Best Selling Brands of Trumpets

Brands of Trumpets

Photo credit: fuzzonce on Flickr

I would like to use the automobile selection as an illustration. Is the Toyota the best car on the road? Possibly, possibly not, but from past experience and sale records, it does prove that there are many people satisfied with the Toyota automobile. I happen to have two in my garage and have been very happy with my decision. Even with the recalls on some of their models, Toyota still out sells all others. Why is that? The people who drive them are satisfied with them and continue to recommend them to their friends. So is the case of trumpets. The well known and by far most popular name in the professional trumpet world is Bach. That is a fact. It has been and will continue that way. Is the Bach the best trumpet to buy? The overwhelming sales indicate that to be true. Do I and my entire trumpet playing friends play Bach? No, and why is that?

Long, long ago in a land far away called academia, there were very wise teachers who were “all knowing” and “all seeing” and shared their great wisdom with their many students. This enlightenment was past on from generation to generation and it was through their great wisdom, we were all told that there was only one true trumpet in the world and it was Bach. And that was good. And we all benefited from their great insight. Since that time, many changes and advancements have been made in the trumpet manufacturing field and for that reason, there are many excellent trumpet manufactures in the world today. Many copied some of the ideas from Bah as well as other trumpet makers and with advanced materials and technology; we have a wider field of quality manufactures competing for our dollars. If Bach is still the most purchases trumpet on the market, I would not rule out the effects of tradition for many of the original teachers and their students are still recommending the Bach from just habit. I am not saying that the Bach Stradivarius trumpet is not a fine instrument; all I’m saying is that the field of equally fine trumpets should be considered. I have listed below the top selling trumpets considered to be the best we have today.

Top selling brands of trumpets in the $1,000-$2,000+ range

(All brands are listed alphabetically not in order of preference)
(***** indicates top rating from reporting owners to Brasswinds site)

As you can see, the market has been expanded tremendously from the time I was picking out my first “real” trumpet. At that time (1960- can it be that long ago?) we had the choice of the Olds Recording, Bach Stradivarius., Conn Constellation or the Benge trumpets. To help you make a more informed decision, I will list the most popular trumpets among my colleagues in the playing field, and they are as follows-

(All brands are listed alphabetically not in order of preference)

I am not promoting any brand of trumpet in any way. It is not my responsibility to make quality or performance calls on this site. It is my goal to share as much information about trumpets and trumpet related topics as I can and for that reason, your final selection will be determined by your personal needs, and situations. If you select a trumpet from any of the four companies list above, I am confident that you will have selected a high quality manufacturer.

I must tell you at this time that your final selection of your instrument has only been limited to these four manufacturers and the real challenge will come when you start comparing each of these trumpet makers assortment of models offered under their name. The final decision will have to be made on your individual needs such as cost, use, looks, sound and individual comfort.

Bruce was a member of the faculty at the University of Northern Iowa, School of Music in Cedar Falls from 1969 until his retirement in 1999. He has performed with many well-known entertainers such as Bob Hope, Jim Nabors, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Anita Bryant, Carman Cavalara, Victor Borgie, the Four Freshman, Blackstone the Magician, Bobby Vinton and John Davidson.

17 thoughts on “Best Selling Brands of Trumpets

  1. Dean Martin

    Well written. The old phrase “the word of mouth is the best advertisement” is true for any product or service. My first trumpet was a Reynolds when I was in grade school. Got into high school and was introduced to the Bach Strad, which I still love. But I eventually expanded into the Yamaha family for flugelhorn. My friend tried my flugelhorn and bought one for himself. So “the of mouth” does work.

  2. stuart mckennon

    You were my 1st trumpet teacher when I was in the 7th and 8th grades at Lewisville,Tx and then I moved to Barrington,Ill. and you reassured me that Illinois wasn’t so bad,you hailed from the quad-city area as I recall.To make a long story short, I’m an avid community player now in Austin,Tx and I’m shopping for another horn to add to my collection; I have an Elkhart Bach 37 and a 43* Bach ~2007 and a 1947 Olds Standard which is a great horn.I was never good enough to go pro nor was I a music major even; I went into medicine.However I took playing trumpet up seriously again about 10 years ago and I’m playing better than I ever have, and do I enjoy it. Good to see that trumpet playing stays interesting for all of us!! I’m considering,by the way,a Holton T101 or 105, and also a Selmer Radial, which I can get for reasonable prices.

    Best regards,
    Stuart McKennon

    • Bruce Chidester

      Oh what a treat it was to hear from you. I have very fond memories of teaching private lessons in the Dallas, Fort Worth area and Lewisville will always be at the top of my list of wonderful students.

      I had great respect for your band directors as well as you students. You, Cindy Michael, John Schlegel and Caroline Womack were my favorite students. You all must have impressed me greatly for me to still remember your names and faces to this day.

      It was an absolute pleasure knowing you all and I want to let you know that your message has made my week.

      I went to NTS, our oldest son graduated from NTS and now his son is going there. I have great feelings for the Dallas area and still have many dear friends there.

      I do hope all is well with you and yours and thanks again for bringing back great memories of a time long ago.

      As far as the trumpets, I’ll get back to you soon.

      Stay well,
      or as John Schlegel used to call me
      Weird Beard.

      • stuart mckennon

        Those were indeed special times…
        To bore you with my own trumpet journey,and to let you know a little of the other characters-
        my playing in Illinois was mixed. They had nothing comparable to UIL up there,yet the h.s. band was very good. Barrington is a fairly affluent place, and I walked into a trumpet section where 2 kids were playing this home made trumpet I’d never heard of,supposedly the best there is,shilke or something(kidding). I figured out on my own that I was far too much of a downhill player because of my big overbite,and spent most of the 10th grade remaking my embouchure,with my lower jaw out to create an even vertical plane for my teeth,and consequently,as I learned later,a horizontal air stream, or nearly so,which is what you need.Aside, I’ve had a few lessons down here with Alan Rogers,formerly of the Austin symphony,who told me he went through the same thing but not as much,and he had to learn from Richard Gianguilio with the Dallas Symphony how to be a “two lip” player.Well,I moved back to the DFW area before my junior year but not Lewisville,rather Cleburne which is 30 mi S of Ft. Worth, but in the same music region then as Lewisville. However,it was emerging from the dark ages in music.Anyway,Cindy Mikel and John Schlegel made all state their senior year, and I barely made last chair all region.It was mortifying to have fallen so far behind Mikel.I took lessons for awhile at that time from Mack Guderian-what a great guy! And such a natural player; but I don’t think he saw that what I needed then was not mastering technique a la Arban’s, but working on basics of breathing and tone production. But,there were 5 all staters in just our region which included 4 from L.D. Bell, so I did OK just to make last chair. John and I wound up in the same medical school class in Dallas, and are still friends. He is a well known orthopedic back surgeon in Salt Lake City; in fact, when Tony Danza had a ski accident and needed emergency surgery, Schlegel did his case. Unfortunately, John had a stroke from an aneurysm a few years ago and can’t practice anymore.Cindy became a very successful band director. She quit for awhile to go to UT Law school, and I walked into Austin Symphonic Band one night for practice, and there was Cindy in the trumpet section! Hilarious-
        Bill Brady,who I think may have been one of the best band directors ever in Texas, died of heart attack in 1985 3 days before his band at San Antonio MacArthur won their 2nd straight state UIL marching band championship in 5A..I have such great memories of him-
        My main playing now is as section leader in the Waterloo Wind Band, a new community band here in Austin,directed by a friend of mine from college,Randol Bass;he’s a good composer as well who has his own publishing company.I have a practice regimen I do practically every day I got from Alan Rogers, who studied alot with Boyd Hood with LA Phil; alot of Stamp adaptations and Remington drills. I kind of wish at times I had gone into music as my director at Cleburne advised me to do but I have a rewarding career in medicine, where now I’m strictly hospital based which means I have more structured time off. I am playing an interesting mp now I really like which I got from Jimmy Shortell here in Austin; it’s a Calicchio rim on a Stork Vacchiano 5c cup,which is more conical and seems to allow a rich tone without sacrificing much if any range. The rim seems perfect, similar to some of the Bach rims I think.
        Well,I had alot I thought you might find interesting. I really like your blog by the way, very nice resource.I’m interested in everything trumpet nowadays. Bye for now-

    • James h

      Try to get a Bach model like the tr200s or kanstul, maybe even a schilke or conn. Those are the best brands I’ve seen so far. Yamaha is good too but in comparison to these, it’s at the bottom of the list.

      • Bruce Chidester

        I was with you until your comment about Yamaha. I’m not sure which Yamaha you tried but in my opinion, the top line Yamaha is equal to the Bach (which I think is way over rated), and after the old mans death, Schilke is also over rated. As far as Kanstul, I have not had the chance to try one yet. I LOVE the Kanstul flugel horn!

      • Bruce Chidester

        Also I love my Conn Flugel.

  3. Lino P. Varano

    I must concur with your well-written and astute article. BACH was the dominant trumpet, specifically in North-American markets. Still an excellent instrument, there are other comparable trumpets out there as well…some superior and some, perhaps, not so. Ultimately, every trumpet is different and the individual player, based on their skills, experience, needs, financial situation, etc…will need to try various instruments and make a decision to purchase based on some/all of the criteria above.
    That being said, and even though I own some Jupiters, Bessons, Yamahas, ….I still must admit that BACH trumpets are my ongoing, personal “favourite” (Canadian spelling here!) trumpet.
    Best regards!
    Lino P. Varano

  4. basil bankston

    i really dug what you said. great. im interested.

  5. basil bankston

    i need a new horn and this will help me

    • Bruce Chidester

      A new horn helps in many ways but practice is the only way to get consistently better.
      If you need any advice, be sure to contact me……I’ll try to find someone that can help you. 🙂

  6. James h

    Never buy a conductor trumpet. The brass on my student trumpet is scraping off and my mouthpiece has a green ring around it. I tried my friend’s Yamaha student trumpet(with my mouthpiece) and the intonation was 10 times better than mine. My valves buttons have fallen off. This is extremely dissapointing, considering that this was new. But about your trumpet buy a : schilke b5, Bach tr200s, kanstul 991 or 900, or a fides, or conn 52bsp

    • Bruce Chidester

      Unfortunately the market has been flooded with “copy cat” imports which have proven to be less than quality instruments. Any new trumpet listed for less than $1,000 is most likely junk.
      I visited the Conductor trumpet advertising site and agree with your evaluation. Everything about this instrument is a perfect example of an import designed to trick the public.
      Thanks for bringing this up and I will do a post on this next month.

  7. James h

    The conn 52bsp is very good and never buy from Ali express or eBay. Never buy a used trumpet. Make sure that your trumpet has a smaller bore and bell size. Try to use a monette mouthpiece.

  8. Mike O

    Dear Bruce:

    I’ve greatly enjoyed reading your evaluations, and the resulting thread. I actually reside in Lewisville, Texas, but was raised in the Carrollton Farmers Branch area. Yes, I went to RLT. I am 58 years old, and following a 35-year break from playing Cornet/Trumpet … I began playing again some 4 years ago.

    You are thoroughly correct in your evaluations. Especially, in the Bach discussion. Yes, back in the 1960’s, Bach was THE Instrument that almost everyone had. I was not that fortunate. I started with a Conn student coronet, and by 7th grade (we started in 5th back then) my band instructor told my mother “If he wants to compete in the band he needs a better horn.” So, my mom found an Olds Coronet in a garage sale for $25-30. And, it was a MUCH BETTER HORN!

    In looking back, I think that playing terrible instruments, although frustrating, actually forced me to work harder somehow.

    When I began playing again a few years back, I researched the market heavily. Yes, I made the trek to Brook Mays, and looked at their Schmidt horns, and decided to steer-clear of foreign-made horns in the almost $2000 price range. While not knowing what to actually do, I purchased into some rather inexpensive equipment.

    I have actually moved-toward “C” Trumpets, because of the relative ease of picking-out parts in popular music that I perform. I purchased one “C Pocket Trumpet”, a Schiller Center-line for $350, and a Conversion Horn B-flat to C from Kessler Customs out of Las Vegas for $699. No, I did not expect either to be a GREAT horn, but I felt that it would be a good starting-point while re-learning the Trumpet. And, I was correct!

    A note about “Conversion Trumpets” … All of the ones I’ve seen are actually C Trumpets, that include a set of B-flat slides. This is OK to a point; however, the horn is designed as a “C” and is balanced (weight) as a “C” … When converting to the B-flat the horn gets VERY “Bell-Heavy”. Plays OK, but not balanced proportionately.

    Anyway, the old concept of “Get a Bach” is really NOT like it once was. I am currently in the market to upgrade, and I am having a LOT of difficulty finding the RIGHT FIT for ME! It appears that ALL the American Manufacturers have decided that A Trumpet Player does not need an “Adjustable Ring” on the 3rd Slide, and MOST of the manufacturers have discontinued providing a dang SPIT-VALVE on the 3rd Slide. Especially, on the C Trumpets. It’s frustrating at best.

    The current Bach/King/Conn offerings have stopped providing a 3rd Slide Spit Valve AT ALL … I do not find that to be reasonable. I am taking closer looks at Getzen and Kanstul, because the Quality/Feature offerings appear to make more sense.

    Thanks for your time on here. Nice to hear from someone that has experience, and actually from/in my area.

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