I have written before about the quality of Bach trumpets, and this time we will compare Bach and Yamaha trumpets.
I’ve played a Yamaha trumpet for two decades and my older brother plays the Bach Stradivarius 37 (the most-sold professional trumpet).
In this article, we take a deep dive into these two major trumpet brands and look at the differences and similarities.
I’m very familiar with my Yamaha trumpet and my brother’s Bach trumpet, so I’ve been excited about writing this comparison article.
We will mainly focus on the Bach Stradivarius models and the Yamaha Xeno models as they are probably more directly comparable than any other two trumpets.
Table of Contents
Main Differences Between Bach & Yamaha Trumpets
Here’s a table with some of the specs and features that differ between the two trumpet brands:
|Yamaha Xeno||Bach Stradivarius|
|Warranty||5 years||5 years|
|Weight||2.3-2.4 lb.||2.1-2.5 lb.|
|Manufactured||USA, Japan, China, Malaysia||USA|
|Case||Wood backpack w. straps||Wood hardcase|
|1st valve slide||Yes||Yes|
Let’s start look at some main differences between the two trumpets.
You will have to pay close attention because we’re comparing two of the biggest brands and they’re both great!
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The Quality of Bach Trumpets Is Less Consistent
If you start reading forums online you will quickly notice people complaining over the lack of consistency among the Bach trumpets.
Bach has been known to have had a few misses. They just don’t offer the same consistency in the quality as they used to a few decades back.
Ever since Vincent Bach sold his company to the Conn-Selmer corporation in 1961, the consistency of the Bach instruments has continued to go down. It seems like they don’t do as many post-production checks before the trumpets leave the factories.
With Yamaha, however, you know exactly what you get.
It’s very rare to find a Yamaha trumpet that doesn’t play or feel exactly like the next one. You will hear this especially among teachers who have bought multiple horns for their students.
This doesn’t mean that you should avoid Bach trumpets today. It just means that you need to examine the instrument carefully when you receive it.
The Conn-Selmer company offer a full 5-year warranty that means that you will be able to get it replaced or fixed in case something is off.
But many times you will not be able to tell by the look at a trumpet whether something is a little “off” if it’s not directly visible like broken soldering or loose parts.
How Long Do They Last?
My Yamaha trumpet is from 1986, and my brother’s Bach Stradivarius is also from the mid-80s. We played side by side in the same brass bands for ages so I think we can do a pretty good comparison!
Both Bach and Yamaha trumpets will outlast you if you take good care of it. I’ve seen multiple examples of Yamaha and Bach trumpets that are well over 60 years.
Both brands build extremely durable trumpets and you can easily find a 50-year-old trumpet from either brand that will still sound wonderful.
Here you can see our 25-year old trumpets. The Yamaha has lost more of the lacquered finish and also the silver plating around the mouthpiece. The Bach Strad.
It still looks very shiny despite the dent on the bell.
How To Test Side By Side
It’s important to test a trumpet before you buy it. Especially when you buy a good professional trumpet.
You will never know if a trumpet is right for you before you test it. For some people, a Yamaha trumpet will be a great match while others will swear to Bach or other brands.
When you test trumpets it’s important to use the same mouthpiece.
Note also how deep the mouthpiece is inserted into the instrument. This has to do with the mouthpiece and the size of the gap in the lead pipe where the mouthpiece is inserted.
This plays a vital role in how free blowing the instrument is.
What Are Bach Trumpets Mostly Used For?
Bach trumpets are mostly used in classical orchestras and brass bands. They are also commonly used in schools due to their long history of high-quality instruments. However, we also find jazz trumpeters who prefer the Bach Stradivarius models.
Many teachers will play a Bach Stradivarius because back in the day (before the 80s) the Bach Strad was considered the true professional trumpet and the safe choice.
Most professional classical trumpeters stick to the Bach Stradivarius models. These models has been the most-sold professional trumpets for several decades.
The Bach trumpets are well-known for their warm tone and beautiful sound but I personally feel they are also a bit “stiff” in the sound. Meaning, you cannot bend tones as easily and they feel a little less free-blowing to me.
This can be due to the construction of the valves but mostly I feel like I get a high-quality tone while I have a hard time getting creative with bends and jazz sounds on the Bach Strad.
How Versatile Is the Bach Stradivarius?
The Bach Stradivarius trumpets can be used for all music styles. However, they are more often found among classical orchestras and traditional music than in jazz, pop, and rock bands. The Bach trumpets have a beautiful tone but are a bit limited when it comes to more creative playing styles.
However, the famous jazz trumpeter Miles Davis also played the Bach Stradivarius.
For me personally, the Bach trumpets always felt a bit stuffier than my Yamaha trumpet.
I prefer a more free-blowing feel where I get a good “grip” on the tone so it never cracks – even when I play around and bend the notes.
What Are Yamaha Trumpets Mostly Used For?
We find Yamaha trumpets among all music traditions and styles. You will often find jazz musicians and pop bands using Yamaha Xeno trumpets or the older predecessors from Yamaha. Yamaha is probably the most versatile trumpet brand.
I have personally been really happy with my 1986 Yamaha YTR-2320 and I’ve used it extensively for jazz, pop, rock, as well as in brass band settings.
How Versatile Are Yamaha Trumpets?
Yamaha trumpets are used by professionals across all music genres. They are probably more popular among jazz, pop and rhythmic music in general, whereas you will find more Bach and Kanstuhl trumpets and
The professional Yamaha trumpets are probably the most versatile trumpets you can get.
What About a Used Bach Vs. Yamaha Trumpet?
Bach trumpets have always been one of the best trumpet brands out there and the Bach Stradivarius models are still the most sold professional trumpets.
That doesn’t change if we go 50 years back.
Yamaha trumpets also hold their value well, and they also have a reputation for being extremely durable.
Bach and Yamaha trumpets will last several generations when taken good care of. They need to be oiled and greased regularly, and if they are not played extensively, they will easily last 75 years.
In many cases, I advise people to purchase a used Bach or Yamaha trumpet if their budget doesn’t allow for one of the new models.
That’s a much better idea than buying an “intermediate” model (which is really just a student model with a few modifications, as we will look at below!)
Which Brands Do Prominent Trumpeters Use?
Here’s a list of famous trumpeters and which trumpet brand they use:
|Artists||Trumpet Brand & Model|
|Chet Baker||Bach Stradivarius|
|Miles Davis||Martin Committee|
|Clifford Brown||Blessing Super Artist|
|Arturo Sandoval||Bach Stradivarius|
|Alison Balsom||Bach Stradivarius|
|Herp Alpert||Bach Stradivarius|
Comparing Bach and Yamaha Trumpet Prices
The prices may vary some depending on whether you buy online or at a local store. We have listed a few links to the stores we recommend online.
|Bach student models||Around $1,300||Visit Store|
|Bach Stradivarius Models||$2,900-$3,900||Visit Store|
|Yamaha student models||Around $1,300||Visit Store|
|Yamaha Xeno Models||$2,800-$4,600||Visit Store|
We recommend the
What About Intermediate Or Student Models?
First, You should never buy a brass instrument labeled “intermediate”. The intermediate models are typically too small a step up from the student lines.
Go from a student instrument to a professional instrument. It’s also much better to buy a used professional trumpet than a new intermediate trumpet!
All intermediate trumpets are really beginner trumpets with a better choice of lacquer and silver plating finish, but they are almost the same horns as the beginner models.
If you’re just starting out, you can go for a good beginner model. Bach has a student line of trumpet that are called:
They start at around $1,300 so it’s not really a good choice for a beginner.
The same can be said about beginner trumpets from Yamaha as they (funny enough) also start at around $1,300 in most stores:
You can get a fine used Bach Strad model 37 used for $800-$1,000 and the same goes for Yamaha models.
This is almost always a better choice than an intermediate model.
Bach Vs. Yamaha Mouthpieces
Most trumpeters I know prefer the mouthpieces from the Vincent Bach company. I also prefer those.
I have several mouthpieces and I’ve tested many different cup sizes and rim types but I always come back to my Yamaha 7A. However, beginners will typically prefer the Bach 7C that you get with any Bach trumpet.
Even though I play a Yamaha trumpet I use it with a Bach mouthpiece.
I have several mouthpieces that I’ve used for more than 30 years, and I must say that the mouthpieces from Yamaha tend to lose its silver plating faster than the Bach ones.
Here’s an image to show you the difference.
To the left you can see my old Yamaha mouthpiece and to the right we have an equally old Vincent Bach mouthpiece. Notice how the silver plating is almost gone on the Yamaha mouthpiece.
A mouthpiece like the one to the left should not be used, as the silver plating is there mainly to protect the player from the bad stuff inside the alloy (Nickel).