Geek out the trombone!
Last updated: May 4, 2021

Should I buy or rent a trombone?

If you're a trombone player, you probably have an opinion on whether your instrument would be better off in your own hands or in the hands of a rental company.

However, there are a few things to consider before making your decision.

First, you need to figure out what your goals for the trombone are. Are you going to be playing it for fun a couple of times a week, or do you plan to join a band or orchestra and use the trombone for more serious purposes?

When Does Renting a Trombone Make Sense?

Many people stumble upon the idea of renting a trombone as they start looking into joining a community band or music school. While sometimes renting can make sense, it depends on your playing level, your instrumentation needs, and the availability of quality instruments at your local music store.

If you are just starting out and not sure trombone playing is for you, renting makes a lot of sense.

The reason for this is that a beginner trombonist will want to test multiple options before making a commitment to buy.

The most important decision for a beginner is actually the trombone's mouthpiece. The mouthpiece is the part of the trombone that the player actually puts on their lips.

There are hundreds of different kinds of mouthpieces, each of which has a unique tone. 

Before you do anything, ask your music teacher. He/she will probably have a good understanding about you skill level and can perhaps recommend specific instruments. 

Pros of renting:

  • Good place to start if you or your child wants to play trombone, but are not fully committed
  • The ability to try different trombones and mouthpieces
  • Cost friendy (short term)

Cons of renting:

  • Can quickly become expensive

When Does Buying a Trombone Make Sense?

While there are some advantages to renting, rental fees will quickly add up.

If you are reasonably sure you want to play trombone for some time to come, go ahead and buy one if you can. 

Trombones cost from around $150 and up, but consider not buying the cheapest models. They are poorly built and will fall apart eventually.

They are also almost worthless on the second hand market, whereas a better trombone will have some value on eBay or other online market places.

Or just turn it into a lamp. 

Pros of buying:

  • Cheaper in the long run
  • You can sell your trombone if you decide to stop playing or want to upgrade your horn

Cons of buying:

  • Limited options to try different trombones before you commit.

Where to Buy?

So you want to buy a trombone, but do you get it from a music store, or buy it online?

That's a tough question.

There are a lot of things you need to consider before buying a trombone, like where you will be playing, and how much money you have to spend. 

If you have the option, go to your local music store and try their selection. Unfortunately most music stores don't have much inventory so it'll be hit or miss. 

If a local music store is not an option, there are plenty of options online. 

Consider Rent-To-Own

If you're in the market for an instrument, but don't have the cash on hand to buy one outright, you may be considering a rent-to-own agreement.

If you're not, maybe you should be.

With a rent-to-own agreement, you make small payments over an extended period of time—usually 3 to 6 months—and by the end of the agreement you own the product.

No interest is charged, and there are no penalties for paying the purchase price early, so it's a great option if you're not sure you'll play the instrument for a long time.

By Kevin Christensen
Trombone Geek and writer
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