Hi Horns Music
"You really have to play one!"

How to Select the Best Bb Trumpet for You

Before you begin your search for a different or new instrument you must understand that there is no instrument or other piece of equipment that will substitute for adequate practice, excellent instruction, proper maintenance, or correct mouthpiece selection. (Hi Horns Music offers excellent professional instruction for $24.00 per hour.)

Before you replace your instrument consider how well your present one is being maintained
  • Is the trumpet clean inside?
  • Is your mouth piece clean inside?
  • Do you keep the valves and slides lubricated?
  • Do the water keys seal properly?
(Hi Horns Music will check these free of charge and professionally clean and lube your horn for $25.00.)

Consider the mouthpiece you are using
  • A safe choice in entry level mouthpieces are Bach 3C, 5C,7C, 8C or those by other manufacturers that are similar in design
  • “Extreme”mouthpiece designs are to be avoided

After considering all of the above, begin by selecting a trumpet with the following basic design features
  • Dependable valve action
  • An easily adjustable tuning slide
  • A third valve tuning slide (with a finger ring) that moves freely
  • A first valve tuning slide with a finger ring, saddle or trigger that moves freely
  • A standard or amato water key on the tuning slide that seals and works dependably
  • A water key or a“pull”on the third valve slide that works easily/dependably

Many less expensive beginning level instruments lack one or more of the above listed features. Although it is possible to perform acceptably on these instruments to a point, the more serious student will need an instrument with all of these features so that his/her progress is not impeded due to inadequate equipment. (All of the trumpets stocked at Hi Horns Music meet or surpass these basic design requirements.)

Below is a list of additional design/playing characteristics that the prospective buyer must consider
  • The taper and size of the bell
  • Bore
  • Blow(open/tight)
  • How even do the notes respond/feel on the horn?
  • Tuning (Are the notes on the horn in tune with each other)
  • Material
  • Workmanship
  • Finish
  • Tone color

When considering a new instrument it is essential that the player compares these factors between all the trumpets you are auditioning, including the one presently in use!

To make an informed decision the player must strive to audition as many different trumpets as possible. This should first involve various internet searches to discover what choices are available (you will be amazed!).  After this initial discovery the student should travel to various dealers (including Hi Horns Music) and/or make shipping arrangements with dealers to be able to audition and compare at length a good sampling of the possibilities.This can (and should) be a major project! If you find that your area music dealers are limited in expertise and trumpet models in stock, look to Hi Horns Music for expert knowledge and advice as well as a large stock of specially selected trumpets to audition.


Try to audition instruments side by side. Make playing comparisons with as many as possible (including your present horn). This is common practice at Hi Horns Music. If you cant find instruments that are made better, sound better and play more easily than the one you are using, then dont buy any of them because you are either not really ready for a new instrument or the ones you’ve auditioned are no better than what you already have.

The final decision should be based on the answers to these questions:


  • Does the new horn have the important design features?

  • Does the new horn produce the sound you love?

  • Does the new horn have the“blow”you like (tight,open etc.)

  • Does the new horn play in tune with itself?

  • Does the new horn play evenly for each note?

  • Will the new horn make it possible for you to play/sound better, with greater ease over-all, in all the music you love to play?

The final decision should not be based on these factors:


  • The horn looks pretty
  • The salesman said its the model that everyone else is buying
  • Its the instrument/brand/model that the advertising says some famous trumpet players play
  • Its the cheapest
  • Its all the music store has to offer
  • Everyone else in the band plays one