Best trumpet accessories under $50
Every trumpet player will need a few things to support their playing. Yes, a place to practice where you aren’t disturbing people is great. More important, is keeping your horn performing it’s best and accessories that help you perform your best. Your trumpet and flugelhorn have a few, but very important moving parts. The piston valves have very tight tolerances or spaces between them and the walls of the valve cluster. This keeps the air flowing through the horn rather than leaking out into those spaces. Keeping your valves well lubricated makes your fingering more precise and protects your horn. Having the right tools to keep your trumpet and flugelhorn clean keeps it performing at its best. The must have accessories are valve oil, slide oil/grease, and cleaning tools.
Beginner Trumpet Accessories Checklist
Here’s the list of accessories that every trumpet player needs.
Trumpet Valve Oil
Trumpet (and flugelhorn) valve oil not only makes the playability of your horn better, but also is there to protect the valves and valve casing from wear. The piston valves and valve casings are made of relatively soft metals. Keeping a thin layer of valve oil between them will keep them from wearing and your valves slippery smooth.
When you get a new trumpet, after a short while, you’ll notice that your valves will start to stick. This is because a small amount of metal is wearing off the surfaces of the valve and valve cluster and gumming things up. After a short break-in period of a few weeks, you will want to clean your horn. See our step by step guide. This will remove the debris from the valves and the valve cluster. Keeping your valves oiled regularly is the cheapest insurance and best way to protect your trumpet.
What is trumpet valve oil made of?
Trumpet valve oils are all some formula of petroleum (like mineral spirits) or some blend of synthetic oils that the manufactures keep secret (like the formula for Coke). Old school valve oils had a distinctive smell and you knew it was made of, well, oil. Most players use synthetics for that very reason. The thing that will make the biggest difference is it’s viscosity. Think water which is thin (low viscosity) and maple syrup which is thick (or highly viscous). The thinnest valve oils are about what water is and they go up slightly from there (sorry, none are as thick nor taste as good as maple syrup). The viscosity affects the feel of the valves and how smoothly they move. So always get a thin valve oil right? Not so fast. The other thing that matters is how much room there is in between the valves and the casing. This is based on how much your trumpet has been played. For example, a slightly thicker oil may be needed for an older trumpet which will help keep the air flowing through the horn instead of between the valves and valve cluster. It will also provide the cushion and protection the valves need.
What Is The Best Trumpet Valve Oil?
Our top picks are based on years of experience, talking with other players, and the age of our trumpets. The “tightness” of your valves is something to think about as you pick what would work best for your trumpet, flugelhorn, or cornet. Also, your trumpet may be newer than your flugelhorn so you may need oil for each horn.
Hetman, Inc. makes a line of synthetic valve oils for different instruments. Joseph Hetman created a company called Muslwerks in 1988 and started making valve oils for different symphony orchestras like New York, San Francisco, and the Seattle Symphony.
Best Trumpet Valve Oil Overall
Hetman 2 – Piston. Designed for “average” valve tightness and a good pick for most horns.
Best Trumpet Valve Oil For Yamaha Trumpets
Many Yamaha trumpet (trompeta Yamaha) and flugelhorn players have found the Yamaha Synthetic Regular works great on their horns so this is one to try if Hetman’s doesn’t work perfectly for you.
Best Valve Oil For New Trumpets
Hetman 1 – Light Piston. The “thinnest” of their line and is best for horns with “tighter” valves. This works great for new trumpets and most professional trumpets with hand-lapped valves.
Best Valve Oil For Older Trumpets
Hetman 3 – Classic Piston. The “thickest” of their piston valve oils. It will both protect your horn while helping to keep a good air seal between the valves and valve cluster.
Trumpet Slide Grease
What is the difference between slide grease and slide oil for my trumpet?
Your trumpet and flugelhorn have two types of tuning slides. Ones that need to move and ones that well, don’t. The first and third valve slide are ones that you want to move smoothly and easily where your main tuning slide on your trumpet should stay where you put it.
A grease is best for the main tuning slide so you can move it for tuning and cleaning. Your second valve tubing needs to be lubricated so you can remove it for cleaning. Your first and third tuning slides (your mileage may vary because your horn might not have a first valve slide trigger or thumb saddle) will need something a little thicker than valve oil, but not as thick as grease. These greases and oils are important to keep your horn in great shape, but not as important as your choice of valve oil.
Best Trumpet Slide Grease
Hetman 10 – Synthetic Musical Instrument Grease. “MIG” for short. Use this on your main tuning slide, 2nd valve tubing, 1st and third removable valve tubing, lever spit valves, screws, etc. Its waterproof and prevents wear and corrosion.
Best Trumpet Slide Oil
Hetman 4 – Light Slide Oil. This oil is specifically designed for tight fitting slides like your first and third slides.
Best Slide Oil For Yamaha Trumpets
Yamaha Synthetic Tuning Slide Oil. For you if you like to keep things “all in the family” and treat your Yamaha trumpet with Yamaha products. This isn’t as critical as the valve oil for Yamaha trumpets as the brass tubing in their slides is the same as other trumpets.
Trumpet Cleaning and Care
Make sure you have everything ready to go to clean your trumpet. Pro tip: As simple as it sounds, make sure you have the time to do it right. See our How to clean a trumpet. Rushing is a recipe for mistakes and trumpets are delicate. “Delicate” as compared to the floor if you were to drop it when wet. The dented bell or crushed leadpipe you save may be your own.
Trumpet Cleaning and Care Checklist
- Cleaning Kit (with snake brush and other brushes)
- Microfiber cloths
- Valve Oil (see above)
- Slide Grease (see above)
- Spitballs (for daily use)
Trumpet Cleaning And Care Supplies
When you give your trumpet a good cleaning, you’ll need a bunch of supplies. Why not get them all in one kit? Yamaha makes an excellent one. YAC TRKit.
Trumpet Cleaning Kit
Yamaha Trumpet Maintenance Kit. Includes their regular synthetic valve oil, synthetic slide grease, a “snake”, mouthpiece and tubing brush, and a nice cloth.
Best Trumpet Microfiber Cloths
There are tons of microfiber cloths so how do you know which one to use when? By how you are using them, that’s how. Most any microfiber clothes are fine for drying your trumpet after washing by gently wiping. Bigger ones that you can find anywhere are good for drying your horn after cleaning.
The other use is for wiping down your trumpet after playing and applying polish after cleaning. This is where you want a softer cloth. These MagicFiber clothes are great for cleaning TV screens and other things that require delicate cleaning and they are perfect for the delicate finishes on our trumpets. This assortment of 6 clothes is perfect. They are relatively small (6 x 7 inches) which is perfect for wiping off your fingerprints and spit.
Best Silver Trumpet Polish
When cleaning your trumpet, you want to safely remove tarnish without removing the silver itself. Many polishes make things shiny because they have abrasives in them, and they are grinding off a layer of the silver. 3M’s Tarni-Shield Silver Polish has no abrasives. It is endorsed by trumpet manufactures. Before using any polish, you want to remove all the dust and dirt on the surface of your horn. This makes polishing the finishing step after you’ve completed our step by step guide on How to clean your trumpet.
Best Lacquer Trumpet Polish
Lacquer finishes on brass are beautiful as they let the metal shine through. They let the horn vibrate a bit more than silver plating giving a warmer timbre. The downside is they are more delicate than silver plating. This lacquer polish by Music Nomad is a spray bottle which makes it easy to apply. It has ultraviolet protection in it which will help protect your horn if you play outdoors.
For keeping your horn clean after every practice, there is nothing better than Spitballs. Most brass players laughed when they heard about them. They will keep your horn clean and remove spit and crud from your horn after playing. It doesn’t replace regular cleaning where you take everything apart. By using these, you get a clean trumpet without a snake. Well, not as clean as if you did a full cleaning like in our How to clean a trumpet guide, but lots better than if you did nothing. They’ll keep your horn cleaner and reduce the chances of “red rot” which is caused by the acid in your spit. “Red rot” is where the brass tubing of your horn corrodes and can lead to costly repairs. These are cheap insurance.
More Trumpet Accessories
The next set of accessories are “day 2” must haves. Meaning, you can get by without them for a while, but you will need to get them sooner rather than later. It’s been said that “practice makes perfect”. Unfortunately practice only makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect. When you practice your trumpet, you want to practice properly, practice the right things. Having the right trumpet method books are those right things. Having a solid, portable music stand lets you focus on your practice and performance playing rather than worrying about your sheet music. And you gotta have the right mute that the music you are playing calls for, right? Last but not least, you need to carry your horn safely and comfortably.
Trumpet Method Books
There are a ton of trumpet method books out there. Every teacher has their favorite method. Every band director has their favorite. And of course, we have our favorites too. This section is not to steer you towards one style of teaching or another. We instead present the classics. The trumpet methods that every teacher, band director, and player would recommend as foundational to every trumpet player. Take a look at the top picture on this post, those books are over 50 years old.
Best Trumpet Method
Arban Compete Conservatory Method.
This Music Study was created by Joseph Jean Baptiste Laurent Abram. He submitted it to the Paris Conservatory’s Committee on Music Study for Cornet. J. B. Arban was elected as Professor of Cornet at the Conservatory on January 23, 1869. This has been the “bible” for every trumpet player for over 150 years. It would take a lifetime of practice to perfect each and every one of the some 350 pages. That said, many have dedicated 3 months and were able to play it cover to cover. To perfect them however, would be a noble lifetime pursuit. This version is spiral bound, so it stays flat when opened.
Clarke’s Technical Studies
These studies are well known by every trumpet player. Just hearing them, you know where they are from. They will help you develop your endurance and strength while focusing on good tone quality by keeping your embouchure relaxed.
Take a listen to Andrea Giuffredi playing the “Second Study”. Notice how he effortlessly plays each one like a long, smooth note. Notice how his embouchure doesn’t change as he ascends and descends.
Max Schlossberg, Daily Drills and Technical Studies.
These drills focus on tonging technique, flexibility, and upper range development. This requires solid airflow through each exercise and register. Using these will develop your endurance and power throughout the scale and beyond.
Best Valve Guard
No matter how well you take care of your trumpet, your hands have oils and acids which will wear down the finish. A silver trumpet (silver-plated) will take the abuse longer than a lacquer finished trumpet, but both will be affected by your hands. Wiping down your trumpet after every session will definitely help. The recommended way to prevent this is to use a cloth when you practice or play. Unfortunately, this is not always possible (during a performance, marching band, solo work, etc.). The best solution is to protect the finish with a trumpet valve guard. The best one we’ve found is by Pro Tec. This guard protects the valve cluster from your hands. Additionally, it has a pad and protection under the two places you support the trumpet, the bell and the leadpipe. These are the two most worn areas because the weight of the trumpet rests on your hands and fingers there. See the diagram for the coverage areas marked “1” and “5”. What we also love about this one is that it covers the third valve slide where your hands also grip the trumpet. This guard lets you hold your trumpet in different ways such as having one or more fingers under the third valve slide.
Best Music Stand
What to look for in a music stand.
Whether you are practicing or performing, you need to support your music so you can focus on your playing, not your sheet music falling over. Having your practice trumpet method book at the right height will ensure your posture is correct and you are using your diaphragm to right.
What should you look for in a music stand?
- Portability. Storing it at home and taking it to school or a performance says it should fold up and have a case to carry it.
- Adjustability. Make sure the tray will present your music whether you are sitting or standing. The angle of the tray should be adjustable and lockable to support different material like your iPad or Arbans.
- Security. Not a German Shepard, but music holders. Make sure it has a way to secure your stuff. Nothing will mess with your playing than having a breeze blow your music out into the audience mid performance.
Best Music Stand – Overall
Gleam Sheet Music Stand
It adjusts from 35” to 55”, the tray is adjustable and locks. The concerns we have are the solid tray can be blown around by strong wind and the music holders could be stronger. You can overcome these by putting your trumpet case against the feet and use these clamps.
Best Music Stand – Lightweight
Kasonic Professional Music Stand
If you have to haul around your stand from home to school or performances regularly, this lightweight stand fits the bill. The tray is a set of arms rather than a solid piece like the Gleam above. It comes either with the stand, a bag, and a large clip for extra holding power or with an additional LED music light for low light performances. It adjusts from 18” to 41”, its tray is adjustable and lockable, and the included clip with the built-in arms makes for secure music holding. The concern we have is the shelf is only ¾” deep so thicker materials will be tougher to deal with. What we like, it’s right around 2 pounds.
What is a trumpet mute?
Mutes are called for during different parts of music scores by the arranger when they want to change the timbre (tone quality) and lower the volume. They soften the brightness of the trumpet and warm the sound. Funny thing, mutes are named for their shape and not how they sound.
Trumpet Mute Types
Humes & Berg Stonelined Straight Mute
This is an easy to blow through mute and is the most commonly called for mute by arrangers. If you dug through a bunch of trumpet cases and the owner had one mute, chances are it’ll be white with red trim. It’s the Humes & Berg stonelined straight mute. The sound is very well known in the industry.
Humes & Berg Stonelined Straight Cup Mute
When you were digging through those trumpet cases, if the players that had more than one mute, they would have a cup mute. Again, the most common one would be white with red trim. The Humes & Berg Stonelined Straight Cup Mute.
Vincent Bach Straight Cup Mute
If the second trumpet mute you found wasn’t the Humes & Berg one, it would be ta Vincent Bach Straight Cup Mute. The reason is, it’s plastic and super durable. How durable? Go look at the first picture for this post. The one sitting on the trumpet method books is over 50 years old and still works. Yep, that durable.
A practice mute is your gift to your family and neighbors if you don’t have a band room or dedicated practice facility. The more you practice, the better you’ll get so having a way to practice without bothering people is something to invest in. Regular mutes will lower the volume on your trumpet but they also add resistance to your playing. This item is the one exception to everything else on this list, it’s way more than $50.00 (sorry). You’ll find lots of “practice mutes” but the one that everyone agrees is the “one to get” is the Yamaha “Silent Brass” Trumpet Practice Mute system. It’s a “system” because it has an electronic pickup that you can listen to with headphones or feed in your favorite music to play along. The electronics modulate the sound it gets from your trumpet and reproduces it as it would normally sound into your ear buds. It lowers the volume of sound coming out of your trumpet significantly, some say as much as 90-95%. This allows you to practice whenever you have the time or feel like it, and that is priceless.
Here’s a full review of the Yamaha Silent Brass by professional trumpet player, Wayne Bergeron
Most trumpet cases are designed to protect your investment. That means they are strong, well cushioned, and heavy. Modern cases have room to store your mutes, mouthpieces, and other accessories easily. Trumpet bags while not as sturdy as a hard sided case, give you light weight, smaller size, and protection. Some of these Protec cases are higher than our $50.00 accessory limit, but they are protecting your horn.
Best Trumpet Case
Protec Trumpet Case – Pro Pac.
Protec instrument cases are a very well-known brand in the music instrument industry. They make all types of cases and covers to protect musical instruments. This case has a molded wood interior and is thickly padded. It has water-resistant, heavy-duty ballistic 1680 nylon. How tough is this stuff? In the Vietnam war, they layered it together to make shrapnel jackets for the soldiers. So if the exterior material was used to stop grenade fragments, this Protec trumpet case should do a great job of protecting your trumpet. Its straps have solid metal rings and swivel snaps. Best of all, it’s only 4.5 pounds.
Best Trumpet & Flugelhorn Case
Protec Combination Pro Pac Case
Another Protec instrument case that is ideal for carrying your trumpet and flugelhorn in one bag is this one. It has four mouthpiece slots and similar construction as the trumpet case above. It’s 7.5 pounds which may sound heavy, but try lifting your empty trumpet and flugelhorn cases to compare.