Choosing a Trumpet

Should we rent or buy an instrument?

In general, there are three levels of trumpet: student, intermediate, and professional quality. Rental trumpets nearly always fall within the student category, and many families rent for the first year to avoid investing in an instrument before the student is ready to commit to playing it. But any student who practices consistently is likely to outgrow a student-level horn within the first three years, particularly if he or she is also taking private lessons, so it stands to reason that at some point, this student’s family will be contemplating an upgrade. Some choose to make this purchase sooner rather than later to avoid prolonging monthly payments on a rental instrument, and some music stores allow them to build equity towards this purchase during the rental process. But whenever you decide to purchase an instrument, you will face the following decision: Should you…

  • buy a professional horn right away and have done with it?
  • buy (or rent) a student-level horn at first, then upgrade straight to a pro-line horn if your student demonstrates commitment?
  • buy an intermediate-level horn and leave it at that?
  • buy an intermediate-level horn at first and upgrade to a professional trumpet later?
  • progress through the steps as needed: student, intermediate, professional?

I rarely recommend that families opt for the first option, for reasons I have listed below. But it is important to remember that any truly dedicated student will need a professional-level trumpet sooner or later in order to stay abreast of his peers, particularly if he is highly competitive or has decided to pursue music professionally. This is why, if a student is practicing seriously within the first two or three years, I do not usually recommend an intermediate trumpet, unless a professional model is out of the question. Those are the students that may later find themselves in a position of really needing a pro-line horn, and I have found that families are strangely reluctant to make this second investment if they have already upgraded once. Save your money, encourage your student to do yard work, and supplement whatever he or she earns in order to fund the best instrument possible.

 

What makes a good trumpet?

The most important features of any trumpet are its sound, intonation, and ease of handling. In particular…

  • Open partials should be in tune, particularly the octave Cs.
  • Notes that present special tuning considerations (for instance, fourth-line D and high G) should be close to pitch and easy to lip into place. (For a complete listing of these notes, please visit the Intonation page.)
  • There should be no “surprises” in the instrument’s intonation (for instance, notes that should be in tune but are unusually sharp or flat, or notes that sound extremely dull or bright as compared to the rest of the instrument’s timbre).
  • The extreme registers should feel free-blowing and not stuffy or pinched.
  • The instrument should play well at all dynamic levels, and should project without excessive effort.

The particular timbre of an trumpet is a matter of personal preference and the choice between specific instruments will depend largely on whether the player desires a more orchestral (bigger, darker, more open) or commercial (brighter, sizzly, more laserlike) sound.

Whenever possible, all of these factors should be tested by a qualified professional trumpet player, preferably the student’s private instructor, prior to purchase.

 

Mechanical Considerations

Not everyone has access to a professional trumpet player to test the sound quality of an instrument, but the manufacturing quality of a potential trumpet is often observable by a non-trumpet player. When evaluating a potential purchase, particularly if the instrument in question is a used horn, ask yourself…

  • Does the instrument have both a first and third valve ring or trigger to make tuning adjustments? Can the student move the third slide in and out with a minimal amount of hassle?
  • Do the valves move smoothly?
  • Do the slides close all the way? When you remove the slides, is it easy to replace them on the instrument?
  • Is there a stopper of some sort to prevent the third valve slide from falling out?
  • Does the instrument come with a mouthpiece? Is the mouthpiece of an appropriate size, or do you already own one that your student will play? Remember that a cornet mouthpiece will not fit on a trumpet, and vice versa. (More about mouthpieces here.)
Additional considerations for used or rental instruments:
  • Carefully examine the area around the valves. Are there dents in the valve casings? Is the soldering secure?
  • Remove and examine the valves themselves. Are they clean, or do they have stains? (Stains on the valves are not always a reason to forego an instrument, but sometimes they will require extra oiling.)
  • Remove the tuning slide and look down the lead pipe. Is it clean, or have mineral deposits accumulated and created lumps? Check the outside of the lead pipe carefully for any trace of red rot, which can accumulate on an instrument that has not been properly cleaned. (Red rot will appear as a series of rust-colored flecks on the metal.)
  • Do the water keys work? (Check round water keys in particular.)
  • Are there dents in places that might affect the playability of the instrument? (The lead pipe is of greater concern than the bell.)
  • Is there a great deal of rust or mineral buildup on any of the slides? If you purchase the instrument, you may need to scrub them gently with steel wool to restore them to optimum working condition.

If your prospective trumpet passes all or most of these tests, you are in good shape. If there are certain criteria that it does not meet, the student’s private teacher is the best person to evaluate whether or not it is still a worthwhile purchase.

 

Common Brands of Rental Trumpet

Recommended (listed alphabetically):
  • Antigua: In my experience, these play pretty well, but I have not come across one since moving to Tuscaloosa (maybe they are simply not as common in this part of the country). My understanding from the dealers I have met is that this brand was developed specifically for student rentals.
  • Getzen: Biggest problem is that the adjustable third valve ring seems never to stay in place. Good instruments overall, and comparable in quality to the Holton.
  • Holton: Good horns that play well, but I’ve seen some rentals with valve slides that stick no matter how much grease I apply. If you can find one that doesn’t have this problem, or if you want to take the time to thoroughly clean the slide, it’s worth renting. Some of them have saddles on the first valve slide (which is a good thing); others do not.
  • Yamaha: Yamaha is a respected brand and its student horns play well. I have never had a problem with student-line Yamaha horns, but they may be harder to find since Yamaha is very particular about which companies are authorized dealers of its equipment.

 

If You Want to Buy

What NOT to Purchase:

  • Anything that is rainbow colored, in any way, shape, or form. The color is a sales gimmick and the instruments tend to be dull-sounding and stuffy. Furthermore, some of these instruments are so faulty in their mechanical construction that reputable repair shops refuse to work on them. They can (sometimes) be replaced under warranty, but you are likely to end up with a second horn that has all the same problems as the first one.
  • Anything from Wal-Mart, Target, etc.
  • Giardinelli horns. Affordable, but not quality.

Student-Level Trumpets to Consider:

  • Blessing B1277 ($719 and up)
  • CG Conn 23B ($799)
  • Getzen 390 ($719)
  • Kanstul 610 or 700 ($784) (Kanstul reportedly uses the same parts on its professional horns as on its student line, so quality is consistently good)

Intermediate-Level Trumpets to Consider:

  • Bach TR200 ($1299)
  • Getzen Capri ($1120) or Eterna Series
  • King Silver Flair ($1149)
  • Stomvi Zenith ($1399)
  • Yamaha 4325 (the 2335 model, for students, has a reportedly weak high range) ($1199)

 

When should you purchase a professional-level trumpet?

Professional-level trumpets run in the neighborhood of $2000 and up, so make sure you wait to purchase one until you are certain it will be worth the investment. If any of the following scenarios sound like yours, you might want to reconsider:

    • Your trumpet student never practices, or practices only rarely.
    • Your current trumpet is in a constant state of disrepair due to negligent caretaking.
    • The new trumpet would be used on the marching field. A student’s best-quality trumpet should NEVER be used in marching band, at least until the student is in college and knows how to take care of it (and maybe not even then). Save the instrument you’re replacing and use that on the field.
    • The student has no interest in playing after high school, in any capacity.

With that said, a talented, dedicated student will be hindered by a trumpet of lesser quality. A seventh or eighth grader who displays both ability and commitment should have access to a professional-quality trumpet as soon as financially possible. Once you have decided that the time is ripe to upgrade, the following brands are worth a look:

  • Bach Stradivarius 180S Series (models 37, 43, and 72 are most popular, but the 37 is easily the standard)—Note that in the world of professional trumpet playing, the Bach 37 (and, recently, the Artisan Series) is the undisputed standard for sound quality among classical musicians, especially players with an orchestral emphasis. This horn simply has the sound that prospective employers tend to expect.
  • Blackburn Trumpets (custom-built with a price tag to match, but the players who use them swear by them)
  • Sonare (a relatively new brand; I have played their professional horns and was very impressed, but I have not yet met many pros that use them—since the price is comparable to the other leading brands, and many players just choose to stick with the standard)
  • Stomvi Elite Series
  • Yamaha Xeno, or any model in the professional Artist Series (Bach’s main competitor)

Remember that when it comes to professional instruments, minor details can make big changes in terms of personal preference. Your student, and your student’s private teacher if possible, should play on as many different instruments as possible before making a final selection. Two Bach 37 trumpets that should be exactly the same can feel (and sound) very different when played back-to-back.

On to Choosing a Mouthpiece…

Return to Equipment

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20 thoughts on “Choosing a Trumpet

  1. Crissy
    July 16, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Thank you for this most informative article. I have an aspiring young trumpet player starting high-school next year & will be playing daily as part of the school’s band (ensemble not marching band). He has been playing on a student instrument & we are ready to upgrade to a professional. In terms of dealers, I’ve been told to stay away from any store that also sells guitars but the nearest store that specializes in horns is a 2 hour drive from our home. Do I need to suck it up and make the trip or should I check out our local ‘music’ store first. They have the Bach model you recommend & provided that they have a professional in store that can help us (I called & they would schedule time to work with us) – is that ok?

    1. bmhendr1
      July 16, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      Hi, Crissy,

      Thanks for writing! In truth, the specifics of this article are always in flux due to changing market value and recent technology, but Bach does remain the standard for situations like yours (closely followed by Yamaha, which only deals with certain vendors and isn’t available at every store).

      Personally, I would choose a vendor based on how many trumpets were in stock. If I knew I wanted, say, a Bach 37 or a Yamaha Xeno, I would try to find a store that had at two or (ideally) three of that model in its inventory. This way, I ensure that I am not unwittingly buying the one trumpet that everyone else has passed over. It’s also nice to feel like you chose your particular trumpet; the students who take the best care of their instruments are usually the ones who tested a few, then fell in love with one.

      Driving to the store that is farther will have pros and cons. You’ll probably get a much wider selection, and if they specialize in horns then they might be pickier about what they stock. On the other hand, it’s easier to make an impulse purchase when you feel like you can’t just come back later.

      If I were you, I would (1) have the student play as many pro-line horns as possible before going to either store (perhaps there are other band members who have already made a similar purchase and would let him very carefully test out their instruments); (2) find out how many trumpets your local store stocks and then try those; and (3) visit the other store if you aren’t happy with what you find locally. In truth, I’ve bought almost all of my daily-use trumpets from local stores, and have never regretted one of those purchases. The most important thing is that the trumpet player loves the trumpet–if that’s the case, it doesn’t really matter where you buy it.

      Good luck!

      1. December 14, 2013 at 8:26 pm

        Hi, Your article was very informative. My daughter has been playing since 5th grade and is in the 8th grade now. She loves playing the trumpet and is very good. We want to purchase a good trumpet for Christmas, since she plans to play throughout high school and possibly college. We really like the Bach 180S-37 ML. I saw a used one for half the price of a new one on ebay from what looks like a reputable seller. The seller provides plenty of pictures, and it looks pretty good with a few tarnished/rubbed areas. It has been cleaned, slides are free, there are no dings/dents. Would you recommend buying a trumpet like this from ebay? Thank you for any insight with regard to used trumpets. Mimi

        1. bmhendr1
          December 30, 2013 at 8:22 pm

          Mimi,

          I very much regret not having been able to reply to your message before Christmas (I was on the road when you wrote to me), and I hope that you were able to find a suitable trumpet for your daughter’s gift. I’m going to chime in here anyway in case someone else reads your comment and has the same question, or in case you’re still looking.

          In general, I think eBay can be pretty reliable if you know what to look for. The horn you’ve mentioned sounds like it would be (would have been) worth checking out, so hopefully you went ahead and gave it a try. If I am buying from eBay, I am interested in a listing that has pictures (as in this case) and offers a description that seems a little bit personal (in other words, not a lot of filler copy that sounds like it came from an advertisement). I would ask the seller about a return policy, perhaps ask about why the price is so low, and maybe try to get an idea of what the seller’s background is. If you’re dealing with a professional player who has a website and a professional reputation to worry about, then you can probably assume that, at that price, the horn isn’t the best Bach ever manufactured (unless s/he really needs the money), but it almost certainly isn’t a scam and it’s probably worth what you’re paying for it. (Most pros want to maintain their credibility and would sooner underprice a horn than overprice it.) If you’re dealing with an amateur or one-time player who is selling an instrument, try to base your assessment off of whether this person seems to have any of his or her own impressions of the instrument, or whether they are just repeating the standard “Bach Strads are great” line. Remember that a couple of dents and dings might affect the sound of the trumpet–but then again, they might not. I purchased a used horn in November that is hands down my favorite horn I’ve ever played, and it has had major damage to the bell–but it plays so well that I really don’t care.

          I hope you were able to find a great horn for Christmas and that this advice proves helpful if you haven’t yet. Good luck, and thanks for writing. :)

  2. Dan
    September 2, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Great article! my son just started middle school (5th grade) and he joined the band. I’ve found a couple of Yamaha’s advance 200 that I would like to buy(they are almost new and available from former students that are now playing other instruments. My question is: Since I still do not know if he is going to like it, What would be the impact of starting with a basic instrument or a professional grade one? I mean I do not want him to get discouraged because he cannot get the right sound out of a basic one; or maybe getting a decent sound even if he is not that good. I see him very excited already. Have you tried the Bach Prelude? They are very inexpensive.

    Thank you.

  3. bmhendr1
    September 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Thanks for your question! I have found that the Yamaha line produces excellent student trumpets; one of these would provide a great starting place for your son. The same thing would probably be true for the Bach Prelude, though I would need to play them side-by-side (which I have not recently had occasion to do) in order to definitively recommend one over the other. (Although I play the Bach professional line, my gut in this case is to go with the Yamaha; as a used instrument it is likely less expensive and the brand is very consistent; previous experience has also taught me to prefer Yamaha’s student trumpets to most other brands.)

    Since your son is a beginner and you are looking at two reputable brands, you will be fine using either of these instead of a professional-level horn. The sound quality will be determined first and foremost by your son and his teacher(s), rather than by his instrument. If he loves the trumpet and practices in earnest, he will eventually get to the point mentioned above, where he really does need a higher-quality trumpet. But this point again will be determined by your son’s ability and work ethic; only a student who is really committed to the trumpet is going to fully appreciate the distinction between a student horn and a professional horn in the first place. In any case, hold onto the trumpet you purchase now–it will be an excellent way to ensure that the pro-line horn, if he ever has need of one, does not get used on the marching field!

    Good luck–I hope your son has a great first year!

  4. KS
    September 15, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Hi! I’ve been playing trumpet for about 9-10 years (technically a cornet for the first couple), and in that time I’ve used a Yamaha Advantage TR1. It’s in good condition, with no dents, no buildup of anything on the inside (I check and clean every couple of months), just a few scratches and places where the lacquer has rubbed away where I hold it; I’ve never had any problems with it. I didn’t think I’d keep going past high school so I never upgraded.

    But! I just started college and found that I couldn’t give it up—I’m in the marching and concert bands now, and am wondering if it would be worth it to buy a professional quality horn. I’ll probably need to get a used one, especially because I’m still sure I’ll never really go pro. Do you have any suggestions for how to find a reputable used dealer?

    Also, I use the mouthpiece that came with the trumpet. Would it be a more cost-effective upgrade to instead figure out which mouthpiece size/style would be best for me?

    (For playing level reference, if it’s important: I played the Arutunian for a concerto competition last year, and while I didn’t win I got the chance to perform it in concert. My extreme range is only to about a concert C6, and closer to an Ab for reliability.)

    Thank you!

    1. bmhendr1
      September 20, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      Thanks for your questions. I think the answer depends on why you want to change equipment. If you want to upgrade because you think it will make playing more enjoyable for you, thereby causing you to practice more and seek out new opportunities for yourself, then by all means invest in a pro-line horn if you can afford to. Find one that you love to play and then play it as often as possible–this will give you much more satisfaction than buying a new mouthpiece. I say this because it is quite likely that you have indeed outgrown your mouthpiece (especially if it’s a Yamaha 11C4/Bach 7C type of size; if it’s something larger, like a Bach 3C or one of the Yamaha models beginning with the number 14, then this may not be the case), but getting a new mouthpiece rarely produces the same motivational results as a new trumpet.

      I typically start with TrumpetHerald.com if I’m looking to buy a used horn online, because even if I ultimately purchase something through eBay, I can search the forum for other people’s thoughts about the model I’m considering and make a more informed decision. Depending on where you live, you may also have a local repairman who sells horns on consignment; Rich Ita in Georgia, for instance, is very well-respected in this regard. You can also buy mouthpieces on Trumpet Herald, but then you are limited to whatever other people happen to be selling. Instead, I recommend going to your local music store with someone you trust (coach, friend who is a trumpet major, etc.) and asking to try out the sizes they have in stock. Let the other person tell you which one sounds best; don’t trust your own ears since you can’t hear yourself from the other side of your bell. If this isn’t possible, ask some of your marching band colleagues about their mouthpieces and see if you can play on a few.

      In this process, it’s important to clarify your own goals: are you after a particular sound? Are you frustrated by something specific in your existing setup? Do you feel like your horn is not allowing you to keep up with your colleagues? Would it be more cost-effective to invest in lessons instead of equipment? The answers to those questions will inform your decision more than almost anything else.

      Good luck!

  5. Ken
    November 5, 2013 at 6:27 am

    Thanks for the informative article! When my son starting playing we did a rent-to-own deal which I thought might be good to mention. The way this worked was we rented a trumpet for two years and at the end of the rental period could apply our rental fees toward the purchase of a new horn. So basically after a two-year period we had saved up $650 that we could apply toward a new horn. This was through a local music store. I think the only down side to this is the trumpets that we had available for purchase. While the dealer carried some of the major brands like Bach and Yamaha he did not carry some others, like Getzen for example.

    It worked for us and my son got a trumpet he is happy with but something for your readers to consider.

    Thanks again for all the great information you provided.

    1. bmhendr1
      November 26, 2013 at 8:33 am

      Great point! Lots of music stores offer this option. Just double check that you know what you’re signing up for. My youngest sister played the trumpet for a while, but did not have my drive to acquire a professional instrument. Eventually, my parents decided they were tired of renting a student model, and since they had found a pro-line horn to borrow, this was not a problem. However, when they took the rental trumpet back, the store told them they had been renting for so long that they owned it! They gave it to me, figuring, I suppose, that I would eventually find a use for it. . . .

  6. apassionthatisthere aka Nick
    February 25, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Hey, I loved reading this article and I found it really inspiring in some ways. I am currently in the 9th grade and I have been playing trumpet for the past four years of my life. Though in some ways I am not the best trumpet player in the world I have a passion for the instrument that is unique and that only people that love music can understand.

    I am saving up my money, like a responsible young man (but I do have my moments like many others), and I want to try to convince my parents to help me in the purchase of a new trumpet. I currently have a Yamaha 2335 and it has worked for me great, but I am committed and dream of going on to the Boston Pops (hometown).

    My father played trumpet throughout high school and parts of college and though he does not play professionally he is very good. My question is, what would you say is good for a young, committed and inspired musician to get that is not overwhelming in price? With a little convincing I believe that I would be able to throw an argument towards my parent to let me get a wide price range, but I don’t want to make a wild purchase that wouldn’t be in the best of my benefit, considering most of it would come from my educational fund. Also, would you suggest a Monette?

    This means a lot and separate of that would you suggest any tips on how to get better! It would mean a lot if you could reply to this and I will be sure to tell you the outcome if I am able to succeed!

    Thanks!
    Nick

    1. bmhendr1
      March 6, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      Hi, Nick,

      Thanks for writing! It’s great to hear that you’re already thinking about how your current decisions might impact your future goals. Having this mindset now will give you much more time to practice and prepare for what lies ahead, and will increase your chances of being successful.

      Regarding trumpets, I would recommend finding a used pro-line horn in good condition, but this plan has some drawbacks. Buying used is more complicated than buying a new, because you won’t be able to compare multiple instruments side-by-side. Therefore, it helps to know what you want before you start contacting individual sellers. Figure out where you are most likely to find a large number of new trumpets in the same place (examples would include everything from major conventions, such as this year’s International Trumpet Guild Conference in Valley Forge, PA, to your local music store, or even a regional retailer like Dillon Music in New Jersey), and then play on as many different models as you can find. When you know what you like, you will know what to look for in the used market.

      You can find a used trumpet in lots of places. You could walk through some of the music schools in your area to see if anyone has posted an advertisement, or you could look at an online retailer such as Trumpet Herald or (again) Dillon Music (according to its website, this company sells used horns online only, and does not have them available at retail stores). Buying a used horn requires trust on the part of both buyer and seller. Some sellers will let you keep a trumpet on “trial” to see if you like it, but they are trusting that you will not damage it in any way–if you do, you will be responsible for the damage, which might mean that you can’t return the horn. On the flip side, when you buy online you will need guard against scammers. Sites like Trumpet Herald are generally safe because most of the sellers know one another and a scam gets noticed immediately, but be cautious with eBay. Be sure you know the exact terms of the transaction and will have a way to get your money back if the trumpet is not what it seemed to be in the ad. In general, I try not to buy on eBay unless the seller has provided enough personal information about his/her own experiences with the horn to make me believe that I’m dealing with a real person.

      Since you mentioned Monette, I’ll address that brand here: Monette is, of course, extremely popular in Boston, and it is certainly possible that you might need one if you were to realize your dream of playing with the Pops. But Monettes are also custom horns, which makes them far more expensive than most of the other brands you might be considering. I personally have changed my B-flat trumpet four times over the course of around twenty years, and a custom horn is a big investment to make when you have no way of knowing what your preferences might be down the road. For the money you would spend on one Monette, you could probably outfit yourself with professional-quality B-flat, C, AND piccolo trumpets, if you found good deals on used horns. For someone your age, this might prove to be the better investment–you can always buy the Monette when you have the job that will pay for it. :) (In the interest of full-disclosure, however, let me also state clearly that I have never personally played a Monette. There are several Monette artists whose playing I love, and literally I cannot afford to fall in love with the horns they use–so I have chosen not to take that risk.)

      I hope this helps with your horn hunt. The best advice I can give you right now is to find a great teacher and start taking private lessons, if you haven’t already. Teachers can be expensive, especially if they are also celebrated players, but quality lessons are worth every dime. (I’ve written some blog posts about selecting a teacher in case you need somewhere to start.) Secondly, listen to as much great trumpet playing as possible–there’s a lot of it in your city! Go to concerts and study the trumpet players. Listen to how they sound and then mimic the ones you like. Get recordings and play them before and during your practice sessions–this will help you to develop an ear for how you’re doing. Good luck! I hope it all works out. :)

  7. Leia
    July 8, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Hello!
    So, I will be a Junior this coming up school year and was wanting an upgrade from the beginners horn I’ve had since sixth grade. There is one on Ebay that has caught my eye. It’s a King Silver Flair 2055t intermediate trumpet. Is that a good, quality horn for $614.99? It’s not new, but is in great condition.

    1. bmhendr1
      July 9, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      Hi, Leia,

      Thanks for writing. I think it depends what you want to do with your new trumpet, both in the near future and after high school. Your decision should rest on a couple of factors: first, find out when the horn you are considering was made. King Silver Flairs from the mid-1900s are supposed to be excellent. The newer ones are supposed to be much less so. I can’t speak from experience because I haven’t compared the two side-by-side, but this seems to be the general consensus among the trumpet community. Secondly, consider what type of playing interests you. The Silver Flair is a very “commercial” horn compared to a Bach or a Yamaha–meaning that it has a brighter sound more suitable for jazz/marching/lead work than for concert band and orchestra. I do remember that this was the case with the one I played most recently.

      Since you’re playing on a student trumpet, it is probable that any horn you purchase will be an improvement over the one you currently own. If you don’t plan to pursue music as a major in college, it is also possible that the low cost of this particular horn and the improvement that you would see as compared to your current trumpet would make it worthwhile. You might even be able to sell your student trumpet (if you wanted) for a portion of this price, which would make this horn an affordable way to step up.

      However, I would ask the seller whether s/he accepts returns, and how long you would have to make a decision, especially if this is going to be your primary instrument. I would also recommend that, if you are looking to major in music in college, you seriously consider saving your money for a professional-quality trumpet. You are old enough at this point that buying an intermediate trumpet won’t help for very long–your future college trumpet teacher would likely recommend that you get something more advanced, and then you would have to go through this process again but with less cash in hand.

      I hope this is helpful; good luck!

  8. Lin
    August 29, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Thanks for your informative article. My son is 5th grade now and has playing piano for 5 years and violin for 4 years(he is still playing this two instrument), now he choose to play trumpet for 5th grade school band. My question is shall I got for a “student” trumpet or “standard” trumpet, as I am looking at a Jupiter 600L trumpet, but they have “student” and “standard” version for 600L. Thanks!

    1. bmhendr1
      September 7, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      Hi, Lin,

      Thanks for writing. My research seems to suggest that the “student” versus “standard” designation is based more on the website that is selling the trumpet than on any difference between the instruments themselves. I think what you are seeing is two different ways of listing the same model, rather than two different types of trumpet. If there were truly a difference, I Jupiter would have assigned the horns two different model numbers.

      Jupiter has made a lot of changes to its product line in recent years, and I think you’ll be pleased with this horn for your son. It is an affordable model that should work well for a beginning student. Good luck with the upcoming year!

  9. Julie
    September 15, 2014 at 2:59 am

    Hi, I was looking for a used trumpet for my son, and found one at a cash convertor, the brand is BESSON. Any comments or advise on this? Much appreciate your prompt feedback. Thank you.

    1. bmhendr1
      September 16, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      Hi, Julie,

      Thanks for writing. Actually, it’s hard to know, for a couple of reasons. The vintage models from this company (pre-1975) are supposed to be quite good. Given where you’ve found this horn, it is at least possible that it might fall into that category (the dealer might be able to tell you, especially if you just ask a simple question like when it was made without telling him/her when you hope it was made). It is, however, more likely that you’re dealing with a contemporary Besson, which might have come from any of a couple of different factories (depending on when it was built). Most recently, Besson has been taken over by Buffet Group, which has a number of manufacturers under its umbrella. Some of these, particularly Scherzer, are highly regarded within the professional trumpet community. However, contemporary Besson trumpets are more towards the student end of these offerings.

      Since your son is, in fact, a student, this may not make much difference. If he’s just starting out, and neither you nor he is qualified to evaluate the trumpet’s playability, I would recommend running the series of tests listed above under “mechanical considerations.” If it seems to be in good condition, and the price is reasonable (under $300), you are probably okay (they list new for a couple hundred more than that). You could probably buy this trumpet now, see if he likes playing, and get him to start saving up for a better one if he really takes to it. If, however, he’s already been playing for a while and you’re trying to switch over from a rental trumpet, I would keep looking. I’m not convinced that this would be the horn you would want to use to take him to the next level if that’s the case; although I haven’t played one recently, I suspect that today’s Bessons would feel more “tight” to a pro than some of the other brands out there. This would mean that, as your son advances, he would have to work harder to get the instrument to produce a full sound, which wouldn’t be conducive to long-term mastery. But virtually ALL student trumpets possess a tightness compared to professional models, so it shouldn’t be a detriment if he is a beginner.

      I hope this is helpful and gives you something to go on; please feel free to write back if you have any other questions.

      1. Laura
        November 14, 2014 at 7:32 am

        Hello, I am buying a trumpet today and need advice on which would be a better purchase.

        Either:
        Yamaha 200 AD
        Jupiter 200L

        I am purchasing the trumpet just to play for fun but of course I appreciate good tone. I used to play an olds ambassador.

        Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

        1. bmhendr1
          November 14, 2014 at 3:06 pm

          Hi, Laura,

          Personally, I have greater loyalty to the Yamaha brand and would go with that one. I do have a student who plays very well on a Jupiter, but I believe it is one of the more advanced models. Jupiter has done a lot of retooling in recent years, but Yamaha has had greater consistency over the long haul.

          Hope this helps!

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