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Maybe you play in a marching band.
Perhaps you are regularly called upon to perform in jazz groups.
You could even be an absolute beginner trumpeter.
If so, a full-sized trumpet may not be what you’re looking for.
Fortunately, there are alternatives.
There is a bit of a market for pocket trumpets, which come with all the bells and whistles of a full-sized instrument, except with the advantage that they are smaller, more portable and generally cheaper (they don’t always sound as good as standard trumpets, mind you).
In this guide, we’ll be looking at nine of the best pocket trumpets for the money.
Mendini MPT-N Nickel Plated Bb Pocket Trumpet
The Mendini MPT-N pocket trumpet is a nickel-plated Bb instrument with a 7C mouthpiece.
It comes with a 0.46-inch bore, 3.75-inch bell, white faux mother of pearl inlaid buttons, phosphorous copper used on lead mouth pipe, smooth action valves and one-year warranty against manufacturer defects.
The trumpet is available in several colors, making it especially friendly for children and beginners – Black, Blue, Gold, Green, Nickel and Red.
This pocket trumpet bundle also comes with a Cecilio 92-D chromatic tuner, case, bottle of valve oil, soft polishing cloth and a pair of white gloves.
Though this is marketed as a beginner or student instrument, we find that pocket trumpets are a little harder to play than full-sized trumpets.
For younger students, however, pocket trumpets likely are ideal, because they are easier to hold.
Reviewers liked the affordability of the Cecilio instrument, in addition to its decent sound and mechanical action.
You may need to make some mods to get it to the level of performance you want, however.
Some buyers had issues with the valves as well as the instrument’s intonation, though this is hardly surprising at this price point.
Stagg WS – TR245 Bb Pocket Trumpet With Case
The Stagg WS TR245 pocket trumpet comes with stainless steel pistons, clear-lacquered body and hard case.
Customers loved the in-tune sound of the instrument.
Some, however, did point out that the first and second valves tended to stick when pressed sideways.
Overall, the Stagg seems like a solid choice.
Carol Brass Pocket Trumpet CPT-3000-GLS-SLB
The Carol Brass pocket trumpet is the most expensive on this list, so if you aren’t sold on the idea of buying a pocket trumpet, or if you don’t have much of a budget to spend on one, you may prefer to explore other options first.
The CPT-3000-GLS-SLB is in the key of Bb and comes with a .460 bore, large 4.724” brushed gold brass bell, close tolerance stainless steel valves, two water keys, weighted bottom caps, first and third thumb hooks for tuning with either hand and a one-year warranty.
Also included in this bundle are a hard case, 3C mouthpiece, polish cloth, ultra-pure professional synthetic valve oil and slide lube.
Manufacturer claims this trumpet plays and sounds like a pro level instrument, with a full sound and projection.
Buyers loved the sound of this CarolBrass instrument, though reportedly valves do not come oiled, so beware.
CarolBrass offers other quality pocket trumpets, which may be worth a look if you like what they’ve got to offer.
Eastar ETR-330N Bb Nickel Plated Pocket Trumpet With Hard Case, Gloves, 7C Mouthpiece, Valve Oil, Trumpet Cleaning Cloth
The Eastar ERT-330N pocket trumpet comes in Gold or Nickel.
According to the manufacturer, it comes with a bright and powerful sound and excellent vibration and beautiful lacquered appearance.
The instrument features a 0.457-inch bore, 3.98-inch bell, white faux mother of pearl inlaid buttons, air tightness, clean and oiled internal pipes, unique serial number on the mouthpiece tube and separate serial numbers on the four regulating tubes.
It also comes with Eastar’s patent-designed and durable valve system along with white gloves, cloth, valve oil, trumpet cleaning suit, 7 C mouthpiece, hard case and 12-month product warranty.
Its small size makes it easy to carry and small-hand friendly.
Most buyers loved the Eastar’s tone and projection, though apparently some reviewers had trouble playing some of the notes on the trumpet.
EastRock Brass Nickel Plated Bb Pocket Trumpet For Beginners, Students Or Intermediate Players
The EastRock pocket trumpet is available in Black, Blue, Gold and Nickel.
This trumpet bundle comes with standard 7C trumpet mouthpiece, hard case, strap, white gloves and cleaning cloth.
Per EastRock, the instrument features a great sound quality suited for lessons, concerts, bands and orchestras, along with a bright and shiny nickel plated exterior, high-precision, non-stick valves with excellent performance, wear-resistant piston and one-year manufacturer warranty.
Many reviewers have said this is a great quality instrument with good projection.
For the price, it’s hard to go wrong with the EastRock.
Queen Brass Pocket Trumpet Chrome Finish B-Flat
This Bb Queen Brass pocket trumpet comes with a hard case, mute and a high quality mouthpiece.
The silver-plated pocket trumpet is one of the lightest on this list, making it highly portable.
Most buyers said the Queen Brass trumpet is of high quality and is fun to play besides.
One player had issues with some of the parts, but after they were replaced, they were fully satisfied with the instrument.
Merano Bb Red Pocket Trumpet With Case, Mouth Piece, Valve Oil, Gloves, Soft Cleaning Cloth
The Merano Bb red lacquer plated pocket trumpet comes with a nickel-plated mouthpiece, zippered, velvet lined carrying case, valve oil, a pair of gloves and soft cleaning cloth.
Most buyers were satisfied with the product, which reportedly offers good sound and playability.
Less enthusiastic buyers said customer service left something to be desired, but that’s going to be highly variable from company to company (or seller to seller, as the case may be).
Merano is known for their fun, low-cost brass, string, woodwind and other instruments, and may be a brand worth keeping in mind when you’re on a tight budget.
Bach Prelude PT711 Black Lacquer Pocket Trumpet
Available in Black and Red, the Bach Prelude PT711 pocket trumpet is a cool looking instrument with a rose brass leadpipe, stainless steel pistons, Bach 7C mouthpiece and zippered nylon case.
With its tightly wrapped design, the instrument measures 10 inches in length.
It comes with a .459-inch medium-large bore, five-inch yellow brass bell, durable stainless-steel pistons for smooth and quiet valve action, adjustable third-slide finger ring, enclosed top-action valve springs and first slide thumb hook.
So far, there aren’t any negative reviews for the Conn-Selmer, and its price is about mid-level.
It might be worth considering.
Allora MXPT-5801-BK Black Nickel Series Pocket Trumpet
The attractive looking Allora MXPT-5801-BK Bb pocket trumpet comes with a .459-inch bore, standard yellow brass leadpipe and 3.66-inch bell.
The black nickel plate is what gives this instrument its sharp appearance, and overall, it’s a compact, eye-catching, great sounding instrument for travel, beginners and children alike.
Reviewers found that this little trumpet packs a punch with good projection and sound.
Some buyers even declared this as the pocket trumpet to have.
As with the Conn-Selmer, the Allora pocket trumpet’s cost is about middle of the road, so don’t expect it to be the cheapest, or for that matter, the most expensive option available.
Nevertheless, this little trumpet is a must-see.
Crystalcello WD480 B Flat Lacquer Plated Pocket Trumpet With Carrying Case
The Crystalcello WD480 lacquer plated Bb pocket trumpet is an affordably priced instrument with a nickel-plated mouthpiece, hardshell velvet lined carrying case, gloves, valve oil and soft cleaning cloth.
Buyers love this little trumpet via Crystalcello, though don’t advise on starting on a pocket trumpet over a full-sized one, for reasons we’ve already hinted at and will be covering in more detail later.
Sky Band Approved Nickel Plated Bb Pocket Trumpet With Case, Cloth, Gloves And Valve Oil
The Sky Music Bb pocket trumpet comes with a .0460-inch bore, 3.75-inch bell, lightweight case (velvet lined interior) cloth, gloves, valve oil and Paititi mouthpiece.
The color selection makes it extra fun for beginners, who can choose from Black, Blue, Gold, Green, Nickel, Purple, Red, Silver and Pink.
The precise fits and perfect round tubing offer less turbulence and smooth air flow.
Phosphorous copper was used on the entire one-time drawn body, which can also be found on professional trumpets.
Manufacturer claims this instrument is perfect for beginner to advanced players.
Buyers liked that the Sky Music trumpet offers a big sound.
Others didn’t like that it wasn’t a full-fledged instrument but admitted themselves that it couldn’t be of the highest quality at this price, which is correct.
This would still make for a great travel trumpet.
Shreyas PoTr-05 Pocket Trumpet Bb Brass SCX836
Not that pocket trumpets are expensive to begin with, but if you’re on a tight budget, may we suggest having a look at the Shreyas PoTr-05 Bb pocket trumpet?
This bundle includes the brass polished Bb pocket trumpet, carrying case, mouthpiece, bottle of valve oil, soft polishing cloth and a pair of white gloves.
It comes with three smooth action valves, comfortable white faux mother of pearl inlaid buttons, phosphorus copper lead mouth pipe and 14-month manufacturer warranty.
Every trumpet is play tested and re-tested by a professional at the factory to ensure high quality.
Shreyas suggests this is a good choice for beginner to intermediate level student musicians.
Most customers love the quality of this instrument.
What Should I Look For In A Mini Pocket Trumpet?
No one knows what to look for in an instrument as well as you do.
That’s because you have certain likes and dislikes, which predisposes you towards certain instruments.
We can’t identify what your preferences are, though we can offer some suggestions to steer you in the right direction.
Of course, if you’re new to pocket trumpets and aren’t sure what to expect, you’ll likely want to research and gather a bit of information before you commit.
In this section, we’ll look at several key factors that will have influence over your buying decision.
These include good projection and sound, ease of use and playability, stable intonation, construction, portability, appearance and budget.
Read on to find out more.
Good Sound & Projection
Pocket trumpets aren’t all created equal.
And, the idea that you get what you pay for certainly holds true with most instruments, including pocket trumpets.
So, if you want a nicer sounding instrument with good projection, you should be prepared to spend more.
Even though a pocket trumpet rarely sounds as good as a full-sized one, because it features the same tubing (only wound more tightly), a pocket trumpet with the right construction can still sound great.
Because of this, it can be worth doing a bit of comparison shopping to see which one sounds the best to you.
Now, as for projection, when I mention that word, you might be a little worried about noise.
To that extent, it’s always best to be mindful of your environment when you’re practicing or playing your instrument.
But a trumpet with good projection is easier for you to hear.
And, likewise, if you intend to use it in performance, you don’t want an instrument that’s going to be drowned out by the others.
Obviously, there are some things you can do, even at a gig, to ensure you’re heard such as by playing in front of a microphone.
But that assumes someone has a mic you can use, and the sound guy will know how to operate it.
So, projection is an important factor.
For most prospective buyers of pocket trumpets, sound quality and projection will likely be the first factor they consider.
Granted, the other factors listed below aren’t insignificant and may weigh heavily into your decision as well, so don’t jump the gun with your buying decision.
This is because, while there are great sounding pocket trumpets, that may not be your motivation for buying one to begin with.
Your motivation might include the desire for a novelty instrument, a trumpet you can easily travel with, the compact and portable nature of a pocket trumpet and so on.
So, let’s continue to explore what you might look for in a quality pocket trumpet.
Ease Of Use/Playability
In most cases, a full-sized trumpet is easier to play than a pocket trumpet.
So, if you’re thinking about buying a pocket trumpet, in an ideal world, you would already have experience with a standard trumpet.
If you do, making the transition from one instrument to another will prove much simpler.
Still, some pocket trumpets are easier to play than others, and it depends a lot on the instrument’s construction, parts and materials used to build it.
Now, we can’t necessarily tell you which instrument is better in this regard (though we know that price makes a difference in quality).
But here are several ways you can find out, for yourself, how playable an instrument is:
- Read product reviews. If it’s a popular product, there’s a good chance someone has already done a thorough review of it and has addressed how playable it is. You can check Amazon, Google and other favorite sources for quality reviews.
- Check out video demos and reviews. Though reading articles is always helpful, being able to see the instrument being used by a reviewer/player can be even more helpful. Again, if it’s a popular product, there’s a good chance you can find video demos and reviews on YouTube that talk about the instrument’s playability.
- Rent the instrument. If your local musical instrument store carries pocket trumpets, you could always rent a few and try them out for yourself to see which you like. This is a surefire way to discover which instrument is right for you, though it isn’t always practical, because of cost or lack of inventory. So, demos and reviews might prove more useful.
When buying an instrument, some digging is generally par for the course.
But now you are equipped with the tools necessary to find your ideal instrument.
There are several more factors to explore, however, so let’s get into the next one.
Intonation refers to how in tune an instrument is across its entire range.
The better intonation an instrument has, the more reliable it will be when practicing to a jam track, playing with other musicians at rehearsals and gigs, recording in the studio and more.
Generally, instruments with bad intonation are not used in the studio (unless the producer is going for a certain effect).
It seems obvious that manufacturers would put some time and effort into this and ensure that their products have great intonation out of the box.
For better or for worse, cheaper instruments are cheaper for a reason.
For a manufacturer to sell their products at a lower price, they must cut corners somewhere, whether it’s with materials, construction, testing or otherwise.
Of course, this does mean that a higher priced instrument should have better intonation than a cheaper one.
So, if you’re prepared to spend more, you may not need to give this a lot of thought.
Either way, you can go through the same process outlined above to find out whether specific instruments have good intonation (i.e. read reviews, watch video demos and rent instruments to test them out).
If you’re buying for a beginner, then you want to ensure you’re buying a sturdy product.
After all, students, beginners and children aren’t always acquainted with the proper care, maintenance and handling of instruments, and may end up bumping, dropping or banging their instrument, even if it’s by accident.
If the instrument falls apart after such a scenario, you’ll end up having to replace it.
Though pocket trumpets don’t necessarily cost a lot of money, if you end up having to repeatedly buy new instruments, it can add up.
So, looking for an instrument with solid construction is a good idea.
Likewise, even if you’re a more advanced player that’s familiar with how to care for their instrument, you’d probably appreciate one that features better construction.
After all, poor construction can lead to a myriad of unwelcome scenarios, whether it’s the need to replace parts or the entire instrument falling apart.
The only reliable way to know whether an instrument features solid construction is to scan the reviews, so that’s my tip here.
Most pocket trumpets are around the same size and same weight.
Within that small range, of course, are slightly lighter and smaller instruments as well as slightly heavier and bigger instruments.
My point is that all pocket trumpets are portable – that’s why they’re called pocket trumpets (though they won’t literally fit into your pocket)!
There isn’t a huge difference between the trumpets covered above, at least in this regard.
Portability is important to you if you plan to gig and travel a lot and want to bring an instrument with you, but not something you’d be sore about losing.
After all, you never know what might happen to your stuff on longer journeys.
Assuming you’re attentive and mindful, it’s unlikely you will lose your instrument on your journeys, but stranger things have happened.
Either way, if you’re in the market for a pocket trumpet, this is an important factor.
The good news is that you won’t need to give it much thought at all, because these instruments cater to your needs!
A Nice-Looking Instrument
This likely isn’t going to be a major deciding factor when shopping for pocket trumpets.
When people are looking to buy an instrument, they’re often looking for one that sounds good and feels good to them.
Looks are less important, and if the instrument fulfills the first two criteria, and just happens to look good on top of that, it’s a bonus.
If you’re looking for an instrument that’s a specific color or specific look, it’s probably because you’re buying for a child, or because you require a certain look to uphold/maintain a brand identify you’ve created as an artist.
Since looks are subjective, there are only so many tips we can offer here.
If appearance is important to you, then be sure to scan your options and pick out a few that feel right to you.
Then, you can narrow it down from there.
That way, you can get an instrument that looks how you want it to look without necessarily having to sacrifice on the other criteria mentioned here.
Within An Acceptable Price Range
There is a bit of a spread in terms of price range when it comes to pocket trumpets.
Most aren’t overly expensive and can be purchased for $100 to $200.
But there are also trumpets that are closer to the $1,000 range on our list.
Regardless of price, we recommend spending no more than you can afford to.
We especially recommend against going into debt to buy an instrument.
If you want to buy a pricier trumpet, then be sure you have some wiggle room in your budget or save up for it.
Otherwise, wisdom is to stick to your plans and avoid overspending.
When Should I Buy A Pocket Trumpet? Is It Right For Me?
At first glance, a pocket trumpet may appear to be a different creature than a standard trumpet (or for that matter, a cornet).
But its tubing is the same as a standard trumpet except that its wound more tightly.
Plus, a pocket trumpet is played the same way a trumpet is played.
Because of its size, it is considered harder to play than a standard sized trumpet, and to that extent, it’s not ideal for beginners.
So, right away, that should give you a bit of an idea whether you should pick one up.
Its smaller size, however, is also its key advantage.
Because a pocket trumpet is small, it is also portable.
If you’re constantly on the road, or even traveling across the world, you’ll love that you can take it anywhere you go without much hassle.
Potentially, you could even carry it onto an airplane.
A pocket trumpet usually doesn’t weigh more than 5 pounds (average is somewhere in the 4- to 4.5-pound range), measuring about 11.5 x 9.5 x 6.5 (see product pages for exact dimensions).
This means you may even be able to fit it inside a larger bag or suitcase (storing it in a case with padding is always recommended for air travel).
So, those are the two major factors as we see it – let’s review:
- Learning to play a pocket trumpet is considered difficult. If you’re already a skilled trumpetist, then you’re likely to get more out of the instrument than if you were a complete beginner.
- If you’re constantly traveling and want to take your instrument with you, but don’t have the space for a larger instrument, a pocket trumpet can easily stand in for your full-size instrument as a good practice instrument.
Pocket trumpets are also considerably cheaper than full-sized instruments, making them more travel worthy as well.
Are Pocket Trumpets For Beginners, Children & Students Only?
This goes hand in hand with the last question.
Because we’ve found pocket trumpets to be harder to play than their full-size counterparts, we certainly wouldn’t say they are only for beginners, children and students.
They can be good, cost-effective, compact solutions for people in that category, and to that end, you might consider a pocket trumpet for someone who’s just getting started.
Some pocket trumpet models come in a variety of colors too, which can make it fun and personal for the intended owner of the instrument.
Pocket trumpets also come in handy for marching bands and jazz gigs (or, for that matter, any gig where you want to bring a novelty instrument you can show off to the audience).
For that reason, owners of full-size trumpets may also own pocket trumpets.
Another reason to own one is for travel.
Travelling with a full-sized instrument can be a challenge, and sometimes you will need to check the instrument before boarding a plane (usually worse-case scenario unless your instrument is properly padded and secured) or even purchase a second seat for it (which can be expensive).
Meanwhile, a smaller instrument like a pocket trumpet can be loaded into a suitcase, or potentially even a larger backpack, making it easy to bring with you wherever you go.
So, no, pocket trumpets aren’t just for beginners, children and students.
They can be used in a variety of settings, whether it’s in practice, at a jam, at gigs or even at recording sessions.
It’s mostly a matter of having the right instrument for the intended setting.
So, when buying a pocket trumpet, be sure to keep this question in mind:
How do you plan to use it?
Then, buy based on intended use.
You may need to spend more depending on how you intend to use it, so be prepared.
What Are The Best Pocket Trumpet Brands?
While most brands introduced here should be considered good, it’s fair to say that some brands have more clout, more history and more of a user base behind them.
In this section, we’ll take a quick look at the most known and reputable pocket trumpet brands.
Ultimately, however, only you can choose what’s right for you.
Mendini By Cecilio
Cecilio is known for their reasonably priced, quality string, woodwind and brass instruments as well as accessories.
Teachers also tend to like working with Mendini instruments, which is saying something.
For their price, they tend to offer solid quality and durability.
As noted earlier, Merano is known for their wide range of colorful, affordably priced beginner and children friendly instruments, which include string, brass, woodwind and other instruments.
If you’re just looking to give things a try with pocket trumpets, this is probably a good place to look.
Established in 1995, Stagg is still a relative newcomer in the musical gear and instrument space, but they are becoming more well known.
Their offerings include guitars and basses, folk instruments (ukuleles, banjos, etc.), cymbals and percussion, band and orchestra instruments, pro lighting and audio gear as well as accessories.
While we can’t speak to the quality of their other gear, they seem to make solid pocket trumpets overall.
CarolBrass (or Hoxon Gaaki Corp.) was established in 1989 and is a small, family owned business in Taiwan.
They offer a large selection of trumpets, cornets, pocket trumpets, mini pocket trumpets, flugelhorns, trombones and more.
Some of their artists include John Eth, Geoff Winstead, Jim Bohm, Josh Shpak and others, which speaks to their dedication and quality of instruments.
Even if not for pocket trumpets, Selmer is likely a name you’ve already heard of, because of their quality offerings, which include band instruments, string instruments, educational percussion, combo percussion and accessories.
They may not exactly be known as a pocket trumpet manufacturer, but we think Conn-Selmer is a brand worth keeping an eye on, as their offerings are likely only going to improve over time.
Top Pocket Trumpets Compared – Final Thoughts
Lifestyles vary considerably from one person to the next.
Dedicated musicians, however, rarely like leaving home without an instrument they can practice on and even potentially perform with.
So far as trumpetists are concerned, it’s nice to know there are good alternatives to full-sized trumpets, as it makes transport much easier.
Best of all, pocket trumpets are a lot cheaper than trumpets, so if you ever need to replace yours, it won’t cost an arm and a leg.
We’ve presented several great options in this guide, so you probably can’t go wrong with one of the above.