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The Hidden Costs of Trumpet Ownership: How Much Should You Expect to Spend on Maintenance and Repairs?
What is a Trumpet?
A trumpet is a musical wind instrument belonging to the brass section. In its most common form, it has a flared bell at the front and is played by blowing in on one end and using three valves to produce different tones. Its tone is bright and penetrating.
If you are seeking to buy a new trumpet, chances are you already know a thing or two about trumpets. You may know that trumpets feature heavily in jazz and in orchestral music, but did you know that the sound produced depends on the trumpeter’s embouchure?
The embouchure is the use of lips, tongue, teeth and facial muscles in playing the trumpet. The trumpet is played by closing the lips, blowing air into the mouthpiece and creating a buzzing sound that creates a wave of vibration in the instrument’s air column.
The trumpet is an instrument in the highest register of the brass family, and it is one of the oldest instruments in recorded history.
What is a trumpet made of?
Trumpets are normally made of brass tubing bent twice into an elongated shape. There are many varieties of this instrument, but the most common is pitched in B and features three piston or rotary valves.
What does a trumpet cost?
Decent cheap trumpets start at roughly $200, whereas professional trumpets often start at around $2,500 but go up as high as $4,000. Good beginner trumpets that will last a trumpeter just starting out well into intermediary level are available for $500 – $700.
There is also big market for used trumpets where discounts of 10-20% (depending on condition) are not unusual. If you are looking at renting a trumpet on a monthly basis, expect rates of $20-$50 depending on the model and condition.
Types of Trumpets for Every Skill Level
Student trumpets are built to cover the basic needs of young or beginner players. They are made to be easy to master as well as sturdy. Many beginners are still quite young, so these trumpets need to be sturdy enough to endure the dents or bumps they are likely to face.
Intermediate instruments are made for serious amateurs and advanced players. They are less study in exchange for enhanced tone.
Professional trumpets can also be purchased for advanced players who have not yet reached professional level. These trumpets are the highest quality instruments available, and they are meant for those wanting the best possible sound.
Note: There are also some left-handed trumpets on the market, but most left-handed trumpet players do well with trumpets made for right-handed players.
In general, a beginner’s trumpet is one of many mass-produced instruments crafted by machines. They are made with more manufacturing compromises in order to reduce cost. Trumpets in this category are the Jean Paul TR-430 or the Yamaha YTR-2330 fall into this category. As the player develops, trumpets for beginners will eventually limit the player’s ability to advance.
Intermediate trumpets, as the name suggests, are an option between beginner trumpets and professional trumpets. They’re a better build than beginner trumpets and will last hobby players a long time. Trumpeters at a professional level might eventually find them lacking, though. A good example for an intermediate trumpet is the Jupiter JTR700*.
Professional instruments are made in smaller quantities with more specialized components, and they often feature parts shaped by hand. Pro trumpets are made to meet demands of highly-skilled players. In addition to better quality materials, they are also put through more rigorous quality testing. Trumpets in this category are the Bach 19037 Stradivarius* and the Yamaha YTR-8310Z*.
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Want to get lessons at the comfort of your own home? Check out the course Learn to Play the Trumpet: Beginner to Pro Made the Easy Way* on Udemy! (See their full trumpet course line-up here*!)
What type of trumpet should a beginner start with?
Professional-quality trumpets can be quite expensive, so you are faced with the question of how much money you have to spend to get started playing the trumpet.
A number of factors should come into consideration when deciding how much to invest in your trumpet:
How often does the player practice the trumpet?
If the trumpeter is not that enthusiastic about improving, it is probably not necessary to buy an advanced instrument.
Is the current instrument well taken care of?
If you or your student trumpeter cannot dedicate enough effort toward keeping the instrument in good shape, it is probably not the time to invest in a more expensive model. Younger children might be better served with a sturdy beginner’s model, even if chances are that they will advance quickly.
Will the trumpet be used in a marching band?
Trumpets on the marching field are much more susceptible to damage, so it is best not to use the most professional models for this purpose – at least until college.
Does the player have a genuine interest to play for years to come?
For younger players, their interest in the instrument may not go beyond their high school band. Others desire to play in college or professionally. If you are an adult who loves the sound of the trumpet, it’s likely worth it to go with an intermediate or professional trumpet. On the other hand, if you’re sending your child to play the trumpet to see if it sticks, get a decent beginner’s model (like the Kaizer C-Series 3000*) and upgrade later if your child wants to go on learning.
Factors To Consider When Buying a Trumpet
There are numerous factors to consider when finding a trumpet for sale. The following are some of the most important.
The trumpet should be able to play well at all dynamic levels. The specific timbre of the trumpet can be a matter of personal preference. Some players like a more bright and jazzy sound while others prefer a darker and bigger orchestral sound.
The intonation should be consistent, and there should be no unusually sharp or flat tones or notes that sound more dull or bright in comparison to the rest.
Ease of Use
The tougher registers should be free-blowing without feeling pinched, and the trumpet should project easily without excessive effort.
The best trumpet brands create instruments with smooth valves with first and third-valve rings or triggers for tuning adjustments. There should also be a stopper to prevent the third-valve slide from falling out.
Aside from their brass base, most trumpet models are available with an additional finish. A lacquer finish is sprayed and baked on to the trumpet. It adds a darker sound. A silver-plating finish is applied by electroplating and brightens the sound slightly. The finish of silver trumpets is more durable than a lacquer finish. A gold plating darkens the sound slightly. It is only found on professional trumpets.
The price of the instrument will often reflect its quality. While quality instruments can be found in the intermediate price ranges, those with higher prices tend to offer the best playing experience.
Finding the Best Trumpet for Your Particular Needs
When picking the right trumpet you must consider the player’s unique circumstances. Amateur players need an instrument that they can master while improving.
The best intermediate trumpet will help the player progress slowly with better quality. The Jupiter JTR700* provides great sound quality and intonation.
As for one an excellent professional trumpet, the Bach 180S37 Stradivarius* won’t disappoint. Bach have an excellent reputation when it comes to trumpets their Bach Strad will suits every style from the orchestra to the jazz ensemble.
Best Trumpet Brands
Bach is known for producing the most professionally-played trumpet on the market, the Bach LR180S37*.
The TR200* features the same classic quality features as top-of-the-line instruments along with its Stradivarius-style brass valve casing.
Conn offers a range of trumpets for intermediate to advanced skill levels. The Conn 52BSP CONNstellation* produces a rich dark sound and features a large bore for enhanced tone and resonance.
It is a powerful instrument that is simple to master. The Vintage One is also a quality trumpet that offers modern convenience with classic performance.
Getzen produces quality instruments for serious players, and the 590-S Capri* is an intermediate trumpet with space for versatility. The 900S Eterna* is a remake of the classic form with the same tone quality and blowing ability.
The 3050 Custom Series is designed for individual play, and it is a great choice for dedicated high school and collegiate players. It provides a brilliant tone with appropriate resistance and exceptional intonation.
Kanstul trumpets are known for their dark tone production and heavy build. The 1000 Series* is a reproduction of the classic Elden Benge trumpets. It is a versatile model that produces full sounds in the middle and brighter tones in its higher register. The 700 Series* is an inexpensive horn with capabilities of a professional model.
Schilke’s most popular trumpet is the lightweight B series. They are known for being very responsive with a brilliant sound and impressive intonation. The B series trumpets are very well-made with hand fitting and adjustments.
In comparison to other brands they provide some of the best quality in terms of dollars spent. The Schilke B1* features a medium-large bore with a large bell that is free blowing as well as versatile.
Yamaha trumpets feature a construction quality that is exceptional, and their instruments are consistent from piece to piece. They feature models of all weight classes, and the Xeno YTR-8335RGS is their own version of the coveted Bach 180S37 Stradivarius*.
The 8310Z* is an easy instrument designed with the help of jazz trumpeter Bobby Shew. Their Artist model trumpets are designed by the highest quality standards, and they are meant for top orchestral professionals.
What to Avoid When Buying a Trumpet
There are a few rules to remember when purchasing quality trumpets. You should avoid products from retail stores as well as those with a flashy appearance.
These tend to be dull-sounding with faulty mechanics. The best student trumpets are typically affordable, but it may be hard to distinguish between those that are actually worth your investment.
In order to keep a trumpet in working order the player should keep a variety of accessories on hand. Carrying extras such as cases, valve oil, mouthpieces, brushes and cloths makes upkeep much more convenient.
Provides a comfortable rim to place the lips while playing. A mouthpiece brush helps keep this clean.
An included trumpet bag or case may be good for home storage, but when the instrument will be transported it should be kept in a sturdy hard case.
This is essential for keeping valves fluid for easy playing. It may also protect against bacterial growth. Find out more in How to Fix Sticky Trumpet Valves & Other Common Problems.
A cleaning snake helps remove debris from the tube of the trumpet. Cleaning cloths help it retain its external luster.
Q: Is it better to rent or buy?
A: If you are certain that you or your student is set on learning the instrument, it may be a good idea to buy a trumpet if it is higher-quality. If it may just be a passing hobby, or you plan to stay in the beginner range, it may be wiser to rent. Find out more about this conundrum in My First Trumpet: Rent or Buy?
Q: Should I start out with a professional trumpet?
A: There are benefits to both professional and student trumpets. If the cost is not an option, it does not mean a new player should rush to more advanced models. The beginner’s trumpet is made to be easier to use when one needs to gain familiarity with the instrument. It is also wiser to start with a less expensive model until the player is certain about continuing as a trumpeter.
Q: Are intermediate trumpets really necessary?
A: For gifted players that show potential quickly, an intermediate trumpet may not be necessary. Usually players choose this option when an upgrade is needed due to enhanced skill but they are not yet willing for the financial burden of a professional trumpet.
Where to Buy a Trumpet
If you have tested a trumpet in person, you can usually find a reliable piece by shopping online. This may be a great option if you are just starting out and need to rely on student trumpet reviews to see how they perform for others.
Making the Right Decision
When picking up the trumpet it is wise to look for the best trumpet for you or your student. Having the ideal trumpet will ensure skill development and increase the likelihood of personal dedication toward improving and continuing to play for many years.
Younger players who are just starting out can fare well with student trumpets until their skill is greater than the instrument can accommodate. If you decide to upgrade to a professional-level trumpet, make sure there is absolute commitment on the player’s part.
Before investing the time, money and quality into a professional instrument it should be established that the trumpet will be played on a regular basis for years to come. However, should the trumpet be discarded despite all better judgement, you will still be able to get a decent price for it used if you look after it well and keep it in good condition.
Picking among the many trumpets for sale involves taking more than one element into consideration. No player should decide on an instrument based on appearance, durability or price alone.
Cheap trumpets for sale may fit a tight budget, but they are stifling to skill development in the long run. The top trumpet will be the one that meets the players specific needs. Each player will want and have a personal sound. Some may prefer a more commercial sound, and other players will aim to play orchestral ensemble works.
The setting where the trumpet will be used also comes in to play, so every aspect of skill and performance should be weighed heavily while researching trumpet reviews.
There are many good trumpet brands from which a player may purchase. The best method is to recognize that a brand will not guarantee satisfaction.
What works well for other players may not work the same way for you and your playing style. You cannot make a choice on brand alone, so it is best to experiment across brands with different models.
You want to make sure you have chosen a quality instrument for your skill level, so seek the advice of a professional player or instructor if possible.
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