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Are Cheap Trumpets Any Good? (Explained)

Before buying the cheapest trumpet out there, consider if that’s a good investment.

In some cases, you can save a lot of money and get a good instrument, but there’s no guarantee.

Here’s What to Know About Cheap Trumpets:

Cheap trumpets can be good if they’re from reputable brands and are in working condition. However, some cheap trumpets use low-cost materials and manufacturing processes. Those instruments may not last long. You could pay more to upgrade than if you bought something better in the first place.

Should I Buy a Cheap Trumpet or a Used Trumpet?

Buying a cheap trumpet or a used trumpet can be an excellent way to save money.

However, you have to know what to look for to get a good deal.

When buying a cheap trumpet, look for a model from a reputable brand, such as Yamaha, Bach, or King. The same is true when you’re looking at used trumpets.

You should also look at the current condition and determine if the trumpet needs repairs. If so, you’ll want to consider the cost of those repairs and the sale price.

How Do I Know If a Trumpet Is TOO Cheap?

A few factors can help you determine if a trumpet is too cheap.

While a more affordable model sounds great, it’s often a case of “if it sounds too good to be true, it is.”

You should know some things to decide when a trumpet costs too little.

Bad Reviews:

Most trumpets will have bad reviews since not every model is for every player.

However, if the bad reviews significantly outweigh the good reviews, you have a problem. When more people give a bad rating than a good one, it probably has something to do with the quality of the instrument.

Some people may not like how the trumpet plays or sounds, but if it is a small number of negative reviews, the model is probably good and worth at least trying.

On the other hand, if people don’t have many good things to say, stay away from the trumpet.

You might get one that works fine, but there’s a good chance you’ll have a similar, poor experience with the instrument.

Average Market Price:

When deciding if a trumpet is too cheap, compare it to the average price for similar models.

If you’re looking at a used trumpet, be sure to compare the instrument’s condition to others of the same make. Then, you can determine if the price is significantly lower than similar models.

If that’s the case, there’s a good chance the seller is pricing the trumpet cheap for a reason. Maybe they want to get rid of it quickly, and you could get a good deal.

However, the seller may know there’s something wrong with the trumpet. One or more valves might stick, or the trumpet may be almost impossible to tune, so the low price might only be part of the money you have to spend to make the trumpet work.

“Band Director Approved”:

Many cheaper trumpets will have long titles descriptions, especially on sites like Amazon or eBay.

The sellers will use these descriptions to try and convince you to buy. One common phrase I’ve seen is “band director approved,” which may seem innocent to beginners or parents of beginners.

However, if a brand has to say that band directors approve of it, that’s not entirely true. Band directors tend to approve of well-known brands, such as Yamaha.

If a trumpet model has to say band directors approve of it, run away. To sell its trumpets, a good brand will never have to say something like that.

Odd Colors:

With the small exception of plastic trumpets (which we’ll touch on later), odd colors can signify a cheap trumpet. If you find a metal trumpet with a blue or red finish, it could be a sign the trumpet isn’t worth it.

Like “band director approved,” cheap trumpet brands may use different colors to attract buyers. You can’t get a blue or red trumpet from Bach, so it is more likely that it is a cheap company selling the trumpet.

Also, trumpets in odd colors may not work well since they have the same manufacturing process as other low-cost models.

Some band and orchestra directors won’t let you play a colorful trumpet in their ensemble. You have to get an instrument with a brass or silver finish since it will fit in better.

How Much Should You Expect to Pay for a Good Beginner Trumpet?

You should expect to spend a few hundred dollars on a good beginner trumpet.

Spend more than that, and you start getting into the intermediate range.

Spend less than that, and you start getting into the realm of cheap, no-name trumpets that won’t last long.

Are Plastic Trumpets Useful for Complete Beginners?

Plastic trumpets can be very useful for complete beginners.

While they may not sound like metal trumpets, they’re an excellent alternative for kids, teens, and adults.

Here are a few benefits of plastic trumpets for new players:


Plastic is much lighter than brass, so you won’t have to work as hard to hold up a plastic trumpet.

This can make it easier for you to practice for longer sessions without as many breaks. Kids may enjoy playing the trumpet more when they don’t feel like they can’t hold it well.

The lightweight nature of plastic trumpets is also useful for some adults. If you have arthritis or a similar health problem, a plastic instrument can help you start learning the trumpet.

Regardless of your age, as you build stamina, you can hold the plastic trumpet for a long period. Then, you may be able to switch to a brass trumpet to continue improving your stamina.


Another advantage of starting on a plastic trumpet is that these models are usually affordable.

That can be great if you don’t have access to a rental program and if you’re on a tight budget. You may not want to pay hundreds of dollars on something that you aren’t sure you’ll stick with for multiple months.

If you try a plastic trumpet, you can get one for a couple of hundred dollars.

Many people can save that amount within a few months so that you can try the trumpet.

In the best-case scenario, you love the instrument and decide to save money for an upgrade. At worst, you find out you don’t want to play the trumpet, and you’re only out $200 or so rather than $500.


If you stick with the trumpet, you should keep your plastic model.

It can make for a useful backup model if you ever need to send your main instrument off for maintenance. You’ll still be able to practice the trumpet while you wait for your better model to come back to you.

Without a backup trumpet, you could lose out on a lot of practice time. Starting back on your trumpet may be more difficult if you haven’t played in a week.

A plastic trumpet may not be of the best quality, but it’s better than nothing.

Having a backup model is crucial whether you have a recital coming up or want to maintain your playing.

5 Trumpet Brands You Should Never Buy:

It would be best if you didn’t buy trumpets from brands such as Mendini or Jean Paul USA.

Other brands to avoid include Harrelson, Lätzsch, and Taylor. These brands don’t have the best reputation, and they tend to use cheaper manufacturing processes and materials.

They may look appealing to beginners since the price tag is low.

However, they can lead to more frustration, and they’re impossible to repair.

How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Trumpet?

If you don’t have much money to buy an instrument, renting a trumpet is fantastic.

Renting is most common among beginners, though you may be able to rent a more advanced model. Either way, the cost to rent a trumpet can vary between rental programs, location, and other factors.

Here are a few things that can affect the cost you’ll pay to borrow a trumpet:

Rental vs. Rent-to-Own:

First, you should determine if a rental program will continue in perpetuity or if it has an end date.

A program with an end date may be a rent-to-own program, so your rental payments go toward the purchase price of the trumpet.

Rent-to-own programs are great for beginners who want to test out the instrument. Many music stores offer this sort of program so that you can pay for the trumpet over time.

I haven’t seen many straight-up rental programs, but they may exist somewhere.

These programs charge you a monthly fee to borrow an instrument, and that fee doesn’t go away until you return the trumpet.

Model Level:

A lot of the trumpets you’ll find for rent are beginner instruments.

More advanced players know what kind of trumpet they need, so it makes more sense to buy the model. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any intermediate trumpets that you can rent.

Perhaps you’re part of a college band, and you can borrow a trumpet as a band member. You may have access to a more advanced model, but you’ll probably pay a higher rental fee for an intermediate or professional trumpet.

Beginner trumpets may start at $20 or $25 per month, while advanced models may cost closer to $40 or more per month.

When deciding if renting a trumpet is right for you, keep that in mind.

Trumpet Condition:

Regardless of the level, the condition of a trumpet may also affect the rental price. New trumpets almost always cost more to rent than used trumpets.

If you rent through a reputable program, “used” is the better option. Of course, it will cost you less, but most good music stores will fix up the trumpet before they rent it out.

That means you can rent a trumpet that looks and sounds like new, but you won’t have to pay the full rental price.

Over time, renting a used trumpet can save you hundreds of dollars. If the monthly rate difference is $5, that’s an extra $60 after a year or $180 after three years, a common rent-to-own program duration.


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