If you’re looking into getting started as a trumpet player, you’ve probably seen cheap Chinese trumpets online. These are called Mendini by Cecilio, Apollo trumpet, Eastar trumpet, Vangoa, Eking, Eastrock and many more. But are these cheap trumpets any good?
Disclaimer: This is our opinion at TrumpetHub. Your mileage may vary.
Why Are Cecilio, Mendini, and Etude Trumpets So Cheap?
The cheap trumpets by Cecilio, Mendini and so on are manufactured in China. Manufacturing costs in China are much cheaper than in the US or other Western countries, so these trumpets can be sold much more cheaply.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with trumpets manufactured in China. The Chinese are excellent manufacturers and many companies make use of the expertise and low prices.
From electronics to packaging and board game parts, Chinese factories make it all. The lockdowns related to the pandemic made very obvious how many companies globally depend on Chinese manufacturing.
Are Etude, Cecilio, or Mendini Trumpets Good?
So, is Mendini a good trumpet brand?
The Chinese-made Etude, Cecilio, and Mendini trumpets are of good quality considering they are cheaply mass-produced. They are not comparable with expensive professional trumpets, but they compare with cheaper student trumpets for trumpet players who are just starting out.
Like other cheaper student models, you will find these cheap trumpets lacking in range and might find the build quality to be less durable. At that price range, issues with intonation are also common.
The Problem With Cheap Trumpets
If you’re ordering a cheap trumpet, like the Mendini by Cecilio, you have a chance at getting a decent mass-produced instrument that will help you get started. However, you might also get a poor instrument with issues like stuck valves, missing parts, breaking springs, or worse.
For many of these sellers, quality control is not a priority.
But once you have the instrument and problems occur, things get difficult. If you look at the seller of these products, for example on Amazon, you can often find out where they are actually located:
This will make talking to customer service and getting support more difficult.
Where Can You Actually Get A Cheap Trumpet?
If you want to try getting a cheap Chinese trumpet, make sure you have an experienced player try it out when it arrives. You want to make sure it sounds good and works well, which you might not be able to tell as a beginner.
If you are buying a cheap trumpet, make sure you buy it via a reseller who accepts returns without issue, like Amazon. Your instrument breaking or not working well to begin with will still be a hassle, but you won’t have to worry about getting it refunded.
Jean Paul USA
What I do recommend if you want to buy a trumpet as cheaply as possible is to get a Jean Paul trumpet, like the Jean Paul TR-430, which is among our pick of the top 5 best student trumpets for good reason.
Jean Paul are an American company who get their trumpets manufactured and branded in China to compete with the low price.
However, they add an additional step when the trumpets are delivered: They have a pro player try out every single instrument to make sure it is functional. As a result, they offer a 30-day return policy, as well as a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty against product defects.
Lastly, if you want to get away slightly cheaper still, consider buying a used Olds Ambassador. These trumpets were made in the 1950s and 1960s and were high quality student trumpets then, and they are still widely recommended now to buy used.
See our tips for buying (and selling) used trumpets to find good places and Facebook groups to buy used instruments.
In the end, the debate whether or not cheap trumpets are worth it comes down to what you expect to get in a trumpet for $100 or $200. If you want a cheap instrument or even a pocket trumpet to practice while you’re on vacation without hauling around your precious “normal” trumpet, go for it.
If you’re thinking about getting a cheap trumpet because you’re not sure you or your child will stick with the trumpet in the long run and you don’t want to invest too much, get a used Olds Ambassador or a slightly more expensive Jean Paul TR-430. If the trumpet is eventually discarded, at least you can sell those on without issue.
Looking for a teacher?
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*!)
- See our reviews of the Bach 190S37 and the Jupiter JTR700.
- Find out how to clean your trumpet and how to fix a valve that’s stuck.
- Learn more about the different kinds of trumpets available.
- And read our Beginner’s Guide to Your First Trumpet Lesson!
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