The Different Parts of Your Trumpet

Many times those of us who have been behind a mouthpiece for many years forget that young players are just starting out on the trumpet and what seems obvious to us, may be new information to the younger player. For that reason I thought it would be helpful to the beginners in our audience to get a working knowledge of the parts of the trumpet.

Mouthpiece– This is the removable section which you place to your lips to create a sound. Throughout your career as a trumpet player, you will collect many of these, each one being purchased in order to make playing easier. Eventually you will realize that regular practice is more productive and cheaper.

Lead Pipe– Where you insert your mouthpiece. Make sure that you clean this section often for strange things begin to collect and eventually grow in this area.

Main Tuning Slide– This is the slide which raises (pushing in) and lowers (pulling out) the pitch of your entire instrument. Be sure to keep this slide greased so that you will be able to use it when called upon.

Main Tuning Slide Water Key– This is not a spit valve for the only moisture which comes out of this is condensed water, not spit, unless you have a salivary condition.

Brace– the only reason some trumpets have these is to make sure your main tuning slide tubes stay aligned.

Valve Casings 1, 2, 3– These tubes incase your valves and help direct the air flow through your instrument.

Third Valve Slide– This slide makes it possible for you to adjust for intonation problems when you have depressed the third valve. It is very useful when lowering the notes low C# and low D, which are usually sharp in pitch.

Second Valve Slide– This slide is used only to access your second valve casing for cleaning purposes.

First Valve Slide– If your slide has a ring or saddle attached to it, you will be able to adjust intonation when depressing your first valve.

Lower Valve Caps– The function of these is to catch and hold any excessive valve oil which drains to the bottom of your valve casing. It also enables you to more easily clean your valves when needed.

Upper Valve Caps– These caps allow you to remove the valve more easily for oiling or cleaning.

Finger Hook on Lead Pipe– This hook is there for the times you need to play while supporting your instrument with only your right hand (when inserting mute, turning pages of music, etc.).

Bell Section– This is the speaker for your instrument and should never be pointed at a friend at close range.

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.

3 thoughts on “The Different Parts of Your Trumpet

  1. Gyan Richard

    how can I study all the 12 keys on trumpet?

    • Bruce Chidester

      Repetition is the only way I know to learn scales.
      Many times when a player has a good ear it can be easier to play a familiar tune in all the keys which is much more interesting than just playing scales
      I will post some examples on my site this week and I hope you will have an easier time learning to play in different keys.
      Thanks for your question.

    • Bruce Chidester

      My post on learning scales will be posted on the 13th of this month. I hope it is helpful to you and thanks for bringing up the question.


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