Trumpets have been around for ages, and they’re a staple of many different genres of music. Because of that, it’s no wonder that there are loads of them on the market right now – picking the right one for you might seem like a difficult task.
Don’t worry though; you’ve come to the right place. If you just read this article, you’ll find out everything you need to know to buy the right trumpet for you. At the end, you’ll also find out which of the instruments reviewed here is the best trumpet available right now!
There’s a lot that you have to consider when you’re buying a trumpet, too much to list right here. So, this section will tell you about the essential things, the ones that you have to keep on your mind at all times.
This is the first thing you have to keep on your mind when you start thinking about buying a trumpet of your own. Buying a trumpet that doesn’t fit your skill level will leave you with a product you won’t love even if it’s actually good!
Luckily, most trumpets are labeled as one of three types – beginner, intermediate or professional.
Beginner trumpets, also called student trumpets, are made to be affordable and easy to play, providing a good starting point for someone who’s just learning the instrument. You don’t need to exert much effort to play one of these trumpets. However, they lack most advanced features and can be limiting for more skilled players.
Intermediate trumpets are intended to be the next step in learning the trumpet after the beginner horns – or the starting point for people with experience playing other brass instruments. They have more advanced features, better construction, and a richer sound. Not quite as good as professional trumpets, but not as costly either.
Professional trumpets feature the best construction and the richest sound as well as a ton of advanced features that lesser trumpet players won’t even think of using. The superb craftsmanship on display does cost a lot, but it is more than worth it for players that need their instruments to be impeccable.
Decide on what you need by yourself, but don’t overestimate your skill or you might end up with a costly horn that’s useless to you.
Before buying a trumpet, you need to check the construction of each part and see if it’s well-made and if it fits you. A badly made trumpet will have bad intonation and poor mechanics which will make it next to useless.
One of the key pieces is the bell, the wide open part of the trumpet. In lower-quality trumpets it is made out of yellow brass, moving to red or rose brass for the better ones and the best ones feature a silver bell.
The best bells are made out of one piece and are hand-hammered, allowing them to vibrate uniformly and produce the best sound. Lower quality bells are made out of two or more pieces that are welded together.
The valves of the trumpet, looking like vertical tubes in the middle of it, are another crucial part. They can be made out of a wide variety of materials – nickel ones are the most durable, monel ones perform better but need more maintenance, while stainless steel ones arguably perform the best and are found in professional models.
Make sure you find a trumpet with hand-lapped valves, which will ensure that they move smoothly, allowing you to play the trumpet quickly.
The mouthpipe and the mouthpiece are important because they will be your main interface with the trumpet. It is usually made out of brass – red brass is more durable but less responsive while yellow brass produces a better sound but needs more cleaning.
There’s more to this, but those are the basics that you need to know about.
Not all trumpets sound the same, and they’re used for different purposes. A bright and cheerful sound is probably best suited to a jazz number, but if you want to play in a military band, you will need something with a darker, deeper sound. Test it out and make sure that you know what you’re aiming for before purchasing.
Most trumpets are pitched in either Bb or C, and those two types have significantly different sounds. Bb trumpets are more popular and are far better for use in lighter pieces of pop, jazz or rock music due to their brighter sound. C trumpets have a slightly darker, heavier tone to them lending well to blues numbers and orchestral arrangements.
Of course, you can use either trumpet for any type of music, but it might be more difficult to play a Bb trumpet in an orchestra due to most orchestral music being written for C trumpets.
Trumpets pitched all the way to G also exist, though they are less common. However, if you need a deeper sound, you should get one of them.
Yamaha is a well-known music brand, and of course, they make trumpets as well. Their instruments are consistent and well-made, and they have made trumpets of all possible varieties.
Jupiter is a brand that’s almost synonymous with reliability. They offer sturdy instruments with good warranties and professional construction. If you’re looking for something that will last, this is where you need to look.
Allora trumpets are especially affordable, more so than most, but they also won’t last for a long time. They will play well while they last but you probably shouldn’t consider them unless you’re on a budget.
Merano is a newer company that makes a lot of good instruments, trumpets included. Their selection is small but exceptional and it will just keep growing with time. All of their products are hand-crafted, giving them a unique feel.
Carol Brass is a brand specializing in brass instruments, and most of their products are aimed at professional players. If you’re in the market for a professional trumpet, this is where you need to look.
There are more of them, but too many to cover here.
Once again, this brand delivers a quality-made beginner horn that doesn’t feel out of place in any music school. It is made to be comfortable and easy to play, and it delivers on that promise. The valves are made with obvious care, and they move as smooth as butter, making this trumpet a breeze to play.
It’s also easy to tune, even for beginners, making it even more accessible. The whole trumpet is solidly constructed, and there are no obvious weak spots. The case it comes in is a different story – it’s badly made, and you will probably need to replace it.
If you ever want to replace the trumpet or it comes with any defect, you can do so – the customer service and warranty are great here.
The only other major downside is the cost – it is less affordable than some other beginner instruments, but it is worth the price.
As with most Yamaha instruments, this is a reliable horn that will serve you well even though it doesn’t stand out too much. It has a good look that makes its quality readily apparent at first glance.
The sound it makes is great and rich, booming and cheerful. It is just a joy to play, and it plays incredibly smoothly even in the hands of complete beginners. If you’re having any problems getting good notes out of it, tuning it is a breeze even if you’re doing it by hand.
For easier play, it also has an adjustable third valve trigger and a water key on the slide of the third valve. It is light, stable and easy to hold while playing – almost the perfect trumpet for a learner.
Overall, it is a great starter instrument. The cost is high, but it delivers on the promise of quality that comes with the Yamaha
This is a great beginner horn made to fit almost anyone, and it is a great student instrument. It comes with a lot of extras to get you started – it has a good carrying case, a pair of fine playing gloves, a bottle of oil and a polishing cloth.
It comes at quite a great price considering everything you get and the trumpet itself is surprisingly well-made. It looks great, and it feels great to play. It’s made to be sturdy, and it won’t corrode easily. Even if something does happen, you’re covered by a 1-year warranty.
The instrument is a bit difficult to tune by hand, and the valves might start sticking a bit after excessive playing, so watch out for that. Otherwise, it’s a great starter instrument especially if you don’t want to spend a lot of money.
This is perhaps the ultimate starter instrument one can get. The price tag is incredibly high for a beginner trumpet, but the quality on display is also incredible.
The construction is just amazing. The pistons are made out of stainless steel, like in a lot of professional trumpets, and it comes in either a lacquered brass or silver plate finish. It just looks gorgeous.
It even has some advanced features like a 1st valve slide thumb saddle as well as a 3rd valve slide that can be adjusted at will. It comes in a beautiful wood frame case that’s durable and easy to carry.
The sound is great and clear, no problems there either, but the question is – do you want to spend so much on a beginner trumpet? It is great, but the price is a bit much. You also don’t get a lot of accessories.
This is a beginner horn that can also be used as an intermediate one. It’s in between the two types and can function as either one, depending on how skilled you happen to be.
It comes with everything you need to get started, including a case, a silver-plated 7c mouthpiece, playing gloves and cleaning gear.
The construction on this trumpet is quite fine, featuring stainless steel pistons which perform incredibly well and allow you to play smoothly. The key inlays are made out of mother of pearl, and most of the body is made out of gold brass. Overall, it’s an incredibly fine instrument.
Sadly, it does have a few issues – the mouthpiece doesn’t fit right, and the valves are not the greatest. Overall, it is a good instrument but not quite the best one out there.
All of these five trumpets are great in their own way, but you know one has to be better than the other and today that’s the Jean Paul USA TR-430, simply due to the quality offered for the price.
This horn costs less than most, and it is a great beginner instrument but can also be used by intermediate players. It doesn’t cost too much, and it has no major flaws. The construction is solid, and it looks beautiful while playing marvelously.
If you do not agree, feel free to express yourself in the comments and, until next time, keep expressing yourself through music!
Trumpets are very appealing instruments; they seem so simple to handle, and they can produce beautiful melodies. That’s why a lot of people take an interest in learning to play them. There are so many famous trumpeters that people like to listen to, like Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Chet Baker and more.
These musicians often inspire people to pick up the trumpet and start learning all about it. Some people want to play it casually; others become really passionate about it. No matter what your cause or the goal is, you will get all the basics that will get you started, right here.
The first trumpets date way back to 1500 BC. Their initial purpose was to signal for military purposes, and they were used in the religion. Their design improved over the course of time and the materials used to produce it. Most improvements made were in the Middle Ages.
The Renaissance period turned the once signaling tool into a musical instrument. The trumpets in this era didn’t have valves, only a single coiled tube. They weren’t capable of producing the notes yet. The golden age of the natural trumpet was the Baroque era.
Most of the music in this era was written for trumpeters. The art of playing trumpet was going strong and started slowly fading away after some time. It came back to life around the mid-20th century. Even the modern trumpet players tend to use natural trumpet with 3-4 vent holes to correct out-of-tune notes.
Since the natural trumpet was very limited, it’s requirement for chromatic freedom lead to the creation of the keyed trumpet. At first, it had a very poor sound quality, but in 1818 the patent was made for box valves, which contributed to the great improvement.
Since this type of trumpet was developed so late, it had a very limited repertoire. But, the 20th century had an explosion of music written for the modern trumpet.
There are 8 types of trumpets to choose from; A, B, C, D, E♭, E, low F and G. The most common type overall is the B♭ trumpet, while the C trumpet is the most common in orchestral playing in America.
The small trumpets are called piccolo trumpets, and they are built to play B♭ and A alike. They feature separate lead pipes on each key. There are also piccolo trumpets in G, F, and C, but they are not that common. Trumpets pitched in low G key are called sopranos and soprano bugles. They are adapted from the military and were traditionally used in bugle corps. They can be found with both rotary and piston valves.
The bass trumpet is played by trombone players because it has the same pitch. The music for the bass trumpet is written in treble clef. The most common keys for it are B♭ and C. The modern trumpet you see today is the side trumpet that is a B♭ trumpet which has a slide instead of valves. It’s very similar to soprano trombone.
The pocket trumpet is a smaller and compact version of the B♭ trumpet. The bell is quite smaller compared to the standard trumpet, and the tubing tightly wound to maintain the length of the tube but to reduce its size. It doesn’t have the standard design, and the quality varies a lot based on different models.
The herald trumpet has a bell extending in front of the player much more than the standard trumpet. It’s mostly used in ceremonies.
To start playing, you will first need an instrument, naturally. The best thing for you to do is to go to the nearest music shop and ask them for the best trumpet for a beginner. When they give you a suggestion, be sure to ask them is the trumpet in the B-flat key. That’s the best option for a novice player.
The B-flat key is the easiest scale to learn. You shouldn’t focus on a branded trumpet; even an unlabeled trumpet will be just fine for you. You can even rent one for a start if you just want to try it out. But before you rent it, check if the valve casing has dents, and the valves can move smoothly and are not noisy. Also, check if all slides can move freely.
When you get home with your rented or purchased trumpet, get to know its mechanism, appreciate its beauty and then get ready to start learning.
Before you even put the trumpet against your lips, you should practice your first sound. Start by creating the “mmm” sound. Hold your mouth in that position and start blowing through in order to create the buzzing sound.
This is the basic lip position you should overcome. If you’re having trouble with creating that sound and maintaining the shape of your lips, just imagine that there’s a small paper on the tip of your tongue. Once you master the lip part, you will be ready to start the trumpet basics.
When you fully assemble your trumpet, inhale through the mouth, assume the lip position you previously learned and place the trumpet on your lips. Start vibrating and creating that buzzing sound you previously overcame.
You should focus and recognize the feeling of your lips when they loosen and tighten. Don’t press the valves just yet, not until you get the hang of the feeling of your lips. Begin to tighten your lips a bit and try to gently press one or two valves.
The valves are numbered 1-3, 1 being the closest to you and 3 being the farthest one. Now you have successfully played your first notes! If you feel kind of stuck on the buzzing part, don’t give up just yet! You can improve and speed up your advance by carrying a mouthpiece with you.
Use the mouthpiece to practice the buzzing sound as much as you can, and once you are able to buzz into the mouthpiece correctly, you will do it properly using the trumpet as well. The buzzing sound through the mouthpiece should sound like a duck call. A lot of people think that they shouldn’t produce that kind of sound, but it is, in fact, a correct sound to make.
When you feel confident that you overcome the notes, you can begin to practice your first scale. A scale is basically a group of descending and ascending pitches that precede each other based on a specific scheme.
Start with a simple scale.
Congrats! You just played your first C scale! From this point onward, you should focus on finesses that will make you a good trumpet player. Grab a music book, and make it your main reading material.
Now that you completed some basic playing let’s go through some important finesses that will help you even more and raise your skill level. I want to mention embouchures, so you don’t get discouraged if you can’t play the sounds correctly right away.
Everybody has different lip and teeth shape, and because of this, a number of different embouchures are developed. None of them are wrong; it’s only the matter of what feels the best in your individual case. But, there are few rules that apply to almost all of them.
The corners of your mouth should be firm, so the air doesn’t leak. When you go up, you should push your lips more to the center instead of stretching them. When you stretch your lips, not only do you make the sound thinner, you also expose them to damage.
The most used embouchure is Farkas. It requires you to push your jaw out and keep the lips even. Some other embouchures require you to roll your lips in, Stevens for example, and other to roll them out, like Maggio embouchure.
Try out different embouchures, find the one that fits you and keep playing using it. Check the list of embouchures here.
A lot of new players have a similar starting question: should they have wet or dry lips. The short answer is that the both ways are correct. If your lips are dry, they will just stick to the mouthpiece more, which will prevent the slipping.
If you play with wet lips, they will slide under the mouthpiece, and they will adjust to your dynamics freely. It comes down to what feels the best for you. Try both out, experiment a little and keep the way that you’re the most comfortable with.
The breathing technique for the trumpet is not complicated, but it should be followed. Don’t worry about your lung capacity right now. You will increase it over time naturally. Just remember to take a deep breath every time.
Relax completely when you’re inhaling, and DON’T lift your shoulders. Breathe from your belly instead from your chest, this way you will take a lot more air in, and exhale it quicker. Don’t keep the air in, blow it out instantly, and inhale the air in tempo.
And that’s pretty much it when it comes to proper breathing technique, just relax and release all the tension, music is about relaxing anyway.
The natural instinct to most of the people is to point the bell of the trumpet to the floor. It’s okay if you point it just slightly to the floor, but don’t keep it low too much. Don’t slouch, and don’t lock your knees, be relaxed at all times, but be careful not to slouch.
You should keep your arms a bit AWAY from your body. To keep your breathing at top performance and the proper posture, you should maintain a good physical condition. It is recommended that you stand while playing because inhaling is a lot easier when you’re standing.
But, if you need to sit down, sit on the edge of the chair, don’t lean back and keep your feet on the floor.
The proper way to hold a trumpet depends on which hand you hold it.
Place your thumb between the first and the second valve or in front of the first one. Your index finger, middle finger and the ring finger should be on the valve buttons. Place the little finger on the hook.
Place your thumb on the first valve. Your index finger and middle finger should be behind the third valve. Ring finger should be on the third valve and the little finger under the third valve slide.
In both cases don’t hold the instrument too tight. Support the weight of the trumpet with your secondary hand, this way you will push the valves more efficiently.
Before you get the natural feel of how to press the valves, you might need a few tips.
Now there’s only the question of how much and when should you practice. The more you can practice the better, but you will need the rest as well. My philosophy is that it’s better to practice a little bit every day than to practice a lot for two days a week.
You should rest just as much as you play, and AVOID excessive pressure with a mouthpiece. Some pressure is required to play a proper tone and to prevent the air from leaking, but control it, don’t put your mouth to too much pressure.