When to Buy Which Trumpet? Jazz/Commercial Edition

I’ve got some news for everyone: I am a trumpet junkie. I have always been fascinated by different brands and models and have even experienced many cases of FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to my equipment. I’ve taught several students and have had to have this conversation many times and have even asked for personal recommendations. Today is just a quick look at what instruments you should purchase and when, depending upon your musical path. While it is super difficult to give a recommendation without hearing people play or know what their interests are, I will give some fairly general model recommendations from the “Big Three” brands of trumpets along with a few special suggestions when needed. Today we will discuss instruments needed for those who want to primarily be Jazz/Commercial players and they will be in order of importance. (Your timeline may vary. Please consult your teacher/professor on when it is appropriate to purchase these instruments)

Primary: A good Bb trumpet for all around playing. Something that works great in a band/orchestra setting but can also work in a combo or even in musical pit, big band. or pops orchestras. Some of these ‘all around’ trumpets can include the Bach Stradivarius 180-37, Schilke B5, Yamaha 8335(R).

Flugelhorn: Most jazz players will need a Flugelhorn at some point. There is no wrong answer here, but make sure you find one that fits your sound concept. Good models include Yamaha YFH-8310Z, YFH-631G, Eastman EFG512, Courtois 159R.

Lead Horn: For those needing to play extended upper register passages, a dedicated lead horn is helpful. You want something that works for your playing and ensemble needs so this can be a fairly broad category. Some of the various models can include Bach Stradivarius LT180-72, LT190-1B, Yamaha 8335LA, 8310Z, 6335RC, Schilke B5, B6, S42.

Studio players: These musicians are heard in commercials, movies, television shows, video games.. You name it. Here is where the lines may blur some, as these musicians may need to use instruments that have a foot in the door of the classical world. Studio players might need a C trumpet or some of the higher key trumpets such as a piccolo or Eb/D. Sometimes they will know ahead of time what they need, but other times they show up the day of and must be prepared for anything. We will cover some of these instruments in the next installment of this blog!

1 Comment

George Stephenson

about 3 years ago

I live in Santa Fe New Mexico. Where can I have my trumpet appraised and restored if need be? I’m an hour from Albuquerque if there is a repair shop there.


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