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Published: Mon March 23, 2009


The modern 3 valve trumpet was first developed by Bluhmel and Stoelzel and is popular in school orchestras, jazz and brass bands.

The Bflat trumpet is the most common and so is the most sensible choice for the student or beginner. As with the flute, it requires good breath control.

Important accessories for the trumpet are valve oil and a cleaning kit to keep the instrument in good working order.

There are products available that can adjust volume levels of trumpets, such as mutes. There are even “quiet” brass instruments specifically designed for this.

What to look for

  1. The most common finish for student models is clear or gold lacquer. The lacquer protects the instrument and is easy to keep clean. Unlacquered trumpets will look ‘dull’ and have a matte finish. They are harder to keep clean. Some players prefer a silver plated finish. These have a smooth rounder sound and a more regular response throughout their range. They tend to be more expensive and heavier. Plain brass and also nickel finishes are not recommended for health/legal reasons.
  2. Beginner trumpets should be easy to blow and have accurate intonation. The trumpet’s bore size affects how resistant it is to blow. Most student trumpets have a medium-large bore.
  3. The valve body is the heart of the instrument. Best quality valves are normally of monel. If buying a second hand instrument the way to check valve wear is to unscrew a valve top and let the valve come out about a couple of inches (5cm) and then try to move the valve sideways in the valve casing. If there is lateral movement (in other words if the valve 'rocks' from side to side), the valve could be worn and therefore would not be airtight. Another way to check if the instrument is airtight is to put water through it, and once there is enough water inside, hold it still and see if there are any drips. Possible leak points are joints, water keys and valves.
  4. A good mouthpiece is very important. If you get the right one you can keep that mouthpiece with you as you progress up the grades.
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