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This article will be a trumpet buying guide for people interested in buying a trumpet, especially for the first time, so you will know a little bit more about the trumpet when purchasing one.
This trumpet buying guide will also help you in choosing what trumpet is best suited for you. There is a difference in trumpets’s on what to choose from with your skill level. A beginner trumpet would not suffice for a seasoned player. You wouldn’t want to pick a trumpet that is best suited for a seasoned player if you are a beginner because of the price alone, especially if you are uncertain of your level commitment. You would want to choose a trumpet for a beginner that doesn’t have as many complicated features as a professional trumpet because it would make learning the instrument much harder to master.
The trumpet is a very versatile instrument that can fit into many different types of music, anything from Jazz, Orchestra, Rock, etc. with a great wide tonal range.
A good trumpet should be bright and clear without sounding shrill. What makes up the sound of a trumpets’s tone is the size of the bore, lead pipe, and bell size, also the material they use on different parts. But the ultimate choice should be your ears, or a professional or teachers opinion before purchasing a trumpet.
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Different Types of Trumpets
– Bb plastic trumpet – This would be one of your cheapest instruments that you can probably pick up for around $100.00 They are a perfect choice for a beginner because you don’t have to worry about dents. The drawback is this instrument choice will not progress with the student. You will have to definitely upgrade as you grow more into the trumpet. They are also limited on what they can do and they have flaws.
– Bb trumpet – This is usually the instrument you would pick if you are a beginner. They have a good tone which would fit in with any type music you are playing. There is a wide variety to choose from and if you are playing in a school band for instance this is the one to choose.
– C trumpet – A lot of musicians choose this type, especially if you are playing in an orchestra because the C trumpet seems to have a brighter tone than the Bb trumpet. Another reason to choose this type trumpet is the music sounds as written: when you play a C note it sounds like a C note.
– Pocket trumpet – This type trumpet is very portable and usually a good choice for a practice instrument. It looks like a full size trumpet that has been folded down to a compact size.
– Bb piccolo trumpet – This type of trumpet plays an octave higher than the Bb trumpet. If you usually play a higher register this may be a good choice. It is harder to find pieces written for this type of trumpet though.
– Herald trumpet – This trumpet is designed for such events as parades, which it has a dynamic design. There are other specialty trumpets’s not mentioned in this article, but the ones mentioned are the most popular choices.
Three Ability Level Type Trumpets
1 – Student trumpet – This would be the most affordable trumpet. They are designed for the beginner. They are more durable and have features that can get the beginner student learning easier. The tone will not be as good which you will need as you progress into higher levels of play. You will probably be able to find this level trumpet under $150.00.
2 – Intermediate trumpet – This level trumpet would be for the player who learned the fundamentals and are ready for something more versatile that the student trumpet can’t give. It will have a nice richer tone and features and adjustable slide stops. This level trumpet will range from $200.00 to $1,000.00.
3 – Professional trumpet – This level trumpet will have exceptional tone and a greater response to what the musician will want the instrument to do. It will be made out of the best materials. This level is for the most serious and dedicated musician. This level can range anywhere from $1500.00 to $3,200.00.
– Bell – This part is usually the first thing you would notice on the trumpet. The function of the bell is part of the process used to produce its tone. The reason it is so noticeable is because of its brilliant metal inside and out that reflects all light around it. This amplifies the sound of the trumpet. The bell comes in different sizes and shapes, as they get larger you get a less sharp sound.
The material plays an important factor with its tone. Brass trumpets’s plated with gold produces a more rounded tone, brass trumpets’s plated with silver produces a brassier sound.
– Leadpipe – This part on the trumpet is a metal tube that extends from the mouthpiece to the main tuning slide. This part should never be dented by accidental bumps because it can change the whole tone of the instrument because of the airflow being changed by the dent.
– Bore – This is the inside of the main tubing. They range from .450 to .472 inches. Wide bore instruments need more effort to play but can produce a louder sound. The student trumpet usually is smaller, approx. 460 inches.
– Finger Hook – This part is a sturdy metal hook on the top of the trumpet that helps the player to be able to hold the instrument in one hand while still allowing fingering to occur. You can actually play the trumpet with one hand while using the other hand to turn pages or even play another instrument or signal to another musician.
– Mouthpiece – This part is a small metal device which is circular opening that leads via a semi-spherical which opens into a small tube, similar to a funnel. They are usually made of brass and you can choose from a variety of mouthpiece sizes and materials to fit your style of playing.
This is where a precise flow of air goes from the players mouth into the trumpet. To get the sound a player creates a buzzing effect with the lips. This part is removable from the instrument.
– Mouthpiece receiver – This part is fused to the end of the lead pipe that is the connection of the mouthpiece to the trumpet. You have to be careful not to push the mouthpiece too hard into the receiver because you can damage this part and the mouthpiece can get stuck. Do not try to remove it yourself, if this happens bring it to a repair shop.
– Tuning Slide – This part is a C-shaped metal tube that can slide in and out to adjust the tuning of the trumpet. It is the largest slide on the trumpet. As you slide the part out the lower the trumpet will produce. There is usually a small water key on the end of the part for the player to be able to blow out excess moisture.
– Water Key – This part is a small metal lever found on the trumpets’s main tuning slide that you can open to release excess moisture by pressing it creating a small hole and blowing sharply into the mouthpiece. It is closed by having a small felt disc on the end that seals the hole.
– Bracing – Most trumpets’s have a vertical brace to reinforce the tuning slide. Some have double braces and some have none. Professional players have debates on the effect of tones that braces have often claiming that bracing improves slotting or changes the trumpets’s timbre in subtle ways. It doesn’t mean that more bracing is not necessarily better.
– Valve Casings – This part is located at the center of the trumpet and are three cylindrical valve casings. The 1st valve casing is nearest the player when held for playing, the 2nd valve casing is in the center, and the 3rd valve casing is the furthest away from the player. This is what holds the valve pistons, which moves up and down when pressing and releasing them which produces a full range of tones using different combinations of fingering ad varying amounts of air pressure from the player blowing into the mouthpiece.
Each piston has its own unique position in its casing so if you need to repair or replace them you have to make sure they are put back in their proper casings.
– Valve Pistons – This part is thin metal cylinders with holes both large and small bored through and small finger pieces on the end. These pistons are mounted into the valve casings located at the top center of the trumpet You have a 1st valve piston which is located closest to the player when in playing position, a 2nd valve piston which is located in the center, and a 3rd valve piston which is located the furthest away from the player.
The valve pistons move up and down in the valve casings to produce the different tones on the trumpet using different combinations of fingering and different amounts of air pressure created by the musician through the mouthpiece. When a player presses down on a piston the holes move and reroute the flow of air in circuits that are larger or smaller depending on the fingering. The longer the route of air, the lower the tone.
The 1st piston lowers the tone by a half-step, the 2nd piston lowers the tone by a full step, and the 3rd piston valve lowers the tone by a minor third. If for any reason you have to remove these pistons from their casings, make sure you put them back in their proper casings.
– Valve Slides – You have three slides on a trumpet, each is placed at a precise point in the flow of air inside the trumpet to allow the player to change pitch by depressing pistons while playing or make adjustments to the tuning by moving the slides in and out.
– Water Key – This part is a small metal lever found on the trumpets main tuning slide that you can open to release moisture by pressing it creating a small hole and blowing sharply into the mouthpiece. It is closed by having a small felt disc on the end that seals the hole.
– Bell – This can be lightly polished with a soft cloth to remove any fingerprints. Never put the trumpet down on the ground balanced on the end of the bell which can cause scratches. You should avoid touching the bell with bare hands and if you do you should clean it immediately if you notice any dirt or fingerprints because oil and moisture from your hands can break down the finish over time.
– Mouthpiece – You should always inspect your mouthpiece to make sure there are no nicks or marks on it so you don’t end up hurting your lips when playing. when done playing, always take the mouthpiece off the trumpet and store it in a safe place in your case.
– Valve Casings and Pistons – You should always lubricate each casing lightly with a few drops of good valve piston oil, without the oil, the pistons can scratch the inside of the casings and damage the playing of the trumpet.
– Valve Slides – These should be removed and cleaned periodically and put new lubricant on. This will stop the valves from getting stuck, do not attempt to force them loose if they do become stuck, take the trumpet to a technician
– Water Key – Inspect the felt disc on occasion to make sure it is clean and providing a good seal. You want to avoid getting dirt or mold from collecting anywhere on your trumpet. take it to be serviced if it needs to be replaced.
Case – Anyone who owns a trumpet should have a case, I would prefer a hard shell case for better protection which also provides more space for accessories and music sheets even though they are heavier than your soft case. The soft cases are made of a tough nylon outer layer, thick padding, and backpack straps to make it easier for carrying.
Trumpets usually always include a minimum set of standard accessories. They would include a polishing cloth, white gloves to wear when polishing, and valve oil. I would buy a high quality oil and disgard the valve oil they give you with the package. Some other accessories that may come with the trumpet are a stand, pocket tuner, notebook, and probably other accessories.
A student trumpet will most likely come with a 1 year or sometimes a 2 year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. A better model can offer a warranty up to 10 years and some may even come with a lifetime warranty.
A Few Trumpets to Consider When Shopping
1 – Mendini by cecilio Gold Brass Student Bb Trumpet (MTTL) – A good choice for beginner students, a great price for what you are getting. You might have a problem with the valves sticking if you don’t maintain them carefully. this comes with a case and has a red brass leadpipe.
2 – Glory Brass Bb trumpet – A good choice for someone if you don’t want to spend too much for a beginner player who may or may not continue playing for more than a year. This trumpet is quite playable and does have a good value and it looks nice. The drawback on this model would be that the valves can be misaligned or sticky and the intonation can go sharp in the high register.
3 – Yamaha YTR-2230 Standard Bb trumpet – A good model for beginners and intermediate players, high quality construction, Monal Valves. The drawback is that it is a little expensive if you are a beginner.
4 – Le Var BTRLV100 Student Trumpet – A high quality trumpet with a low price. It may be hard to find replacement parts though.
5 – Jean Paul USA Trumpet TR-430 – Good choice for an intermediate player who is looking to upgrade to a better trumpet. It has a rose brass leadpipe and durable stainless steel valves. This model may be harder to play high notes and it comes with a soft case rather than a hard case.
6 – Jupiter JTR 700 Trumpet – A good choice for a beginner or intermediate player looking for a higher-quality student trumpet. It has reliable stainless steel valves and comes with a 10 year warranty. The drawback is possibly constricted high- register performance.
7 – Getzen 590S-S trumpet – this is the companies premium capri line. They are dependable and reasonably priced. It has a beautiful nichel silver finish with custom etching available as an option. It comes with a lifetime warranty. The drawback is it has a two piece bell.
8 – Bach LR180S37 trumpet – this model has an incredible sound, solid construction all around, fantastic looking and it holds its value. This is only for truly serious musicians and is expensive.
Hopefully I gave you enough information so you know a little bit more about the trumpet and when shopping you have a better education on what to look for. If you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to ask and I will do my best to answer them.