Beginning Trumpet Buying Guide

Parents looking for a trumpet for their child need a good trumpet buying guide to help them. As a trumpet-playing band director, I have a unique perspective on what makes a good choice. Buying a trumpet can be confusing.

There are many trumpets on the market of questionable quality. Some of them are impossible to play well. My first exposure to such an instrument was almost nine years ago. A very conscientious student came to beginning band the first day with a brand new silver trumpet with a name that I had never heard of. That should have been the first clue.

After a month or so, I kept trying to get him to get a better sound, but as hard as he tried, he just could not make a better sound. Finally, I asked him if I could play it. I could not get a decent sound on it either. I started looking through the horn, and it was assembled so poorly, it could not be played well.
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On the outside, it looked great. You could not tell that it was a poor instrument. He went on to purchase a decent quality instrument, and his playing took off. Before long, he was first chair in a class of 45 beginning trumpet players.

Unfortunately, horns of that quality are becoming more and more common. One of the local repair shops calls them ISO's or Instrument Shaped Objects. They look like a trumpet, but they don't play like one. Sometimes, they play OK, but they just don't last. The only thing they are often good for is making table lamps out of them.

As a trumpet player, I believe every player should have a trumpet lamp, but not from an instrument you hoped to play. Low quality horns are often made of inferior materials and poor workmanship. If the large instrument manufacturers could make a quality beginner instrument for $100.00, they would.

There are many good horns on the market, but you need to know what you're looking for. Basically, I like most American-made trumpets as well as Yamaha trumpets and several models of French trumpets. Be careful. Some instrument companies will list the company as being in the US, but somewhere it will say that it's made somewhere else.

Most beginning band trumpets usually come with a Bach 7c equivalent mouthpiece, but most band directors will recommend a different mouthpiece. I like the Bach 5c mouthpiece. Other good ones include the Bach 5b, and the Bach 6c. Also, a quality valve oil will make the instrument last longer as well. I recommend a synthetic valve oil such as Hetman valve oil.    
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