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A. Extendabone is for anyone who can't reach any position easily and without straining their body. This is very common with young beginners, but it is also professional players like myself, and Matt Vaughn, the Co-Principal trombone of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Even if you have found a way to reach 6th or 7th position without Extendabone, you may benefit from using it.
A. Extendabone is only intended to be used when the player needs it. I suggest holding Extendabone on the phrases where you will be using it to reach a far position. When you no longer need it, you can switch your grip to the hand-slide. Extendabone is intended to be a tool like a step stool that allows the player to do what they need to do when they need it.
A. No, absolutely not. First, because it is not intended to be used all the time, it will not impede the development of good slide technique. Second, When you are using it, the shape of the handle is intended to allow a natural grip and even helps shape a beginner's hand into the proper shape.
A. Extendabone will work with most every trombone, but may be a little loose on some models and need adjusting. Unfortunately, the diameter of the hand-slide brace is not standard across manufacturers and models. I tried my best to make sure it works on as many models as I could test, but eventually I had to decide on a size and go to market.
A. If Extendabone slides up and down too easily, then you can add a little tennis racket tape to the hand-slide or the inside of the shepherd's crook of Extendabone in order to take up the extra space.
A. Yes, Extendabone works with the pBone. However, it may come off of the slide when you extend to the farthest positions. When this happens, as you pull Extendabone back in, it will catch the slide again.
A. After testing different prototypes with my middle school students, I determined that having this design was preferable to one with a locking mechanism. This was because the young students found it to be too difficult to put Extendabone on the slide by themselves with those designs. The rotation would ultimately still end up unlocking and coming off the slide and then I had to individually help each student.
I prefer having a tool that lets the student be fully independent, especially when the music they are being asked to play does not require particularly fast movement between positions.