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Shopping for a Trumpet

Finding the right trumpet can be a daunting task. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Trumpets come in "student" and "professional" models. Student trumpets cost less than professional models because they are made using shortcuts. For example, a professional trumpet will have a single piece bell, whereas the bell of a student trumpet is usually made out of two pieces or it has a slightly improved design called a "seamless" bell. While lower in quality, a student model can be ideal for beginning students where the likelihood of the instrument being lost, damaged, or simply not used is higher. For students, Yamaha's are the most popular.
  • Lower priced trumpets have a clear lacquer coating cost that allows the brass to shine through. The more expensive trumpets have silver plating on top of the brass that makes the instrument slightly heavier and gives it a darker sound. Professionals agree that in general, a silver trumpet looks nicer but doesn't play or sound substantially different from a brass one.
  • Selecting the right mouthpiece is critical. Mouthpieces are rated by how large the bore (opening) is, and how deep the cup (or bowl) is. Student mouthpieces have a smaller bore and shallower cup that make them easier to produce a sound. As your student progresses, you can keep the same trumpet but upgrade to a better mouthpiece.
  • When getting a trumpet, don't forget a hard case that can withstand trips and valve oil to keep the valves working well.

Buy or rent?

Buying a trumpet can be a good investment unless you are unsure if you will stick with it -- in which case you might do better to rent. Most musical instrument stores offer reasonably priced rental plans (with lower

payments during the first three months to encourage you to give the instrument a try). If you think there's a good chance that you will want to keep the trumpet you are going to rent, ask about a "rent-to-buy" option -- for a few extra dollars, it gives you the flexibility of a rental along with some portion of the monthly payment going toward the ultimate purchase.

Where to Shop
When shopping, compare prices but stay away from low-cost trumpets from major big-box retailers and discount stores. These are typically made off shore and most repair shops won't touch them if there's a problem.

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