An illustrated glossary of standardized trombone terminology. Top-level terminology is preferable to alternate usage.
A • B • C • D • E • F • G • H • I • J • K • L • M • N • O • P • Q • R • S • T • U • V • W • X • Y • Z
Bell brace - the brace which supports and joins the bell to the neckpipe. If an instrument has more than one bell brace, their order can be delineated to: primary bell brace, the brace which connects the bell stem to the slide receiver; secondary bell brace, the rearward brace which connects the tuning slide ferrules; tuning slide brace, the brace connecting the two legs of the tuning slide itself.
Bell flare - the hyperbolic terminal portion of the bell.
Bell joint - the place of connection between the bell section and the slide/valve section. On slide trombones, this is typically referred to as the slide receiver; on valve trombones, the valve section receiver.
Bell lock - a mechanism designed to physically secure the bell section to its component mate, whether slide or valve
Bell rim - the terminal edge of the bell flare. See Elements of Brass Instrument Construction
Bell section - the component half of a trombone which contains the bell and its associated parts and tubing
Bell stem - the conical portion of the bell
Bell throat - the area of the bell where the stem and flare intersect, and the transition from conical to hyperbolic expansion occurs. Sometimes used, erroneously, to refer to the taper of the entire stem, or the inner diameter at the small end of the stem.
Bow - (alt. see Crook) - a section of tubing bent into a roughly 180-degree curve, doubling back the direction of flow. Today, the terms crook and bow are often used interchangeably. Traditionally, crooks were interchangeable sections of tubing used to change the key of an instrument. It is now customary to refer to the curved tubing at the end of the outer slide as the slide crook, while it is common to refer to the curved tubing at the end of the bell section as the bell bow. In light of adopting a singular usage, the distinction can be made that bows are fixed, while crooks are removable. Unfortunately this distinction is at odds with common-practice.
Brace - Braces are structural segments of tubing, rod, or other stock that connect, support, and align the primary tubing and components of the instrument.
Chasing - a technique for ornamenting sheet metal, where the metal is impressed from the front
Contact points - it is common to see something described as having "wear at the contact points." In the case of a trombone, these are the places that the player physically touches while using the instrument. They include primarily the inner and outer-slide braces, the cork barrels, the neckpipe.
Crook - (alt. see Bow) - a section of tubing bent into a roughly 180-degree curve, doubling back the direction of flow. Today, the terms crook and bow are often used interchangeably. Traditionally, crooks were interchangeable sections of tubing used to change the key of an instrument. It is now customary to refer to the curved tubing at the end of the outer slide as the slide crook, while it is common to refer to the curved tubing at the end of the bell section as the bell bow. In light of adopting a singular usage, the distinction can be made that bows are fixed, while crooks are removable. Unfortunately this distinction is at odds with common-practice.
Dezincification - a process through which zinc is selectively leeched from copper alloys, leaving behind a copper-rich structure with brittle characteristics.
Embossing - see Repoussé
Engraving - a method of marking metal by using sharp tools to physically remove material, leaving behind channels to form the desired pattern.
Ferrule - Ferrules are short segments of tubing, often decorated, which are used to contain a joint between two smaller sections of tubing that have the same diameter. They can also be used where there is no joint to create an attachment point for a brace or other component.
Gooseneck – (alt. see Neckpipe) - An ambiguous term sometimes used to incorrectly describe the neckpipe. The usage of the word "gooseneck" derives from late-19th/early-20th century instruments where the neckpipe was characteristically offset with a bend that resembles the neck of a goose. This offset was used to provide clearance between the bell and the handslide. In the 20th century, manufacturers began using angled necklines, eliminating the need for the "gooseneck" offset.
Handgrip assembly - the components of the handslide assembly that are used by the player to hold the instrument. The components of the handgrip assembly are the primary contact points.
Handslide assembly - see Slide section.
Inner slide - a term used to refer to either the entire inner-slide assembly, or strictly to the set of inner slide tubes itself. In the former case, the term inner-slide assembly is preferable to differentiate the two meanings.
J Bend - (alt. J crook) - the section of tubing between the bell ferrule and the valves/slide receiver on a Tuning-in-Slide trombone. The J bend incorporates the bell bow. Some manufacturers such as Michael Rath use removable J bends, others are integral. The J bend has a continuous taper, unlike the neckpipe and bell bow of a Tuning-in-Bell instrument. The term J crook should only be used for removable versions.
Leadpipe (alt. leader-pipe, mouthpipe) - The leadpipe is a double-tapered length of tubing which forms a venturi after the mouthpiece and then expands outward to match the inner diameter of the innerslide. Unlike most brass instruments, the leadpipe of a trombone is contained within another tube of constant diameter - in this case, the upper inner-slide leg. The leadpipe, aside from the ring at the mouthpiece receiver (if it is removable) is not externally visible.
Lower slide - The straight tubing on the slide tenon side of the slide section. Can refer to either inner or outer slide, i.e, lower inner slide, lower outer slide. So called because when the trombone is held in playing position, this side of the slide is lower than the other.
Mouthpiece receiver - the short, tapered section of tubing where the mouthpiece is inserted
Mouthpipe - See Leadpipe.
Neckpipe - the section of nominally tapered tubing which connects the the slide receiver to the bell bow. If there is no tuning mechanism in the bell bow, the bell bow and neckpipe may be integrated into one piece.
Oversleeves - short sections of tubing covering the proximal end of the outer slide tubes. Oversleeves serve to reinforce the outer-slide structure where the outer-slide brace is attached. They can also be integrated into the function of a Tuning-in-Slide mechanism. Lightweight slides typically have no oversleeves.
Provenance - a record of ownership, transference, and use of a singular object.
Red rot - see dezincification
Repoussé - (alt. repoussage) a technique for ornamenting sheet metal, where the metal is hammered from behind to create a low relief image. Also known as 'embossing'
Seam - the joint where the edges of two pieces of sheet metal are connected, either by soldering, brazing, or welding.
Slide - An ambiguous term usually used to refer to the slide section or the outer slide. This term should be avoided in any context that intends to convey structural meaning.
Slide lock - a mechanism designed to physically secure the handslide in its closed position, so as to prevent accidental or otherwise unwanted movement when the instrument is not being played.
Slide receiver - the female component of the connection between the bell section and the slide section.
Slide section - the component half of a trombone which contains the handslide and its associated parts and tubing.
Slide tenon - the male component of the connection between the bell section and the slide section.
Stencil instrument - an instrument produced by a given firm, yet marked and distributed by an external firm as their own make.
Stocking - a section of enlarged tubing located at the far end of the inner slide legs. The stocking serves as the primary bearing surface of handslide operation.
Thumb lever -
Trigger - see Thumb lever.
Tuning slide - a freely movable portion of tubing, integrated into one bow, which serves to adjust the overall pitch of an instrument.
Tuning-in-Slide (TIS) -
Upper slide - The straight tubing on the mouthpiece side of the slide section. Can refer to either inner or outer slide, i.e, upper inner slide, upper outer slide. So called because when the trombone is held in playing position, this side of the slide is higher than the other.
Verdigris - a bright blue/green compound (typically a copper carbonate or copper chloride) which forms during the oxidation of copper-containing materials.
Water key - a mechanism used to drain residual condensation and fluids from the bore of an instrument. In trombones, it is typically located on the slide crook.