What to consider when investing in a professional trumpet?
What are trumpet playing your goals?
If you are thinking about investing in a professional trumpet, you’ll want to first think about what you want to accomplish, what are your goals? Are you upgrading from your first trumpet? Are you looking for a trumpet that will enable you to play your best? Are you a professional trumpet player looking for a different sound? Are you looking for the best way to take your sound to the next level? Are you a “come back” player that used to play, and want to take advantage of a better trumpet than you used to have? Are you playing a type of music that doesn’t fit your current trumpet? All great questions.
If you are a parent…
I bet you are seriously saying to yourselves “Does my child really need a professional trumpet? They aren’t going to make a career out ot it ! “ Sound about right? A professional trumpet is a serious investment. When does it make sense? When is it a waste? Just because they want one (because their friend got one) doesn’t mean they need one.
The first questions to ask are: What are your child’s goals and aspirations? Will they continue on through high school and potentially in college? Next: Is the current instrument they are playing holding them back? They likely started in elementary school and used the bands instruments. These are designed for durability, not playability. Most children start with a cornet because it’s easier to learn to play. When they get to intermediate and high school, they will move to the trumpet.
If the answer is “likely yes”, it makes sense to invest. If not, then you have your answer. Not so fast, make sure to amortize the instrument cost over those years. In almost all cases, it’s cheaper than renting. More importantly, their talent will only be improved and enabled with a professional trumpet. Best of all the peer pressure (and pressure from the Band Director/Teacher) to play better will also push your child to practice more, not less.
By answering these questions, you will be prepared to invest in the top professional trumpet that best suits your playing and your goals. The question you are asking is, which top rated professional trumpet is best for me? That is something that you will be able to answer by answering the questions above. Armed with these answers, you can then refine your search for the “best trumpet for you” with the information below.
What defines a professional trumpet?
A professional level trumpet offers features and options similar to most other trumpets. The differences may be subtle but will make a dramatic difference in the playability and sound quality. All trumpets are made from yellow brass. How they are made is the biggest factor to consider. The bell, tuning slide, leadpipe, and valves are designed and built with a level of quality and materials that justify their higher cost. For example, the valve cluster may be built with nickel silver for better wear resistance and tonal quality. If you are a professional or advanced trumpet player, look for qualities that affect the sound quality, upper register richness, and sound projection. The main thing to look for in this case are the bell design, leadpipe design, tuning slide design, and finish. If your current trumpet is “stuffy”, going from a Medium Large bore size (0.459 inches) to a Large bore size trumpet is a knee jerk reaction. Understand this requires you put much more air through the trumpet to maintain your sound quality. This makes sense if you are a powerful professional trumpet player. Know that most modern professional trumpet players use a Medium Large Bore size. Stuffiness can be reduced by a larger back bore mouthpiece.
How is a professional trumpet designed and built?
The bells of professional trumpets are designed with different shapes, tapers, and wall thickness. These all affect the quality and projection of your sound. The way the brass is formed will also affect how the bell resonates. The best professional trumpets are handcrafted by artisans that use techniques refined over decades. The leadpipe design is a important as it shapes the sound coming from your mouthpiece to improve upper register “slotting” and tone. The main tuning slide design varies from a “D” shape to a “C” shape. One is not better than the other as the leadpipe, main tuning slide, and even the bracing of are designed together to complement each other. The design, construction, and materials (such as rose brass), affect the sound quality, projection, and how easy the trumpet is to play. You’ll notice this in the upper register when you increase your air velocity. It’s a delicate balance to perfect the free air flow while providing the right amount of resistance.
Which are the best professional trumpet brands?
Answering this question is like answering “which is the best luxury car brand?” The better question to ask is, “which top professional trumpet suites my goals?” The well-known instrument companies all have professional trumpet models. The best professional trumpet brands are the Yamaha Company, Vincent Bach, and Getzen. The Yamaha company was started back in 1887 by Torakusu Yamaha when he repaired and then created the first reed organ that was made in Japan. Yamaha’s entry into the trumpet world began in 1966 with the Yamaha YTR-1 which was their first brass musical instrument. Yamaha is highly regarded for the breadth of professional trumpet models in their Xeno series B-flat trumpet line. Wayne Bergeron, a highly regarded professional trumpet player is one of their performing artists. He co-designed the YTR08335LA trumpet and the YFH-831G Flugelhorn. The YTR-8335 part of their Xeno series of professional trumpets. The only line above this is their YTR-9335 line which are customized trumpets. All Yamaha professional trumpets carry a 5-year warranty.
The Vincent Bach company is one of the oldest brass instrument companies around. It started with Vincent Shrotenbach who was a trumpet player and was having trouble finding a trumpet mouthpiece. In 1918, he purchased a lathe to make trumpet mouthpieces. He started making trumpets in 1924. His trumpets were so highly regarded that professional musicians started calling them the “Stradivarius” of trumpets. This is in reference to the “Stradivarius” violin which is renown as the finest violin created. To this day, the Bach Stradivarius professional B-flat trumpet is one of the most highly regarded trumpet. Older models command high prices when resold. The Model 180-37 is arguably the number one, best selling professional trumpet in the world. This trumpet is most commonly referred to as a “Bach Stradivarius Trumpet 37”. Even though the “Stradivarius” name applies to many Bach Professional trumpet models and the “37” is the type of bell. One of the current top professional trumpet players Louis Dowdeswell played a Bach Stradivarius model 43G on his recording of Frozens “Let It Go” (see below). It features a Gold brass bell and a special gold-plated finish. The newly released model 190-37 is their 50th Anniversary model. They are designed and built like the early models from Elhart Indiana starting back in 1965. It features a nickel and yellow brass valve cluster, a one-piece bell, and hand lapped Monel pistons. All Vincent Bach professional trumpets carry a 5-year warranty.
Getzen Company was started in 1938 by T.J. Getzen. He worked at Holton, another widely known brass musical instrument company for almost 10 years. He started in Wisconsin repairing band instruments. Their first instrument was a trombone in 1946 with trumpets and cornets starting in 1947. These instruments gained popularity as student horns. In 1962, the world famous “Doc” Severinsen worked with Getzen to design and build a line of professional trumpets and flugelhorns. They were branded the 900 Eterna Severinsen. In 2007 they relaunched their famous Eterna line as the 900 Eterna to the same specifications that the “Doc” Severinsen models had. The Getzen 900 Eterna trumpets was known for it’s easy blowing design with a 0.460 inch bore. They all come with a lifetime warranty on their valves and a 5 year overall warranty. Their Custom series professional trumpets carry a lifetime warranty.
Which brand is the best? All top of the line, professional trumpets made by these three companies have the highest quality design, manufacturing, and materials. All have Monel trumpet valve pistons (except the Getzen). All use hand processes to create each component of the trumpet to exacting standards. All use artisans to hand craft each trumpet. All quality test and tune each trumpet before it leaves the factory. All have decades of experience designing and building the best trumpet they can make. The short answer is, they are all the best. The top rated professional trumpets from these companies are the best trumpets they can make.
For a factory tour of Yamaha and Bach, please see the videos below:
What does a top professional trumpet cost?
The questions you want to ask yourself are:
1. Am I able to invest in a professional trumpet that will last me for the rest of my playing career?
2. Is this a professional trumpet that I can sell later on if I decide to either quit or get a different horn?
3. Does this professional trumpet have a reputation of holding its value over time?
A professional trumpet by a high-quality manufacturer will start at $2,000 and go up from there. Depending on the model, finish, and other options, they can go quite a bit up from there. This investment, is not just a trumpet, or a hunk of shiny brass. This is an investment in you, your music, and the joy you get from playing your very best. If you used to play, stopped, and are starting up again, welcome back. As a come-back players, you’ll find way more resources than when you were playing. YouTube, video lessons, web content and more refined equipment will all make this time different.
Which Professional Trumpet Is Best For Me?
Professional Trumpet Reviews And Recommendations
Here are the best professional trumpets for the different kind of horn you are looking for. We have put multiple choices in each category and explain the subtle but important differences for you to choose from.
Best Professional Trumpet- All Around Performer
Vincent Bach Stradivarius Model 180-37
The Vincent Bach Stradivarius model 180 with the standard #37 bell is far and away the number one professional trumpet available. It has the longest history of professional trumpets. The refinements over the decades makes it the best all-around professional trumpet. This horn is used by middle school to professional studio musicians alike. The Medium Large bore of 0.459 with a standard weight bell (#37) is considered by many the “gold standard” of professional trumpets. The bell’s shape and taper have been copied by many, duplicated by none supposedly. The #37 bell is made with yellow brass and provides a compact, rich sound with excellent projection. It is at home in an orchestra, jazz ensemble, high school marching band, and in a lead trumpet role. The sound is consistent from low notes below the staff to screaming as far above it as you’d like. The tonal quality is consistent, full, and colorful. A lacquer finish will provide a slightly warmer tone than the much more durable silver finish. The silver finish will be a little more focused and brighter than the lacquer finish. The lacquer finish is on the bell with parts of the slides having a nickel finish. Bach backs up this trumpet with a 5 year warranty.
Vincent Bach Stradivarius Model 190-37 50th Anniversary
The ultimate All Around Performer to consider is Vincent Bach’s newest release, the 190 model with the #37 bell. This is the 50th anniversary model of the Bach Stradivarius. The 50th anniversary is when the moved the factory from Mount Vernon New York to Elkhart Indiana. Many Bach enthusiast search for these early model horns from Bach on the used market and they command a premium price. The company went back to 1965 to replicate the professional trumpets made then. The standard weight #37 one-piece bell generates a full, rich sound with solid core tone. The side seam is run under the braces which helps control the vibration. The bell has a steel ring instead of brass one like they did long ago. The bell is also engraved as is the valve cluster noting the anniversary. The valve cluster casing is made of nickel-silver for the upper one third and yellow brass for the rest. This is how they made the Bach Stradivarius trumpets from 1925 through the late 1970s. This gives you a bit more feedback and a more responsive, colorful sound. This also increases the mass of the trumpet which makes the core sound very rich. This trumpet is definitely at home in an orchestra, jazz ensemble, and soloist roles. It feels and sounds just like the early Elkhart Bach Stradivarius trumpets. They come with nylon and brass valve guides. The older trumpets came with brass guides so you can replicate the feel you’d like. They come in the standard Medium Large bore size of 0.459, lacquer or silver plated finish, a 3C mouthpiece, and a special edition case with a rich wine interior. It is available in either a silver plated finish or a lacquer finish. Bach backs up this trumpet with a 5 year warranty.
Best Professional Trumpet- Lead Trumpet Player
The Yamaha YTR-8335II Xeno Professional trumpet
This horn has a bell tapered and weighted specifically for a powerful tonal core and ease of upper register slotting. The bell is hand annealed and pounded into shape to exacting standards. The valve cluster case is lightweight relative to the two Bach trumpets in the “All Around Performer” category. The tubes between the valve piston tubes are optimized to reduce resistance. These two features combine to provide a brilliant tone. Even the valve pistons are considered lightweight to provide excellent tonal flexibility. This model represents Yamaha’s research and development for over 30 years. This trumpet will be at home in an orchestra, jazz ensemble, and marching band first chair position. It really shines in the upper register because of its highly responsive design. Professional trumpet player, Wayne Bergeron was instrumental in the design of this trumpet. This horn has a first and third valve tuning slide. Unlike the Bach Stradivarius trumpets, has a third valve water key or spit valve. The gold brass leadpipe resists corrosion.
There are 3 models to choose from, all in a Medium Large bore size of 0.459:
- 1. YTR-8335RS: This silver plated model has a reverse tuning slide on the leadpipe which reduces the resistance and transition of your sound coming off the mouthpiece. It blows a little freer in the upper register.
- 2. YTR-8335S: This is the standard model with a silver plated finish.
- 3. YTR-8335IIGS: This is a silver plated model with a gold brass bell. The higher copper content of gold brass gives this horn a slightly warmer, richer tone. Yamaha provides a lifetime warranty on this professional trumpet
Vincent Bach Stradivarius 180S43
The Vincent Bach Stradivarius 180S43 is a 180 model with the #43 bell. This is arguably the most popular lead trumpet used by amateurs and professionals. This bell is made of yellow brass with a slower taper than the #37. This produces a brighter, more open feel and tone. The horn will blow freer in the upper register as you can put more air and power behind those notes. The yellow brass helps with the brilliance of the sound for a perfect balance of tonal color for notes below the staff and those screamers way above it. The slower taper on the bell gives you more control and projection. You will feel at home in your jazz ensemble or soloist position. The Medium Large bore of 0.459 makes a perfect lead trumpet with just enough resistance for accurate slotting in the upper register. The silver plated finish is preferred by most as it adds tonal stability and durability for the professional trumpet player. This horn like all Bachs comes with a 5 year warranty.
Best Professional Trumpet-Mariachi Player
Bach Stradivarius Model LR190-43B
The Bach Stradivarius model LR190 with the #43B bell is specifically designed for the mariachi player. Bach designed this trumpet in partnership with one of the top mariachi trumpet players in the world, José Hernández. The LR series is a lightweight model which makes it more responsive than the standard Bach Stradivarius model. The valve body is lightweight, and the #43 bell is standard weight. The bell is made of bronze brass with the slower #43 taper. This makes it easy to play the brilliant, fast tempo staccato and melodious notes characteristic of mariachi music. The bell is beautifully adorned with decorative engraving (see the above video). The horn can be played soft and delicately and the #43B bell allows you put power behind your sound when called for. The reverse leadpipe makes the horn a bit freer when you need to play louder and higher. Like the 190 model above, it comes with both nylon and brass valve guides so you can customize the feel of the valves. It comes with a Bach 3C mouthpiece. The clear lacquer finish shows off the bronze brass bell while giving a little warmer color to your sound. The silver plated finish is a touch brighter and much more durable. Like all Bach professional trumpets, it comes with a 5 year warranty.
Best Professional Trumpet-Value
Getzen 907S Eterna Professional Trumpet
The Getzen 900S series Eterna professional trumpet was first made in 1962. It has been refined for decades with the support of the famous Doc Severinson. Doc’s powerful, dynamic sound was supported by the freeness and deep colorful nickel silver leadpipe and Medium Large bore size of 0.460. The Getzen 907S (Silver Plated) Proteus is the result of these refinements The two piece, specially heat treaded yellow brass bell and nickel silver tuning slides deliver a dynamic, solid core. The gold brass leadpipe provides a colorful, well centered sound. It’s a more well rounded horn than its ancestor, the 900 Eterna Classic Professional trumpet which many felt was a bit too bright for general use. This easy flowing, powerful professional trumpet is at home in an orchestra, marching, or jazz setting. One unique feature of Getzen trumpets is their use of Amado style water keys (or spit valves). They are small, round, and require regular oiling and cleaning to keep functioning properly. The 907S has standard, lever style water keys which are easier to maintain. They are on the main and third slides. The valves are nickel silver which come with a lifetime transferable warranty. The trumpet itself comes with the Getzen Gold, 5 year warranty. This silver plated professional trumpet comes with a Getzen 7C mouthpiece, valve oil, polishing cloth, and hard sided case.