I have an old 1962 conn 18h with a copper bell that has a .484 bore. I am generally playing lower pieces that don’t sound as good as the high register. Is there any way (other than a new mouthpiece or instrument) to get a fuller tone?

  • 1
    Can you be more specific? We know the lower register stuff doesn't sound as "good" as the upper register. But "good" means different things to different people. What exactly would you like to improve? Commented May 7, 2019 at 11:48
  • @BrianTHOMAS the lower register and pedal tones
    – user18656
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 11:51
  • OK - what's wrong with the lower register and pedal tones? Have you played a different trombone where they work as you'd like? Commented May 7, 2019 at 11:53
  • The question to ask is - is it the instrument stopping me from doing something I know I could do on a different instrument, or is it something I can't do on any instrument, so how do I improve my low-note technique? Commented May 7, 2019 at 11:55
  • What is your current skill level? (elementary school student? college section leader? professional jazz performer?) Commented May 7, 2019 at 13:21

3 Answers 3


You can get a fuller and rounder tone with more volume if you make your lips round, thinking an big Oh ... in the beginning you will lose much air but with more practise you will improve your sound.


There is a reason why Conn offer instruments like the 18H (.484) and the 88H (.547). They sound different!

Whether YOU are getting the best possible mid/low range sound out of the 18H is another matter. We can't really advise on that without seeing and hearing you play.


Here are a couple exercises that have helped me get a fuller tone on a small bore instrument:

  • long tones: everyday, throughout the range, from very soft to very loud
  • lip flexibility: I like to work with Collins' advanced lip flexibility, but I play the exercises trying to get the best possible sound throughout. Players often sacrifice sound to get through long flexibility studies, but I like to make them sing and I find the work really pays off
  • slow interval studies (e.g. from Arban): imagine you're playing tuba and push a lot of air
  • pitch bend notes with your lips without moving the slide, going down half steps and whole steps while maintaining a full sound (e.g. Bb-A-Bb, Bb-Ab-Bb, etc.) Play the notes on the piano first if you need help hearing them.
  • play melodies very softly (exaggerate) while maintaining a good sound

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