So, I realise this article might only be of interest to  a small group of like minded trumpet geeks enthusiasts, but I’ve enjoyed putting it together and hope you find the following random facts mildly interesting!

If anyone reading this can add to any of these wild and wonderful missives (or contradict their factual accuracy!) I’d love to hear from you!

The World’s Largest Trumpet

The largest playable trumpet is 32m long with a bell 5.2m in diameter.It was made by Mr Benny J Mamot from Indonesia in 2009 It can only be played with the help of an air compressor!

Largest trumpet

Famous People who (you might not know) Played the Trumpet
James Hunt (Racing Driver)
Richard Gere (Actor)
James Wood (Actor)
Justin Bieber (Musician)!
Steven Tyler (Aerosmith)
Samuel L Jackson (Actor)
Paul McCartney (The Beatles!)
Jayne Mansfield (Actress)
Clint Eastwood (well Flugel Horn anyway!)

Highest note ever Played on a Trumpet
The highest note ever played on a trumpet is a “quad C”
This is two octaves above “Super” C, 3 above “Top” C and 5 above “middle” C.
Both Michael Schmidt and Mark Van Cleve have recorded quad Cs.

Length of tubing in a Bb Trumpet
A trumpet might seem short and compact, but when unwound stretches to around 140-150cm (that’s nearly 5 feet long)!

The World’s Most Expensive Trumpet
In 1995 Dizzy Gillespie’s “Martin Committee” trumpet was sold at a Christie’s auction for $55,000. This trumpet, with its “bent bell” was the trademark instrument of the jazz legend.

expensive-trumpet1

The World’s Oldest Trumpet
A pair of Trumpets (one in Stirling Silver, one in Bronze) were found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, the ancient King of Egypt.There have been claims that the two trumpets contain “magical powers” and have the apparent ability to summon war. They were first played in 1939, shortly before World War II. The trumpets were again said to have been played before the 1967 Six-Day war, before the 1990 Persian Gulf war, and most recently, the bronze trumpet was played one week before the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.
Tut TPT

You can hear a  recording of one of Tutankhamun’s trumpets being played (in 1939) by clicking here .

The First Valve Trumpet
Whilst trumpets have been around since ancient civilisation, the first valved trumpet akin to the modern instruments used today was created by Stoelzel and Bluhmel in Germany in 1814.

The World’s First Trumpet Playing Robot
Toyota developed the world’s first trumpet playing robot – complete with artificial flexible lips – in 2005 but (in surely a huge oversight) omitted to name the diminutive performer.

 

And quite an impressive player he(?!) is! Watch its performance of “When you Wish Upon a Star” by clicking here.

Bach Stradivarius Bell Variations
The “benchmark” professional  “Bach Stradivarius” Trumpet comes in various bell “sizes” – the most popular bells being 37, 43 and 72. However, these numbers do not refer to any size or measurement, but to one of 71 different  bell templates  (numbered 1-72 with 15 omitted!). Vincent Bach experimented with these different bell flair designs in to the 1950’s when numbers 37, 43 and 72 became the standard. The most popular model is still the 180ML 37.

Monel Valves
Many trumpet valves are made from a specialist alloy called Monel. Used extensively in aerospace and marine applications due to its extreme hardness and resistance to corrosion and acids, it is ideally suited for trumpet valves.Monel was named after  Ambrose Monell, and patented in 1906. One L was dropped, because family names were not allowed as trademarks at that time!

About the author

Gareth is managing Director of Normans Musical Instruments. A Brass player, Gareth has considerable technical knowledge and experience on a broad range of instrument types - gleaned from working with and visiting both players and instrument makers across the globe during his 20 years in the business.

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Comments

  • Jane Humberstone 04/04/2014 at 9:28 am

    Love these but why does the link to Tutankhamun’s trumpet never work for me – have tried it on other sources…..

    • Gareth Haines 04/04/2014 at 10:39 am

      Thanks Jane – works now!

  • Allie Perry 04/04/2014 at 7:55 pm

    Love these articles! Did you see the Robot Quartet Band on YouTube?

  • Alastair 04/03/2015 at 1:11 am

    Great piece G. Thanks.

  • Charles Parker 22/09/2015 at 2:04 pm

    Jeffrey Dahmer played the trumpet in his high school band…