When someone sets out to begin learning a new instrument the first steps are often the most important. For beginner trumpet players, the first step that everyone must take is picking an instrument. Without any assistance or source of information to rely on from the start, this can be very difficult.
If you’re about to buy a student trumpet, you may be filled with a variety of questions about where to go next:
- What type of trumpet is most suitable for a beginner and amateur player?
- What are the main differences between a student and a professional level instrument?
- What are the best models for a beginner player?
- How much will I have to pay?
- What resources are helpful for learning the trumpet and keep improving?
If you simply type “trumpet for sale” or “best beginner trumpet” into a search engine you will get a huge variety of results. You will find all kinds of trumpets in different pitches, sizes, shapes, and price ranges. If that alone is not intimidating, it gets worse.
Most beginning trumpet players do not know what makes a high-quality instrument.
Throughout this article, we’ll sort some of this out so that everyone can make an educated purchase or rental of an instrument that will give them what they need to grow as a fine musician.
Main Differences Between Student and Professional Trumpets
Several key differences distinguish a “student trumpet” from a “professional trumpet”.
Brass instrument makers often have different levels of quality with which they produce instruments. The instruments made of the highest quality materials by the best craftsmen cost the most.
These models are often called professional models and cost thousands of dollars. These instruments are appropriate for someone who is a “professional” trumpet player.
If you’re a beginning or even an intermediate-level trumpet player, it may not be appropriate to seek out an instrument of this kind.
And if the entry cost isn’t enough to deter young trumpet players, the fact is that many of these trumpets can be a bit difficult for younger players to master.
So we see then that there is a need for instrument makers to create high quality, but perhaps slightly less labor-intensive instruments for young students to play.
Student Trumpet Characteristics
There are not many types of characteristics that you will find exclusive for standard trumpets made for novice players.
For example, typically they have a .459inch bore, but that’s also true for professional trumpets. Also, despite that beginner trumpets are made from a thicker material – which can help them to avoid being seriously damaged, scratched, or bent – there are also several professional level category models that are made from extremely thick and heavy materials.
More of a focus is placed on providing them at a lower price, rather than attention to higher quality. This is because parents are generally more hesitant to spend thousands of dollars on a hobby that they are not sure whether their children will continue with or even really enjoy for the long term.
Consequently, little care is put into the manufacturing, assembly, shipping, and selling qualifications for student trumpets when compared to professional or even intermediate trumpets. They are also typically made from cheaper materials and have fewer features than professional trumpets.
Professional Trumpet Characteristics
On the other hand, professional trumpets use more expensive materials, provide more features, and have more rigorous manufacturing criteria.
Many professional trumpet manufacturers boast that every individual trumpet is tested before being sold to ensure that it maintains high standards and quality. They are manufactured with more care and with a focus on better sound quality, even if that means sacrificing price and ease of play.
What Types of Trumpet Should I Start With?
The only kind of trumpet a beginner player needs to be concerned with is a standard B-flat pitched trumpet.
A professional musician will possess a few different trumpets. They will play a piccolo trumpet, flugelhorn, Eb trumpet, cornet, C trumpet, and B-flat trumpet, among many others. However, those types of more advanced trumpets should be only introduced as the student progresses through many years. There will be time to learn new instruments.
For now, finding a reliable instrument on which to learn is the highest priority.
What to Look for When Choosing a Beginner Trumpet
Try to Test the Instrument
If possible, ask if you can test out the instrument before purchasing it. Test play a few notes (you don’t have to really know any, just buzz into the mouthpiece), and consider a few factors:
- Did you get tired quickly?
- Did you have to use a whole lot of air to create a good sound (or any sound)?
- A good quality instrument will make it easier for you to produce a decent sound.
Some things that also need to be considered before purchasing a trumpet are its mouthpiece, bore size, brass, and bell. These things can affect the ease of play and quality of sound, both of which are important in a student trumpet.
Check What Mouthpiece it Comes With (Or Look for a Separate One)
The mouthpiece is one of the most important trumpet accessories and, although you can purchase mouthpieces separate from instruments, you’ll likely not want to have to do that.
For beginners, a smaller mouthpiece is generally better. Smaller mouthpieces require less breath support, reducing fatigue and allowing you to practice longer without having to take breaks
We have a detailed guide about mouthpieces, their sizes, and how to choose them for beginners.
The type of coating or finish used
The type of brass, coating, or finish used to make the instrument may have an impact on your purchasing choices as well. Yellow brass instruments tend to scratch sooner and require more cleaning, so keep this in mind even when you see that they are typically cheaper.
One-piece or two-piece bell?
This is related to how many pieces of material, commonly brass, were used to create the bel section of the trumpet. Normally, you will find a two-piece bell for your new student trumpet. This is because the manufacturing process is quicker and easier for lower-cost instruments.
It isn’t a must to have when buying your first new instrument, however, note that a one-piece bell has clearer sounds when compared to trumpets with a two-piece bell
Best Student and Intermediate Trumpets
Any of the below-listed choices would make great starter trumpets for any beginner.
This is not to say that these are the only ones of good quality, but these are the ones that I have had personal experience with of being high-quality instruments.
Most of these brands have spent a lot of time and money on research and development for their professional-level instruments. Oftentimes the discoveries they make perfecting a professional level player’s instrument trickle down to the student models. It’s an incredibly cost-effective way to mass-produce great-sounding student instruments.
Below I’ve created a list of some popular and reliable choices for beginners and intermediate trumpet models:
Bach TR300 and Bach TR200
Jupiter JTR500 and Jupiter JTR1100 (Intermediate)
Getzen 490 and Getzen 700 (Intermediate)
You’ll also notice that some of these trumpet selections have the word “intermediate” written next to them. That is to specify that the instrument is somewhere in the middle between a student model horn and a professional level instrument. This is often reflected in the price.
This brings us to the next topic. How much money should I pay?
How Much Does a Student Trumpet Cost?
Trumpets aren’t in the top range of the most expensive instruments in a typical band. The amount a student trumpet will cost is largely dependent on the type and brand of the trumpet, the quality and where did you obtain one. Also, whether you choose to buy a used, a new one, or you chose to rent a trumpet.
A student trumpet can cost between $300 and $1,200 depending on where and how you obtain it, along with the quality of manufacturing, materials, and the brand. You can get instruments listed at lower prices on Amazon or eBay, but those normally are really low-quality and might provide the student with much more frustration than success.
Typically, you get what you pay for with band instruments, and lower-priced instruments are invariably lower-quality. If you’re willing to accept a lower-quality trumpet for the time being, then feel free to purchase one at a lower price.
However, there are some exceptions, such as in the case of instruments purchased second-hand and some brands that are just really good, such as the ones in our previous list. Some of the highest-rated and best student trumpets out there can be in the lowest price range.
How Much Should I Pay for a Beginner or Intermediate Trumpet?
The prices for new and used trumpets will vary depending on where you live. If you’re planning to purchase an instrument I usually encourage people to save some money by buying used instruments.
Oftentimes they perform just as well as new yet cost less money. Personally, I just purchased a like-new professional trumpet for a fraction of the price it costs from the factory. I’ve seen examples of the trumpets listed above go between $320-$700, in marketplaces like reverb, eBay, or Amazon.
Once again those prices will vary from region to region. This brings us to our next topic. Where to buy a trumpet.
Where to Buy Trumpets
I encourage a place that has a mix of new and used instruments to try.
Many of your local music stores are a great way to get going and I encourage you to support your local businesses whenever possible. But seeing as it may not always be possible I’ll give a few suggestions here.
All of these online stores offer great new and used instruments. I personally have bought trumpets from these places.
I would also recommend looking at one more place. There is a popular trumpet forum called the Trumpet Herald. Here, trumpet and brass players discuss a variety of topics and also have the ability to post instruments for sale on the marketplace. As a quick word of caution, buy at your own risk. I’ve had good luck buying some great instruments this way but occasionally buyers and sellers don’t stick to their word.
Helpful Resources for Beginners:
A young man playing the trumpet outside
Apart from the forum just mentioned above (Trumpet Herald), there are also other useful beginner trumpet resources. Whether you’re just starting to learn the trumpet or you’ve been playing for a little while, these can come in handy in the early stages of learning to play.
- The Black Trumpeter is a fantastic YouTube channel for tips directed towards beginner trumpet players.
- Trumpet Headquarters provides lessons, tips, music career opportunities and information, a place to purchase supplies, sheet music, and practice techniques.
- The Mystery to Mastery has a YouTube series on playing the trumpet, starting from the very beginning.
- Takelessons.com offers online trumpet lessons at flexible hours and prices, allowing you to view trumpet teacher profiles and select the person and price point that best meets your needs. Many of these teachers also offer in-person lessons for students who live in the surrounding area, and others are even willing to make trips to their students’ homes.
- Fiverr is a great service in which individuals can connect with others and purchase services. Our trumpet blog writer also teaches on Fiverr.
- Music Professor is another online course that offers self-paced, video-based trumpet lessons. It’s a highly rated program that can walk you through the process all the way from the beginning, although you’ll sacrifice the feedback of one-on-one instruction. However, this is definitely a way to gain some supplemental practice.
What Not to Buy and Avoid at All Costs
Remember that “trumpet for sale” search we mentioned at the beginning of the article?
The results were overwhelming. That single search will bring up thousands of trumpets for sale. The problem is that many of those trumpets are offered at a great price. Some brand new instruments are listed as low as $120. Let me say this, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
A few years ago I had a student purchase a trumpet from Amazon. The instrument was of extremely low quality. Not only was the sound and intonation awful, but some of the fingerings also produced the wrong notes! An instrument of this quality simply would not allow this student to progress.
If you have questions about the quality of a specific instrument I highly recommend calling a local music store and asking the opinion of someone you trust, for example, your trumpet teacher.
Should I Rent a Trumpet?
Many beginning trumpeters start in elementary or middle school. Many local music stores in your area may offer a variety of rental options for student model trumpets. For very young players I highly recommend this option.
The interests of an elementary or middle schooler tend to change quickly. A rental option may be a great financial option while a student decides how committed they are to the instrument.
We’ve identified the pros and cons of renting a trumpet, detailing all the costs as wells as the types of rentals that exist. Read this article for more information.
But if the beginner or intermediate player is older and more serious about practicing and learning the music instrument, then the best option could be to buy it in the first place. Even if it’s a used instrument, you will end up saving more in the medium to longer term.
Additionally, you can always sell the instrument used and earn back some of the money that you bought it for. That might mean ending up costing the same as a rental (assuming that your child decided they didn’t want to continue playing).
Takeaway on Buying Your First Trumpet
The decision to purchase a trumpet doesn’t have to be incredibly confusing or difficult.
To identify some of the best student trumpets, you simply need to look for a few key factors: sound quality, ease of play, the trumpet’s materials, and buying a student model from a well-known brand manufacture
Although you may have to pay more for a higher-quality trumpet, this will likely be worth it in the end, as better-quality instruments typically sell at higher prices.
Beginner instruments also differ from professional ones because they reduce the price rather than quality and emphasize producing a more reliable sound.
Overall, what you choose to prioritize in your musical journey is up to you. Just remember that, in the musical world, you typically get what you pay for.
This article seeks to answer all of your beginner trumpet questions, provide you with information on some of the best student trumpets, and point to a variety of helpful resources.
For students starting their journey with trumpets or also to intermediate players, we’ve also been covering several important topics regarding this popular band instrument: