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Choose the best trombone for kids by looking at the type of trombone you are interested in buying, the size of the bore, the material used to make the bell, and the coating on the instrument. Usually, the coating has only a slight effect on an instrument's tone, but a prettier trombone may encourage a child to take care of it and practice regularly. Always choose an instrument with a small bore when selecting a trombone for kids. The bell material is likely to be yellow brass, which a buyer should select unless his or her child specifically wants a different material. Three different types of trombone exist: bass trombones, straight trombones, and F-rotor trombones.
Determining which type of trombone to buy is the first step in getting the right instrument for your child. Most people opt for a straight trombone for kids because it is the simplest and most common type of trombone. Parents could also buy an F-rotor trombone, which has additional tubing which enables the instrument to be changed to play in the key of F. Children can play this instrument in the same way as a straight trombone, then activate the additional tubing when they are prepared. Bass trombones have larger bores, and as such are not generally suitable for kids.
The size of the bore is an important factor when choosing a trombone for kids. Instruments with a larger bore require more air to produce a note and are harder to control. Smaller bored instruments are recommended for beginners and for children because they require less air and are easier to control. The bore is the inside diameter of the tubing. For children’s instruments this shouldn’t exceed 0.525 inches (1.3 centimeters).
Different materials can be used to make the flared bell that amplifies the produced by a trombone. Parents should be aware that yellow brass is the most common material used and is likely to be found on any beginner-level instrument. A yellow brass bell produces a rich, full sound, which is preferable for most players. Other options are rose brass, which gives a warmer tone, and silver or nickel, which gives an even richer sound, often used on professional trombones. Alternatives should only be selected if the child wants the specific tonal qualities provided by them.
Each trombone is coated in a material to protect the brass construction of the instrument. Most types of trombone for kids will have a lacquer finish, which is uninspiring aesthetically but more common and cheap than plated finishes. Plated finishes will not dampen the instrument’s vibration as much, but are more prone to cosmetic damage. Some instructors believe that silver-plated trombones look better, which inspires kids to care more for their instruments and encourages practice.