Upgrading Your Beginner Trumpet
If you’ve been playing the trumpet for a few years, you may be starting to feel that your student model trumpet isn’t allowing you to reach your full musical potential. Having a few years of playing experience will mean that your technique and embouchure muscles are now developed enough to support a more advanced instrument. At the intermediate level, trumpets start to incorporate more advance features, allowing you to select an instrument that adapts to your preferred playing style.
Which brands should you consider?
Bach, Yamaha, Schagerl, and Shires are trusted brands with great options for intermediate and professional players.
The Bach VB400/VB400S has only been on the market for a few years now, but we have been impressed with the rich, big sound that can be achieved on this instrument. This model has been based on Bach’s professional Stradivarius range and comes at an affordable price. A beautiful engraving design beautifully embellishes the instrument's bell. The included back-pack style case is a sleek upgrade from the basic hard case that comes with student model trumpets.
Yamaha produces two trumpets suitable for intermediate players, the YTR4335G/YTR4335GS and YTR6335A. The YTR4335G and YTR6335G have a gold-brass finish, which means that the brass has a higher portion of copper in the brass than yellow brass. This tends to provide a warmer sound. The YTR4335GS has a gold brass bell with silver plating. The YTR6335A is made in Japan in the Tooyooka factory and was built especially for the Australian market.
Schagerl has developed a series of trumpets with the input of Australian multi-musician, James Morrison. The Schagerl Academica Klassic JM2/JM2S has been designed with orchestral players in mind. We recommend this model for players wanting to dabble in classical and jazz styles. The twin lead pipe is ideal for soaring over an orchestra as well as leading a big band. The Schagerl Jazz JM1/JM1S is suitable for jazz and improvisation, with a reverse lead pipe and gold-brass bell that allows for a free-blowing, full tone. Both of these Schagerl instruments include features from the trumpet James plays himself and are available in clear lacquer or silver-plated finish.
Should you go pro?
When looking to upgrade from your student model you can also consider going straight to a professional model, like the Yamaha Xeno or Bach Stradivarius. To help make this decision, consider whether you are likely to pursue the trumpet in VCE and/or tertiary studies. If your budget allows for the purchase of a professional instrument, you may be able to avoid upgrading again in a few years.
The Bach Stradivarius 180S37 is probably the most popular trumpet for classical trumpeters and players preparing for this career. Made in Elkhart, Indiana, these instruments are carefully hand crafted with a one-piece hand hammered #37 bell. Because of the hand crafted elements, each trumpet is unique and has its own character. These trumpets are designed to project over large ensembles, whilst also being at home in smaller ensembles and solo performances.
Watch the process of a Bach brass bell being constructed:
Yamaha Xeno trumpets are made in Japan, where they were first released in the 1990s. Xeno trumpets are renowned for easily slotting into each partial and playing nicely in tune. They are availability in a number of finishes, such as yellow brass with silver plating, gold brass with silver plating, gold brass with clear lacquer, and yellow brass with clear lacquer. These variations allow players to find a model that will assist in producing their desired tone colour. They are also available with a reverse lead pipe. Although the Xeno series hasn't been around for as long as some other professional models, these trumpets can increasingly be found in the hands of professional players around Australia and internationally.
The Shires Q Series TRQ10S and TRQ10RS are new to the market and are a great option for players who are seriously wanting to pursue music beyond school. Both models are silver plated, facilitating a dark warm sound, with a standard lead pipe in the Q10S and a reverse lead pipe in the Q10RS.
When starting your journey to upgrade your student trumpet, consider what kind of settings you'll be using it in, and which features will be important for that. Some things simply come down to personal preference, so it's highly recommended that you book a Play-Test Appointment and feel the difference for yourself!