The pBone

The pBone is a plastic trombone that is very inexpensive and comes in a variety of colors (yellow, green, red and blue). The instrument, distributed by Conn-Selmer Inc., was initially developed in the United Kingdom to teach kids basic embouchure technique and pitch reference, but now it has extended from classrooms to marching bands and television.

“The designers spent a lot of time working on the invention because if it was something that was to be used in the classroom, it couldn’t be marketed as a toy; it had to play well,” says Tim Caton, communications director at Conn-Selmer.

Caton says the trombone sounds great and is used by several artists as a second horn. Artists enjoy the different colors of the pBone. Tom “Bones” Malone, trombonist on the “Late Show With David Letterman,” has a pBone in all four colors and wears a matching blazer when he’s on TV.

International trombone legend Jiggs Whigham became involved in the development of the pBone and liked it so much that he became a partial owner in the company.

Whigham has been a long-time artist for Conn-Selmer and brought the instrument to the company’s attention. Last June, Conn-Selmer signed the global distribution rights for the pBone.

Marching bands are starting to invest in pBones and so are general music classrooms, where it was originally intended, because of its $149 cost and durability.

“For a student starting out, if they drop the slide, if they push it out too far, they are not going to see the repair charges you would typically see on a brass trombone,” Caton says.

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