Low brass instruments come in all different shapes, makes, models, and sizes. They are typically classified into four levels: beginner, intermediate, performer, and top-line.

 

Beginner Instruments

Did you know that band directors can often tell which students will drop out of band by looking at the quality and condition of the instruments that they're using? Why is that? 

It's because an instrument that is difficult to play or won't perform properly is a huge discouragement to beginning musicians. Like anyone learning a new skill, a beginner can find it challenging to make the first sounds. The instrument used during the first few months of study is critical in determining the success or failure of a young musician.

Beginners are learning the basics of making the notes, so beginner instruments typically don't have the features to produce a high-quality tone. They're designed for early use and gratification for the student. A beginner doesn't need the most expensive bass, but he or she does need a bass that plays easily and responds to the less-refined movements of a beginner. 

 

The differences between a beginner, intermediate, and performer low brass instruments

  • Bore size
  • Bell size
  • Material used in the bell and the body of the instrument
  • The flare of the leadpipe and bell
  • Manufacturing process
  • Weight of the instrument
  • Valves

 

Step-Up Instruments

By the end of the first year of musical study, a student is already outgrowing their beginner instrument, both physically and musically. A musician's instrument should grow with them. This means it's time to step up to a more advanced, higher-quality instrument that will complement their developing music skills.

 

Advantages of step-up instruments

  • A larger and fuller sound
  • Clearer, more pleasant tone 
  • Quicker response time
  • More powerful resonation
  • Better dynamic expression and control

You may be wondering, "How advanced of an instrument is needed at this stage of musical study?" Here's a breakdown of the different step-up levels to help you decide:

Intermediate instruments are for advancing players. Features include even bell vibrations, exceptional tone and intonation, and long valve wear with no leakage. Intermediate models are popular with junior high and high school band students. 

Performer instruments are usually constructed with a hand-hammered or annealed bell, consistent tonal range, smooth action, and superior tone and projection. Performer models are designed for serious music students in both high school and collegiate music programs.

Top-line models combine all of the manufacturer's best materials, features, craftsmanship, and expertise to create the ultimate instrument. These fine instruments are primarily used by professional musicians, graduate-level music students, college professors, and symphony players.

If you have more questions, check out our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact an Amro instrument specialist by phone at (901) 323-8888.