Why the Stress?


Since the days of the sackbut, the trombone has been an inherently unbalanced instrument. The left hand of the player grips the trombone around the base of the lower cork barrel, the cork barrel brace and the upper cork barrel, forming the primary support of the instrument. This grip forms two axes of weight distribution that are unbalanced.

The first axis runs along the lower slide tube from the hand slide crook to the main tuning slide crook. On the right side of this axis is the upper slide tube, its portion of the hand slide and hand slide crook and the mouthpiece. On the left side is the main tuning slide crook, the counterweight (if equipped) the bell section, the lower-, middle- and upper-bell cross braces and (if equipped) the F-attachment pipes, rotor and thumb trigger or the F/D attachment pipes, rotor and thumb trigger. The left side outweighs the right side - - even on a student trombone with no F attachment. This creates a constant stress on the left hand, not only to hold the trombone vertically, but also to support it laterally to the right to maintain an angle of the trombone such that the player can address the mouthpiece with the embouchure.

The second axis runs on an imaginary line from the heel of the left palm of the player both left and right. On the anterior (before) side of this axis is the weight of the bell section from the lower bell cross brace back to the main tuning slide crook, including (if equipped) the counterweight, the F-attachment tubes, valve and thumb trigger. On the posterior (after) side of this axis is the weight of the bell, the inner slide tubes and sleeves, the mouthpiece, the outer hand slide and the levering effect of the extended hand slide. The posterior weight exceeds the anterior weight, creating an increasing stress (as the slide is extended) on the left hand to hold the trombone up to a horizontal, or slightly below a horizontal plane.

As the trombone pulls the left hand to the left and to the front, it pivots on the heel of the left palm, creating a twisting stress on the torso of the player. The spine works well in supporting weights which pull directly to the left or right or to the front or back. It is poorly designed to sustain a tortional (twisting) stress from the upper left to the lower right. Spinal vertebrae may rotate causing disc stress as a result of this tortional stress. The resulting poor posture of young trombonists (see accompanying pictures) is twisted down and to the right of the players body.

The TromboneSpineSaver™ Performance Stand supports the trombone in three ways: vertically with the main support stem and the “saddle clip”, laterally with the adjustable strap attaching at the top cork barrel with a specially-designed hook and posteriorly/anteriorly with the adjustable strap and hook attaching behind the lower bell cross brace on the first pipe of the bell section. With these three supports, the trombone is perfectly balanced, effectively weightless to the left hand of the player and completely adjustable to accommodate the height, lateral angle and posterior/anterior angle of each individual player. The exact angle of mouthpiece to embouchure is easily achieved.