A full comparison of the Trumpet vs Flugelhorn – Which is better for the beginner trumpeter?

The trumpet and the flugelhorn are both members of the brass instrument family. However, there are distinct differences between these two musical instruments.


The Trumpet

trumpetThe trumpet is a musical instrument in the brass family that is tuned to the key of B-flat in general. It is commonly used in jazz and classical ensembles, and it is the most popular member of the brass instrument family.

In ancient times, it was a signaling device during hunts and war. It began to get recognition in the 14th century as a musical instrument. Since then, it has become an important part of music in ensembles like jazz, orchestras, and concerts.

Playing the trumpet is quite easy, but it seems a little bit tricky at first. The position in which the player puts his lips is called the embouchure.


The flugelhorn

flugelhorn vs trumpetThe flugelhorn is also a brass instrument that resembles a cornet, but it has a wider conical bore. It comes with three valves and produces B-flat tones just like the trumpet.

It is derived from a German word meaning wing horn or flank horn. It a brass instrument just like the trumpet and produces tones in B-flat – although you can find some in C. The similarity the flugelhorn shares with the trumpet is that they have the same tube length.

The major difference is that the conical bore in the flugelhorn is wider than that of the trumpet. It is believed that the flugelhorn was developed in Germany from using the concept of the English valveless bugle.

This is why the flugelhorn is called the valved bugle.


Trumpet vs Flugelhorn – Pros & Cons

The differences between the trumpet and the flugelhorn are what gives us the pros and cons of playing each instrument. Let us take a look at these differences, and pull out the pros and cons of each instrument.

The bore of the trumpet is 2/3 cylindrical and 1/3 conical
While the bore of the flugelhorn is 1/3 cylindrical and 2/3 conical.

These differences in bore affect the tone produced. A conical bore has a warmer tone with a few upper harmonics, while a cylindrical bore has a brighter tone with a lot more upper harmonics.

The twist here is that the flugelhorn has a very warm sound than you would expect. This makes the trumpet better for high pitched scores than a flugelhorn.


The mouthpiece of any brass instrument is the major determiner of its sound.

The trumpet as a shallow cup-shaped mouthpiece
While the flugelhorn has a deeper funnel-like mouthpiece.

There is also a rule of thumb that a shallow mouthpiece produces a brighter tone while a deeper mouthpiece produces a warmer tone.

All in all, the trumpet and the flugelhorn are quite similar, but their differences are much more noticeable than the similarities.

The trumpet is great from producing bright tones while the flugelhorn would flop at such. But the flugelhorn is the ‘go to’ instrument when it comes to producing warm tones.
All these pros and cons don’t really change the fact that they are two great instruments that have peculiarities.


Trumpet vs Flugelhorn Video Review

In this video review, you can clearly see the main differences in the overall look of the Trumpet vs Flugelhorn, both in size and shape but most important is the distinct difference in the sound output of both instruments.


Trumpet vs Flugelhorn Final Conclusion

Some may say that the Flugelhorn is easier to play on if you are a beginner, it is however slightly bigger and heavier than the Trumpet.

That being said, if you stretch out the Flugelhorn to its full length you will find that it is the same length as the trumpet.

The tubing on the trumpet, as opposed to the flugelhorn, is the same diameter along the whole instrument and expands around the bell section. This is the main reason for the soft tone the instrument produces which is different to the darker sound output the flugelhorn produces.

So, when it comes to the Trumpet vs Flugelhorn it mainly depends on your preferences as a musician.



Now that you know the difference between a Trumpet vs Flugelhorn, you may also be interested in the main differences between the Cornet vs Trumpet.

There are many more types of trumpets which you can read about in this comprehensive and detailed post. So, if you are looking for your first piccolo trumpet or want another trumpet for beginners, read on.