Whether you have a child who’s interested in the trumpet or you want to learn to play some rousing Dixieland yourself, finding the right trumpet for a beginner can be the difference between becoming a lifelong player and quitting just a few months down the line. We can help you find instruments that are great fits for new trumpeters.
Trumpets are made to play in different keys: a B-flat (Bb) trumpet is the type most commonly used by beginning students. A C trumpet is sometimes used, typically for orchestral playing. Other orchestral trumpets include the D/E-flat and the B-flat/A, also called a piccolo trumpet, which plays an octave above the B-flat trumpet. There are trumpets that play in other keys, but they’re not really used by beginners.
Children can begin to play the trumpet between 6 and 10 years of age, with a typically recommended starting age of eight. Young players have a couple of issues that affect their ability to play:
- They have to be able to hold the instrument properly. If they can’t hold the trumpet comfortably at the right distance from the mouthpiece, they will not enjoy playing and possibly will not maintain the proper posture for best breath support for a good tone.
- Playing the trumpet requires the development of embouchure, which is the way a player holds the jaw, tongue, and lips and applies the mouth to the mouthpiece of a brass or wind instrument. Having adult teeth in place is helpful when starting the years-long process of training and developing this crucial element of trumpet playing.
No matter what genre of music you want to play, a beginner trumpet, made with the learner in mind, is your starting point for mastering the instrument.
How to Find a Good Beginner Trumpet
Consider these key features when selecting a beginner trumpet:
- Mouthpiece: Mouthpieces come in many different sizes based on the diameter and depth of the cup-shaped piece. You can have different mouthpieces depending on what sound you want, and there is an element of personal preference. Still, for beginners, a smaller diameter, meaning a higher numbered size, is typically recommended to reduce mouth fatigue: 7C is standard. Mouthpieces can be changed as players progress.
- Bore: The bore is the diameter of a trumpet’s tubing: it is an indicator of how much air will be needed to maintain a stable sound from the instrument. Trumpets with a larger bore have more power, but you need more air. Generally, a beginner should have a trumpet with a bore of around 0.459 inches.
- Valves: The valves direct the flow of air through the trumpet to play different notes. Make sure the instrument does not have sticking or seizing issues. Student trumpets usually have nickel-plated valves.
- Bell: Most trumpets have a 4.5-inch bell, and most student trumpets have two-piece bells, which refers to how they’re manufactured. A one-piece bell is usually hand-crafted and higher-quality.
- Material and Finish: Most student trumpets are made from brass, with a copper content of 70% and a zinc content of 30%. Brass with higher copper content, called rose or red brass, can sometimes be found in the leadpipe and bell of a trumpet for a higher-quality sound. A trumpet’s finish affects the vibration properties of the trumpet, which changes the timbre. Lacquer is the common trumpet finish; it produces a darker tone. Silver plating has a brighter tone.
Try our trumpet picks to start your learning off right!
Best Overall: Mendini Standard Bb Trumpet by Cecilio
The Mendini B-flat trumpet is a durable beginner’s trumpet that gives you a lot of quality at a very comfortable price! The yellow brass body has a 5-inch one-piece bell, a 0.46-inch bore, mother-of-pearl inlaid keys, and a copper leadpipe. It comes with a 7C silver-plated mouthpiece. For a bit of fun, this instrument is available in ten different colorful lacquered finishes.
Every trumpet is play tested at Cecilio’s factory and re-tested at their Los Angeles distribution center to ensure they meet the company’s high standards for quality. With proper care and maintenance, this trumpet will give you everything you need to get to the next level.
The trumpet measures 22 by 7 by 11 inches and weighs 5.6 pounds. It comes with a plush-lined, nylon-covered hardshell case with backpack straps, a polishing cloth, a bottle of valve oil, and a pair of gloves.
Mendini By Cecilio Bb Trumpet - Trumpets for Beginner or Advanced Student w/Case, Cloth, Oil, Gloves - Brass Musical Instruments For Kids & Adults
This durable beginner's trumpet delivers exceptional quality at a very comfortable price.
Best Intermediate: Jean Paul Bb Trumpet
The Jean Paul TR-430 B-flat trumpet has responsiveness, tonal accuracy, sturdy valves, and strong construction, making it a great buy for a really committed beginner or a student moving to the intermediate level. The rose brass leadpipe gives a richer and wider range of tones, and the highly durable stainless steel valves both lengthen the life of this instrument and maximize sound quality.
This trumpet comes with a 7C mouthpiece, a carrying case, valve oil, a polishing cloth, and gloves. It weighs 6.29 pounds and measures 22 by 11.25 by 6.5 inches.
Jean Paul USA Trumpet - Standard, Brass (TR-430)
For the committed beginner or a student moving to the next level, this trumpet has a wider range of rich tones.
Best for Kids: pBone PTRUMPET1R Plastic Trumpet
The highly durable pTrumpet is designed for small people, and because it is completely made from ABS recyclable plastic, it’s less than half the weight of a brass trumpet but still has the same quality of sound as a brass trumpet. The combination of the ergonomic design and lighter weight aids a child’s ability to develop good technique and posture—their arms won’t get tired as quickly, so they can enjoy playing for longer and progress faster!
The bore on this B-flat trumpet is 0.46 inches, and the bell measures 4.8 inches. It comes with a fabric carrying bag and 3C and 5C plastic mouthpieces, and it’s compatible with any standard trumpet mouthpiece. This trumpet weighs 2 pounds and measures 21 by 5 by 6 inches.
pBone PTRUMPET1R The Plastic Trumpet, Red (2016 version)
This lightweight trumpet lets kids enjoy playing for longer without getting tired.
Best for Travel: Eastar ETR-330N Pocket Trumpet
Because its tubing is wound more tightly, a pocket trumpet is about half the standard trumpet size, making it perfect for maintaining practice on the road. The Eastar ETR-330N pocket trumpet gives you clear, powerful sound with a nickel-plated brass body, a 0.457-inch bore, and a 3.98-inch bell. This B-flat trumpet comes with a 7C mouthpiece, a carrying case, and a cleaning kit that includes a cleaning cloth, gloves, and valve oil. It weighs 4.12 pounds and measures 11.61 by 9.49 by 6.69 inches.
Eastar Pocket Trumpet B Flat Brass Bb Pocket Trumpet with Mouthpiece 7C, Cleaning Cloth, Hard Case, Gloves, Full Kit, Nickel Plated, ETR-330N
This trumpet is about half the size of a standard one but still gives you a full-size sound.