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A Beginner's Guide to Buying a Trumpet

Musicians who enjoy genres such as jazz and classical may be keen to invest in a trumpet, as it suits both styles perfectly. But with many different types available, they may be well advised to consider a variety of factors before choosing to make an inve
A Beginner's Guide to Buying a Trumpet

Choosing a trumpet

Musicians who enjoy genres such as jazz and classical may be keen to invest in a trumpet, as it suits both styles perfectly. But with many different types available, they may be well advised to consider a variety of factors before choosing to make an investment.

This is mainly because there are several different types of trumpets, as instruments such as flugelhorns and cornets form part of its family. While they all have the same fingering, key, range and basic design, there are a number of fundamental differences.

Differences between types of trumpet

They each vary in shape, length and bore size, and they all have their own distinctive and easily distinguishable sounds. For example, cornets are known to offer a much thicker, richer and mellower sound than other types of trumpet, many of which offer greater sharpness and brilliance.

Another factor to consider is the buyer's level of competence, as a flugelhorn for instance could be better suited to more advanced musicians. Looking at the specifications of different trumpets could help students or younger players decide which one is best suited to their needs.

The importance of bore size

Indeed, trumpets with larger bores can be more powerful than smaller alternatives. However, it takes considerably more effort to generate the desired sounds on these instruments, which makes them fundamentally more appropriate for advanced players.

Beginners and younger musicians may instead prefer to buy a trumpet that has a horn with small bore, as they will find it much easier to support a tone using one of these.

Most trumpet bores are sized between .458" and .460", so buyers need to look at what options are on the market and think about which is most likely to work well for them.

The importance of valves

There are other technical differences that need to be considered also, such as the trumpet's valves. These are a critical component as they ensure the instrument can be played quickly and smoothly. However, the last thing a student wants to do is take their prized trumpet apart, and this is why instruments for beginners typically have hard and durable nickel-plated pistons.

They can withstand not being cleaned regularly, whereas the monel pistons contained in more advanced trumpets require constant cleaning and lubrication. While this may make them more high maintenance, these are highly resistant to corrosion and can last for many years.

The importance of the mouthpipe and bell

One of the other key parts of the trumpet is the mouthpipe - which connects the mouthpiece to the main tuning slide. These are typically made from various types of brass, although rose brass is generally used in instruments aimed at students.

The final piece to consider is the trumpet bell. Both beginners and professionals will find that most bells are made from yellow brass. However, this is not a standard across all trumpets, as musicians could favour other options.

A rose brass bell, for example, can offer a much warmer and darker tone, while the way in which they have been constructed could also affect its sound and performance.

The best bells are a single piece hammered into shape by hand, but students may wish to opt for a machine-welded one instead, as recent advances in technology have made it possible for a one-piece bell to come off a production line.

Posted on 24 Jul 2009 16:11 to category : Tips and advice

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