pBone vs real trombone

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Rob, Mar 27, 2015.

  1. Rob

    Rob Member

    Question for the brass teachers out there: I'm considering buying a set of pBones (and maybe pTrumpets) for my school. Does anyone have any thoughts on whether this is a good idea or whether I should spend a bit more and get 'real' instruments? They are mostly going to be used with younger kids, say ages 8-12. Bear in mind that I teach at an all boys' school so instruments do get trashed on a fairly regular basis :)

  2. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    Good question Rob. I am no expert having only taken up the bone very recently, I am given to understand that Pbones are becoming increasingly popular. Those in the know certainly rate these instruments.

    Those little rascals.
  3. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    For your purposes, they would be ideal. They're relatively cheap, robust, responsive, and accurately tuned.
  4. yeomills

    yeomills New Member

    P bones are good and in the right hands sound like a brass one. I. Am not happy with the p trumpet and for a similar cost a brass trumpet or cornet would be my preference. I bought both as novelty items but don't get on at all with the trumpet, as a brass band player this may in some way be put down to a preference for the cornet sound.
  5. Feel My Rath

    Feel My Rath Member

    I really enjoy playing on my Pbone - it makes a very good sound considering what it is made from. I've heard some negative things about the Pbone Mini (pitched in Eb), so probably best to avoid those.

    I've no idea about the Ptrumpet, but I was chatting to a chap and Band Supplies a while ago, and he suggested they were fairly poor due to the plastic valves, but he rated the Tromba Trumpet (they also make the Tromba Trombone) quite highly.Warburton market the Tiger Trumpet as well, but after a quick internet search they seem to be pretty epensive comapred to the other two.

    BbMad must be loving these threads. I've heard he's a big fan of all things trombone.
  6. Andy_Euph

    Andy_Euph Active Member

    I use Pbones at my school and have found they are just as good as a brass made instrument. Plus they have the added bonus that they don't dint when dropped on the floor, meaning no heart attacks when a 9 year old picks it up by the slide!

    Only thing I've found that is a bit negative is the tuning. Then again my trombone skills are worse than my euph skills, so probably just me. :)
  7. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Actually had a blow on a plastic trumpet for the first time ever today - think it might have been a Tromba(?). wasn't too bad, but the first valve was still sticking after several applications of valve oil. However it's possible that it might have just needed a thorough clean; it was brand new, and I don't know if perhaps there's some packing/shipping grease left behind ... ?

    General impressions weren't too bad. Upper register tuning wasn't brilliant, but that might not be a consideration for youngsters. Worth pointing out that sound quality was considerably better with "real" (brass) mouthpieces, rather than the generic 7c/5c plastic 'pieces supplied; Retail was about £120, I'm told, which seems a sensible price, the point being really that, whilst you can get a brass trumpet for about the same price, if the brass trumpet gets dropped, you're probably looking at a repair bill of about the same cost as a new one, whereas if the plastic trumpet gets dropped you just pick it up and carry on playing.
  8. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    pBones - superb for what you are going to be doing.
    I know of many schools (and music services) that have done similarly - bought a stack of pBones to encourage lessons. Colourful and very impressive, especially for the money.
    Many of my trombone playing colleagues use the pBone when doing demos and they always get a great reaction from the students, meaning more trombone students for the future.

    A quick word about the pTrumpet - bought one as a novelty. Not too bad for tone and intonation, at least an equal for the vast majority of similarly priced beginner instruments (most of which are only worth purchasing for the case!). The HUGE disappointment/frustration with the pTrumpet is the valves. They work ok, but oiling them is ridiculous - you have to take the valves out from the bottom of the valve, meaning that you have to touch the part of the valve which has the oil on. Absolutely ludicrous.
    I am a massive fan of the pBone, but the pTrumpet doesn't seem to have been designed with the same mindset - the valves are a flaw, whilst on the pBone the slide works in the same way that a regular one does - maybe not quite as smooth, but it works easily well enough for the majority of younger students.
  9. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    FWIW, the Tromba design doesn't have this problem; valves come out the top of the casing for oiling, as with a normal instrument.
  10. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    Are the Tromba valves metal and interchangeable? I seem to recall the ptrumpet blurb saying that they had the only all-plastic trumpet with totally interchangeable valves so that kids wouldn't mix them up. That might be why they had to fiddle around with design. Anyway, a little valve oil on the hands is not going to disturb young kids who, it must be remembered, eat their own snots
  11. Rob

    Rob Member

    This is all interesting, thanks folks! I think based on the strength of what people are saying I'll put in a bid to buy some.
  12. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    Generally (yours might be different) snot isn't made from petroleum distillate and is perfectly safe to consume - valve oil is not suitable for human consumption
  13. Feel My Rath

    Feel My Rath Member

    I'm fairly sure that I heard (FWIW) that the valves are metal in the Trombapet. Not sure about the interchangeability, though.
  14. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    Can't help but think that a metal piston in a plastic casing is not a good idea. Surely the piston will wear out the casing and ruin the compression
  15. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Pistons are metal, yes; couldn't say about whether or not they're interchangeable.
  16. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    Plastics are much more advanced and versatile than they used to be. I would imagine that these days a plastic could be produced to withstand a metal piston, without undue wearing. Besides, given the cost of the plastic trombone, even if it did wear after 5 years, you will have got your moneys worth.
  17. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    Having worked till retirement in the plastics business as a small factory chief engineer, I would like to know exactly which type of plastic they are made from. Secondly, certain types can be affected by oils and petro chemical substances, they either swell slightly as they absorb the oils or the reverse happens where certain constituents leach out of the plastic into the oil which then shrinks and becomes brittle.
    So once that stage has been reached, a drop on the floor means lots of bits.
    I have heard a rumour that ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is the plastic being used, which if true is one of the few not that much susceptible to oil damage. Does any one know for sure which plastic is used?
  18. hobgoblin

    hobgoblin Member

    So based upon your expertise and the 'rumour' that ABS is used there is nothing to worry about, and your post is probably irrelevant / bo**ocks?
    If so, well done for using the internet and all concerned can use their p-bones with no worries.
  19. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    The thread seems to be drifting away from the original question.

    The Tromba (plastic trombone) and Pbone seem to sell well, they are cheap and do a job quite well. There are many youtube video's of them in use, Christopher Bill (a young but very skilled USA Trombonist) has a helpful video about the Tromba on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-MaSKsTidE .
  20. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member