The company that makes the pBone tenor plastic trombone has come out with a smaller alto version in Eb. Unfortunately those who were disappointed in the tenor version will be even more disappointed in the alto version. First of all the bore size is too large for an alto. It looks like the same bell size as the tenor which could have been a cost saving tactic. This causes the sound to be very diffuse, and requires use of an extremely small mouthpiece to center the sound. Since the slots for partials are so large it is necessary to try to blow every note sharp to get a reasonably focused sound. A smaller bore would have helped the instrument’s sound immensely. As it is the sound is very airy and the plastic material no doubt adds to this problem.
With today’s molding technology it would seem that a proper sized plastic alto trombone would be not that difficult, and if the blowing characteristics of plastics had been taken into account the size could have been adjusted accordingly. Someone needs to make a different up-quality version of these instruments because there seems to be a waiting market for inexpensive starter instruments.