Reaching the age where you can start playing a musical instrument or join the school band can be a very exciting time for students! It is common practice when joining the school band for students to choose their instrument – or at least list their preferences. In many cases, the band director will demonstrate the different instruments so that students can hear what they sound like and learn a little bit about them, and often times there will be an assortment of instruments brought in for the students to try out to see if something clicks with them. One of those instruments is almost always going to be the trumpet.
Read on to see our recommended trumpets and trumpet brands for beginners.
Best Trumpet for Beginners
As far as trumpets go, one needs to look no further than the Vincent Bach brand, especially when it comes to professional models. They have been the industry standard for generations, and know all too well that every player must start at the beginning.
• Respected brand
• Monel metal piston valves
Best Trumpets for Beginners
This is our pick for the top 5 trumpet brands for beginners. One important thing to note is to stay away from instruments that are not associated with a brand or are mass-produced instruments (often from China). The lower price tags of these trumpets may look enticing, but they are often in poor working order, are very fragile, or come with cosmetic or even functional flaws because they have not been assembled with care. All of these flaws will make the overall experience much harder than it needs to be, and the last thing we want is for a beginning trumpet player who was very excited about playing to give up because of faulty equipment. A good rule of thumb: be cautious of any new instrument with a price tag under $200. Every so often there is a “diamond in the rough” among these trumpets, but don’t expect to find it just by chance when ordering one online.
The following list includes the best trumpet brands and models for beginners, as suggested by professional trumpet players and band directors.
How to Buy a Beginner Trumpet
The trumpet is the top voice of the brass family, and can be heard in many different settings – from the back of the music hall in orchestras, interwoven into the soundtracks to blockbuster movies, from the back row or solo microphone in jazz bands, and even featured in some popular music! The trumpet has three valves that can be pressed down in any combination to change notes. The typical school’s band will start up in either fourth or fifth grade (when the student is around ten), which is the time most people will first start. However, there are many players out there who started earlier. To name one person, virtuosic Australian jazz trumpet legend James Morrison began playing the cornet at age seven!
When someone has decided that he or she would like to play the trumpet, there are a number of ways to acquire one. Each way possesses its own set of pros and cons.
For trumpet players in schools with families on a very strict budget, some schools will have a few instruments in their inventory that the student can borrow. Usually there is no cost whatsoever in using a school instrument. However, since they are inventoried instruments being used by many students over the years, they tend to be in poor working order, beat up, and often missing some minor parts that affect the overall instrument without completely making it unusable (such as missing valve caps). Additionally, using school instruments means that your student might be sharing with another student at the same time. This doesn’t mean that they will have to sit out in band class while someone else is playing, but rather a fifth grader and an eighth grader might be using the same instrument during their respective band classes. The downside to this (hygiene aside) is the probability of not being able to take the instrument home to practice if your student wants to play outside of class, take lessons, or simply improve at home.
The second option, and likely the most popular current option, is to go through a rent-to-own program from a local music store. At the typical age for beginning band, students are often unpredictable, and what they might like, be very interested in, and excited about one day could completely change seemingly overnight. A rent-to-own program essentially has you paying a rental fee for the instrument, and once you’ve reached a certain amount of payments, you own the instrument. This way, if your student sticks with it, she will have her own instrument. Likewise, if he quits after a year, you didn’t pay for the whole instrument upfront. Aside from the advantage of not paying the full price upfront, this option is popular because the music store will supply brands that they believe are good. This way, there is no worrying about accidentally buying a really poor quality trumpet. One of the biggest upsides to this option, compared to using school instruments, is that your student will have an instrument all his own, without having to share it.
One thing to remember, however, is that renting to own will almost always result in a higher cost than the list price of the instrument. If your student sticks with it in the end, the total cost will be more expensive than if the instrument were just purchased. Another potential downside is that with some rentals, there might be hidden fees if, for example, the instrument is returned damaged. There may even be a fee to cover the cost of preparing the instrument for the next renter. A musical instrument is a lot like a car, in that once it has been used, the resale value drops.
The third option is outright buying the trumpet for your student. While it is the highest upfront cost, it can be less expensive than renting to own. The advantage of renting to own, where your student owns their very own instrument, holds true for this option as well. While this option can be a better option than renting to own from a cost perspective (if your student decides to not stick with it, there are ways to sell the instrument), it seems to be a less popular choice. This is perhaps, at least in part, due to the fact that most people don’t know what the most appropriate trumpet would be for their beginning student. This article will provide a list of some of the most appropriate trumpets for beginners so that this knowledge is available to a more general population. These beginning trumpet models can be purchased on Amazon, and there are links provided for you, along with some descriptions. Music stores also carry beginner instruments that they can sell upfront; some of these are on this list, too!
Another tip: some manufacturers have started putting brand names on their instruments to make them look more official, but just be wary of any instrument on Amazon, eBay, or any other site that comes in a bundle – with the instrument, a care kit, and a music book. It looks attractive to see it all included with one product, but these are mostly (though not always) very poor quality instruments. When in doubt, look at the reviews posted by consumers (1-star reviews can be very informative) or do a Google search on the “brand name.” If something comes up that verifies the instrument is of good quality, than you may have found a rare exception!
All Trumpets for Beginners
1. Bach TR300H2
The first instrument in our tied pick for the best beginner trumpet brandAs far as trumpets go, one needs to look no further than the Vincent Bach brand, especially when it comes to professional models. They have been the industry standard for generations, and know all too well that every player must start at the beginning. Skilled craftsmen have designed the Bach TR300H2 specifically for the beginning student – to meet all of the demands of the 21st century beginning trumpet player. Durability and ease of playing are essential features on a trumpet for beginners, especially younger beginners. This trumpet not only is made with these characteristics in mind, but it also is designed to accelerate the growth of the musician.
2. Yamaha YTR-2330
The second instrument in our tied pick for the best beginner trumpet brandThe Yamaha brand is regularly praised for its steady rise in quality since the company’s inception. This new student-line trumpet boasts an ease of playing, excellent durability, consistency, and the ability to produce a great sound, all of which are important features for beginning student trumpets. Where the Bach trumpets promote quick progress in beginners, they do not specify exactly how. Yamaha is very clear about an advantage that their YTR-2330 model has for beginners: this trumpet is specifically designed and tailored to promote a natural way of holding and using the instrument – a very important feature to have, as it will help keep some bad habits from ever forming! Amazon users call this trumpet “outstanding,” praise its great sound, and seem to agree that it is a great instrument for a beginner. One thing to note is that the Yamaha brand is Japanese, and though one Amazon user was thrilled with the product, they were not expecting the wait time associated with shipping a product from overseas.
3. Conn-Selmer King 601
The King line of instruments is known for being suited for all types of music, especially at the beginner level where the new trumpet student will be faced with all kinds of music– from his first notes to her first concert, and even out on the marching band field a few years down the road. The dual bore tuning slide (meaning one side is a bit bigger than the other), paired with the bell (which is specifically designed to help better control the sound), leads to an ease of projection and control that can only be achieved by top quality design and materials. Lastly, the King 601 trumpet is durable, making it an excellent choice for a younger student.
4. Bach “Aristocrat” TR500
The Bach “Aristocrat” line of trumpets is manufactured by the Conn-Selmer brand, and is a premium quality student-line trumpet. Like the Bach TR300H2, this trumpet is designed and proven to foster quick development in players who are just starting out. Amazon users have seen this trumpet last them a long while, serving them into their high school years. While the serious musician will eventually want to step up, the Bach “Aristocrat” TR500 is an excellent place to start, and will last a player many years, no matter what their long term goals turn out to be.
5. Prelude TR711
Coming in as the least expensive standard trumpet on this list, the Prelude TR711 (also manufactured by Conn-Selmer) provides an instrument made from built-to-last materials, is very durable, and is suited for beginners of all ages. While this trumpet maintains the high quality of all Conn-Selmer instruments, a lot of the production is outsourced, which helps reduce its manufacturing cost, which, in turn, makes it more available to players on a more modest budget.
6. Tromba Plastic Trumpet (Honorable Mention)
Earlier in the article, we suggested shying away from trumpets that come at a very low price. The Tromba plastic trumpet is the exception to this rule – but there is a catch. The first thing anyone will notice when looking at these instruments is that they come in a variety of fun colors – black, white, red, yellow, and more (this link takes you to their trumpet in blue). Tromba is a brand that makes plastic instruments (don’t get it confused – there are some color options that look like metal, but it is just plastic made to look like it is metal). No matter who you are, a plastic trumpet will never sound as good as a trumpet made with metal, so this instrument is not recommended for the earliest beginners, who are working on developing a solid tone. Even after they have developed a good tone and sound, however, we would still caution the student from using this as his or her main instrument. This would, rather, make a nice secondary novelty instrument, mostly for fun (and maybe a bit of showing off).
It is worth noting that this is not an exhaustive list – if your student’s band director or the local music store recommends a trumpet that isn’t on this list, it is likely to still be one of good quality. If you decide to vary from this list, but still order on Amazon, make sure to read many different reviews from all of the different reviewers, finding all of the pros and cons. While compiling this list, a fairly legitimate looking beginning trumpet brand actually had a low star rating and a review stating that the instrument did not come with any certification paperwork, and they could not call the manufacturer for any assistance. Also, there are some instruments marked as beginners on Amazon that are actually more suitable for intermediate players (one good piece of advice is to look
up the brand name on Google to see how the company (such as Bach or Yamaha) categorizes the trumpet, because it may not be what is labeled on a retail website.
Once again, we encourage you to stay away from inexpensive models, as they are very cheaply made, and often defective in some way. Stick to one of the beginning trumpet models from this list, visit a local music store, or talk to your student’s teacher to find the best match, and you and your student will be glad you did!
Once you are ready to upgrade to a better trumpet, check out our list of the best intermediate and professional trumpet brands.