How to Find the Best Bass Trombones

Do you find yourself practicing your low notes more than your high notes on the trombone? Maybe it’s time to learn how to find the best bass trombones so that you can learn a new instrument. That way, you can focus more on your favorite part of the trombone range. And you’ll have access to more trombone parts in ensembles, like a trombone choir.

At a Glance: Best Bass Trombones

12/05/2022 12:02 am GMT

How to Find the Best Bass Trombones

Whether you just started playing the regular or tenor trombone or you’ve played for years, the bass trombone is great. But you shouldn’t play on any bass trombone you find. To make sure you have the best chance of succeeding as a bass trombone player, you need to know how to find the best bass trombones. Then, you can play even more trombone sheet music and improve your musical skills.

Determine Your Budget

First, you should figure out how much you can afford to spend on a bass trombone. Some models are relatively affordable, while others cost almost as much as some cars. Consider your current playing level on the tenor trombone and think about how much you play. A professional or a current music major will be able to justify spending more than someone who plays for fun.

As you look at bass trombones, consider if you want to pay in full or finance the purchase. Then, you can make sure you get the best instrument you can afford.

Compare New and Used

It can be easy to find a new bass trombone because a lot of retailers carry them. However, don’t forget about used instruments that may be just as good but cost quite a bit less. You might be able to get an excellent deal on a bass trombone from a prior owner. Just make sure the seller took good care of the bass trombone, and test it to check for any potential problems before you buy it.

To Buy or to Rent

Another comparison to make is buying vs. renting a bass trombone. If you need a bass trombone for a band or orchestra part, it might be better to rent, at least for now. But a more serious player may want to buy a bass trombone so that they always have access to one. That can be important if you want to play the bass trombone in a lot of ensembles since renting might not be possible.

Play a Mouthpiece

tenor trombone mouthpiece

Some tenor trombone mouthpieces will sound good on the bass trombone, but some won’t. Either way, take some time to test out a good mouthpiece without the bass trombone. When you’re ready to try instruments, you’ll have a mouthpiece you like that you can use. You won’t have to worry about if the bass trombone will come with the gear you need.

And you don’t need to use the same mouthpiece to switch between your tenor and bass models. That way, you won’t lose your mouthpiece or leave it in the wrong case.

Test the Intonation

Once you’re ready to start trying some of the best bass trombones, you should first test each one’s intonation. While the bass trombone isn’t as low as the tuba, it’s a low instrument.

Because of that, a lot of the other members of the band will need to match your pitch because they can hear you at the back of the ensemble. If you buy a bass trombone that isn’t in tune or can’t stay in tune, it will be much harder to play.

So bring a tuner when you go try out a bass trombone. Set up the tuner in front of you to make sure the notes sound right. If they don’t, you can move on from that trombone.

Try Multiple Models

Even if the first bass trombone you try sounds in tune and works well with you, try at least a couple more in your budget. You may end up choosing the first model, but it’s good to know what else is out there.

However, you might find that you like another bass trombone better than the first one you played. The more instruments you can try, the more you can learn what you do and don’t like in a bass trombone. Of course, you don’t want to play a $10,000 trombone if you only have $5,000 to spend. But comparing as many options in your budget can give you the best chance of finding the right instrument for you.

Keep it Consistent

As you test and compare different bass trombones, try to keep your testing as consistent as possible. You can do this by using the same mouthpiece on every bass trombone and by testing them at the same place and time of day. That way, you can control for potential changes in your energy levels and the temperature of the environment. Using the same mouthpiece may help you keep from having to adjust your embouchure.

You should also use the same exercises to test the entire range of the instrument. Choose pieces or exercises to test the high and low notes, loud and soft dynamics, and slow and fast playing.

Record Yourself and Listen

bass trombones

When testing different bass trombones, record yourself so that you can listen back. You might notice things as a listener that you missed when playing the models. As a player, you need to focus on forming a good embouchure and blowing a consistent stream of air. That means you could easily miss small details that a recording will catch.

Recording yourself is also beneficial if you can’t play many bass trombones in the same testing session. You can use the recording to compare trombones you played on different days.

Talk to Another Trombone Player

If you know someone else who plays the bass trombone, you can talk to them to help guide your search. Consider sending them your recordings of the different models to get their opinion. You can also ask them for specific recommendations if they know you and how well you play the trombone. Then, you don’t have to waste time on instruments that probably won’t work for you.

If possible, ask another player to go with you when you try bass trombones. Not only can they give you their thoughts, but they can play the trombones for you, so you can hear what they sound like to others.

Be Patient

When you decide you’re ready to buy a bass trombone, it can be easy to want to buy something as soon as possible. However, you want to make sure you get the right instrument for you. That may not always happen after your first round of bass trombone trials. So try to be patient and keep testing different makes and models until you find one you enjoy playing.

There are a lot more bass trombones out there than you think. Don’t be afraid to pass on an instrument that isn’t quite perfect because you can probably find something even better.

The Best Bass Trombones

Knowing how to find the best bass trombones is important, but you also need to know where to start your search. Consider some of the best bass trombones on the market. If you don’t like playing any of them, look for other models from the same brands. That way, you can get a good-quality bass trombone that suits your needs.

Jupiter XO Model

Jupiter XO Model

The Jupiter XO Model bass trombone is an excellent option for players of all levels. It features a lacquered yellow brass body, and it has a .562-inch bore and a 9.5-inch bell. There are two double-dependent rotors that help extend the range down from the standard tenor trombone. This model also comes with a brass outer slide and a nickel-silver crook.

You’ll get a mouthpiece and a case, so you can pick up the bass trombone and play. While this isn’t the cheapest bass trombone, it’s also not too expensive.

Jupiter XO Model Professional Bass Trombone | Amazon

Lacquered Yellow Brass Body, .562 inch Bore, 9.5 inch Bell, Double Dependent Rotor, Bb/F/Eb and D, Open Wrap, Three Interchangeable Leadpipes, offset mechanical link rotary valves, brass outer slide with nickel-silver crook, chromed inner slides, includes JBM-15L mouthpiece and XO Classic Series case (KC-48XC).

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Pros

  • Versatile
  • Easy to play
  • Good design

Cons

  • A little pricey

Jupiter JTB1180R

Jupiter JTB1180R

If you need something a little more affordable but like Jupiter trombones, consider the Jupiter JTB1180R. This model features a yellow brass body with lacquer, and it has a rose brass bell. The tapered rotary valve and open wrap make this instrument easy to play. You can get a good response, so it’s suitable for anyone new to the bass trombone.

It sounds warm, so you don’t have to worry about getting too harsh of a sound. The bore is the same size as the other Jupiter model, but this one features a 10-inch bell.

Jupiter JTB1180R | Amazon

The JTB1180R Bass Trombone features a 10" rose brass bell and an inline double independent standard wrap rotor design in the key of Bb/ F / Gb and D with tapered bearings and precision linkage for outstanding performance plus a .562-inch bore for excellent response. 

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Pros

  • Warm sound
  • Good response
  • Great for beginners

Cons

  • Not the best for professionals

S.E. Shires Q-Series

S.E. Shires Q-Series

Another fantastic model to try is the S.E. Shires Q-Series bass trombone. It features a lacquered brass body with a gold brass bell, so it sounds warm and rich. You can switch out the leadpipe between three yellow brass leadpipes, which can help you get the sound you want. If you want an easy way to customize your sound on the bass trombone, this is a great option.

The trombone comes with a case and mouthpiece, so you have everything you need to start playing. It’s a nice option for beginners and players with some experience.

S.E. Shires Q-Series | Amazon
$4,115.00

TBQ36YR Q-Series professional bass trombone lacquer gold brass bell.

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12/05/2022 12:02 am GMT

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Sounds good
  • Easy to customize

Cons

  • A little expensive

S.E. Shires BII 7YM

S.E. Shires BII 7YM

The S.E. Shires BII 7YM is an excellent choice for more advanced players who want a clear and consistent sound. This model is also easy to play, and it works well for many different genres. It features two independent valves that allow you to play the lower notes well. The yellow brass also has a taper that allows you to get a good sound throughout the full range.

You can use this instrument if you like a warm, open sound. Unfortunately, it does cost a bit more than the other S.E Shires model and the Jupiter instruments.

Pros

  • Great for professionals
  • Versatile
  • Sounds amazing

Cons

  • Not for beginners

Eastman ETB848

Eastman ETB848

Another professional bass trombone to try is the Eastman ETB848. This model is probably the most affordable on the market when it comes to reputable brands. It has an open wrap, and the two-piece instrument comes with either a yellow brass or gold brass bell. Like some other bass trombones, you get three leadpipes, so you can choose the one that gives you the sound you want.

You also get a good mouthpiece and a case to protect the trombone when you aren’t playing. Both valves are independent, so you can use them to get the right notes in the low register.

Pros

  • Multiple leadpipes
  • Good sound
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not for the most advanced players

Yamaha YBL-822G

Yamaha YBL-822G

Yamaha is one of the best musical instrument brands available, and the YBL-822G is no exception. The famous bass trombonist Douglas Yeo inspired the instrument, so it meets his requirements for playing. It features a yellow brass outer slide and a nickel silver inner slide. There’s a gold brass bell that helps you get a warm, rich sound, and the two dependent rotors help you play the low notes easily.

You’ll get a mouthpiece similar to the one that Yeo uses, so you can emulate his sound. If you want to play in an orchestra, you can’t go wrong with this model.

Pros

  • Good sound
  • Great for orchestral playing
  • Perfect for professionals

Cons

  • Not the best for beginners

Conn 112H

Conn 112H

Another great bass trombone you should test is the Conn 112H. This model has two double independent rotors, so you can control the lower register more easily. It features a lightweight outer slide, so you don’t have to worry about the instrument weighing it down. There’s also a 10-inch rose brass bell that helps you project a good sound.

You also get a good mouthpiece and case, so you can take the bass trombone out and play right away. Then, you can start to improve your playing with this instrument.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to hold
  • Sounds good

Cons

  • The design isn’t the most professional

Bach 50B2O Stradivarius Series

Bach 50B2O Stradivarius Series

The Bach 50B2O Stradivarius Series is an amazing choice for serious bass trombone players. It comes with a dependent valve system, a double trigger, and an open wrap, which is fairly traditional. There’s a yellow brass outer slide, and the hand-hammered bell helps the instrument sound good and project well. You can choose between a 9.5-inch or 10.5-inch bell, so you can get the sound you want.

Its yellow brass finish offers a nice sound as well, and it can fit in with any ensemble. If you go with a 9.5-inch bell, you can also get a gold brass bell.

Pros

  • Great for professionals
  • Customizable
  • Sounds good

Cons

  • Not for beginners

Getzen 1062FD Eterna Series

Getzen 1062FD Eterna Series

Another great instrument to try is the Getzen 1062FD Eterna Series. This bass trombone has a bell diameter of .562 inches and .578 inches for a dual bore. It has an open wrap valve section that allows the air to move freely through the trombone. You can get bright and brassy sound or something more rick and dark, and the rose brass sounds great.

Professional trombone players should consider this model. While it’s not cheap, it’s not as expensive as some bass trombones get, so it’s a nice upgrade for intermediate and advanced musicians, even amateurs.

Pros

  • Great sound
  • Easy to play
  • Versatile

Cons

  • A little costly

FAQs

Question: What’s the Difference Between the Trombone and Bass Trombone?

Answer: The tenor and bass trombone are pretty similar, and they’re almost always the same length. However, bass trombones usually have larger bells to help project the lower notes. Bass trombones also have two rotors that allow you to play the notes that extend below the tenor trombone range. The bass trombone also has more tubing at the back of the instrument to account for the lower pitches.

Question: How much does a Bass Trombone Cost?

Answer: Most bass trombones cost $3,000 to $7,000, but some cost less and others more. It depends on the brand you choose and the level, such as an intermediate or professional model. You can also save money by renting or buying a used bass trombone. Financing is another option to save upfront, though you might have to pay extra in interest.

Question: Where Can You Buy a Bass Trombone?

Answer: You can buy a bass trombone online or from a local music store. Before you buy, consider if you can do a trial to compare a few instruments. If you can’t do a trial, make sure you buy from somewhere with a return period in case you don’t like the model. When buying used, you can also look at marketplaces on Facebook or Craigslist. But as with new instruments, consider if you can try the instrument before you spend your money.

Question: Where Can You Play the Bass Trombone?

Answer: You can play the bass trombone in concert and jazz bands as well as in an orchestra. Not every ensemble piece will have a bass trombone part, so make sure to keep your tenor trombone on hand.

Question: Who should Play the Bass Trombone?

Answer: Any trombone player who wants to learn a second instrument should play the bass trombone. It’s an especially great choice for someone who wants to diversify their skills to get into an orchestra or band because you may not have as much competition.

Final Note on How to Find the Best Bass Trombones

Knowing how to find the best bass trombones is crucial for trombone players and music teachers. If you want to learn the lower brass instrument, you need something that will last so that your investment is worth it.

Beginners should look at the Eastman model, while professionals may prefer the Yamaha. Either way, be sure to test as many models as you can within your price range to find your ideal bass trombone.

12/05/2022 12:02 am GMT
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