Trumpet Buyer’s Guide

Trumpet Buyer's Guide

Are you faced with the task of purchasing your child their very first trumpet? Are you looking for an upgrade to their current student-grade trumpet? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, you’ve likely found that buying a trumpet can be a complicated matter, especially if you’ve never played the instrument yourself. That’s why we’ve put this guide together. Intended to guide you through the trumpet buying process, this guide will cover everything from trumpet types and valves to trumpet cases and the other accessories you’ll need. For more information, contact a Music & Arts representative today- they’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the trumpet.


As with many instruments, there are three different types of trumpets: student, intermediate, and professional. While student trumpets are machine made and intended to last for a very long time, most students outgrow them after just a few years of playing. They perform well, but lack some of the higher-end features students may need after becoming comfortable with the instrument. Intermediate trumpets come in two different forms: a student horn with additional features that improve sturdiness and tuning, and intermediate horns which are comparable to professional trumpets but are manufactured in a less costly way. Finally, professional trumpets feature the highest quality in craftsmanship and materials and should be reserved for those who plan on playing the trumpet at an advanced level.

Bb vs. C Trumpets

Bb trumpets are the most common in the trumpet family, as their sound is warm and blends in nicely with ensembles of all types. This kind of trumpet is quite versatile, and is used in music genres that range from classical to modern pop. It’s also the most common type of trumpet for students, as a good chunk of written music and instructional material is written for Bb trumpets. If you’re purchasing a trumpet for a child or someone who is newer to the instrument, this is the trumpet you should choose. C trumpets, on the other hand, are a better choice for professionals and advanced players. They’re tuned a whole tone higher and have a slightly smaller body. While there are other types of trumpets available — piccolo, D trumpets, and E trumpets, just to name a few — Bb and C are the most common.

Allora AATR-125 Series Classic Bb Trumpet AATR125 Silver The Allora AATR-125 Classic Bb trumpet is a superb quality student trumpet that will allow any student to progress to the next level. The Allora AATR-125 Classic Bb trumpet offers professional-level quality at an affordable price. This trumpet features a .460-inch bore with a medium-large tapered bell that is well suited for any type of music from concert to jazz. Learn More.

Valve Metal

Valves, or valve pistons, are the main moving parts of a trumpet. Since the player pushes down on these to play different notes, how easy it is for the player to press these down is a good indicating factor of the trumpet’s quality. Nickel-plated valves are often found in student trumpets, as they’re durable and tolerant of infrequent cleanings. The critical factor with valves is that they play quickly, easily, and smoothly. If you’re purchasing a trumpet in-person, evaluate the quality of the valves on your own. If you’re purchasing the trumpet from an online retailer, such as Music & Arts, read the product descriptions and, if you’re purchasing for a beginner, keep an eye out for nickel-plated valves. If you’re purchasing an intermediate model, the valves are typically made from Monel alloy.

Bach 180S37 Stradivarius Series Bb Trumpet The Bach Stradivarius 180S37 Silver Professional Bb Trumpet offers depth and color of sound, coupled with the even intonation and response a professional player needs. Good for all-around playing, this Bach 180 Strad Pro Trumpet features a standard weight body and #37 bell, plus a standard construction #25 mouthpipe in silver finish. The most popular Bach Stradivarius trumpet available today is the 180S37 with a yellow brass bell. Learn More.

Trumpet Finishes

While all trumpets are manufactured from durable brass, there are a number of different finishes to choose from, the most common being a clear lacquer finish. Clear lacquer finishes are quite common, and available in student, intermediate, and professional models. Another type of finish is silver-plate. Typically considered better than lacquer, silver-plated finishes are thinner than lacquer and allow the metal molecules to vibrate and ring more. Silver-plated finishes are flashier than their lacquered counterparts, which can influence some students to practice their instrument more often. Finally, gold-plating is only available on professional-grade trumpets and slightly darkens the overall tone.

Yamaha YTR-8335RS Xeno Series Bb Trumpet Standard The YTR-8335RS achieves smooth resistance and airflow that only a reverse tuning slide design can offer, for easy, comfortable playability and harmonically rich tone. The mouthpiece receiver design has been improved to deliver brighter, warmer tone. In addition to a relatively heavy mouthpiece receiver, the YTR-8335RS features a single main tuning slide brace and a finger ring design that result in an ideal balance between great playability and wide range of tonal expression. Learn More.

Trumpet Accessories

Once you purchase a trumpet for your child, you’ll also have to purchase a handful of accessories that are important for casual players and professionals alike, including mouthpieces, mutes, and trumpet cases. Although a trumpet will most likely come with a mouthpiece, purchasing a few extras is a good idea. Mutes, which are designed to change the tone and quality of the trumpet’s sound, are typically used by jazz musicians, although virtually every trumpet player will find a mute to be useful. Since trumpets are vulnerable to scratches and dings, especially if they’ll be played by a child, purchasing a sturdy case is highly recommended. To save yourself some cash, consider purchasing a trumpet that’s bundled together with a sturdy case and other important accessories.

Bach Mega Tone Trumpet Mouthpiece Mega Tone mouthpieces are based on the classic Vincent Bach designs, but feature more than twice the mass of ordinary models. This results in a darker sound that is cherished by many jazz and symphonic players. They also feature a slightly larger throat affords less resistance and greater flexibility resulting in warmer, more powerful sound, and greater dynamic range without distortion. Learn More.

Used vs. New

In many cases, purchasing a previously owned trumpet is fine, as long as the previous owner took good care of the instrument. When purchasing a refurbished or like-new trumpet, make sure it’s in good condition. While sites like eBay are chock full of used trumpets, you should proceed with caution- since you can’t see the instrument and you don’t personally know the seller, only purchase from eBay as a last resort. In most cases, purchasing a new trumpet is your best bet. If you aren’t sure about your child’s commitment to the instrument, renting a trumpet is another option. In some cases, you can even participate in a rent-to-own program, where each monthly rental payment goes towards the cost of the instrument and, once the trumpet is paid in full, it’s yours to own. For sanitary purposes, many experts recommend purchasing new mouthpieces.

Bach Standard Series Trumpet Mouthpiece in Silver Bach Standard Series mouthpieces are some of the most popular mouthpieces in the world among both students and professionals. They are categorized from large to small diameters numerically, and from the deepest to the shallowest cup alphabetically. Model 1 Bach Standard Series mouthpieces are the largest cup diameter, and letter A cups are the deepest. Learn More.


Trumpet Storage & Care

Once you purchase a trumpet, it’s important to keep it in top shape through proper cleaning, regular upkeep, and safe storage. Trumpets may be more resistant to humidity than other instruments, but proper care should be taken to avoid exposing the instrument to extreme temperatures. Although cleaning the outside of a trumpet is important, trumpet owners should pay more attention to cleaning and oiling the instrument on a regular basis. When it comes to oiling and greasing the instrument, you’ll need to purchase valve oil and slide grease. If your child is new to playing the trumpet, have their music instructor show them how to clean and maintain their instrument. Finally, taking the trumpet apart and cleaning it should be left to the a professional, as amateur cleanings can actually be harmful to the instrument.

WolfPak Polyfoam Trumpet Case Black The WolfPak Polyfoam Trumpet Case offers a protective lightweight case that lives up to the WolfPak name. This WolfPak case features a durable 1200 denier external covering plus plush covered lightweight foam interior designed to offer excellent protection to your instrument. This case is a great choice for the student needing a light case. Learn More.


Need more info about brass instruments? Check out Brass Instruments: A Guide. 

Want to learn more about the trumpet? Check out this video:




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