Learning to play a brass instrument for the first time as an adult can be a rewarding experience but buying your first instrument can be daunting. If you’ve never played before or only played a little, how do you know what to look for? There are many options on the market to consider depending on your needs and budget.
If you’ve played a little bit before and you’re confident that you can make a sound on the cornet, it’s a good idea to try out the different models before you buy. Even if you’ve never played a note before there are a few things to look out for when buying your first model.
Firstly, are the valves easy to operate? They should be easy to press down and spring back quickly. (Note it may be necessary to oil valves before they work properly! Check here if you don’t know how to do this
. Secondly, do the slides move? Cornets have a slide on each valve as well as a main tuning slide. You should be able to move the third valve slide (operated with your ring finger or left pinkie) comfortably without too much effort. Equally, it shouldn’t be so loose that it falls out.
Another aspect to consider when buying your first instrument is the type of finish you want. Starter instruments tend to come in two different finishes: gold lacquer or silver plate. Silver plate is slightly more expensive but looks great, especially when polished to a high shine. Lacquer is a cheaper alternative but may wear more than silver plate. However, either finish will stay looking nice for a long time if looked after properly and it comes down to personal taste which one you prefer. Be sure to wipe finger prints off with a soft cloth after use.
Offering great value for money, the Sonata Student Bb model includes everything you need to get started with playing the cornet, including mouthpiece, case and cleaning accessories. The sound and build quality are great, especially for the price, though you may want to upgrade as you progress with your playing.
Similar to the Sonata, the Elkhart 100 offers an affordable package to get you playing. Cost effective with a reasonable sound, this instrument is a favourite in education settings.
Besson’s BE120 boasts an eye-catching silver plate finish with matching finger buttons. Very shiny! The adjustable finger rest may prove more comfortable than fixed ones, particularly for adult beginners with larger hands. The action of the valves on this model is very smooth and quick straight out of the box.
The Yamaha YCR2330III is a good option for a mature student who wants to invest in an instrument that will take them through both beginner and intermediate levels. The slightly higher price includes a hard case that is perfect for protecting the instrument while on the go. The sound is warm and rich and like the Besson BE120, this cornet features an adjustable finger rest.
Now I know what you’re thinking. The pTrumpet isn’t a Cornet. It’s a trumpet. And you’d be right. But why would you want to play the cornet when you could play the trumpet and join the ranks of some of the coolest players in history? Miles Davis. Paul McCartney (Really!). Gonzo from the Muppet Show.
Ok. Full disclosure. I play the trumpet, so I may be
am extremely biased. That said, the Ptrumpet is a great instrument to start on. It’s affordable and easy to play and it comes in a range of colours which make it even more appealing. So if you ever feel the urge to go to ‘the dark side’ of trumpet, perhaps this is the beginner instrument for you.