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The Pbone

Discussion in 'Material Matters' started by jbtsax, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    If you haven't heard about it yet, the Conn/Selmer Company has come out with a trombone completely made of plastic called the "Pbone" that sells for around $160. They come in yellow, red, green, and blue.

    Comparing Pbone to a brass trombone Hint: First time click "skip to playing" and then close your eyes. Listen a second time watching which trombone is being played.

    Pbone quartet-How High the Moon

    The real question seems to not be "does material matter?", but "how much does material matter?" I think this would make a great instrument for trombonists in marching bands and pep bands who don't want to endanger their main instrument in those environments. They come in most school colors to boot!
  2. Hmm. The thing that I am wondering is, are they BETTER than a metal instrument coming out of china for @$100? It seems to me that the quality would not be any better on this Conn/Selmer plastic trombone, and the Cecilio(etc) with a decent MPC shouldn't sound to bad.

    I don't know anything about brass instruments, but it seems to me that since it is basically "tuned" with the slide and the players mouth that even a sub par trombone could be played in tune. I would definately prefer metal over plastic, even if it were a no-name.
  3. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    When I see an instrument made in other than "traditional" materials, I wonder if those new materials have properties not found in traditional materials, eg trombone slides combined with cold and humidity. Would plastic fare better than metal? If so, cool, then how does it perform musically? And so on.

    I don't necessarily need "the looks" of an instrument. If one in dog poop appearance performs better than one in "traditional black", why not use it?
  4. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    I came across these a bit ago. I think that the things they're going for are "light" and "cheap." However, they have the same problem as Grafton and Vibratosax did/does on the saxophone side: a traditional used instrument can be found for just a bit more. And the traditional instrument is a bit more rugged, too.
  5. I played a St. Pat's Day gig with a trombonist who brought a green one. It didn't sound bad. He thought it was worth the money. But I haven't seen him use it again.
  6. ah yes. the "slide vuvuzela". defnintely an improvement on the original.:cool:

    First, only a trombonist would upload a video to Youtube sitting next to a 3 foot long stuffed banana. :ugeek:

    Second, as inexpensive student instruments go, I think its a hit. Really, its all down to the embrochure on brass (or so im told by my French Horn playing wife)

    So anything that puts a bone in a kids hand for cheap (or a bone player that's, for ex, doing a gig in a bad hood/mummers parade/crowded pub on pattys day/mardiGras [insert nightmare gig here] etc... & dont wanna bring theyr good horn)
    is a winner.

    A tentative thumbs up from this woodwinder.
  7. Helen

    Helen Content Expert Saxophones Staff Member Administrator

    Purple (and maybe white, I can't remember what the second one is) is the new colour for the year. It's supposed to be out this summer. I tried to get one for my partner's birthday, but it didn't come in in time, the shipment was delayed until July. I opted for red instead.

    I have tried playing around with it off and on for the past couple of weeks. Fun as it is to look at, regular trombones are easier to play IIRC. I did do my necessary 3 month stint on slide trombone in university, and admit I sucked on the instrument. That said, I find the plastic mouthpiece is much harder to produce a consistent sound on, than on a conventional brasswind's mouthpiece. Although I sucked on slide trombone, I was quite good on trumpet, and passable on euphonium. I understand the principles of brasswind embouchure, but putting them into use on the clear plastic, colour coordinated mouthpiece is definitely a challenge.

    I bought the P-bone as a fun past-time gift, not for a serious musician, or even necessarily a serious beginner. I wonder how trombone teachers rate them, and the accompanying mouthpieces.
  8. Purple

    I have been looking at these:


    Woried the valves wouldn't last, though it is gorgeous. I've seen trombones in the same color, at about the same price. Alot less can go wrong on a 'bone compared to a trumpet. Course, with the 5 year warranty they are giving, probably not a bad starter.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012
  9. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    That's not plastic, though.

    Colored lacquers have been used by a lot of manufacturers for a very long time. If you go back far enough, you can even find some with enamel: Conn and Buescher had that available for awhile in the 1920s for their saxophones and I see no reason why they wouldn't have had that finish available on their other brasswinds.
  10. Yep, that's while I like it better. :p

    Enamel, now there's a thought. The cheapo imports tend to lose their lacquer fairly rapidly. Enamel should last a bit longer.
  11. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    In the case of a trombone slide a slight bump can put a dent in the thin metal casing and render it inoperable. A plastic slide (or bell) will absorb the hit and retain its shape. Modern automobile bumpers are made with plastic for the same reason.
  12. As I recall our trombonist used a metal mouthpiece on his Pbone.
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