Trumpet Buying Guide
Trumpets have existed in some form for well over 3,000 years and have become one of the most recognizable and iconic of musical instruments.
This is the starting point for almost every player and this trumpet is designed and manufactured with the learner in mind. Typically made by machine rather than by hand, these trumpets are generally more affordable than the intermediate and professional models. They provide all the tools necessary to learn the instrument.
Once a student has progressed beyond the capabilities of the student models and is performing in varied musical ensembles, a more advanced trumpet is in order. The intermediate models of trumpets provide additional features such as slide hooks, adjustable slide stops (especially on the 3rd valve slide), more plating options and higher-quality cases. Many intermediate models can even include the weight and sound improvements provided by professional models, though to a lesser degree.
A professional trumpet is a work of art. These instruments are normally made entirely by hand out of the highest quality materials possible, and allow for variations on weight and the thickness of the metal, which can have a profound impact on the sound produced. For the serious college student and professional musician, a well-made and well-maintained professional trumpet can let them create decades of music.
The mouthpiece is arguably the most important component of the trumpet. The rest of the instrument colors and amplifies the sound produced by the mouthpiece. Most beginner instruments come with a '7C' mouthpiece which is offers a great balance of playability and tone but it is worth considering what different mouthpieces offer.
There are a number of factors that influence the way a mouthpiece plays:
Rim shapes are classed as flat or rounded, each with their own pros and cons. Flat rims provide even pressure and considered more comfortable to play over longer periods.
Rounded rims offer a great deal of flexibility to the player but will also require more lip strength and air pressure when playing.
The cup is the resonating chamber of the mouthpiece. Cups can vary in diameter, depth and shape.
The diameter determines how much of the lip will be able to vibrate and therefore how much volume will be able to be produced.
The depth determines the level of control and the overall brightness of the instruments tone. Shallow cups offer more control and brightness while deeper cups produce a darker tone but require more effort and control from the player.
There are two basic shapes for trumpet mouthpiece cups: U shape (also referred to as C-type cup) and V shape. Using a “U” shaped cup would give out a brighter and higher sound, whereas using a “V” shaped cup would result in lower and darker tones.
The hole leading from the cup to the shank of the mouthpiece, the size of which gives greater or lesser feeling of resistance to the air being blown into the instrument. A larger bore hole gives the player a “big” sound but less endurance. (More air going through per second tires the lips more.)
The interior dimensions of the shank, usually a conical shape getting larger as it nears the main body of the trumpet. Again this affects the tone and the feeling of resistance.
Mouthpiece designs are identified by a number and a letter eg. '7C'. The number (in this case 7) refers to the cup depth, with higher numbers representing shallower cups. The letter (in this case C) refers to the cup profile.
We'd recommend getting familiar with your 7C before considering upgrading. Both 5C and 3C mouthpieces make great additions to your range of sounds adding depth and warmth to your tone.