The 10 Best Trumpets
10. Jean Baptiste TP483S
- comes with the common 7c mouthpiece
- medium-large bore
- not incredibly durable
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
9. Legacy TR750
- 2-year warranty against defects
- great for young beginners
- excellent alternative to renting
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
8. Jean Paul USA TR-430
- adjustable third-valve slide
- from a line of popular starter horns
- case is pretty bulky
|Brand||Jean Paul USA|
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
7. Bach Stradivarius
- for jazz and classical musicians
- even intonation and response
- less solid feel than other pro horns
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
6. Mendini MTT-30CN
- among the least expensive choices
- sturdy double-braced design
- includes 1-year warranty
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
5. B&S Challenger II
- very loud with a flexible tone
- excels in the upper register
- as expensive as they come
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
4. Yamaha YTR 2330
- great for advanced-level students
- the best intermediate model
- no maintenance kit
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
3. Yamaha Xeno
- crystal clear sound
- extra-heavy reverse leadpipe
- worth every penny
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
2. LJ Hutchen B-Flat
- multicolor lacquer stands out
- a fantastic first instrument
- individually quality tested
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
1. Schilke B Series
- the brightest and most bold option
- ideal for any genre of music
- large bore and medium bell
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
The Abridged History Of The Trumpet
The trumpet is a wind instrument in the brass family that is popular all around the world, and has been played for many centuries. While the modern trumpet usually consists of tubing bent twice into an oblong shape with an overall length of nearly five feet, traditional trumpets came in varied shapes and sizes.
Archeological evidence can trace trumpet production back some 3,500 years into ancient history, with instruments approximating a trumpet's design uncovered in Ancient Egypt, China, and other areas of central Asia. Biblical tales about trumpets being used to "blow down the walls of Jericho" are almost assuredly apocryphal, but they do confirm the existence of this wind instrument during that long ago era. In the early centuries of the Common Era, trumpets were produced and played in the Americas, with trumpet like instruments found in parts of Peru in particular.
Early trumpets were largely used for signaling purposes, conveying messages across distances or to be heard over the din of battle. They may also have been used in ceremonial or worship proceedings, but were likely not used in the sense with which we treat a musical instrument today. In fact, it was not until the turn of the last century that trumpets truly gained recognition as unique instruments worthy of being used at the center of musical compositions.
Long relegated to supporting roles by the major composers of the classical era, the 20th Century finally saw the trumpet getting its proper respect and enjoying an enlarged oeuvre of compositions. This rapid expansion of the repertoire produced for trumpet players was largely thanks to technological innovations that had seen the addition of valves to the trumpet.
Traditional trumpets had no way to modify pitch or tone other than by a player essentially blowing into the instrument with varied degrees of force. With the addition of valves common by the middle of the 1800s, the instrument was soon to help revolutionize music in the 1900s. Not only would the trumpet soon play a larger role in orchestral music, but it would take center stage in a brand new genre of music known as jazz.
The Trumpet Player
Trumpet Player is a poem written by Langston Hughes that both celebrates the man as musician yet laments the plight of largely dispossessed African Americans during the 20th Century. Indeed jazz music, that fiercely original American genre, was formed largely as a result of the separation between black communities of the south and the wider American public. A confluence of styles influenced early jazz, and these included Blues music, Ragtime, and European Quadrilles, to name a few. The genre developed in many areas, with New Orleans treated as the traditional cradle of jazz music. And at the center of many jazz bands was the trumpet player.
Perhaps the most famous trumpeters of all time remain those men that helped define jazz in the first place; giants such as Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie were not only virtuosic trumpet players, but also helped to define the nascent sounds of the jazz genre, with playing styles featuring everything from syncopation to a heavy reliance on improvisation to that intangible but indefeasible quality known only as swing.
The trumpet also gained greater recognition and use in orchestras playing more classical styles of music. A comparison between the works of Mozart or Bach contacted with those of a famed 20th Century composer such as Aaron Copland make clear the new respect paid to the trumpet. Copland's beloved piece Fanfare for the Common Man, for example, was scored primarily for brass and percussion instruments, a marked departure from the former's role as a mere supporting player in other eras of orchestral music.
Choosing The Right Trumpet For You
Choosing a trumpet comes down to two primary factors: your experience level, and your budget. Looking at the latter factor first, one should keep in mind that while it's easy to spend many thousands of dollars on a superlative trumpet, it's also entirely possible to buy a decent instrument for less than two hundred dollars. (It's not possible to get a trumpet worthy of serious play for less than a hundred dollars, however.) If budget is no concern, then by all means consider a high end, expensive trumpet.
There are many trumpets that are so-called student trumpets thanks primarily to their larger bore mouthpieces that make it easier for less experienced musicians to produce rich, loud tones even without the same breath control that comes with years of play and practice. These instruments are great for use in marching bands or large ensembles regardless of experience level, though they can lack the range and ability for tight control that a saxophonist in a jazz band might want.
Make sure to consider valve tightness and choose the resistance that's right for your playing style, and also consider how easy it is to swap out varied mouthpieces in case you ever need to make a change to your instrument.
Responsible ownership of a trumpet means being ready to spend some time on care and maintenance, and that starts with having a good case for the transport and storage of your instrument. If your trumpets does not come with a good bag, you should invest in one. You also need to make sure you have and use the right oil to keep it moving parts in good condition, and the right cleaner to keep it shined and tarnish free, but without risking any damage to the instrument's finish.