player, the instrument is really easy to perform on, both in symphonic and solo settings.
- Amazing projection
- Impeccable tone quality
- Pro-level build quality
- It’s expensive (although worth the price)
Best Budget Option: Mendini by Cecilio MTB-L
Once again going back to cheaper stuff, we can’t help but mention yet another Mendini trombone here. And if you’re looking for some classic super cheap stuff, you pretty much can’t go wrong with the company’s MTB-L model. But despite its pretty low price, we can say that this one’s a great choice for beginners of any age who just want to see what playing trombone is like. It’s a medium bore instrument (.5 inches) with an 8-inch bell. The instrument is fairly balanced and simple, making it easy for beginners to perform on it.
But aside from the instrument itself, you get a full beginner-friendly package with it. There’s a tuner, a lesson book, a durable hard case, and even a cleaning cloth. It doesn’t get simpler and cheaper than this.
- Great deal for this price
- Fairly reliable for such a cheap instrument
- It might not have the loudest projection
Best Student Trombone: RS Berkeley TB704 Elite Series
Although not as old as some other pro-level trombone brands here, RS Berkley are surely capable of building amazing wind instruments. From their fine collection, we’d single out the TB704 model from their Elite Series. This is a standard Bb tenor trombone with an additional F attachment. It has a relatively smaller-sized bore of only .470 inches. Meanwhile, the bell size is larger, measuring at 8.5 inches in diameter. This is an open-wrap trombone with chrome slides and nickel silver outside slides, as well as a nickel silver hand grip.
Although intended for intermediate to advanced intermediate students, this instrument manages to surprise us with some of its qualities. The playing experience on it is most definitely enjoyable with a fairly smooth slide action.
- Great build quality
- Amazing for intermediate students, but can also serve well in advanced stages of playing
- Fairly nice projection
- Nothing at this price level
Best Trombone for Beginners: Eastar ETB-330
Of course, there are plenty of beginner options out there. On the other hand, it’s usually hard to find the right choice for your needs. But an overall good one should be the standard slide B-flat tenor trombone by Eastar, the ETB-330 model.
This cheap instrument still manages to retain all of its essential sonic and performing qualities in the mixture. The tone is pretty clean and bright, and the projection of this trombone is pretty decent considering its price range. What’s more, the finish is sure to keep the instrument safe for years. The bore on the ETB-330 is 0.528 inches, while the horn mouth diameter measures at 8.11 inches. It also comes with a cleaning kit and other accessories, making it a perfect choice for beginner players
- Pretty affordable
- Easy to play, suitable for beginners of all ages
- Decent build quality
- It might not have the best tone, but it’s still a great choice for this price level
Best Trombone for Kids: pInstrument Plastic Kids pBone Mini Trombone
Of course, we’re spending time here talking about all the regular trombones. However, if you need a trombone for the youngest ones, there are actually some pretty affordable plastic ones that can do the job right for an absolute beginner. Made by a company called pInstrument, we have pBone Mini Trombones as a great example. Aside from some pretty colorful and kid-friendly aesthetics, these trombones can do all the basic stuff that you need. These are Eb also trombones and they’re smaller in size, featuring a significantly lower weight rate compared to regular brass trombones.
- Perfect for youngest beginners
- Its plastic body makes them super-light
- They might not be that durable in the long run
Most Versatile Trombone: Yamaha YSL-445G
And it’s hard to have a list of pretty much any instruments out there without ever mentioning Yamaha. Known for an abundance of great acoustic and electric instruments, they also have some pretty great trombones of all price levels. The one that we want to take a closer look into is their YSL-445G model. This is a trombone intended for intermediate players, although it can do much more than just that. In fact, we’d say that this is one of the most versatile trombones on the market these days.
This regular B-flat trombone comes with a .525-inch bore and an 8.5-inch gold brass bell. Its inner slide is chrome plated nickel silver, while the outer slide is a yellow brass one. The instrument is nicely rounded with a quality lacquer finish, giving the instrument both aesthetic and sonic improvements.
Either way, Yamaha’s YSL-445G is one of the finest trombones that you can get your hands on these days. Its qualities stand somewhere between an intermediate and a professional instrument, which can also be seen with its price. Nonetheless, it’s worth every single penny.
- Fairly versatile, comes in handy for an abundance of genres
- Really good projection and tone quality
- Great build quality
- Great deal for the price
- It might be expensive for some users
Best Trombone Buying Guide
One of the main things to look into here comes down to different types of trombones. Although a seemingly simple instrument, there are three main types of trombones: tenor, trigger tenor or F-attachment trombone, and bass trombone. There are additional slide trombones, like alto or soprano ones, although they are pretty rare. Another rare type is a valve trombone, which is played pretty much the same way as you’d play the trumpet.
Tenor trombones are the most common and the simplest ones. In most cases, it’s pretty straightforward, without any extra tubing within the main loop. Tenor trombones are tuned to B-flat and are most commonly treated as non-transposing instruments.
Bass trombones, on the other hand, come with a larger bell and wider bore while retaining the same length as regular tenor trombones. The bore is usually .562 inches in the slide and .580 inches through the valve attachment tubing. Bells range anywhere from 9 to 10.5 inches in diameter. They’re also tuned to B-flat, but it’s one octave below the tenor trombone’s range.
Although not that common, alto trombones are usually present in some orchestral settings. They can also come in handy for some soloing sections since they go higher than the conventional tenor trombone. They’re usually tuned to E-flat, although there are some examples that are in F. The main reason why they’re so rarely used is that tenor trombones can usually cover most of the alto trombone’s range.
On the other hand, soprano trombone goes exactly one octave above the tenor trombone. However, they’re rarely ever used, and it’s mostly in jazz music or some more or less experimental settings. The reason why it’s rarely ever used is that these sonic areas are usually covered by woodwind and not brasswind instruments. It’s sometimes referred to as the “slide trumpet” due to its small size.
Now, valve trombones are some of the most interesting instruments out there. They can also come in different variants, although the tenor version is the most common one. It might not be as famous as the standard slide trombone, but they’re pretty popular in some forms of music. They’re essentially played like a trumpet and feature 3 valves. Although lacking the perfect glissando, having valves enables you to play faster sections with more precision compared to slide trombones.
Although often regarded as a separate category, marching trombones or flugelbones are technically valve trombones. Sure, they look like large cornets, but they produce the well-known trombone tones. They’re way more practical to carry around compared to regular slide trombones, thus making them a suitable option for marching bands.
Trombones are basically metal tubes bearing an “S” shape. Creating pressure on the air that’s within the tube is what creates their unique tone. But what makes trombones really special are the distinctive slides that allow trombone players to extend or compress the column of air within the instrument and thus change the pitch. Two of the most important features to consider before purchasing a trombone are bore style and bell type. There are also a few other components to consider, so we’ll get to them.
The bell is located at the very end of the instrument’s tube construction and it’s where the sound comes out. They can be made from a few different types of materials, most notably yellow brass, red brass, gold brass, and sterling silver. Being the most common, yellow brass is actually a mixture of copper and zinc. Yellow brass is usually slightly brighter in sonic output compared to other variants. As for the bell size, classical trombones are usually with larger diameter bells, while jazz-oriented trombones have smaller ones.
The bore is actually the inner diameter of the instrument’s inner slide. Its diameter ranges anywhere from .5 to .547 inches in tenor trombones. Smaller bores usually produce brighter treble-heavy sounds. Of course, the bore size also impacts the resistance, where smaller ones create more resistance. This makes smaller-bore more useful for beginners since it makes it easier to produce a sound. On the other hand, this comes down to personal preferences.
The dual-bore construction is usually common with some advanced level trombones. They have a slide that’s smaller on one side but features a larger diameter on the other. By slowly widening the bore, the resulting sound gets more “open” and “bigger.” This particular feature is also common with large-bore trombones or bass trombones.
The so-called “F attachment” is actually additional tubing to the instrument’s main construction, usually around 3 feet in length. This lowers the pitch from the standard B-flat down to F, giving a tenor trombone more range. This additional tubing is enabled using a special “trigger” that comes with F-attachment trombones. These types of trombones are usually built with a larger bore size, up to .547 inches, and are not recommended for beginner players. They’re also referred to as Bb/F trombones. And instruments without this F attachment feature are referred to as “straight” trombones.
Just like with most of instruments today, it’s not hard to find a decent trombone for the price. However, wind instruments are usually more expensive than some other stuff, which can discourage young music enthusiasts to start playing trombone. Nonetheless, there are still some great options for all skill levels, and you can’t really go wrong with any of the examples shown above. After all, you rarely get an instrument with perfect glissando, which makes it a bit challenging but also really fun to play.