A trombone slide is an arrangement of four 90-degree reflectors placed in the path of a glider to delay it by an adjustable number of generations, without changing its lane. More generally, any combination of circuits may be referred to as a trombone slide, if the grouping can be moved as a single unit that functions as a 180-degree glider reflector.
The smallest known trombone slides are made using Snarks. In the pattern below, the input glider will reach the same output location 128 generations sooner if the trombone slide is removed. If the top and left Snarks are moved together diagonally to the upper left by N cells, then the glider delay is increased by 8N generations since the glider has to travel N more cells in each direction. This sliding action gives the trombone slide its name. If only the final Snark is moved, then the output glider's path can be altered by a number of full diagonals.
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RLE: here Plaintext: here
Trombone slides made of the same type of component cannot alter the glider path by half-diagonals, and can only change the timing by multiples of 8 generations. For other timing changes, different components are necessary. These may be stable like Silver's reflector or the colour-changing example shown in the stable reflector article, or periodic like the various bumpers.