Reasons to purchase a quality trumpet
There are a thousand potential reasons to buy a trumpet. Learning to play an instrument will not only add music to your life, but also enrich you as a person by giving you a fulfilling new hobby. Plus, playing the trumpet comes with a wide variety of new skills, such as reading music and improving your finger dexterity. Even if learning to play the trumpet doesn’t appeal to you, you may consider giving a trumpet to your kids – learning to play the trumpet can be the first step in their musical journey to even more instruments. In addition, a quality trumpet can be a unique gift to give your family, friends, or coworkers that will push them to try something new and enrich their life.
Features to consider when choosing a trumpet
There are a huge number of features that differentiate trumpets, both in how they feel in your hands and how they sound when you play them. Here, we’ll cover some of the most important features to consider when choosing a trumpet and why they matter.
The most basic differentiation among trumpets is the key they are designed to play in. Bb trumpets are the most common type of trumpet and a favorite among both students and professional trumpeters because they blend well in nearly all types of music from classical to jazz. For this reason, all of the trumpets we reviewed are Bb trumpets. However, it is worth noting that other keys of trumpets – C, E, and Eb – are available and offer different sound qualities that may be important for playing some orchestral pieces. C trumpets in particular are growing in popularity, and are often found beside Bb trumpets in the trumpet sections of large orchestras thanks to their brighter sound quality.
Type of trumpet
The standard trumpet has an elongated body that contributes to the overall quality of the sound and the movement of your breath through the instrument. However, there are other types of trumpet designs in addition to the standard design, the most common of which is the pocket trumpet. Pocket trumpets, like Mendini MPT-N, are more compact thanks to further folding of the tubing and provide a similar sound and feel to standard trumpets. Although they are not considered up to par for professional performances, pocket trumpets can be quite helpful for travelling trumpeters to keep up with practice.
Level of musician playing
The skill level of the trumpeter also affects which features of a trumpet will work best.
Many manufacturers offer trumpets specifically designed for new musicians – these have small bores to make it easier to get a full sound from the instrument.
These student trumpets are also typically made of less expensive and more durable materials, but provide a less rich sound quality than more professional trumpets. More advanced trumpets, like the Jean Paul trumpet
, typically have wider bells to provide a richer sound, and are finished with a gold lacquer to further improve the sound quality. However, these professional trumpets may be more difficult for beginning musicians to play well and are usually more expensive.
The bore is the inner diameter of the tubing, measured at the second valve position. Carefully consider the skill level of the musician when evaluating the bore on a trumpet. Beginners will have an easier time producing a full sound with a smaller bore – in the range of 0.46 inches, as found on all the trumpets we reviewed, except the model from Jean Paul. Larger bores, like the 0.49-inch bore found on the Jean Paul TR-430 trumpet, can be played more powerfully, but also require more experience with blowing into the mouthpiece to achieve a full sound.
The size of the bell can vary widely between trumpet models and has a significant effect on the sound that the trumpet produces. A wide bell – like the five-inch bell found on the Mendini MTT-L – can produce darker tones, and provides a mellow feel when playing on the instrument. In contrast, a small bell such as that found on the Mendini MPT-N, will produce a much brighter sound and can be easier for beginners to play with more power.
Gold lacquer is one of the most common types of finishes found on both beginner and intermediate trumpets. This is largely due to its relative affordability and the sound quality that it provides by allowing the metal to vibrate freely. However, some trumpets, such as the Mendini MPT-N, use a nickel plating that is somewhat thinner and can provide a brighter tone than traditional lacquer finishes.
The weight of individual trumpets vary from model to model, although weight has very little to do with sound quality.
Weight is primarily a concern when giving a trumpet to a child, since smaller children may have difficulty handling trumpets that are on the heavier side – especially considering that much of the weight of the trumpet needs to be held out in front of the body.
For better or worse, the trumpet body is not the only thing you’ll need to start practicing with your trumpet while keeping it safe. You will need to invest in a mouthpiece, and perhaps a case as well, if they are not included. Another useful accessory, provided with the Mendini MPT-N, is a digital tuner that can make it easier to ensure your trumpet is tuned before playing. Although these accessories can be obtained after-purchase for any trumpet, this will add to the overall cost of the instrument if they are not included with the trumpet body.