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Upgrading your trombone (beginner to intermediate)

Nearly all trombonists start with a 0.500" bore and upgrading can be a bit of a minefield depending on a wide range of factors. Possibly because of this there is not a huge choice when you think it through as there a few appropriate instruments in the intermediate range and lots of customers cut this step out completely and go to the top ranges straight away. Let's look at the various scenarios and then the appropriate instruments.

The most common upgrade route is for someone doing a mix of playing styles - mostly classical but with a bit of jazz or lighter music too. A good place to start here is with a medium-large instrument. Many manufacturers produce a 0.525" bore instrument with or without an F attachment (sometimes referred to as a plug). These will give you a bigger, fuller sound without being too hard work. The instruments with F attachment are generally a bit more expensive, but give you a greater range and a number of alternative slide positions which can make life a lot easier. These trombones will take the same size shank of mouthpiece as you have used on your 0.500" bore beginner instrument, which means you can get used to the new trombone before experimenting with new mouthpieces. Less common, but not necessarily less desireable, are dual bore trombones. These will generally be a great stepping stone to a professional large bore instrument at a later stage. Instruments to consider in this scenario are the Phil Parker Series II Soloist models, the medium-large Yamaha 4 series models and the Conn 52H (see links below)

The next most common upgrade scenario is for someone more dedicated to the classical or brass band. They will be looking for a large bore (usually 0.547") instrument most commonly with an F attachment to get a full orchestral tone. These trombones will take a larger shank mouthpiece so you will have to change to something that will allow you to get the best out of the instrument. (You could in theory use a 12C with an adaptor, but it will sound thin and horrible in comparison). If you are looking to only ever be a principal trombone with fantastic slide technique don't rule out a 'straight Bb' - these are made for you! The larger mouthpiece will reduce your range temporarily, but tyhisa will return with practice. Instruments to consider in this scenario are the Phil Parker Series II 'Symphony' models or the large Yamaha 4 series models.

The least common upgrade (though it is a quite common 2nd instrument) is for that person only playing jazz or pop styles wanting a small lightweight trombone. There are not many intermediate 0.500" bore trombones on the market so one of our recommendations here is the Yamaha YSL354. This is quite expensice as a beginner instrument, but if you are upgrading from a very basic trombone you will notice the difference in build and tone quality. The best purpose built intermediate 0.500" bore trombone is the RATH R100 - a non-modular version of thier most popular professional trombone which would do the job required for a player of any standard.


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