The handouts below are adapted from my High Brass Techniques classes at Arkansas State University and should answer most questions about purchasing a trumpet or selecting a mouthpiece. (Note to A-State students: these handouts are not identical to the ones you received in class. Yours contain additional information.)

Choosing a Trumpet or Mouthpiece: overview of common brands, mouthpiece numbering systems, when to change mouthpieces. etc.

On Purchasing a Trumpet: beginner versus professional models, how to evaluate a used instrument, etc.

If you have a question not covered in either of these documents, I am pleased to be able to refer you to Alex Carter, trumpet instructor at Anderson University and adjunct instructor at Purdue University Fort Wayne. Alex was my graduate assistant for three years at Ball State University and is far more educated in the nuances of trumpet equipment than I intend ever to be. I consult him about most of my students’ purchases of used equipment and trust his judgment implicitly.

For those who are truly curious, here’s what I play on a regular basis:

  • Bach 37 B-flat trumpet (standard model, post-strike, silverplate)
  • Bach 229 C trumpet with 25H lead (silverplate)
  • Schilke P5-4 piccolo trumpet with Butler/Geyer slide conversion (silverplate)
  • Scherzer 8111 rotary piccolo trumpet (lacquer)
  • Bach Artisan AE190 E-flat trumpet (fixed bell, silverplate)


I do own a flugelhorn but have chosen not to list it here as I am not happy with the brand.

All of my mouthpieces (excepting the one for the flugelhorn) are Stomvi Flex mouthpieces, which I would recommend to any student ready to upgrade to a custom mouthpiece system. Stomvi’s customer service is exceptional.

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