When you first begin to play the trumpet, you may be shocked by the number of trumpets you can choose from. In the beginning, we usually recommend that you start out by playing a beginner trumpet. Beginner trumpets are usually easier for brand new trumpeters to hold and play. After you have mastered the beginner trumpet, you may be ready to move up to a step-up trumpet. Read more about both beginner and step up trumpets in our guide.
Band directors can usually predict which students will stick with band and which ones will end up dropping out- all by the condition and quality of the instruments that they are using.
Students that typically end up quitting band are those with less than ideal instruments, meaning those that are either difficult to play or don’t play properly. This can be a huge discouragement to a student first learning to play a new instrument. It can be difficult for beginners to learn how to make those first sounds with their new instrument. The quality of the instrument used during those crucial first months will set the tone.
A step-up instrument can be a little harder to play for beginners, so beginner instruments are usually recommended. A beginner trumpet won’t have the features to produce a high-quality tone, but it lends to easier early use and gratification for the beginner band student.
A beginner band student will usually outgrow a beginner trumpet by the end of his or her first year of study, typically outgrowing the instrument both musically and physically. Therefore, it’s important to progress to a step-up trumpet. Step-up trumpets are more advanced and of higher quality, helping to complement a student’s developing musical skills.
A step-up trumpet will typically produce a fuller and larger sound than a beginner trumpet. The tone is clearer and more pleasant. It also features a quicker response time and more powerful resonation. A step-up trumpet allows for much better dynamic expression and control.
Step-up trumpets are available at three different levels. These include intermediate, performer, and top-line. Your band director can help you to determine which one is best for you.
Most intermediate trumpets are slightly larger bore size, allowing bigger, and fuller sound production. They are usually finished in real silver for a slightly darker tone and more attractive appearance. Valves and slides are fitted to closer tolerances, minimizing leakage of air that causes a player to work harder. Mouthpieces tend to be slightly larger and more open, and features like slide rings and triggers allow intonation adjustments. Intermediate trumpets are popular with junior high and high school band students.
Performer trumpets are made by hand, especially in the hand-hammering of bells, special annealing of the brass, and hand lapping and fitting of the valves. The design and production processes focus on creating a trumpet that reproduces vibrations freely and faithfully. Bore sizes are typically medium-large and the finish is silver, although some performer trumpets are available in lacquered brass finishes as well. Performer trumpets offer some big advantages in tone over intermediate trumpets and are designed for use by students, both high school and college, who take their music seriously.
Top-line trumpets incorporate all of the manufacturer's best features and processes to create an ultimate trumpet. They are used by professionals, studio musicians, and symphony players, as well as some amateurs for whom trumpet is a serious avocation.
With routine care, step-up trumpets can be expected to last a lifetime. There is rarely a need to replace a step-up trumpet, even after completing school.