Learning an instrument as an adult is a great way to pick up a new hobby, socialise and gain new skills. If you’ve already chosen the trumpet, I hope this quick guide will help you in choosing the right first instrument for you. If you’re still not convinced the trumpet is for you, perhaps this blog will help you make your mind up.
A quick note on what to look for:
There are a lot of different starter instruments on the market. As an adult learner, you may wish to start with a more expensive instrument that will carry you through beginner standard to intermediate. If you’re on a budget, there are some excellent affordable packages available that will get you playing. You may wish to invest in a more expensive instrument later on, after you’ve decided which direction you want to take your playing in.
Even if you haven’t played before, you can check that all the valves and slides on an instrument move freely (they may need to be oiled or greased respectively before they’ll work properly).
pTrumpet is an all plastic trumpet that feels and plays remarkably like a brass instrument. Why plastic? Well, the pTrumpet won’t dent as a result of a drop or knock like a brass trumpet and it weighs very little at only 500g. In a side by side comparison with its brass counterparts, I found that the pTrumpet held up surprisingly well in terms of tone and response. These were improved further by swapping the included plastic mouthpiece for a brass one such as the Sonata 7C which is a perfect size for an adult beginner and won’t break the bank.
One downside to this instrument is that the third valve slide cannot be moved while playing. As a beginner, this is a minor concern, but as you become more experienced you will find that lower notes using the third valve (D and C#) are not in tune. This is the case for all trumpets and it’s necessary to push the slide out to improve the tuning of these notes.
The pTrumpet is a good choice for adult beginners as it’s loads of fun to play and even if you choose to move to a more advanced instrument further down the line, you can still use it for playing outside and taking on holiday to practice.
The Sonata model is a basic starter instrument designed to be affordable and good quality and get you playing straight away. The finger rests are comfortable and the instrument feels solid in the hands. Tuning is reasonably good throughout the range. The sound is great for the price but not quite as warm or resonant as more expensive models. That said, in terms of value for money, the Sonata is really a standout buy.
Yamaha’s entry to the beginner instrument line-up is slightly more expensive but no less impressive in terms of value for money. With Yamaha’s excellent build quality, this model is easy to play with a good sound and smooth action on the valves and slides. The weight of the instrument is kept down by the tuning slide which has been designed without a brace, a feature that this model shares with some of Yamaha’s professional level trumpets. An adjustable finger rest will allow you to set up exactly where you feel comfortable, whichever style of grip you use. The supplied case is very lightweight and compact although getting the trumpet in and out is a little fiddly. This instrument comes in gold lacquer and silver plate finishes. Silver plate is easier to repair and generally thought to give a brighter sound than lacquer but also comes at a higher cost. My opinion? The silver looks cooler, but each to their own.
Yamaha YTR4335GII and YTR4335GSII
The Yamaha YTR4335GII is suitable to take you right from beginner through to intermediate level, offering clean sound, great tuning and superior projection right into the upper register. Like the YTR2330 series, it also comes in lacquer and silver plated options. There’s a marked improvement in playability in this model compared to the previous models and the case is larger, with more room to keep accessories. The instrument will suit an ambitious adult learner on a higher budget who’s looking to take their playing to the next level.