What Materials Are Used to Make a Trombone?

materials-used-make-trombone Credit: ACE Foundation/CC-BY-2.0

Though the trombone is known as a brass instrument, brass is not always used in its manufacture; in fact, different models of trombones use different materials in the manufacturing process, including plastic and metals, such as brass, silver and nickel. Brass itself is a metal alloy combination of copper and zinc. Yellow brass, which is 70 percent copper and 30 percent zinc, is the most common metal used to manufacture trombones and gives the instrument its characteristic warm metallic color, but other types of brass such as rose brass and red brass, which each use higher levels of copper than zinc, can also be used.

Trombones consist of four main parts: bell, tuning slide, hand slide and mouthpiece. Mouthpieces are typically detachable from the trombone and may not be manufactured from the same materials. They are often silver in color rather than the goldish brass color that makes up the instrument's body. Plastic trombones are a relatively recent development, having come about in the 2010s as a more affordable alternative to the metal instruments that are most typically associated with the trombone. Although they are more affordable and come in a wide variety of colors, these instruments produce a different sound than those made from metal. Trombones can also be made from precious metals, including silver and gold.