Valves should be nickel plated brass, or stainless steel. Monel Steel can be good, but there are some monel valves that react with the oil and metals, making them chronically stick. Also, proper fit and finish allow the valves to function smoothly without air leaking down the cylinder and casing wall.
Bell and Body should be made of quality brass and nickel. Brass is an alloy of copper, tin, and zinc. The mix of those elements, plus the method of smelting them determines the quality of the brass. Good quality brass has some elasticity, but will hold its shape when being worked. Lesser quality brass is overly soft and requires too much working to create the proper shape. This results in ‘dead’ brass in spots, stopping the transmission of sound. It is also next to impossible to repair.
The bell is the soul of the instrument, creating the ringing sound and projection the trumpet is known for. If the bell is improperly designed or manufactured poorly, the sound will not be satisfactory.
Student Bells are usually two pieces of brass brazed together at the throat. Good quality manufacturers will use ‘Plasma Welding’ which uses a laser to bond two pieces of metal (brass) without the use of solder. The two piece bell is not as good as a one piece, hand formed bell, but as long as the quality of manufacture is good, it will provide the proper sound and feel for a beginning player.
Student Trumpet Bodies have traditionally been made of heavier brass than professional horns as the thicker brass is more sturdy and easier to mend. Beginning players are more likely to dent their horns than more advanced players, and good quality student horns are made with repair in mind.
Leadpipes are the part of the trumpet closest to the mouthpiece, and as a result, closest to the mouth. Younger players are less apt to rinse out their mouths before playing, resulting in food particles being blown into the horn. Good quality student horns will have leadpipes made of copper, or of high copper content brass. Copper is more resistant to metal rot than simple brass, and will last longer without having to be replaced.
Intermediate Trumpets are made to a higher quality standard than the student trumpets. But, some manufacturers simply re-work their student horns and price them as intermediate horns. They will take the student model, put in superior valves, fancier finger buttons, silver plate the horn, and give it a fancier case. We prefer to offer trumpets that are designed to a higher standard, but still have a reasonable cost. A few manufacturers make intermediate trumpets near the quality of professional trumpets, and keep the price down by offering the instrument in only one popular configuration. Intermediate trumpets should cost in the range of $795.00 to $1500.00.
Professional Trumpets actually come in multiple levels of quality. The basic professional trumpet will sell in the neighborhood of $1800.00 to $2500.00. More labor intense, handmade trumpets will range from $3500.00 to $25,000.00!
Features & Benefits:
One piece Most Pro trumpets Free ringing; pure tone production
Hand Hammered: Most Pro trumpets Worker can determine when bell sounds best before spinning it smooth.
Bell seam inside bow Most Pro trumpets Now the standard procedure. Bending towards the seam is safe way to manufacture with less waste.
Bell seam on side More expensive Putting seam where the braces are trumpets mounted leaves the rest of the bell to resonate. But bending the bell with the seam on the side is riskier as the seam cracks open more often. More bells are discarded, driving ultimate cost up.
Standard Bell Wire Most Pro Trumpets A wire is soldered into the curled up bell ring. This adds physical strength and improves sound projection. Bell wires are usually NOT found in student trumpets.
French Bell Bead More expensive The rim of the bell is not bent back on itself to create the ring. Wire is soldered onto the bell with a sheath of brass to protect and reinforce. This is better as the stretching of the bell to form the rim may distort the brass in the bell.
Different materials Most Pro Trumpets Bells are offered in yellow brass rose brass, red brass, pure copper, and sterling silver. All offer ability to pick a sound best suited to the individual player.
Different tapers Most pro Trumpets The shape of the bell throat taper will alter the projection, tone, and feel of the trumpet. While there are bell shapes that are far and away the most popular, each player creates a unique sound and needs to find the best bell for their individual needs. Reading opinions on the web won’t help you find the sound you want. You have to play them.
Most Trumpets .459 to .460” inside diameter of the second valve slide. The bore indicates the amplitude of the wave in the trumpet. Medium large suits 90% of all players 90% of the time.
.462 to .464” inside diameter of the second valve slide. Larger bore will create a more open sound. Takes more energy to play and is harder to control intonation at softer volumes.
.468” to .470” inside diameter of the second Valve slide. Takes even more energy. May be good for players playing mainly very loud music.
Two piece valve Some trumpets The top of the casing, the ballister, is made Casing of nickel silver rather than brass. Nickel vibrates differently than brass. The bell and lead pipe braces mount to the ballisters, and transmit energy to the valves. If the ballister is made of brass, the vibration is transmitted to the valve cluster. Nickel allows energy to flow out the bell.
Bronstein Music represents the following brands of trumpets:
Bach, B&S, CXL by Jupiter, Eastman, Conn, Jupiter, Kanstul, King, P. Mauriat, Selmer, and Yamaha