Buying Your First Trumpet


Playing the trumpet is really fun! With quality tuition, a reasonable level of desire to play the trumpet and a decent quality instrument, many people have a fun time making great trumpet music (and making friends in bands). Some people say it may be more difficult than other musical instruments to learn, but we find if you can get a quality instrument that suits you it is no harder than any other. On the other hand with an inferior quality new trumpet, or a worn out older trumpet, you are not giving yourself much of a chance at all.

Learning to play the trumpet

Trumpets are versatile instruments. You can play jazz, blues, top 40, classical music and most other genres that you can think of. They sound great in lots of different settings.
Learning to play any instrument involves regular practice, developing correct techniques and habits and avoiding bad ones. An expert trumpet tutor will be your guide along the way and you should regularly check that you are progressing steadily. Try and make sure that the environment you are learning in, gives you opportunities to perform with others. That’s when the fun really begins! Trumpet players, even in junior bands often get to play parts that they can “show off” with. The trumpet section is normally the loudest in a school band – yay!

How does a trumpet work?

Simply, a trumpet is essentially a long tube that is wrapped around. It has a bell shaped flare where the audience is, and a mouthpiece where the player’s mouth is. Three valves operated by the right hand fingers alter the pitch in conjunction with the player’s airstream pressure and velocity. Where a sax or clarinet uses a reed to produce a vibration of the air column, a trumpet relies on the player’s lips and surrounding facial muscles to support the airstream vibration. Different metal alloys, gauges, internal bore sizes – medium, medium-large, large, extra large, reactivity and resistance factors and designs will respond in different ways to the way each player produces their own individual airstream.

Older Worn Piston

If the valves get stuck half way down, or wont come up, then no sound (or a terrible one) will happen. This is embarrassing when you are trying to play with other people and you will feel as though you just can't play properly. Older model valves were generally made from brass then nickel plated, or steel. Both metals have a reaction to the brass in the valve (piston) casing causing oxidization and other surface buildup and grime. Over the past few decades, better quality instruments minimize problems by using “monel” metal coatings or in some cases, valves machined from solid stainless steel. Subject to engineering and finishing quality being of a high standard, these valves operate faster, smoother and with minimal chances of sticking. Obviously, if a very cheap new trumpet has these valves, the lack of manufacturing quality will negate any benefit from the materials. Fast, smooth & reliable valves will be finished to very fine tolerances so that air disturbances are minimized – just like if you have a “sloppy” piston in a car engine – it is inefficient.

Monel trumpet piston


What is the best trumpet?

It is the one that is best for you at your stage of learning and playing. It should also help take you to the next or higher levels more easily. There are many brands and models of good quality trumpets – each one will respond, feel, look, perform and sound different for you personally.

Selecting the right, best or most appropriate trumpet

Like anything else, the better the tools you use, the easier they are to do the job properly. Better quality trumpets are generally easier to play, sound better and are more reliable mechanically. Because trumpet playing relies heavily on a player’s physical effort, the more help that you can get, the quicker your skills and enjoyment will grow.
Don’t turn yourself off! Just do it right the first time and you will enjoy learning to play your trumpet.

An instrument that is made with substandard quality materials or workmanship may be very cheap to buy and will be very difficult to play in comparison to a good quality instrument. Give yourself a decent chance by purchasing a quality trumpet. Good quality instruments retain value well. Good quality student and intermediate instruments have improved designs and have become more affordable over the past 10 years.

How do I know which model and brand to buy?

Ideally plan a visit to The Music Place and take advantage of our personal “fit-out” system which has proven popular and effective over the decades. Allow around an hour for this careful process. We will jointly identify the best and correct options for you and give you a “crash course” in trumpets.

Alternatively, if you are 100% sure about what you want or need, you can buy from our online store with total confidence.


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