Trombone Slide Chart

Trombone
By Kevin Christensen
Last updated: May 2, 2023

Playing the trombone is a lot different from playing most other instruments. It is the only brass instrument that doesn’t have valves. Instead, you use the slide to alter the length of the tubing. 

Parts of the trombone

To get us up to speed here’s a picture of a trombone: 

Olek Remesz (wiki-pl: Orem, commons: Orem), CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons

  1. tuning slide
  2. mouthpiece
  3. bell
  4. water key
  5. main slide
  6. second slide brace
  7. first slide brace
  8. slide lock ring

Slide position chart

There are a total of 7 basic positions on a trombone, each a semi-tone apart.

The slide chart below will give you a visual reference of how to position the slide.

Olek Remesz (wiki-pl: Orem, commons: Orem), CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons (edited by Kevin Christensen)

  • 1st position: Almost all the way in.
  • 2nd position: Between 1 and 3
  • 3rd position 3: Just before the bell
  • 4th position: Slide lined up with the bell
  • 5th position: No-one knows 🙂 between 4 and 6.
  • 6th position: Just before the stockings
  • 7th position: Just before the slide falls off.

Use it as a visual guide but remember to use your ears. Depending on the note you are trying to play and your particular instrument you will have to make small adjustments. 

Practice with a piano, or, if you don’t have a piano or keyboard, use an online “piano” like this or an app on your phone. 

Trombone Position Chart

What is embouchure?

Embouchure is the word used to describe the facial muscles used to play brass instruments. It is a French word that roughly translates as “mouth embrace”. In order to play any brass instrument, your embouchure must be strong and in control.

Simply put, the embouchure is how you position your lips on the mouthpiece to get a particular sound.

By tightening or loosening your embouchure you are able to play the full range of the instrument.

In effect, you are able to play a whole range of notes in any given slide position.

Slide position chart

Basic notes in each partial. Notes in parenthesis are considered alternate positions. 

By Kevin Christensen
Trombone Geek, managed by trombone player Kevin Christensen, is a comprehensive resource for trombone players of all levels worldwide. Christensen's 20+ years of professional experience and training at prestigious institutions provide valuable insights into trombone playing. Trombone Geek offers tips, tricks, and advice on all aspects of playing the instrument. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced player looking to improve your skills, Trombone Geek is an excellent resource for learning and mastering this fascinating instrument.
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