The modern 3 valve trumpet was first developed by Bluhmel and Stoelzel and is popular in school orchestras, jazz and brass bands.

The B flat trumpet is the most common and so is the most sensible choice for the student or beginner.  As with the flute, it requires good breath control.

The values on a trumpet are the key feature.  It is the smoothness of their operation, and the quality and speed of their spring and rebound that makes the trumpet playable or not.  When picking up the trumpet these values should be tried and they should move freely.  If they feel tight or gritty or grabby then you should move on to another model or instrument.

Trumpet mouth pieces vary significantly.  Some are designed to be especially good at high notes while others affect volume or tone.  The instrument a student buys should have with it a student-style mouthpiece making the instrument easier to play for the beginner.

Most trumpets come in a gold lacquer.  The lacquer should be thin and even.  Some instruments are also finished in silver plate or nickel. 

Some buying tips

Tip 1. The most common finish for student models is clear or gold lacquer. The lacquer protects the instrument and is easy to keep clean.  Unlacquered trumpets will look dull with a matte finish.  They are harder to keep clean.  Some players prefer the silver plated finish for a smooth, rounder sound and more regular response throughout their range.

Tip 2. Beginner trumpets should be easy to blow and have accurate intonation (pitch).  The trumpet’s bore size affects how resistant it is to blow.  Most student trumpets have a medium-large bore.

Tip 3. The valve body is the heart of the instrument.  Best quality valves are normally known as monel valves.  But as mentioned earlier, stainless steel and nickel are also popular.

Tip 4.  The valve should fit securely.  To check unscrew a valve top and let the valve come out about 5 cm and then try to move the valve sideways in the valve casing.  If there is lateral movement (in other words if the valve rocks from side to side), the valve could be worn and therefore would not be airtight.  The trumpet should be airtight if it is to work as it should.

Tip 5. A good mouthpiece is very important as are cleaning cloths and value oil to keep the instrument in good working order.  A trumpet stand is also indispensable in caring for your instrument.