Designed for the entry-level instrumentalist, student trombones are low-end, inexpensive trombones designed for learning players who are not ready to invest in a professional instrument. Student trombones can be rented or bought, and almost all student trombones are basic tenor trombones. When a student is ready to graduate to a higher level, intermediate trombones provide an upgrade in sound quality at a lower cost. Understanding the options in student trombones can help an exploring trombonist or a student musician's parent pick the right instrument for the situation.
Though few student trombones come in any size but tenor, the mouthpiece size can vary. In most student tenor trombones, the size of the mouthpiece is 12C. This is the standard size for a beginner's mouthpiece, though some beginner trombones have slightly larger mouthpieces, like 51/2AL or 61/2>AL.
For a family on a tight budget, a used student trombone may be the best choice. Used student trombones can generally be purchased from music stores and classified ads. Buying used trombones takes some care and attention, as it can be difficult to spot internal damage on a trombone.
Opting for the least expensive instrument can affect a beginner's ability to learn to play. Some student trombones are higher quality than others, and some are cheaply made. Getting a student trombone that is badly damaged or exceptionally poor quality can make the instrument more difficult to play, affecting the budding player's zeal for the process.
While the state of the finish on a trombone is not important, significant dents on the body or a bent slide can affect the sound of a trombone. A trombone slide in good condition is free of even the smallest dents, and the inner slides are parallel and aligned for smooth sliding against the outer slides. Slides that are bent even a little pose a severe problem during playing, even on student trombones, since the scraping slides may permanently damage the instruments. Misaligned slides are not an easy or inexpensive fix, and amateur realignment can break the instrument.
When buying a student trombone is too expensive, even if it is used, renting is a lower-cost option for temporary situations. Renting an instrument long-term is generally more expensive than buying an instrument, and for-rent instruments are often in poor condition because they change hands so frequently. This can allow a student player to explore his interest in the trombone without the risk and research involved in an instrument purchase.