Trombones vs Mellophones?

trombone and mellophone
Written by Corey Morgan

There are a handful of instruments in the brass family that share a lot of similarities. In spite of their similarities, the trombone and the mellophone stand apart in a lot of aspects.

Here are some interesting facts about the mellophone, and how they are similar and different from the trombones!

Which is easier to learn

As a result, the trombone enjoys greater popularity. Each instrument has a different learning curve. As a general guideline, two to four years of practice on an instrument is required to become proficient. If you’re starting from scratch on either the mellophone or the trombone, the same rules apply.

The mellophone can be learned in a few days or weeks if you have prior experience playing trumpet or french horn. It takes more time and effort to master the trombone because of its size, but once a player has reached a high enough level, they may have a lot of fun playing their instrument.

What kind of instrument is a Mellophone, Exactly?

The mellophone is a three-valve brass instrument that is most typically employed in marching bands or drum and bugle corps in place of the french horn, but it can also be utilized in concert band situations.

Most people assume the mellophone to be the marching version of the French horn because it is rarely utilized in marching bands outside of military bands.

In many regions, trombone and french horn players are more likely to use the mellophone when marching due to a lack of persons who can play the French Horn, as well as the desire of trombone players to learn a new instrument.

Slides vs. Valves: Which is better?

Pitch adjustment on mellophones and other brass instruments is accomplished through the use of valves. Mellophone buttons are easier to press down than trombone slides for most people. The slide on the trombone sets it apart from nearly every other instrument.

Even if watching someone play trombone slides is a lot of fun, there are some drawbacks:

  • There are a lot of sliding positions to remember
  • With the slide, you need to be more accurate
  • The trombone can be easily out-of-tuned
  • Dents in the trombone slide can make the instrument unplayable

As a result of these factors, it normally takes longer to master the trombone, but once you do, trombonists like their instrument a great deal.

Differences between mellophone and trombone

  • Assembly

Trombones are made up of a number of separate parts that must be assembled and disassembled every time they are used. If you only have a few minutes to practice, this can be a hurdle to playing.

Unlike the mellophone which does not require any assembly. You only need to attach a mouthpiece to the instrument to begin playing.

  • Size

Because they are small and don’t require any changes in posture to play, mellophones are an ideal instrument for children. As a bonus, they’re easier to move and store.

Beginners may find trombones a challenge because they are significantly larger and require a lot of arm movement. Furthermore, trombones frequently come in bulky, oddly formed cases that make them cumbersome to transport and keep in a practice space.

Which is more popular?

They are both well-known instruments in the music industry.

Most people are better familiar with the trombone because it is a widely utilized instrument in so many different genres of music and across so many different cultures. Concert orchestras, jazz ensembles, and pop all make use of the trombone.

Concert bands and orchestras also employ the use of mellophones; they are typically used in marching bands. In other words, if you’ve never seen a marching band in action, you may not be able to identify whether or not they use a mellophone, or even if you have. As a result, the trombone enjoys greater popularity.

Trombone vs. Mellophone: 5 Things to Consider:

1. Weight

A mellophone weighs about 4 pounds, whereas a trombone weighs between 7 and 12 pounds, depending on the instrument. The trombone is heavier and bulkier than the mellophone, making it more difficult to transport.

2. Which has more learning resources

The trombone is so widely used that learning to play it is easy, thanks to the wealth of information available online.

However, for the mellophone, high-quality resources are more difficult to come by due to the specific audience of mellophone players. As a result, it’s not as easy to find information on the mellophone.

3. Mouthpieces

Trombones utilize a certain sort of mouthpiece, while mellophones commonly have two types of mouthpieces: one for the instrument and one for the player.

One that is used a lot is the mouthpiece for the french horn. It is usual for musicians who normally play the french horn to utilize their regular mouthpiece with an adaptor to avoid having to modify their embouchures while switching between the two.

Even if it makes returning to the french horn simpler, playing in the upper register for the mellophone might be tough. The particular mellophone mouthpiece is an additional mellophone mouthpiece option.

This mouthpiece resembles the trumpet and euphonium mouthpieces more than the small french horn mouthpiece because of its broader rim and deeper cup.

Mellophones produces a dark, round sound because they are played with a special mouthpiece, and while trombone players may easily adapt to this new form of mouthpiece, horn players may find it difficult.

4. Sound

Playing the trombone in tune requires a great deal of hand-eye coordination. Trombone players must have their arms in the proper positions to play each pitch accurately. It’s very easy to inadvertently alter your intonation by raising or lowering your arm.

The trombone and mellophone, when performed correctly, produce a stunning sound that may be heard in countless songs.

5. Prices?

The trombone has a wider price range since it is more widely used.  With prices starting at roughly $700, you can buy a Yamaha trombone from the company’s website.

Despite this, mellophones aren’t often used outside of marching bands, therefore the alternatives available start off at a higher price point than with other instruments.

When it comes to mellophones, the Yamaha YMP-204M is a great option, but at $1,600, it’s out of reach for most people just starting out.

Trombone vs. Mellophone: 8 Things to Keep in Mind:

Even if you can’t pick between trombone and mellophone, here are a few more pointers to consider:

1. Check both instruments

Check out both instruments before deciding which one to play. See which one resonates with you the most by making a sound.

2. Budget

Prior to shopping for a musical instrument, determine your budget. The price of a trombone or mellophone can vary widely depending on the brand and model you select.

If you’re on a budget, a secondhand trombone in good condition is more affordable than a new trombone.

3. Visualize Yourself in a Group

Do you envision yourself playing in a band or orchestra in the future? You may prefer one instrument over another based on what you enjoy doing and how you interact with others.

Do you enjoy the attention you receive or do you want to lift up those around you? Mellophones are more likely to carry the melody in a band, whereas trombones are more likely to be supporting players. If you were to form your own band, which one do you think you’d enjoy playing the most if you had your pick?

4. Who are some of your favorite and most closely followed musicians?

You want to learn an instrument so that you can play your favorite songs. Musically speaking, trombone and mellophone can be found together practically anywhere.mA good place to begin is by playing the same instrument as an artist who has inspired you.

5. How much free time do you have available to you right now?

Whatever instrument you choose, learning it requires a significant amount of time and effort.

The mellophone is a more “pick up and play” instrument than the trombone, while the trombone has a more difficult learning process.

6. Consider your current living situation before making a decision.

Do you share a wall with the next-door neighbor’s apartment? Be considerate of your neighbors or housemates when playing either of these instruments, as they can be quite loud.

Mellophones offer a more piercing sound since they operate in a higher frequency range. It’s possible that trombones will be a little more tolerant in this case.

Either instrument shouldn’t be an issue if your home is well-separated from your neighbors or if you have a basement.

7. What is your available space?

Mellophones are far more manageable in terms of size and weight. Their square-shaped case makes it easier to store. Trombones, on the other hand, require a larger playing area due of their slide. Since the slide position will affect how long your trombone is, make sure you have enough of space to work with.

It’s also more difficult to keep a trombone case because it’s larger and has an obtuse form.

8. Take into Account Your Physical Capabilities

The physical difficulties of playing a particular instrument vary greatly.

Trombones are heavier to grasp and require a lot of air to play. Some people may find it challenging to move their entire arm in order to reach different slide positions.

Mellophones are likely to be a lot easier to play and less demanding. While it may be difficult at first to buzz your lips into the mouthpiece, it will require less air and less body movement to play.