When it comes to playing the trumpet, selecting the right instrument is all about high-quality manufacturing and versatile sound production.
As one of the most classical brass instruments, trumpets come in more shapes, sizes, and styles than ever before. So which brands and models are the best?
The Bach Stradivarius and the Yamaha Xeno are the most popular trumpet models among musicians. Generally, the Bach Stradivarius is the preferred model for classical and professional use, while the Yamaha Xeno is a great selection for jazz, pop, and even beginning to intermediate students.
Of course, the acclaim of each brand depends on the needs and preferences of each musician.
To know which brand is right for you, it is important to learn more about the pricing, manufacturing details, and options available to each skill level.
The general starting price for trumpets can seem a bit expensive, especially to a beginning player, but it is well worth the quality and durability. As a beginner, an intermediate player, a member of a band or orchestra, or even as a professional, it is essential to have a well-made instrument.
A brand new Bach Stradivarius sells at around $2,900 to $3,800 from most stores and $2,300 from most secondary sellers.
This high-quality model is one of Bach’s top-selling products because of its price and durability. More affordable Bach trumpets start around $1,200, and the most professionally acclaimed models can reach up to $6,000, so the Stradivarius provides the greatest balance of price and quality.
Comparatively, most models in the Yamaha Xeno series cost between $2,500 and $4,500, but the YTR 2330 Standard Bb model is fantastic for beginners and students, and is about half that price.
As a larger manufacturer, Yamaha has a wider selection of instruments in general, including trumpet models. The most expensive Yamaha trumpets are astronomically higher than other leading brands—including a platinum model for $125,000.
Most musicians find that, if taken care of and cleaned properly, their instruments last a lifetime.
With basic polishing and regular oiling, both Yamaha and Bach trumpets can last several decades without any significant decline in functionality or even appearance.
Buying New vs. Used Trumpets
When deciding whether to buy a new trumpet or a used one, the most important factors to consider are skill level and interest.
A shiny new model might not be worth the investment for a student just beginning to learn the instrument, and a used model might be an underwhelming or even defective purchase for a professional member of an orchestra.
Either way, it is important to learn about the options available prior to purchasing anything.
The benefits of buying a new trumpet are certainly worth considering. New models come with clean mouthpieces, fresh valves, valve oil, and in some instances, a complimentary case. In every way, the instrument can be made your own from day one.
Most Bach and Yamaha trumpets come with a five-year *warranty, which is tremendously beneficial under the unlikely circumstance that any issues should arise after the purchase.
For anyone in a professional musical organization or above intermediate levels, purchasing a new trumpet is the best option, not to mention the fact that it will last a lifetime!
Still, for those who are on a budget or who are hoping for the chance to explore an interest in the trumpet without breaking the bank, used trumpets are a fantastic way to go.
Though intermediate models are half the price, they do not have the same stylistic functionality. This is why it is worth looking for a higher-quality model, even when buying one used.
Some used Bach Stradivarius models sell for as low as $800 to $1,000, which is well below half of the original price, with the added benefit of the same quality manufacturing. The same applies to used Yamaha Xeno models, though they tend to range a bit higher in price, from $1,000 to $1,800.
Either way, a trumpet is a significant purchase.
Wherever possible, try playing the trumpet to test its sound and feel before deciding whether or not to buy it. It may also be helpful to bring along an experienced musician as a source of advice in making the best decision.
*While Vincent Bach does not accept direct returns, the warranty is good for practically any instrument reseller, as these models are renowned for their quality.
Bach vs Yamaha Trumpet Model Specs
The Bach Stradivarius and the Yamaha Xeno have significantly comparable specifications, though each model is preferred by trumpet players for different reasons.
Manufactured exclusively in the United States and used everywhere from schools and orchestras to jazz and brass bands, the Bach Stradivarius is the most professionally sold trumpet model. With a hand-hammered bell, a #25 lead pipe, Monel valves, and an adjustable side rod for added control, the Stradivarius has a distinctly warm tone and minimal resistance, which is optimal for slotting notes as desired.
If newly purchased, the Stradivarius comes with a protective wooden travel case. Elegant and efficient, it’s no wonder that this model is as classy as it is versatile. Still, because it is specifically designed for greater ease in switching between notes, it is harder for beginners to use.
The Yamaha Xeno, on the other hand, is the most accessible brand, used more commonly among beginners, jazz musicians, and pop bands.
Musicians who prefer Yamaha enjoy its consistent quality. Manufactured everywhere from the United States to Japan, China, and Malaysia, the Yamaha Xeno is often produced in larger quantities and therefore received fewer customer complaints about consistency.
The Xeno has a water key on the third valve slider that significantly enhances ease of play, as well as a customizable valve trigger that ensures comfortable hand positioning.
Because of its powerful, solid sound, the Xeno is a brilliant choice for all levels of skill and interest.
When Is It Time to Upgrade?
Often, trumpet players will begin with a new or used Yamaha and then upgrade to a Bach when skill and interest levels have increased. So how do you know when it’s time to upgrade? Here are four ways to gauge whether it is worth purchasing a newer, nicer model than your beginning instrument:
- Strong Tone: You should have a clear, strong tone. Trumpet players need to be able to maintain breath support for the ideal tone. If you are able to produce an even, consistent sound and adjust volume when desired, you are ready to upgrade.
- Clear Sound: It is tricky for beginners to avoid having any crackly sound when learning how to play the trumpet. Be sure that you are able to play without any sounds of faint breath, sounds of spittle, or weak note production.
- High Notes: If you are able to consistently hit the high notes written in a score, you have surpassed the beginner stage. Anything from deep G and two octaves up should be clear and crisp.
- Regular Practice: Most of all, a new instrument is only worth your money if you practice regularly. If you play at least once a week and meet the other three measures of skill, have fun shopping for a shiny new model!