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The trumpet is one of the most iconic musical instruments and has one of the most recognizable sounds in any ensemble setting. Thanks to trailblazers like Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, the trumpet remains one of the most popular lead instruments in jazz.
Every player knows that the proper tool plays an important role in the craftsmanship involved in one’s artistry. The following trumpets are some of the best available on the market for jazz music.
Bach 190S37 Stradivarius – Best Overall
There tend to be certain models of all musical instruments that are considered the “gold standard” of their class. When it comes to the trumpet, that gold standard is usually considered to be the Bach 190S37 Stradivarius (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon).
The 190S37 Stradivarius is quite an elegant silver-plated trumpet tuned to B-flat. This particular model is a more evolved version of Bach’s standard 190S37 model, featuring only the best in used materials and crafted by the company’s master builders.
As its name suggests, the 190S37 Stradivarius features a #37 shape bell, which has been hammered by hand. The bell itself measures 4.81” and is made of yellow Brass.
The 190S37 Stradivarius has a medium-large bore which measures 0.459” and features a standard taper #25 leadpipe. This helps to provide a center to the trumpet’s sound while providing a hint of resistance to its breath response.
The 190S37 Stradivarius also features Monel valves, which are housed in a 2-piece casing that is made of Nickel and Brass. Its valve guides utilize a combination of plastic and Brass.
This is certainly not the most affordable trumpet on the market, but it is one that has one of the best reputations. Any professional would be well-suited here, and could likely find it to be a lifelong companion.
Along with the 190S37 Stradivarius itself, its purchase also includes a Bach 3C mouthpiece. A wooden case also comes included to provide a lifetime of safe transportation.
Yamaha YTR-9335NYS III Xeno Artist – Best Premium
Not concerned with a budget and only looking to get one of the best trumpets that money can buy? The Yamaha YTR-9335NYS III Xeno Artist is one trumpet that you definitely need to try for yourself.
This silver-plated B-flat trumpet features a 4.9” one-piece bell made of yellow Brass. The bell itself features a French bead rim, which helps to provide ample projection for anyone playing the lead trumpet role.
The YTR-9335NYS III Xeno Artist has a medium-large bore of 0.459”, with an MB2 leadpipe. This provides more of an open, free-blowing feeling compared to the CHS version of this same model.
The YTR-9335NYS III Xeno Artist also features Monel alloy piston valves. Slide stoppers made of silicone rubber help to keep everything in place during even the most demanding of passages.
A TR1784 mouthpiece comes with the purchase of the YTR-9335NYS III Xeno Artist. You’ll also get a padded, double-sided case to keep your beloved instrument safe during transportation.
The YTR-9335NYS III Xeno Artist is a hotly debated model when it comes to whether it is appropriate for jazz. However, great blowers like Sean Jones have opted to use this New York-style version to great success.
When compared to the CHS version, the NYS does seem to be a hint more forgiving in its response. With that said, either version of the YTR-9335 is well worth checking out if your budget and skill level are in accordance with such a purchase.
Yamaha YTR-2330 – Best Budget
Are you more of a beginner looking to get your hands on a trumpet that could serve you well for years to come? The Yamaha YTR-2330 (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is one of the best in terms of value per cost.
While the YTR-2330 has been designed specifically with students in mind, Yamaha has gone the extra mile to pack in as many features as possible. The results have made the YTR-2330 an incredibly balanced instrument that provides both ergonomics and light weight.
The B-flat-tuned YTR-2330 features a 2-piece bell measuring 4.9”, with a gold lacquer finish applied to the entire instrument. Despite this being a budget model, the YTR-2330’s leadpipe and .459” medium-large bore make blowing through this trumpet quite easy to accomplish.
The YTR-2330’s tuning slide is designed without a brace, perfectly suitable for younger hands, and provides a bright tonal quality to the trumpet. Plus, Yamaha has made sure to include Monel valves to ensure that the trumpet has a consistent quality of playability.
Make no mistake about it, the YTR-2330 is not designed to be a professional-level trumpet. However, it can be a viable choice for those who are just starting to get their feet wet in playing with different jazz ensembles.
There is a reason why the YTR-2330 has continued to be one of the most popular beginner trumpets on the market. It provides a fertile platform to elevate one’s skill by learning the workings of how to emote on the instrument.
This could easily serve you well in the intermediate ranges of skill. Plus, it comes with an 11B4 mouthpiece as well as a sturdy hardshell case to keep the trumpet protected.
One thing to note about the YTR-2330 is that you can often find this instrument at a discount depending on the retailer you choose. At the regular list price, this trumpet might be a bit hard to justify for someone who is just getting started.
Wayne Bergeron is undoubtedly one of the most prolific jazz trumpet players of the modern era. It would stand to reason that his artist model, the Yamaha YTR-8335LAIIS (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) would be a phenomenal choice for jazz.
Fortunately, this is one instance where the reality matches the theoretics. This B-flat trumpet has the tone and playability that seem to be fitting for any jazz application.
The silver-plated YTR-8335LAIIS features a one-piece yellow Brass bell measuring 5”. It also comes with a medium-large bore of .459” with a Gold Brass leadpipe.
Monel valves are featured here, which are housed in a casing composed of 2 pieces of brass. Navigating the range of this trumpet is a smooth experience for sure, thanks to the zippy nature of Yamaha’s LA styling.
In general, you’ll find that the YTR-8335LAIIS has quite a bit of free-blowing openness in its playability. The trumpet has a hint of darkness with a rich complexity, especially in the lower region of its note range.
The YTR-8335LAIIS also has fantastic projection to help it stand out as a lead instrument. With that being said, it might be more appropriate for those who utilize a good deal of air when playing.
But, for the price, the YTR-8335LAIIS is quite reasonable, especially for a professional-grade trumpet. It also comes included with a TR-14B4 mouthpiece and a dependable hardshell case.
Bach 180S43 Stradivarius
Another hotly debated topic in the jazz trumpet community is what the best Bach model is for the genre. While the aforementioned 190S37 Stradivarius has its place, the Bach 180S43 Stradivarius (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) remains another extremely popular choice.
Like the 190S37 Stradivarius, the 180S43 Stradivarius features the finest components crafted by Bach’s master builders. This silver-plated B-flat trumpet features a one-piece 4.8” yellow Brass bell with a #43 shape taper.
The 180S43 Stradivarius features a medium-large, 0.459” bore with a #25 leadpipe. With this model, you have the option to choose between a standard leadpipe design or one with a reversed design.
This trumpet comes equipped with Monel valves and features a thumb saddle on the 1st valve slide and an adjustable stop on the 3rd. You’ll find the finger movements to be quite buttery for the smoothest of passages.
So, why do people opt for the 180S43 Stradivarius compared to its 190S37 Stradivarius brethren? For most people, it’s the fact that the bell shape seems to be a hint brighter, with a brilliance that helps it cut through the mix.
Considering that the 180S43 Stradivarius is a little more affordable, it’s well worth anyone’s time and exploration. This professional-grade trumpet comes included with a 7C mouthpiece as well as a wooden case.
Looking for a trumpet that can handle not only jazz but band and orchestral ensembles too? The XO 1602RS-R (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is an affordable professional-grade trumpet that can seemingly do it all.
There are a few different varieties available with XO’s 1602 model. This particular version features a silver-plated Rose Brass construction with a reverse leadpipe.
The 1602RS-R features a 4.8” bell and a medium-large, .0459” bore. It comes equipped with Monel valves housed in 2-piece casings, with a thumb saddle on the 1st, and a throw ring and vertical stop on the 3rd.
One of the things that adds a bit of value to the 1602RS-R over other trumpets is that it comes included with items such as:
- Finger buttons
- Valve caps
- Valve springs
Having these accessories means that you can tweak the feel of the trumpet to be in accordance with your personal preferences.
Because of its reverse leadpipe, the 1602RS-R has a free-blowing feel that is quite easy to play. Both registers of the instrument can be accessed quite effortlessly.
The 1602RS-R is also quite versatile in its range of expressibility. While its tone is rich with a hint of darkness, it can be as sugary and sweet or as ugly as you desire it to be.
The 1602RS-R is a little more affordable than some of the other professional-grade trumpets on the market, which
can be a plus for those who play jazz and other styles of ensemble music. Its purchase includes a JBM-TR3C mouthpiece and a lusciously padded hardshell case.
Stomvi 5363 S3 Big Bell
Seeking a relatively affordable trumpet that provides more than its fair share of versatility and projection? The Stomvi 5363 S3 Big Bell is definitely one trumpet that outshines many of the competitors in its class.
In fact, many trumpet players have consistently claimed that the 5363 S3 Big Bell is one of the best trumpets they have ever played in their entire lives. When you play and hear one for yourself, you’ll start to understand exactly why that is.
This silver-plated B-flat trumpet features a massive 5.12” bell the #3 taper shape. Stomvi has crafted this trumpet using their designed Bellflex, which is an alloy made of Brass.
The 5363 S3 Big Bell has a medium-large, 0.459” bore and features a reverse leadpipe for a more open feel. Monel valves provide effortless playability while its 1st and 3rd valve slide rings make adjustments a breeze.
In terms of sound, the 5363 S3 Big Bell has a very bright tone and comes with a hefty dose of projection when needed. The trumpet is incredibly articulate and can handle frantic bebop passages with ease.
Once you hear the 5363 S3 Big Bell, you’ll immediately be taken back to the golden years of trumpet-lead jazz. Belting out those high notes with the necessary oomph behind it will be no problem here.
The purchase of the 5363 S3 Big Bell comes included with a Stomvi 3C Classic mouthpiece as well as a protective hardshell case.
Because the 5363 S3 Big Bell is designed for the intermediate range, it does cost a bit less than other offerings on this list. However, its sound and capabilities can easily make this a mainstay trumpet well into one’s professional career.
S.E. Shires TRQ10S
Seeking a professional-grade trumpet that doesn’t break the bank and functions well in just about any musical situation? The S.E. Shires TRQ10S (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is one B-flat trumpet that manages to pack in top-shelf value without the associated price tag.
This silver-plated yellow Brass trumpet features a one-piece 4.8” bell that has been crafted by hand to have S.E. Shires’ signature Q10 taper. It also has a medium-large, 0.459” bore, with its leadpipe featuring a .345” venturi for increased response and articulation.
The TRQ10S has Monel valves, which feature Nickel balusters and valve caps made of Nickel Silver. This provides a hint of more articulation while providing an elegant feel to the instrument.
An S.E. Shires Q Series mouthpiece and a hardshell case come included with the purchase of this trumpet.
For the most part, the TRQ10S can be summed up just as such: elegant without being extravagant. It’s a fantastic all-purpose trumpet that can handle anything from jazz to orchestral music, and everything in between.
Despite its reasonable cost, S.E. Shires did not hold back on packing in the features here. Attention was even given to the trumpet’s aesthetics, as is evidenced by its ornate engraved design near the bell.
The YTR-6335 features a silver-plated, yellow Brass construction, with a 1-piece 4.87” bell. With its medium-large, .459” bore, you’ll find that this trumpet seems to have an excellent center to its sound, which can vary between dark and bright in timbre.
The YTR-6335 comes with Monel valves, which have been a bit hit-or-miss with some trumpet players. Keeping these properly oiled and maintained is recommended to prevent binding as the trumpet ages.
When purchasing the YTR-6335, a 14B4 mouthpiece and a protective hardshell case are included.
While the YTR-6335 does have its slight drawbacks, its range and playability are what make it a worthwhile instrument. Each range of notes is easy to hit and the trumpet seems to maintain an even blow.
Because the YTR-6335 is so overlooked, you can often find it selling at absolute bargain prices on the used market. Just be sure to inspect the condition of the valves to ensure that the trumpet has some longevity before needing to have it serviced.
Victory Musical Instruments Revelation Series
Looking for an entry-level professional-grade trumpet that is suitable for jazz as well as a host of other musical genres? The Victory Musical Instruments Revelation Series trumpet is worth taking a look at.
This B-flat trumpet comes with a fantastic 5” bell, which helps to provide ample projection in every dynamic range. Its medium-large, .459” bore and reverse leadpipe give its tone a centered sound while providing a free-blowing feeling, which, in a way, is the best of both worlds between this and what is offered with a standard leadpipe.
The Revelation Series trumpet has a couple of selling points that make it worth any serious player’s time. The first is that this trumpet has fantastic intonation, with any adjustments needed being extremely convenient to pull off.
Secondly, the Revelation Series trumpet is noted for being a prime choice for those who primarily play with small, controlled breaths. It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to reap the full sonic capabilities that this trumpet has to offer.
The Revelation Series trumpet is also quite light in weight, which is a bonus for those long gigs. It even comes decked out with an engraving on the inner rim of the bell for a heightened aesthetic appeal.
Victory has gone the extra mile here to provide a wealth of options regarding the overall finish of this instrument. When purchasing a Revelation Series trumpet, you’ll be able to choose between:
- Gold lacquer
- Black Nickel and gold lacquer
- Brown gold and black Nickel
Plus, this trumpet also comes with a sturdily-padded soft-shell case to keep it safe in storage and transportation.
Seeking out a reliable intermediate-level trumpet that is relatively easy on the wallet? The Yamaha YTR-4335GSII (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is one of the most popular choices on the market for this reason.
This B-flat Gold Brass trumpet comes with a 2-piece, 4.9” bell, as well as a medium-large, 0.459” bore. When purchasing this trumpet, you’ll have the option to choose between gold lacquer or silver-plated finishes.
The YTR-4335GSII features Monel alloy piston valves which are relatively smooth in their functionality. One thing to be aware of, though, is that you’ll want to keep up on the valve maintenance to prevent them from sticking over time.
Despite being a budget model in Yamaha’s trumpet line, the tuning slides featured in the YTR-4335GSII are the same as found in the professional-grade trumpets. This means you won’t have to worry about intonation stability as you would in other affordable trumpets.
Yamaha also includes a TR-11B4 mouthpiece and a protective case for secure portability. This case can even be worn over the shoulder like a backpack if desired.
Overall, the YTR-4335GSII is a fantastic option for any serious beginner or intermediate. For the price, it’s hard not to be pleased with the playability and the sound that this trumpet produces.
A trumpet such as this could easily help maintain one’s inspiration to continue their progress on the instrument. Some have even said it plays better than some of the professional-grade trumpets in the class above.
What To Look For When Buying A Jazz Trumpet
Buying a trumpet for jazz is a very personal process as much of what you will choose will depend on your own preferences. With that being said, there are some things you will want to know before you attempt to purchase a trumpet for yourself.
The following section will provide informational points that you can use to inform your purchase. A recommended process for trying out different trumpets will also be provided to make your decisions easier to formulate.
By far the biggest thing you will need to consider when purchasing a trumpet is the size of the budget you have to work with. Trumpets are not the most affordable instruments to be acquired, so some proper budget planning is absolutely necessary.
The truth is, even the most recommended intermediate-grade trumpets will set you back a pretty penny. You will need to weigh whether buying a brand-new trumpet is justifiable for your personal situation.
Don’t worry too much if your budget cannot accommodate such a purchase. There are a couple of options available that can still allow you the opportunity to play these trumpets.
The first is to search around the used market to see what other trumpet players have for sale. Used trumpets will usually fetch a serious discount below the retail price of the same model in brand-new condition.
Some serious discretion is necessary when exploring the used market. Make sure to inspect every aspect of the trumpet to get an idea of its condition.
If you lack the experience to be able to discern good from bad, try to bring a friend with more trumpet experience than you. They will be able to inspect the instrument and give you a firsthand education in what is deemed to be acceptable condition.
Secondly, many shops do offer trumpet rentals, which will give you a playable trumpet without the upfront cost. Obviously, this isn’t for everyone, but for students who need an instrument, this service is invaluable.
Trumpets tend to come in different grades, with their prices reflecting their intended skill level accommodation, and quality of materials. These include:
- Beginner-grade ($400-$1000)
- Intermediate-grade ($1000-$2000)
- Professional-grade ($2000+)
The Trumpet Bell
One of the things you’ll need to consider with the trumpet’s build is the size and shape of its bell. The bell is what provides projection to the trumpet, with the size correlating to the amount of projection available.
Common bell sizes generally range from about 4.8” to 5.15” depending on the model and manufacturer.
All trumpet bells have their own unique tapering, which affects how the trumpet sounds. Gradual tapers usually produce a sharp, bright tone, with the more immediate tapers usually being a little darker in nature.
The trumpet bell is usually crafted from the same materials as the rest of the instrument. However, the higher-end trumpets can sometimes utilize different materials for the bell, which add differing tonal characteristics based on the composition of the material being used.
Some debate exists over whether 1-piece or 2-piece bells are superior. 2-piece bells are more cost-effective, but some feel that 1-piece bells typically add more clarity and sweetness.
The diameter of the trumpet’s tubes plays a serious role in how the trumpet plays. This is because it directly correlates to how much air is required to sound a respectable note.
Beginner-grade trumpets will usually have smaller diameters than what is found with professional-grade models. However, you’ll find that a wide majority of trumpets typically have bore sizes around the .459” measurement.
Something to consider along with the bore size is the trumpet’s leadpipe design. This refers to how the leadpipe connects to the trumpet’s tuning slide.
Standard leadpipes attach into the tuning slide, which diminishes the bore size at its connection. In turn, this adds a bit of breath resistance, which can provide more articulation and consistent volume levels.
The reverse leadpipe, on the other hand, attaches onto the tuning slide, which maintains an even bore size at the connection point. This makes the trumpet feel more open and free.
It’s important to note here that neither design is superior to the other. This is a feature that is primarily decided by personal preference after having tried the trumpet on for size.
Valves play an important role in the trumpet’s playability, primarily because it dictates how easily the fingers can maneuver the instrument. The majority of trumpets on the market will utilize a piston valve, usually made from Monel or nickel-plated nickel silver.
Monel is an alloy comprised of manganese, copper, and nickel. It is usually considered the optimal material of choice due to its stainless nature and is the most common material used in intermediate and professional-grade trumpets.
Higher-end trumpets will usually feature valves with smaller tolerances, which positively impacts the instrument’s intonation. However, valve maintenance is always recommended to keep them from getting sticky and gummed up.
The hot air from your lungs carries with it moisture that will condense inside of the trumpet during use. Trumpets are equipped with water keys for this purpose, allowing the player to dissipate the moisture that collects inside the instrument’s tubes.
How Does It Sound?
Aside from the trumpet’s playability, its sound is perhaps the most important factor to consider. You will obviously want to make sure that the trumpet you choose fits your musical voice as well as the musical scenarios in which it will be played.
The trumpet’s material plays a vital role in how the instrument itself sounds. Most trumpets for jazz are made of Brass and utilize differing ratios of Copper and Zinc depending on the specific type of Brass.
Red/Rose Brass utilizes a 90:10 Copper-zinc ratio and produces the warmest tones to be found in a trumpet. Gold Brass utilizes an 80:20 ratio, which is quite balanced with a full presence.
Yellow brass is comprised of a 70:30 ratio and is the brightest and punchiest trumpet of the bunch. Manufacturers will sometimes incorporate different types within the same trumpet.
Another thing that affects the trumpet’s sound is whether it has any braces. Trumpets can have either none, 1, or 2 braces, with each brace typically adding a darker quality to the instrument’s timbre.
While the jury’s still out about whether it plays an important role in tone, the trumpet’s finish is worth consideration. Many feel that silver-plated finishes are brighter than those that are lacquered.
How To Try Out Different Trumpets
Once you have an idea of a few different trumpets you’d like to try, it’s time to put them to the test and compare them. Before you get started, make sure that the trumpets you compare are similar in terms of their design.
If you have a wide assortment of trumpets to try, it’s best to compare them in smaller batches of similarity. This will allow you to whittle down the contenders into another smaller group for a closer, final comparison.
When trying out the trumpet, it’s best to play the same thing across all of the models. When doing this, you will be focusing on a few different things with each turn, including aspects like:
- Tuning and range
- How it feels in the upper register vs. the lower register
- Articulation and response during dynamic and frenzied passages
- How the trumpet and its valves feel in the hand
It’s important to be somewhat familiar with the trumpet before doing these steps yourself. Bring a friend who can put the trumpet through its paces if you lack the skill set to do so.
Best Brands For Jazz Trumpets
When looking for a new trumpet, you will come across many different brands. The following brands are considered the cream of the crop.
Since 1924, Bach trumpets have been widely thought to be the best in the world. Many trumpet players choose models from this US company for their premium build quality and superior sound.
Bach specializes in producing Brass instruments for all skill levels. In the trumpet world, the company’s Stradivarius models are credited as being some of the best the market has to offer.
Yamaha is one of the world’s biggest musical instrument manufacturers with a stellar reputation for all of its products. This company is known for packing value and features into every single instrument at every price level as well as finding ways to continually innovate upon traditional designs.
Some of the best beginner-grade trumpets on the market are crafted by Yamaha. Similarly, many professional jazz players opt to reach for Yamaha trumpets as their main go-to choice.
Top Trumpets For Jazz, Final Thoughts
The trumpet will always have a special place in the world of jazz music. Aside from sheer chops, what often separates players is the ability to craft their own unique and signature musical identity.
Buying a trumpet can seem like a sizable investment that can be hard to justify initially. However, once you find the right fit for you, there’s a good chance you won’t have to look for another trumpet for a long time to come.