If you’re an avid musician you’ll know that choosing the best trumpet for your skill level, the type of music you enjoy playing, and your budget, is essential.
Unfortunately, when faced with this task there are a number of considerations you need to take into account. Trumpets now come in all shapes and sizes, therefore, making a final decision can be very confusing.
To help you, we’ve created this buying guide. In it, we’re going to go back to basics and tell you what trumpets are, how they’re constructed, as well as share the different levels of trumpet playing and what differentiates them.
Then, we’ll go into the different types of trumpets available, how to play one, and of course, how to buy one. Lastly, we’ll run through some features you should look out for and share our favorite products that are available on the market today.
*Notice: On mobile devices, scroll right to see entire table.
Best Student Trumpet
Best Intermediate Trumpet
Best Professional Trumpet
Without further ado, let’s get started:
Before you go out and buy a trumpet, it’s important that you know exactly what a trumpet is. For those of you who aren’t sure, a trumpet is a musical instrument that once blown into makes sound.
While that may sound extremely simple, a trumpet is a complex instrument that requires a high level of skill to operate. It is part of the brass family and is also well known for its use as a signaling device, for example, during hunts or on the battlefield.
Here are the main parts:
The bore is the inside of the second valve’s tubing diameter. The larger the bore the more power it can be played with. The bore varies hugely depending on the trumpet and can be tweaked in order to create small variances in pitch.
While the choice is completely yours, the average bore size is normally between .450mm and .472mm. The size you choose will have to depend on the sound you want to achieve.
Also known as a leadpipe, the mouthpipe is the tube that runs all the way from the mouthpiece to the mini tuning slide. The type of mouthpipe you choose will depend on your skill level.
If you are new to playing the trumpet, we recommend you opt for a red brass mouthpipe as it will require less cleaning and will be less likely to rust over time.
On the other hand, if your an expert on the trumpet and don’t mind cleaning your instrument more regularly, yellow brass could be your best choice.
The valves, also known as the valve pistons, are a key part of your trumpet. Good quality, well looked after valves are what allow you to play smoothly and quickly. Once again, valves come in all a variety of finishes depending on your level of skill.
Nickel-plated valves are most frequently found in beginner trumpets because they don’t require as much cleaning and are harder and more durable.
Monel pistons are among the most popular and are most frequently found in intermediate to expert trumpets, but can be used by beginners as well. They require much more frequent lubrication.
Stainless steel pistons are not as popular but also work very well. They are also very hard and are most commonly found in intermediate and professional trumpets.
The bell is the best-known horn like part of the trumpet. While you should consider the material the bell is made of, it’s its shape that is most important.
Beginners bells often come in two separate pieces, however, it is said that bells made of one piece vibrate more uniformly. Opting for a bell that has been handcrafted could make all the difference to the sound you make.
The finish you choose will depend on your personal preference and also the sound you want to achieve. Silver plate finishes are much thinner and therefore ring more when played. That said, the most popular type of finish is a lacquer, but this is mainly for aesthetic purposes.
The best trumpet for you will completely depend on your level of experience. It is important that you buy according to your level of expertise, especially if you’re new to playing the instrument.
Most manufacturers design their instruments specifically for people who are new to playing the trumpet. This is because beginners are less likely to know how to clean their trumpet properly and therefore need a sturdier more durable model.
Not only this, they’re designed in a way that is more affordable with different specifications making it easier for the person to learn.
If you’re not quite an expert but fancy your shot at playing a higher level trumpet, then we suggest you opt for an intermediate model.
Intermediate trumpets have slightly more advanced features without the cost implications of professional-grade models. Typically, they offer a much richer sound and are not as limiting as their lower level counterparts.
Professional-grade trumpets are considerably more expensive but this is because they are made of the highest quality materials out there. They’re often handmade by extraordinary craftsmen and are seen as a work of art rather than a musical tool.
Choosing the best trumpet if you have mastered the instrument can be challenging because each hand crafted model can sound different. The type you choose will depend on the tone and responsiveness you wish to achieve.
If you’ve established which level of skill you have, you then need to decide on the type of trumpet you want to play. Here are some of the most common ones:
The Bb trumpet, also known as the B flat trumpet, is the most common type of trumpet on the market today. The B flat model is often used by children in school recitals for example.
Although C trumpets are not as popular as Bb models, they are commonly seen in orchestras. They are tuned one tone higher than their Bb counterparts and are slightly smaller. C trumpets are a great choice for expert musicians.
The E trumpet is another one commonly found in an orchestral setting. While not as popular as other types, it is great for higher tuning, makes fingerings more natural, and improves overall playing accuracy.
Eb trumpets are gaining momentum in the orchestral world. They normally come with an additional set of slides which allow them to turn into D trumpets. They also normally have a smaller horn.
A bass trumpet is used as a transposing instrument and is most commonly used by trombonists. They are normally tuned to C or Bb and are not a common choice for people just starting out.
The piccolo trumpet is awesome for musicians who like to play high-pitched parts such as Bach. They nearly always comes with an additional lead pipe as well as a fourth valve which make them an extremely versatile instrument.
As the name suggests, pocket trumpets, are ones that are more portable. Pocket trumpets deliver the same range as other types of trumpets but their tubes are wound extra tight, making them more compact. They’re not commonly used during professional performances.
Slide trumpets are great for slide trombonists making a shift towards the trumpet world. While not recommended for beginners, the slide trumpet is awesome for experienced jazz players who want to try something new.
Most commonly used in ceremonies, parades, and processionals, the Herald trumpet is a more eccentric looking trumpet with a longer tube that makes the bell sit further out than normal.
Learning how to play a trumpet can be extremely challenging. As with any instrument, mastering the art takes a lot of practice. We recommend you start by learning the trumpet fingering chart:
The best way to learn how to play the trumpet is to first learn where to position your fingers on the valves. Start by positioning your fingers up and arched with only your fingertips touching the keys in order to not damage your trumpet.
The fingering technique is when you press valves according to numbers on a chart. For example, when the chart says open, it means all the valves should stay open, when the chart says 1, the first valve should open, and so on.
Always remember than 1 refers to your index finger, 2 your middle finger, and 3 your ring finger. The key to learning this technique is to do everything extremely slowly and to practice as often as possible.
Now that you know everything you need to know about trumpets, you need to think about what model you want to purchase. Here are some tips on how to buy a trumpet:
Before making a purchase, you need to evaluate your skillset. Are you a complete beginner with no experience whatsoever or have you played for a few years? This will help you determine whether you need to buy a beginner or professional trumpet.
You may also want to think about where you want to take your trumpet skills. Is your goal to become a professional musician or do you just want to practice on your own at home?
Knowing what level of trumpeter you want to become will play a significant role in buying the right model for your needs.
The next step is to establish the style of trumpet you want to purchase. Ask yourself whether you want to be part of a band or if you want to be a solo trumpeter. If you want to be in a band, what type of band? A jazz band or an orchestra? The options are endless.
Buying a trumpet is a huge investment so it’s important that you take the following features into consideration when making your final choice:
The quality of your trumpet will be determined by the materials it is made of. Make sure that your trumpet is made with high-quality materials and comes in the appropriate finish. For example, traditional trumpet finishes include lacquer, silver-plated, and gold-plated.
The valves are the main moving part of the trumpet and should push up and down with ease. How easily the valves push down is a strong indicator of your trumpet’s overall quality. Nickel-plated valves are great as they’re durable and don’t require as much maintenance.
If you’re new to the music world then you may want to ask an experienced friend to listen to the noise that your trumpet makes. Remember that your trumpet should play well at all dynamic levels.
Most trumpets today come with added accessories, one of which is a case. This should be semi-hard or hard and come with a padded interior as well as smaller pockets to keep things like valve oil and cleaning gloves.
We’d like to share some of our top suggestions for this year. We’ve chosen the best trumpets based on beginner, intermediate, and expert skill levels so you’re bound to find something that suits your needs.
Here's our recommendation for the best student trumpet:
Our winner for the best beginner level trumpet is no other but the LJ Hutchen Bb Trumpet with Plush-Lined Case. Packed with a mound of features, this model is what most students dream of getting for Christmas.
The LJ Hutchen Bb trumpet comes with a professional sized bell and bore offering incredible expert grade sound. Not only this, these expert features allow for amazing resonance and intonation.
Designed in a clear lacquer finish with rose brass lead pipes, this trumpet gives young and novice musicians alike the chance to learn on an instrument that offers a full and clear tone.
In addition to all the above, the instrument comes with a braced tuning slide to maintain alignment as well as stainless steel valves, making them durable and less likely to rust over time.
Plus, stainless steel is known for its ability to provide musicians with a consistent performance no matter what their skill level.
Designed with quality in mind, this LJ Hutchen model is double-bench tested before hitting the shelves and also comes with a plush, lined hard case, Yamaha valve oil, and a standard size 7C mouthpiece.
And if all of the above isn’t enough, LJ Hutchen has put its money where its mouth is, offering consumers a two-year limited warranty with every purchase.
With a price tag of just under $250 with free shipping, it is no surprise that the LJ Hutchen Bb Trumpet with Plush-Lined Case gets our seal of approval as one of the best trumpets on the market today.
If the LJ Hutchen model above doesn’t spark any excitement for you, we recommend you check out the Jean Paul USA TR-330 Standard Student Trumpet.
Designed for beginners, the TR-330 trumpet comes with a larger bore that allows players of all levels to hit even the hardest notes accurately. Equipped with brass lead pipe construction, this model allows users to produce well-centered, warm tones.
Not only this, the lead pipes and similarly designed bell allow for a vast sound projection which makes being heard when performing in both indoor and outdoor bands that little bit easier.
And, if you’re really new to the trumpet world, this model features a 1st valve slide thumb saddle and a 3rd valve slide with an adjustable ring with slide stop. It’s the perfect instrument for any student practicing for their first recital!
Made of yellow brass with a beautiful gold lacquer finish, this Jean Paul trumpet comes with a robust carrying case with padded straps and multiple internal pockets as well as a 7C mouthpiece, its own valve oil, a polishing cloth, and cleaning gloves.
Here's our recommendation for the best intermediate trumpet:
If you’ve taken your trumpet playing skills a step up and fancy your chances using an intermediate level one, we recommend you check out the Jupiter Intermediate Bb Trumpet 1100S.
Made of a rose brass lead pipe, this model offers enhanced and warmer sound. Not only will you get an amazing sound from this model, you’ll also find it very easy to play.
It offers solid intonations and is packed with features that are normally only available on professional-grade models.
The reverse lead pipe configuration not only makes this trumpet perfect for students and professionals alike, it also allows for greater creative expression thanks to its free-blowing feel.
In addition to its 1st valve slide thumb saddle, it comes with an adjustable 3rd valve slide ring which means you can custom fit the instrument according to your preferences. With it, you’ll be comfortable to perform to the best of your abilities.
Designed in a silver-plated yellow brass, this Jupiter model is a medium weight, comes with stainless steel pistons, a .460” bore, as well as a Custom B1 bead 4.8” bell, and a wooden frame case for easy transportation.
While more expensive than its beginner counterparts at just under $1,200 the Jupiter Intermediate Bb Trumpet 1100S comes with free shipping and has received nothing but 5-star reviews from customers who have purchased it.
If the Jupiter Intermediate Bb Trumpet 1100S doesn’t tick all your desired boxes or has a price a tag a little higher than you’d want to spend, we recommend you check out the Yamaha Trumpet Bb YTR 2330S.
While this model is best for intermediate level trumpet players, it can also be perfect for beginners looking to start playing in recitals and bands.
Thanks to its monel alloy pistons, this trumpet is designed to stand the test of time. In addition to being durable, this trumpet has been created to resemble expert level models, the key differentiator being its lighter materials.
That said, the fact it is lighter makes it significantly more dynamic which allows for further creative freedom during the learning process.
Aside from its dynamic and light design, the Yamaha Trumpet Bb YTR 2330S comes with a two-piece bell as well as a thumb saddle and adjustable ring, all of which received incredibly high praise from customers who reviewed the product on Amazon.
Lastly, this Yamaha trumpet comes with a choice of a semi-hard or hard case as well as a mouthpiece. While it may not offer quite as much as the Jupiter mentioned above, however this model comes in at a fraction of the price at less than $700.
Here's our recommendation for the best professional trumpet:
If you’ve decided that you want to take your trumpet playing career to the next level and are ready to buy your first, and potentially last, professional trumpet, we’d like to recommend the Bach 180S37 Stradivarius Trumpet.
Aside from the fact that the Bach 180 series is among the best and most talked about in the musical world, this trumpet is said to offer exact intonations and incomparable sound.
Designed with a medium-fast taper you’ll love this trumpet if you’re a jazz or solo musician. Not only this, the 180S37 is made with a lead pipe which minimizes sound resistance and centers the tone down to a T.
Lastly, this Bach trumpet comes with a medium-large bore for a well-rounded sound that is designed to not put any strain on you even if you want to practice for hours on end.
The Bach 180S37 Stradivarius Trumpet has received some of the best reviews on the internet to date.
While it does carry a hefty price tag at just under $2,800, it is among the best value professional trumpets the industry has seen for a while.
Choosing the best trumpet for your needs can be challenging. As you have seen, you need to first consider your level of expertise and then establish what features matter most to you.
If you’re an expert with years of experience and a high budget, we can’t recommend the Bach model mentioned above enough.
On the other hand, if you’re on your way to playing in a band or performing recitals but aren’t quite there yet, the Yamaha and Jupiter trumpets are both extremely sound instruments.
And, for all the beginners out there, you won’t find better than the LJ Hutchen and Jean Paul models mentioned in this buying guide. The final decision you make will have to depend on your personal preferences.