Stepping Up the
Stepping Up the TRUMPET
The trumpet is one of the most popular instruments for beginning musicians and those beginners who continue to play past the first year are likely to start considering an upgrade in their equipment. While a new mouthpiece can improve the sound initially, it will eventually be appropriate to consider a new horn altogether. Designed for a more powerful sound and better response, most step-up trumpets feature a yellow-brass bell and larger bore. Valves are made with Monel or stainless steel, making them highly durable and corrosion-resistant. Different finishes can also add a unique look and subtly change the trumpet’s sound.
Characteristics to Consider
Finishes: Most upgraded trumpets are silver-plated, which is a thinner coating than lacquer and allows for more resonance and a brighter sound. Some models may have a black nickel finish, which is aesthetically pleasing and produces a darker sound.
Valves: In an upgraded trumpet, valves are often made from either Monel or stainless steel. Monel valves are highly resistant to corrosion and provide a smooth feel, while stainless steel ones are highly durable and reduce the need for repairs.
Bell: Most upgraded trumpets will have a bell made of yellow-brass. This allows for better projection of the sound. Some models may have a larger bell which gives more depth to the player’s sound. Upgraded trumpets may also have what is called a one-piece, hand-hammered bell. This means that the instrument’s bell was constructed with a single piece of brass. This gives the instrument a clearer sound because it can vibrate more uniformly.
Bore Size: The bore size of the trumpet is the internal diameter of the tubing. A step-up trumpet will often have a larger bore than its student-level counterpart. This requires a greater volume of air from the player but provides a more powerful sound.
Reverse Leadpipe: This is a premium design feature in which the tuning slide goes over the leadpipe rather than into it. This decreases resistance for the air stream and gives the instrument a more free-blowing feel.
It is important to decide which of these features is most valuable to you as a player, and the best way to verify this is to try a wide variety of step-up trumpets. At Menchey Music Service, we have upgraded trumpets from Yamaha, Cannonball, Accent, S.E. Shires, and Bach and we are ready to help you find the right fit!