A guide to playing the piccolo trombone 

The piccolo trombone is the smallest and highest of the brass instruments in the trombone family and, due to its size, isn’t used in any band. Instead, it is a fun addition to the trombone player’s collection and can be used as the highest voice in a trombone ensemble. 

Being so small, how do you play the piccolo trombone? 

A guide to playing the piccolo trombone 

To understand how to best play this unique brass instrument, we should first familiarise ourselves with the dimensions and key elements that make up the piccolo trombone: 

The key: An extremely small instrument - often referred to as a ‘stunt’ instrument, the piccolo trombone is presented in the key of Bb, two whole octaves higher than a tenor trombone. 

The bore & bell: Due to the overall ‘pint-size’ of the piccolo trombone, both the bore and the bell are significantly smaller than you would otherwise find as part of other - more common - trombones; the Wessex piccolo trombone possessing a 0.46" (11.7mm) bore and 3.94" (100mm) bell.  

The mouthpiece: Of course, a trombone of such a small size also comes with a small mouthpiece more like a trumpet, meaning that a tight embouchure is required in order to successfully play which may take some time to get used to. 

The slide: The piccolo trombone doesn’t have any valves - either piston or rotary - and therefore notes are differentiated using a slide. 

Things to consider when playing 

Due to the size of the piccolo trombone, musicians with particularly large hands may find this instrument somewhat challenging to play - especially for longer periods of time. 

Alongside this, the piccolo trombone’s short stature means the bell is particularly close to the player’s ears when playing - for anyone with sensitive hearing or those who are sensitive particularly to high pitched noise. 

Playing the piccolo trombone

When playing the piccolo trombone, a tight - or firm - embouchure is required - using the slide to move between the notes.

NB: The piccolo trombone doesn’t have all 7 positions found on a larger trombone and therefore is limited in notes it can play. 

However, the piccolo trombone is an incredibly fun and unusual instrument to play and isn’t designed to be played entirely seriously! Rather, the piccolo trombone is perfect for use as entertainment, a talking point, or as a party piece - a brass instrument that can bring joy and laughter to any room, and round off any avid trombone player’s collection. 


To learn more about Wessex Tubas’ piccolo trombone that comes with both stand and case, please click here, or browse our full range of instruments, here.

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