What to look for to find a good (well, decent) trumpet?

Backstory - When my daughter started playing the trumpet in 6th grade, we bought her a cheap, used, student-grade trumpet that was a hand-me-down from one of our friends. She is now a Junior in high school, still playing that old, beat-up horn, and just earned the 1st Chair Trumpet in the band, beating out 20+ other kids. She also has plans to continue with Marching Band when she moves on to college. Therefore, I think it’s high time we upgrade her instrument.

That’s where I need some help. I’d like to get her a better trumpet for her Christmas present, but don’t really know what to look for or which brands are better than others. I have found one Amati Kraslice that appears to be in pretty good shape (and at a reasonable price), and a Conn Director model that also appears to be OK, plus there are lots of them listed on various websites at a wide range of prices.

So what do I need to look for/stay away from to help her achieve her potential as a musician? All help and advice is greatly appreciated.

Came back to add: Last year, the band director told her that “if she really cared about the band, she would get a decent instrument.” I guess this proves that it’s really more about the person blowing the horn than the horn being blown. :smiley: But I’d still like to get her a better instrument to work with.

Just wanted to jump in here…I’m planning on taking up the trumpet myself.

I’ve heard I need a good Yamaha student trumpet for $800, but have heard from another friend who used to be a band teacher, that I could start with a cheap $200 trumpet kit, until I decide that it’s for me.

Your thoughts on this? I really just want to try this out, but I’m excited as hell - I’m just waiting until next payday :slight_smile:

Generally all the cool kids end up buying a Bach Stradivarius trumpet. Warning: They ain’t cheap.

I was going to begin by saying, “Check with your child’s band director”, but if the best he can do is “If you really CARED about the band, you would get a decent horn.” To heck with him/her. What a rude thing to say.

Now, on to the actual question. The instrument of choice for our school is the Bach Stradivarius Model 37. We prefer silver, but it does come in lacquer also. What color do the other kids have? Try to match the majority, if you can. Silver will be significantly more expensive. Yamaha also makes some very nice instruments. Stay away from horns on eBay unless you really know what you are getting into. Stay away from brands that have names that sound like well-known brands (Selman instead of the well-known Selmer, for example.) Be sure to check the return policy of the merchant you use. If the horn isn’t good, you will want to return it. (Expect the Bach 37 to run $2000+ for silver. If it is much less, wonder why.)

Things to look for: a one piece bell, cylindrical bore, a one-piece lead pipe. Things to avoid: split bells, lots of joints in the tubing. If looking at used, be sure that the valves move smoothly. Make sure that all the slides move (there should be a main tuning slide, and three valve slides).

Drum God – Middle school band director for eighteen years.