Is It Time to Upgrade Your Trumpet?

Whether your child has been playing the trumpet now for only a few months or quite a few years, you may be asking yourself the questions ‘Should I upgrade their trumpet?’ and “When is the right time to upgrade a trumpet?”

When a child first starts learning the trumpet they generally begin with lessons on a basic model. This is to make sure they are going to ‘get on well’ with the instrument, demonstrate an aptitude for it, and perhaps, more importantly, gives them time to decide whether or not they’ll enjoy learning and playing the instrument in the long-term.

It Might Be Time for an Upgrade If…

Once your child has become comfortable with the trumpet and has shown marked improvement from when they began, it may be time to move up to a higher quality instrument, a trumpet upgrade. 

If your child shows a keen interest in continuing with their trumpet lessons for the foreseeable future, then this is a particularly important decision to make, should I upgrade my child’s trumpet?

However, the question is still, when is it time for a trumpet upgrade? It can be difficult to know the answer to this, so here are some points that may help you to make that decision.

Trumpet Upgrade From What?

Rental Trumpets

Should you upgrade your child’s trumpet if you have been renting their instrument? Long-term rental fees can add up quickly. A very playable student-level trumpet can often be purchased for less than the cost of a year’s rental. Rental instruments can also be a bit worse for wear, often with many scratches, nicks and dents. Will this encourage your child to play?

A non-rental is highly recommended next if you want a trumpet upgrade. If your child is truly excited about music and playing the trumpet, then pride of ownership will go a long way to keep your child advancing.

Student Trumpet to Intermediate Trumpet?

Should you upgrade your child’s instrument from a student level trumpet to an intermediate level trumpet? Nowadays student level trumpets are generally built with heavier gauge tubing and heavier bracing, to withstand the rigors of the modern student. Intermediate level trumpets are generally of a similar design as student level trumpets, including some more ‘professional features’ such as a fixed 3rd valve ring, nickel plating on lacquered trumpets etc.

The opinion of some musicians is that there is absolutely no reason to buy an intermediate level trumpet unless you have tried it first and really like the way it plays.

However, others believe that you should upgrade your trumpet to an intermediate trumpet first before upgrading again to a professional instrument. This is because the tuning on a pro trumpet can be very flexible, which is what a professional player needs, but it could make them very difficult for an intermediate player to play in tune. They would also need a lot of air control, another skill that can develop with more experience of trumpet playing.

Professional Trumpet

A common opinion of trumpet players discussing whether to upgrade from a student trumpet to an intermediate or professional (pro) trumpet is to skip the intermediate and upgrade your trumpet straight to a ‘pro’ trumpet. They believe pro trumpets are generally more free blowing (less resistance), play in tune better, are built better, have extra or higher quality features, and therefore have a better sound because of these differences.

Purchasing a used or new pro trumpet is not a bad investment anyway. Most don’t tend to drop too much in value if your child takes care of it, so if you did decide to sell it you can often get most of your money back.

Teacher Advice

A good trumpet teacher could also help you determine when your child’s trumpet is holding them back and should be able to let you know when you need to upgrade their trumpet.

You could also periodically visit your local Music & Arts store and try out different intermediate or pro-level trumpets and eventually, your child will probably figure out that they sound better and play easier.

Used Or New?

There are many good reasons for upgrading to a new trumpet, not least to aid your child’s playing. Used trumpets can be as good, if not on occasion better. But also, if you decide to upgrade to a new trumpet as opposed to a used instrument, then that trumpet will join your child on the long and exciting journey of trumpet playing. Any scratches, dents or marks will have their own story, and that will be their story!

To conclude, the decision on is it time to upgrade your trumpet or not will generally come down to the comfort level of your child.

  • Is the trumpet that your child is playing now interfering with their progress?
  • Does your child want a new trumpet?
  • Does your child plan to continue to play the trumpet throughout school and on through college? Do they see it as a part of their future?

When upgrading to a new trumpet, consider the way it feels (in the hands of the musician), the way it sounds (to the musician), the way it plays (for the musician). Your child will be the one who needs to select their trumpet upgrade, not you. Your child needs to like it, it needs to feel right to them, and it needs to play right for them. Try many different types of trumpets to discover which trumpet suits your child and enjoy the process!

Selecting a new trumpet

Consider these suggestions for your student’s next instrument

  • Giardinelli GTR-12 Series Bb Trumpet by Bach Silver – Intermediate horn for the committed student. A beautifully designed intermediate horn with features found on trumpets that are much more costly. It would be a spectacular instrument to learn on, or to move up to from their first horn.

  • Yamaha YTR-4335GII Intermediate – Redesigned intermediate trumpet from a leading manufacturer. Durable yet light, the bell promotes easy endurance while playing. The richness of tone quality and free-blowing feel make this trumpet a great vehicle for those players looking to take their performance to the next level.

  • S.E. SHIRES TRQ10RS Q-Series Professional Bb Trumpet Silver -Response in all registers with great projection produces a warm sound. This trumpet produces a warm, singing sound with marvelous projection and easy, centered response in all registers. This trumpet makes a great choice as an all-around instrument for performance in a wide variety of musical settings. A versatile trumpet.


The Giardinelli GTR-12S Pro Series Bb Trumpet by Bach Silver. Designed and crafted with high quality materials, this horn’s durability and broad sound lends itself well to all music styles.

Shop for Trumpets at Music & Arts

Shop for trumpet upgrades at Music & Arts. Boasting one of the largest product offerings in the world, Music and Arts is the unofficial home of music education. For any of your trumpet needs, whether you’re renting, or in the market to buy a trumpet, we can help you. Find your local store today. 

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