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Guide to the Best Sackbuts of 2019

Kayla Carstens

The sackbut is an ancestor of today's trombone and was used mainly in the renaissance and baroque eras. Sackbut is a commonly used name for an older trombone or replica of a sackbut. Many times the sackbut (as an older version of the trombone) can play trombone parts in medieval and baroque music such as chamber music, cantatas, oratorios and so on. The sackbut is also used today in a trombone capacity by many modern artists such as Adam Woolf, Caecilia Concert, The Gabrieli Consort and The York Waits. Religious music is the instruments main repertoire, performing many masses and 1700’s choir music.


We’ve composed this buyer’s guide to help you make the right decision when selecting a sackbut. It'll help you:

  • Choose the right type of sackbut,

  • See useful tips about that type of sackbut,

  • Select the right brand of sackbutt,

  • Find accessories you may need for your sackbut.

Types of Sackbuts

Types of Sackbuts:

  • Alto Sackbut:

    • The alto sackbut was tuned in the key of E♭.

    • The alto sackbut was known to German composer, Michael Praetorius, as the Alt oder Discant Posaun and was pitched in the key of D or E in the times of Praetorius.

  • Tenor Sackbut:

    • The tenor sackbut is pitched in the key of B♭.

    • The tenor sackbut was known to Praetorius as the Gemeine Recht Posaun and was at that time, pitched in the key of A.


  • Bass Sackbut:

    • The bass sackbut is pitched in the key of F or E♭.

    • The bass sackbut was known to Praetorius as the Quart-Posaun or Quint-Posaun and was pitched then in the key of E or D.


  • Double Bass Sackbut:

    • The double bass sackbut is pitched in the key of B♭, an octave below tenor.

    • The double bass sackbut was known to Praetorius as the Octav-Posaun and was pitched, at the time, in the key of A, an octave below tenor.

What reviewers say

Items that Can be Used with Sackbut:

  • Slide Grease:

    • This is the grease that you put on the slide of your sackbut to make sure it moves smoothly and doesn't catch.


  • Polish cloth:

    • This a cloth you can use to keep your sackbut clean and shiny with no fingerprint marks or smudges.

  • Mouthpiece brush:

    • This a brush one uses when they wash their trombone to ensure that all the tubing gets properly cleaned and helps make your trombone perform the best.

  • Slide Oil:

    • This is oil that you drip on the slide, more often used than slide grease and helps makes sure none of the tubing or slide gets caught.


  • Sackbut Case

    • This is a case that you store your sackbut in to transport it with ease and ensure that it does not get damaged whilst you are transporting it.

  • Lyre:

    • This is a special stand that you can attach to your horn to be able to see your sheet music whilst playing and/or moving about.

Important Features

Tips for Consumers:

  • Materials

    • Gold Brass:

    • Yellow Brass:


    • Red Brass:

    • Sterling Silver:

    • It is important to consider what material your sackbut is made of as it can affect the sound that you ultimately get. For example, sterling silver will provide with a bright clear sound whilst red brass will provide a warmer, darker sound.

  • Parts of a sackbut:

    • Bell:

      • The bell is the opening of the sackbut from which the sound comes out.

      • It is important to remember that with sackbuts, the bell is smaller than a trombone’s bell and thus require more force to create a louder sound.

    • Bore:

      • The bore of the sackbut is smaller than the bore of a trombone, as sackbuts were created much thicker than the trombone.

    • Lead Pipe:

      • This is the pipe that connects the mouthpiece to slide and helps the air travel through the horn.

    • Slide:

      • This is the part of the sackbut the instrumentalists use to change the pitch of the horn and create a melody.


    • Tuning Slide:

      • It is important to remember that in medieval and early baroque times, the sackbut did not have a tuning slide and thus instrumentalists had to change the pitch of the horn by adding bends or twists.

    • Mouthpiece:

      • This is the piece that the instrumentalist blows into and uses certain mouth shapes to create a sound or melody on the horn.

Top-Rated Brands

Different Brands of Sackbut:

  • Egger:

    • Founded in 1940 by Adolf Egger, the company began as a manufacturer of brass instruments. Today they create the highest quality trumpets, true to the historical structure to be played by historically trained professionals. They are currently located in Basel, Switzerland.

  • Wessex Tubas:

    • Wessex Tubas was started in 2010 by British tuba player Jonathan Hodgetts. The aim of Wessex Tubas is to bring the joy of brass music making to the masses. They currently produce a variety of brass instruments including tubas, saxophones, ophicleides and more. Wessex Tubas are currently located in Andover, United Kingdom.

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