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Buying guide for best trumpets for beginners

Finding a musical instrument that resonates with you is the spark that can ignite a lifelong passion. The trumpet offers a musician an incredible range of expression, from powerful and majestic to serene and introspective. Learning to play requires dedication, persistence, and finding the right trumpet.

You will need an instrument that makes those first few weeks a joy that will be fondly remembered rather than a month filled with struggles and frustrations. The best trumpet for a beginner has certain features that will allow the new student to achieve those early victories that help encourage eventual mastery of the instrument.

For a list of what to look for in that first trumpet as well as some playing tips and answers to frequently asked questions, keep reading.

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Although a trumpet has only three valves, by using different fingering combinations along with varying the vibration of your lips, an accomplished player can play over 30 different notes.

The most important elements

Because a trumpet for a beginner is an entry-level instrument, it is considerably more affordable than a step-up instrument, and you won't find a great deal of variety in what's available. However, the differences that you do find can make a huge impact on ease of learning, so it's best to focus on the following key elements when shopping.


The mouthpiece provides the initial color of the tone. A larger, deeper mouthpiece will produce a warmer sound, but it is more difficult to play and invites fatigue. A beginner mouthpiece should be smaller, and if it's shallow, it will produce a brighter tone that is a little easier to control. If you find the ideal trumpet for you but are not happy with the mouthpiece that comes with it, you can purchase one separately.


The bore is the inside diameter of the trumpet's tubing. The difference between the smallest and the largest bore is measured in fractions of an inch – and just a slight increase or decrease in size can make a big difference. A larger bore produces a larger sound, but a beginner will find a trumpet with a smaller bore easier to play.


The valve pistons in a student trumpet need to be more durable than step-up models because of the possibility of abuse. Beginning trumpet players may apply sideward pressure instead of downward pressure, which could more easily damage higher-quality valves. Because of this, nickel-plated pistons are usually the best option for a beginner.


You won't have too many options when it comes to choosing a beginner trumpet with a specific bell size, but in the variations you do find, remember that a smaller bell will produce a brighter, sharper sound. A larger bell produces a warmer tone that is dispersed over a wider angle. Most beginners find larger bells a little more difficult to play. Additionally, a seamless bell could help a beginner produce a more even tone across the different registers.


Although some manufacturers propose different finishes can drastically alter the tone of a trumpet, choosing the right one for you is really more about preferred style and durability. Trumpets with a lacquer finish are not quite as durable as plated instruments, but they do come in a wide array of colors, which may be what is most appealing to you.

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Did you know?
The C trumpet has a brighter sound than the Bb trumpet. This quality makes it a good choice for playing in an orchestra, as the brighter tone can cut through a little better.

Other considerations

After evaluating the elements in the previous section, it's time to think about other items you will need besides the trumpet itself. Many times, these items are offered as part of a bundle, but not all bundles are the same.


To transport and protect your instrument when it is not in use, you will need a case. Be wary of a trumpet that does not come with a case.

Valve oil

You need valve oil to keep your trumpet functioning properly. It is fairly inexpensive and easy to find and purchase. However, if it comes with your trumpet bundle, that is one less item you will need to worry about.

Cleaning cloth

Like valve oil, microfiber cleaning cloths are not hard to find, and they are inexpensive. If a cloth comes with your bundle, that’s great; you will definitely use it. Purchasing additional cloths so you have several isn't a bad idea, either.

Trumpet stand

Depending on where a dent is, it not only looks painful, but it can affect the sound of your instrument. Getting a stand for your trumpet is often overlooked, but it can go a long way toward helping to keep your instrument dent-free – as long as the stand is located in a place that doesn't invite accidental bumping.

Music stand

A music stand not only allows you to see the music better than if you were to place it on a table, but it helps you achieve better posture while playing. If you don't have one, or if one doesn't come with your trumpet, you will need to purchase a music stand.

Chromatic tuner

Besides checking the tuning of your instrument, a chromatic tuner can be invaluable in helping a beginner learn to recognize pitch. It is not a necessity, but it can sure come in handy, especially if it is included in your bundle.


A metronome can be used for other purposes besides marking time. You can use it as a tool to increase the length of time you hold a note, for instance. Like the chromatic tuner, this is not necessarily an essential item (like valve oil is), but it is recommended.

White gloves

A pair of white gloves seems to come in every bundle available. White gloves may be required for marching band, and they can help protect your instrument.

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Expert Tip
The trumpet's mouthpiece is a crucial component in the instrument's playability and tonal color. As you progress in skill, it is a good idea to consider upgrading your mouthpiece.

Beginner trumpet prices

There is an appreciable difference in beginner and step-up trumpets with regard to materials used, consistency in tone, and durability. Because of this, beginner trumpets can be manufactured rather inexpensively, but they should still last until at least middle school.

At the bottom end of the price range, you can find a number of beginner trumpets for around $100.

At the $150 mark, you are getting into instruments made from brass that might include handy features such as adjustable thumb rests and a more durable case.

Near the $200 price point, you are in the higher end of beginner trumpets. These may have gold plating, better pistons, and larger accessory packages.

If you're looking at $300 or more, you're getting into the region of the step-up trumpet. These trumpets might lack some of the features that make playing easier for a beginner, so be sure to choose wisely. You will want to get the advice of a music teacher if you are considering a beginner's trumpet that is in the higher price range.

"When a Bb trumpet plays a written C, it actually sounds like a Bb. Hence, the "Bb" designation."

Tips for the beginning trumpet player

When you are first learning to play the trumpet, it can be a disheartening experience. Since each fingering can produce several notes, until your ear develops, it might be hard to play even the simplest melodies. But don't give up: the very next practice session could be the one where it all clicks. Following are a few tips to help make learning to play the trumpet a little less frustrating.

  • Everybody’s mouth is different. If the mouth position (embouchure) in your method book isn't working for you, it is okay to subtly tweak that position to find one that is better for you.

  • Play long notes. The best way to understand and learn to control your pitch is to play long notes. When you learn a new note, practice it until you can easily play an even tone for several seconds at a time.

  • Experiment with how wet your lips need to be. Find what's best for you. Dry lips stick to the mouthpiece, and wet lips slide. Somewhere in the middle is the perfect compromise.

  • Remember your lungs aren't in your shoulders. Raising your shoulders as you inhale actually decreases the amount of air you can hold. Learn to breathe from your midsection.

  • Stand up. If you're having trouble producing a good tone while sitting, try standing up. Yes, it can be that simple.

  • Engage in frequent short practice sessions rather than fewer longer ones. Especially with an instrument like the trumpet that can quickly fatigue the performer, you need to keep practice sessions on the short side. Practicing for 10 minutes three times a day is much better than trying to play for a solid 30 minutes.

Other products we considered

If you're a musician, then you're creative and likely enjoy a larger variety of options. If you'd like some more trumpet choices, we've got three more for you. A beautiful instrument manufactured by a reputable name in the industry is Jean Paul's TR-330N. It's a sharp-looking silvery white trumpet that comes with a carrying case, valve oil, gloves, cleaning cloth, and mouthpiece. Alternatively, Kaizer's TRP-1000RD is an eye-catching red trumpet that comes with a mouthpiece, molded case, polishing cloth, valve oil, case shoulder strap, and a pair of white gloves. If that's not bold enough for you, Mendini has a purple lacquer trumpet that comes with a mouthpiece, chromatic tuner, case, pocketbook, valve oil, polishing cloth, pair of white gloves, and foldable trumpet stand.

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It might not look as tall as you, but if you unwind all the tubing in your trumpet, it would measure approximately five feet long.


Q. Which is better for a beginner: a Bb trumpet or a C trumpet?

A. If the trumpet is for an elementary school student who is playing in the band, a beginner should stick with a Bb trumpet. Most elementary school music teachers use method books that encompass all the instruments as parts of a greater whole. These books assume the beginner is playing a Bb trumpet, so choosing a C trumpet would unnecessarily complicate learning in that situation. If the beginner is older, is not part of the school band, or is more interested in orchestral music, a C trumpet is fine.

Q. Why is my trumpet making a gurgling sound?

A. Moisture builds up inside a trumpet as your breath rushes through. When the buildup gets to be too much, it inhibits airflow and creates a gurgling sound. This is a normal occurrence. It is so normal, in fact, that a water key is built into your instrument to allow for a quick release of the collected moisture. On most trumpets, you simply tilt the instrument, open the valve, and gently blow – blowing with too much force can make it harder to get the moisture out.

Q. What is a pocket trumpet? Would that be a suitable trumpet a beginner?

A. A pocket trumpet is a regular trumpet that has more curves to create an ultra-compact tubing configuration. It is played the same way a full-size trumpet is played and offers the same range. It is an excellent choice for a backup practice instrument, but it is typically not used in performance, so we can't recommend using a pocket trumpet in place of a full-size trumpet.

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