Help please!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by countingbackwards, Aug 29, 2016.

  1. countingbackwards

    countingbackwards New Member

    Hello from London!

    I am looking to rekindle my passion for trombone playing. I played trombone from the age of 12 till about the day that I went off to uni and began dabbling in digital music composition. Anecdotally my old trombone teacher was Fred Mercer who was a fantastic guy and used to teach Mark Nightingale.

    As my student days went by I got poorer and poorer and had to sell my beloved trombone thus completely ending my trombone playing days.

    Many years passed by and I decided to buy myself a trombone off ebay. I bought a salvation army tenor 'soloist'. I knew at the time it wasn't in the best condition but I fell in love with the beautiful flower engravings and the salvation army emblem stamped on the front that read 'blood and fire' which I always thought was quite an odd use of words for the salvation army. I loved it even though it was a different key as my previous B&H. Surprise, surprise I had to sell this one too as I was broke and just found out I was going to be a dad.

    Now fast forward a bit more and I really miss playing. I don't currently have a trombone and would love to find one. The other night I had a brain fart and thought 'can I keep going with my grades?!' 'can I get back to playing in a band!?' and so that brought me here.

    So please help me! Any advice for relearning the trombone is welcome. I am still broke now as I have a family to look after but have a very small budget to spend on a trombone about £150. Could anyone please help or would it be better for me to save up a little more and buy something nicer?

    Thanks for your time and apologies for the life story!

  2. Hsop

    Hsop Member


    If you are planning on joining a brass band then maybe a visit to your nearest one would be the first step to getting an instrument. They may have a spare trombone which you could practice with at home until you feel confident enough to join them at a rehearsals. There is always a mixture of people using the bands instruments or their own depending on what they prefer. You should have a look to see which bands are located near you.
  3. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

  4. Euphman2

    Euphman2 Active Member

  5. Euphman2

    Euphman2 Active Member

    Look at Gear4brass website. I bought a Bb / F tenor trombone with trom stand and music stand for £164 a couple of years ago, delivered to my door less than 24 hours after my visit.
  6. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    To find Brass Bands in the London Area is suggest that you use the Brass Band Results web site (Brass Bands Map - Brass Band Results)

    I suggest that you should first aim to seek out a Concert or a 4th Section Band, however some higher level bands do have training bands to which you are likely to be welcomed too. Get a feel for the people in the band before committing yourself to then, see which groups you might fit into best. It is very likely that a band will let you have use of one of their instruments for free or a nominal charge, no need to buy one yet.

    It isn't clear whether you played in a Brass Band before or not. Trombones play in both clefs, the Bass Trombone in the Bass Clef and the Tenors in the Treble Clef - so whatever you read you'll be fine.

    Welcome back and good luck.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
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  7. countingbackwards

    countingbackwards New Member

    Thanks very much for the advice. Reading some of the other posts on here I am amazed at the amount of people who return to playing.

    I never even realised that local brass bands were so welcoming. I have sent a message to my local brass band in north London and am excited to get stuck in!

    Andrew I have sent you a message but may have gone to your junk. Your welcome to message me at

    I used to play bass trombone as I remember reading in bass clef.

    Thanks everyone, will update you on my progress.
  8. All great advice.
    Can only echo, join a band. You'll not only gain motivation in your quest to rediscover your playing, but there's the social side too.
    Nothing wrong with "cheap" trombones per se, but I'd pursue that as a last resort personally.
    Brass bands are often only too happy to loan out instruments for their players to use, and in many cases they can be a fairly decent standard of instrument (although sometimes neglected or poorly maintained, sadly). Amazing how a trombone can be transformed by a good clean though. Just make sure the slide runs smoothly and isn't misaligned or dented.
    Assuming you can get your hands on an instrument that way, a better initial investment of your cash may be the £30~50 you'd need for a decent mouthpiece.
    Better that than using something filthy and of dubious origin out of a drawer at the band room, and if/when you do ultimately buy an instrument chances are you'd need to buy a mouthpiece as well anyway.
    Most importantly though, welcome back and good luck!
    Jack E likes this.
  9. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    I have seen and replied to your message which had, indeed, gone into my junk folder !
  10. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Yes, loads of people do return to playing and are typically welcomed with open arms by enthusiastic musicians. There are many threads/posts on the site about relearning and books, etc.

    As you are returning to Brass playing this might be an ideal time for you to consider learning to play in Treble Clef rather than relearning the Bass Clef. That's just a thought about a way forward that will give you many more options within the Brass Bands.

    Bass Trombones have a bigger bigger bell and wider airway than Tenors and they are, I think, more physically demanding to hold and play than their otherwise (sort of) identical Treble Clef reading Tenor Brothers.
  11. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    Of course being able to read all clefs for Trombone (Treble/Bass even Tenor/Alto) will open even more options for you and it's not hard to do.
  12. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    It's true that the more clefs you can read the broader the range of musical opportunities that await you, but those additional opportunities are outside of Brass Banding and (IMHO) comparatively small in number. To my mind a beginner or returner in a Brass Band would surely be best to concentrate on Treble Clef and not worry much about the rest 'cause you're unlikely to see much (if any) of them on Tenor Trombone. Wind and Jazz/Big Bands - I find that they are few in number compared to Brass Bands - are different in many respects; in those Bands all the low brass instruments use Bass Clef but in a Brass Band only the Bass Trombone sees music in the Bass Clef.

    Is it easy to play well in multiple clefs and effortless to move between them? In my experience that all depends on the individual: personally I've found it best (for me) to concentrate on playing in one clef only (Treble for now, I've done Bass in the past and might do so again in the future) but I have pals who can and do flip between the two.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
  13. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    All it takes is a little practice.... and best to start as early as possible so that you don't get stuck with only playing in one clef.
  14. This is very true in my experience too. Bass & treble clef (I'd say in that order, others may disagree) are by far the most commonly used and are well worth the effort to learn and read "natively".
    I am glad I put time into doing this as a kid and developing player, because now I can flip between the two at will with minimal effort. I believe it's an essential skill for trombone players.

    tenor/alto clef by contrast are not used anywhere near so much, and I'd suggest you can probably get away with just "transposing" them on an ad-hoc basis.
    ie. Not read them natively, but rather work out the notes relative to treble or bass clef, as and when you need to.
    Andrew Norman likes this.
  15. Independent Silver Band

    Independent Silver Band Active Member

    I agree that in your case, treble clef is the most viable, but I want to point out that tenor clef is very easy if you read treble. The notes are in the same position on the clef.
  16. Slider1

    Slider1 Active Member

    Yes, just change the Key signature. But its the accidentals that get yer.
  17. They definitely get me! 1st time through any tenor clef piece doesn't count :)

    Some sort of babelfish to stick in yer ear and allow transposing any clef ont fly is required.
    If anyone fancies inventing one, I'll buy one (Y)
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