A vintage cornet with a lacquer finish and nickel plating on some tubes

What’s the best Cornet for a beginner?

Wait, isn’t this site about “all things trumpet”? Well yes. And no. We also talk about the brothers and sisters of the trumpet. In the brass family of instruments, the trumpet is the one that most people know about. So why did most of us start on the Cornet? For more information on that, we wrote a whole post on Cornet vs Trumpet that you can find here. Check it out and I’ll wait here.

Back so soon? Great. Now that you understand the differences and why we all started on the cornet as kids, you may be asking, what’s next? That would be all the things you or your child needs to start playing the cornet. The first thing needed is a cornet mouthpiece.

Table of Contents

Cornet Mouthpiece

We spend a lot of time playing different mouthpieces here at Trumpet.biz. There are a ton of different choices out there so we relied on one of our bandmates who is a band teacher for the last 20+ years. Before that he was a professional trumpet lead trumpet player so he really has a good perspective on what kinds of mouthpieces are best for beginners. Also his knowledge on beginner cornets is on display below. For more information on cornet mouthpieces, please check out What is the best Cornet Mouthpiece article.

What is the best cornet to buy?

My vintage cornet finished in lacquer with nickel plating on some tubes.
A vintage cornet that plays beautifully

Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate we earn qualifying purchases. This is to help support this site. This means if you click on links on reviewed products, we may earn a small commission on your purchase from Amazon. Please note that your price does not increase because of this. Thank you in advance for supporting the band.

We are also an affiliate of WoodWind BrassWind (WWBW). When you make qualifying purchases, we may earn a commision. To learn why we like WWBW, please see our Professional Trumpet Reviews. We will highlight each affiliate below.

Like all questions about what is “best”, the answer is “That depends.”   Think about the following:

  1. What are the aspirations of the player?   If your child is just starting out, a good beginner model would be a good choice.  If your child is upgrading from a rental instrument after some time on the instrument, a good intermediate model would be a good choice.
  2. What is the budget?   If your child is just starting out, why not get the lowest cost cornet?  Like all things, quality costs money.  Quality materials and construction methods costs money.  The lowest cost Cornet models may develop problems due to lower quality materials and construction.  
  3. What does a Cornet cost?   There are beginner, intermediate, and professional level Cornets.    Beginner Cornets are the lowest in cost, usually up to about $500.   An intermediate Cornet goes from $500 to $1,500.  And Professional Cornets go from $1,500 on up. 

Here are our recommendations based on the needs of your child.  We have separated them out as:

Best Overall Cornet

 Blessing Brass was started in 1906. E.K. Blessing started the business and it’s home in Elkhart Indiana is the home to the legendary Vincent Bach company.    Blessing has a reputation as the maker of one of the premier Flugelhorns, the 1541.  The Blessing BCR-1230 Cornet is design and built like a professional model Cornet, focused on the student player.  It has a bend at the beginning of the bell called a “Shepard’s crook” which helps deliver a rich, warm timbre.  It helps the younger player as it shortens the cornets length so their hands are closer to their body.  This makes it easier to hold and play.    The Blessing BCR-1230 Cornet comes with two water keys or spit valves on the main tuning tube and third slide.  It has a first valve thumb saddle so your child can extend it to play in tune.  There is a finger ring on the third valve slide to extend it to play in tune as well.  A big professional feature are the valves.  They are Monel plated which are what you find on professional level trumpets costing over a few thousand dollars.  They will move swiftly and deliver trouble free operation the life of the cornet.  These are features you’d find on professional level cornets and trumpets.   This Cornet is made entirely of yellow brass like most Cornets and Trumpets.  It comes with a silver-plated 7C Cornet mouthpiece which is a great starter mouthpiece.  The plastic sided case is covered in a leatherette with wood inside protecting the instrument.  It also comes with a bottle of valve oil to get started.  For the beginner, to keep costs in check, we recommend the clear epoxy (lacquer) coated model.  The tone is slightly warmer than a silver-plated model.     The natural brass shows through beautifully.

More information for the Blessing BCR-1230 Cornet – Lacquer finish on WWBW.

Blessing BCR-1230 Series Bb Cornet Lacquer Finish
Blessing BCR-1230 Series Bb Cornet Lacquer Finish

Best Beginner Cornet

This John Packer JP071 Cornet would work well for the beginner to the intermediate player.  It is built with quality yellow brass with features found in professional instruments.  It features a Shepards hook bell which has a more rounded first bend which shortens the bell length.  It has two water keys or spit valves on the main tuning and third slide.  It has a first valve saddle to move the first slide to stay in tune. It has a thumb saddle on the first slide so your child can extend it to play in tune.  The third valve slide has a finger ring to extend it to play in tune as well.  These are professional level features.  It has a 0.460 millimeter bore (the size of the tubing) which is very similar to most Trumpets.  It comes with a 4B mouthpiece which has a cup diameter of 16.40 millimeters.  It is similar to the most common mouthpiece used, the Vincent Bach 7C mouthpiece.  The 4B Cornet mouthpiece that comes with this cornet will be a great starter mouthpiece.  For more information on mouthpieces, please see our Mouthpiece Guide

The John Packer JP071 Cornet comes in a hard case that thankfully has both backpack and shoulder straps.  It is built with a side outer pocket to store sheet music or Trumpet Method Books (exercise books).  It comes with a bottle of valve oil and an owners guide on how to care for the Cornet.

The John Packer JP171SW Cornet comes in either a lacquer or silver-plated finish.  For more information on the pros and cons of each, see our guide here.   Both finishes require regular care.  The silver-plated finish will last longer which is why we recommend the silver-plated model for this category of player.

More information on Amazon for the John Packer JP071SW Cornet – Lacquer Finish

John Packer JP071 Bb Cornet

Best High End Cornet

The Yamaha Corporation started producing musical instruments in 1887.  It is now the largest manufacturer of musical instruments (and a whole lot of other stuff).  The Yamaha YCR-2330III Cornet is one step below their Professional Cornet.  It features a “Shepards Crook” bell which shortens the Cornet making it easier to handle.  The valves are made of Monel allow which are the same as the ones in their Professional Cornets and Trumpets.  The buttons that your child’s fingers touch, the top and bottom caps are also made of this durable material.  The main tuning slide is manufactured in the same way as their Professional Cornets and Trumpets.  This Cornet plays beautifully with a yellow brass, two piece bell.    The first valve slide has a thumb saddle for your child’s left hand. The third valve slide has an adjustable ring to fit different hand sizes (and as your child grows). The ML (medium large) bore size is 0.459 millimeters which is the same as most Trumpets.  Here is Yamaha USA’s product information on this near professional level Cornet.  They call it a Student model, yet it has all the features of a Professional model at a much more reasonable price.   The hard case has a single handle and a Yamaha CR-11E4S Cornet mouthpiece is included. This Cornet mouthpiece has a 16.46 millimeter cup diameter and a medium cup. It’s a solid mouthpiece matched to this Cornet. We recommend the clear, epoxy finish (lacquer) to keep the cost down.

More information on WWBW (click the dropdown to see the silver plated or lacquer finish) for the Yamaha YCR-2330III Cornet – Lacquer Finish

Yamaha YCR-2310III Standard Bb Cornet
Yamaha YCR-2310III Standard Bb Cornet

Best Cornet Accessories

The accessories your child needs to be successful are a mouthpiece, cornet, and they are good right?  Sorry, no.  Thankfully the list is very short.  And best of all, each is under $50.  We’ve compiled a short list of the must haves in our accessories checklist.

How to carry a Cornet?

Best Cornet Cases

A Cornet will come with a sturdy case.   The hard sided, heavily padded case the Cornet came with is designed to protect it from extreme handling.  I had my Cornet partly run over by my parent’s car.  While the case was a bit worse for wear, it still works decades later and the Cornet was fine.  Your child likely has a lot more to carry back and forth to school. Adding a heavy case with a single handle, just won’t do. Our recommendation is a soft case with different carrying options that will literally, lighten their load.

Best Cornet Case – Backpack style

Tom & Will 26CO-315 Cornet Gig Bag

This Cornet “Gig Bag” is shaped like a backpack and has great padding all around to protect the Cornet.  It has two zippered front pockets. It has a side handle, backpack straps, and a shoulder strap.  The straps can be hidden behind the back pad which is also breathable.  Your child can use one strap to carry it on their shoulder or both, to use it as a backpack.  It also comes with a small padded pouch to store the Cornet mouthpiece.  Best of all, it weighs only 2.16 pounds and comes in a light gray with black trim or red with black trim.

More information on Amazon for the Tom & Will 26CO-315 Cornet Gig Bag in Grey

Tom & Will 26CO-315 Cornet Gig

Best Cornet Case – For Protection

Protec Pro Pac Cornet Case

If you need something as strong as hard case, then the Protec Pro Pac Cornet case is it.    It comes with a shoulder strap and there is an optional backpack strap which is highly recommended.  This case has a hard shell inside the heavily padded interior/exterior.  The ballistic nylon covering is what the military used in their shrapnel vests to protect soldiers from grenade fragments.  It has two spots to hold mouthpieces, a side pocket with a built-in organizer.  This includes an additional small zippered pocket for valuables and pen holders.  It weighs 5.5 pounds so it’s probably not much of a weight savings over your hard case, but the flexibility of carrying it like a backpack and/or over the shoulder makes it a winner.

More information on Amazon for the Protec Pro Pac Cornet Case

Protec Cornet PRO PAC Case, Model PB312

More information on Amazon for the Protec Pro Pac Backpack Straps

Protec Padded Backpack Strap,Black

Best Practice Mute

You want your child to explore their new found talent and become as good as possible.  But, isn’t the Cornet loud?   Yes, it can be played loudly.  In the beginning, it won’t sound beautiful.  It won’t sound like amazing.   That will come with time and practice.  The best gift you can give yourself, your family, and neighbors is a practice mute.  This is a device that is inserted into the bell and reduces the sound that comes out. There is really only one that won’t interfere with your child’s developing technique.  It reduces the sound coming out of the instrument by as much as 90%.  Best of all, your child won’t feel like there’s something in the bell.   It’s the Yamaha Silent Brass System reviewed here.  

Yamaha Silent Brass for trumpet/cornet.
Yamaha Silent Brass for trumpet/cornet.

Please share if you liked this.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top