Looking to buy a trumpet but on a tight budget? Unsure about which ones are actually decent brands and which ones will break after a few weeks? Well you’re in the right place. In this post, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about buying an inexpensive trumpet without breaking the bank.
We’ll also look at some of the models that we think are the best cheap trumpets in 2021 and review why they could be the one for you. Let’s get started.
Quick Answer: The Best Inexpensive Trumpets
How to Choose a Cheap Trumpet: First Time Buyer’s Guide
The trumpet is one of the most famous instruments in a wide range of genres. It is the most commonly played and featured member of the brass family. Due to its popularity and versatility, the trumpet comes in a wide range of prices. Here is a guide to sorting through the options to find the most affordable trumpet to meet your needs.
Types of Trumpets
Before you rush out and buy a trumpet though it’s good to have a basic understanding of some of the different types of trumpets that you can get and which one might be best suited for you depending on your skill level and budget.
Here are some of the cheaper types that might be suitable for you.
Standard B Flat Trumpet
The standard B flat trumpet is the most common member of the trumpet family and one of the most common brass instruments in existence. The B flat trumpet has three keys and a range of about three octaves starting with the F# below middle C.
Bb Trumpets are typically the type that most beginners will start on. Given that this instrument is ideal for beginner musicians but also has many advanced solos written for it, they come in a plethora of materials, quality levels, and therefore prices. But, they will definitely be the most affordable of any trumpet types.
The pocket trumpet, appropriately named, is a shorter version of the standard B flat trumpet described above. The pocket trumpet has the same length of tubing, but it is wound much more tightly for a compact body, and the bell is significantly smaller. It is therefore also a little bit lighter and easier to pack and handle.
People primarily purchase pocket trumpets to save space when traveling and add a bit of fun flair to solo performances. The main drawback of the pocket trumpet is a thinner sound on account of the tighter tubing and smaller bell. The most affordable pocket trumpets cost only slightly more than the cheapest standard B flat trumpets available.
Piccolo is Italian for small, and the piccolo trumpet is indeed a very small trumpet. They are primarily tuned to the key of B flat and play about an octave higher than the other B flat trumpets discussed above. It sports a fourth valve that allows them to play down to the same lower range as the others, but the overall sound quality is still distinct.
The smaller mouthpiece and tubing, as well as the fourth key, allows for a clearer and brighter sound than is possible with any other trumpet, as well as more alternate fingerings. People therefore sometimes opt to play difficult solos on the piccolo trumpet, the most famous being that heard in The Beatle’s hit song Penny Lane. While there is variability in price range, the piccolo trumpet on average is one of the more expensive types.
Another good option for those looking for a very inexpensive trumpet is a plastic trumpet. These trumpets, as the name suggests, are made out of plastic which is a lot cheaper material and so brings the cost down quite a lot. They’re a good option for kids as they are more durable than their brass counterparts.
The downside however is the sound produced isn’t as good as brass trumpets. They also tend to come in quite bright colors which is fine if you’re playing at home but they can look quite unusual in a trumpet section if everyone else has bass instruments and band leaders don’t usually like them.
Cheap Vs Expensive Trumpets
Trumpets range quite dramatically in prices. The cheapest ones range from $100 or so but professional trumpets will set you back $3k+. Here’s a few of the differences and what you’ll actually be paying for when spending money on a trumpet.
The main thing that affects trumpet prices is the materials they are made from. The most common material for trumpets is brass, but even brass trumpets vary widely. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, and the ratio of copper to zinc makes a difference in sound quality.
Gold brass has 15% more copper and a richer sound and is a bit more expensive than the more commonly used yellow brass. Nickel is another common metal used in place of or at the base of brass. Nickel is more durable than brass and also the cheapest material trumpets are made of. The sound quality is not as sharp or rich.
Silver and gold are sometimes added to trumpets for aesthetic and variation in sound quality. Gold produces a warmer sound, while silver produces a brighter sound. Silver and gold are both softer and therefore more fragile. Gold is the most expensive option, followed closely by silver.
Plastic trumpets have gained more popularity in recent years and offer the most affordable option of all. While you sacrifice tone quality, plastic trumpets are durable, resistant to all conditions, lightweight, and available in a wide range of fun colors.
In addition to material, the quality and therefore price of trumpets is determined by the details. More expensive hand crafted trumpets will offer things like mother of pearl keys and other unique aesthetic details. They tend to last longer and have greater playability as a result of parts being individually rather than mass produced, ensuring that each piece fits perfectly and moves smoothly. At the end of the day, skill, hard work, and detailed maintenance practices can make a more affordable trumpet sound nearly as good and last just as long.
Your Skill Level
Another factor that will affect how much you spend on your trumpet is your skill level. If you’re buying a trumpet for your child and you’re not sure how seriously they want to take it you don’t want to invest too much money if they don’t want to play in a few months time.
On the other hand, if you’re serious about learning to play, it’s worth investing a bit extra as you’ll find the experience much more pleasurable and won’t be held back by an inferior model.
Beginner trumpet players are often children, and even adult novices lack the chops and the arm and hand strength of more advanced players. Plastic trumpets are therefore great options for beginning players and can be found for as little as $60 and up to only $200. Adding a good trumpet mouthpiece is an inexpensive way to spruce up the sound quality of a plastic trumpet if you are not yet ready or motivated to purchase a metal version.
Brass and nickel trumpets are the next cheapest and most appropriate for beginning players. Beginners should stick to the standard Bb trumpet, which is the cheapest option and the best for mastering the basics of fingering and embouchure before upgrading to a better model.
Intermediate trumpet players have a range of options. You might try upgrading your mouthpiece before upgrading your actual instrument, which can broaden your technique and improve your sound quality at a cheaper cost.
Once you are ready to venture into new instrument territory, consider gold or silver lacquer as a cheaper alternative to full gold or silver instruments. This offers a certain degree of sound quality improvement without a great deal of cost. These materials are also more difficult to play on because of the way they conduct sound, so it is best to step up gradually. Intermediate trumpets range from $1000 to $2000.
Professional trumpets are really only made for very serious players or those that are making a living from playing the trumpet. When looking at pro instruments you’re going to see the highest quality materials with a very high attention to detail, amazing sound quality, and a good warranty from the manufacturer. Professional trumpets range in price from $2000 to $10,000+.
Best Budget Brands
When it comes to the best brands of cheap trumpets there are few names you’re going to see pop up a lot. The first is Jean Paul USA who are an American manufacturer of a lot of different instruments and make a great option for beginners and those on a budget looking to buy a quality instrument without a high price tag.
Conn-Selmer is a great brand for those starting out too although they are a little bit more expensive. They are a popular brand among beginners. While they don’t offer professional-level detailing or superior sound quality, their instruments are highly playable, durable, and consistent.
Yamaha is one of the oldest and most versatile trumpet brands available. Due to their years of experience and growing franchise, they have built a wide range of high quality trumpets to meet any price range and skill level.
For the plastic trumpet option, look no further than the pTrumpet or the Trumba. These brands both offer options for under $100 that are made of ABS plastic, the most durable plastic that also produces a decent sound. They both come in a wide range of colors and aesthetics.
Whether you are a beginner looking to just give the trumpet a try, or a professional in need of a specialty instrument, there is no need for you to overpay for the perfect trumpet. With the wide array of types, materials, and quality options available, you can absolutely get everything you wish for without suffering buyer’s remorse.
Best Budget Trumpet Reviews
Now that you hopefully have a better idea of what you’re looking for it’s time to look at some low-priced trumpet reviews. Each trumpet on our list brings something unique to the table, but they are all excellent, cheap trumpets that will prove to be worthy instruments that will help you or your loved ones on their trumpet-playing journey.
#1. Jean Paul USA TR 330 Cheap Trumpet
- The Jean Paul Trumpet is in key of Bb
- Comes with robust contoured carrying case for ease of use transportation
- Beautiful Yellow brass body construction with Gold Lacquer finish
Our number one choice and most recommended option is the Jean Paul USA TR 330. Jean Paul is a US-based company with an excellent reputation for quality instrument manufacturing. This trumpet exemplifies high-quality construction at a low price. The manufacturers state that this trumpet is designed for beginner and intermediate use, so it is an excellent trumpet to learn and advance with.
The TR 330 is made of a combination of brass and lead, with an ample bore and a lead pipe and bell that create a deeper, more comfortable sound that holds its own no matter how many other instruments accompany it.
Apart from being a trusted and well-established instrument maker, Jean Paul also has an excellent customer service department that will replace a malfunctioning trumpet immediately, no questions asked.
We also like that this trumpet comes with a full cleaning kit to teach beginners the importance of proper maintenance by providing them with all the tools they need to keep the trumpet functioning as it should for many years to come.
#2. Hawk WD-T313 Inexpensive Bb Trumpet
- Includes a durable case and mouthpiece
- Bb (B flat) Key
- Size: Bore size 11.66mm, bell diameter 123mm
Next, we have, the Hawk WD-T313 is an excellent trumpet to start your trumpeting journey, and many middle and high school marching band trumpeters swear by them. They are renowned for their musical versatility and ease of use, thus being suitable for any kind of musical genre from Punk Rock to Classical.
Aesthetically, this Trumpet is very attractive, and it comes in many different colors. Still, we recommend you go with the classic