TYPES OF TRUMPETS
All you will ever need to know on the different sizes, keys, sounds, and types of trumpets
Everyone knows what a trumpet is these days.
Either you are a beginner in the brass world, or you are a person that has no idea how to create a single note, the word ‘trumpet’ would certainly ring a bell. The deal is that most people know what a trumpet is, but are not aware of the different types.
To be honest, it would be a bit hard to tell the difference between two trumpets if their major difference is as subtle but vital, as the key they produce.
There are tons of wind instrumentalists that just can’t get enough of the number of trumpets there is to choose from. Trumpets are available in several types, but one major distinction between them is the key they play on. Although there are several ways to differentiate between the types of trumpets, we would focus on their keys first.
Trumpet Key Types
The most common types of trumpets are the B-flat and C types trumpets. Others are not often seen being used by trumpeters, and they include the D, E-Flat, E, F, G, and A types. All these letters are the keys (that is; the pitch at which they sound) at which they sound best. There are other classifications of trumpets, but we would get to that also as soon as we can.
A lot of individuals might wonder why a trumpet has such a large number of types and categories – I mean, it’s just a trumpet Right? Wrong! Any instrument loved dearly by someone isn’t ‘just’ an instrument. The sophistication of the trumpet is enough to get some respect from you. But let’s get back to the discussion –
Trumpets are divided according to:
✅ Quality of sound delivered.
It is going to be quite a challenge for most people to spot the difference in these types, but a lover of the instrument – which I believe you are – would most definitely tell the difference! These subtle and major differences are what would determine the way and the event at which you would use the trumpet.
Common Use of The Trumpet
One other point we have to clear off our chest is identifying the locations that trumpets are used. This should help ease our understanding of the types of trumpets.
We all know jazz music or have at least heard it once in our lives – irrespective of our music choices. In jazz music, the trumpet is a very vital instrument and is considered the most important in some cases. However, it is important to note that the most common type of trumpet used in this genre of music is the B-flat trumpet.
B-flat trumpets are cheap and easy to play. Another great thing about them is their popularity. Learning to play an instrument that is common and easy should be easier than playing an instrument that is in the rare category.
The C trumpet
Another common type of trumpet is the C trumpet. It is shorter and able to deliver high-quality sounds. It might not be the number one option for jazz music, but it is used by professionals performing in orchestras and other similar events.
Common manufacturers still produce the other forms of trumpets in the business. However, they are quite scarce to find in most music stores. For those new to the trumpet blowing life of an instrumentalist, it is best not to try these types of trumpets for a start.
These trumpets are designed for special types of music and would cause a lot of struggle for a beginner who doesn’t even know the basics, and not to mention a specific music genre of interest!
All Trumpet Types
We have discussed the types of trumpets based on the sound they produce and where they are used. Now let us widen our scope! These trumpets are just subdivisions of trumpets on a larger scale.
There are five other forms of trumpets, and some of these trumpets are quite capable of playing several keys, while others are designed for just one key. The great thing about these forms of trumpets is that lots of professionals also recognize them. Let’s have a look, shall we?
The cornet is one of the closest relatives a trumpet has. It is quite distinct from a trumpet due to its conical tubing and compact shape. The shape of a wind instrument goes a long way in determining its sound.
A wind instrument that moves from a cylindrical opening to a conical opening would sound different from a completely conical trumpet. This difference in the shape of the cornet and a trumpet is what makes their difference in tone.
The cornet is also known for producing high-quality tones and is used frequently by lots of professionals. Another reason for its popularity is its ability to produce B-flat and E-flat tones without any problems.
The flugelhorn has quite a degree of resemblance with the cornet and trumpet. However, it does well to produce its own type of sound distinctly and sonorously.
It is smaller than the cornet and the trumpet. It has a large mouthpiece and is made from brass. This is quite insignificant since most wind instruments are made of brass anyways.
However, the point worthy of note is the fact that it is capable of producing both soprano and bass tones quite easily. Most trumpets can’t achieve this feat, and it is one of the reasons the flugelhorn as quite a reputation on its own.
Other reasons for the popularity of the flugelhorn include its lightweight and compact size – this makes it much easier to handle. The best part is that it is perfect for jazz music and other jazz-related forms of music.
THE PICCOLO TRUMPET
The piccolo trumpet is a popular member of the trumpet family but is not among the biggest.
It is quite small – even smaller than the flugelhorn. This makes for high pitched tones on an octave higher than the conventional trumpet. This high pitched and high octave instrument is designed to produce tones in A and B-flat.
Since B-flat is quite making a name for itself in the market, one should not be surprised at the high popularity of the piccolo trumpet. However, one should notice a slight difference in the piccolo trumpet – it has four valves instead of three.
But this doesn’t stop professionals from using it. It is commonly used in orchestras and some religious settings. It is ideal for these settings due to its ability to produce tones at C, F and G keys.
Read more on the piccolo trumpet
THE POCKET TRUMPET
The pocket trumpet is a trumpet designed to produce tones in B-flat. It is quite shorter than the conventional trumpet and is also compact too.
This makes it quite small and with a tighter tubing system than regular trumpets. However, a tight tubing makes it sound more refined and with better quality than most other trumpets.
Tone quality is one thing to consider, but there is no way the pocket trumpet would not be very popular once it is capable of producing the B-flat tone. This makes it very popular in orchestral music and concert bands – all thanks to its small size and ability to deliver refined sound.
The bugle is believed to be the simplest type of trumpet in the market. Simple in the sense that it does not have any valves!
The breath of the player completely controls it. The intensity at which it is blown determines the tone it would produce. A lot of trumpeters use the bugle, but what makes it more special is the fact that it is used frequently by the military.
All in all, the bugle is the simplest trumpet to blow, but not an instrument you would find in bands, concerts, and orchestras.
The Unknown and Scarce Trumpets
There are tons of variants of the trumpet asides the ones mentioned above. The deal with those is that they are not as popular as the ones mentioned, and this makes them scarce in the market.
Some of these include the slide trumpet, bass trumpet, German trumpet, and Baroque trumpet.
This trumpet led to the innovation of the trombone. But unlike the trombone, it comes with a single slide. The slide trumpet evolved into the sackbut, then into the trombone.
The sackbut shares more similarities with the trombone than the slide trumpet. However, the slide trumpet laid the foundation and was used as a war instrument sharing some similarities with the war trumpet. It was later separated to be used a dance instrument and not a war call instrument.
The bass trumpet is a trumpet native to Germany, developed in the 1820s, and is known for its low pitch. It is usually pitched at C or B-flat today, which makes it quite a dynamic instrument.
However, it is sometimes built in the E-flat pitch. It is also treated as a transposing instrument that sounds like an octave, sixth or ninth lower than the sheet music – but this depends on the instrument. It has its valves and tube length similar to that of the valve trombone.
But the difference is the sound produced; it has a nard metallic tone than the valve trombone. Modern day manufacturers often use the same tubing, bell, and valves, for valve trombones and bass trumpets. The only difference is their configuration.
There are many more trumpet variants, but the few mentioned have given us an insight into what some of the major types can do.
Modern Types of Trumpets
JEAN PAUL TRUMPET
The Jean Paul trumpet is one of those trumpets that are in high demand due to the numerous features it has to offer.
It is designed to produce tones in the B-flat key, and it is made of Rose brass lead pipe. Its third trigger is adjustable to ensure that the hand of the player is positioned naturally to enhance playing technique.
Its valves are made of highly durable piston valves that last for quite a long time without minimizing the quality of the sound of the instrument. Try to get one; it is fun to play and has a beautiful carry to make carrying around easier and attractive.
THE MENDINI BY CECILIO TRUMPET
The Mendini is a gold lacquered B-flat trumpet that comes with a 7C mouthpiece.
It comes with a 0.46-inch bore and a 5-inch bell. It also has a 1st valve slide thumb saddle and the 3rd slide with an adjustable throw ring. Its mouth pipe is made with phosphorus copper used on lead, and it has valves that respond smoothly to pressure.
But the best part is its comfortable white faux ‘mother of pearl’ inlaid buttons. It’s either that or the one year warranty on manufacturer’s defect it comes with.
THE GLORY BASS TRUMPET
This trumpet is made with a solid brass material to produce a B-flat tone.
It comes with a silver-plated 7C mouthpiece, a lightweight hard case, a pair of white gloves, and soft polishing cloth. It is approved and recommended by most trumpet teachers, and this makes it ideal for beginners.
The interesting part is that it is relatively cheap, in comparison to other popular trumpets, but produces high-quality sound. In other words, it is the most cost-effective trumpets in the market.
We can keep going on and on, describing different trumpets and reviewing different products, but we must not forget the matter of discussion.
The Number of Valves
Trumpets are also categorized on another basis such as the number of valves it has, type of valves, key produced, style of music, type of finish, and the type of material used.
Did you know that silver trumpets are far more expensive than their brass finish counterparts? This is a fact, according to most experts. These experts also claim that silver-plated trumpets sound better than the brass types. Based on their claim, these silver-plated trumpets are preferred by professionals especially those in the jazz and orchestral gig. (If you are into Jazz and Trumpets than you should take a look at the division of jazz studies and some of their upcoming gigs)
One would have thought that silver plated trumpets are just for aesthetic’s sake. But thanks to knowledge, we all get the gist. If you don’t, then try reading the entire article again. But this time, do it slowly.
Now that you know all about the Types of Trumpets, you can read more about some of our comprehensive and detailed Trumpet Product Reviews right here.