Different Types of Trombones

The Trombone is part of the brass family when it comes to instruments, and they can be found in so many different genres of music, ranging from orchestras to pop music.

The trombone is a particularly vocal instrument that is much different from other types of brass instruments, from the style to the sound.

It actually has a slider that can be used to change notes, instead of the typical valves that you might recognize from other instruments. The slide is moved in or out to change the note, as this changes the length of the air column, which, in turn, alters the pitch of the sound that the instrument is making.

There are many different types of trombones, but the main ones are Tenor in Bb, Tenor in Bb/f, and the Bass Trombone.

Another type of Trombone is the Alto Trombone, which has a higher pitch. We are going to explain the differences between the various types of Trombone, and you can find out if any of these instruments would be suited to you. 

Different Types of Trombones

Bb Tenor Trombone

The standard Bb Tenor Trombone is the most basic type that there is available, and it has been around since the early seventeenth century. The design hasn’t actually changed much after all this time; the only difference is that it has become bigger.

These Trombones are pitched in Bb, and they can be found in lots of different styles of music, which ranges from orchestras and popular music that we hear on the radio today. 

Due to their simplicity in comparison to some other Trombones,  they are a great option for beginners, and they are lightweight too. Though you don’t have to be a beginner to use this Trombone, and many people prefer them due to the fact that they are the most open sounding type.

It helps to provide a free-blowing feel to the user, as there are only two bends on the instrument. The only issue that some people may find with this type of Trombone is that you need decently long arms to be able to reach all the way to the seventh position.

Open Wrap Bb/F Trombone

This type of Trombone is around the same size as the one that we previously mentioned, but the slide width, or bore, and bell are usually larger than the standard version. This is to allow for better projection, which makes a louder sound. However, you will need to provide more air to make the sound full. 

One of the big differences between this Trombone and the previous is the extra tubing that can be found around the bell section and valve. This actually allows the Trombone to be used in lower keys in order to extend the range.

It also works to aid tuning and allow for faster playing when needed. It is a great option for people who struggle to reach the end of the slide. 

This model is slightly heavier than some others, and the main type of valves used is the rotary valve, though there are others. The extra tubing on this type of Trombone is usually either an open or closed wrap.

The open wrap Trombones will have a slightly more open feel when using the valve section. This type of instrument is typically more expensive than other types. 

The Bass Trombone

The Bass Trombone is bigger than the tenor Trombone, and it actually has the largest bell of the entire Trombone family, which ranges from a 9.5 to 11-inch diameter. It also has the longest bore, and bass Trombones can vary in terms of how many valves are attached to them.

Some Bass Trombones will only have one valve but are recently most commonly found to have two. The instrument has to be bigger in order to help with projection, and it helps you to play louder.

Usually, some people prefer one valve over two due to the weight involved. Two valve Bass Trombones are much heavier and more expensive than single bass valves. Independent valve systems are the most popular choice with professionals as they offer the performer an extra set of slide positions to aid tuning.

Alto Trombone

The Alto Trombone is the smallest common Trombone, and they first came about in the sixteenth century, with the highest voice in the Trombone family.

They are pitched in Eb, and this type of instrument made a revival in the education sector and is slowly becoming more and more popular due to the fact that it is shorter and lighter than normal Trombones. This is a great option for children that want to learn how to play the instrument.


There are many different types of Trombones that are available to choose from, and the one that you decide on will depend on your skill level, range, and ability.

Everyone is different when it comes to playing the Trombone, and it might be helpful to try a few different options before you go out and get your own.

For beginners, the best option is probably the Bb Tenor Trombone, due to the fact that it is less complicated than some of the other types of Trombone, and it can be easier to learn how to play with this version.

However, the length of your arms and your physical ability can be difficult if you cannot reach all the way to the seventh position.

For children that are showing an interest in playing the Trombone, the Alto Trombone is a great option. They are much smaller than other types, which makes it easier for children to be able to learn how to play. They can be less overwhelming, and it is made easier for a smaller person to play it. 

Finally, for those who have played the Trombone for a while, you might want to choose a more professional level Trombone that will help to aid your performance and project the sounds more efficiently. 

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which option is the best for you, but if you consider the information that we have given, it should make the choice much easier.