The Trigger Trombone Guide will take you through everything you need to know about the Bflat Tenor Trombone with F attachment, from open or traditional wrap to string or mechanical linkage to how to buy a trombone online.
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Why the F Trigger Attachment?
There are two advantages to using a tenor trombone with an F trigger attachment: one is musical and the other is operational:
The Musical Advantage
Straight tenor trombones are pitched in the key of B flat which gives it the chromatic range of E below the bass clef to Bb above the middle C. When you attach extra tubing, typically pitched in the key of F and accessed through a trigger operated valve, you then extend the chromatic range of the trombone down to low C, or by a perfect 5th. In other words, you have a very flexible instrument with a wide range.
The Operational Advantage
Intermediate trombonists who are advancing from a straight slide trombone to the F attachment find a trigger trombone much easier to play. You can access notes higher up on the slide that are played further down the slide on a straight trombone. For example, F which is played in the 6th position can be played in the first position with a trigger. Advanced trombonists love the quicker access to notes as they are accessible in different positions with the trigger.
History of the Trigger Trombone
Trigger trombones (those with an F attachment) are a mechanical modification of the straight slide trombone. The modern trombone evolved from a 15th century English instrument called a sackbut which looks very similar to a straight tenor trombone.
Many historians agree that the first brass instrument with a slide was a smaller, higher pitched instrument like a trumpet and the hand slide was later applied to the sackbut which eventually evolved to the slide trombone. Traditionally, the tone produced by a trombone was accomplished strictly through adjustments in slide and embouchure. Due to simplicity of design, a typical ochestral trombone section consisited of an alto in E flat, a tenor in B flat, and a bass in F.
In 1839, a German instrument maker by the name of Christian Friedrich Sattler recognized that he could add tubing within the bell section of a Bb tenor trombone to access the range produced by an F bass trombone thus combining two intruments into one. The added tubing which could turn the Bb tenor into an F bass was actuated by a trigger operated by the thumb. Ever since, this has been the basic design of the Bflat/F trombone, also known as the F-attachment or trigger trombone.