Updated: May 10, 2015

Trumpet Reviews and Buying Guide:

Jazz is probably the form of music we most associate with the trumpet, but this horn is one of the oldest instruments in the world. Silver and bronze trumpets were found with King Tut in his tomb, attesting to their worth. King Tut wasn't a jazz fan; these trumpets were used in religious and military applications as signals. Over the centuries, artists like Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, and Dizzie Gillespie have transformed the trumpet from a simple signal into a beloved foundation for a wide variety of songs. Trumpets can produce a broad range of intricate sounds - and buying one can also be complex. What type do you need? Should you buy one or rent one? What are the best brands? How much can you expect to pay for the trumpet and accessories? This guide will take you through the business of buying a trumpet so you can get on with the business of making music.

What Kind of Trumpet Do You Need? - There is no one-size-fits-all trumpet, and your choice will depend on your level of skill, your level of commitment, your preferences, and your budget. The first choice to make is relatively easy: do you need a student, intermediate, or professional trumpet? This will have a big impact on the price of your instrument. Here are some other factors to consider:

What type of trumpet do you want? B flat trumpets are the most common and have a nice range. These are the trumpets that are typically played in school bands and by players of all ability levels. Piccolo trumpets are also popular; their tubing is half the length of flat trumpets. Its tone is tight and bright. Less common are bass, slide, soprano, and pocket trumpets.

What type of metal is right? Generally, you have the choice between brass, which is gold colored, or silver. Brass is typically the material of choice for student and intermediate trumpets because the price is lower. Pros use either brass or silver, but silver is said to produce a "brighter" tone.

Next is the valves. Experts suggest Monel valves, which are hard and resistant to corrosion. They are durable, but they cost a bit more than other varieties. There are a variety of other features you will see, including: bore size (smallest diameter of the lead pipe), bell size (which usually corresponds to the bore size), first and third valve slide saddles and rings, and accessories, including cleaning supplies. If you're just starting out in the music world, asking a music teacher for a suggestion is a good way to cut through all the confusion and settle on a horn. As you progress, you'll know more about your style and what tools you need to play on the next level.

Buying or Renting a Trumpet - Buying a quality student trumpet can cost between $400 and $700; intermediates can go for $1000 or more; and professional trumpets - these can cost as much as $50,000 for a custom-made model. This is a huge expense for any budget, particularly for parents who don't know if their children want to play the trumpet for more than a few months. This is where rentals come in handy. Prices vary depending on the area in which you live, but a typical rental costs about $25 per month. Some companies have a three month trial period during which you can decide if you want to continue to play. If so, you simply continue your contract. This is money well spent for the student who expresses interest but doesn't know how long that interest will last. If your child (or you) are serious about playing, renting can be a good way to test out instruments, and many rental companies offer rent-to-own programs. For those who want to grow and improve, buying a trumpet can be a great investment for a lifelong pursuit. You can also buy used trumpets through local vendors or through eBay. RECOMMENDED - We suggest that you browse the best selling trumpets online here.

Best Trumpets:

According to HubPages, BrassReview, and budding musicians everywhere, the Yamaha YTR2335 is a great trumpet for students. BrassReview says it is "nothing fancy," but that it is a "solidly built horn that is excellent to learn on." The YTR2335 is a standard Bb trumpet with a 0.459ML bore and 4 7/8 inch bell. The body and bell are brass, and a 7c mouthpiece is included. Experts say it has "surprisingly" good sound for a student model. Another benefit of this model is that it retains its resale value in case you want to trade it in. Yamaha is a widely respected name in the music industry, so you can be assured you are getting a good, serviceable piece. Would Louie Armstrong have played on it? Sure; musicians play and can make magic with even a basic tool like this. A great place to start. The Yamaha is about $950 for the brass model and $1040 for the silver. See all top rated Yamaha trumpets here. Another great brand for any level from student to professional is Bach. HubPages recommends the Bach TR300, which features 0.459ML bore, 4 3/4 inch two-piece bell with rim wire, nylon valve guides (one-point) with Monel metal, one-piece brass valve casing, first valve slide thumb hook, enclosed bronze valve with barrel shape, adjustable slide finger ring third valve with mechanism for stopping, silver nickel mouthpiece receiver, two waterkeys, brass turning slide receivers, lacquered finish, Vincent Bach mouthpiece, and carrying case. This is a broad range of features that are exceptional for the price. New, the Bach is about $790 (view Bach trumpets here). Many experts say that you are better to skip the intermediate category altogether because the distinction only adds a few features but adds a whole lot of cost. Student models made by Bach, Yamaha, Schilke, Getzen, and Kanstul will do perfectly well while keeping your budget in check. Don't forget to scour eBay, Craig's List, and other used equipment sites. Let's take a look at one of the best pro trumpets in the world, the Bach 180S37 Stradivarius Bb Trumpet 37 Bell. Bach Strads, as they are called, are among the most sought-after trumpets in the industry. This model features a #37 one piece, hand hammered bell, #25 7c mouthpiece, 0.459 inch bore, and Monel pistones. It is an industry leader and a superb choice for any professional. It retails for about $3500. Playing the trumpet opens a whole world of musical possibilities. While high quality instruments can be very expensive, start at the beginning with rentals or used models. You can most certainly learn how to make magic with them.