Are cheap, used kings any good?

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Are cheap, used kings any good?

Post by TromboneTiger »

I'm a new-ish trombone player (2 1/2 yrs) and I have loved my Yamaha YSL-448G for the entirety of my time playing. I'm looking into getting a smaller (used) king trombone, priced around 100 USD. I don't think it is a very good decision to buy a trombone that cheap, but I'm not all that experienced. I love the feel of the smaller trombones without triggers, and they even allow me to play a little higher. I'm not looking for anything professional, just something I can use in my high school jazz band (I know my current trombone's fine, I just really like the smaller ones). I have used one of the "backup" king trombone at my school that is pretty decent; nothing to write home about but in general pretty good. I enjoyed playing it even though it was in worse condition than my main trombone, and that's what led me to the idea of getting a second trombone.
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Re: Are cheap, used kings any good?

Post by Kingfan »

King student models are decent horns. Since you already play a Yamaha, consider a YSL-354 or YSL-200AD.
I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are still missing! :D
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Re: Are cheap, used kings any good?

Post by MrHCinDE »

At that price point some are good, some are awful, totally depends on the condition of the individual horn.

I once bought a used 606 in very ugly cosmetic condition for about that price. The slide was good and it played alright, in the end I sold it on for a similar price as I just wasn’t playing many perilous gigs (i.e. the reason I bought it) and needed the space for something else.
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Re: Are cheap, used kings any good?

Post by elmsandr »

As a new buyer, know where you are buying from and what that means for your risk. For example, if you do not know the seller and cannot see the horn first, assume that it will need at least a little slide job, probably >$75 that you’ll need to pay later.

A $200 trombone can be good, but it can also be the starting point for $400 in repairs that aren’t worth it. Choose carefully and be aware that it can be a little like gambling where you can lose it all on a bad hand.

Happy hunting,
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Re: Are cheap, used kings any good?

Post by spencercarran »

I picked up a King student trombone (intended as beater horn for outdoor gigs) in that general price range and it plays surprisingly great. Slide is not amazing, but usable. It would get irritating to use more extensively for big band work unless I put more money into getting the slide perfect, which then defeats the point of having bought cheap.
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Re: Are cheap, used kings any good?

Post by TomWest »

I was given a King Cleveland 606 that a friend of mine had laying around. I took it to the local repair man who serviced it, cleaned it up, got it playing good and I took it home and practiced.
Yes, I’m a beginner. I am a saxophone player, so everything is new having never played a brass instrument before.
The horn is no beauty queen having some apparently significant bell damage in the past that was rolled out. It’s a real Rat Rod but plays well.
I sat in with the trombone section of the community band I play saxophone with and they all checked out my bone and were surprised at how well it played. The lead player played it said the slide was way better than he thought it would be and liked the big sound he could get out of it. There are also a lot of Jupiter, Conn and Bach trombones that might be worth checking out.
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