A Trumpet for you

The Trumpet is an instrument dating from ancient Egypt, later improved in the baroque era and in Austria around 1790 by Anton Weidinger by making the 1st keyed trumpet that played all the chromatic notes.  1

Also named

You may hear about it with other names like tooter. Pronounced /ˈtrʌmpɪt/, from the french meaning “little horn” and called trompeta in Spanish, trompette in French, and trompete in Portuguese. A person that plays it’s called a trumpeter, not trumpetist.2 

What’s the difference?

A good rule of thumb to distinguish between a cornet, flugelhorn, and trumpet is that the flugelhorn is ⅓ cylindrical and ⅔ conical, the trumpet bore is ⅔ cylindrical and ⅓ conical and the cornet is ½ and ½. The more cylindrical the brighter the sound and the more conical the warmer it is.

A mellophone looks like a trumpet, but it’s better to look at it like a marching french horn instead of a bigger trumpet

Lastly, a bugle is similar in shape, but by definition, bugles have no keys and keyed bugles can be considered trumpets.


The Brass family meaning it makes sound from vibration on the metal when you blow air. 


The types are determined by pitch3:

  • Bb Trumpet
  • C Trumpet
  • Bb Pocket Trumpet
  • D Trumpet
  • Piccolo Trumpet

The piccolo trumpet is smaller and is pitched an octave higher than the Bb trumpet. There’s also the pocket trumpet which is even smaller than the piccolo trumpet but it’s pitched in the same range as the Bb trumpet.

The best for you

For a beginner we suggest a Bb Trumpet since it is the most common variant and most accessible too, you’ll get the biggest repertoire of songs and access to all the accessories.

For kids a pTrumpet (plastic trumpet), since it’s both lighter and cheaper, may also help if the instrument gets dropped on the floor a lot to avoid scratches.

Famous players like Louis Armstrong had a Selmer brand trumpet and Miles Davis had a Martin Committee trumpet so if you’re going professional, you don’t have any excuse with one of those, especially considering the small improvements to most trumpets over the years.

It’s important to mention that you can play the instrument with only 1 hand, so some disable people can still play! It’s also better than that, because you can get a plastic trumpet to save on the weight and also transition later to similar instruments like the cornet, flugelhorn, mellophone, etc. We suggest the bugle if you don’t have music theory knowledge.

Don’t worry about brands and don’t worry too much about models and series. What matters is the store you buy them from.

Now that you know, you can check on Ebay here.

Getting it another way

So far we have talked only about the physical instruments, but there are more options than that.

You can get an app for android or ios called virtual trumpet 2, if you want to play for free right now, sadly it doesn’t have all variants, but it will get you started.

If you are on a computer you can try “Ecarddesignanimation trumpet online” on any browser. The website is old and the instrument is not that responsible, but it’s also free and it has preloaded songs that you can autoplay and then try to play yourself with your computer keyboard.

You can also replicate it using a synthesizer / keyboard / midi and you can also get a plugin/vst for your music production software.


VariantLowest priceHighest price
Bb / C / D$100 USD$700 USD
Pocket$100 USD$500 USD
Piccolo$100 USD$1,300 USD

For reference, all the cheapest trumpets came with a case, cleaning kit and a mouthpiece and the most expensive trumpet was a piccolo with silver lacquer, so the increase in price is mostly based on the material and a little on the brand.


Bb / C / D22 x 10 x 6 in (55 x 25 x 15 Cm)22 x 11 x 7 In (55 x 28 x 17 Cm)
Pocket11 x 9 x 7 In (28 x 22 x 17 Cm)12 x 10 x 6 in (30 x 25 x 15 Cm)
Piccolo14 x 8 x 8 In (35 x 20 x 20 Cm)16 x 10 x 8 In (40 x  25 x 20 Cm)


Bb / C / D5 Lbs (2.2 Kg)8 Lbs (3.6 Kg)
Pocket4 Lbs (1.8 Kg)5 Lbs (2.2 Kg)
Piccolo3 Lbs (1.3 Kg)5 Lbs (2.2 Kg)


Brass (copper with zinc) and it might have a lacquer (layer) of gold, silver, or steel with some additional painted color on top of it. You can also find pTrumpets, which are made of plastic. Material has no effect on sound but it does in price and durability.

How to play – first lesson

This instrument is easy and fast to learn. Once you get yours you can start by learning the way you hold it, efficient warmups, posture, and embouchure, then you can learn each note and go on to learn songs.

We recommend learning to read sheet music or any of the different notations, (options for learning). To learn to play each note you need a finger chart (or position chart).

“Music was the one thing I could control. It was the one world that offered me freedom. When I played music, my nightmares ended. My family problems disappeared. I didn’t have to search for answers. The answers lay no further than the bell of my trumpet and my scrawled, penciled scores. Music made me full, strong, popular, self-reliant, and cool.”

-Quincy Jones


  1. Wikipedia
  2. WordReference
  3. Tonestro

Luis Gerardo

Musician as a hobby for +6 years, documenting every instrument in simple words for this website.

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