The best professional trumpets are made of quality materials and assembled with utmost care. This is probably why the best professional trumpet brands prefer handcrafting their instruments. Since intricate care is required in the assembly of a quality trumpet, it is advisable to avoid mass-produced trumpets.
With mass-produced trumpets, there is no guarantee that the end product will look and perform as advertised. Numerous considerations go into choosing the right professional trumpet, but you should always stick to reputable brands.
Some of the leading brands have processes in place to ensure that every instrument meets industry as well as in-house requirements. Throughout this guide, you will learn some of the best professional trumpet brands as well as what makes them stand out.
Batch, Yamaha, Monett, and Getzen are some of the best professional trumpet brands available today. To offer the best responsiveness and tone, such brands often hand-craft their trumpets from high-quality materials. They use specific techniques for enhanced precision and quality.
When choosing a professional trumpet, insist on quality sound, quality construction, and attention to every design detail.
The first Bach Stradivarius professional trumpet was produced in 1925 by Vincent Bach—a master craftsman and founder. Since then, Bach’s line of trumpets has dominated the music industry worldwide.
Currently, the manufacturer offers a range of USA-made beginner, intermediate, and professional trumpets. Bach trumpets are handcrafted and are made of high-quality brass that is sourced from the Midwest region of the USA. As a result, the instruments offer enhanced durability, exceptional performance, and a signature Bach sound.
Most of the high-end, professional trumpet models by Bach are priced between $500 and $3,000. At this price point, they may not be ideal for someone working on a limited budget. However, Bach professional trumpets are worth every penny, as illustrated below.
Why Choose Bach Professional Trumpets?
In addition to the unique and beautiful sound, Bach trumpets are renowned for their outstanding quality. As a matter of fact, they are highly rated by professional players across the globe. Some of the aspects that make this professional trumpet brand stand out include:
- American-made Excellence
About a century ago, Batch founder, Vincent Bach—who is also a renowned trumpet player—set out to replace a damaged mouthpiece. The desire to achieve the best sound lend him to experiment with various trumpet mouthpiece designs and manufacturing processes.
His mouthpieces, and later on trumpets, were regarded as the standard for excellence in the industry in the years that followed. This experimentation approach to design and manufacturing of trumpets is still alive at the Beach plant. Bach uses a computer-numeric-controlled machine to craft its mouthpieces.
The machine is programed for enhanced precision at each step of the manufacturing process—it is precise within a ten-thousandth of an inch. The machine is essentially used to shape and cut solid brass bars.
- Precise Brass Drawing
Having been cut into shorter lengths, brass tubing is taken to draw benches. Here, a Mandrel—hardened steel rod—is inserted into the tubing along the length. The tubing, along with the inserted rod, is then drawn through a steel ring.
This shapes the tubing into exact dimensions. The precise drawing process at Bach is so significant that it actually determines the blowing characteristics of the trumpets.
- Single-Piece Brass Bell
The unique sound produced by Bach trumpets is, to a large extent, determined by their bells. This is why the bells design and forming process is so important. The bell on a Bach Stradivarius professional trumpet is made from a single piece of brass. The one-piece construction of the bell allows it to vibrate without restrictions.
The flat, rolled piece of brass is placed into a hydroform machine that presses it to shape. With regards to tempering, Bach anneals their bells repeatedly and for extended periods at the right temperature. Once annealed, the bell is then shaped around a solid steel mandrel.
The shape of the flare in Bach trumpets determines its character sound. For instance, the flares that taper fast—become wider right away—produce a dark, mellow sound. The flares that taper slowly tend to produce a brighter sound.
- Additional Wire Ring
Towards the end of the manufacturing process, Bach scribes the end of the bell in an effort to trim off the excess metal. The brass is then pulled back around the outside edge. At this point, the rim appears finished, but the manufacturer goes a step further for improved quality.
A wire ring is then added to the inside of the rim to ensure that the bell maintains its shape. Solder is then forced into the rim, which helps improve the responsiveness of the bell in Bach professional trumpets.
Such attention to detail tends to produce a dramatic effect, with regards to how the hell resonates. All these efforts contribute to the distinctive sound associated with Bach instruments.
- Yamaha Trumpets
The Yamaha Corporation is renowned for producing high-quality musical instruments, including a complete range of trumpets. As a matter of fact, Yamaha produces some of the best professional C trumpets available today. Additionally, the manufacture is also renowned for their quality student and I remediate trumpets.
Over the years the company has been in business, they seem to have fine-tuned their craftsmanship capabilities as they now produce even better trumpets. Through scientific research, the manufacturer has also acquired some of the industry-leading technologies.
What Makes the Best Yamaha Trumpets Unique?
The best Yamaha trumpets are comparatively easier to play, especially the student and intermediate Yamaha trumpet models. Professional trumpets by this brand are skillfully crafted and are known to produce a fantastic tone.
Other things professional trumpet players have come to like about Yamaha trumpets include:
Not only is the finished product appealing to looks at, but Yamaha professional trumpets also perform just as advertised. This may be attributed to the fact that all Yamaha professional trumpets are crafted by hand.
In addition to the valuable craftsmanship gained over the years, the company applies some of the advanced technologies in the industry in its production. This has allowed for the production of
- Quality Materials and Coating
As you may be aware, design factors like forms, materials, and structure have a significant influence on the sound produced by a trumpet. The timbre of a wind instrument, such as a trumpet, is largely determined by the way air vibrates inside the instrument.
Yamaha has invested heavily in the research of various materials as well as in the development of processing technologies. In addition to the industry-standard yellow brass alloy material, the manufacturer also uses a gold brass alloy to make professional trumpets.
Well, both are great alloys, but they have been proven to affect the trumpet sound quality as follows:
This alloy is made up of 70 percent copper and 30 percent zinc. It is a rather resonant alloy that produces a light, yet direct tone. It is the best material to go for it you need a professional trumpet for trumpet fanfares.
This brass alloy is made of 85 percent copper and 15 percent zinc. The higher copper content causes this material to have a characteristic darker color. Yamaha professional trumpets made of this material tend to produce a broader, fuller tone while retaining a good level of projection.
As a result, trumpets made of gold brass are a preferred choice for many professional trumpeters. At the end of the manufacturing process, the surface of the instrument is polished using an abrasive-coated buffing cloth.
It is then sprayed using electrostatically charged particles. This results in a uniform, resilient protective coating around the instrument.
- Traditional Bell Construction
The bells used in Yamaha professional trumpets are still hand-crafted—the bell is beaten to shape using a hammer. Skilled craftsmen are tasked with beating rounded tubes into a bell shape using a hammer. Though traditional, this one-off construction method is still the best for top-quality as well as pro-model trumpets.
In the case of Yamaha, a fan-shaped piece of brass—about 0.5 mm thick—is beaten into the rounded bell shape. The two edges are then welded together.
- Precise Valve Castings Production
Valve casting is a key component in any trumpet, acting like a switch that alters the pitch of the note in a way. Many trumpeters would argue that valve casting is the heart of a trumpet. Yamaha seems to understand the importance of this component as they always try to meet the highest standards of precision.
The valve casting components are fitted into a special jig then passed through a kiln in order to braze them together in a precise manner. The precise manufacturing process at Yamaha results in a 10-micron gap between the piston and the side of the valve casing.
It is so precise that a single human hair can actually stop the piston in your Yamaha professional trumpet from moving.
- Monett Trumpets
The David G. Monette Corporation is arguably the best manufacturer of high-end professional trumpets. Back in 1985, David G. Monette—the founder—was driven by his experience as a trumpeter to redesign the trumpet mouthpiece. His objective was to improve the sound quality and playability of the instrument.
The manufacturer is now in its 30th year is designing, inventing, hand-crafting custom brass musical instruments and mouthpieces. In order to design and build custom trumpets, the craftsman is known to take a holistic approach. In this regard, he takes into account the instrument, player performance space, and audience.
David G. Monette’s instruments are covered by some of the leading musicians like Maynard Ferguson, Scotty Barnhart, and Wynton Marsalis. Discussed below are some of the things that make David G. Monette one of the best professional trumpet brands:
- Utmost Precision
According to the manufacturer, perfection and precision are much more important to the end product than machining cycle times. With the Monette professional trumpet brand, parts just have to be perfect. As opposed to other professional trumpet brands, the manufacturing process at Monette allows for a tolerance of 0.0001″ (0.003-mm).
In addition to the exact taper sizes, Monette trumpet mouthpiece rim portions feature special contours that have complex arcs and points. With regards to the rims, a 0.001″ change in dimensions is considered to be significant. Although the manufacturer still produces standard-size mouthpieces, Monette prefers working with a musician in-person to custom design their mouthpiece. This way, they listen to a musician play in order to determine the trumpet tone and sound they wish to achieve.
In other words, Monette specializes in making professional trumpets that are customized to each user’s needs. However, this does not come cheap; a top-of-the-line Monette trumpet can cost as much as $50,000. Even so, some musicians are willing to wait up to a year for their orders to be fulfilled.
- Pitch-Center Mouthpiece
Professional trumpets by Monette feature a revolutionary constant-pitch center mouthpiece. Such a design allows for the trumpet to be played from soft to loud without altering the pitch. Again, the manufacturer applies a unique no-tension alignment on their instruments.
This makes the instruments easy to play, even for intermediate trumpeters.
- High-Quality Materials and Parts
Monette does not compromise on the quality of any single trumpet part. In this regard, all their professional trumpet parts are made of brass and nickel except the split die tooling. The split die tooling is made of steel.
The shop produces its own split dies that are then used to make the tuning slides and tubing for Monette trumpets. Each of the components requires different-size tubing and slides and can take up to 27 different dies to produce.
- Getzen Trumpets
Getzen is another one of the leading American professional trumpet brands. Professional trumpets by this manufacturer are particularly renowned globally for their reliable and durable piston valves. Early instruments by this manufacturer, such as the Super Deluxe trumpets, were produced for the high-end market.
The manufacturer still produces some of the best high-end trumpets, especially for student and intermediate-level trumpeters. The overall look of their professional horns is also spectacular. Ranging from the Custom Series Bb and C Trumpets to the entry-level and advanced student line of trumpets, Getzen are all crafted in Elkhorn, Wisconsin U.S.A.
Regardless of the skill level, all their trumpets benefit from the Brand’s high standards and dedication to quality. No wonder their products are so we’ll rayed by the consumers, especially their custom line of Edwards trumpets and trombones. Other aspects that are unique to the Getzen professional trumpet brand include:
- Careful Valves Brazing and Inspection
Crafting good trumpet valves is a time-consuming process, but it is something Getzen does not take chances with. Once the valves have been brazed, each one is carefully inspected to check whether it meets the strict quality standards.
Their skilled craftsmen have been doing this for quite a while, hence are experienced and have a keen eye for details.
- Nickel Silver Pistons
While most of the leading professional trumpet manufacturers use Monel pistons, Getzen uses nickel silver pistons for their trumpets. This is mainly because nickel trumpet pistons have been proven to perform better than any other material.
While raw monel is hard and resistant to corrosion, it is also susceptible to the effects of annealing—the metal undergoes physical changes under high temperatures. This causes monel pistons to have both hard and soft sections, hence wars off unevenly.
Nickel silver pistons, on the other hand, do not anneal in a similar manner to monel. As a result, the entire piston surface remains hard, even after brazing.
- Nickel Plating
Additionally, Getzen pistons are nickel-plated to guarantee a uniform surface hardness throughout the piston. The playing is also denser than nickel silver tubing, making the surface more lubricious—the surface is much smoother and would feel wet even when dry.
Combining the hardened surface and extremely smooth finish gives Getzen trumpet pistons the lightning-fast and long-lasting action they are known for.
- Amado Waterkeys
Just like some of the leading trumpet manufacturers, Getzen still offers the standard lever-style water keys as an option for desiring trumpeters. However, most of their professional trumpets come with Amado water keys by default. To begin with, Amado-style water keys are more durable as compared to lever water keys.
This is mainly because Amado water keys do not have a spring or lever that is susceptible to snag or damage as is the case with lever water keys. Again, Amados have been proven to offer a smoother surface inside the slide crook.
Due to the nipple used to extract any liquid in the instrument, lever water keys end up creating a simple inside the crook. With Amado water keys, no dimple will be formed, the inner surface of the crook will remain smooth and free of depressions that may interrupt airflow.
Factors to Consider
As compared to other skill levels, professional trumpets are more specialized. When looking for one that will last your professional career, you should get one that best meets your needs. You may not need to order a custom-tailored trumpet, it is advisable to get a trumpet that has been produced with specific needs in mind.
Having decided on one of the professional trumpet brands reviewed above, here are other considerations you need to make:
Trumpets come in different types and sizes. Here are the main types you should consider for a professional trumpet:
- Bb Trumpets
Most of the trumpets available today are pitched in the key of Bb. This is the industry standard for beginner and intermediate trumpets. Even so, some of the leading brands like Bach still produce professional Bb trumpets.
Bb trumpets feature a warm tonal quality that is known to blend well with ensembles of all types. As a result, Bb trumpets by the best professional trumpet brands are ideal for almost any music type, including modern pop, jazz, and classical.
Professional-level Bb trumpets are made of the finest materials and employ careful craftsmanship. Such instruments are crafted with the needs of a seasoned trumpeter in mind. As a trained trumpeter, you probably are looking for the best in responsiveness and tone in your trumpet. As such, you should opt for masterfully crafted instruments.
- C Trumpets
At the professional level, it is common for the player to need a trumpet pitched in the key of C. This is particularly the case for trumpeters who wish to play in a professional orchestra or pre-professional orchestras, such as youth and collegiate orchestras.
C trumpets may not be as pervasive as Bb professional trumpets but are growing in popularity in some circles. C trumpets are becoming quite common in orchestras, where they are often played alongside the Bb trumpet. C professional trumpets are tuned one time higher than the Bb trumpets.
However, the leading C trumpet models are comparatively smaller. This results in a brighter tone that is popular in orchestral arrangements. As a professional player or advancing student, the C trumpet is a strong choice for expanding your skillset.
- E Trumpets
Aside from Bb and C—the most common trumpet types—models tuned to higher notes can be found quite readily. Such specialized models are typically used in orchestral playing for compositions, in which the higher tuning helps improve accuracy and allows for a more natural figuring.
E trumpet is a worthy addition to a professional orchestral player’s collection. In many instances, the E tuning is included as part of a combination instrument using changeable bells to offer tunings in several higher keys.
The bore in a trumpet is the internal diameter of the pipe through which air flows when you blow into the instrument. Some of the best professional trumpet brands like Yamaha produce trumpets in different bore sizes to suit different needs.
The size of the bore will determine the volume of breath required, which also tends to affect the timbre. With regards to bite-size, trumpets may be classified as a large bore, medium-large bore, or medium bore. A smaller bore trumpet requires less breath, making the instrument relatively easier to play.
Therefore, professional trumpets with a smaller bore tend to produce a subtle and volume of breath required, it will also affect the timbre. Trumpets with a larger bore require more breath and produce a rich, louder, and flamboyant timbre.
Trumpet valves also referred to as valve pistons, are offered in a variety of materials. Nickel-played pistons are common in student trumpets as they are harder, more durable, and tolerant to infrequent cleaning. Pistons may also be made of monel—a softer alloy that requires frequent cleaning for improved performance.
While nickel-plated pistons are common in beginner and student trumpets, monel pistons are often in intermediate and professional trumpets. A few of the leading professional trumpet brands use steel pistons in their instruments. Regardless of the material, you should choose a brand whose valves have been properly lapped.
Step-up horns often have hand-lapped valves, meaning an expert has performed this finish work by hand making sure the valves work perfectly. Such an instrument would be a great choice for a professional trumpeter.
Also referred to as the lead pipe, the mouthpipe is the tube that runs from the mouthpiece to the main tuning slide of a trumpet. You need to choose a mouthpiece of the right material. The best professional trumpet brands use yellow brass, red brass or sterling silver mouthpipes on their instruments.
Yellow brass requires more frequent cleaning. Red brass is less susceptible to corrosion making it a perfect choice for students and intermediate trumpets.
When looking for the best professional trumpet brand, you need to consider their bell material and production process. Different professional trumpet brands use different bell materials. For most student-to-professional trumpet models, manufacturers often use yellow brass.
Some brands make rose brass bells, which are known to produce a warmer, darker tone when used in a professional trumpet. These are only found in high-grade horns. You could also have a nickel-plated finish on a trumpet bell. Such bells are a bit rare nowadays. You also need to consider how the bells are made.
The best professional trumpet bells are one-piece, hand-hammered into shape over a mold by a skilled craftsman. Such bells will vibrate uniformly resulting in better quality sound. With plasma welding, manufacturers can now produce bells that are similar to one-piece bells. These are only suited for intermediate instruments.
The timbre of a professional trumpet largely depends on how air inside it vibrates, which depends on the materials. Timbre also depends on the length and shape of the tube. Different professional trumpet manufacturers use varying compositions of brass to make their trumpets.
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. For a long, this material has been used to make brass instruments as it is easy to work with, aesthetically appealing, and resistant to rust. The timbre of your professional trumpet will depend on the ratio of copper and zinc used.
The leading brands are taking advantage of this to make trumpets with a variety of different sounds. Yellow brass, for instance, is made of 70% copper and 30% zinc. Trumpets made of this allow producing a bright, forceful timbre. Gold brass instruments, on the other hand, produce a rich, expansive timbre.
What of Deep, Sonorous Nickel-Silver?
Some professional trumpet brands are known to add a nickel to copper and sink. This produces a nickel-silver-a whitish, shiny alloy. The alloy offers better resistance to rust as compared to brass. When used to make a professional trumpet, the nickel-silver alloy produces a deep, sonorous sound.
Most professional trumpet brands use a clear lacquer finish on a buffed brass surface. Some use silver plating on their instruments. Basically, the silver plating finishing is better than lacquer as it produces a thinner coating, allowing molecules to vibrate and ring even more.
Trumpets that are silver-plated tend to produce a brighter tone. Lacquered nickel plate trumpets are offered in various colors, including black. The type of coating used on a trumpet also affects its timbre, as illustrated below:
|Type of Lacquer||Properties|
|Clear lacquer||Solid, mellow sound Strong sounds are produced clearly|
|Gold lacquer||Sharp, powerful sound|
|Silverplate||Gentle, cheerful trumpet sound Characteristics are expressed directly, producing finer nuances|
|Gold plate||Gentle, but not so noticeable sound More mellow than the sound produced|
Piston Vs. Rotary Valve Trumpets
The two main valve systems used by the leading trumpet manufacturers are the rotary and piston valve systems. Piston systems are advantageous in that they are devoid of malfunctions and produce a brighter timbre.
However, the fact that the pistons must move up and down can be something of a disadvantage in up-tempo passages. The rotary system, on the other hand, produces a characteristic deep timbre, with clear transitions between notes. Trumpets using a rotary valve system are also easier to operate. The downside to the rotary valve system is that it is prone to malfunctions.
Braces or No Braces?
The brace is a component that is meant to lend more weight to the timbre and the tone of an instrument. While this is the case, adding braces makes a trumpet feel different for the trumpeter. Here is how the installation of braces affects the timbre of a professional trumpet:
- No Braces – produces a bright timbre with a clear definition. May be described as a light timbre.
- One Brace – rich, but somewhat resistant timbre
- Two Braces – a rather resistant, heavy timbre
With so many trumpet models to choose from, it can be confusing for a professional trumpeter to get one that is suited for their needs. To be on the safe side, it is advisable to always choose from reputable brands like Yamaha, Monette, Bach, and Getzen.
As you have learned throughout this guide, build quality, craftsmanship, size, and materials used to make a trumpet are all important. The best professional trumpet brands discussed above will offer you the best of these and more.